Residents living below Heathrow flight paths are being kept awake until after midnight due to an increase in night flights due to the disruption in the aviation sector.
West London Airport has apologized to people experiencing “greater disturbance” as more planes arrive and depart later than planned.
Heathrow has no scheduled departures between 10:50 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. and no scheduled arrivals between 10:55 p.m. .
Flight punctuality has plummeted in recent months as airlines and airports struggle to cope with the surge in travel demand.
On Saturday night three planes arrived at Heathrow after midnight.
The latest was a British Airways flight from Kalamata, Greece, which landed at 12:31 a.m., more than two hours late.
Overflown residents got little respite, as the first flight scheduled for Sunday morning arrived at 4:33 a.m.
A 49-year-old woman who did not want to be named said her sleep has been severely disrupted because low-flying planes have “a huge impact on those of us who are now directly under a flight path.”
The woman, who lives in Sunningdale, Berkshire, 10 miles from Heathrow, told the PA news agency: “The constant late night flights make it impossible to sleep before midnight.
“I usually go to bed much later now. It has definitely gotten worse in the last three months.
“There is no consideration or effort on the part of airlines to lift planes when there is less traffic in the sky.
“My fear is that if the government gives the go-ahead for overnight flights on a temporary basis throughout the summer, it may become the norm, which would be unbearable.”
A 50-year-old man from Warlingham, Surrey, 20 miles from the airport, said the rise in the number of overnight flights “started quite gradually and has been ramping up”.
The flights prolong the disturbance suffered by the communities flown over “until unacceptable hours,” said the man, who also wanted to remain anonymous.
“Noise and vibration can be heard and felt throughout the house.
“Because it was so hot at night, the windows were open, which exacerbated the problems and bothered me when I was trying to sleep.”
John Stewart, who chairs anti-aircraft noise group Hacan, said Heathrow has reduced the number of night flights but “is now backing off due to chaos during the day”.
He added: “Residents in a very wide area are paying the price for this.”
Heathrow said in a statement: “We apologize for the recent increase in delayed flights, which means our local communities are facing increased unrest.
“We understand the impact of nighttime noise and continue to take steps where possible to improve our operational performance.
“Unfortunately, a combination of closed or restricted airspace and resource pressures within the broader aviation community means we are facing an exceptionally challenging summer season.
“Heathrow has made significant progress over time in tackling late runners and we remain committed to that for the long term.”
There is an annual government-imposed limit on the number of flights at Heathrow between 11:30 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
Night flights are a vital source of revenue for Heathrow, but academic studies have indicated a link between long-term noise from off-hour flights and poor health.
There has been speculation that the government is considering easing restrictions on night flights to reduce inconvenience to passengers during the peak summer holiday season.
But a spokesman for the Transport Department insisted that “there are no plans to change the general night flight quotas allocated to airports”, and any changes would be subject to consultation.