I was just reading a question over on movies.SE: How could Ryan land in New York in early morning?, and the accepted answer suggests that Jack Ryan's plane takes off from LHR at about 4am.

One of the comments on the accepted answer says:

...there are no mid-night commercial flights from any commercial airport (especially LHR) due to night-time noise restrictions...

But were there at the time the film is set?

The film is "The Hunt for Red October", which is apparently set in 1984.

So, I did some searching, and found the following:

  1. Heathrow does still allow a limited number of night landings, but that takeoffs aren't allowed before 6am.
  2. There were court cases in the 90s and early 2000s about the noise caused by night operations at LHR. See this ECHR case from 2001.
  3. An obituary for John Stewart, an anti-noise campaigner, which mentions noise (but not night flights) in the 70s, and the narrowly-lost ECHR court case.
  4. This article about Dan Air, which talks about, in 1982, "...flights to Eilat in Israel. The late night flights, [...] departing from Gatwick". Obviously, that's Israel, not America, and Gatwick, not Heathrow, but it's the right era.

So, my question is this:

During the mid-80s, were there scheduled night flights from Heathrow to the US East Coast, such that Jack Ryan could plausibly have caught one at about 4am, were he not fictional?


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