More than nine out of ten flights out of Leeds-Bradford International Airport are on course when they fly over Burley-in-Wharfedale, a forum was told tonight.

Bosses from the airport agreed to give a presentation at the Burley Neighbourhood Forum after concerns and a spate of complaints from villagers.

For years they have claimed aircraft leaving Runway 32 at Leeds Bradford have not been ‘track-keeping’ as they fly overhead.

But last night David Smillie, the airport’s head of airside operations, told the meeting LBIA’s track-keeping had improved considerably during the past couple of years with 93 per cent of all flights staying within the ‘noise preferential route’.

The route, which cuts across to the west of the airport and extends to an opening of 1.5km between Burley and Menston, is narrower than the usual 3km opening allowed at most regional airports around the country.

And he said 90 per cent of complaints about track-keeping last August were unfounded, with reasonable explanations for the other ten per cent.

“We have done extremely well to get most of our aircraft in that area,” Mr Smillie said.

“I think part of the issue is when you look up into the sky, the ability to track aircraft from the ground is very difficult.

“We do understand that and look into complaints as best we can.”

Carl Lapworth, LBIA’s director of operations and engineering, reminded about 100 residents at the forum of the rules for night flights. He said 4,000 movements of planes were allowed between 11pm and 7am during every 12-month period, with 2,800 of those between April and October and 1,200 between October and April.

But Mr Lapworth did concede the rules and the airport’s noise action plan dated back to the 1980s and would be reviewed in the future.

Earlier he told the forum LBIA contributed £98.5 million to the region’s economy per year, with 2.85 million passengers and 2,500 direct and indirect employees.

Mr Lapworth said the airport wanted the figure to rise to five million passengers to add 2,000 jobs and contribute £200 million to the economy. “It’s an important thing to say every successful region is supported by a successful regional airport,” he said. “We’re trying to make it a much better airport for everybody.”