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STOP STANSTED EXPANSION IN AIRPORTS COMMISSION
HIGH COURT RULING CALL
BBC News - 22 November 2013
Criteria underpinning decisions over new runways are "infected by apparent bias", a campaign group claims.
The Airports Commission was set up in 2012 to examine runway capacity and future "connectivity needs". Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) claims a former commissioner had a conflict of interest and says the High Court should delay any publication of options. The Department for Transport denies claims of bias and said "decisions taken to date are robust".
At the High Court in London, Mrs Justice Patterson said she will make a decision on the matter in writing at a later date. The campaign group's claims centre on the role of Geoff Muirhead, who is a former former chief executive of Manchester Airports Group (MAG), the owners of Stansted since February.
In September, he stepped down as one of the five commissioners appointed by the Commission after SSE warned Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin they would take legal action if he stayed.
SSE claims he retired as MAG's chief executive after 22 years with the group but was then immediately reappointed as "a highly paid ambassador to MAG, a role he continued to fulfil even after he was appointed to the Airports Commission". Stop Stansted Expansion campaign Stop Stansted Expansion wants publication of any option shortlists delayed.
Brian Ross, SSE's economics adviser, said: "With proposals on the table from MAG to make Stansted the world's busiest airport with four runways handling up to 160 million passengers a year, there is far too much at stake to allow the issue of apparent bias to go unchallenged. For almost a year, Mr Muirhead was allowed to play a pivotal role on the commission as its only commissioner with first hand knowledge and experience of the aviation industry."
Mr Ross said it was not enough simply to remove Mr Muirhead from the Commission. SSE wants the High Court to order the commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, "to re-visit certain key decisions made by the Commission during the time that Mr Muirhead was involved".
The Department for Transport maintain that Mr Muirhead "acted properly" at the commission but stood down to "avoid any perception of a potential conflict of interest". A DfT spokesman said: "Both the department and Sir Howard agree that there is no evidence whatsoever of bias and the Airports Commission is content that decisions taken to date are robust."
An Airports Commission spokesman rejected SSE's claims and described its processes to date as "appropriate and robust". The spokesman said its selection criteria "were informed by public consultation and incorporate a wide range of environmental, economic and social factors - including local environmental issues such as impacts on landscape and the built heritage."
STANSTED COULD DOUBLE PASSENGERS
WITHOUT NEW RUNWAY
Public Sector Travel Online - 20 November 2013
Stansted could double its number of passengers without a new runway and start offering intercontinental links, a local authority-backed report has said.
In evidence to the Airports Commission's review of south east capacity, the London, Stansted and Cambridge Consortium said the airport had the potential to be a strong driver of growth and important alternative to expansion elsewhere.
Stansted was bought earlier this year by Manchester Airport Group, which has said it wants to expand the facility, which could double its current 17.5m passengers a year without any new runway.
The report said: "The focus of Manchester Airports Group, is about filling the airport's unused capacity. We are determined to support Stansted to grow to its full agreed capacity, representing a doubling of current passenger numbers and delivering much needed long-haul flights."
Research for the consortium by consultancy Oxford Economics said growth up to the current capacity would bring more than 8,000 additional jobs and a number of new international routes.
An extra runway would add £5.9bn to the local economy and more than 30,000 new jobs by 2050, while a new five runway hub airport would add £14.8bn and almost 100,000 jobs.
The report said Stansted could already handle take the world's largest airliners. "While the medium term percentage increases projected for long haul are disappointing, the consortium believes that the proactive approach of the new owners, coupled with the scale of the demand in east London, Cambridgeshire and the wider eastern region, could deliver these services faster," it said. "However using the passive projections and just using the current runway to full capacity there is a strong potential for growing long-haul flights to 15% of Stansted's traffic."
It warned though that Stansted's rail links to London and to Cambridge and Peterborough would need "significant investment" to keep pace with any such expansion. The consortium backing the report includes the local enterprise partnerships for Hertfordshire and for Cambridge and Peterborough, Essex County Council and the London Borough of Enfield.
But Uttlesford District Council, which covers the airport, disagreed. Deputy leader Jackie Cheetham, said: "Despite these latest growth forecasts, we are still adamant that a second runway is not needed at Stansted Airport. There is no evidence whatsoever that additional runways are needed to meet predicted passenger demand and it is still unclear as to whether the practicalities of airport expansion have been fully considered."
TRANSPORT FORUM IS TOLD OF
CROSSRAIL 2'S 'BIG BENEFITS' TO STANSTED AIRPORT
Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 21 November 2013
A LEADING business organisation has highlighted the significant benefits that Crossrail 2 could bring for the millions of passengers travelling to and from Stansted Airport.
Speaking at the airport's 13th Transport Forum today (Thursday, November 21), David Leam, director of infrastructure at London First, told delegates that even if Crossrail 2 did not serve the airport directly, it would improve rail journey times and bring Stansted even closer to people living in and around London. "We face a stark choice: keep investing in our transport network to keep pace with population and jobs growth - or let congestion hold us back," he said.
"Crossrail 2 is a proposed new rail service connecting south-west, central and north-east London that could transform journeys for millions of passengers. This includes benefits for Stansted through the creation of additional tracks to at least as far as Broxbourne, allowing more and quicker journeys to the airport and bringing it even closer into London's orbit," he said.
The forum, which took place at the airport's Radisson Blu Hotel, saw more than 100 community representatives, local councillors and public transport experts attend a workshop and hear from speakers including Mr Leam, Stansted Airport managing director Andrew Harrison, Essex County Council's head of passenger transport, John Pope, and motivational speaker Jim Lawless. The annual event showcases the continuous work the airport undertakes to improve surface access and highlights targets for the future.
Speaking at his first Transport Forum, Mr Harrison reflected on the eight months since Manchester Airports Group (MAG) took ownership of the airport.
He said: "Under new ownership, the airport is already a very different place, full of ambition and drive, more confident and positive about its future prospects. This is great news for passengers, employees and businesses across the region and, as a result of these achievements, many of us will benefit from this new positive attitude and outlook."
"We have set out plans to return the airport to growth, add more destinations, more airlines and have already signed long-terms deals with Ryanair, easyJet and Thomas Cook. The challenge now is to attract long-haul and full-service scheduled operators to Stansted. Our commercial team is working tirelessly to promote the airport and its connections to London and the East of England as an opportunity not to be missed. No-one will disagree that the last few months have been non-stop. Yet in the midst of all this we can take pride in a year of achievement at the airport."
"I'm delighted to announce that 51% of our passengers now use trains, buses and coaches to get to and from Stansted. This means Stansted is not just the best major airport for public transport use by passengers, but it's now the number one of all UK airports, something we are extremely proud of."
"We are also delighted to see the recommendations from the recent London First report, A World Class Rail Link for Stansted. We all know that securing improvements to the West Anglia mainline isn't going to happen overnight, but if we are to secure investment on this line, we need to work together and speak with one voice. Going beyond that, we've heard today about the significant benefits that Crossrail 2 would have in accessibility and choice for passengers right across London, and provide a huge step up in connectivity to Stansted."
"We are hugely proud of our record, but today is all about building on that success and renewing our commitment to drive for more services and even higher standards of customer service. MAG is fully supportive of this and will continue to support the development of both public and private transport provision at the airport."
NEW REPORT HIGHLIGHTS STANSTED AIRPORT'S
Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 15 November 2013
THE massive economic value of Stansted Airport both regionally and nationally has been spelled out in a new report.
It found the current operation, serving 17 million passengers per annum (mppa), generates £750 million gross value added (GVA) and supports 14,000 jobs. The Oxford Economics report then looked at four scenarios for expansion at Stansted and considered the economic benefits, locally and nationally, of each. It found that the best use of the existing airport infrastructure, at 35 mppa, would generate £2.195 billion and support an additional 3,800 jobs. Maximum use of the existing airport infrastructure, at 45 mppa, would generate £2.660 billion and support an additional 8,310 jobs.
The report was undertaken on behalf of the London Stansted Cambridge Consortium (LSCC), which represents business and local authorities in the London Stansted Cambridge corridor. Home to the world's most significant technology and life sciences companies, including Google, Microsoft, Astra Zeneca and GSK, it is already generating 12 per cent of the UK's Gross Value Added (GVA).
Chairman of the LSCC Greg Clark said: "As this report shows, the London-Stansted-Cambridge corridor has the untapped potential as an engine for UK economic growth. Stansted Airport is crucial to this growth. Expansion of the airport, with an increase in long-haul routes, and improved road and rail connectivity to Cambridge-Peterborough and London, will ensure that the London-Stansted-Cambridge corridor builds on its global reputation, driving forward the UK economy."
Mark Reeve, chairman of Greater Cambridgeshire-Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Panel (LEP), said: "The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership is home to one of the most dynamic knowledge economies in the world, but suffers from comparatively weak international links. Having Stansted delivering additional long-haul routes, trans-Atlantic and to the Far East, would support our businesses competing in the global market."
John Gourd, who heads Hertfordshire LEP, agreed: "The panel is pleased to support this work looking at the economic impact of scenarios of growth at Stansted, as we see the airport as an important economic asset for the county. Ideally located between Heathrow and Stansted we have an increasingly international outlook for our business to business knowledge economy."
Councillor Kevin Bentley, Essex County Council's deputy leader, added: "Stansted airport will continue to be a key economic driver for Essex and supports Essex County Council's ambitious growth agenda. With locations such as Harlow's Enterprise Zone, and its resulting positive impact on the rest of the M11 corridor, demonstrating we have the sites to support international businesses and a fierce commitment to deliver the skilled workforce those employers need, we have all the ingredients for the benefits prosperity and innovation bring to the county."
A Stansted Airport spokesman told the Observer: "We welcome the findings of the LSCC's report. As it points out, Stansted is already a key catalyst for growth and productivity in region and a high proportion of the country's potential demand for business air travel comes from the East of England catchment area. Further expansion at Stansted Airport would deliver significant economic benefits, in terms of job creation along the London-Stansted-Cambridge Corridor and in the North and East of London."
OUR COMMENT: History tells us that not so long ago Oxford economics was making similar forecasts about aviation in general, as yet unfulfilled!
STANSTED: CALL FOR INDEPENDENT
NOISE TSAR FOR AIRPORTS
Ross Bentley - EADT Online - 9 November 2013
Campaigners working to contain the development of Stansted Airport have welcomed calls for an independent noise ombudsman to protect people living near airports and under flight paths from aircraft noise.
Members of the Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) group say they are supporting suggestions made by London First that a new independent noise ombudsman should have a range of powers including the ability to fine airlines that break noise limits. The non-profit organisation London First, that represents business interests in the capital, believes this would help address the lack of trust and transparency between those pressing for airport expansion and local communities.
But Stansted Airport says it is already successfully monitoring noise levels and has drastically reduced the number of complaints it receives over the past seven years.
SSE says it has been calling for an independent noise watchdog since 2006 and it has repeatedly pressed the Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority to introduce independent oversight of aircraft noise and the other environmental impacts of airports on local communities.
The group says such a move would bring the UK in line with counterparts on the continent because the UK is the only EU member state which has left the task in the hands of the airport operators themselves.
Martin Peachey, SSE's noise adviser, said: "In the UK, airport operators are deemed the competent authority for monitoring and reporting upon the environmental impacts of their own operations. It is not therefore surprising that there is mistrust amongst local communities in relation to the transparency of the current arrangements for policing aircraft noise." He added: "An independent noise watchdog is long overdue."
A spokesman for Stansted Airport said the airport was successfully monitoring noise levels of air traffic around its mid-Essex site.
He said: "Stansted has been at the forefront of pro-actively monitoring and working with our airlines, National Air Traffic Services, Civil Aviation Authority and Government to tackle noise issues, regularly going beyond the requirements and best practise. As a result we have reduced the number of noise complaints from 19,000 in 2005 to 750 in 2012 and have significantly reduced the number of people affected by noise from 7,600 in 1998 to 1,250 in 2012."
OUR COMMENT: Concerning the Stansted Airport spokesman's quotes:
1. The airport is required by Government to monitor noise levels
2. But this is only done at two sites very close to the runway (in Gt Hallingbury and
Broxted) and only for departing aircraft - nothing is monitored on arrival.
3. Noise is not monitored anyway else in the locality other than by mobile monitoring
at one or two locations a year for a three month period when requested by local
4. In 2012 only 5 aircraft infringed the noise limits at the Gt Hallinbury/Broxted
monitors. Yet there were 750 noise complaints.
5. Hardly an adequate measure of noise annoyance.
And in the first nine months of 2013, the total number of noise complaints is already at 750, the same as for the whole of 2012.
Martin Peachey, SSE's noise adviser
NIGHT FLIGHTS REGIME EXTENDED AT
HEATHROW, GATWICK AND STANSTED
Phil Davies - Travel Weekly - 12 November 2013
Night flights are set to continue at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted for at least another four years.
Aviation minister Robert Goodwill said it would "not be sensible" to change flights until a decision is reached on new runway capacity in the London area. The current night flights regime is now set to continue until October 2017. The government's proposals are open for consultation and a final decision will be made next spring.
Under the current regime at Heathrow, there are no scheduled take-offs or landings between 11.30pm and 4.30am. Between 4.40am and 6am, 16 flights are allowed to land, while between 6am and 7am, a total of 65 flights are allowed to use the airport.
Night flying is classified as taking place between 11.30pm and 6am at both Gatwick and Stansted.
The current night flight regime at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick ends in October 2014. But following the publication of its report, Night Flying Restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Stage 2 Consultation, the government has proposed to effectively roll-over the existing regime until 2017. There will also be no change to the noise quotas set for each of the three airports, the government proposed. But ministers agreed to extend the ban on the noisiest types of aircraft. Flights by such aircraft at Heathrow will now be banned between 11pm and 7am, extended from the current banned period of 11.30pm until 7am.
The Department for Transport said that "most responses from the public argued for a ban on night flights", but added that at Heathrow between now and 2017 "we fully expect the trend in quieter aircraft to continue".
John Stewart, chairman of campaign group Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise told the BBC: "There will be huge disappointment that their sleep will continue to disturbed. We will fight for an end to night flights in 2017."
BUSINESS GROUP CALLS FOR
AIRCRAFT 'NOISE POLLUTION TSAR'
Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 7 November 2013
A LEADING business group has called for a 'noise pollution tsar' to be appointed to protect people living under flightpaths.
London First said that an independent ombudsman, with a range of powers including the ability to fine an airline that persistently broke noise pollution limits, would address a "basic lack of trust and transparency" between those pressing the economic case for airport expansion and local communities. A similar scheme running in Paris since 2000 has issued in fines totalling more than more than 10m euros to airlines and has the power to ground the aircraft of airlines that do not pay penalties.
The plan, set out in London First's More Flights, Less Noise report, comes as airports commission chairman, Sir Howard Davies, prepares to announce a shortlist of potential sites for a new runway in the South East.
In October, Sir Howard said that he believed there was no option but to build extra runways in the region to cope with rising demand. The London First report shows how noise levels under flightpaths are expected to fall as airlines invest in a new generation of quieter planes, but local communities and the public at large are unsure whether they will share the benefits.
Chief executive Baroness Jo Valentine said it was vital for the UK that airport capacity was increased, but she added that unless a basic lack of trust and transparency around noise levels was addressed head-on, it might never happen.
"Limiting and cutting noise are challenges for any airport but the fact is that planes are getting quieter, major airlines like British Airways and Virgin are investing heavily in new fleets and airports are actively improving landing and take-off methods to reduce the noise impact," she said.
"However, we are miles behind foreign rivals when it comes to communicating how we monitor noise levels and deal with any problems. An independent ombudsman would make sure that all airlines fulfil their obligations. It would give local communities the assurance that someone is looking out for them and policy makers a source of objective information on which to make their decisions."
Under the plans, the watchdog would monitor noise pollution, which would be set at appropriate levels for each individual airport by the government. It would have a range of powers, from light touch verification of plans already in place, to full scale intervention.
The ombudsman would:
* Monitor all aircraft noise emissions;
* Levy penalties where breaches of regulations occur;
* Report on noise in a manner that is transparent and intelligible to local communities.
However, Baroness Valentine warned that fines should be a last resort. "Ideally, violations should be dealt with through investigation of their root causes and working with airports and airlines to prevent their reoccurrence, rather than automatically applying a penalty," she said.
"A risk of the 'parking ticket' approach is that penalties come to be seen simply as a cost of doing business when their objective should be to deter."
The report also highlights a number of operational changes that could be made to reduce noise. These include 'noise preferential routes' to help aircraft avoid populated areas. These already exist for aircraft at Stansted Airport, along with a fines penalty system, and pilots are also requested to follow local operating procedures and "avoid flying over the centre of Bishop's Stortford, unless for safety reasons". They should also avoid flying over Sawbridgeworth and Stansted Mountfitchet at heights below 2,500ft above sea level. Aircraft must also avoid flying over St Elizabeth's Centre, Perry Green, at a height lower than 4,000ft.
OUR COMMENT: No mention of any much needed changes to the actual way in which noise exposure is assessed, the dumbing down effects of averaging noise exposure as opposed to the intensity and number of real-time exposures.
CONCENTRATIONS OF WARMING GASES BREAKS RECORD
Matt McGrath, Environment Correspondent - BBC News - 6 November 2013
The WMO says that fossil fuel related activities such as oil refining are driving atmospheric levels of CO2 to record highs. The levels of gases in the atmosphere that drive global warming increased to a record high in 2012.
According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), atmospheric CO2 grew more rapidly last year than its average rise over the past decade.
Concentrations of methane and nitrous oxide also broke previous records. Thanks to carbon dioxide and these other gases, the WMO says the warming effect on our climate has increased by almost a third since 1990.
The WMO's annual greenhouse gas bulletin measures concentrations in the atmosphere, not emissions on the ground.
Carbon dioxide is the most important of the gases that they track, but only about half of the CO2 that's emitted by human activities remains in the atmosphere, with the rest being absorbed by the plants, trees, the land and the oceans. Since the start of the industrial era in 1750, global average levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have increased by 141%.
According to the WMO there were 393.1 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in 2012, an increase of 2.2ppm over 2011.
This was above the yearly average of 2.02ppm over the past decade. "The observations highlight yet again how heat-trapping gases from human activities have upset the natural balance of our atmosphere and are a major contribution to climate change," said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.
While the daily measurement of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere exceeded the symbolic 400ppm mark in May this year, according to the WMO the global annual average CO2 concentration will cross this point in 2015 or 2016. Levels of methane also reached record highs in 2012 of 1,819 parts per billion. Concentrations have been increasing since 2007 after a period when they appeared to be levelling off.
The WMO report says that it is not yet possible to attribute the methane increase to either human activities like cattle breeding and landfills or natural sources such as wetlands. They believe that the rising emissions come from the tropical and mid-latitude northern hemisphere and not from the Arctic, where methane from the melting of permafrost and hydrates has long been a concern.
Emissions of nitrous oxide have also grown, with the atmospheric concentration in 2012 at 325.1 parts per billion, 120% above pre-industrial levels.
GREEN ORGANISATIONS TELL SIR HOWARD DAVIES
THAT ALLOWING ANOTHER RUNWAY JEOPARDISES
UK CLIMATE GOALS
Press Release by Aviation Environment Federation, Campaign for Better Transport, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, RSPB, Stop Climate Chaos, The Woodland Trust, WWF-UK - 2 November 2013
Green groups have written to Airports Commission chairman Sir Howard Davies challenging his view that new runway capacity is compatible with the Government's climate change goals. The letter is a response to a recent speech by Davies which he used to rule out a "no new runway solution".
The eight national environmental NGOs argue that the Airports Commission's intention to look at additional runway capacity in the South East cannot be reconciled with the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recommendations on how the UK should achieve its national climate goal. The UK organisations to sign the letter are Aviation Environment Federation, the Campaign for Better Transport, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, RSPB, Stop Climate Chaos, the Woodland Trust and WWF-UK.
The organisations argue in the letter that the Commission should explicitly recommend keeping aviation emissions at or below 2005 levels by 2050, in line with the CCC guidance. They argue that even this level of emissions gives aviation a very generous target, when compared to the very deep cuts required of other sectors of our economy. For the UK to achieve overall cuts of 80% in CO2 emissions in 2050, compared to their 1990 levels, which means cuts of some 85% for other sectors of the economy.
The CCC's analysis concluded that stabilising UK aviation's emissions at their 2005 level could translate to a maximum 60% growth in the number of passengers at UK airports. The NGOs set out four key arguments why no new runway capacity is needed even if passenger numbers are permitted to grow by up to 60%:
1. Such growth is achievable within existing runway capacity.
2. Any new infrastructure will require capping of capacity at other airports. This will impact airports both in the South East and the rest of the UK.
3. Future climate targets will need to take account of aviation's non-CO2 contribution to climate change. As suggested by the CCC.
4. Carbon trading in the EU or globally cannot be relied on to bring aviation's emissions down.
The group of environmental organisations are urging the Commission to retain a "no new runways" option in its deliberations as the best way of achieving the targets set in the UK Climate Change Act. Doug Parr, Policy Director at Greenpeace UK said: "Building new runways when there can be no confidence that aviation will meet its fair share of climate change emissions constraints is an economic and environmental gamble. The expansionist agenda of the aviation industry needs to be contained until we properly understand what the climate consequences would be."
Jean Leston, Transport Policy Manager, WWF-UK said: "Although we are pleased that Sir Howard has taken on board the importance of climate change, his emerging views - which favour expansion - aren't backed by any clear evidence. We'd like to see Sir Howard come clean on his assumptions so that we have more confidence in his final conclusions."
Sue Armstrong-Brown, RSPB head of policy, said: "Climate change is the biggest long term threat to wildlife and we must do all we can to keep a lid on damaging carbon emissions. But building airports will have a massive immediate impact on our natural environment if precious green spaces which are home to threatened wildlife are destroyed to make way for roads, runways and terminals."
"For these reasons we are calling on the Government to think longer term about what our country needs. We need to look more seriously at sustainable transport alternatives and smarter use of the aviation capacity we already have. We can have good transport links and a healthy countryside in the future if we make the right decisions today."
Hilary Allison, Policy Director of the WoodlandTrust said: "The environmental impact of airport expansion is of key concern to the Trust, especially as we know that loss and damage to ancient woods is highly likely to follow. Increased emissions from aviation also threaten to build on the long-term impacts of climate change which adds further pressure to the rare wildlife and vulnerable ecosystems found within irreplaceable woodland habitats which cannot easily adapt, as well as intensify the risks to the UK's woods and trees of pests and diseases. With just 2% ancient woodland remaining in the UK, this must be avoided."
Tim Johnson, Director of the Aviation Environment Federation said: "The only thing we can predict with certainty is that a new runway will lead to an increase in emissions: but there is no guarantee that we will have the right technological innovation, policy measures and regulations to ensure this doesn't threaten our climate targets. With sufficient capacity already available to meet growth, this is not a gamble we need to take now."
BIG AIRPORTS NEED TO GROW,
SAYS AVIATION MINISTER ROBERT GOODWILL
Tory MP pushes case for expansion of London's biggest airports,
saying UK needs capability and it is vital to support growth
Gwyn Topham, Transport Correspondent - The Guardian - 22 October 2013
The new aviation minister has pushed the case for expanding London's biggest airports, telling the industry that the country needs to grow its hub capacity. Speaking at the Airport Operators Association conference on Monday, Robert Goodwill said it was "vital that we support growth in this sector". Listing the recent investment in airports including Birmingham, Manchester and Stansted, he said: "All these good news stories do not, however, provide the hub capacity we need to grow."
Hub capacity is generally understood by the industry to refer to airports sufficiently large to provide enough connecting passengers to sustain a wide range of long-haul flights - an argument made by Heathrow and the London mayor Boris Johnson, who favours an alternative airport to the east of the capital.
Goodwill said that the government's main message was that "aviation needs to grow, to support economic expansion, whilst giving due respect to the wider environment and the quality of life of those on the ground". Goodwill later added that the coalition was waiting for the report from the Davies commission, which is investigating how to maintain the UK's position as a world aviation hub, saying it would be "foolish to pre-empt its conclusions".
Sir Howard Davies, chair of the Airports Commission, will speak on Tuesday at the conference after recently indicating that he now accepts there is a need to build new runways in the southeast. A shortlist of possible options for expansion will be published in an interim report in December, but Davies broke his silence earlier this month to say his "emerging thinking" was that Britain would be best served economically, and environmentally, with additional net capacity.
On Monday Ed Anderson, chairman of the AOA, said that the debate had shifted. He said: "There is now a debate about where expansion should take place, not why it should take place at all." He added that while the industry was pleased with the positive recognition of its economic benefits from Davies and government, the fear was that politicians would not act on the commission's recommendations, which will be published after the 2015 general election.
In a Comres survey for the AOA of 500 senior financial decision makers in the UK, just 37% had confidence that the eventual proposals would be delivered. However, opponents of airport expansion pointed to the findings in the same survey that only 8% of businessmen were dissatisfied with the UK's international air links to either traditional destinations or emerging markets.
Meanwhile, London First has called on the government to act now to improve rail connections to Stansted airport, which is currently transforming its terminal with an £80m redevelopment. The business organisation put forward plans for a £620m package of improvements to cut train journey times to under 40 minutes from central London. It said the plan would bring 2m people within an hour's journey of the airport by rail and coach, similar to the catchment of Heathrow.
Lady Valentine, chief executive of London First, said: "We are at least a decade away from new runways serving London. We have no choice but to make more use of the assets we have to grow Britain's air links to global markets. Stansted has spare runway capacity. A rail link on a par with those to Heathrow, Gatwick and other airports, would spur competition."
HALSTEAD: STANSTED EXPANSION WOULD
DISRUPT RESIDENTS, COUNCIL HEARS
Halstead Gazette - 27 October 2013
Residents in the Halstead area are unlikely to support the expansion of Stansted Airport, a councillor has stated. Braintree Council debated the future of the region's air capacity during a meeting held last Monday.
Councillors backed an Essex County Council (ECC) report which argued it was "unrealistic" to create a four-runway super hub at the site. Iona Parker, councillor for Yeldham, said: "Residents in the north of the district unfortunately live under the flight path for both Stansted and Luton. I really believe in the north in particular there will be a really strong opposition to a second runway at Stansted. The huge increase in flights this would bring would have a devastating impact on the tranquility of the rural north."
PRISK LABELS PLANS FOR NEW RAIL TRACKS
IN STORTFORD AND SAWBRIDGEWORTH AS 'BONKERS'
Michael Jarvis - Herts & Essex Observer - 24 October 2013
BISHOP'S Stortford MP Mark Prisk has condemned London First's plans to build new tracks at Stortford and Sawbridgeworth as "bonkers".
The business organisation published a report, A World Class Rail Link for Stansted, on Monday which suggested passing loops be built at Stortford and Sawbridgeworth in order to help achieve a plan to "cut the journey time of the Stansted Express by almost a fifth to under 40 minutes".
But Mr Prisk said: "The idea is completely unacceptable, my commuters come first and, though I do want to see improvements [to the rail tracks], I do not want to see them for tourists at the expense of commuters."
He continued that he and fellow Tory Sir Alan Haselhurst, Uttlesford’s MP, were lobbying the government for improvements to the Greater Anglia line, which serves Cambridge to London Liverpool Street, but closer to the capital. "There needs to be greater economical and physical presence in improvements between Liverpool Street and Broxbourne - that is where most problems occur," he said.
Mr Prisk's views brought him into conflict with Stansted bosses, who welcomed the report. The document says the £620m package of improvements would bring the number of passengers within an hour's journey of the airport by rail and coach to two million - the same level as Heathrow today - and bring estimated economic benefits of more than £1.2 billion.
Chris Wiggan, Stansted Airport's head of public affairs and sustainability, said: "The line has suffered from years of chronic under investment and we have long campaigned for a reduction in journey times, improved resilience and additional track capacity. Implementing the findings will put Stansted on an equal competitive footing with other London airports."
STANSTED'S MP CALLS FOR AVIATION
EXPANSION IN MANCHESTER
UTTLESFORD'S MP has spoken out on Stansted Airport's
future and made it clear expansion is not an option
Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 31 October 2013
Veteran Conservative Sir Alan Haselhurst addressed the House of Commons in a debate on aviation strategy and looked north for a solution to the country's capacity issues, advocating more traffic on Manchester Airport's two existing runways. Manchester Airports Group bought Stansted Airport from BAA earlier this year in a £1.5 billion deal.
Although Walden's man at Westminster has long been a fan of a completely new airport in the Thames Estuary as the ideal option, he said: "I believe that there needs to be a hub in London and I accept that it is perhaps inevitable that will be Heathrow, but to build a third runway, possibly a fourth runway and a sixth and seventh terminal for that airport will not make it anything like the new airport in Hong Kong, or Changi in Singapore, or the airport in Beijing. It will still be a confusing mass airport. I do not think that serves London best, but it might be the best that can be achieved in the circumstances."
Stansted has been mooted as a substitute, ripe for expansion to four runways, but Sir Alan told fellow MPs: "I must declare an interest because Stansted Airport is in my constituency. However, the views that I hold on airports policy were formed when I had the honour to be the Member for Middleton and Prestwich in Greater Manchester. I took the view then, in the wake of the study by the Roskill commission, the last great body to study airports policy, that none of the inland sites, whether Cublington, Nuthampstead, Stansted, Willingale or any other, should be developed, and that if we were to have a proper airport system for London, it should be offshore."
"My view was that it would be a mistake to urbanise a large part of the countryside in any of the home counties. I never dreamed that, due to the sad early death of Sir Peter Kirk, a vacancy would occur in the Saffron Walden constituency, which I was chosen to fill. I am therefore not simply saying 'Not in my back yard' - I have tried to have a wider perspective on the matter."
"I was close to Manchester for a time, and I saw the potential for the development of Manchester airport. It has two runways, so why can that potential not be seen? Why not promote that as at least one other gateway into the country? Most air traffic has to do with leisure, and from Manchester not only can the business community be served in that part of the country - going both west to Liverpool and east to Leeds - but there is access to north Wales, the Derbyshire peak district, the Yorkshire dales, Yorkshire moors, the lake district and so on. We ought to encourage those who visit this country to see parts of it other than just London and the home counties. That would take some of the pressure off London, without, of course, excusing the need for a proper hub."
He told the house that the area around Stansted had already missed out on the improved infrastructure which should have accompanied London's third airport: "I tell my constituents who occasionally ask, 'Should we be spending all this money on HS2?' that when I hear that HS2 would bring Birmingham airport within 36 minutes of London, my eyes water because it is an average of 47 minutes from Stansted airport into London."
"Over the years, our one consistent failing - there have been many - is that we have not been prepared to back airport development with suitable infrastructure for people to get there. So what happens? Well, I can speak for Stansted with some passion. On the back of an airport that we were unhappy to see develop, we did not get the compensation of a good railway system. In fact, we got one that is worse because priority was given on a two-track railway to the Stansted Express."
"I am all in favour of a good service to Stansted Airport, but that must not be at the expense of all the commuters whom Government policies over the years have encouraged to live in the M11 corridor. They get the worst of both worlds and that is wrong."
He said last Thursday (October 24) if the current Davies Commission - the independent body currently conducting a review of airport capacity - came up with a solution, there should be adequate compensation for those residents affected by a major national building project.
Sir Alan concluded: "The whole country deserves a better deal, and to level up the north. The whole country needs to get some benefit from the people whom we encourage to travel to our country for business or pleasure. We need imagination - that is what I appeal for - and a solution that is worthy of our main city and our country as a whole."
MAG CHIEF PUTS FOCUS ON TWO-RUNWAY
FUTURE FOR STANSTED
Jane Wild - Financial Times - 15 October 2013
Manchester Airports Group is focused on expanding Stansted in the next decade to two runways, which would support a range of business and leisure, low-cost and premium, long- and short-haul flights.
Charlie Cornish, MAG chief executive, said in an interview with the Financial Times that he wants to develop the Essex airport along the lines of Manchester, the only UK airport other than Heathrow with two runways.
"You have to be realistic, Stansted is never going to replace Heathrow as the centre point for long-haul flights, but it's got a great opportunity to evolve more like Manchester," he said.
Stansted's proposals to the Davies commission to assess the best way to increase Britain's flight capacity include options to build a second runway or to expand to a four-runway hub airport. However, four runways could only work if Heathrow were to close, which appears unlikely, Mr Cornish said, so he was fixing his sights on a two-runway future.
MAG, which bought Stansted in February, has begun an £80m terminal redesign in order to smooth its security checks and to improve the airside shops as part of a plan to attract airlines to fly long-haul routes.
Mr Cornish revealed Stansted had recently secured the return of long-haul flying after some years, beginning its shift from being purely a base for cheap flights to Europe. Pakistani carrier Air Blue will begin a route to Lahore next year, and detailed talks are under way with several airlines, with one close to adding another destination next year, he said. Stansted's main airline, Ryanair, is not one of those, despite its chief executive Michael O'Leary long having mooted low-cost long-haul under another brand.
"Stansted's got a good opportunity to fly long-haul to the Middle East and then beyond," Mr Cornish said, citing data that showed 3m people travelled past Stansted each year to fly to the Gulf region from Gatwick or Heathrow.
China was also a possible location from Stansted, he said, while MAG's long-held aim to fly between China and Manchester would happen within two years. The group has a team in China as part of its Airport City project in Manchester. The £800m project to form a business district at Manchester airport involves the Beijing Construction Engineering Group, which it is hoped will encourage further Chinese investment.
At Stansted the goal is to reverse the decline of the past few years by increasing passenger numbers from 18.5m to 24m during five years. Stansted has agreed deals with Ryanair and easyJet to bring in more travellers in exchange for lower airport charges.
However, expansion will require improved connections. HS2 - the second phase of which would run to Manchester airport - is "fundamental" to lift capacity on Britain's rail network, Mr Cornish said. An obstacle to Stansted's development is the rail link to London, which takes between 47 minutes to an hour. The airport wants to cut to that to 30 minutes.
While the commission, chaired by the economist Sir Howard Davies, needs time to work over the shortlist of options for how to boost flight capacity, "it would be difficult for Stansted not to be on it", said Mr Cornish. London's population will increase to the east during the next decades, and noise from Stansted would affect fewer people than Heathrow and Gatwick, he said.
But the debate is not about whether the southeast needs a hub airport such as an expanded Heathrow, or the London mayor's estuary hub idea - which Mr Cornish thinks will not make the shortlist because of its expense. Rather, it is about boosting connectivity, he said, and regional airports have a vital role to play in increasing UK airport capacity. For now, MAG is focusing on Stansted, but in six months, after its integration, it will be open to other opportunities, including those abroad, to "add more shareholder value", Mr Cornish said.
MAG is majority owned by Manchester City Council and nine other Manchester authorities. Australian infrastructure investor Industry Funds Management holds a 35.5 per cent equity stake and 50 per cent of voting rights. The group, which also owns East Midlands and Bournemouth airports, considered operating Chicago Midway airport this year. However, it ruled out any interest in Glasgow Prestwick airport, for which the Scottish government may seek an operating partner.
OUR COMMENT: MAG's wish list for Stansted seems to include all possible options, and so far community and environmental considerations do not seem to have been a factor in their planning.
CAA CONSIDERS DEREGULATION FOR STANSTED
AFTER AIRPORT STRIKES DEALS WITH AIRLINES
CAA Online - 17 October 2013
The UK Civil Aviation Authority is today launching a consultation on the impact of long-term agreements made by Stansted Airport and its principal customers on the airport's market power.
Under the Civil Aviation Act 2012 a market power test is required as part of the process to decide whether an airport should be regulated in the future and, if so, how. The consultation sets out the CAA's provisional view that the deals Stansted has agreed with its two principal customers change the assessment of the airport's market power, and mean that deregulation could be appropriate. However, this provisional view is subject to consultation, and may change depending on stakeholders' responses.
Iain Osborne, CAA Group Director of Regulatory Policy, said: "Our aim is to protect passengers, so we will act if the market fails. But regulation must achieve more benefits for consumers than it costs. That is why, following the airport's recent deals with easyJet and Ryanair, it is sensible for us to consider whether regulation remains the best thing for Stansted’s passengers."
The CAA originally published a consultation on its 'minded to' assessment for Stansted's market power in January 2013. The CAA acknowledged in its consultation that the change of ownership of Stansted and its impact on the airports relationship with its customers could alter its view when it consulted. Following Stansted's subsequent acquisition by Manchester Airports Group (MAG) and MAG's agreements with Ryanair and easyJet, today's consultation invites stakeholders to comment on the CAA's assessment of how these agreements may affect the market power assessment.
The consultation focuses solely on the impact of the key developments on the 'Minded to' assessment we consulted on in January, and their implications on the licensing of Stansted after April 2014. It does not update the CAA's thinking on all matters raised in the assessment, nor does it afford stakeholders the opportunity to comment on submissions made by other stakeholders in response to that consultation.
After the consultation, the final determination on Stansted's market power will be published early in 2014. The form of regulation for Stansted will be finalised after that.
END THIS 'LUDICROUS UNCERTAINTY' OVER HEATHROW,
PLEADS BORIS JOHNSON
More runways at Heathrow 'politically toxic' says Mayor
Pippa Crerar, City Hall Editor - Evening Standard - 4 November 2013
Boris Johnson today called on the Government's aviation supremo to reject Heathrow's "undeliverable" bid to build a third runway when he reports on the future of UK airports. The Mayor said more runways at Heathrow would be "politically toxic", ahead of the publication next month by Airports Commission chairman Sir Howard Davies of his shortlist of airports suitable for expansion.
In a speech to the annual Confederation of British Industry conference, Mr Johnson said the annual cap of 480,000 flights at Heathrow must not be lifted because of noise blight. Instead, he set out a masterplan for London that would combine a hub airport in the Thames Estuary while creating a London borough on the site of Heathrow. In his most candid assessment of airport expansion, the Mayor said: "When Howard Davies publishes his interim report, he must put an end to this unforgivable, baffling and ludicrous uncertainty and explicitly rule out any expansion at Heathrow."
"If Heathrow expansion is politically and environmentally impossible, which it is, we need to stop dithering, decide now on a hub airport solution to the east, and get on with it. I hope a man as wise as Howard Davies gets that, and rules out Heathrow now before it is too late."
He said a new airport east of London would create 375,000 jobs and provide Britain with unconstrained links to global markets. He also argued that claims of damage to the Thames Valley economy by the closure of Heathrow were wildly exaggerated because the site offered extraordinary potential for development. He said it could provide homes for 180,000 people and 40,000 jobs in an area roughly the size of Kensington and Chelsea.
A recent European Union study forecast that flight demand in Europe will outstrip capacity by 12 per cent by 2030 and Mr Johnson said Heathrow was now level pegging with places such as Helsinki airport regarding the number of Chinese destinations served. He added that Heathrow was asking the Government to "deliver the undeliverable" and said: "The airport is already responsible for vastly more noise pollution than any other airport in Europe and to worsen that solution by adding a third, and inevitably a fourth runway, would be indefensible."
COURT ATTACK ON AIRPORTS REVIEW
Campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion is to threaten
Stansted's expansion through the High Court
Karl West - Sunday Times - 13 October 2013
CAMPAIGNERS will deliver a blow to Sir Howard Davies's Airports Commission this week by applying to the High Court for a judicial review of its work.
Davies and his team are drawing up a shortlist of options for a new runway in southeast England. Their initial report will be handed to government by the end of the year and final recommendations will be made just after the expected election in 2015. However, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) will tomorrow begin proceedings at the High Court to force Davies to restart the process. The legal action puts the commission's deadlines at risk.
SSE has already succeeded in removing Geoff Muirhead, former boss of Manchester Airports Group, from the commission. He spent 22 years at the airports company, which bought Stansted in January. The campaign group now argues that his presence on the panel has compromised its work to date. Muirhead, it claims, was a key influence in establishing the commission's "sift criteria", used to choose a shortlist of sites.
Brian Ross, SSE's economics adviser, said: "For almost a year, Muirhead was allowed to play a pivotal role as the only commissioner with first-hand knowledge and experience of the aviation industry. He was therefore in a powerful position to shape the decisions and judgments of the commission to favour the interests of Manchester Airports."
In submissions to the commission in July, Manchester Airports proposed adding a second runway at Stansted to raise capacity to 90m passengers annually. It also proposed a four-runway airport.
The commission has denied any bias.
BRITAIN NEEDS TO BUILD NEW RUNWAYS,
SAYS AIRPORTS COMMISSION CHAIRMAN
Sir Howard Davies' first speech for commission calls for expansion in
south-east England and a mechanism to manage carbon emissions
Gwyn Topham - The Guardian - 7 October 2013
Sir Howard Davies, the chairman of the Airports Commission, has affirmed that Britain will need to build new runways in the coming years.
Making his first public speech since the creation last year of the commission to consider airport capacity in south-east England, Davies also called for a mechanism to manage carbon emissions.
Davies said: "Our provisional conclusion is that we will need some net additional runway capacity in the south-east of England in the coming decades. To rely only on runways currently in operation would be likely to produce a distinctly sub-optimal solution for passengers, connectivity and the economy, and would also almost certainly not be the best solution in terms of minimising the overall carbon impact of flights and travel to and from airports. A mechanism for managing the carbon impacts of aviation will be needed if the UK is to achieve its statutory carbon targets."
Heathrow has led calls for airport expansion, despite its planned third runway being scrapped by the coalition as recently as 2010 - a decision many in the Conservative party now believe was wrong. The London mayor, Boris Johnson, says Britain needs greater hub-airport capacity but opposes Heathrow expansion, instead arguing for a new airport to the east of the capital.
The commission is due to issue an interim report by the end of the year, drawing up a shortlist of potential long-term airport runway schemes. Heathrow has outlined plans for a potential four-runway hub, while Gatwick wants to build a second runway. Stansted owner MAG has also submitted plans showing how the Essex airport could be turned into a four-runway hub if required.
The interim report will also include proposals for measures to improve aviation capacity in the short term. Its final report is due to be submitted after the 2015 general election.
NEW RUNWAYS WILL HAVE TO BE BUILT IN THE SOUTH EAST
OF ENGLAND WARNS BRITAIN'S AIRPORTS TSAR
Sir Howard Davies says expanding Manchester and Birmingham not option -
Boosts chances of new runways at Heathrow, Gatwick or an Estuary Airport
Ray Massey - Daily Mail - 7 October 2013
New runways will have to be built in the South East of England if the UK is to avoid aviation gridlock, Britain's airports 'tsar' said today. That is the provisional conclusion of Sir Howard Davies' investigation into solving the problem of UK's bursting airport capacity. His findings boost the chances of controversial new runways at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, and keep afloat the idea of a Boris Island in the Thames Estuary.
Big issue: More runways will have to be built in the south-east of England, including potentially at Heathrow, Britain's airport tsar said today. But simply expanding regional airports such as Birmingham and Manchester would not solve the problem, he said in a blow to regional expansion.
However Sir Howard held back for now on ruling on his 'preferred option' for South East airport expansion.
Fighting to win his support are plans for a third and even a fourth runway at Heathrow, a brand new 'Boris island' in the Thames estuary - the two competing and opposing 'hub' airport options - and extra runways at Gatwick and Stansted.
Sir Howard, who chairs the Government's Airports Commission which will recommend to ministers where new runways should be built was giving his 'emerging thinking' in a speech after taking evidence from interested parties over the Summer. Speaking in London he said: "Our provisional conclusion is that we will need some net additional runway capacity in the South East of England in the coming decades."
And he stressed that to rely 'only on runways currently in operation' would mean a poorer service for passengers, for connections to other airports at home and abroad, could damage the economy. He added that in environmental terms it "would also almost certainly not be the best solution in terms of minimising the overall carbon impact of flights and travel to and from airports".
Sir Howard said pressure on the UK's busiest airports is likely to continue to grow "even if we take a more conservative view of future aviation demand than the DfT has in the past." This will lead to overcrowding at airports in the south east of England specifically. More importantly, this aviation gridlock will happen even if demand for flights is less than expected because of pressures from the Government's legally enforced 'green' climate change objectives.
New favourite idea: Boris has backed the four-runway 'Foster Island' in the Thames Estuary airport, which would be capable of handling up to 180million passengers a year on the Isle of Grain in Kent.
Elaborate plan: The Isle of Grain's proposed international railway station, which would include a service to Waterloo in 26 minutes
Sir Howard said it was difficult to see how the market alone could resolve the 'imbalance' between demand and capacity in the South East of England.
And simply sending for flights to the regions would not be enough: "Regional airports are already serving their local markets effectively but it is difficult to see how they can absorb all the excess demand. The tools available to Government to influence the location of flights are also very limited."
So taken together the taken together he concluded that such considerations "point to the need for new runway infrastructure in the south east of England in the coming decades".
Sir Howard said in his speech: "Our provisional conclusion is that we will need some net additional runway capacity in the South East of England in the coming decades. To rely only on runways currently in operation would be likely to produce a distinctly sub-optimal solution for passengers, connectivity and the economy and would also almost certainly not be the best solution in terms of minimising the overall carbon impact of flights and travel to and from airports."
He added: "A mechanism for managing the carbon impacts of aviation will be needed if the UK is to achieve its statutory carbon targets - just as it will in other countries. This is the case whether new runway capacity is provided in the South East or not." He added: "I would be interested in comments on the analysis I have set out today."
The Commission is seeking responses on the emerging thinking and analysis set out in the speech by October 31.
The Airports Commission was launched in November last year but its final recommendations will not be implemented - if at all - until after the next General Election.
AIRPORT EXPANSION: THE OPTIONS
HEATHROW: Heathrow airport chiefs have published three options for a controversial new third runway to double passenger numbers and 'win the race' to be Europe's main international airline hub. But they also spelled out the prospect of fourth runway built after 2040. Residents reacted with fury to the blueprint that would mean a sixth terminal T6 at Heathrow, and a seventh likely to follow, threatening action in the High Court to halt it. Each of the three third-runway Heathrow options will boost annual flights from 480,000 to 740,000 a year - more in keeping with its international rivals - doubling passenger numbers from 70million to 130million a year.
'FOSTER ISLAND': The inner estuary site on Kent's Isle of Grain is close enough to London to provide smooth and fast access by public transport, yet ideally located so as to allow take-off and landing over water and so impact on as small a population as possible.
'BORIS ISLAND': An airport on an artificial island off the Kent coast would remove all problems of noise pollution and give the airport the freedom to operate in whatever way it needed in order to maximise the UK's connectivity and economic benefits.
STANSTED EXPANSION: Developing a major four-runway airport at Stansted would have the attraction of building on existing infrastructure and being sited in a relatively sparsely populated region.
GATWICK EXPANSION: Rival Gatwick has unveiled its own controversial plans for a £9billion second runway at Gatwick that could treble passenger numbers to nearly 90million a year. But it too has flown into turbulence from residents and environmental groups. Gatwick bosses said a new runway in West Sussex, positioned to the south of the current site, could be open in 2025 and could almost treble passenger numbers but be less expensive and less noisy than an extra runway at Heathrow. It would be part of a 'constellation' of three main airports around London - instead of one major Heathrow 'hub'.
BUSINESSES TO FUND CAMPAIGN
TO PRESS FOR AIRPORT EXPANSION
Seeking support: firms in the capital are being called upon to
contribute financially to a major campaign for airport expansion
Matthew Beard, Transport Editor - Evening Standard - 10 October 2013
London businesses are to fund a major campaign for airport expansion after the Government's aviation supremo Sir Howard Davies backed new runways in the South-East.
Business group London First will put pressure on the main political parties to heed the recommendations of the Davies commission when its report is published after the 2015 election.
The 'Let Britain Fly' campaign will cost £250,000 and London First is seeking £25,000 each from businesses, trade unions and London boroughs. The cash will be used to fund academic studies and advertising. The lobby group insists it will not campaign in favour of one particular airport. It believes extra flights can be put on at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick in the next five years regardless of the outcome of a decision on runways.
London First's Rob McIvor said: "We are bringing together various businesses and other organisations that want politicians to commit to being guided by the Airports Commission's recommendations and acting swiftly once they have been made. We cannot afford to see this kicked into the long grass yet again."
He said that, in the short term, the group would be calling for more flights at the major London airports, improved transport links and the lifting of price caps. He added: "Long term, we believe we will need to build new runways in the South-East but we are open minded about where they will be. The important thing is for all the main parties to commit to tackling the capacity crunch after the 2015 election."
The City of London Corporation is set to contribute to the campaign, with Canary Wharf Group, Sir Robert McAlpine, the Berkeley Group, John Lewis and Segro also committed.
Earlier this week, airports chief Sir Howard ruled there was no alternative to building extra runways in the South East to cope with rising passenger demand. In December, he will announce a shortlist of potential runway sites from 58 submissions. His commission will then whittle this down to make a recommendation in 2015, which could involve new runways at more than one airport.
LONDON MAYOR SLAMS EU AIR-CAP THREAT
TO NEW LONDON AIRPORT
Gaspard Sebag & Kari Lundgren - Bloomberg Online - 26 September 2013
London Mayor Boris Johnson said European Union proposals barring the use of state aid for the construction of airports serving more than 5 million people a year would undermine plans to grow the U.K.'s aviation capacity.
Government subsidies for large airport projects, currently assessed on a case-by-case basis, would be outlawed starting in early 2014, whether for new infrastructure or upgrades of existing facilities, according to the draft EU blueprint. "There are unintended and potentially catastrophic consequences," Johnson said in a Sept. 20 letter to EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia. In "tying the hands" of member states, the measures would limit London's ability to expand vital links to emerging markets in Asia and South America, he said in the document obtained by Bloomberg News.
Johnson is at the forefront of a U.K. debate over airport capacity in southeast England that pits the existing Heathrow hub against his own proposals which include building an entirely new base far to the east. The EU rules would limit London to expanding terminal capacity at existing bases with less ambitious plans that could be more easily financed, he said.
Almunia's spokesman Antoine Colombani said the European Commission has taken no decision on the matter and that the EU's regulatory arm will now start to analyze feedback received during a consultation period that ended yesterday. "We will of course carefully assess all the arguments raised, including in Mr. Johnson's letter," he said.
The Commission said on publishing draft guidelines in July that airports with annual passenger numbers above 5 million are "usually profitable and are able to cover all of their costs."
Transport for London, the body that implement's the mayor's transport strategy, said in a submission accompanying his letter that while incremental investment can usually be privately financed, the delivery of larger one-off developments in the order of tens of billions of pounds would still require aid. Such projects would include the expansion or replacement of a major international airport, according to the document.
Johnson has said Heathrow, Europe's busiest hub, should be replaced by one of two undeveloped sites in the Thames estuary or by an expanded Stansted airport, 35 miles north of London. The proposals, along with those of Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and other airports and stakeholders, were submitted to the state-appointed Davies Commission on U.K. airport capacity earlier this year, with a final recommendation due in 2015.
"If the changes that the EC are proposing were adopted, they would seriously damage the ability of the commission to consider all options on a level playing field," Johnson said.
TfL said in its submission that a new hub as envisaged by Johnson requires an estimated 20 billion pounds ($32 billion) of investment. Heathrow has also described as "challenging" the likelihood of raising private funds for a more modest proposal for new runways costing from 14 billion pounds, it added.
A four-runway hub could quadruple the number of cities in China and South America served from London and add 50 percent more in the U.S., while restoring routes to U.K. locations now served only from Amsterdam Schiphol, Johnson said in July. A lack of airport infrastructure across Europe could cap the number of flights to 14 million annually by 2035, 2 million fewer than demand forecasts suggest will be needed, Tfl said.
Airport Expansion, what about the Health Effects?
A HEALTH WARNING THAT COULD STALL DEBATE
ON EXPANSION OF OUR AIRPORTS
For those keen to see expansion, the report
is more than an unwelcome irritation
Simon Calder - The Independent - 8 October 2013
Passengers aboard the first wave of flights descending over west London into Heathrow this morning may have health concerns - but only about their own well-being. They could fret about the short-term impact of a 14-hour flight from Singapore or Hong Kong to Britain, and the longer-term effects of disrupting circadian rhythms by crossing time zones faster than the speed of sunlight. They are, though, unlikely to think about the millions of people over whose homes and lives their Airbus or Boeing is rumbling.
Today's findings in the British Medical Journal add another important dimension to the question of our age: how damaging is air travel? As every long-haul airline passenger knows, sleep deprivation is an unwelcome irritation.
Now researchers say they have identified something much more serious: a "significant association between exposure to aircraft noise and cardiovascular health". The risks appear to rise sharply for people living very close to a busy airport.
For those keen to see expansion, particularly at Heathrow, the report will prove more than an unwelcome irritation; if the findings are sustained and augmented, the airport expansion debate takes on a new character. Sir Howard Davies is the chairman of the body charged with solving the aviation capacity crunch in south-east England.
Two days ago, he revealed the Airport Commission's work thus far. Sir Howard gave a meticulous exposition of the factors concerning his commission, from maintaining Britain's global competitiveness to meeting the UK's carbon emissions targets. He paid due regard to the concerns of local residents about noise and traffic.
But 48 hours ago a correlation between airport proximity and the risk of heart attacks or strokes was not in the public domain. Now that it is, the spectrum of harm from airports has extended from nuisance to a serious public health threat.
AIRCRAFT NOISE AND CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE NEAR
HEATHROW AIRPORT IN LONDON: SMALL AREA STUDY
British Medical Journal - www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f5432 - 8 October 2013
Conclusions of Study
How best to meet commercial aircraft capacity for London and other major cities is a matter of active debate, as this may provide major economic benefits. However, policy decisions need to take account of potential health related concerns, including possible effects of environmental noise on cardiovascular health.
Our results suggest that high levels of aircraft noise are associated with an increased risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease. As well as the possibility of causal associations, alternative explanations should be considered. These include the potential for incompletely controlled confounding and ecological bias, as we did not have access to individual level confounder data such as ethnicity and smoking.
Further work to understand better the possible health effects of aircraft noise is needed, including studies clarifying the relative importance of night time compared with daytime noise, as this may affect policy response.
IPCC CLIMATE REPORT: GLOBAL WARMING NOW 'UNEQUIVOCAL'
Matt McGrath, Environment Correspondent - BBC News, Stockholm - 27 September 2013
On the ground, in the air, in the oceans, global warming is "unequivocal", according to a landmark report on the Earth's climate.
The report by the UN's climate panel details the physical evidence behind climate change. Scientists are 95% certain that humans have been the "dominant cause" of the rise in temperatures since the 1950s. They say that a pause in warming over the past 15 years is too short to reflect long term trends.
The panel warns that continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all aspects of the climate system.
WWF: ICAO Forgoes Immediate Emissions Reductions for Promise of a Future Global Plan
MONTREAL WWF Press Release 4th October 2013
Delegates to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) today promised to start work on developing a global, market based measure (MBM) to reduce aviation emissions beginning in 2020, but in doing so missed the opportunity to start reducing emissions immediately and contribute to closing the ambition gap before 2020.
"The science is clearer than ever - 2020 is too late," said Samantha Smith, WWF leader of the Global Climate & Energy Initiative. "Right after the recent IPCC release, this was the first chance for governments in ICAO to take decisive action, and they failed."
"The world has waited 16 years for ICAO to demonstrate its serious commitment to reducing aviation emissions," said Jean Leston, Transport Policy Officer of WWF-UK. "What we got today seems a very small return for that effort. We expect a lot more ambition and commitment from ICAO over the next three years if a global, market-based mechanism is ever going to materialize."
"While ICAO delegates and the airline industry will be crowing about the significant progress they have made this week, the reality is that today's decision does nothing to reduce emissions in the short term. By essentially restricting the EU's Emissions Trading System for aviation to its own carriers and airspace, ICAO has handicapped the world's leading legislation to put a price on aviation pollution and once again allowed skyrocketing emissions to continue climbing."
"Today's decision commits delegates only to the possibility of an MBM agreement in by 2016. There is no guarantee. At a time when the world's leading climate scientists are telling us that that climate change is real and is happening faster than expected, international leaders must capitalize on every immediate opportunity to ratchet down emissions."
DRAFT ICAO TEXT PUSHES FOR SMALLER EU ETS
ENDS Europe DAILY - 2 October 2013
The head of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has
proposed that Europe's emissions trading system should only apply
within its own airspace and exempt developing countries.
Mutual agreement would be needed before expanding market-based
measures beyond this scope, according to the latest draft ICAO text
circulated on Wednesday.
Although a major concession, the airspace rule was hard-won by EU
officials and could be as good a deal as Europe can hope for as the
talks enter their final two days, according to observers at the
That means it is now unlikely the EU ETS will ever be reinstated to
its status before the 'stop the clock'
The new draft text retains the de minimus derogation, "urging" states
operating their own market-based measures - such as the EU - to
exempt routes to and from the majority of developing countries.
Critics say the exemption sets a precedent that could undermine the
possibility for a truly global deal. But developing states say
exemptions are needed to respect the principle of common but
differentiated responsibility - an issue that has also plagued talks
on tackling shipping emissions
This week's talks in Montreal on tackling aviation emissions have
mostly focussed on global opposition to the inclusion of
international flights in the EU ETS, which has been suspended for
non-EU flights since March under 'stop the clock'.
As a result, work towards a global market-based measure for tackling
aviation emissions has taken a back seat, observers say. The latest
draft text retains the proposal to make a decision on global measures
by 2016 and calls for net carbon emissions from international
aviation to remain at the same level from 2020 onwards.
The draft acknowledges that the global market-based measure will have
to take account of common but differentiated responsibility.
There has been little discussion yet on the details of how this can
be done in the three-year timeframe, so this is likely to be one of
the major sticking points when work on drafting the deal begins in
earnest, said Bill Hemmings of NGO T&E.
The draft notes the aviation industry's support for a global offsetting scheme and
"recognises" that "voluntary carbon offsetting schemes constitute a
practical way to offset CO2 emissions", at least in the short term.
UK BREACHES OF EU AIR QUALITY RULES CONTINUE
ENDS Europe DAILY - 2 October 2013
Most of Britain continues to be in breach of the 2008 Ambient Air
Quality Directive because of high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2),
according to information submitted to the European Commission.
The latest annual compliance assessment published by environment
department DEFRA shows that 38 of the UK's 43 air quality zones
exceeded the EU's annual average NO2 limit of 40 micrograms per cubic
Simon Birkett, director of campaign group Clean Air in London said
the EU executive should launch infraction proceedings against the UK
A spokeswoman for the commission's environment directorate said it
was "worried" by the continuing non-compliance but added it was
"difficult to say anything on a possible infringement process at this
A Supreme Court case over UK air quality failures brought by NGO
ClientEarth was referred to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in May.
ClientEarth, supported by the Supreme Court, had requested the CJEU
expedite the case but this request was refused on 1 October.
The EU court case is expected to begin in mid-2015.
ENDS understands that the commission is likely to want to hear the
outcome of this case before launching legal action of its own.
The commission granted nine UK zones extra time to comply with the
40μg/m3 limit. This is conditional on staying below 60μg/m3,
which is no longer the case in five of the nine zones. This could
invalidate the time extension in these areas.
The compliance assessment also shows there were breaches of the
200m;g/m3 hourly average limit for NO2 during 2012 in Greater
London and the city of Oxford, where respective levels of up to
281mg/m3 and 252mg/m3 were recorded.
Regarding other air pollutants, no zones breached the PM10 limit of
50mg/m3 which must not be exceeded for more than 35 days a
As allowed under EU rules, UK authorities use an adjustment factor
when reporting PM10 that subtracts concentrations of naturally
occurring sea salt from recorded levels. But Mr Birkett said this was
"misleading" because the worst PM10 levels were recorded during calm
weather with little wind to bring sea salt to London.
For fine particulates (PM2.5), average background levels across the
UK fell from 14mg/m3 in 2011 to 12mg/m3 in 2012. By 2020, the
UK must cut exposures to PM2.5 by 15% against the average
level during 2010-12, which was 13mg/m3.
UK WARNED AGAINST WATERING DOWN
CARBON TARGETS BY SELECT COMMITTEE
Poor government policy means carbon reduction targets
will not be met says environmental audit select committee
Fiona Harvey, Environment Correspondent - The Guardian - 8 October 2013
An influential group of MPs has weighed into the simmering row over the UK's carbon budgets, warning that the carbon reduction targets for 2022 and beyond will be missed, because of poor government policy on energy and the environment.
Carbon budgets have become a key political battleground as George Osborne has vowed that the UK will not lead on climate action. Battlelines are being drawn ahead of the key review of the 2023 to 2027 carbon budget, which will be published next year.
The environmental audit select committee said the current carbon targets represented the minimum cuts the UK could make to keep within international commitments. They said it was vital that the government should not attempt to water down its "carbon budgets", or the UK would fail internationally and lose the race to compete for green technologies, a rapidly growing sector of the international economy.
Joan Walley, chair of the environmental audit committee, said: "Emissions are currently not falling fast enough to prevent a dangerous destabilisation of the global climate in the coming decades - it would be incredibly short-sighted to slacken our carbon budgets now."
Last week, the committee on climate change wrote to Ed Davey to say that its preliminary assessment showed that the current fourth carbon budget, from 2023 to 2027, should be held to. The committee, set up under the climate change act to advise ministers on how to meet the climate targets, and the effects of policy on emissions, also said the government should make a decision on the fourth carbon budget as early as possible in the new year.
But many Tories want to ignore the committee and go for looser carbon targets. The row could take months to resolve, and is likely to prove unsettling for green investors and businesses, who want clarity on policy.
Walley warned that watering down the budget would be contrary to the landmark report on climate change less than two weeks ago from the world's leading experts. "The UK's leading climate scientists are saying loud and clear that there is no scientific case for watering down our long-term emissions reduction targets. And the recent IPCC report echoes that message. Policy-makers must listen."
Nick Molho, head of climate policy at WWF-UK, said: "The review of the fourth carbon budget adds needless political risk to the enormous risks posed by climate change. All the evidence suggests that delaying action on reducing emissions is a false economy - it will cost more, and could result in the UK missing out on the significant growth opportunities of the low carbon economy."
He called on the prime minister, who intervened personally in 2011 to ensure the fourth carbon budget was accepted as coalition policy, to take a strong stance again. "The battle lines are being drawn in Whitehall, but this will come down to David Cameron's leadership. He championed the Climate Change Act in opposition as a legal framework that heeds the science and gives long-term certainty to businesses and investors. Just last week, he rightly highlighted the value of the green economy in his leader's speech at Conservative party conference. At the review, he should say unequivocally that the UK will stick to the course it has set."
The key reasons the 2022 targets would not be met were the failure to insulate houses and decarbonise transport and heat production, the EAC report found. The report also found that arrangements for managing and reporting progress against carbon budgets have not been working properly. The MPs complained that the government's carbon plan, which set milestones for five key government departments to cut carbon, was out of date. Quarterly progress reports against milestones were not published as promised and current departmental business plans are not aligned with the plan.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change had not responded to a request for a comment.
Walley said: "Ministers need to show much more vision now on how we can cut waste, improve our public transport and insulate more homes and businesses from rising fossil fuel costs. If we leave these changes for another 10 years it will become much more expensive to meet our climate change targets and we will be left behind by successful green countries like Germany."
REGULATION IN THE PASSENGER INTEREST,
SUPPORTING INVESTMENT AND DRIVING COMPETITION
CAA Online Public Statement - 3 October 2013
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today published for consultation its final proposals for the economic regulation of Heathrow and Gatwick airports to protect passengers after April 2014.
The proposals are tailored so each airport remains globally competitive and can deliver the customer experience that passengers expect of airports in the 21st century. They challenge airports to operate more efficiently, and to work more closely with airlines to develop competitive offerings for travellers.
Heathrow has called for a 4.6% annual real-terms increase in its charges over five years. Its airlines have asked for a 9.8% per year cut. We propose a price control that will not allow prices to rise by more than inflation (measured by RPI). That compares to our initial proposals for RPI minus 1.3%. A key reason for this is due to an increase in the cost of capital driven by higher debt costs, offset to some degree by more challenging targets for operating efficiency. The proposals will put an end to over a decade of prices rising faster than inflation at Heathrow. This has supported significant investment in Heathrow over the last decade and our current proposals will also create a supportive environment for further capital expenditure.
Gatwick has set out a series of price commitments to its users, with the average price to grow by RPI + 0.5% per year for seven years. The CAA has today published its detailed analysis that suggests that this is a fair price. In addition, we believe that the airport's commitments are in passengers' interests, so they are the basis of our final proposals. They will be backed by a licence to ensure that they are honoured. The licence will also ensure the CAA can continue to act where appropriate to protect users, for instance if there are reductions in service quality that are against the passenger interest.
Since taking over ownership of Stansted in April, Manchester Airport Group (MAG), has reached long-term commercial agreements with its two principal customers, easyJet and Ryanair. We announced on 17 September that we would consult on how these may affect the market power assessment before making a final decision on whether Stansted should be regulated and if so, on the appropriate regulatory approach for the airport.
Final proposals for all three airports would take effect if the CAA makes a final decision in January that they have substantial market power that requires regulation.
Commenting on the final proposals, Dame Deirdre Hutton, CAA Chair, said: "Our proposals demonstrate how we can regulate airports more flexibly where this seems best for passengers, but also setting a tough efficiency challenge. We expect the airports to work closely with airlines to provide high-quality services to passengers. Tackling the upward drift in Heathrow's prices is essential to safeguard its globally competitive position. The challenge for Heathrow is to maintain high levels of customer service while reducing costs. We are confident this is possible and that our proposals create a positive climate for further capital investment, in the passenger interest."
"Gatwick has tabled a revised price offer to airlines that we consider fair, and its new commitments framework offers a chance for a more commercially driven and tailored approach. To protect the diverse interests of passengers, we propose a licence based on the commitments. We would monitor the success of such a new approach and adjust our regulation over time to ensure it remains proportionate."
The proposals are made using powers set out in the Civil Aviation Act 2012, which allows more flexibility than in the past, so the CAA's current regulatory proposals reflect the unique circumstances of each airport. The CAA is required to assess the level of market dominance at airports it proposes to regulate, explaining clearly why regulation will achieve better outcomes for consumers than the market and then set out its proposals. To qualify for regulation, an airport must have, or be likely to get, substantial market power, and economic regulation must be likely to improve outcomes for passengers. CAA will publish its decision on market power for both Gatwick and Heathrow and, where appropriate, its final decision on the necessary form of regulation in January.
An overview of the CAA's consultations for the airports can be seen here, with links through to the separate documents: Preparing for a future with passengers at its heart.
The consultation documents for each airport along with several associated documents can be found here: Economic Regulation of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.
A briefing about airport economic regulation, setting out why regulation is necessary and the CAA’s approach is available here: CAA Briefing Note.
RYANAIR WINS DEAL TO FLY STANSTED INTO THE FUTURE
Robert Lea, Industrial Editor - The Times - 17 September 2013
Just when Stansted appeared to be the roomy, unbusy option for flights out of the South East, the poor relation of the London airport market has announced plans to fill its pleasant Lord Foster-designed terminal with millions of Ryanair passengers.
Under the new management of Manchester Airport Group, Stansted yesterday unveiled a ten-year deal with Europe's biggest airline that envisages Ryanair increasing its presence at the airport by 50 per cent by 2024, handling 20 million passengers a year. London's third airport said that would help it to increase its total annual passenger numbers to 30 million within ten years, up from the current 17.5 million going through the Essex terminal.
Ryanair has signed up to the target in return for MAG dropping its take-off and landing charges to the Irish budget airline incrementally as it adds more passengers. Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's chief executive, said he had never done a deal like it. The airline negotiates discounts to fly to most of the airports it uses - and has been in legal hot water for being paid to land at certain airfields. "It is unique," he said of the Stansted agreement. "We have never before done a 10-year deal."
Mr O'Leary and MAG refused to comment on how large a discount Ryanair had negotiated. Asked if the lower fares he was promising to drum up business would erode profit margins, he said: "We will cut our fares at Stansted to deliver growth."
The deal follows six months of tough negotiations during which Mr O'Leary threatened to reduce his Stansted operations. Ryanair is the dominant airline at the airport, even more so during the downturn as other airlines have left for other airports - easyJet moved to Gatwick - or closed altogether. In 2007, Ryanair had 15 million passengers at Stansted, or 63 per cent of the near - 24 million the airport was handling. It is now responsible for three in every four passengers.
Ryanair has promised to increase annual passengers from 13.2 million by 1.2 million between next April and April 2015. It plans to grow by transferring services from other airports and increasing frequencies on current Stansted routes. It will also offer new services starting from next spring to Bordeaux, Dortmund, Lisbon and Rabat.
Mr O'Leary blamed the slump in Stansted's fortunes in the past five years on the "mismanagement of BAA" and the former operator's decision from 2007 to increase take-off and landing charges. BAA was forced to sell Stansted last year for £1.5 billion to MAG, a company partly owned by the ratepayers of Greater Manchester and which operates Manchester, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports.
UK AIR REGULATOR SEEKS VIEWS
ON NEW RYANAIR, EASYJET DEALS AT STANSTED
Steve McGraph - AUN News Online - 17 September 2013
LONDON (Alliance News) - The UK air regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, Tuesday said it will consult the industry and other parties over future regulation of Stansted airport after the new operator of the airport signed deals with low-cost giants Ryanair Holdings PLC and easyJet PLC.
Stansted was sold by the owner of Heathrow Airport, BAA, after the regulator deemed it had too much control over airports in the southeast of England and Scotland. It was bought in February by Manchester Airport Group, which then set about securing new deals with the airport's biggest users.
The CAA had already published a consultation on possible future regulation for Stansted under its new owner, but said it would now defer a decision on what the regulation will be while it consults following the deal with Ryanair and easyJet. Under separate new deals, the low-cost airlines both agreed to grow operations at the airport in return for more favorable landing fees and improved facilities.
The CAA had been due to publish its proposals for regulation of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports October 3, but the proposals for Stansted won't now be published on that date. The new regulatory framework for the three biggest London airports is due to come into effect from April 1 next year.
Under Ryanair's deal with Manchester Airport Group, Europe's largest low-cost carrier has pledged to grow traffic by over 50% to over 20 million passengers a year over the next 10 years. easyJet, meanwhile, signed a deal to more than double its passenger numbers at Stansted from a current 2.8 million passengers to six million passengers a year over the next five years.
7,000 NEW JOBS AT STANSTED AIRPORT AS RYANAIR
REVEALS 10 YEAR DEAL TO INCREASE PASSENGERS BY 50%
Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 17 September 2013
AN estimated 7,000 new jobs could be created at Stansted after Ryanair this afternoon (Monday, September 16) announced major growth over the next 10 years. The long-term agreement with Stansted owner Manchester Airports Group (MAG) will see the Irish budget airline increase the number of passengers it serves there by 50 per cent. From the current level of 13.2 million passengers a year in 2012, the number will grow to more than 18m by 2018 and then to nearly 21m by 2023.
Stansted Airport is already the biggest single-site employer in the East of England region. Some 10,200 people currently work for the 190 companies based there, including 1,300 employed by Stansted Airport Ltd (MAG).
Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said: "This deal will see our Stansted traffic grow by over 50 per cent... in return for lower costs and more efficient facilities at Stansted. This agreement proves how UK airports can flourish when released from the dead hand of the BAA monopoly and is the first dramatic initiative by MAG to reverse seven years of decline, during which Stansted's traffic fell from 23.8m to 17.5m. As Stansted's biggest airline, Ryanair looks forward to a decade of growing traffic, routes and jobs at Stansted."
The 7,000 new jobs are estimated by Ryanair on the basis of research at international airports which shows 1,000 new posts are created for every one million extra passengers a year. Stansted's single-runway capacity is 35 million passengers per annum - about twice its current level.
As part of the deal, the low-cost, short-haul carrier will encourage other airlines to fly long haul from Stansted, a press conference at Rubens Hotel in Buckingham Palace Road, London, was told. The long-term growth agreement comes seven months after MAG completed its acquisition of the airport.
Ken O'Toole, MAG's chief commercial officer, said: "The new long-term agreement between Ryanair and MAG at Stansted shows that competition really does work, and it represents great news for both passengers and UK businesses. The deal secures a new and exciting era for both Ryanair and Stansted, and we're delighted to be supporting the airline's growth over the next 10 years."
"We acquired Stansted in February believing we could significantly expand the services on offer by competing more effectively to make the most of the airport's untapped potential and spare capacity. We were confident Stansted would grow if we offered great value to airlines, increased passenger choice and better services and facilities. Today's announcement, coupled with our £80m investment in the terminal, confirms that Ryanair shares our confidence and shows how we are succeeding in transforming Stansted under new ownership."
"Stansted has a really bright future in providing international connectivity for the UK. Over the next five years, MAG wants to make Stansted the best airport in London, so we will continue to compete hard to win business from airlines in our drive for passenger growth and to provide customers with even more choice."
Ryanair, Stansted's largest airline serving more than 140 destinations during the past 12 months, has also announced four new routes from the airport for next summer. The new destinations - not currently served from Stansted - are Lisbon in Portugal, Bordeaux in France, Dortmund in Germany and Rabat in Morocco.
STANSTED JOBS CLAIM "WILD EXAGGERATION"
Jenny Chapman - Cambridge News - 20 September 2013
Michael O'Leary's claim that an extra 7,000 jobs will be created by Ryanair's latest deal with Stansted Airport owners Manchester Airport Group (MAG) has been described by Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) as wild exaggeration of the worst kind. This is because it could raise false hopes and it could also be seized upon by developers in their attempts to justify the need for ever more local housebuilding, SEE claims.
"The reality is that this Ryanair deal for the next ten years will do little more than return Stansted to its 2007/08 peak, at which time the airport employed about 2,000 more people than today," the pressure group continues. Highlighting the airport's recent employment record, SSE points out that if the Michael O'Leary school of logic were to be applied, Stansted would have lost over 6,000 jobs in the past five years, in line with the fall in annual passenger numbers from 23.8 million to 17.6 million.
"Quite plainly - and thankfully - that scale of job losses has not happened," said SSE's economics adviser Brian Ross. "Michael O'Leary's claim that 1,000 jobs are created for every extra million passengers is a wild exaggeration. In reality, low cost airlines generate about 300 jobs - including indirect jobs - for every million passengers."
SSE has also expressed surprise at the about-turn which MAG appears to have undertaken to prop up falling passenger numbers. The airport has planning permission to handle 35 million passengers and 264,000 commercial flights annually and is currently operating at only half those levels.
"When MAG bought Stansted it said that it wanted to make the airport more broadly based, with more airlines and more destinations," Brian Ross continued. "Ryanair already accounts for three quarters of all Stansted's passengers and this deal will entrench Ryanair even deeper as the dominant airline at Stansted and reinforce the airport's reputation as nothing other than a mecca for cheap leisure flights, especially since it comes on top of a similar deal that MAG did with easyJet a few months ago. In other words, this is just more of the same and MAG has done exactly the opposite of what it said it would do at Stansted."
He added: "In one respect, however, we can fully understand MAG's decision to strike a deal with Ryanair: Stansted has run up losses of £206m in its past three financial years and in the past 12 months it handled its lowest number of flights for 14 years. Something had to be done and, ultimately, it's a commercial decision for MAG to decide how best to use Stansted's spare capacity."
Ryanair said its job creation figures of 1,000 jobs for every 1 million passengers is taken directly from research produced by Airports Council International, which is the representative body for Europe's largest airports groups. "This research report confirms that 950 - 1,000 "on-site" airport jobs are created for every 1 million passengers at an international airport."
A spokesman for Stansted Airport said: "MAG is crystal clear about its ambition and plans for Stansted - to be the best airport in London. There's lots to do but we've made a great start."
AIRPORTS ADVISER QUITS IN BIAS ROW
Businessadvertiser Online - 20 September 2013
A member of the Government's advisory group on how to expand Britain's airport capacity has stood down after campaigners raised concerns over potential bias relating to Stansted Airport.
Geoff Muirhead has stepped down from his Government-appointed position on the Airports Commission after campaigners highlighted a potential conflict of interest and initiated legal action. The Department for Transport (DfT) said there was "no evidence whatsoever of bias" but agreed by mutual consent with Mr Muirhead that the "prudent" course of action would be for him to stand down.
The accusations from the Stop Stansted Expansion campaign group stem from Mr Muirhead's links with Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which now owns Stansted Airport and has submitted proposals for expanding it to the commission. Although he stood down from his role as MAG chief executive in 2010, Mr Muirhead worked in an ambassadorial role for the company until earlier this year. When he was appointed to the Airports Commission in October 2012, MAG did not own Stansted but has since purchased the airport which serves London and the South East.
The Stop Stansted Expansion campaign group raised concerns of bias earlier this year and this month initiated legal proceedings against the Government, according to its website. A DfT spokeswoman said there was "no implication against Mr Muirhead's integrity" after he stood down. The Airports Commission said Mr Muirhead acted properly at all times but recognised that it was appropriate for him to step down to stop any perceptions of the commission's integrity being compromised.
The DfT spokeswoman said: "It has been decided by mutual consent that Geoff Muirhead will step down from his role as a member of the Airports Commission. The Secretary of State (Patrick McLoughlin) would like to thank Mr Muirhead for his contribution to this important work. "Mr Muirhead was appointed to the Airports Commission in October 2012, at which point Manchester Airports Group did not own Stansted Airport. MAG has since purchased Stansted and following its submission to the Airports Commission concerning options for the expansion of Stansted Airport, questions have been raised about the appearance of a potential conflict of interest.
"Although there is no evidence whatsoever of bias towards the MAG submission concerning Stansted, we have agreed that the prudent course is for him not to continue as a commissioner to avoid any perception of a potential conflict of interest. Both the Secretary of State and Mr Muirhead are fully committed to the success of the Airports Commission's work. We are quite clear that there is no implication against Mr Muirhead's integrity, which is emphasised by the importance he has placed on maintaining public confidence in the work of the Airports Commission. The commission is content that the processes in place and decisions taken by the commission to date are robust."
An Airports Commission spokesman said: "The members of the Airports Commission would like to thank Geoff Muirhead for his valuable and insightful contributions to their work programme. At all times in carrying out his work for the commission, he has acted properly. However, while they regret that this decision has been necessary, they accept that in the changed circumstances following Manchester Airports Group's submission of its proposals for expanding Stansted Airport, it has become appropriate for Geoff to stand down to safeguard against any perception that the integrity of the process may be compromised."
The Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) campaign group welcomed the decision but said they were disappointed that it took so long for the commission, led by Sir Howard Davies, and the Transport Secretary Mr McLoughlin to recognise Mr Muirhead's position was untenable. Peter Sanders, the group's chair, called for the commission and Mr McLoughlin to answer questions sent by the SSE legal team about whether the commission's work had already been "tainted".
Mr Sanders said: "By ignoring our concerns and allowing the matter to drag on, Sir Howard Davies and the Secretary of State have potentially compromised the work of the commission already and created the possibility of considerable extra delay, which is in nobody's interests. "Given that Mr Muirhead has been actively involved as a member of the commission for almost a year, we now need to know to what extent the work of the commission may already have been tainted."
"It is only when we have answers to the questions sent to the Secretary of State and commission by our legal advisers that we will be able to ascertain how much of the commission's work to date may need to be revisited." Mr Sanders added: "It is important to make clear that SSE's purpose in pursuing this action has always been - and will continue to be - to ensure that the issues regarding potential airport expansion are examined fairly, impartially and independently, and that this is seen to be the case."
HEATHROW CLOSURE 'COULD PUT 230,000 JOBS AT RISK'
Travelweekly Online - 24 September 2013
As many as 230,000 jobs could be put at risk in the Thames Valley if the government decides to close Heathrow and build a new hub airport, a new study claims. One in every 20 jobs in the area is directly attributable to the economic activity generated by the west London airport, it found.
Economic consultancy Regeneris considered the regional effect of three main airport options: an expanded Heathrow; a "do-nothing" scenario; and a new hub to the east or northeast of London, with Heathrow closing. If Heathrow were closed, "in the long run, of the order of 170,000 to 230,000 jobs could be at risk in the area due to their links to and use of Heathrow for travel". This represents 7-9.5% of jobs in the region, the Financial Times reports today.
The study was focused on one of the UK's most powerful economic areas: the so-called "western wedge" along the M4 motorway from the west London suburbs to Oxford, Newbury, Guildford and Basingstoke. With a range of IT, telecommunications, media and scientific research companies, it accounts for £137 billion in gross value added, a measure of economic output - or 10% of the UK total.
Regeneris managing director Stephen Nicol said one of the attractions of the western wedge for companies was its proximity to the UK's hub airport.
"Heathrow airport is an enormously important driver of the area's economy," he told the newspaper.
The study was commissioned by West London Business and four local enterprise partnerships: Buckinghamshire Thames Valley, Enterprise M3, Oxfordshire and Thames Valley Berkshire. It looked ahead to 2030, when any airport development is expected to be completed, and again in 2040, when the effects would be "fully worked through".
If Heathrow were expanded, extra activity by 2040 would create 20,000 new jobs and raise gross value added by about £3 billion, the study said.
Extra benefits of £230 million to £300 million would accrue from improved connectivity in the area.
ESSEX COUNTY COUNCIL WARNS
AGAINST SUPER-AIRPORT AT STANSTED
Michael Jarvis - Herts & Essex Observer - 24 September 2013
ESSEX County Council (ECC) has warned the commission looking into the future of aviation in the South East against proposals for an "unwanted and unviable" super-airport at Stansted.
It has instead called for greater focus on realistic, affordable and practical options that will allow "sensible growth" in Essex. The Airports Commission, chaired by economist Sir Howard Davies, has been asked by the Government to look into whether the UK needs more airport capacity in order to cope with increased demand for air travel.
It has been asked to make short-term recommendations by the end of December and to provide a long-term plan when it submits its final report in the summer of 2015 - after the next General Election. Earlier this summer, Stansted's owner, Manchester Airports Group (MAG), agreed with Mayor of London Boris Johnson that four runways at Stansted was one solution to the capacity issue - while stressing that making full use of the low-cost base's 35 million passengers-a-year single-runway capacity is the priority.
In a report published today (Tuesday, September 24), ECC said that proposals like closing Heathrow and building five-runway "super-hub airports", either at Stansted or in the Thames Estuary, would be too costly and disruptive to deliver.
Council leader Cllr David Finch said: "The UK does not have the time or the money to waste on unpractical or undeliverable schemes that could suck up a sum of taxpayers' money equivalent to twice the UK's defence budget. Any proposal for a giant super-hub airport at Stansted is completely unacceptable to the council and Essex residents."
While ECC supports sensible growth at Stansted, it does not believe the case for a second runway exists at the moment. However, it understands that additional runway capacity at airports across the South East - including Gatwick and Stansted - is likely to be inevitable in the long term.
Cllr Finch added: "Stansted has the scope to more than double its annual passenger and freight numbers before anyone even thinks of the need for a second runway, but this commission has to look at long-term options and we have to be realistic about that. If ministers in London do impose further capacity on our airport, they need to know that a bill comes with that. We would need assurances that the environmental impact would be minimised and that there would be massive investment in road and rail infrastructure for Essex."
In July, Uttlesford District Council - the planning authority for Stansted Airport - similarly looked to ground fears that Stansted could become a four-runway airport. Deputy leader Cllr Jackie Cheetham, who chairs the Stansted Airport Advisory Panel, said: "The council feels the commission should be doing more to encourage a national solution to this issue rather than focusing on meeting demand in the South East, as it is doing at present."
"The new owners at Stansted have made it clear that they regard utilising the unused capacity at existing airports as the best solution for air passengers. The council thinks this is a sensible approach. Stansted has planning permission to accommodate 35 million passengers a year but is currently handling around 17.7 million, so it could double the number of passengers without needing to expand. We have long campaigned for improved rail connections to the airport and faster journey times to London. In our view there would need to be a commitment to provide these ahead of any increase in passengers, let alone any possible future expansion. This would have to be done in a way that didn't adversely affect rail services for other non-airport travellers and commuters."
Cllr Cheetham added: "It is worth pointing out that the Government is several years away from making any decision regarding the Commission's findings and that airport operators are many years away from acting on any policy decisions that may arise from them."
Stansted's biggest customer, Irish low-cost airline Ryanair, has recommended that all three London airports - Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted - be allowed to add an extra runway "at the earliest possible date" and rubbished any new greenfield airport plan such as "Boris Island".
Boss Michael O'Leary said: "Three new runways at the three competing London airports is the only sensible and consumer-focused solution to the chronic runway capacity shortages in London and the South East. We cannot wait 30 years and allow billions of pounds to be wasted on 'Boris Island'. Sadly, the very appointment of the Davies Commission is just the latest example of the spineless approach of David Cameron's Government, which talks about stimulating growth and job creation, but, instead of pursuing growth policies, panders to tree huggers and Nimbys."
Last week, it was announced that Ryanair - Stansted's biggest customer - and MAG had signed a 10-year deal to add an estimated 7,000 new jobs and almost eight million extra passengers. Under the agreement, Ryanair must deliver an increase in passengers at Stansted of more than 50 per cent - growing from 13.2m today to almost 21m in 2023 - in return for a "modest" discount in fees.
Mr O'Leary made it clear he was prepared to cannibalise Ryanair's services at other airports to keep his part of the bargain and land an enlarged fleet at the airport from next April - in advance of new aircraft arriving in September. In all, the low-cost carrier will base 43 aircraft at Stansted, up from 37, servicing 120 routes on more than 2,000 weekly flights and will add Bordeaux, Dortmund, Lisbon and Rabat to its network.
The expansion will also see a change in flying patterns away from the morning and evening peaks to a more even daily distribution as MAG seeks to make full use of Stansted's single runway. The Ryanair deal follows June's agreement with Stansted's second biggest airline, Easyjet, to grow its traffic from 2.8m travellers a year to six million over the next five years.
Stansted's managing director, Andrew Harrison, said the latest pact was far from Stansted putting all its eggs in a low-cost basket, but in fact key to unlocking a new phase in the airport's evolution: Ryanair will work with MAG, using its connectivity to lure long-haul operators to Essex. "In getting growth with Ryanair, we are setting the scene for the growth in long haul, too," he said.
MAG's chief commercial officer, Ken O'Toole, was emphatic: Stansted's catchment area has 46m passengers but serves just 17m, and his aim was to use MAG's long-haul contacts at Manchester, where 80 airlines operate, to go head to head with Heathrow and Gatwick. He said: "We acquired Stansted in February believing we could significantly expand the services on offer by competing more effectively to make the most of the airport's untapped potential and spare capacity. MAG wants to make Stansted the best airport in London, so we will continue to compete hard to win business from airlines in our drive for passenger growth and to provide customers with even more choice."
TOWN COUNCILLORS OBJECT TO EXPANSION AT AIRPORT
Eleanor Busby - Cambridge News - 19 September 2013
Town councillors voted against building any extra runways at Stansted Airport last week.
At a Saffron Walden town council meeting on Thursday, councillors rejected all the proposals issued by the owners of the airport - Manchester Airports Group (MAG) - in July.
In a submission to the Airports Commission, MAG outlined plans for a second runway to be added - either to the north-west or east of the exisiting runway. The owners also presented the airport as a good place for four runways in order to replace Heathrow as London's hub airport.
Cllr Richard Harrington proposed for the town councillors to reject all three proposals presented by MAG. All the councillors, except Cllr Cliff Treadwell who abstained, voted against further expansaion at Stansted Airport.
Cllr Harrington, who presented the vote, said: "It is the longstanding policy of Saffron Walden town council to oppose any additional runways at Stansted and this is not changing."
The Davies Commission - looking into how to meet the demand for additional airport capacity - will draw up a shortlist of airport plans by the end of the year.
LABOUR LEADER ED MILIBAND WARNS AIRPORTS CHIEF
OVER EXTRA HEATHROW RUNWAYS
Nicholas Cecil - Standard News Online - 23 September 2013
Ed Miliband has warned the Government-appointed airports chief of Labour's deep concerns over plans for a third runway at Heathrow, The Standard reveals today.
The Labour leader held talks with Sir Howard Davies, who chairs the Airports Commission, in which he is understood to have reiterated his party's stance on proposals for airport expansion in the South East. Labour is sceptical that a third runway, and possibly a fourth, can be built at Heathrow without causing more noise and pollution misery for hundreds of thousands of Londoners. It also insists that any airport expansion will have to meet the target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.
Labour is not ruling out supporting a bigger Heathrow but it is likely to demand convincing evidence that extra noise and pollution can be sufficiently mitigated. At a fringe meeting yesterday, shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said: "There are really legitimate concerns about the impact of a third runway at Heathrow on local communities in terms of noise and air quality. However, we will have to await the Airports Commission report to see what Sir Howard Davies recommends and it's important not to prejudge his work."
Aviation sources said Sir Howard, former director of the London School of Economics, was concerned that Ms Eagle was moving towards favouring a second runway at Gatwick. The Airports Commission is due to deliver an interim report this year before publishing its final conclusion after the 2015 general election. But Labour could be tempted to reject Heathrow expansion before the election to boost its chances of winning several key marginal seats, including Battersea, Brentford and Isleworth and Ealing Central and Acton.
Labour has also criticised the delay in publishing the final Airports Commission report and two former trade ministers, Lord Digby Jones and Lord Mervyn Davies, have written to Sir Howard to raise this issue with him. They wrote: "We are increasingly concerned about the gradual decline in Britain's global aviation capacity when compared with our European competitors and the negative impact this is already having on our economic competitiveness. While the UK has continued to do nothing, many of our developed economy global competitors such as Germany have already modernised their airport infrastructure."
Heathrow bosses have published proposals for a third runway, and even a fourth. They say the impact will be cut by locating runways to the west of the airport and using quieter aircraft - a claim disputed by anti-expansion campaigners.
Gatwick's owners today said they could lure one of the global airline alliances if they win permission to build a second runway. Stewart Wingate, chief executive at the Sussex airport, said he was targeting either SkyTeam or Star Alliance but conceded that OneWorld, led by British Airways, would never leave its Heathrow base.
Although the alliances have said they want to remain at Heathrow, Mr Wingate said: "If an alliance were to move down at some future point into Gatwick not only would there be room for that alliance to grow, but that would create more space at Heathrow for the other remaining alliances to grow too."
Gatwick wants to build a new runway to enable the airport to deal with 87 million passengers each year by 2050 compared to 34 million now. Stansted's owners today launched a campaign for an ungraded rail link to London as they seek to attract long-haul flights to the Essex airport.
OFFICIALS NEAR DEAL ON AVIATION EMISSIONS
Daniel Michaels - Environment & Science Online - 19 September 2013
BRUSSELS - World aviation officials are "very close" to resolving a long-running fight over airplane pollution that has threatened to spark a global trade war, said European Union Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas.
Air-transport officials from across the globe meet in Montreal Tuesday to tackle issues including airline security, air-traffic control modernization and flight safety. Their top priority, though, is striking a deal to limit aircraft emissions of greenhouse gasses. An EU program to charge all airlines landing or taking off in Europe for their carbon-dioxide pollution provoked international ire and threats of retaliation before it was suspended last year.
Participants at the triennial assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization, a 191-country arm of the United Nations, acknowledge the difficulty of getting so many governments to agree on anything substantial. The U.S. is generally positive about the proposal, but the positions of China and India remain uncertain, say people close to the talks.
Still, after a lower-level ICAO body early this month approved a draft proposal on environmental issues, attendees are cautiously optimistic for the assembly, which runs through Oct. 4. "Now we are really very close to having a satisfactory solution," Mr. Kallas said in an interview.
Industry officials and regulators want to find a way to limit growth in airplane emissions without crippling aviation. If countries don't reach a deal, "there will be huge uncertainty in global aviation" and the threat of trade battles, Mr. Kallas said. Failure in Montreal will almost certainly prompt the EU to reinstate its earlier emissions-trading program, Mr. Kallas said. EU countries "are bound by laws."
The fight has been brewing since 2008, when the EU adopted its program to charge airlines for their carbon-dioxide emissions. The plan, known as the emissions-trading system, sparked global opposition because other governments argued the EU's method of levying carbon charges on all flights at EU airports infringed on their sovereignty.
The EU late last year relented, and for one year limited its plan to cover only flights between airports in the now 28-country bloc. Brussels is now proposing a more permanent shrinkage of the program to cover flights within EU airspace, regardless of their origin or destination. Some other countries still oppose this, and airlines say the logistics of implementing it will be messy. But the shift has significantly defused foreign opposition.
"The key has been cooperation with the United States," Mr. Kallas said. The U.S. had previously led a group of nations, dubbed the "coalition of the unwilling," that fought the EU emissions plan. Other countries have refrained from commenting after earlier opposition. China last year displayed its anger by blocking its airlines from buying dozens of big jetliners from the Airbus unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co., EADS officials have said. Chinese officials haven't openly acknowledged the move.
The proposal under discussion now calls for ICAO to spend the next three years developing a program to cut emissions using what are known as market-based measures. These generally center around carbon offsetting, in which emissions from one source can be counterbalanced by environmental measures elsewhere. The program would then be adopted at ICAO's next assembly, in 2016, and take effect in 2020.
One remaining dispute is whether the EU should continue its emissions-trading system in its own airspace until then. IATA and some foreign countries oppose this. Mr. Kallas said the EU can't budge on the issue after making many concessions. "We have certain mandates, certain limits, we cannot cross," he said.
Airlines and environmentalists - often at odds on aviation emissions - say the deal under debate in Montreal isn't ideal but may be better than continued disputes. "Environment is a global challenge. Aviation is a global industry. And we need a global way forward," said Tony Tyler, director general of the International Air Transport Association, a global airline trade group. Annie Petsonk, international counsel at the Environmental Defense Fund in Washington, said indecision at ICAO "would tip the issue back into the acrimony of a trade war, while carbon pollution continues to pile up in the atmosphere."
EU officials will spend the next 10 days haggling with their counterparts before the full assembly votes, probably on Oct. 4. "It's all about politics now, not about the environment anymore," said Bill Hemmings, program manager for aviation and shipping at Transport & Environment, an advocacy group in Brussels.
'WE ARE ALL TO BLAME FOR CLIMATE CHANGE':
EXPERTS HOPE THAT THE STRENGTHENING EVIDENCE
WILL HELP TO BOLSTER THE POLITICAL WILL TO ACT
Chris Stevenson - The Independent on Sunday - 22 September 2013
Scientists are to tell the international community that they are at least 95 per cent sure that human activity is the main cause of climate change, according to one of the most authoritative reports on the subject.
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will say next week that certainty has increased from "very likely" to "extremely likely" that human activity has caused more than half of the observed temperature rise from 1951 to 2010, in a large part due to fossil fuels and deforestation.
The Fifth Assessment Report, known as AR5, is the IPCC's most definitive yet, and will run to thousands of pages. It will be released in several stages over the coming year after contributions from more than 800 scientists in 85 countries.
It is set to be finalised by a group of scientists before its release on 27 September, but draft pages show that in addition to temperature rises, changes are being observed throughout the climate system. Findings from the IPCC are expected to show that the world's oceans are becoming warmer and more acidic, with sea levels rising. They also indicate that the potential for weather to become more extreme depends on which of a number of potential scenarios come to pass.
Sea levels have risen by 19cm in the past century, with the pace accelerating due to melting ice and sea water expanding as the world warms. They project that sea levels will rise between 26cm and 81cm by 2100, depending on the severity of the temperature increase - now "likely" to rise by 2–4C by 2100. The oceans have absorbed 93 per cent of the heat trapped in the climate system by greenhouse gases between 1971 and 2010, according to the draft report, with the top 75m warming by at least 0.1C a decade.
Leaks from the draft report have also caused controversy. The IPCC's findings show that the rate of warming has slowed down in the past 15 years with the rise dropping from 0.12C per decade between 1951 and 2012, to 0.05C between 1998 and 2012, which has been seized on by climate change sceptics. However, experts state that such a drop can be explained by natural variations in the climate and factors such as volcanic eruptions that spew ash into the air, which can dim sunlight and cool temperatures. Such a "hiatus" is not expected to last, they add.
The IPCC also cites the case of Antarctic sea ice, which has increased by 1.5 per cent per decade, with the reasons for this not fully understood. However, the report states with confidence that global ice sheets are losing mass and that the pace of melting is increasing.
The draft report has been welcomed by climate change activists, with the potential it brings to push governments into action, but some doubt that the political will exists to make the change. "The report confirms what we already know, rather than offering radical new insights," said Dr Doug Parr, the chief scientist of Greenpeace UK. "One would hope that the report will give impetus to the political process. The excuses for inaction are dying away and the IPCC report helps that process." He added: "This report forms the bedrock of showing that there is still a problem and that things have got to change."
But Tom Burke, the founding director of E3G, a non-profit organisation that aims to accelerate the global move towards sustainable development, who is also currently an environmental policy adviser to the mining giant Rio Tinto, claimed that "political will has declined" in recent years over climate change. "I think politicians are distracted by the economic crisis, but you also have trillions in investment in fossil fuels through the next decade and basically if you solve the issue you are going to take the value out of that," he said.
Mr Burke added that this "was not a criticism of the IPCC report" and that we would still see events "drive public opinion" on the issue of climate change as the 2015 deadline for a new deal - set by the UN Climate Change Conference in Doha last year - draws ever closer.
AIRLINES FLY THROUGH TAX LOOPHOLES
WHILE BURNING UP PLANET
Huffington Post Online - 10 September 2013
Flying is often the cheapest, quickest and most convenient way to get to that beach, city break or weekend away. Unfortunately it's also the cheapest and quickest way to heat the planet! Aviation accounts for about 5% of all global warming; its emissions are so large that considered as a country, it would be the world's 7th largest emitter of CO2, between Germany and South Korea.
Despite its huge emissions, little has been done by the international community. 17 years of discussions at the responsible UN body, ICAO, has yet to result in any action to regulate emissions. In the meantime, the EU decided it needed to act to on its runaway emissions. But a storm of international protest orchestrated largely by Washington obliged Europe to back down and give ICAO more time. Just last week we heard that the latest proposal from across the pond is to permanently castrate the EU's action by slashing the emissions reductions to less than a half - without any guarantee that ICAO will deliver on global emissions.
Also, though it may seem that everyone is flying these days, aviation remains predominately a pastime of the well-off: a 2011 report shows the average household income of UK leisure passengers travelling from a predominantly low cost carrier airport like Stansted was more than a third higher than the UK average. The income disparity at airports like Heathrow is presumably much greater.
Meanwhile the debate over whether the aviation industry deserves the multiple subsidies it receives in Europe heats up. First among the lavish concessions is that aviation fuel is not taxed: drivers pay on average 40p per litre to fill up the family car while the average EU flight receives an £8,000 tax-break every time it fills up. This is a £27 billion fuel tax break across the EU every year for both EU and foreign carriers. Moreover there is no VAT on airline tickets, which costs EU countries well over £6 billion a year in lost revenue and means higher taxes for all to make up the shortfall!
In addition it's now becoming apparent that aviation receives at least £2.5 billion a year in 'State Aid' - direct subsidies from EU taxpayers - but quite likely very much more. The EU has very strict rules as to when and how states can grant such subsidies to industry. For aviation these rules ban any country from funding day-to-day operations at airports. The European Commission now openly admits that its rules have been flaunted for years by national and local authorities keen on having a local airport. Whether an airport is needed or can make money doesn't seem to matter. But instead of enforcing the rules, the Commission intends to do the opposite; sanction billions in past illegal aid and legitimise these practices which squander taxpayer money for a further "transitional" 10 years.
All these egregious tax breaks not only distort competition, deplete government coffers and inflate wage taxes, they accelerate climate change by boosting passenger numbers through artificially cheap tickets. Aviation's emissions in the EU have expanded dramatically, particularly from the low-cost sector operating from highly-subsidised regional airports. We estimate that the additional CO2 generated by these subsidised flights is probably greater than the amount of CO2 that the EU's aviation climate regulation was supposed to reduce.
With accelerated changes to our climate, urgent action is required by the EU to end all tax breaks for aviation. The tax loopholes have no demonstrable benefit for European citizens, also apply to foreign tourists and airlines and lead to all of us, rich and poor, to involuntarily subsidise those who fly through lower take home pay.
At the very least the fastest growing and most climate intensive from of travel should pay its way just like all the other sectors of the economy. Taxing the poor so that the rich may heat the planet about the fastest way possible doesn't add up. Welcome to the tax-free world of aviation.
NORWEGIAN AIR SHUTTLE SUMMONS BOEING
TO ANSWER 787 RELIABILITY ISSUES
Anne Paylor - ATW Online - 23 September 2013
Scandinavian low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle has confirmed reports it has summoned Boeing management representatives to Oslo later this week to address reliability issues that have dogged the carrier's two new Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
The airline said a number of teething problems had forced it to ground the new aircraft, the first of which was delivered in late June, several times over recent weeks, causing unacceptable disruption and delay for passengers. A Norwegian spokesperson confirmed these problems included brakes, hydraulic pump and power issues. Further problems last weekend - understood to have involved oxygen supply to the cockpit and a valve problem - have prompted the carrier to call the meeting later this week.
Norwegian SVP-corporate communications Anne-Sissel Skånvik said: "We will tell Boeing that this situation is far from good enough. We have not had the reliability that we had expected from brand new planes, so something must happen, fast. Our expectation is that their strict quality control systems rule out 'snag' and technical issues before delivery to the customer."
In a statement Boeing responded: "Boeing is working with Norwegian to address issues. We are disappointed to have issues so early in our 787 operations. We regret the disruption caused to Norwegian and its passengers. We are committed to improving the 787's in-service dispatch reliability and are applying the resources required to achieve the results that we and our customers expect. We have a significant focus on component reliability improvements and are working airline-by-airline to ensure we have the right support in place to help each airline through the entry-into-service process."
Boeing also said its 787 fleet is averaging about 175 revenue flights per day, has flown more than 12,000 revenue flights since return to service in April, and more than 30,000 revenue flights since the 787 entered service. Norwegian has ordered eight 787 Dreamliners, the third of which is due to be delivered in 2013, with a further four in 2014 and one in 2015.
OUR COMMENT: The Dreamliner has been promoted as the quieter low emission plane of the future that will help solve concerns about aviation's effects on the environment.
ACTIVISTS GIVE RED LIGHT TO AIRPORT GROWTH
Environmental organisations are opposing plans for airport expansions
in the UK, claiming that it is unsustainable and unnecessary
Bonnie Gardiner - Business Reporter Online - 2 September 2013
As the debate continues over how to improve capacity at airports in London, environmental organisation Friends of the Earth says that the concept is "nothing more than a political football".
"We don't think that the business case for expansion is being made robustly enough," says Jane Thomas, senior campaigner for Friends of the Earth.
"This stuff is being kicked around like a political football. A lot of this is political posturing, and that costs the communities and the environment a huge amount, so we urge politicians to be very mindful of that."
The stress in response to decreasing air travel for business reasons is not taking into account the different ways in which people can conduct business, insists Thomas. "At the moment we are still the destination of choice. Business traffic is falling, but it's because people are using video conferences; executives aren't needed to jet around the world. People are doing business differently and this new model hasn’t been factored in."
Thomas also notes that many regional companies conduct their business in Europe, where air travel is unnecessary with services such as Eurostar and the upcoming completion of HS2. An alternative suggestion to free up airport capacity would be to scrap short-haul flights around the UK, for which there are already adequate alternatives. "It's ridiculous in Heathrow there are flights to Manchester, Leeds and Scotland," says Thomas. "You've got runways that are used for long-haul destinations that take on short-haul flights and that's why the capacity at Heathrow is 97 per cent; poor usage of runway."
London mayor Boris Johnson has long rallied for a new hub airport to be built in the Thames estuary, despite similar proposals being rejected since 1943 on economic and environmental grounds. In May, the Commons Transport Committee said that the "Boris Island" and other estuary airport proposals would be hugely expensive, could harm wildlife and mean the closure of Heathrow. The committee and the majority of airlines are in favour of building a third runway at Heathrow, while some would prefer expansion of Gatwick or Stansted.
Aviation is expected to account for one quarter of the UK's total greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The RSPB, WWF UK and Heathrow campaign group HACAN submitted a report to the government, in which CE Delft found that once a city reaches a certain level of "connectedness", further expansion is unlikely to significantly affect the economy.
The government's airport commission, headed by Lord Davies, has been set up to examine aviation capacity and the need for expansion in greater detail, and will produce its final recommendations in a report to be published in 2015.
STANSTED CAMPAIGNERS CHALLENGE COMMISSION
Transportxtra Online - 6 September 2013
Opponents of plans to expand Stansted Airport have initiated legal proceedings against the Government over Geoff Muirhead's membership of the Airports Commission.
Muirhead is the former chief executive of the Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which now owns Stansted. MAG has submitted Stansted expansion plans to the commission. Pressure group Stop Stansted Expansion says that although Muirhead retired as MAG's chief executive in 2010 he continued to work for the group until January 2013.
TUI CALLS FOR GUIDE TO IDENTIFY 'GREEN' AIRLINES
Travelmole Online - 3 September 2013
TUI Travel is calling for an industry standard on reporting fuel and carbon efficiency for UK airlines to make comparisons easier.
The operator believes it would enable greater transparency so that customers can choose which airline to fly with and the Government to use the information to adjust taxes.
According to the tour operator's research, 50% of customers felt it was very important that their holiday company be more transparent about what they are doing to reduce their impact on the environment and to support local communities. Two thirds of customers stated issues about carbon emissions, climate change and pollution were very important to them.
Jane Ashton, director of sustainable development at TUI Travel PLC, said: "If all airlines were reporting on carbon emissions using consistent metrics and sources of measurement then we believe the Government could start to use this information to adjust taxes that they are currently imposing on airlines".
AIR 'SO POLLUTED IT CAN'T BE WORSENED':
VOLUME OF FLIGHTS OVER UK LEAVE ATMOSPHERE
THICK WITH GREENHOUSE GAS
Tom Bawden - The Independent - 5 September 2013
The ozone pollution caused by flights over the UK is among the lowest of any country in the world - but only because the sheer volume of flights to and from the country have already left the atmosphere so thick with the greenhouse gas that it has become relatively much more difficult to generate more of it, a new report finds.
Research into nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions from aircraft reveals that the amount of the ozone greenhouse gas they produce varies considerably from region to region, with flights to and from Australia and New Zealand producing the most.
Ozone is produced when nitrogen dioxide emissions react with sunlight - the other reason why flights over and around the UK are relatively low producers of the gas, which is responsible for climate warming and health hazards such as respiratory problems.
Steven Barrett, lead author of the paper, by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said: "Our findings show that the cleanest parts of the atmosphere exhibit the most dramatic response to new emissions," with the area over the Pacific, around 1,000 kilometres to the east of the Solomon Islands, being the most sensitive.
Emissions of oxides of nitrogen from flights over the Pacific produce 5.1 times as much ozone as an equivalent flight would do over the UK and are 3.7 times higher than for the US. This is because - unlike the UK - there are relatively few flights in the Pacific region, meaning there is proportionately less ozone in the atmosphere. Furthermore, sunlight levels are high.
As a result, 1kg of aircraft emissions over the Pacific creates 15kg of ozone, compared to just 3kg over the UK. This is the first study to examine the environmental impact of specific flight routes, rather than aviation more generally.
"The places that the sensitivities are highest now are the fastest growing regions in terms of civil aviation growth, so there could potentially be ways to achieve significant reductions in the climate impact of aviation by focussing on re-routing aircraft around the particular regions of the world where ozone formation is highly sensitive to emissions of oxides of nitrogen," Mr Barrett said. "Of course, longer flights are going to burn more fuel and emit more CO2, so there will be a trade-off between increasing flight distance and other climate impacts, such as the effect of ozone," he added.
EU AGREES DEAL ON AVIATION EMISSIONS
Reuters Point Carbon - 5 September 2013
The EU agreed to a deal late Wednesday to scale back its law regulating carbon from flights as U.N. negotiators pledged to craft a global pact on aviation emissions that would not take effect for seven years. EU officials agreed at U.N. talks in Montreal to only include emissions from flights over European airspace in the bloc's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), said the EU's top climate official Jos Delbeke, a move that would scale down a law that covers all flights to and from Europe.
The deal, which still needs to be signed off by a full meeting of the U.N.'s aviation body ICAO ending October 4 and by EU lawmakers, drew fire from green groups and sparked a renewed threat of legal action by European airlines. "There are bits and pieces of that text that make everybody unhappy. So it's maybe not too far away from an ideal compromise," said Delbeke at an event at the EU Parliament in Brussels.
The deal falls short of the worldwide pact the EU had hoped for in November 2012 when it exempted foreign flights for one year to give ICAO more time to strike a global deal and avert a global trade war from major trading partners such as China, India and the US. The agreement will force airlines to surrender more permits for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than the current temporary practice of regulating domestic EU flights, boosting Carbon, analysts said this week.
Bill Hemmings from the environmental group T&E said the move was an "unnecessary concession" that had little to do with efforts to tackle climate change and did not amount to a guarantee that ICAO would tackle aviation emissions globally. "This is appeasement on a grand scale. How can it be that the future of EU policy in this sector can be decided behind closed doors by 40 faceless men and a few women in Montreal?" he told the Brussels event.
Peter Liese, a senior member of the EU Parliament, said the assembly needed to scrutinize the plan further but hinted that it may have to accept the measure as the best possible compromise. "It is far from an ideal solution... (but) I'm really concerned that if we just oppose what is on the table then we may see a total collapse of our effort," said Liese.
He said the Parliament might propose to merely to extend its suspension the global reach of the EU ETS rather than re-working its law permanently. "Personally I would not be ready to give another blank check to ICAO and say if they don't agree in 2016 we just look at it then," he added, referring to when the U.N. body has pledged to finalize the global deal.
The EU Parliament and member states would have to agree to the new law by early next year to prevent an automatic resumption of existing legislation. But this could re-start a legal case from the European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA) over fears it will distort competition, said John Hanlon, secretary-general of the group. "We will be watching very closely... If (the deal) is not going to deliver what we have a right to expect, we will reactivate that suit," said Hanlon.
ELFAA represents some of Europe's biggest carriers including Easyjet and Ryanair and believes its members face discrimination under an EU-only scheme versus carriers with dominant business outside Europe.
OUTDATED NOISE MAPS COULD SEE MORE NUISANCE
FOR RESIDENTS UNDER FLIGHTPATH
The Commission investigating London's airport capacity could
underestimate the impact of noise on people under the flight path
because it is working from outdated maps, councils have warned
David Millward - Daily Telegraph - 8 September 2013
The 2M group, an all-party alliance of 24 local authorities, has voiced fears the inquiry led by Sir Howard Davies, could fail to take into account the increase in flights and shift in population over the last 30 years. According to the group, which opposes the expansion of Heathrow, the Commission is set to rely on noise surveys which were compiled in the early 1980s.
It said that relying on this data could leave several hundred thousand people being subjected to even greater levels of noise nuisance. According to the group not only has the number of flights risen dramatically since the study was compiled in 1982, but new communities have found themselves under the flight path, notably in London's Docklands. In addition noise levels deemed acceptable in the 1980s - 57 decibels - have been deemed excessive by the EU and a study commissioned by the previous Government.
"The problem with the noise measure produced by the original 1980s study is that it does not bear any relation to real-life experience," said Ravi Govindia, the leader of Wandsworth Council, one of the members of the 2M group.
"It is difficult for a measure to command public confidence when it effectively tells people living in places like Barnes, Fulham, Putney, Ealing, Chelsea, Stockwell and Windsor that they are not affected by noise because they live outside the 57 decibel area around Heathrow. Our own evidence as local councils responding every day to complaints on aircraft noise suggests that the true number affected by Heathrow operations is around 1m - four times the figure implied by the 57dB contour."
Similar concerns have been voiced by the London Assembly, where members from all parties are backing Boris Johnson's opposition to Heathrow's expansion. It has told the Davies Commission that 725,000 people - three times more than any other European airport - have been affected by noise from Heathrow.
"The Davies Commission is clearly concerned about aviation noise and is prepared to listen to the concerns of Londoners, many more of whom are now experiencing unbearable disturbance," said Murad Qureshi, Chair of the Assembly's Environment Committee. "Once confined to West London, this is now a pan London issue which cannot be ignored any longer. We are completely against any expansion of Heathrow, either through increasing passenger numbers or building more runways."
"Already thousands of Londoners are unable to sleep at night and many children in the capital have their lessons disrupted by plane noise. Expanding passenger numbers would also go against ongoing attempts to tackle air pollution in London. The views of Londoners on aircraft noise are crystal clear. We hope the Davies Commission can see the level of concern being expressed by Londoners is now such that it must be a key consideration in any decisions over future airport capacity."
2M URGES DAVIES TO ORDER NEW NOISE STUDY
Decisions could be made on surveys over 30 years old
Chiswickw4 Online - 6 September 2013
Councils opposed to Heathrow expansion have called on the Airports Commission to order a new study of attitudes to aircraft noise. Without an updated study the councils fear the Commission will be limited to basing recommendations on sites for new airport capacity on surveys carried out more than 30 years ago.
The 2M Group has also republished the ANASE study into attitudes to aircraft noise which was rejected by the last Government. ANASE, which reported in 2007, showed that the official method for measuring community annoyance did not take account of rising numbers of aircraft. The councils say that, while adopting the ANASE findings would provide the commission with a more robust benchmark, the real answer is to order a brand new study that properly reflects current attitudes.
Hillingdon leader Ray Puddifoot said: "It shouldn't be down to the local authorities to resurrect the ANASE findings. It is astonishing that neither the last Government nor the present one has done this. We took the decision to invite the ANASE team to address the concerns expressed about their work at the time. This is the first time they have been given this opportunity. We believe the updated study is an important body of evidence which we are happy to make available to the Davies Commission."
Wandsworth leader Ravi Govindia said: "The problem with the noise measure produced by the original 1980s study is that it does not bear any relation to real-life experience. It is difficult for a measure to command public confidence when it effectively tells people living in places like Barnes, Fulham, Putney, Ealing, Chelsea, Stockwell and Windsor that they are not affected by noise because they live outside the 57 decibel (dB) area around Heathrow. Our own evidence as local councils responding every day to complaints on aircraft noise suggests that the true number affected by Heathrow operations is around 1m - four times the figure implied by the 57dB contour."
Today's noise averaging system (Leq) was introduced following the ANIS study in 1982 - more than 30 years ago. While this new metric gave greater weight to the noise energy produced by individual aircraft at source, it has failed to give adequate weight to a near doubling of noise episodes at Heathrow during the standardised 16-hour period. As a result complaints from residents grew while the contour itself was shrinking.
The accompanying map clearly shows the vast difference between the 57dB contour and what 2M say is the more accurate and relevant measure of noise nuisance - 55dB.
The Airports Commission, which is chaired by Sir Howard Davies, examines the need for additional UK airport capacity and recommends to Government how this can be met.
In their evidence to the Commission the councils call for:
* A new social survey of community attitudes to aircraft noise that can provide a rational basis for assessments on future capacity
* A new noise threshold for the area around Heathrow that gives sufficient weight to the numbers of movements and noise episodes experienced in any one hour
* A review of compensation arrangements for communities affected in line with a new threshold
The 2M response is supported by Hounslow, Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth, Windsor and Maidenhead, Southwark, Brent, Hammersmith and Fulham, and South Bucks.
BODY SENSORS TO MEASURE HEATHROW 'NOISE STRESS'
Residents have complained of the noise being
so loud it drowns out conversations
BBC News - 4 September 2013
People living under the flight path of Heathrow Airport are being invited to wear body sensors to monitor stress caused by aircraft noise.
Parts of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead are affected by the sound of planes taking off. About 140 residents have already taken part in a study using a mobile phone app to record and chart plane noise. The University College London (UCL) is extending the project to monitor the stress inflicted on people's bodies.
The WideNoise aircraft monitoring app allows residents to upload recorded sounds of aircraft noise and log their responses - ranging from feeling calm to hectic. Since it was launched in April, it has recorded and mapped around 4,500 incidences of aircraft noise, a spokesman for Windsor and Maidenhead council said.
One third of the recordings uploaded so far have been above 80 decibels, said councillor Carwyn Cox, cabinet member for environmental services. Many of the comments logged were from residents who complained that the aircraft noise "spoilt conversations, use of their gardens, picnics and, generally, their evenings", he added.
Mr Cox said: "This [body sensor project] is to follow on from the WideNoise initiative. This idea is to try to take that a little bit further and find out what their body is experiencing with aircraft noise. Hopefully there will be some volunteers who will come forward to take part in, what we think, will be a very useful idea to try and get a bit more information of the impact of aircraft on individuals."
Mr Cox said no volunteers had yet been recruited but he urged anyone interested to get in touch so that the trial could start in the next few weeks. The data collected in the study will be used to produce a map to show where in the borough residents are most affected.
HEATHROW AND GATWICK BATTLE OVER NOISE
Piers Evans - Airport World Online - 6 September 2013
As they compete to expand, Heathrow and Gatwick are both claiming that their proposal works best for residents under flight paths. In their submissions to the UK's Airports Commission today, London Heathrow and London Gatwick are taking their rivalry into the issue of noise. The commission is due to report in 2015 on how the UK can best safeguard its air connectivity.
Gatwick is arguing for a second runway, on the grounds that its point-to-point model fits the sector's likely future pattern. Heathrow is basing its case for a third runway on the need for hub connectivity. But both are now aiming to win the argument over noise, a crucial issue in the debate over how London can expand its air infrastructure.
In its submission today, Heathrow states Londoners would experience less noise pollution if it gets to build a third runway. Meanwhile, Gatwick maintains with a second runway, its noise would impact no more than 11,800 residents.
"The overall number of people who could be affected by noise from a second runway at Gatwick would be equivalent to less than 5% of the people Heathrow impacts today - mainly because aircraft would not fly over highly populated areas of London," said Gatwick in a statement. "This fundamental fact will not change in the future."
But Heathrow rests its case on how next-generation aircraft such as B787s, A380s, A350s and A320NEOs can enable it to keep cutting the impact of noise on Londoners. As well as "encouraging the quietest aircraft to use Heathrow", the hub undertakes to route aircraft higher over the capital, and to ensure high-noise areas get periods of respite with no flights overhead.
Heathrow also vows to provide free noise insulation. "Even with a third runway, the measures set out above mean that in 2030 there will be around 10-20% fewer people within Heathrow's noise footprint than today," said Heathrow in a statement.
While Heathrow operates almost twice as many flights than in the seventies, "around 90% fewer people are affected by noise", said Heathrow's sustainability director, Matt Gorman.
But for Stewart Wingate, Gatwick's CEO, this is not the issue. "The Government has made clear that its primary policy objective in this area is to limit and where possible reduce the number of people significantly affected by aircraft noise," he said. "Against that policy background, it seems clear that a second runway at Gatwick would be much preferable to a third runway at Heathrow; when more people are already significantly affected by noise than at all the other major EU hub airports put together."
FIFTY PLANS TO IMPROVE THE UK'S HUB CAPACITY
Rob Gill - Buyingbusinesstravel Online - 7 August 2013
The Airports Commission has published 50 proposals on how to solve the UK's lack of hub airport capacity with Heathrow already operating at full capacity.
The commission, headed by Sir Howard Davies, today (August 7) released details of all the submissions it has received on how and where to increase long-term airport capacity in the south-east. Many airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Birmingham have already made their proposals for expansion public during the last few weeks, ahead of the submission deadline last month.
While London mayor Boris Johnson through Transport for London has also submitted three possible options including two sites for a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary (Isle of Grain and Boris Island) as well as an expanded Stansted. Luton has also made its case to become the UK's new hub airport by expanding to four runways. The airport argues that any new hub should be located to the north of London as it will be more accessible to greater parts of the UK.
Other possible sites for a new hub airport include:
London Medway Airport, on a site north of the village of Cliffe in Medway, Kent
Goodwin Sands, a group of sandbanks off the Kent coast, close to Deal
Foulness Island, in the Thames estuary close to Southend-on-Sea
Away from London, proposals have also been made for an expanded Cardiff airport which would be linked by a high-speed rail line to London and Heathrow, and a new airport in the Severn estuary replacing both Cardiff and Bristol airports.
There are also several suggestions for improving connections to existing airports such as extending the Crossrail rail project to Stansted, or turning London into a Hub City by enhancing transport links between the existing airports and the city centre.
One proposal suggests creating a new "Universal Hub" train terminal at Farringdon in central London which could serve all of region's major airports.
Several private individuals have also submitted their ideas for increasing capacity to the Airports Commission.
The commission is now inviting comments on all of these proposals. It will then draw up a short-list of the "most credible long term options" which will be revealed in the commission's interim report to be published in December when it will also make its recommendations on the UK's overall need for extra hub airport capacity.
"There will be further opportunities to comment and submit views on these short-listed options in 2014," added the commission, which is not due to present its full report until after the next general election in summer 2015.
COMMENTS FROM THE COMMISSION CHAIRMAN
BBC Radio 4 - Transcript of 'Today' Programme - 7 August 2013
Evan Davies - It's twenty-eight minutes to nine.
The Airports Commission has been beavering away for the last nine months or so. Its mission - some might say 'Mission Impossible' - is to come up with a proposal for airport capacity - particularly hub capacity - around London and the South East. It's a decision which will affect the entire nation. The Commission is not reporting yet. It's not even giving us a shortlist of options yet. But it appears to have something close to a long list now. Sir Howard Davies, the Chairman of the Commission is with us. Morning.
Howard Davies - Morning.
Evan Davies - Is that the right way to characterise where you are?
Howard Davies - Where we are is that we have asked the airports, and indeed other people, to put ideas to us as to where they think additional capacity should be put, if indeed there is a need for it. And some people have argued, quite cogently, that they don't think we do need additional capacity if we could spread the traffic around. But we've received all these proposals and we're publishing them today. Perhaps surprisingly, there are about 50 [Laughter] have been put to us although only half of them are for additional runways and some of them perhaps are a little bit far fetched. I think there's one that goes through John Humphries garden, which we may...
Evan Davies - Obviously that would have to be ruled out. [Laughter]
Howard Davies - I imagine so. But there are a number of interesting new proposals. For example, Heathrow are proposing something which is rather different from what was planned before. The old third runway is not in fact now on the table but other different types of runway are. So we're publishing all of these today and we're asking people to comment on them. We know that we need to get down to a handful by December because it's really not reasonable to leave large areas of the country uncertain about whether a runway will be going past the bottom of their garden. So we need to work quickly now to produce a manageable shortlist which we'll look at in detail.
Evan Davies - And to what extent are all the options you are looking at essentially offered to you by other groups, mostly groups who incidentally have some vested interest in a particular option coming out of all of this, and to what extent are you using your own imagination and saying: 'Look, there might be some other options that are not part of the things that Heathrow or Gatwick or Manchester Airports Group are proposing'?
Howard Davies - Yes we are doing that. We have looked back also at things like even the Roskill Commission way back in the 1960's.
Evan Davies - Ah! ... the 1960s ... the last one to ...
Howard Davies - Indeed. But there was also a South East Regional Airports Study which looked at a lot of other sites. I think it's fair to say that most of the plausible possibilities have been put to us but there are a couple where we are looking at whether there is, for particular reason, a proposal that might make sense but which hasn't been proposed by anybody.
Evan Davies - Can you at this stage rule anything out in terms of the approach you are taking? So, for example, are you certain that we need a hub? You've said no to that. Are you certain that there isn't a possibility, for example, of expanding airports outside of London to take some of the pressure off Heathrow. Is that something that's still in play?
Howard Davies - We are still looking at the whole question of just how much additional capacity is needed and where it should be. It is very important that what we propose is within the climate change policies - that are legislated, of course. And so some of the ideas that we just expand to cater for any level of demand I think are implausible because you cannot imagine aviation growing so much that the climate emissions of the rest of the economy have to be reduced to zero in order to accommodate it. So we are looking at that first, and we are then looking at what use you can make of other non-London and the South East airports. And only when we've done that shall we see just what additional capacity is required in London and the South East. All of that will be done by December.
Evan Davies - And in just a few seconds. You never feel like a futile thing for you to be doing. You mentioned the Roskill Commission. It was an example of a great commission that looked at London airport options and then was ignored. Willie Walsh thinks this one will be ignored if it comes down in favour of a third runway at Heathrow. Is there any chance it will just sit on the back burner?
Howard Davies - Well, I often think of the myth of Sisyphus, where Camus's famous novel says we must imagine that Sisyphus is happy pushing his rock up the hill. I'm very happy to be pushing this rock. I think eventually we'll get it to the top.
Evan Davies - Sir Howard Davies, thank you. We look forward to talking to you again on this subject.
Dominic O'Connell - Business Editor - Sunday Times - 11 August 2013
READ through the list of new runways in southeast England proposed to the Davies commission and you end up thinking any patch of grass near London - or any sandbank in the Thames estuary - risks being covered by tarmac.
Sir Howard Davies, chosen by the coalition to examine the problem of new runways for London, has to sort the wheat from the chaff. While there is much imaginative thinking among the 50 suggested projects - I particularly like the idea from the architects firm Büro für Mehr (Office for More) to put planes on a rolling production line after they land, filling them with bags and passengers as they creep along before roaring off back down the runway - we are likely to be left with the same old favourites that have been with us for 20 years or more.
First, expansion at Heathrow. Second, a new hub east of the capital on or near the estuary. Third, a greatly expanded Stansted. You can defend any of the choices, but the last time the race was run, Stansted was the winner. Many decried the choice - the airport is a long way from London and the existing rail links are wretched - and eventually the plan was abandoned. It was, however, the choice arrived at once all the competing political forces had been sifted through by Whitehall and ministers. The arguments have changed little over the past decade, and, right or wrong, I suspect we are headed for Stansted again.
Ryanair needs Walsh
STAYING with aviation, I offer some unsolicited succession planning advice to Ryanair. Michael O'Leary, its loudmouthed and hugely successful chief executive, has to leave some time, and has hinted at his departure in the past. One of the possible internal candidates to replace him was Michael Cawley, the chief operating officer, but he recently said he would leave his executive post to become a non-executive director.
I think David Bonderman, Ryanair's chairman, should make a call to Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group, owner of British Airways and Iberia. Walsh has been at BA and then IAG for eight years, a long tenure for a FTSE 100 chief executive, so it might be time for him to think about what's next.
He and O'Leary have clashed over the years, but the relationship appears to have warmed up recently. There is also a view among aviation analysts that Ryanair will have to soften its low-cost-at-all-costs approach, and Walsh fits the bill, having run a full-service airline but retained his reputation as a bruiser. O'Leary - and Ryanair itself - have often flirted with the idea of a long-haul airline, something Walsh knows all about from his time at BA.
And in case you were thinking it's a step down in terms of size for Walsh, you would be wrong. Ryanair closed last week in Dublin at €7.20 a share, giving a stock market value of £8.9bn. IAG's market value is just under £6bn. Walsh for Ryanair might sound a mad idea - but stranger things have happened at sea, and certainly in the air.
THAMES VALLEY BUSINESSES SAY 'NO' TO EAST LONDON HUB
Travelweekly Online - 27 August 2013
A decision to build a new hub airport for London rather than expand Heathrow would lead multinational companies to quit the UK in favour of Amsterdam or Paris.
That is the view of a leading business group in the region - the Thames Valley Confederation of British Industry (CBI). It said multinational companies with bases in the Thames corridor regard access to Heathrow as "vitally important" and a new hub to the east would force some to move abroad.
CBI Thomas Valley director Steve Rankin said: "If a new hub were to move to the east then they [companies] would have to move too. But they would move outside the UK, probably to somewhere like Schiphol or Paris or Dusseldorf."
The Thames Valley CBI is one of five west London business groups to have commissioned a study of the economic impact of relocating London's hub which they intend to present to the Davies Commission on airport capacity.
Rankin told the Financial Times: "Accessing the UK from a foreign but nearby airport is easy for these [multinational] companies."
Steve Lamb, chairman of the Thames Valley Berkshire local enterprise partnership, said: "Heathrow is one of the key reasons why the economy to the west of London is as wealthy as it is."
Unipart corporate affairs director Frank Nigriello told the Financial Times: "To have an airport on the other side of London is not helpful."
London Mayor Boris Johnson, a leading proponent of an east London hub airport, has argued multinationals would relocate abroad if such an airport is not built.
PLAN TO PUT THIRD HEATHROW RUNWAY
IN HANDS OF LOCAL RESIDENTS
Jim Pickard, Chief Political Correspondent - Financial Times - 26 August 2013
A new runway at Heathrow airport would be a quarter-owned by local residents under plans submitted to the commission examining the future of Britain's airports.
The idea, put forward by the Co-operative wing of the Labour party, would be a novel way to reduce the formidable local opposition to the project.
There is resistance not only from those with homes on the potential sites of the third runway but also from large numbers of people living under Heathrow's flight path in west London.
BAA, Heathrow's owner, expects that a noise compensation regime would be needed if a third runway ever received the go-ahead from Whitehall.
It is standard practice for airport owners to offer such compensation to people affected by expansion. Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA, said last year that the big constraint on Heathrow was noise: "People will debate the relative merits of providing people with double glazing versus providing people with financial compensation," he said. "All of that is perfectly legitimate."
But the Co-op idea goes much further and proposes the setting up of a mutual runway trust with a 25 per cent stake in the project. Not only would the trust be involved in business decisions related to the runway, it would also benefit from the "inevitable considerable profit" generated. The trust would have the freedom to invest in community projects or initiatives to benefit local people.
Gareth Thomas, chair of the Co-op party - which counts 32 Labour MPs among its members, including shadow chancellor Ed Balls - said one private company should not own the whole runway "lock, stock and barrel". Under his proposals, the trust would be modelled on a building society or foundation hospital, with a board of local council leaders and a professional executive, supported by a governing council of residents.
"The community should benefit directly by owning a powerful share of any new runway," said Mr Thomas, MP for Harrow West. "Business as usual won't be good enough."
The coalition government is deeply divided over aviation. Senior Tories, including chancellor George Osborne, are keen on Heathrow expansion, against the wishes of their Liberal Democrat colleagues. Labour's official position is against expansion but Mr Balls is understood to privately back the project, in contrast to Ed Miliband, the party leader.
The issue was put aside last summer as the government launched a commission under Sir Howard Davies. He recently published a list of 50 proposals for options to expand aviation capacity in the UK. In his letter to Sir Howard, Mr Thomas said that an additional runway was likely to lead to noise, pollution and inconvenience for communities under the flight paths.
"As you and your commission weigh up whether to recommend new runways should you decide that additional capacity is needed," he wrote. "I hope that you recognise that who owns any new runway(s) matters too."
BIG AIR ALLIANCES RULE OUT MOVE FROM HEATHROW
All three global airline alliances say they want to remain at hub airport
Andrew Parker - Financial Times - 11 August 2013
The world's biggest airlines have ruled out moving from Heathrow to another UK airport, bolstering the chances of a highly contentious third runway being built at Europe's busiest hub.
All three global airline alliances have said they want to stay at Heathrow, even though some of the options being considered by an independent inquiry into the hub's overcrowded runways would require them to move to one of the smaller airports around London.
The airports commission chaired by the economist Sir Howard Davies is examining at least three solutions to Heathrow's problems: adding a third runway there: expanding Gatwick airport south of the city: or building a new hub to the east of London in the Thames estuary. If the commission decides that the UK could support two hubs, it could recommend the relocation of at least one of the three alliances currently at Heathrow.
British Airways has emphasised its wish to stay at Heathrow and the Oneworld alliance, which is led by the UK flag carrier, said its commitment to the hub reflected the airline's view.
Star, which includes Germany's Lufthansa, United Airlines of the US and Singapore Airlines, is the second largest alliance at Heathrow after Oneworld and pointed out that its member carriers planned to move into the hub's new Terminal 2 next year.
"This will allow us to effectively compete with the other alliances in Heathrow and add to the quality of our services and therefore we do not see any opportunity for us to make a change to another airport," it added.
SkyTeam, which includes Air France-KLM, Delta Air Lines of the US and China Eastern, said Heathrow was of "utmost importance" to the alliance.
"Relocating to another London or UK airport is not an option for our members," said Tae Joon Kim, SkyTeam's vice-president of airport services in a letter to the Davies commission.
Long-haul airlines generally prefer Heathrow to Gatwick because the bigger airport is used by more business passengers, who pay premium fares.
Gatwick, the UK's second largest airport, has suggested that it could turn itself into a hub if it gets permission to build a second runway.
Gatwick opposes Heathrow's expansion and is interested in persuading one of the airline alliances to move there.
Insiders at Star and SkyTeam said the only circumstances in which they might consider moving from Heathrow would be if all three alliances were to relocate together to a new hub.
However, they echoed Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group, BA's parent company, who has expressed strong doubts about how a new hub could be financed. London mayor Boris Johnson is proposing a four-runway airport in the Thames estuary, to cost the taxpayer at least £25bn.
100,000 GET NOISE RESPITE FROM NIGHT FLIGHTS
Medioacentreheathrowairport Online - 14 August 2013
An independent report has concluded that night flight trials carried out earlier this year brought noise respite to approximately 100,000 people living under the Heathrow flight paths. The Helios Report found that respite trials, backed by both the aviation industry and the residents' group HACAN, benefited thousands of people in South-East and East London as well as many residents of Berkshire.
During the five month 'Early Morning Noise Respite Trial', which ended in March of this year, air traffic controllers were instructing pilots to avoid specified areas on alternate weeks in order to give residents a break from the noise. The scheme only involved flights arriving before 6am. There were very few infringements of the designated areas.
The trial, the first of its kind anywhere in the world, did though have some unforeseen consequences. Some areas, such as Brockley in South East London saw an increase in night flights. Also during the trial aircraft joined the approach paths further from touchdown in order to avoid overflying the exclusion zones. This in turn resulted in the areas between the zones being overflown more during the trial. The Helios report recommends that the trial should not be taken forward in its present form and adds that, in future, pre-trial assessments should be undertaken to predict likely outcomes to better understand the balance of likely the benefits against the unintended negative outcomes.
Matt Gorman, Heathrow's Sustainability Director, said, "The results of this trial are very encouraging, showing that by working with local communities and our partners across the airport we can find new ways to bring noise respite to thousands of residents. We will now examine what improvements we can make to retain the benefits of this trial whilst addressing the challenges."
John Stewart, the chair of HACAN, said, "This is the first time we have worked with the aviation industry in this way. Although the trial had some problems which would need to be addressed in any future experiments, to bring relief to 100,000 people is a considerable achievement."
Ian Jopson, Head of Environment and Community Affairs at air traffic control firm NATS, said, "The trial was a very positive example of how the industry and community can work together to look for ways to limit the impact of noise. The latest precision navigation technology makes it more feasible to provide respite through innovative air traffic control procedures, and this trial has been an important first step in understanding how we can best take advantage of it."
Captain Dean Plumb, Strategy and Environment Manager, British Airways, said, "British Airways is glad to have played a role in trialling these innovative procedures to reduce early morning noise. We are entering an exciting era where modern aircraft are capable of flying more flexibly and quietly than ever before. It is particularly satisfying to be working with local communities, through HACAN, to understand how to best use these new capabilities."
About the Early Morning Noise Respite Trial
On 5th November 2012, Heathrow, in partnership with HACAN, NATS and British Airways, launched a new trial to test whether creating 'noise relief zones' for communities under the flight path could ease disturbance for residents. On average, around seventeen flights arrive at Heathrow each morning between 04.30 and 06.00. As air traffic controllers route these aircraft through the sky to achieve the safest and most efficient arrival routes, the flight paths are spread across areas of London - there is no set route. The Early Morning Noise Respite Trial was designed to explore whether the flights - particularly at the beginning of their approach into Heathrow - can be routed in a more defined way, offering more predictability for residents living below.
There were four trial areas, two to the east of the airport and two to the west. These areas covered places such as Vauxhall, Wandsworth, Battersea, Clapham Common, Westminster, Bermondsey and Streatham to the east of the airport, and Binfield, Reading, Purley on Thames and Winnersh to the west of the airport.
'A POIGNANT AND HUMBLING MOMENT' - STANSTED'S 70 YEARS
Joe Sturdy - Essex Chronicle - 7 August 2013
DOMINATED by Ryanair and easyJet, its huge glass terminal and 17.5 million passengers a year, Stansted Airport has long been seen as the place for cheap travel to Europe. But while it is the first stop for sun-seeking holidaymakers, 70 years ago it was a very different place.
In 1943 with Britain in the grip of war, thousands of US Air Force planes were flying in our skies and George Washington Field - as Stansted Airport was then known - was in the process of being constructed. With no terminal building and only tents in sight, the airfield's main runway, 6,000 feet by 150 feet and two smaller subsidiary runways, were built by the US Army Engineers, eventually making the north Essex airport the ninth biggest American air base in East Anglia at 3,000 acres.
Home to the US Air Force's 344th Bomb Group with 64 Martin Marauder B-26 bombers, some 266 missions were flown to France and the Low Countries, dropping around 7,000 tonnes of bombs on their targets - and the group led 600 aircraft of the US Air Force into action on D-Day. It was also a maintenance base for aircraft and following the end of the European war, became a rest and rehabilitation centre for American troops.
Last Friday, the 70th anniversary of the completion of the runway was celebrated with a fly-past from a Second World War P-47 Thunderbolt and a visit from one of the group's former members, Major Edward W. Horn, who helped plant a commemorative tree and unveiled a memorial to the airmen stationed at Stansted.
The 88-year-old Major, who became a German prisoner of war after he was shot down in 1944, said: "Seventy years ago, I was flying my B-26 Marauder off this runway, and now I stand here today in remembrance of my fellow 344th Bomb Group airmen and in honour of those who did not return from their missions."
The airport's managing director Andrew Harrison, said: "To be able to welcome Major Edward Horn back to the airport for the first time in years is a particularly poignant and humbling moment. We should be proud that our airport played a pivotal role in the Allied victory. We owe them all an immense debt of gratitude. Stansted is very proud of its past and the critical role the airfield played during World War II as a US Air Force base. It's amazing to now look back and acknowledge those early efforts which have ultimately culminated in the Stansted Airport we see today."
Stansted's runway was lengthened to 10,000 feet in 1957 by the US Army Engineers. This runway still remains today - albeit reinforced - making it the third longest at a UK public airport, behind Heathrow and Gatwick. On Monday the tarmac accommodated a British Airways Airbus A380 (above), the world's biggest passenger airliner. It touched down for the first time as part of the airline's flight training programme before it enters long-haul service later this year - an elderly runway enabling a young and daring flying machine to do its magic.
RYANAIR TO SUE CHANNEL 4 OVER FUEL ALLEGATIONS
No-frills airline Ryanair plans to sue Channel 4 over a programme that
quoted pilots saying they were concerned over the airline's fuel policy
BBC News - 13 August 2013
"Ryanair has instructed its lawyers to issue legal proceedings against Channel 4 Dispatches for defamation," it said. The programme detailed three incidents in which Ryanair pilots had to call in emergency alerts because they were low on fuel.
"We stand by our journalism," said Channel 4.
Ryanair said that these incidents occurred because of bad weather, but that in each case, the aircraft fully complied with EU regulation. It said all its flights already carried extra fuel above the minimum EU requirements, and emphasised that it had not had a single passenger or flight crew fatality in its 29 years of operation.
The documentary featured a survey by the Ryanair Pilot Group (RPG), a group of pilots seeking union representation, which found that 94% wanted regulators to conduct an inquiry. The group, not recognised by Ryanair, polled 1,000 pilots and first officers for the survey representing more than a third of the airline's total. It found that 89% did not consider that the airline had an open and transparent safety culture and two-thirds were not comfortable raising issues through an internal reporting system.
Ryanair said the group "lacks any independence, objectivity or reliability" and claimed the survey was part of a 25-year failed campaign to win union recognition at Ryanair. It added that flight crews were encouraged to report any safety concerns through an online confidential system.
In a separate statement, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), the independent safety regulator for Irish airlines, said that it regularly reviewed Ryanair's fuel policy and that the airline fully complied with European regulations. It also noted that that any employee could make a confidential report on any safety concern via its public website.
GTMC REACTS TO AIRPORTS COMMISSION SUMMARY
Reaffirming its position on short term capacity increase
Incentivetravel Online - 12 August 2013
The GTMC, the most influential travel management business community in the UK, has reacted to the publication of the summary of submissions received by the Airports Commission on the subject of making the best use of existing capacity in the South East, by reaffirming its position on short term capacity increase as soon as possible.
The GTMC focused its submission on Heathrow and the soonest possible increase in air capacity and connectivity whilst reinforcing that longer term boosts to capacity are vital but will take considerable time to come online. Heathrow's plan, if given the green light, could not be delivered before 2023 with proposals for Stansted and a new airport not deliverable until 2032 and 2034 respectively. The GTMC believes that relieving capacity constraints in the short term is critical to the UK economy's growth through ensuring greater direct connectivity with merging markets.
GTMC chief executive Paul Wait said: "The GTMC submission to the Airports Commission focused on the quickest possible solution to increasing air capacity in the South East and we will build on our submission, taking into consideration other proposals for the interim report due at the end of the year."
The GTMC submission called for the protection of existing night flight capacity at Heathrow and the introduction of Mixed Mode at Heathrow and its recognition as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project by the Government. In addition the GTMC asked the Secretary of State for Transport to undertake all required measures to ensure Mixed Mode is not subject to delaying tactics by opponents and The Secretary of State for Transport to lead efforts to ensure the right balance between additional routes and resilience from any additional capacity released at Heathrow.
GTMC chief executive Paul Wait said: "Our members work on behalf of corporates to facilitate the international movements of the business people who 'do the deals' that will underpin the UK economy's growth and as such we have a keen sense of the priorities for corporates in terms of connectivity; and the perspective of those business people actually travelling internationally. This insight combined with the data collected from the GTMC's bespoke 'Voice of The Business Traveller' survey gave us the ability to complete a submission to the Airports Commission on behalf of the business traveller."
The GTMC survey was of 1010 people who travelled internationally six or more times per year on business from airports in the South East of England, 37% of which travelled thirteen times or more.
The GTMC submission is supported by the fact that of the UK's top 300 businesses the majority have HQs within a 25 mile radius of the UK's major hub airport and the area around Heathrow outstrips the UK average in terms of foreign business locations - there are 100% more US companies and 260% more Japanese. Business travelers themselves also reflected the preference for additional capacity at Heathrow with 82% surveyed saying that additional capacity at Heathrow would benefit their business more than at any other airport.
In their submission the GTMC estimates that using both runways for take-off and landing (mixed mode) would add an additional 50,000 flights per annum, equating to around 65 additional flights per day during normal operating hours. The recommendation is backed up by the survey response of 62% showing support for Mixed Mode.
In addition the GTMC believes that there should be no movement by authorities to lessen the amount of night flights currently allowed during the 11pm - 7am period. Business travelers surveyed by the GTMC showed that night flights are a key component of international business with 49% saying that they had used night flights more than three times a year.
Paul Wait said: "The GTMC calls on the government to hold the line on night flights and recognize that they are a vital artery of connectivity to both emerging and traditional markets."
Paul Wait concluded: "Short-term measures are within the Government's gift and we call on the Secretary of State for Transport to lead efforts to release capacity but also to ensure that the right balance is struck between capacity to be used for new routes and retained for resilience."
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