| RECENT NEWS
CABINET OFFICE PRESS RELEASE
3 May 2013
The Airports Commission set up by the Government to assess the UK's long-term aviation capacity needs has unveiled a panel of leading environmental, engineering and transport experts to assist in its deliberations. The panel will ensure the Commission has access to the very best scientific and technical expertise, providing an extra level of challenge and quality assurance.
The Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, has also published the criteria it will use when sifting any proposals for additional long term airport capacity.
Howard Davies said: "The experts we have appointed bring a wide range of skills and experience, and will ensure the Commission has access to a broad spectrum of quality scientific and technical expertise as we progress our work. In addition, our sift criteria underline the Commission's intention to conduct a process which takes into account the full range of relevant issues, including economic, social, environmental and operational factors."
The sift criteria announced today outlines the information required by the Commission in determining which options for additional long term airport capacity should be taken forward for more detailed development, should a need for more capacity be identified.
LONDON 'WON'T GET BOOST FROM AIRPORT EXPANSION'
London Evening Standard - 22 April 2013
AN INDEPENDENT report into airports expansion today accused groups in favour of boosting capacity of "distorting" the economic arguments.
The study by Dutch consultants CE Delft claims the pro-expansion lobby is guilty of "miscalculating" and "exaggerating" the case for change. It also criticised the Department for Transport for failing to take into account social and environmental costs compared with the economic benefits. And it said London's economy would not necessarily get a boost from expanding or building new airports as it already had good air connections.
Sir Howard Davies's airports commission is examining whether the South-East needs additional capacity to remain a major world player. John Stewart of Hacan, the Heathrow anti-expansion group, said: "This new report could not be more timely. It comes just as the commission is asking the hard questions about airport capacity and connectivity. Its message is clear: new runways may not be nearly as important for our economy as is commonly assumed."
The study, commissioned by Hacan, said the Department for Transport estimated Heathrow expansion would produce £5 billion in economic benefits but when the New Economics Foundation used different predictions for growth and oil prices they found it would result in a £5 billion loss.
The new report comes as the Confederation of British Industry risked a backlash by claiming that night flights into Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick must be protected because they contribute £1.2 billion to the economy.
AIRPORT REGULATOR TO CAP CHARGES
AT HEATHROW AND GATWICK
Sru Ping Chan - Daily Telegraph - 30 April 2013
Air passengers were given a boost on Tuesday after the aviation regulator outlined proposals to cut the take-off and landing fees that airport owners can charge at London's three main airports.
The proposals by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will mean airlines will be charged far less for using Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports from 2014 to 2019 than they were between 2009 and 2014, which should limit the fare rises that would be imposed on passengers at these airports.
The CAA has proposed that airline charges at Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, should be capped at the retail prices index (RPI) rate of inflation minus 1.3pc for the period between 2014-19, from current charges of RPI plus 7.5pc for the five years to 2014. It is also far less than the proposed figure proposed by Heathrow bosses, which would have see charges increase from the equivalent of £19.33 per passenger for 2012/13 to as much as £27.30 for 2018/19.
At London Gatwick, the world's busiest single-runway airport, the CAA proposed a price cap of RPI plus 1pc for the five years to April 2019, while at Stansted, where passenger numbers have fallen, the CAA chose to monitor charges rather than impose a cap.
The CAA said that Tuesday's proposals would "protect consumers" from steep price rises. Andrew Haines, chief executive of the CAA ,said: "The proposals we publish today reflect their individual circumstances, ensure passengers are protected when they travel, and allow for continuing improvements in service and competition."
However, the airports said the price caps would put passenger service "at risk". "Our first impression is that a 5.35pc return on capital will put passenger service at risk by not attracting the necessary investment in Heathrow for the short, medium and long term," Heathrow, which is controlled by Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial, said in a statement.
The owners of Gatwick airport, led by Global Infrastructure Partners, said the proposed price controls would limit the airport's ability to invest and was based on "unrealistic" traffic growth, financing and efficiency assumptions. "The CAA must not hold us back through imposing heavy handed regulation, red-tape in the form of a license and an inflexible price control," Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said in a statement.
Meanwhile, airline bosses attacked the proposals for not going far enough. Willie Walsh, the chief executive of British Airways parent IAG, said: "Heathrow airport is over-priced, over-rewarded and inefficient and these proposals, which will result in an increase in prices, fail to address this situation."
Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted are the only airports regulated by the CAA, which can cap the amount airport bosses can impose on airlines in take-off and landing fees. A consultation period will now be held until June 25, and the CAA will publish its decision by the end of the year.
HEATHROW, GATWICK AND STANSTED
FACE REGULATORY SHAKE-UP
Alistair Osborne, Business Editor - Daily Telegraph - 18 April 2013
London's top three airports are facing the biggest regulatory shake-up for a quarter of a century, with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) poised to introduce different pricing regimes at each of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.
Top-down regulation of Gatwick could be replaced by a system allowing the airport to strike its own deals with airlines. In a radical departure, the CAA is looking to replace the outmoded regulatory formula at Stansted and give Gatwick more freedom to strike commercial deals. The regulator is also expected to force Heathrow to cut planned hikes to landing charges of 5.9pc a year above inflation that have enraged the airlines.
The regulatory changes could unleash lower fares, though the CAA is mindful of the need to encourage airport investment. The CAA will unveil its initial thoughts on April 30 for maximum landing charges per passenger at Britain's three regulated airports for the next five-year period starting in April next year. This sixth regulatory period marks a crucial split with the past, however, because it is the first time that all three airports are in different hands following the forced break-up of the BAA monopoly.
BAA, which is now renamed Heathrow, sold Gatwick to Global Infrastructure Partners for £1.5bn in 2009, while in January it offloaded Stansted to Manchester Airports Group for a similar sum. Changes of ownership have coincided with a new licensing regime for UK regulated airports that has, sources say, allowed the CAA to abandon its previous "one-size-fits-all regulation".
An added complication is the review by the Davies Commission into UK hub airport capacity, where any "game-changing" decision in 2015 would force the CAA to revisit its pricing proposals. At Stansted, the CAA is considering exempting the airport from the industry-wide pricing formula based on a "regulated asset base" (RAB) - the regulator's proxy for an airport's value - which rises in line with investment in new facilities, such as terminals and runways.
Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, which is responsible for 70pc of Stansted's traffic, has long complained that RAB-based regulation encourages "gold-plating". He argues that the current regime gives airport operators an incentive to build "Taj Mahal" facilities on the basis that the more they spend the more the regulator lets them charge per passenger.
He is also livid that Stansted's £1.3bn RAB is inflated by £156m of costs associated with the abortive plans to build a second runway at the airport.
The CAA would acknowledge Stansted's facilities do not reflect its low-fare customer base but is balking at calls from Mr O'Leary to cut the airport's RAB to between £700m and £800m and base charges on that.
Instead it is looking at alternative formulas. These include benchmarking charges against those at similar European airports or removing price caps altogether and simply monitoring any above-inflation rises. The CAA would then intervene to settle disputes. The latter approach, similar to the one used in Australia, could pave the way for Ryanair to strike a long-term deal with Stansted's new owners over the charges. Freedom to strike similar deals could also underpin the new model for Gatwick, which wants to be removed from the CAA's pricing regime.
Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate has claimed that charges would be lower if it was free to strike commercial deals with major customers such as easyJet. One industry source said: "The CAA is likely to call for them to prove it, while remaining as a regulatory backstop. It's not going to turn down a 10-year deal that's in everyone’s interests." Only at capacity-constrained Heathrow is the current top-down, RAB-based formula likely to remain.
Heathrow has infuriated airlines with plans to raise charges per passenger from £21.96 to £27.30 over the next five-year period, which it claims are necessary to support a £3bn investment programme - less than £11bn invested over the past decade that included building Terminal 5. It says its proposals "strike the right balance between continuing to invest for passengers and keeping charges at a level that is affordable for airlines".
But the carriers are up in arms. The CAA is expected to force Heathrow to cut its proposed price hikes, though by how much is unclear.
The CAA's April 30 announcement is expected to trigger intense lobbying by airports and airlines over the regime for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. It will make its final decision in January.
STOP STANSTED EXPANSION CLAIMS
AIRPORT DEMAND IS A FLIGHT OF FANCY
Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 22 April 2013
STOP Stansted Expansion (SSE) has rubbished claims that the UK is facing an airport capacity crisis which is damaging the UK economy. The pressure group claims that contrary to the concerns of the aviation industry and high-profile politicians like mayor of London Boris Johnson, there simply is no demand for more business flights or more routes to emerging markets.
The campaigners' comments appear in a submission to the Airports Commission discussion paper on Aviation Connectivity and the Economy. They allege it is the corporate interests of the UK aviation lobby rather than concern for UK Plc that is driving calls for additional runways, highlighting specific examples to back this up.
In a jibe at holidaymakers, they say Heathrow flew more people to Miami last year than to the whole of mainland China, and more people to Nice than to either Beijing or Shanghai. Meanwhile, Gatwick flew almost 50 times as many people to Spain last year as to the four BRIC countries - Brazil, Russia, India and China - combined.
As far as Stansted is concerned, operators provide flights every day of the week to Alicante, but none at all to any of Europe's main business centres such as Paris, Zurich and Frankfurt. At the same time, SSE pointed out that London remained ranked as the best city in Europe for doing business and as the city with the best transport links with other cities and internationally.
SSE's economics adviser, Brian Ross said: "We are clearly demonstrating that the UK has neither an airport capacity crisis nor a connectivity crisis. If there was demand for another 100 flights a day to China, there would be ample capacity to accommodate that straightaway. In fact, the overall demand for business flights is declining: overseas business trips by UK residents have fallen by a fifth since 2000."
"The UK has more commercial runways than either Germany, France, Spain or Italy," he added. "We even have more runway capacity than Japan - also an island trading nation - which has double our population and twice our GDP."
The Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, has been tasked by the Government to examine options for maintaining the UK's status as a global aviation hub. It will produce an interim report towards the end of this year and its final recommendations by the mid-2015.
NIGHT FLIGHTS ARE ESSENTIAL, SAYS STANSTED
Cuts in night flight limits would have a
damaging economic impact, Stansted warns
Phil Davies - Travel Weekly - 25 April 2013
Reductions would also lead to flights moving to airports with a greater environmental impact, the airport claims in its response to the Department for Transport's consultation on night flying restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted which closes this week.
The Essex airport's head of public affairs and sustainable development Chris Wiggan said: "As the UK economy improves and passenger and freight movements continue to grow at Stansted, it is vital that government recognises this potential and retains our full night flight quota limit.
Whilst we understand that night noise is an important issue for airport communities, a reduction in the limit would have a damaging effect on the UK economy and only serve to transfer movements to airports with greater environmental impacts."
He added: "Stansted is unique in the southeast as the only airport with a dedicated freight as well as a passenger operation. Over 1,000 people are employed in the freight operation, 500 alone at FedEx's UK base at Stansted. The speed of delivery that air freight can offer is an increasingly important factor for many modern businesses, especially where just-in-time practices and high value commodities are concerned."
"Night flights are not only critical to the express freight industry, they are important for passenger services and support the operations of affordable leisure and long-haul travel. Airlines like Ryanair and easyJet rely on flying in the early and late hours to maximise efficiency of their aircraft to help keep ticket prices down for passengers. It is also vital that any future night flights regime takes into consideration the Airports Commission process and supports airports in making the best use of available runway capacity in the UK over the short and medium term."
He claimed that since the current night regime began in 2007, Stansted has made "significant strides" to reduce its noise footprint with the introduction of the latest generation of quieter and more efficient aircraft. "It's essential that government policy strikes the right balance between the economic, environmental and social impacts of aviation," said Wiggan. "In striking this balance government should take full account of the critical role Stansted airport and night flights play in supporting the growth of the economy, both in our region and the UK as a whole."
O'LEARY STEPS UP STANSTED LANDING LEVY FIGHT
The chief executive of Ryanair has written to the Civil Aviation Authority accusing the industry regulator of "sitting on its hands"
and "issuing platitudes" while traffic volumes plunge
Alistair Osborne - Daily Telegraph - 27 April 2013
Michael O'Leary wrote to Iain Osborne, the CAA's group director of regulatory policy, complaining about its refusal to investigate why Stansted's previous owner - the Ferrovial-backed Heathrow group - was allowed to increase landing charges by 6pc in February just days before it sold the airport for £1.5bn. That was despite ongoing falls in traffic at the Essex airport.
Mr O'Leary alleged the price rise, which took effect at the beginning of this month, was a "sweetener" to encourage Manchester Airports Group to "overpay" for Stansted and urged the CAA to investigate. When Mr Osborne refused, saying Stansted's increases were within the regulatory price cap and "we have no reason to question the airport's motives", Mr O'Leary fired off a letter of complaint.
"It is inconceivable that any regulator, charged with protecting the reasonable interests of airport users, would not investigate why Ferrovial, on the week before they handed over Stansted to MAG, imposed a 6pc price increase... which will clearly be of no benefit to Ferrovial," Mr O'Leary wrote earlier this month. "Why don't you do something on behalf of users for a change and investigate this pricing scandal, instead of just sitting on your hands issuing platitudes?"
Rejecting Mr Osborne's offer to engage with the CAA over its proposed new regulatory framework for the big three London airports - due to be unveiled on Tuesday - Mr O'Leary said: "Why should Ryanair bother engaging with you on 'an appropriate regulatory framework' when you have clearly no interest in actively protecting airport users from unjustified and unnecessary price increases which have delivered six consecutive years of traffic declines at Stansted?"
Passenger numbers have fallen from 24m in 2007 to 17.5m last year, partly due to Ryanair - which accounts for around 70pc of the traffic - cutting flights at the airport in protest at the charges.
The CAA will this week unveil its initial thoughts on maximum landing charges per passenger at Stansted, Gatwick and Heathrow for the next five-year regulatory period starting in April 2014. It marks a departure from the past as it is the first time all three airports are in different hands following the break-up of the BAA monopoly. At Stansted, the CAA is expected to exempt the airport from the industry-wide pricing formula based on the regulated asset base (RAB) - the regulator's proxy for an airport's value - which rises with investment in new facilities.
Mr O'Leary has long complained that Stansted's £1.3bn RAB is artificially inflated by such things as £156m of spending relating to its proposed second runway. "The obvious thing to do is cut the RAB to £800m and cut the charges in half," Mr O’Leary told The Sunday Telegraph. "The CAA goes on about the need to incentivise airport investment. What about incentivising traffic growth?"
Mr O'Leary is angry that under the current regulatory formula, Stansted can increase its charges to compensate for lower traffic than the CAA forecast.
He said he expected a "meaningless" change from RAB regulation that still allowed Stansted to "jack up charges above inflation".
A CAA spokesman said: "Stansted's increase in charges was within the set price caps and under the current regime, legally there was nothing we could do." A Heathrow spokesman said: "The Stansted increase of inflation plus 1.63pc was determined by the CAA in early 2009 and is not in any way related to the sales process."
IT'S NOT FAIR, SAY LOW FARES AIRLINES
ENDS Europe - 1 May 2013
Europe's low fares airlines will go ahead with a legal challenge to an emissions trading derogation for non-EU flights within "a matter of months", according to Ryanair. It has not yet been decided in which jurisdiction to take the case.
The derogation was signed into law last week having been agreed by the European Parliament and member state negotiators in March. Low-fares airlines had signalled in February that they would challenge the derogation in court if and when the European Commission's proposal was adopted.
"It favours airlines with a higher proportion of long-haul flights into and out of the EU over low fares, intra-EU airlines," a Ryanair spokeswoman said. The vast majority of Ryanair’s business is intra-EU. The only non-EU country it flies to is Morocco, meaning that it will benefit very little from the derogation.
For 2012, the first year of emissions trading for aviation, Ryanair had by far the biggest shortfall in free carbon allowances of any airline, commission data shows. The Irish airline had to buy 1.9 million allowances before 30 April, the deadline for surrending their first allowances under the EU ETS. It received 5.6 million allowances free, enough to cover about three quarters of its needs.
Ryanair levies €0.25 on most of its flights towards its ETS costs. It estimates the cost of 2012 ETS compliance at €10-15m. The company booked a net profit after tax of €560m in 2012, up from €375m in the previous year.
STANSTED AIRPORT: SPARE FLIGHT CAPACITY
SHOULD BE USED TO SUPPORT HEATHROW
Ross Bentley - EADT Online - 1 May 2013
SPARE flight capacity at Stansted Airport should be used more effectively to offset demand for air travel in and out of Heathrow, according to a new report.
Air Capacity in London, published by the London Assembly, shows that during summer 2012, Stansted's peak period, it used only 53% of its runway capacity. Currently, the Essex airport services less than half the 35 million passengers per year that it has permission to handle.
The report also calls for improved public transport access from central London to Stansted to encourage travellers to switch from Heathrow and cites Stansted Airport Ltd's assertion that it could attract 1.5 million more passengers per year if the rail journey time from London was reduced from 45 to 30 minutes.
The study says these factors must be considered by the Airport Commission in its assessment of the different options for addressing airport capacity including London Mayor, Boris Johnson's proposal for a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary. The commission, chaired by ex-Financial Services Authority boss Sir Howard Davies, is expected to report back in 2015.
Chairman of the London Assembly's Transport Committee, Caroline Pidgeon, said: "Evidence we received shows that the Airport Commission must examine whether better use of existing airport capacity could be an intelligent cost-effective alternative to building new airports or runways."
Included in the 500-page report is a submission from Stansted Airport Ltd, which states that the airport is ready to take on more of London's passengers. It reads: "Stansted is currently operating at less than half its full capacity... and can handle more of London's demand with limited noise and environmental impacts. Growth to 35 milion passengers per annum will largely be achieved through more intensive use of current facilities, and will require only modest further investment. Making best use of Stansted's existing capacity would have significant economic benefits and would be delivered within approved environmental limits."
But for this to happen transport links with the capital must be improved, according to Witham MP Priti Patel, who is a lead campaigner on the issue.
She said: "Network Rail recognises that journey times on the West Anglia line are not great. Investment plans are foot and I expect to see improvements to the service within five to ten years. We have seen more capacity become available at Stansted in recent years because a downturn in economic activity has hit the airport, and improved transport links are a vital ingredient in making Stansted more attractive and productive."
Economics advisor at the Stop Stansted Expansion pressure group, Brian Ross said he was "pleasantly surprised" by the report. He added: "The report shows what we have been saying for some time - that there is no airport capacity crisis and there simply isn't the demand for more business flights or more routes to emerging markets."
EAGLE HAS LANDED... ON GATWICK EXPANSION
Evening Standard - 24 April 2013
LABOUR was moving towards backing a second runway at Gatwick before a review was set up into Britain's airport needs, the Standard reveals today. Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle has already publicly ruled out a third runway at Heathrow, doing a U-turn on Gordon Brown's firm support for expanding the airport.
She has also rejected Boris Johnson's idea of an airport in the Thames Estuary, largely on cost grounds, branding it an 'unworkable fantasy'. A second runway at Gatwick cannot be built before 2019 under a planning agreement. Ms Eagle, though, is understood to have seen such a development at the Sussex airport as a stronger contender than expanding, if the South East needed extra aviation capacity.
Gatwick is opening new routes, including to the Far East, as it seeks to become a rival to Heathrow while still has spare capacity. The Shadow Cabinet Minister is adamant that the Davies Commission into the UK's airport capacity should not be pre-empted. While Labour wanted Sir Howard Davies, the former head of the London School of Economics leading the review, to publish its final report before the 2015 election, it will await its conclusions before drawing up its new policy. Supporting expansion at Gatwick, or, had also not been agreed by the shadow cabinet.
However, both party leader Ed Miliband and Ms Eagle remain 'sceptical' about another runway at Heathrow. Labour, like the Conservatives, is divided over the future of the West London airport.
BRITISH AIRWAYS PLACES $6 BILLION ORDER
FOR 18 AIRBUS A350S
Robert Wall - Business Week - 22 April 2013
British Airways parent IAG SA said it will buy 18 Airbus SAS (EAD) A350 wide-body planes with a list price of almost $6 billion for the U.K. carrier.
The A350-1000 jetliners will be delivered from 2017 through 2023, according to IAG, which also secured options for 18 more A350s for BA, together with an undisclosed number for Spanish unit Iberia, pending an earnings turnaround there.
The contract secures a position for Airbus's newest wide body at IAG after the London-based company said this month it would exercise options to add 18 of Boeing Co. (BA)'s competing 787 Dreamliners in addition to 24 already on order. British Airways needs both models to replace a fleet of aging Boeing 747 jumbos.
"The A350-1000 will bring many benefits to our fleet," IAG Chief Executive Officer Willie Walsh said in a statement. "Its size and range will be an excellent fit for our existing network and, with lower unit costs, there is an opportunity to operate a new range of destinations profitably."
IAG, as International Consolidated Airlines Group SA is known, closed 1.6 percent higher at 256.40 pence before today's announcement. The stock has added almost 39 percent this year.
The firm orders for the Airbus and Boeing models will be used to replace 30 of BA's 50-plus 747s as part of a fleet renewal plan for the U.K. carrier's wide-bodies that will eventually also see the retirement of 46 Boeing 777-200s.
A380s to Come
British Airways (IAG) will also begin taking delivery of Airbus A380s this year, with commercial service to Los Angeles starting Oct. 15. The unit will operate 12 of the European planemaker's flagship planes, with deliveries continuing through 2016.
"The A380 and the A350 are perfectly matched for greener long-haul operations," John Leahy, Airbus's chief salesman said. "This is an important announcement from one of the world's most respected and influential airline brands."
British Airways is the first European carrier to commit to the A350-1000, the largest member of the family. The deal, once finalized, will bring the backlog for the variant to 128 units. The fleet over-haul plan that Walsh is rolling out effectively cuts capacity while adding frequencies.
The A350-1000 - which can seat 350 passengers in a three class layout - most closely matches the capacity of a 747 among planes BA is buying, with the carrier operating the jumbo in a four-class setup with as many as 345 seats. Orders for Madrid-based Iberia, which needs new long-haul jets to replace Airbus A330s and A340s, will be firmed up "when Iberia is in a position to grow profitably, having restructured and reduced its cost base," according to IAG, which is seeking more than 3,000 job cuts at the unprofitable business.
The A350s ordered today will be powered by the Trent XWB from Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc, the only engine currently available on the model and one which is guaranteed exclusivity on the 1000 variant. Rolls-Royce said today its part of the contract has a value of $1.6 billion, including maintenance.
The 787s being bought for British Airways will be powered by Trent 1000 engines from the U.K. manufacturer. BA is due to start receiving Dreamliners this year once Boeing finalizes handover plans after the aircraft's return to service following battery glitches that saw it grounded on Jan. 16.
The Airbus deal announced today still requires shareholder approval, IAG said.
OUR COMMENT: This new large Airbus A350 in common with its competitor the Boeing Dreamliner B787 (which British Airways has already purchased), has a key design criteria in that it will operate Point to Point services, which is a different operation from Hub and Spoke. In other words, it is designed to do for long haul what the B737 has done for short haul (and Michael O'Leary). The significance being that, traditionally for a large plane to be cost-effective on long haul routes, it needed to be feed by the short haul "spokes" of a Hub. Now the cost efficiency of the new A350 and B787 means that this is no longer the case. When Willie Walsh says "Its size and range will be an excellent fit for our existing network and, with lower unit costs, there is an opportunity to operate a new range of destinations profitably" that is code for "a Hub at Heathrow is no longer the only game in town". So back to the Airport Commission's papers on Capacity and Connectivity, the industry has already moved on.
GATWICK DENIES NEED FOR 'HUB' AIRPORT
Chris Madden - This is Sussex Online - 19 April 2013
GATWICK Airport has rejected suggestions the UK needs a 'hub' airport and says current airport capacity should be used to increase connectivity.
The airport's chief executive, and other senior officers, believe the UK must focus on making the most of exisiting flight routes and capacity at the current airports in the short term, rather than looking to develop a central hub airport. Their comments form part of the airport's response to a paper on connectiviety and economy, published by the Airport Commission - the government body responsible for the country's air travel.
Gatwick's response urged the Commission to reject suggestions that one 'hub' airport is the only way to develop routes to new destinations, highlighting the fact that Gatwick already serves half of the world's fastest growing economies. Chief executive of Gatwick Airport, Stewart Wingate, said: "It is true we will need additional capacity in the future. Without it, connectivity will be severely affected and the passenger experience will be impacted by unacceptable delays and rising prices. However, relentless suggestions that traditional "hubs" are the answer is misleading. Evidence shows that the London market is predominantly an origins and destinations market which means that most passengers begin or end their journey in London."
"A mega-hub airport therefore would be yesterday's solution to tomorrow's problem. We must not be blindly led to believe that because some of our European competitors serve more marginal routes to emerging markets, that we are falling behind them or that this is happening because Heathrow is full. If real competition is allowed to flourish, as it has at Gatwick, new routes will be created where there is market demand. For example, already this year Gatwick has added a route to Indonesia, demonstrating that competition is capable of delivering the connectivity needed by London and the UK."
The latest Gatwick Masterplan outlined that the airport will not be operating at full capacity until at least 2020, meaning there is space to develop new destinations on the existing site.
INDUSTRY SEEKS TO CUT AIRCRAFT NOISE
Andrew Parker - Financial Times - 22 April 2013
The aviation industry is seeking to defuse the contentious issue of airport expansion by highlighting how aircraft noise can be reduced even as the number of flights is set to almost double by 2050.
In a new report published on Tuesday, Sustainable Aviation - a lobby group whose supporters include British Airways and Heathrow airport - said noise generated by the UK fleet could be cut by 20 per cent by the middle of this century compared with 2010 levels, even though the number of flights is projected to rise by 90 per cent over the same 40-year period.
The findings come a day after groups opposed to airport expansion - notably at Heathrow - published a report disputing the aviation industry's assertion that more runways would boost UK economic growth.
The government last year appointed a commission led by Sir Howard Davies, the former head of the CBI employers' organisation, to consider the case for airport expansion. Sir Howard is expected to look at several options, including building a new hub in the Thames estuary, as well as the case for two new runways at Heathrow.
Heathrow is Europe's noisiest airport because of the number of people living under its flightpaths, and bosses there acknowledge this is a big obstacle to its expansion. Matt Gorman, Heathrow airport's sustainability director, said: "We recognise that... if we are to be successful in growing Heathrow, we would need to achieve stretching targets on noise."
The report by Sustainable Aviation - which Mr Gorman chairs - highlights several factors that should reduce jet noise in the coming years, although it does not include specific proposals for individual airports. The most important factor is the new generation of passenger jets, led by the Airbus A380, which have much quieter engines than older aircraft, such as the Boeing 747. The cut in jet din could actually be as much as 50 per cent by 2050 if aircraft manufacturers go further and produce a generation of "ultra-low noise" jets from the 2020s onwards. These estimates for reducing aircraft noise were calculated using the government's forecasts on growth in aircraft movements, which assume no new runways are built.
Sustainable Aviation's overall objective is to "limit and where possible reduce" the number of people living near airports who are significantly affected by aircraft noise: usually judged to be the case where residents are regularly exposed to levels of 57 decibels and above. The number of people falling into this category has been falling around Heathrow and other airports, principally because of quieter aircraft.
Heathrow is exploring whether it could continue to reduce - or at least not increase - the number of residents affected by aircraft noise above 57 decibels even if it obtained permission for a third runway and potentially a fourth.
Meanwhile, a report published on Monday by CE Delft, a Dutch consulting company, concluded that aviation links could not be proven to foster economic growth. The paper, commissioned by environmental organisations and Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise, an anti-expansion group, said: "Many studies find a positive correlation between aviation and economic growth, but no causal relationship between connectivity and economic growth was found."
CALLOUS QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Paul Regeli - Takeley Newsletter - 17 April 2013
The Callous quote of the week comes from the UK's Civil Aviation Authority, in a report entitled "Proposed methodology for estimating the cost of sleep disturbance from aircraft noise".
The report states that "the science is not robust enough to monetise the cognitive impairment in children at this time". Surely they are taking the name of "science" in vain here. Should that not be "the philosophy is not robust enough to decide whether cognitive impairment in children has a monetary value"?
AIR TRAVEL TO GET MORE TURBULENT AS CO2 EMISSIONS RISE
Sofia Mitra-Thakur - eadt news - 8 April 2013
Turbulence on transatlantic flights will become more frequent and severe by 2050 as carbon dioxide emissions rise, leading to longer journey times and increased fuel consumption, UK scientists have said.
Any air traveller has probably experienced turbulence. It can happen without warning and is caused by climate conditions such as atmospheric pressure, jet streams, cold and warm fronts or thunderstorms. Light turbulence shakes the aircraft, but more severe episodes can injure passengers and cause structural damage to planes, costing around an estimated $150 million a year.
Turbulence will be stronger and occur more often if carbon dioxide emissions double by 2050 as the International Energy Agency forecasts, scientists at the universities of Reading and East Anglia said in the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Carbon dioxide is one of the most potent greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. Increasing emissions raise the global average temperature, heating up the lower atmosphere. However, warming also changes the atmosphere 10 km above ground level, making it more unstable for planes, Paul Williams at the University of Reading and co-author of the report, said.
The scientists focused on the North Atlantic flight corridor - where 600 planes travel between Europe and North America each day - using computer simulations to examine the effects of climate change on conditions there. They found that the chances of encountering significant turbulence by the middle of the century will increase by between 40 and 170 percent, with the most likely outcome being a doubling of airspace containing significant turbulence.
The average strength of turbulence would also increase by between 10 and 40 percent. Bumpier air journeys would make flying more uncomfortable and raise the risks to passengers and crew.
Detours to avoid strong patches of turbulence would lengthen flight times, increasing fuel consumption, emissions and airport delays, which would ultimately drive up ticket prices, Williams said.
Air travel is one of the fastest-growing sources of carbon dioxide emissions, but the effects of climate change on turbulence have not been studied before. "Aviation is partly responsible for changing the climate in the first place. It is ironic that the climate looks set to exact its revenge by creating a more turbulent atmosphere for flying," Williams said.
The International Air Transport Association said the issue of climate sensitivity still held many uncertainties and the study would not change airline procedures. The aviation sector is aiming to halve its net CO2 emissions by 2050 from 2005 levels through new technology, alternative fuels and increased efficiency.
There have also been attempts to tax the sector amid slow progress towards a global deal on curbing aviation emissions. The European Union tried to force all airlines landing or taking off from EU airports to pay for their emissions last year through its carbon trading scheme. But opposition was so fierce it almost led to a trade war, so the law was frozen for a year for inter-continental flights.
AIRPORTS COMMISSION PUBLISHES CLIMATE PAPER
Aef Online - 5 April 2013
The Airports Commission, appointed by Government to advise on the possible need for new airport capacity in the UK, has today published the third in its series of issues papers. This most recent publication considers aviation's climate change impacts, as well as the possible impact of climate change effects on any future infrastructure.
The Commission appears keen for the UK to avoid disadvantaging itself economically through constraints on airport capacity, and quotes the Committee on Climate Change as expressing a preference for European or international climate measures over unilateral action in the UK. Nevertheless the Commission notes that European action on aviation emissions - through implementation of the EU ETS for all arriving and departing flights - has been partially suspended for one year in the hope that progress can be made on an international approach to aviation emissions. And it acknowledges that there have also been problems with the effectiveness of EU ETS in recent years related to an oversupply of carbon credits.
In terms of UK action on aviation emissions, the paper acknowledges that while aviation is currently not formally included in the UK's Climate Act and carbon budgets, both the Committee on Climate Change and the Government itself have made allowance in the budgets for inclusion of the sector in future. As the assumption for the purpose of the budgets has been that aviation emissions will remain constant at the level of the EU ETS cap for aviation, and as this cap is close to the figure for the 2005 emissions level from UK aviation, "a significant overshoot of 2005 aviation emissions levels in 2050 would suggest more challenging reductions in other sectors", suggests the paper.
AEF's view is that such an overshoot would effectively make it impossible to achieve the aims of the Climate Act, as it would assume reductions of greater than 90% from other sectors of the economy. The paper devotes a whole chapter to consideration of possible 'carbon leakage' that may arise if the UK were to impose constraints on airport expansion for climate reasons while other EU states imposed none (the model used assumes unlimited growth at competitor, hubs, for example).
Yet it is clear from figures presented by the Commission that, even assuming that airport capacity is constrained to current levels, that APD continues, and that aviation is included in EU ETS or a comparable global measure, forecast demand growth remains significantly higher than the level compatible with climate targets. In other words, if we want to meet these targets, new measures should be considered for constraining emissions, and unconstrained aviation growth with new runways should be out of the question.
A situation in which the UK was the only EU member to take action on aviation emissions seems, meanwhile, extremely unlikely. All major economies have committed to carbon dioxide reductions of 80% of 1990 levels by 2050, matching the UK's legally binding commitment, and the EU-wide 2020 emissions reduction target includes aviation. It is also worth noting that both France and Germany are now witnessing significant public opposition to airport expansion on the grounds of noise and landscape impacts, with thousands of campaigners in Frankfurt meeting weekly for the past 18 months to call for closure of the airport's fourth runway.
Home News from Stansted
SECURITY REVAMP IN £230M STANSTED GROWTH PLAN
Business Weekly - 14 April 2013
The new owner of Stansted Airport has kickstarted major expansion of the security area in the main concourse to speed passenger flow-through and improve the travel experience. The £45 million revamp over the next two years forms the first phase of a five-year, £230m investment programme by Manchester Airport Group, which bought Stansted in the BAA London portfolio breakup.
Stansted managing director, Andrew Harrison said MAG didn't pay £1.5 billion for the airport in January to let it stand still. Having battled a protest group called Stop Stansted Expansion for several years, Stansted was on the front foot and Harrison said a new campaign was underway - Stop Stansted Shrinking.
He said MAG was determined to engage more passionately with the business community in the East of England region and build on Stansted's midway point between Europe's leading technology cluster - Cambridge - and financial centre (London). The airport was also stepping up dialogue with global carriers about bringing sustainable long-haul services to Stansted, especially to the US and Asia.
Harrison said: "We have strong credentials both as the leading low fares hub for pan-European passengers and also as a major player for regional traffic. We intend to build on those strengths and also step up the dialogue which is already underway with airlines that can bring long haul services to Stansted."
The existing security area will be moved and expanded with more lanes to avoid congestion. The plan will entail some of the retail and food outlets in the main concourse being shifted to other slots with a concentration airside. "We want to speed passengers through security so they can enjoy their shopping, eating and relaxation time while they wait for their flights. It is vital that we improve the entire experience of using Stansted for existing and new customers alike."
While it is early days for MAG, Harrison said it was clear that Stansted had "loads of potential". Formerly MD at Manchester Airport, Harrison was moved to Stansted following the acquisition to maximise that potential. He said: "This acquisition is arguably the most important thing the group has ever done as a business so it is vital that we get the growth strategy right. It is also the most exciting mission I have ever undertaken."
"The infrastructure at Stansted is fantastic and primed for growth but the experience for passengers is not as good as it should be, so changing that is an absolute priority. We need to make it efficient as well as enjoyable for the user - and scaling up the security allied to subtle changes to the check-in, retail and refreshment areas will play a major part in that aspect of our strategy."
Harrison said the move would double the space available in the security area, which would have extra lanes and be generously staffed. The mix of shops and calibre of business lounges will also form part of the revamp. "Firstly, only around 50 per cent of people using the airport physically use check-in desks these days - they are increasingly checking in online. So we can take some of that capacity and channel it into the enlarged security area which is the first port of call for most passengers."
"As far as facilities for the business market are concerned, we have more work to do. Business passengers provide 20 per cent of our traffic so we have to look after these important customers much better than we already do."
While Stansted has been used as a political yo-yo by successive governments, MAG has nailed its strategy to one runway in the short to medium term.
New Labour had argued that Stansted needed a second runway. Now London's Mayor Boris Johnson and Chancellor George Osborne are said to be championing a new four-runway option for the Essex airport. Harrison said: "We need clarity, not uncertainty. We looked at all the angles and recognised that we could drive through the initial phases of our growth strategy with the one runway so we are proceeding on that basis."
"The fact is that Stansted is 50 per cent empty and once the low fares airlines have completed the early morning rush, we have spare capacity for new carriers. We can accommodate the transatlantic guys after the low fares rush is over."
Harrison said 80 per cent of Manchester Airport's traffic is outbound; Stansted has a more even 50-50 split between passengers going out and those coming in. Talks had started with a hitlist of Manchester international carriers in a bid to persuade them to add Stansted to their favoured hubs.
"We are talking to every one of those carriers, some 70 of them. Stansted only has between 10-14 carriers at any one time so it is clear we need to diversify. We are endeavouring to build momentum."
Harrison will also be triggering talks with major corporate players, such as AstraZeneca which has just announced plans to bring 2,000 jobs to Cambridge in shifting its corporate HQ from London and closing facilities in Cheshire. "AstraZeneca is a major user of Manchester Airport so the timing of their Cambridge move could be a force for good as far as Stansted is concerned."
No redundancies have followed MAG's takeover and none our planned. Harrison said: "I can't say there will never be a job lost along the way; all I can say is that to us this is a growth story. Our mantra is to Stop Stansted shrinking. It has had six years of getting smaller. Generally, if you achieve growth you employ more people, not less."
Recent passenger figures and consistently robust cargo volumes suggest MAG has a platform on which to build. "That can only spell good news for the UK and the East of England economy," Harrison said.
STANSTED: AIRPORT COMPLETES HAT-TRICK
AT WORLD AIRPORT AWARDS
Eadt - 11 April 2013
STANSTED Airport has again been named the world's best airport for low-cost airlines at the World Airport Awards. For the third successive year, Stansted, now part of Manchester Airports Group (MAG), has topped a poll of passengers in the annual SKYTRAX airport customer survey, ahead of rivals Berlin Schonefeld and Luton.
The survey focused on all aspects of passenger journeys and captured the opinions of travellers of 108 different nationalities at 395 airports around the world.
Stansted Airport's communications director, Will Parkes, who collected the award during a ceremony in Geneva, said: "It's a fantastic achievement and a very proud moment for everyone at Stansted to be voted the world's best airport for low-cost airlines for the third year in a row. It's made all the more special as the award is decided by the people that matter the most in the aviation world and the users of airports across the globe - our passengers."
He added: "Stansted is now beginning a new era as part of MAG and there are very ambitious plans to develop and improve the airport. This includes significant investment plans to re-vamp the award winning terminal and build on our past success and excellent operational track record."
"Stansted already serves around 150 destinations across Europe but the focus now is to grow passenger numbers and broaden the route network with our existing customers and by attracting new airlines to the airport. It's fantastic to be once again recognised as a world-leading airport, but our determination is to make Stansted even better in the months and years ahead."
Edward Plaisted of SKYTRAX, said: "We have seen an upturn in the number of nominations in the low-cost airport category in the 2013 survey, and London Stansted should be delighted with its consistent performance over the last three years. Demand for low-cost air travel continues to grow, as does the number of airports specifically targeting terminal facilities that cater for these passengers. From our survey results we can see that Stansted continues to lead other 'low-cost' airports by someway in the global results and is ranked amongst some of the larger airports in Europe and Asia."
STANSTED: NEW ANGLIA LEP
HAILS AIRPORTS 'GREEN' INITIATIVES
Duncan Brodie - eadt - 8 April 2013
LEADERS of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership's work on the green economy have hailed Stansted Airport as an example for the rest of the UK and Europe to follow.
During a visit to Stansted, Iain Dunnett, who is operations manager at New Anglia and part of the LEP's Green Economy Pathfinder (GEP) project to lead the national agenda on the low carbon economy, met with the airport's environmental team to discuss its efforts to reduce its environmental impact.
"Stansted is setting an excellent example," said Mr Dunnett. "As the biggest single site employer in the region, with over 11,000 staff, and being a gateway to our region for coming up to 18 million people every year, it is vital the airport showcases the difference a commitment to a green business approach makes. Stansted Airport, along with Norwich International and our thriving ports, are the international gateway into our region for business, and it is for that reason we greatly value its role in the green economy."
During the visit, Mr Dunnett toured a number of 'green' projects including its biomass boiler. He also heard how, during 2011, Stansted saved enough water to fill 80 Olympic sized swimming pools thanks to the help of a specialist programme of surveying and repairs to its 10-mile drinking water pipe network. The recycling of waste at the airport is now at 47%.
"Stansted has a wood-chip biomass boiler that provides the heat and energy needs of the terminal and uses renewable energy sourced from sustainable forests sourced within 20 miles of the airport," he said. "This important piece of kit has out performed all expectations and has helped reduce annual gas consumption by nearly 40%. The fact that it is now the airports primary boiler shows that having a commitment to running a low carbon business makes good business sense."
Mr Dunnett added: "The work of the GEP is all about how business can make a clarion call to the rest of the UK about how low carbon initiatives are a vital part of the economic recovery of the country. There, of course, are always challenges for places like Stansted to continually work on reducing its CO2 emissions and their impact on the environment around them."
"For example the team at Stansted have even been a key part of managing plan for Eastend Wood with Natural England and the Forestry Commission. That work has involved tree coppicing and tree removal and in a great link with New Anglia a Suffolk Punch horse was used to remove felled trees rather than heavier vehicles and machinery," he said.
STANSTED FLYING HIGH AGAIN WITH NEW CARGO AWARD
Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 15 April 2013
STANSTED Airport has added another honour to its trophy cabinet after picking up an Air Cargo Award of Excellence. The accolade acknowledge achievements in air cargo and is based on a survey of airline and industry professionals.
Stansted received top marks for performance, value and facilities in the Europe category of airports handling up to 399,999 tonnes of freight a year.
Mark Souter, Stansted head of airline relations, said: "We're extremely proud to receive the Air Cargo Award of Excellence, especially as it's voted for by our airlines and industry partners."
"Stansted has a worldwide reputation as an extremely efficient cargo hub and offers excellent operational capacity, airfield and infrastructure reliability, and easy access to the road network. Together with the ability to operate around the clock, we provide businesses with access to multiple markets across the globe adding significantly to the UK's appeal as a place to locate and invest."
Stansted is one of the largest freight hubs in the UK and home to an international cargo operation that transports over 200,000 tonnes of goods to destinations worldwide, including the USA and Far East. A testimony to the airport's status as a major international cargo facility is the growing number of industry leaders that have already chosen to operate from the airport - Cargolux, Asiana, British Airways World Cargo, Global Supply Systems, Fed EX, Martinair, Royal Mail, Panalpina, Titan, TNT and UPS.
In 2012, British Airways World Cargo introduced three new Boeing 747-8 freighters into service at Stansted. These superjumbos are 30 per cent quieter and produce 16 per cent less emissions than the Boeing 747-400 aircraft type they replaced.
Stansted's largest freight operator FedEx also strengthened their commitment to the environment and efforts to reduce its carbon footprint by upgrading its fleet with a Boeing 777 freighter in 2011. The jet, which operates on the Stansted to Memphis route, brings environmental benefits including lower noise levels and reduced emissions compared to the three engine MD-11 it replaced.
LYDD AIRPORT EXPANSION GIVEN GO-AHEAD
BBC News - 10 April 2013
Plans to expand a Kent airport have been given the go-ahead by the government following a pubic inquiry.
Lydd Airport bosses want a new terminal building and an extended runway to take up to half a million passengers a year. Opponents said safety fears about the nearby Dungeness nuclear plant had not been addressed.
Shepway District Council gave permission for the expansion plans in 2010 but the government called for a public inquiry. The £25m project, also known as London Ashford Airport, includes a runway extension of almost 300m (328yds).
Hani Mutlaq, the airport's executive manager, said the government's decision was "a victory for common sense and for the people of Romney Marsh".
The approval is subject to environmental, noise and traffic conditions.
"Once all these have been addressed, we hope to begin the runway construction work as soon as possible," added Mr Mutlaq.
Adrew Ogden, from the Kent branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: "The issue of nuclear safety has always been raised. This was not examined fully or properly at the inquiry."
Following the runway and terminal extensions, more than 200 people will be employed, the airport said.
Yvette Austin, the BBC South East's environment correspondent, said: "The decision can still be challenged. The people who are opposed to the development such as the RSPB and CPRE Protect Kent, could go to the High Court. They have to do it within six weeks, so we may see more debate and more waiting."
MINISTER FOR SECOND GATWICK RUNWAY
Hammond: seeks Gatwick expansion
Gulf Times - 12 April 2013
Philip Hammond has become the first Cabinet minister to call publicly for expansion at Gatwick to solve the aviation crisis in the south-east.
The defence secretary strongly rejected expansion at Heathrow - but also ruled out a four-runway hub at Stansted and what he called the "fanciful" Boris Island idea. He claimed a second runway at Gatwick, followed later by an extra runway at Stansted, would provide "decades worth of passenger growth capacity" while preventing a "disastrous" closure of Heathrow.
"The need for more capacity at London’s airport system is undeniable, but the idea that this has to mean four-runway airports needs to be challenged," he wrote in his local paper, the Surrey Herald.
As a former transport secretary, Hammond's words will carry weight with the Davies Commission set up to consider the future of London's aviation links.
But he was criticised by Brendon Sewill, chairman of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, who said: "I doubt if he has walked around the area - if so he would see there is no room for a second runway."
Sewill said expanding Gatwick would be another example of the "short-term solutions" that had blighted British aviation policy for 60 years.
Heathrow airport bosses are also strongly against Hammond's ideas, saying a dual-hub strategy would not work for airlines or passengers.
However, Gatwick bosses are keen to expand and say a second runway there would affect fewer homes than new runways at Heathrow. Under an agreement with the local community, a second runway at Gatwick could not be built before 2019.
While in charge of the department for transport, Hammond favoured the so-called "Heath-wick" solution of two runways each at Heathrow and Gatwick, linked by super-fast rail to form a dual hub.
Hammond warned strongly against a new hub at Stansted - which is believed to be Boris Johnson’s new favourite - which would be "a disaster" for Heathrow and the west London economy.
AIRPORT BOSS HITS BACK OVER CLAIMS
David Bale - Evening News - 2 April 2013
The boss at Norwich International airport has hit back at claims that Britain has too many airports and that some, including Norwich, faced an uphill battle to justify their existence.
Paul Kehoe, chief executive of Birmingham airport, said that Britain has twice as many airports as it needs, which was the legacy of a short-lived boom in budget travel, and questioned whether airports such as Norwich, Blackpool, Doncaster and Middlesbrough were sustainable. Many regional terminals are suffering a hangover after expanding in response to a low-cost travel boom before the 2008 financial crisis.
The number of passengers passing through UK airports peaked at 240m in 2007 and has since fallen to 221m. Norwich's usage has halved since its peak. In 2007, Norwich had 699,000 passengers and in 2012 397,000. But regional airports have immediately hit back, saying they boosted local economies but were held back by air fare taxes.
Andrew Bell, chief executive Norwich airport, said: "Norwich airport was not simply built for the 'low-cost boom' that preceded the financial crisis in 2008 and its established existence before and after this period underlines its importance and sustainability for the benefit of its region. With most of the airports in the UK being privately owned, it is, of course, the market that will justify the continuing existence of one airport over another. I agree that there are airports in the UK whose continued existence may be less than certain in the unforgiving glare of market forces, but Norwich International is certainly not one of them."
He added: "Unfortunately, when trying to draw conclusions about an airport's sustainability based solely on passenger numbers, it is easy for the casual observer to miss the other fundamental aspects of some airport's business models. In Norwich's case, the business has diverse and strong foundations."
Mr Kehoe said that there were 20 airports handling commercial flights in an area between Leeds and Southampton. "Everybody's got an airport," Mr Kehoe said. "Is that sustainable in the long-term?"
He said that in economic terms there were only eight British cities that needed an airport, and added: "To be blunt, you've got to look long and hard at the likes of Blackpool, Doncaster, Durham and Norwich."
NO HEATHROW THIRD RUNWAY IN 50 YEARS, SAYS WALSH
Travel Weekly - 11 April 2013
There will be no third runway at Heathow "in 50 years" but British Airways won't be moving airports, Willie Walsh told industry leaders yesterday.
Walsh, chief executive of BA parent IAG, told the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Summit in Abu Dhabi: "Heathrow is full, but there isn't going to be another runway." He said: "The issue is political. You will not see another runway because there are 73 politicians [MPs] in the area of Heathrow who will be fixated on it."
Walsh insisted: "No political party will come out and support a new runway." He also dismissed the idea the UK government would sanction an alternative hub airport. Walsh said: "There won't be a third runway and there won't be a new airport built in the Thames Estuary because of the cost of financing it. The airport charges would be too great."
He argued: "Every way you look at it, Heathrow will continue to be a two-runway airport. I fully expect BA to fly from a two-runway Heathrow in 50 years."
Walsh slammed the UK government once again over Air Passenger Duty (APD), insisting: "This is a damaging tax." He said: "A recent report from PwC showed scrapping the tax would boost the economy and see a positive effect on government finances."
Walsh hailed the industry campaign against APD and, in particular, the Axe the Tax campaign by BA, Virgin Atlantic, easyJet and Ryanair.
He described it as "one of the most successful lobbying campaigns we have had", adding: "Hundreds of thousands of consumers wrote to politicians." But Walsh said: "The reality is we need a more sustained campaign." He argued the industry made a mistake by not campaigning sooner. Walsh said: "The mistake was the industry did not scream and shout when Gordon Brown doubled APD in 2007. We didn't do it then and we have ourselves to blame."
Asked about competition from rail on routes to Paris and Brussels, Walsh said: "I've taken the train to Paris and Brussels and am pleased to say it has been delayed every time." But he added: "High-speed rail linked to hub airports would be fantastic."
Tony Tyler, secretary general of airline association IATA, told the summit: "Aviation supports 57 million jobs and carries 35% of trade goods by value. Yet governments put barriers in the way of it."
ABTA MAKES ITS STAND ON AIRPORT DEVELOPMENT
Travel News - 3 April 2013
The UK's Association of British Travel Agents, ABTA, has submitted its opinions to the Airports Commission on how Britain's airport infrastructure should be improved.
The UK's well documented airport capacity problems have lead the Airport Commission to seek the views of interested parties on effective options that are also practical, in order to ease the situation.
Amidst fears that the British economy is suffering as a result of its restricted capacity for air traffic expansion, ABTA's opinion is that the airport infrastructure in the South-East of England should be prioritised for urgent development. The organisation also suggests that attention is given to the mix of aviation models, as it believes that business and leisure travel should be viewed as interdependent and should be developed as such.
Key to ABTA's submission is that the travel infrastructure around airports should be addressed to provide realistic, speedy access from major conurbations. ABTA supported this view with the results of its 2012 annual consumer survey, with 78 percent of respondents wanting a journey time to the airport of two hours or less. A preference for flying from a local airport also found favour with a large majority of 62 percent, and connecting flights were unpopular with a third of those canvassed. 90 percent of those questioned for the survey considered themselves air travellers.
ABTA chief executive, Mark Tanzer, said, "It's essential that when the Government looks at airport capacity particularly in the South East, it recognises the interdependence of business and leisure travel and does not prioritise one over the other. It also needs a coherent policy on improving surface access to the airports. Passengers want short journeys to the airport and many are not willing to take connecting flights."
"The Government needs to invest in efficient, fast public transport connections which will also help restrict the impact of flying on the environment and local residents. The extension of HS2 to run via Heathrow would be a firm declaration of intent and would undoubtedly prove a great success with passengers both from the UK and overseas."
BIOFUELS: 'IRRATIONAL' AND 'WORSE THAN FOSSIL FUELS'
Matt McGrath, Environment Correspondent - BBC News - 15 April 2013
The UK's "irrational" use of biofuels will cost motorists around £460 million over the next 12 months, a think tank says.
A report by Chatham House says the growing reliance on sustainable liquid fuels will also increase food prices. The author says that biodiesel made from vegetable oil was worse for the climate than fossil fuels. Under EU law, biofuels are set to make up 5% of the UK's transport fuel from today.
"It creates a financial incentive to buy refined palm oil, cook a chip in it to turn it into used cooking oil and then sell it at profit..." - Rob Bailey Chatham House.
Since 2008, the UK has required fuel suppliers to add a growing proportion of sustainable materials into the petrol and diesel they supply. These biofuels are mainly ethanol distilled from corn and biodiesel made from rapeseed, used cooking oil and tallow.
Deep fried fuel
But research carried out for Chatham House says that reaching the 5% level means that UK motorists will have to pay an extra £460m a year because of the higher cost of fuel at the pump and from filling up more often as biofuels have a lower energy content.
The report say that if the UK is to meet its obligations to EU energy targets the cost to motorists is likely to rise to £1.3bn per annum by 2020.
"It is hard to find any good news," Rob Bailey, senior research fellow at Chatham House, told BBC News. "Biofuels increase costs and they are a very expensive way to reduce carbon emissions," he said.
The EU biofuel mandates are also having hugely distorting effects in the marketplace. Because used cooking oil is regarded as one of the most sustainable types of biodiesel, the price for it has risen rapidly. Rob Bailey says that towards the end of 2012 it was more expensive than refined palm oil.
"It creates a financial incentive to buy refined palm oil, cook a chip in it to turn it into used cooking oil and then sell it at profit. It is crazy but the incentives are there." Oil made from rapeseed is widely used for biodiesel across the EU.
There are also worries that taking EU land out of production to grow rapeseed oil in particular is creating more climate problems than it solves. The more fuel of this type that is put into cars the bigger the deficit created in the edible oils market. This had lead to increased imports of palm oil from Indonesia, often produced on deforested land.
"Once you take into account these indirect effects, biofuels made from vegetable oils actually result worldwide in more emissions than you would get from using diesel in the first place," said Rob Bailey. "Plus you are asking motorists to pay more for the fuel - it makes no sense, it is a completely irrational strategy."
The European Biodiesel Board (EBB), which represents the industry across the EU, said it was aware of the problems caused by the mandate. But it believes that biofuels have many positives. "Blaming biofuels for all the troubles in the world is a bit too exaggerated," said Isabelle Maurizi, project manager at the EBB.
"It has brought lots of benefits. It has improved the security of our diesel; it has reduced EU dependency on animal feed imports, thanks to the rapeseed we grow for biodiesel. If there was no biodiesel farmers would just make their land idle - no food, no feed!"
As the UK hits the 5% of liquid fuels mark, the government faces some difficult decisions on how to move forward on this issue as it faces tripling the costs for motorists by 2020.
Insiders suggest its preference would be to try and get agreement in Brussels on the impacts of indirect costs which might constrain what counts as biofuel. However getting agreement from countries with powerful agricultural sectors who benefit from the current arrangement will be difficult.
"When you have a lobby which includes the agricultural sector and the oil sector it is very hard for Governments to make a U-turn," said Rob Bailey.
BOOM LEFT BRITAIN WITH POINTLESS
REGIONAL AIRPORTS, SAYS FLIGHT CHIEF
Andrew Clark - The Times - 1 April 2013
Britain has twice as many airports as it needs, the legacy of a short-lived boom in budget travel, according to the head of Birmingham's international hub.
Paul Kehoe has suggested that airports such as Norwich, Blackpool, Doncaster and Middlesbrough face an uphill battle to justify their existence. Anybody listening to airports' competing claims about their "catchment areas" would be left with an impression that Britain had a population of more than 300 million, he said. Regional airports immediately hit back, saying that they boosted local economies but were held back by air fare taxes.
Mr Kehoe, chief executive of Birmingham airport, said that in an area stretching from Southampton to Leeds there were 20 airports handling commercial flights. The number of passengers passing through UK airports peaked at 240 million in 2007 and has since fallen to 221 million - a drop the size of Stansted airport's annual traffic.
"Everybody's got an airport," Mr Kehoe said. "Is that sustainable in the long term?" He claimed that in economic terms there were only eight British cities that needed an airport, in addition to essential outlying airports in Scotland?s Highlands and Islands. "Clearly, every community wants connectivity. Who am I to say you shouldn't have an airport?" he said. "But as a country, we need very effective airports and scale does matter. To be blunt, you've got to look long and hard at the likes of Blackpool, Doncaster, Durham and Norwich."
Mr Kehoe hit out at a deal last week under which the Welsh government paid £52 million to nationalise Cardiff's struggling airport The deal was condemned by Wales's Conservative Opposition as a "socialist vanity project" and has upset airports in Bristol and the Midlands. The Birmingham boss expressed concern about state aid, saying: "We don't have a choice about hospitals and education. But we do have a choice about whether we should go on holiday. Why should the taxpayer subsidise it?"
Many regional terminals are suffering a hangover after aggressively expanding in response to a low-cost travel boom before the 2008 financial crisis.
At the peak of the boom, Doncaster's Robin Hood airport handled a million passengers a year, but its traffic has since dropped by a third. Blackpool's usage has fallen 42 per cent to 235,000 people since 2007, Norwich has halved since its peak and Durham Tees Valley's traffic has collapsed from 912,000 to 165,000 in six years. Several airports have ceased operations recently. Plymouth City airport shut in 2011 and Bristol's Filton aerodrome closed last year.
Blackpool airport rejected Mr Kehoe's remarks, saying that it was a key economic driver to Lancashire, providing support for offshore wind farms and gas rigs as well as allowing local residents to travel conveniently. A spokeswoman said: "Regional airports are extremely important to the connectivity of an area and can offer a different 'fast track' experience than those bigger international airports."
Some smaller airports blame the rising cost of aviation fuel and increases in tax on airline tickets for their difficulties. A spokesman for Durham Tees Valley airport acknowledged that minor airports were operating in "a very competitive and challenging environment" and criticised government "procrastination" for a lack of strategic planning in air links. However, the airport insisted that smaller transport hubs were crucial in spreading economic development across the UK.
Experts say that Britain's regional airports are not all in ideal places. However, many argue that they could be used more effectively to relieve overcrowding at Heathrow and Gatwick. Corin Taylor, senior economic adviser at the Institute of Directors, said: "There are things we could do in terms of improving surface access and providing rail-air through ticketing. I don't think a plan of closing airports in certain parts of the country makes a lot of sense. If there isn't enough demand for routes, they'll close anyway and airlines will go elsewhere. That's market forces."
GOVERNMENT'S AVIATION STRATEGY 'DISAPPOINTING'
Hacan Press Release - 24 March 2013
Campaign group HACAN, representing residents under the Heathrow flight paths, has described the Government's new aviation strategy, released on Friday 22nd March, as 'disappointing'.
The strategy sets out overall Government policy on aviation. It replaces the 2013 Air Transport White Paper published by the previous Labour Government. The new policy will provide the framework for the Airports Commission which the Government set up last year under Sir Howard Davies. It has been asked to make recommendations about how much extra airport capacity may be needed in the coming decades so that the UK can remain well connected to the rest of the world.
One of the main objectives of the new strategy will be "to ensure that the UK's air links continue to make it one of the best connected countries in the world" so that "the UK can compete successfully for economic growth opportunities." The Government also stresses that it wants to "ensure that the aviation sector makes a significant and cost-effective contribution towards reducing global emissions" and that the number of people significantly affected by aircraft noise is limited and where possible reduced. It does not, though, set noise or climate change targets.
HACAN chair John Stewart said, "The aviation strategy is very disappointing. It will permit growth without any clear targets to limit its noise and climate change impacts. Without such targets there is no guarantee that people or the planet will be protected."
AIRPORT OPERATORS WELCOME
NEW GOVERNMENT POLICY FRAMEWORK
Ian Taylor - Travel Weekly Online - 25 March 2013
The Airport Operators Association (AOA) welcomed publication of the government's aviation policy strategy at the end of last week.
The government's Aviation Policy Framework, published on Friday, replaces the 2003 Air Transport White Paper which set out the previous government's aviation strategy. The new paper avoids the issue of airport capacity in the south east, leaving this to the Davies Commission which is not due to report fully until 2015.
However, AOA chief executive Darren Caplan said: "We are pleased to see a clear recognition that aviation needs to grow. We welcome the government's confirmation that one of its main objectives is to ensure that the UK's air links continue to make it one of the best-connected countries in the world." Caplan added: "We need a policy framework which recognises the importance of aviation."
The Framework document suggests a number of ways to improve existing airport capacity ahead of the Davies Commission making recommendations.
These include the aim to "make better use of existing runway capacity through liberalising the UK aviation market to encourage foreign airlines to develop routes from less-congested airports". The document also suggests encouraging the operators of the UK's busiest airports "to consider how scarce capacity might be utilised more effectively".
The Framework commits the government and industry "to limit and reduce where possible the number of people significantly affected by airport noise".
However, proposals put forward by the previous transport secretary Justine Greening to impose stricter thresholds on aircraft noise no longer appear.
Instead, the Framework proposes implementing "noise envelopes" around airports which would allow an increase in the number of aircraft movements in proportion to the use of quieter, more up-to-date aircraft.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin launched the Framework strategy saying: "The UK is one of the best-connected countries in the world. But if we want to maintain our premier league status we need an aviation sector that is equipped to face the challenges of the 21st Century."
HEATHROW WARNS DAVIS COMMISSION
OF FLAWED DFT DEMAND FORECASTS
Heathrow says Department for Transport incorrectly assumes
overspill of passengers can pass through other British airports
Gwyn Topham, Transport Correspondent - The Guardian - 22 March 2013
Heathrow has warned the Davies commission that government forecasts for aviation demand are flawed and that the case for a four-runway hub may never materialise. In a submission to the commission considering the case for expanding airport capacity, Heathrow said the Department for Transport incorrectly assumes that passengers who cannot be accommodated at the London hub will pass through other British airports.
Instead, Heathrow claims, much business will be lost to overseas hubs such as Dubai and Istanbul, which operate on a similar model for long-haul routes and transfer traffic.
The airport states that the passenger demand case for a third runway is clear and present now - marking a slight change of tack for Heathrow. Chief executive Colin Matthews has been reticent in spelling out its objective so baldly during recent lobbying. The airport reiterated that the "hub capacity constraint" brought by its cancelled third runway is having a "damaging impact on connectivity" and "lost trade opportunities" that the UK may never get back.
The government has published its delayed aviation policy framework paper, eagerly anticipated by the sector before the question of airport expansion was hived off to the Davies commission. The transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, said it "strikes the right balance between allowing the aviation industry to thrive while minimising impacts on the environment and local communities". However, proposals published in the draft paper last year by his predecessor, Justine Greening, to impose stricter thresholds on aircraft noise aligned with the rest of Europe, no longer appear.
"BROAD SUPPORT" TO LIBERALISE UK AVIATION MARKET
Oliver Clark - Routes News Online - 27 March 2013
There is "broad support" among business and local government for extending fifth freedom rights to all of London airports and easing bilateral restrictions, but the general public is more sceptical, responses to the Government's aviation policy consultation have revealed.
Of 126 businesses including airlines and association and local government, respondents to the Government's Draft Aviation Policy Framework consultation report, 43% supported the idea of allowing foreign airlines to fly from Stansted, Gatwick and Luton to countries other than their home states, with 28% opposed. Among the reasons given in support included the better use of existing infrastructure, a belief it would increase competition and "encourage new routes".
However, views among the general public, who were counted by the separately in the report, were more cautious, with 42 against the idea and only 33 in favour.
Currently only Heathrow enjoys fifth freedom within the South East. There was also support for liberalising the UK's bilateral regime, to allow foreign carriers to operate to regional airports without reciprocal access for UK-based carriers, with 49.3% of businesses and government in support and 18.5% against. However support from the public was more lukewarm, with only 39 in favour, 24 against and 38 holding neither view.
The framework will form the basis of the Government's future aviation strategy in all areas expect airport capacity in the South East, which is being investigated by the Davis Commission. Its goals include opening up access to the airports outside the South East to bilateral partners without reciprocal agreements on a case by case basis, and investigating the practicalities of installing US pre-clearance facilities at UK airports.
NEW BOSS TALKING LANGUAGE OF SUCCESS
AT STANSTED AIRPORT
Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 21 March 2013
GOOD news about Stansted has been lost in translation for years, but the airport's new managing director Andrew Harrison is determined to communicate a positive message.
Passenger numbers have been in decline from 2007's high of almost 24m and, since the start of the decade, the Uttlesford low-cost base has been mired in uncertainty over its ownership. Reversing its fortunes and the public's perception is a mighty task, but one the new boss is undaunted by. After studying French, German and Italian he decided to take a degree in Japanese at Sheffield University. The Bradford-born 40-year-old said: "The thing that runs through me is I like a challenge - which is why I did Japanese."
At the start of this month Stansted was snapped up by Manchester Airports Group for £1.5bn. Mr Harrison, then chief operating officer of the whole group with overall responsibility for the northern flagship, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports, became the guardian of the southern acquisition.
"This is the most important thing we have ever done - it effectively doubles the size of our group in one fell swoop. I feel responsibility from the MAG point of view, but I also feel responsibility to the people who work here - and the community that we live with - to do a good job for them.
This is a real opportunity to step up and create a new future for Stansted."
He is already impressed by the layout of the airport - describing it as the best facility in the UK in a great location - and has identified the "characterful staff" as a real asset. For those who feared job losses after the takeover he said: "We have an opportunity to grow the airport and we want this to be a growth story. We want to create an airport that people are proud to work in and that local people are proud to say 'that's our airport'. That will mean raising our game in lots of areas and trying to compete and be not the biggest, but the best airport in London."
His aim now is to halt the decline in traffic and deliver a much-needed boost. "When you put everything together, you have the makings of a brilliant airport - but what it does lack is a bit of sparkle."
Describing the airport as "utilitarian", his plans centre on improving the passenger experience with better retail and car parking - his two specialist subjects - and he has £230m in his war chest over the next five years for maintenance and upgrades. He will be drawing on his retail expertise, honed by nine years with Marks and Spencer and recognised with a gold award from the British Council of Shopping Centres for his work at Manchester Airport in a bid to woo new business.
And he said reviewing the unpopular terminal set-down and pick-up arrangements was already in his "in tray" and would be looked at as part of his task of making the airport more attractive to passengers across the South East, where he feels Stansted has punched below its weight. "Other airports in London have got a bad reputation. Stansted is actually neither good nor bad. It is therefore a blank canvas. We want it to be a bit more exciting and we have all the raw materials to do that."
While he was keen to stress that controversial Irish budget airline Ryanair, which currently accounts for 70 per cent of Stansted's traffic, will continue to be an important part of his vision, Manchester is served by many more carriers and he would look to capitalise on those relationships with the aim of restoring long-haul flights from the Essex base "as part of our longer-term plans". He said: "While we are talking to them about Manchester we can be talking to them about Stansted."
He looked forward to a future without the competition and conflicts which held the business back in the past as part of a group with Heathrow and Gatwick. "When you look at our group, Manchester and Stansted do not overlap - so we can complement. What we want is for Stansted to stand on its own two feet."
He was undaunted by the current economic turmoil in Europe, which has often been blamed for Stansted's faltering fortunes and will be looking closer to home for the solution. "When we look at the catchment area, we are probably under-represented in terms of the growth we have seen. It's pretty unusual that an airport with this catchment would have 50 per cent of its capacity untapped. We just need to reflect what people want."
While restoring Stansted's traffic to 2007 levels is his five-year aim, he was clear MAG had not looked further - to the fraught issue of a second runway, despite recent political rumblings. The renewed debate on South East expansion has run along side Stansted's sale. Mr Harrison said: "It started during the process but we did not allow ourselves to be sidetracked."
He stressed new infrastructure was part of a national debate and he is focused on building good relationships with both the neighbouring community and local businesses to kick start Stansted first and foremost. After getting to know his team, meeting with local authorities and MPs are high on his agenda for the next few weeks. He said: "I want to listen to what is important to them."
Then he will be looking at how the community work MAG does in its northern stronghold - such as employment and education initiatives - can be remodelled in the South where needs may be different. He said: "Even if the format does not necessarily translate, that principle of trying to find a way to engage with the community does. We really want to understand how we can engage in realistic programmes which add value to the community."
The married father of three said: "We want to be an airport of community and be seen as part of the community, rather than something that sits in the community but does not engage."
OUR COMMENT: The community will need to explain to Mr Harrison that there are very real problems for those who live round airports, noise being the most worrying. He also needs to remember that Stansted is surrounded by much still un-spoilt countryside and ancient forest. He has a duty to ensure that this environment is not imperiled by the airport's activities or by future expansion.
AVIATION REPORT ENCOURAGES QUIETER JETS
Andrew Parker - Finacial Times - 22 March 2013
Ministers are planning measures that could increase the number of aircraft flying in and out of airports by encouraging airlines to buy quieter jets.
The government's aviation policy framework, published on Friday, said it would develop proposals for "noise envelopes" - arrangements under which airlines could increase the number of aircraft flying into an airport, as long as they are modern jets and quieter than their predecessors.
Ministers' acceptance in the report of the need for aviation growth was welcomed by the industry, but environmental campaigners criticised the government for deferring a decision on whether to include airlines in targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Last year, ministers set up a commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies, the former head of the CBI employers' body and the Financial Services Authority, to consider the case for building new runways in southeast England because London's Heathrow airport is operating at near to its full capacity.
Heathrow is Europe's noisiest airport, with regulators deeming that 725,000 living under its flightpaths are affected by noise from aircraft - and this has held back expansion. However, the Davies commission is planning to consider the case for additional runways at Heathrow as well as proposals for a hub airport in the Thames estuary that have been championed by Boris Johnson, London's mayor.
The Department for Transport is to ask the Civil Aviation Authority to develop the concept of noise envelopes this year, so that these arrangements could be put in place alongside any new runways in the southeast. "The aim is to allow growth in [aircraft] movements [at an airport] in return for a reduction in overall noise emitted over time as aircraft get quieter," said the transport department.
The CAA in 2011 floated the idea of allowing airlines to increase the number of aircraft flying into an airport if the noise generated by next generation jets did not exceed the din from a smaller number of older models. For example, Airbus' A380 superjumbo, launched in 2007, is markedly quieter than Boeing's 747, which first entered commercial service in 1970.
The aviation policy framework meanwhile hinted that proposals for a new hub in the Thames estuary - which has protected marshland habitat - could struggle to secure ministerial support. The report said the government would only advocate a hub that involved a loss of protected habitats or species "if there were no feasible alternatives and the benefits of proposals clearly outweighed those impacts".
Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, said: "We are pleased to see a clear recognition by [Patrick McLoughlin, transport secretary] that aviation needs to grow." WWF, an environmental group, said the aviation policy framework was a "charter for growth" that overstated the need for new airport capacity.
PUPIL'S LEARNING AFFECTED
BY HEATHROW NOISE, SAYS STUDY
BBC News - 29 March 2013
A new study suggests students at schools under the Heathrow airport flight path take two months longer to develop their reading skills than other children.
Researchers from the University of London looked at the effect of noise on concentration levels of pupils at 40 schools in west London. A Heathrow airport spokesman said: "We know aircraft noise can disturb people living under the flight path which is why we offer a variety of schemes to reduce the impact of noise. We encourage airlines to fly only their quietest aircraft into Heathrow by charging airlines more for noisier aircraft and spend an average of £100,000 on noise insulation for schools which are eligible."
BBC London's Marc Webber spoke to Katherine Harper, head teacher at Heathrow Heath Infants School and councillor Colin Ellar, deputy leader of Hounslow Council.
Climate Change - more controls needed?
UK'S CO2 EMISSIONS UP 4.5% IN 2012
Huge jump in coal use in power stations prompts rise
Scotland renewables production hits record levels
Damian Carrington and Severin Carrell - The Guardian - 28 March 2013
The UK's emissions of climate-warming gases surged in 2012 as cheap coal replaced gas in power stations, official data revealed on Thursday.
However, 2012 was a record year for renewable energy in Scotland, which produced enough electricity to power all of its homes. Fergus Ewing, the Scottish energy minister, said his government was now on track to meet its target of generating the equivalent of 50% of Scotland's own electricity needs by 2015 and 100% by 2020.
The UK's carbon dioxide emissions rose by 4.5% from 2011-12, with coal use in power stations jumping by 31%. Coal prices have dropped significantly as the US has exported the coal it no longer needs at home due to the shale gas boom. Another factor is that many of the UK's coal-fired power stations must close soon, due to European pollution regulations, meaning they have been using up their allotted hours. The gas used in power stations dropped by 31%.
But there was a jump in the gas used to heat homes due to a cold last quarter of 2012, which the department for energy and climate change said had been 2.3C colder than Q4 2011. The cold weather in the UK in recent weeks led to gas reserve levels falling to just two days worth, with the price spiking as a result.
Emissions rose in the business sector, despite the UK's flatlining economy. But pollution from transport - a quarter of all emissions - fell by 1.2%. Overall, the UK's emissions remain about 20% lower than in 1990, largely due to gas replacing coal and some industry moving manufacturing abroad. The statistics also showed that UK imports of energy were higher in 2012 than for several decades.
"Emissions are now 26% lower than 1990, meaning we're on track to meet our legally binding targets," said energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey. "But the line on the graph is unlikely to be totally straight, as factors such as the weather and fluctuations in the precise energy mix vary the picture from one year to the next. The UK's continued shift to low carbon will be accelerated by the green deal to help householders overhaul their properties, and by our energy bill's reforms to the electricity market to bring on investment in renewables, new nuclear and CCS."
Nick Molho, head of energy policy at WWF-UK, said: "The government's role on energy is threefold: ensuring energy security, keeping bills down and decarbonising our energy system. These statistics are worrying, because they show that the UK is going the wrong way in all these areas. Increased reliance on fossil fuel imports is the main problem we face and the sad thing is that it's government policies, notably driven by the Treasury, that are causing this."
Kathy Cumming at Greenpeace said: "These figures show the 'greenest government ever' is failing in its bid to shift the UK to a low-carbon economy. The two best things it could do in order to redeem itself are support Tim Yeo's energy bill amendment, which would remove carbon from the electricity sector by 2030, and put an end to coal burning."
The statistics came out on the day that energy minister John Hayes - an outspoken opponent of onshore wind farms - was moved out of the department. His replacement, Michael Fallon, will also retain his post at the department of business, which some stakeholders hope will mean the coalition doing more to boost investor confidence in the energy sector, which needs £110bn by 2020.
In Scotland, renewable energy output has continued to grow markedly, hitting a new record of 14,600Gwh in 2012, up by 7% on the previous year. Windfarm output was four times greater than in 2006. Scottish wind and hydro schemes generated 35% of the UK's total renewables output in 2012, and that - averaged out across the year - provided enough green electricity for every home in Scotland.
"It was another record year for renewables in Scotland," Ewing said. "Scotland also contributed more than a third of the entire UK's renewables output, demonstrating just how important a role our renewable resource is playing in terms of helping the UK meet its binding EU renewable energy targets."
The industry body Scottish Renewables said £1.5bn had been invested in renewables in Scotland last year - more than double the spending in 2011 - but there are doubts within the industry and among investors about whether the 100% target can be achieved. Hitting that target will rely heavily on expensive and technically challenging large offshore windpower schemes; there is much less capacity for larger onshore schemes.
The Scottish government is under intensifying pressure from environment and climate campaigners to improve its CO2 emissions reduction and climate strategies, after admitting it had failed to meet its 2010 reduction target. The UK's official committee on climate change said the very cold winter in 2010 was largely to blame for the missed target, but Stop Climate Chaos Scotland said the government would miss its targets for several years to come because its climate strategies were too weak.
The Scottish government's targets are highly dependent on the EU increasing its CO2 reduction targets from 20% to 30%, but that is not expected before 2016. While anxious to champion energy investment, Scottish ministers are very reluctant to target motorists or cut road building, and are accused of under-investing in home insulation and low-carbon motoring.
NEW OWNER SETS OUT STANSTED'S GROWTH PLAN
Rose Jacobs - Financial Times - 28 February 2013
Charlie Cornish is determined to return passenger numbers at Stansted to pre-recession levels over the next five years - or at least get close. Whether he eventually wants those travellers taking off from one runway or two is another question.
The chief executive of Manchester Airports Group on Thursday completed his £1.5bn purchase of London's third biggest airport by passenger numbers - a ranking the facility still keeps despite an annual traffic fall of more than a quarter since 2007, to slightly more than 17m passengers a year.
Mr Cornish blames that fall as much on increased landing charges as the wider economy, and plans to "enter into commercial discussions with airlines" promptly. "Our strategy will be geared around incentivising growth," he says, laying out a 2018 passenger target of 22.5m.
In the near term, the growth strategy will be based firmly on Stansted's historic customer base: the point-to-point leisure traveller with a budget airline ticket to a European destination. But MAG - which also owns Manchester, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports - hopes eventually to attract a wider variety of carriers and their customers, including those flying long-distance routes and offering first and business-class cabins.
Mr Cornish believes Stansted's catchment area, within a two-hour drive of the airport, will support that richer mix. But he is reluctant to push for a bigger catchment, via either investment in the train link to central London - to shorten journey times - or a pitch for Stansted becoming a hub airport rather than, or in addition to, Heathrow, whose parent company sold Stansted.
Those ideas, he says, would need instead to be backed by the Davies commission, the independent team asked by prime minister David Cameron to look into airport capacity in the south-east of England. And while MAG will be submitting material to the commission, its current position is the one formulated before it won Stansted: that regional airports can be part of the solution.
Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair and thereby Stansted's biggest customer, has stronger opinions. He argued last year that London needed three new runways, and predicted the first would be built at Stansted, the second at Heathrow and the third at Gatwick. Of a second Stansted runway, Mr Cornish says: "At this stage, it would be difficult to rule it in or out."
His plans for the airport's retail space and parking are more concrete. At the moment the security barrier for departing passengers bisects the terminal lengthwise. MAG plans to move it closer to the entry doors - because check-in desks need less space in the era of print-at-home tickets - creating more space for shopping and dining after security.
That change will be part of £40m the company has devoted to improving retail over the next two years. Plans are also afoot to introduce first or business-class car parks, and to benefit from being part of a group of airports by co-ordinating the facilities' supply chains.
His lack of ambition for big-ticket projects will be a relief to airlines, which fund airport improvements through take-off and landing fees. "Stansted is a well-invested airport," he says. "It's a fairly simple airport. It doesn't need a lot of capital expenditure in the next 10 to 20 years."
To fund the Stansted acquisition, MAG struck a deal with Industry Funds Management of Australia in which the Australian group will buy into MAG, taking a 35.5 per cent equity stake and 50 per cent of voting rights.
That dilutes the holdings and voting rights of Manchester City Council and nine other local councils, from 55 per cent to 35 per cent in the case of Manchester City Council's equity stake, and from 45 to 30 per cent for the other councils. Manchester will keep a 50 per cent voting share, while the other councils will give up their voting rights.
Mr Cornish says he expects IFM, which holds stakes in nine Australian airports, to be a supportive partner with a similar investment philosophy. It will have two representatives on the board, which will "in many respects... have a governance structure similar to a [publicly listed company], with a rich mix of executives".
Board support might be particularly useful when dealing with customers such as Ryanair. The airline said on Thursday that it planned to shrink its traffic into and out of Stansted by 9 per cent this year, in retaliation for a fare rise that had been proposed by the airport's former owner.
STANSTED OWNERS WAGE WAR ON HEATHROW AND GATWICK
Simona Sikimic - Londonlobesbusiness Online - 1 March 2013
Stansted's new owners today pledged to launch a war on Heathrow and Gatwick, in a bid to lure passengers from London's two main airports.
Manchester Airport Group (MAG), which purchased the Essex airport for £1.5bn earlier this year wants to see the airport transformed from the bastion of budget airlines into a desired destination for trans-continental carriers.
They would like to see passenger numbers double to 35 million by introducing 40 new long haul destinations and sinking £40m on a terminal refurbishment scheme aimed at attracting new restaurants and retailers.
MAG estimates that 50 million people live within two hours' drive of the airport and that it could easily mop up the expected growth in travel demand.
The group, however, has dispelled suggestions that it will build a new runway, saying this was "not a priority". This flies in the face of London Mayor Boris Johnson's suggestions that the Essex airport could be turned into a travel super hub, to alleviate London's growing air travel problems.
MAG purchased Stansted after Heathrow owner BAA was forced by the regulator to sell up to create more competition in the market. Since then low budget carrier Ryanair has cut the number of flights and passengers from Stansted by around 9% daily, with one million less people using the airport each year.
STANSTED DEAL 'JUST THE START'
FOR MANCHESTER AIRPORT GROUP
Insidermedia Online - 14 March 2013
The head of assets at Manchester Airport Group (MAG) said the £1.5bn deal to buy Stansted was "just the start" of its expansion plans.
Speaking at international property conference MIPIM in Cannes, Andrew Cliffe, managing director for assets at MAG, added that Manchester Airport was looking to pass through the 20 million passenger barrier during 2013.
MAG, which also owns Bournemouth and East Midlands airports, completed the deal with Stansted in February following an agreement to sell 35.5 per cent of its shares to Australian investor Industry Funds Management. The group is majority owned by the ten local authorities of Greater Manchester.
Cliffe said: "The Stansted deal's great for us but this is just the start. It's been a successful 12 months but you will see an awful lot more over the next two years. Airport City's a huge part of it. We'll be looking to leverage our assets to be an economic force for the city region. We will push through the 20 million passenger barrier this year and continue to develop key routes - Asia-Pacific remains the key market. We'll be looking to develop Stansted's long-haul routes too, and improve its short-haul connectivity."
Across the group, circa 42 million passengers pass through three hubs, with 19.7 million at Manchester, 17.5 million in Stansted, 4.1 million through East Midlands and 700,000 in Bournemouth.
Also at MIPIM yesterday (13 March 2013), a delegation from Manchester focussed on connectivity at two seminars. Karen Campbell, director of the property and logistics project Airport City at Manchester Airport, provided an update on plans for the project included the news that work was due to start in April. Dan Lejerskar, co-founder and chairman of the Californian tech firm EON Reality, discussed the company's ambitions at Manchester's Sharp Project digital hub.
The business recently announced it was setting up its European headquarters at the office complex.
BORIS JOHNSON: BUILD AIRPORTS, POWER PLANTS
AND RAILWAYS ON THE COUNTRYSIDE
Boris Johnson has suggested that vast swathes of the English
countryside should be used for airports, railways and nuclear power plants
Peter Dominiczak, Political Correspondent - Daily Telegraph - 15 March 2013
Mr Johnson, the London Mayor, used a speech in Paris to call on the Government to be more "ruthless" in the way it builds on the countryside in the future. Ahead of George Osborne's Budget next week, Mr Johnson said he "wished we could be French in our approach to infrastructure".
It comes after Mr Johnson called for unity in the Tory Party and warned senior ministers positioning themselves for the party leadership to "put a sock in it and back the Prime Minister".
Mr Johnson, who has called for a new four-runway airport to be build in the South East, said he felt "envy" at the French approach to building projects. "I flew in to Charles de Gaulle and I looked down with envy at the four runways, the terminals elegantly disposed across a vast tract of countryside, and like so many other British politicians of the last 60 years, I wished we could be French in our approach to infrastructure," Mr Johnson told the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce.
"And I wished we could imitate the ease and ruthlessness with which the French send high speed trains streaking across the landscape. And as the light bulbs of Britain flicker, I am lost in admiration for the historic French decision to build enough nuclear reactors to supply 75 per cent of your power needs, and in the next 30 years we in Britain will now try to catch up while French companies raise the capital for even more ambitious investments."
Mr Johnson also used his speech to defend the City of London from European Union interference. He said the whole of Europe would suffer if "ill thought-out" measures such as the bankers' bonus cap were imposed on the UK. Britain was earlier this month defeated after being outnumbered 26 to one over the controversial EU proposals to impose caps on bonuses paid to bankers.
Under the new rules annual bonuses will not be allowed to exceed a banker's salary, starting next year. Bonuses of twice annual salary will be allowed if shareholders approve them. Experts have warned that the decision will damage the City. Mr Johnson said the Government should "paralyse" the negotiations and not "give in" to Brussels over the issue.
"If the French government was faced with something like the bonus cap they would not tolerate it," he said. "They would paralyse negotiations and refuse to have further discussion until they got an agreement. That's what I think we should do, not give in."
Mr Johnson added: "I hope you will agree London is an asset for France, and an asset for Europe and that it makes no sense for us to attack the Continent's number one financial centre with bonus caps or any other ill thought-out measure. Those bankers will not vanish to France or to Frankfurt. They will go to Singapore or Hong Kong or New York and we will be senselessly degrading one of the EU's greatest commercial assets."
"In picking on London I am afraid such measures risk inflaming sentiment in the UK where the arguments for and against membership are more finely balanced… Whatever these measures are meant to achieve they will do nothing to solve the problems of the eurozone."
OUR COMMENT: Boris is fearful of losing his London voters!
RYANAIR CUTS CAPACITY AT STANSTED
BY ONE MILLION PASSENGERS
Ryanair announced it will cut capacity at Stansted by 9pc
on the day the airport came under new ownership
Nathalie Thomas - Daily Telegraph - 28 February 2013
The low cost airline said the move was in response to a "further unjustified" increase of 6pc in landing charges from April. The carrier blamed Heathrow Airport Holdings, previously known as BAA, for the rise in the "already high charges" at the airport.
A steep 6pc jump in fees was a "parting slap" from Heathrow to Stansted's airlines and passengers, the self-styled ultra low cost carrier claimed.
BAA on Thursday completed a £1.5bn deal to sell Stansted to Manchester Airport Group.
Ryanair claimed it had planned to grow its traffic at Stansted by 5pc from April but will now cut frequencies on 43 of its routes and reduce its weekly operations by more than 170 flights. The airline said the swingeing cuts could potentially lead to a loss of 1.1m passengers and more than 1,100 jobs at Stansted airport.
According to research, 1,000 jobs are sustained at airports for every 1m increase in passengers. Robin Kiely, spokesman for Ryanair, said it is "impossible to understand" why Stansted's prices will rise again from April when the airport has changed ownership.
"Ryanair and other Stansted airlines now must ask was this surprise price increase part of a "sweetener" package to persuade MAG to pay £1.5bn for Stansted?" he added.
Heathrow Airport Holdings declined to comment, pointing out the airport is now owned by MAG. However, it is understood the 6pc rise is a part of a settlement made with the industry's regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority five years ago. Stansted is one of several UK airports, including Gatwick and Heathrow, that negotiates price increases every five years.
Both Gatwick and Heathrow recently submitted plans to the CAA for landing charges over the next five-year period, between 2014 and 2019. An MAG spokesman said: "As part of our plans to grow passenger volume at Stansted over the short, medium and long term, we will continuously engage with all of the airlines that operate there, many of which are already valued customers of ours."
RYANAIR'S STANSTED RANT BAFFLES CAA
Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) sees no grounds for Ryanair's rants
over hiked charges as the budget carrier slims its Stansted services by 9%
Piers Evans - Routes News - 1 March 2013
Despite Ryanair's fury over "unjustified and inflation-busting" hikes in Stansted fees as it announced it would cut traffic at the hub, the CAA sees no evidence that the airport is abusing price controls, a spokesperson told Routes News.
In a strongly worded press release, the 'ultra low cost carrier' denounced Ferrovial/BAA for raising fees by 6% from April. "There is something very smelly about the timing and scale of this price increase," fumed Ryanair's Robin Kiely. He suggested the price rise was "a sweetener" in the airport's recent sale to the Manchester Airport Group (MAG).
"The CAA must now investigate the reasons for this price increase and take action to protect Stansted users from this latest example of price gouging from Ferrovial/BAA," he said.
But the CAA sees no grounds for Ryanair to challenge the fee increase, the spokesperson told Routes News. "The CAA's price cap at Stansted for 2013/14 is £7.68 per passenger. Stansted has set its charges to deliver an average charge of £7.65 per passenger, which is within the cap."
While the price cap for 2013/14 is up only 4.9% on the previous year, the 6.1% increase in prices reflects revenue dilution through a shift in the mix in traffic, added the spokesperson. "The obligation on Stansted is to fix its charges for the following year at the levels best calculated to remain within the price cap. We have seen no evidence that Stansted has not done so," said the spokeperson. Ryanair's calls for a CAA investigation look doomed, the spokesperson added.
"It is for Ryanair to decide if it wants to challenge Stansted's prices. However, because Stansted is implementing the changes in charges across the board it is hard to see how a case for discrimination under Section 41 could be levelled. In addition, as the rises are within the levels set by the price control, which was not challenged in 2009 when the CAA set the price caps for 2009-2014, there does not seem to be an obvious route for Ryanair to make a formal complaint."
AIRLINE PASSENGERS RIGHTS GIVEN EU BOOST
European commission unveils improved passenger rights on
flight delays, rerouting, compensation and baggage handling
Lisa Bachelor - The Guardian - 13 March 2013
Airlines will be banned from a range of practices that include charging passengers a fee to correct a mis-spelling of their name and leaving them sitting on the tarmac for hours without access to a toilet or drinking water. The measures are part of a raft of changes unveiled by the European commission aimed at removing "grey areas" in airline passenger rights while flying within the EU.
Passengers who face delays of more than 12 hours will have to be rerouted via a rival carrier if their airline cannot put them on another of its own flights. Currently, airlines often insist passengers are rerouted on one of their own flights, even if that takes days, or on flights operated by one of its partners.
The rules will also clarify what are known as "extraordinary circumstances" for compensation. At present, airlines often argue mechanical faults are extraordinary circumstances that exonerate them from blame. The updated rules say that only natural disasters and air traffic control strikes can be defined as extraordinary, but technical problems identified during routine aircraft maintenance cannot.
The proposals are set to become law in 2015 if approved by member states and the European parliament, and have been described as the biggest shake up of air passenger rights since EU aviation rules were introduced eight years ago.
"It is very important that passenger rights do not just exist on paper," said vice president of the European commission Siim Kallas, announcing the measures. "We know the real priority for stranded passengers is just to get home. So our focus is on information, care and effective rerouting. The aim is to get passengers where they want to be as quickly as possible while giving the airlines the time they need to sort problems out."
Of particular significance, according to Steven Truxal, an expert in aviation law at City University, London, is that under the new rules a passenger may not be denied boarding on the return flight of their ticket on the grounds that he or she did not take the outbound part of the return ticket.
"That is a big, big change as it affects airline's abilities to manage their yields, as they sell discounted return tickets on the basis that people are returning on their flights," he said.
New rights with regard to mis-handled baggage and transparency requirements for cabin and checked luggage will also come into force, as will rights in relation to long delays and runway delays.
If a plane is boarded and sits on the runway for more than five hours, passengers now have the right to demand to be let off. If the delay is more than an hour the airline must provide air conditioning, use of toilets and water.
The changes will be welcomed by thousands of air passengers who have struggled to get compensation from their airline or been hit by hefty fees to change a booking. Ryanair, for example, demands up to £160 for a passenger to correct a flight booking at the airport, while easyJet charges £40.
According to the European Consumer Centre, the number of complaints about airlines increased across Europe by 96% between 2006 and 2010. The number was boosted significantly following the disruption to flights that followed the Icelandic volcanic eruption in April 2010. Many of these complaints were lodged either because the airlines did not respond themselves or denied the passenger's claim, in some instances stating that the legislation on air passenger rights did not apply.
"When flights are cancelled or lengthily delayed, passengers are often left in limbo and without the support they should be entitled to," said Monique Goyens, director general of the European Consumer Organisation. "Rights which exist on paper but left unrealised mean passengers are doubly stranded. So we hope this prompts a much-needed upsurge in airlines' respect for passenger rights."
Goyens added: "After all, enforcement of the law is perhaps the biggest issue here, and these new rules should provide greater clarity and more powers for national authorities to tackle some of the worst problems."
However, not all the changes favour the passenger. Airlines have successfully argued they should not be liable for unlimited hotel bills for delayed customers. Under the new measures, airlines will have to pay for a maximum of three nights' hotel accommodation. Exceptions will be made for passengers with reduced mobility, unaccompanied children, or pregnant women.
NEW MANAGING DIRECTOR APPOINTED AT STANSTED AIRPORT
Sam Tonkin - Saffron Walden Reporter - 1 March 2013
STANSTED Airport has a new managing director following the completion of a £1.5billion takeover deal by Manchester Airports Group (MAG).
As expected, it has been confirmed that Andrew Harrison, currently MAG's chief operating officer, will take on the role of managing director. He is to succeed Nick Barton, who is understood to have chosen to leave the post he has held since 2010.
MAG, which completed the acquisition of Stansted from Heathrow Airport Holdings - formerly BAA - on Thursday (February 29), has pledged to boost passenger numbers at the Uttlesford transport hub - but says there are no immediate plans for a second runway. The group, in which 10 local authorities in Greater Manchester have a combined majority stake, already owns Manchester, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports.
Ken O'Toole, chief commercial officer at MAG, said: "We are very happy with the acquisition we have completed today. As a well-established UK operation, we now have a footprint in the South-East and, in Stansted, we have what we believe is an excellent facility which will flourish under MAG ownership."
Mr O'Toole said that a key priority was to return Stansted to sustained traffic growth, something which MAG had achieved at other airports in the past two years while numbers at Stansted had been falling. "BAA tended to focus on Heathrow," said Mr O'Toole. "Stansted, within an MAG context, will be very much more of an equal player with Manchester and will get the level of attention and focus that we think it deserves."
But although he welcomed the current inquiry into airport capacity in the South East, being headed by Sir Howard Davies, Mr O'Toole signalled MAG does not see BAA's former plans for a second runway at Stansted as an immediate priority. "We have bought Stansted 'as is' and that is what attracted us," he said. "At 44 per cent utilisation, we have a lot of work to do first before there is any need to increase capacity."
Around 1,300 staff are directly employed at Stansted Airport and Mr O'Toole said the "vast majority" would see no change as a result of the change in ownership. MAG said it had a detailed integration plan in place to ensure a "seamless transition of ownership and operations at Stansted which will maintain business as usual for passengers and customers".
But there was worrying news for the new owners last night when Ryanair said it would cut capacity in response to a "further unjustified" increase of 6pc in landing charges from April. Ryanair said it had planned to increase traffic at Stansted by 5% from April but will now cut frequencies on 43 of its routes and reduce its weekly operations by more than 170 flights.
Meanwhile, David Burch, director of policy at Essex Chambers of Commerce, welcomed the acquisition. He said: "It is good news for Essex and we look forward to working with the Manchester Airports Group. The new owners have an extremely strong track record, which is reassuring for everyone who works and uses Stansted Airport, and we feel sure they will bring a lot of expertise to Stansted Airport which already runs a first-class service."
Peter Sanders, chairman of Stop Stansted Expansion, said: "Stansted already has planning permission to grow to 35 million passengers a year - double its present throughput - and this can be achieved without a second runway. Removing the threat of a second runway would lay the foundations for a vastly improved long term relationship with the local community and we very much hope that MAG will give this commitment."
As part of yesterday's deal, Industry Funds Management (IFM) has taken a 35.5% equity stake in the enlarged MAG group.
Heathrow Airport Holdings made no comment on the deal yesterday, beyond confirmed completion of the sale in a single sentence statement. The former BAA group fought a three-year battle against a Competition Commission ruling that it must sell Stansted before throwing in the towel following its latest defeat last summer.
JOBS TO TAKE OFF AT STANSTED
Fears quashed by managing director
Sam Tonkin - Dunmow Broadcast - 7 March 2013
FEARS up to 1,100 jobs could be lost at Stansted Airport in a row over increased landing charges have been quelled by the Uttlesford hub's new managing director.
Andrew Harrison, appointed as Nick Barton's replacement last week by new owners Manchester Airports Group (MAG), told the Reporter that the company's aim was to create MORE jobs by utilising the airport's spare capacity. He also made it clear a second runway was NOT part of MAGs business plan.
"Our aim is to make Stansted the best airport in the London area - not the biggest but the best," said Mr Harrison, following the completion of MAGs £1.5billion takeover deal last Thursday. "We invested in Stansted Airport because we believe there is lots of spare capacity and a lot that can be done to offer a broader range of airlines and routes to fill it. This will allow us to grow the airport and hopefully to employ more people - that is the plan."
Last week Ryanair said it would be reducing weekly operations from the Uttlesford hub by nine per cent - the equivalent to more than 170 flights - in protest at increased fees at Stansted. The Irish low-cost carrier accounted for about 70 per cent of Stansted's traffic in 2011 and has estimated the cutbacks would lead to a loss of around 1,100 jobs at the airport.
But Mr Harrison was quick to alleviate concerns about the potential impact of any reduction in flights. "It is to be expected that Ryanair will put down a marker in terms of cost but that has been done based on the relationship with the previous owner and not the current one," he said. "MAG has a very positive relationship with Ryanair - which is Manchester's fastest growing carrier - and they are a really important part of Stansted's past, present and future."
He added: "In saying that, so is a broader range of destinations. People in the community have said we do not have enough business routes and no long haul routes and they want to have more choice of routes and carriers. We are looking for Ryanair and easyJet to grow, as well as other airlines, but it will take time as we look to build momentum. Ryanair always talk about jobs in relation to growth but I'm not sure how they got to their numbers. From our point of view we see Stansted growing rather than constricting, so I wouldn't worry."
Despite the assurances that a second runway was not part of MAG's agenda, Mr Harrison did caution that the future of aviation capacity in the UK was still an ongoing debate the firm would have to contribute to in due course. "There is a national government debate going on, which we support and think is important, but we would also like to see it go a bit faster because the process has been very slow. At some stage we will have to enter that debate but haven't spent time worrying about a second runway."
The new managing director would not be drawn on whether or not controversial drop-off charges brought in at the end of last year would be scrapped but said the move by BAA had come as a "surprise". He said MAG would look into the reasons behind the change but that it was too early to say whether charges would remain.
Improvements to car parking, including cheaper and more flexible options for passengers, are being explored along with better transport links to London, but Mr Harrison said he would have "his ears pinned back" to listen to the community's concerns. He added: "I am delighted to be here. I really want to engage with the local community, with the airlines and with our people here so that we can give people an airport they can be proud of."
"I am in listening mode at the moment. We want to understand the role people believe we as an airport can play. We see airports as a massive economic driver and a force for good. I have read a lot about the antagonistic relationship between the previous owners and the local community which I hope if we cannot put behind us we can at least move forward on a more positive common ground."
"Building a second runway is not why we came to Stansted. It is not part of our business plan." - Andrew Harrison.
Key aims of MAG:
* Adding over five million additional passengers at Stansted Airport by 2018
* Invest £40m over the next two years to provide more 'sparkle' and ensure the terminal experience befits a world class airport
* Incentivising airline growth at Stansted through the group's relationship with more than 80 existing airline partners at other airports
* Creating more retail space in the departure lounge by reducing the 'landside' check-in area, realigning the security search area, speeding up the security process and creating more space to shop and relax
* Develop different car park options, such as Meet and Greet and low cost options, and making Stansted easier to get to whether coming by train, road or parking at the airport.
CARBON PRICING NEEDED TO CONTROL
AIRLINE CO2 EMISSIONS: STUDY
Barbara Lewis - Reuters Brussels - 4 March 2013
Aviation pollution can only be stabilized by the middle of the century if a price is set on airline carbon emissions, research said, countering industry hopes that green goals can be met via technology improvements and biofuels.
A European Union scheme to force airlines using EU airports to pay for their carbon emissions caused an international outcry, forcing the European Commission to propose a year-long freeze of its law. As an alternative to the EU scheme, U.N. body the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is trying to agree a world-wide plan to curb aircraft emissions and meets again this month to try to make progress.
The research published on Monday by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) in Britain, a specialist in environmental and aviation research, looked at all the proposals under consideration, including technological improvements, biofuels and streamlined take-off and landing procedures.
It found that the only way to have a significant impact was to put a price on carbon - in other words, to use a market-based measure (MBM), such as the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). "I think the simple message is that all measures are needed to reduce emissions. What we highlight is the potential gains from the MBM, which is the subject of so much political controversy at the moment," David Lee, a professor at MMU who led the research, told Reuters.
Lee has worked on a specialist research group for the ICAO as part of its efforts to tackle aviation pollution. He is also a technical advisor to the UK's Department for Transport on aviation, climate and air quality issues.
REACHING FOR THE SKY
In 2010, the ICAO provisionally agreed to work towards a global goal of "carbon-neutral growth" for aviation from 2020, while the European Union advocated a 10 percent reduction by 2020 compared with a 2004-2006 baseline. With both those targets looking unachievable, the report explored likely growth to 2050. By then, EU road maps state carbon emissions from all sectors must fall by between 80 and 95 percent versus 1990 levels to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, the level scientists say is needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
Assuming the EU's ETS is extended to 2050, the report found it could deliver CO2 annual savings of up to 587 million metric tons by the middle of the century. Based on scenarios of what kind of measures are agreed, it predicted total aviation emissions would rise to between 1,034 million metric tons and 3,105 million of carbon dioxide by 2050 compared with 630 million in 2006.
Commission figures predict the EU ETS could save 70 million metric tons of CO2 a year by 2020, but global aviation emissions will still be around 70 percent higher in 2020 compared with 2005. Aviation and shipping are the only sectors not covered by developed nations' commitments under the Kyoto Protocol on tackling climate change.
Even though the Commission, the EU executive, has proposed a freeze on its requirement that all aviation pays for its carbon, the European Union is still charging internal EU flights for their emissions via its ETS.
The EU executive has said it will automatically reapply its law to all flights if the ICAO fails to agree a convincing global alternative. The European Parliament is expected to endorse the Commission plan in April.
So far, the ICAO talks have delivered little progress. Campaigners have in particular singled out the United States, the biggest aviation emitter, as an obstacle because of a position paper showing it has proposed an airspace-based approach that would mean a huge number of emissions were not accounted for.
(Editing by David Holmes)
COURT RESERVES UK AIR QUALITY RULING
Roger Harrabin, Environment Analyst - BBC News - 8 March 2013
The government admits that air quality laws will be breached in 15 regions up to 2020.
The Supreme Court has reserved judgement on the UK's breaches of EU air pollution laws.
The government admits air quality laws will be breached in 15 regions until 2020.
Londoners will have to wait until 2025 for pollution to enter legal limits.
Pollution levels in affected areas are a health risk to people on many of Britain's busiest streets, especially those with heart or lung problems.
The government says the laws are unrealistically strict. The BBC understands that it also believes the European Commission is partly to blame because it did not set proper limits on pollution from diesel exhausts in the first place.
The High Court and later the Court of Appeal refused to take action on the issue, ruling that enforcement was a matter for the European Commission.
An environment charity, ClientEarth, will now argue in the Supreme Court that the national courts must enforce EU environment law in the UK.
About 29,000 early deaths each year in the UK are blamed on air pollution - more than obesity and alcohol combined (although air pollution tends to shorten people's lives by a shorter time). Pollution from road traffic, particularly diesel fumes, is the most significant cause of poor air quality in most cities. The pollutants of most concern are tiny airborne particles, "PM10s", and nitrogen dioxide.
Alan Andrews, for ClientEarth, told BBC News: "It's a disgrace that we won't achieve compliance by 2020 or 2025 - and it's made worse that the British government is lobbying to weaken the limits because it claims they are unrealistic."
BBC News understands that the European Commission is encouraging the Supreme Court case because it would prefer to avoid a direct confrontation with the UK, which is objecting to other EU environmental rules. The timing for the government is unfortunate. This week it was forced to issue a severe pollution warning on air quality in London, with some pollution monitors registering 10/10.
Simon Birkett, Founder and Director of Clean Air in London, said: "If the Supreme Court does not require action, the European Commission must."
A Defra spokesman said: "Our air quality has improved significantly in recent decades and most of the UK meets EU air quality limits for all pollutants. Our plans for nitrogen dioxide set out all the important work being done to meet EU standards in the shortest possible time."
The government says it has tried to reduce emissions of nitrogen dioxide through tax breaks and subsidies for low emission vehicles. It has invested £75m to support green bus technologies and £560m for local sustainable transport and given around £3m in grants to local authorities every year since 2010 to help them tackle pollution on a local level. However, the government's drive to reduce CO2 emissions blamed for changing the climate has partly contributed to the problem, by encouraging drivers to turn to diesel vehicles.
OUR COMMENT: Another reason for questioning any significant increase in the number of aircraft flights, leading to - More emissions, More CO2 and More pollution from nitrogen oxides and fine particles.
AVIATION AND PUBLIC HEALTH
Are we forgetting to consult on the
health implications of airport development?
Jangu Banatvala, Emeritus Professor of Clinical Virology, King's College London, School of Medicine
and Dentistry, London SE1 7EH, UK and Mala Rao, Professor of International Health, Institute for Health
and Human Development, University of East London, London, UK
Editorial, British Medical Journal - 23 February 2013
The United Kingdom's Department for Transport recently
drafted an Aviation Policy Framework for the UK to achieve a
balance between the economic importance of aviation and
promoting good health and quality of life in the community.
The framework stressed transparency in decision making, and
it has been sent for consultation to the Department for
Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs; the Treasury; the
Department of Energy and Climate Change; and the Department
for Business, Innovation, and Skills but disappointingly not to
the Department of Health.
A commission chaired by Howard Davies was launched in 2012
to make recommendations on airport expansion in the UK and,
most recently, a public consultation on London's airport
expansion opened with the promise of "the fairest possible
evaluation" of the available options. Evidence from the public
consultation will be submitted to the commission.
Safeguarding public health in the face of industrial development
should be one of a government's main priorities. The World
Health Organization 1999 Charter on Transport, the
Environment and Health4 - still extant and adopted by the UK
government - recommended that community wellbeing be put
first in transport and infrastructure policies. It emphasised
coordination between transport, environment, and health
The major direct adverse effects of aviation on health are noise,
pollution, and the spread of communicable diseases. Indirect
effects are an increasing challenge, as growth in air travel makes
the aviation industry a major driver of climate change.
Adverse health effects from noise are well established,
particularly poor performance at work from interrupted sleep
and impaired cognitive development in primary school children
who live near airports. A narrative review commissioned and
funded by the US Federal Aviation Administration Office of
Environment and Energy and published in 2010 concluded that
there was a likely association between repeated exposure to
night-time aircraft noise and hypertension and ischaemic heart
disease in adults. A 2007 study commissioned by the
Department for Transport recommended the use of lower
thresholds for noise metrics in dose-response research, and
action is well overdue.
Noise from both aircraft and road transport affects health, but
aircraft noise has the greatest effect. Although modern aircraft
are less noisy, numbers of flights are increasing. Airports are
served by road, rail, and air transport, and people living nearby
are subjected to noise from all these sources, with attendant
potentially serious health outcomes. Efforts are being made to
reduce air pollution from industrial and domestic sources, but
less effort is directed at noise from aircraft.
Pollution associated with the aviation industry is also a health
hazard. Because of radiative forcing, the impact of emissions
from jet aircraft is about twice that from land based sources.
Particulate and other emissions result from aircraft and road
traffic in the vicinity of airports, and are associated with
cardiorespiratory morbidity and mortality. Landing and take-off
emissions have received most attention, but recently cruise
emissions have been shown to affect human health; about 8000
premature deaths annually worldwide may be attributable to
this source. Regardless of whether technological advances in
aircraft design and performance will reduce noise and air
pollution, aircraft flying now may continue to be airworthy for
As for climate change, its health impacts are not confined to
national boundaries. Although the developing world may be
bearing the major brunt, the UK's resilience may diminish as
climate shocks become more severe and frequent. This has to
be reconciled with the aspiration not only of the UK, but of
countries such as India and China, to facilitate growth in
business, trade, and tourism by expanding civil aviation.
Unlike Environmental Impact Assessments, Health Impact
Assessments (HIAs) are not obligatory, but should be conducted
before policy decisions are made on major developments, to
ensure that commercial interests are not placed before health.
The government's record on airports is disappointing. For the
major London airports only developments at Stansted had HIAs.
However, the assessments were conducted by BAA (British
Airports Authority), scarcely a transparent arrangement, because
BAA, acting as the regulator and enabler, also had a major
obligation to its shareholders.
The 2007 report of the Royal Commission on Environmental
Pollution recommended that HIAs should be mandatory,
incorporated explicitly in sustainability appraisals, and subject
to independent review. No action has been taken. It also
emphasised that restriction of further airport development was
crucial. Expert committees may occasionally produce
inconvenient truths; the commission has been disbanded and
In the UK the Civil Aviation Authority will be responsible for
regulating aviation and airport planning. It is essential that health
is considered when airport developments are planned. The
Department of Health and the newly designated Public Health
England must make their voice heard in the debate on the future
of aviation policy. So far they have not.
DITHERING OVER AIRPORTS WILL COST US OUR SEATS,
TORIES TELL DAVID CAMERON
Conservative MPs have written a strong warning to David Cameron that dithering over airports is risking dozens of seats at the general election
Evening Standard - 13 February 2013
In a growing rebellion, 17 MPs from around the South-East have signed a letter warning of "serious political ramifications" and "a backlash" as a result of delaying a decision about where a future hub airport will be built.
The MPs, backed by Mayor Boris Johnson and several ministers, say the Prime Minister's attempt to shelve the controversy until after polling day in May 2015 has backfired badly. Instead of blighting one area, uncertainty is placing "a severe handicap on Conservative candidates" in all the possible sites for expansion, which include Heathrow, Stansted, Gatwick and the Thames Estuary.
"We believe this needs to be resolved before the general election, and ideally the local elections in 2014," wrote the group, which includes Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith and environment committee chairman Tim Yeo. "We understand this may pose difficulties for candidates in the area affected, but it will at least ensure that the backlash is not shared by all those living in areas under consideration."
Mr Cameron last year appointed business leader Sir Howard Davies to review all options, opening the possibility of a Tory U-turn on a third runway at Heathrow.
Boris Johnson has slammed the delay as "ditherama" and a fudge. MPs believe Chancellor George Osborne was behind the plan and needs to be persuaded to climb down.
Mr Goldsmith said there was now "a net of fear" in five or more areas where voters fear local expansion. "This uncertainty is absolutely no good for the economy, it's unfair to voters, and it is very bad politics," he said.
Former Cabinet minister John Redwood, another signatory to the warning letter, said there was a danger of "blight over a number of areas where people fear an airport" but also a strong business case for accelerating a decision.
HEATHROW REVENUES SOAR TO £2.4BN, BUT
STANSTED PASSENGER NUMBERS DECLINED LAST YEAR
Sarah Chambers - EDP24 Online - 18 February 2013
Heathrow reported higher revenues and profits today after a record 70 million passengers used Britain's biggest airport during 2012.
The company, whose customer satisfaction levels were also at an all-time high, posted an 8% rise in revenues to £2.46billion, while it returned to the black at an underlying level with profits of £46.4million.
However the airport is operating at close to capacity and the company warned this would limit the UK's ability to trade with emerging economies. There were 471,341 flights during 2012, just below Heathrow's cap of 480,000 a year.
Today's results from the former BAA company include Stansted Airport, which was sold after the year-end to Manchester Airports Group for £1.5bn. Stansted's passenger numbers declined 3.2% to 17.5 million last year.
The company predicted more strong growth in Heathrow's turnover this year and said construction of the new Terminal 2 should be completed towards the end of 2013, with operations commencing in mid-2014. The project accounted for a large slice of the £1.1bn invested in the airport during 2012, an increase of more than 30% on a year earlier.
Heathrow achieved an all-time record passenger satisfaction score in a survey produced by the Airports Council International for the third quarter, but the percentage of people passing through central security within the prescribed time was below last year's level at 92.8% in 2012. Meanwhile, Heathrow's retail income increased 4.4% to £6.21 per passenger, while the figure was 2.8% higher at £4.27 for Stansted.
BUSINESS BOSS CALLS FOR DIALOGUE
WITH STANSTED AIRPORT'S NEW OWNER
Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 15 February 2013
A BUSINESSMAN based at Stansted has called on fellow traders to join forces and send a clear message to the airport's new owners. Terry Farthing, the managing director of Airport Lettings with offices at the Uttlesford base and Southend, wants other firms to fill in a survey he has set up.
Mr Farthing said: "Like the hundreds of businesses in the area, we were delighted when the years of uncertainty were brought to an end and new owners were announced last month. It now means we have some great opportunities to forge lasting and productive working relationships with Manchester Airports Group which could make a real difference to the local and regional economy."
His London Stansted Business Survey 2013 is a 10 question quiz asking firms based anywhere in the East of England for their experiences, views and ideas about how they see the future, working with the airport. He continued: "Our local airport is the biggest single site employer in the region and as we move into 2013 and the number of passengers grows there will be more and more opportunities for local firms to benefit. In the past there has been a feeling amongst many in the business community that the owners of the airport could have done more to give access and opportunities to local firms."
He claimed: "Those that have got work and contracts with BAA (previous owners) often have achieved this in spite of the system not because of it."
The owners of Manchester Airport agreed to buy Stansted, the UK's fourth biggest airport by passenger numbers, for £1.5bn earlier this month. The purchase follows a decision last year by Heathrow Airport Holdings, formerly known as BAA, to finally comply with the Competition Commission order to sell Stansted.
Mr Farthing said: "We are asking any business, small, medium or large to take just a few moments and complete this important survey. The best way we can let the new owners of Stansted know about what local firms think is to let them know direct. Just a few minutes spent on sharing your views could lead to new opportunities in the future."
Mr Farthing concluded: "It remains a tough economic climate to operate in. Firms are working harder than ever which is why working closer with the airport could mean we all benefit and the local economy sees real and lasting investment."
MAG-LED CONSORTIUM'S PURCHASE OF STANSTED AIRPORT
COULD POINT THE DIRECTION FOR THE FUTURE
The sale of Stansted Airport as part of the break-up of BAA's holdings could coincide with a significant change in its operating outlook, as well as playing a part in reshaping the UK's airport competitive landscape
Centre for Aviation Online - 5 February 2013
As predicted in many of the latter editions of CAPA's Airport Investor Monthly, the deal to sell London Stansted Airport to a Manchester Airports Group-led (MAG) consortium that includes an Australian Pension Fund Manager, was concluded in Jan 2013 for GBP1.5 billion and is expected to pass all final hurdles within a month.
What does this acquisition of a piece of privately owned real estate effectively by a public sector organisation say about the privatisation of airports in the UK, about the North-South divide and about how UK air transport will shape up in the future?
And, as London Mayor Boris Johnson apparently turns his attention away from a big new "estuary airport" towards a more grounded solution at Stansted, MAG and its partners could be in the right place at the right time.
The UK's Competition Commission (CC) approved the sale of Stansted Airport by Heathrow Airport Holdings (formerly BAA) to Manchester Airports Group (MAG) on 21 Jan 2013. The sale was announced late on 18 Jan 2013 and marks the completion of the three airport disposals which the CC ordered in its report into BAA's ownership of seven UK airports in 2009. In total, the three airports serve over 60 million passengers per annum and their sale realised a disposal value in excess of GBP3.5 billion.
The CC, previously known as the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, had first published an interim document on 22 Apr 08, outlining its "emerging thinking" in its inquiry into monopoly practices at BAA and UK airports generally. One of the outcomes of the report was a recommendation to break up the then BAA's airport holdings, which were Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen (all in Scotland), London Stansted, London Gatwick, Southampton and the 'jewel' (as BAA saw it), London Heathrow, or require the operator to divest airports from its group. The report indicated that such an eventuality "is unlikely to take place soon."
MAG was always the favourite to win
MAG was always the favourite. Its core property, Manchester Airport (MAN) is much the same size and scope as Stansted and MAN has the fairly recent experience of constructing and implementing a second runway. There is a growing sense that the Davies Report, scheduled for 2015, will identify Stansted as at least one of the Southeast England airports where future growth - possibly expressed in the form of a second runway there - should be permitted. What's more, London Mayor Boris Johnson seems to be backing away from his big new 'estuary airport' proposal in favour of Stansted though it should be noted that Stansted is in Essex, not in Greater London (only London City Airport actually is in London), so his sphere of influence might not turn out to be as comprehensive as he thinks it is.
Mayor Johnson's new-found rationale seems to have been promoted by a report commissioned by the House of Commons Select Committee on Transport that found that constructing an additional hub airport instead of expanding an existing airport would not be financially viable and would weigh too heavily on the public purse; possibly to the tune of GBP30 billion. The research suggested that under most scenarios, expected revenues from a new hub airport for London would be "less than the expected costs of construction". Mr Johnson's transport advisors subsequently stated that transforming Stansted into a four runway hub airport would solve the nation's aviation capacity constraint problems. But MAG's CEO Charles Cornish thinks one runway is adequate.
MAG CCO Ken O'Toole could be the man for Stan
Another factor in this equation is that MAN has on board as its Chief Commercial Officer one Ken O'Toole, who was previously Route Development Director for Ryanair. Ryanair services at Manchester in particular and to a lesser degree at other MAG airports have multiplied since Mr O'Toole joined MAG and AIM has previously forecast that MAN could become the northern England equivalent of Stansted for Ryanair, which is its main base.
Could Mr O'Toole have been recruited with STN in mind? It does seem quite feasible. It sounds too cosy to be true but there almost seems to be a marriage made in heaven here...
Ryanair went out of its way to influence thinking on who should be the new owner of STN and to impress on bidders what it expected of them. In the wake of the completion of the deal Ryanair said it "welcomed" the purchase and is "looking forward to working with MAG there as we do currently in Manchester, East Midlands, and Bournemouth to grow Stansted's low fare traffic back over 23 million, where it was in 2007 before the BAA monopoly doubled Stansted's fees".
It sounds too cosy to be true but there almost seems to be a marriage made in heaven here, especially as MAG has declared that it wants to boost relationships with carriers like Emirates and Etihad Airways to expand at STN as it seeks to restore the airport to its 2007 traffic peak of 23.8 million passengers within a decade. MAN is already one of the busiest airports in Europe for the Gulf triumvirate of Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways.
Nothing was said about attracting carriers that are likely to compete with Ryanair like Flybe, or Jet2.com (which more than holds its own where it competes with the Irish carrier), or Monarch Airlines. Only airlines that might provide additional feed to and from Ryanair's extensive STN network through irregular, non-standard interlining.
Even if MAG was the favourite it was up against some strong opposition in this transaction. There was no opposition from GIP, which was the successful bidder for Gatwick and Edinburgh airports partly because even placing a bid would have shifted GIP into an alleged 'monopoly' category where it assuredly would not like to be. In any case it has enough on its plate with Gatwick and Edinburgh. MAG had been a bidder for Gatwick and at one time it was mooted it might even get together with GIP in the final phase.
The conclusion is: (a) STN was not overpriced but (b) MAG was very keen to get its hands on it.
Even so, organisations like the Morrison and Co consortium, including Infratil, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, and Australia's Retail Employees Superannuation Trust; Macquarie; TPG; and Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB)/YTL Corp (possibly Khazanah Nasional) are not to be sniffed at. Apparently the Morrison consortium withdrew because it could not secure bank financing (hardly an unusual story these days) so it did not bid. Neither did TPG. The MAHB consortium might well simply have left it too late. The final bids were lined up in the region of GBP1 million and GBP1.5 million to win it does seem rather a lot when Gatwick went for much the same three years ago. That represents a 3.6 point increase in the respective Ebitda multiples (12x to 15.6x) though against that must be weighed the EM for Edinburgh (16.7x) and Portugal's ANA (15x); an average of 15.8. The conclusion is: (a) STN was not overpriced but (b) MAG was very keen to get its hands on it.
Is Manchester Airports Group looking for more 'quality airports'?
Interestingly, this might well not be the end of the story where further acquisitions by MAG are concerned. After shelving this sort of activity for well over a decade, MAG is now flush with funds as a result of the deal that saw the incredibly well cashed-up Industry Funds Management (IFM) acquire a 35.5% strategic stake in MAG and form, over 18 months of negotiation, a strong partnership. Already, MAG's CFO, Neil Thompson, is talking about "the need to look at acquisitions that enable us to leverage the skill-set we have across commercial and operational areas. Manchester has the largest global network of carriers outside Heathrow and a very broad spread of good relationships." MAG said it was seeking to purchase a "quality airport" (sic) following the agreement with IFM to bring new equity into the business.
Mr Thompson noted, "There aren't many airports that if they are appropriately managed can't have a broad mix of airlines across charter, low-cost, long-haul and so on". (That mix is something MAG handles very well). He added, "If we were to make any acquisition you'd expect MAG to be very well-organised and prepared, both in terms of the equity and debt requirements and the subsequent integration of the business. The shareholders will have a significant involvement. They are very supportive."
Could MAG become the new BAA? Might it eventually divide up the UK between itself and GIP?
The number of passengers the two organisations now account for runs to almost 88 million per annum (41.67 million at MAG and 46.02 million at GIP), which is around a quarter of all UK passengers and more than what is now left at BAA/Heathrow Airport Holdings (81.1 million). (All figures based on 2011 traffic totals). Would either or both of MAG and GIP prefer now to focus on non-UK investments? That is what BAA did shortly after privatisation but ultimately it had to regress all the way back to its UK core and then had some of that taken away from it. Both MAG and GIP will be wary not to make those mistakes. Or is this the measure of their investment for both organisations?
MAG needs to remain focused on MAN to keep the locals happy
Certainly there is a danger that MAG could take its eye off the ball where Manchester Airport is concerned, which would not please the local community. It is not that MAN cannot be expanded further. Apart from the Ryanair base there is also a large and growing one operated by easyJet.
In the long haul segment MAN has one of the densest networks of Middle East flights by the 'big 3' Gulf carriers in Europe, an SIA service from Singapore, a fistful of daily North American flights and is actively courting airlines to fly key routes such as Los Angeles, Bangkok and several places in China.
But STN has the better overall prospects if the Davies Commission comes down in favour of it. It would be no great surprise if the resources of the MAG route development division were directed more towards enhancing Stansted's product rather than favouring Manchester's. Airport Investor Monthly has often employed analogies with the world of professional soccer and with two of the world's biggest clubs located in Manchester it is appropriate to use another one here.
There has long been a suspicion among ever suspicious Mancunians, that ever since Manchester United was taken over by US owners as part of their sporting 'franchise' that those owners could, if it suited their purpose, simply rename that UK franchise 'United' and move it to London to play at Wembley or in the Olympic Stadium, whose future use is under negotiation.
MAG has now staked its claim to a substantial piece of air transport real estate in the rich half (the south) of the 'north-south' divide...
Just as, in fact, the owners of the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball franchise did when they shifted it to Los Angeles. An analogy too far? Perhaps. After all MAG remains headquartered in Manchester and has not actually been 'taken over' by anyone. Then again, once the GIP fund had started selling equity in Gatwick Airport, it was not long before it was the minority partner there. However you look at it MAG has now staked its claim to a substantial piece of air transport real estate in the rich half (the south) of the 'north-south' divide. Quite how it will respond will be fascinating to observe.
HS2 high speed rail to Manchester could be threat or opportunity
Another factor to bear in mind is how the UK coalition government is tackling that same 'divide', as it has committed to do. At the end of Jan 2013 it released its proposals for the second stage of HS2, the high-speed rail line that is already scheduled to operate between London and Birmingham by 2024.
The extended second stage will take the 225 mph line onto two branches beyond Birmingham, one to the east via the East Midlands and Sheffield to Leeds and one to the west via Crewe (a long established railway junction) and Manchester Airport to Manchester. The idea is that by connecting these metropolitan centres quickly to the capital they will benefit economically though the counter-argument is that it will merely focus even more commerce on London. The second stage is to be completed by 2033-34. A proposed link to London Heathrow is suspended until the Davies Commission reports on its future in 2015.
There are so many permutations arising from this HSR scheme (which might still never be implemented) that the mind boggles. It certainly seems to put Manchester at an advantage. Apparently the agreement to put a station at Manchester Airport, where it would feed directly into all three terminals, was very toughly negotiated and fought for locally by an unholy alliance of councillors, MPs and the business community. With the absence of a Heathrow link - at least for now - this means that both Birmingham and Manchester airports would be directly connected to the line, which runs close to half the population of England, while no London airport would be. That would go a long way towards 'rebalancing' the economy.
In spite of the enormous timescale involved here that must force MAG to wonder if, just as it seals the deal on Stansted, it should continue to concentrate on Manchester's potential. Could there be an offshoot of the track that would enable fast rail travel between Manchester and Stansted airports with a single change of train? The journey time presently is over five hours. Right now there is no air service between Manchester and Stansted, though it would be a reasonable bet that MAG will try to entice an airline like Flybe to operate the route, if only for the sake of its own management.
But what effect will the station at Birmingham Airport have? Journey times between that airport and central London will fall to around 40 minutes, less than Stansted–central London and about the same as Gatwick - central London. On that basis there is little prospect of MAN attracting passengers from southeast England by rail when those passengers would have to by-pass Birmingham Airport en route. One would assume that Birmingham's own route network will grow almost as big as Manchester's while the latter is waiting for the line to be extended.
HS2 seems to offer a greater incentive to Birmingham than to Manchester though there is a much greater prospect than there has ever been that these 'provincial' airports generally will be able to give the two big London airports a run for their money. It all depends on how the airlines interpret it. All three of these airports (a) have the infrastructure (Manchester); (b) are building it (Birmingham); or (c) have the physical capacity to expand (Stansted). That said, Stansted requires a vastly better and quicker rail line into London itself, as MAG must appreciate.
Yet another aspect is how MAG's GBP650 million Airport City project will fit into the equation.
Building high-speed rail lines often frees up existing lines for more freight services and this is presumably part of the plan. There are already several lines running into the airport's central station and there is at least the potential for additional tracks to be laid to take rail freight into a railhead to serve the World Freight Centre and (later) Airport City. Stansted of course also has a considerable share of the UK's airfreight and MAG's other possession, East Midlands Airport, is the biggest of all in this category.
A new and healthy era of airport competition could be emerging in the UK
There is certainly a synergy developing between these players - MAG, Birmingham Airport, and the government through the HS2 proposal - that is capable of breaking the mould of dominance in the air transport sector that London has previously enjoyed (and which CAPA's Airport Investor has tacitly campaigned against over the previous eight years).
Quite apart from the potential for Manchester and Birmingham to develop faster there should be some real competition now in the London & Southeast England market with the major airports owned by five different entities, if Southend Airport is included. This might encourage the proposal put forward by Stewart Wingate, the CEO at Gatwick Airport, that the Davies Commission should opt to support the concept of three competing primary London airports each with two runways, to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, Mr Wingate is not exactly 'flavour of the month' just now with his comment that aircraft should be forcibly diverted away from Heathrow in the winter, alleging that airport cannot handle snow.
That synergy is even represented in the traffic figures emanating from Manchester and Stansted airports. For the second successive month Stansted's traffic was up again in Dec 2012, this time by 4%. That apparently modest achievement has to be weighed against the fact it went about three years without gaining any passengers at all. Manchester's passenger figures were up by 5.1% in Dec 2012, to an overall average of +4.6% for the year (19.7 million compared to 17.5 million at Stansted). On the financial front MAG has also performed reasonably well latterly. In the six months ended 30 Sep 2012, it recorded a small increase in operating profit of 1%.
As high speed rail spreads its tentacles the length of the UK, there is a promise that the previously London-centric airport system will change in nature over this decade, fed by new ownership and new competitive dimensions. MAG's move into Stansted will certainly ensure that it is close to the heart of all of these new developments.
EXPECTED DROP IN DEMAND FOR AIR TRAVEL
BOOSTS OPPONENTS OF AIRPORT EXPANSION
Transport department cuts projected flyer numbers for years to come, reflecting economic woes and end to era of cheap flights
Gwyn Topham, Transport Correspondent - The Guardian - 29 January 2013
The anticipated number of people wanting to fly from British airports in future has been cut substantially in official forecasts to reflect the nation's economic decline.
Campaigners seized on the Department for Transport (DfT) figures to query the aviation industry's claim that new airports are urgently needed to meet demand. However, the DfT said the figures meant all airports in London and the south-east would probably be operating at full capacity by 2030, though it could take until 2040 for that to happen.
The DfT said that it anticipated around 315 million passengers annually at UK airports by the end of the next decade. That is 7% fewer than predicted in late 2011 and 90 million fewer than in forecasts from four years ago. Overall, it predicts demand will grow at between 1% and 3% a year, down from a previous assumption of 5%. But its forecast range suggests numbers could double by 2050 if the building of new runways is "unconstrained".
The latest forecast reduction is mainly due to a less optimistic assessment of the UK's future GDP, and the related number of people able to afford air fares as the era of cheap flights ends.
John Stewart, chair of the pressure group Hacan, which represents residents under the Heathrow flight paths, said: "The exact figures about future demand may be uncertain but the trend is unmistakable: the growth in air travel in the developed world is slowing down. Any proposals for airport expansion must be seen in this light."
The Stop Stansted Expansion group said the figures showed that even in 2050 Stansted airport could meet demand without a second runway. Residents have been alarmed by suggestions made by the London mayor, Boris Johnson that the Essex airport should be considered for redevelopment as a four-runway, 24-hour hub.
The government's Davies commission on aviation will report in 2015 on the need for additional airport capacity in the south-east of England, with the focus likely to be on Heathrow's thwarted plans for a third runway. Sir Howard Davies has said that one of his first tasks will be to scrutinise the official demand forecasts.
'PRICE IS RIGHT' SAYS NICK BARTON
AS SALE DEADLINE APPROACHES
Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 11 February 2013
STANSTED Airport's managing director Nick Barton is bullish this week as new owners prepare to take over at the Uttlesford low-cost hub.
He told members of the consultative committee set up to monitor the base's management that the £1.5 billion price agreed by Manchester Airports Group (MAG) last month was a vote of confidence for his staff. He said: "They have paid a significant price for the airport... which I think reflects extremely well on the quality of the airport we have here and its prospects for the future."
Stansted's current owner - Heathrow Airport Holdings, formerly known as BAA - picked MAG from four bidders after three years of legal wrangling with the Competition Commission to keep its Uttlesford base. MAG is a holding company owned by the 10 borough councils of Greater Manchester, but as part of the Stansted deal which is expected to complete by February 28, Industry Funds Management is to take a 35.5 per cent strategic stake in MAG.
Mr Barton said: "We met all four short-listed bidders and we felt all of them were good for the airport - but we felt that the one with the best strategic bid was MAG. We think it’s very much in the interests of Stansted that they are the owners."
The take-over comes as passenger numbers at Stansted take off once again after a series of slumps. Mr Barton said: "We are seeing positive growth for the first time in five years - this is a significant change. Volumes are starting to grow quite a lot... we are looking to a third month of growth."
As part of the upturn, Easyjet is moving one of its larger, 180-seat Airbus A320 aircraft to Stansted as it launches longer routes to Marrakech in Morocco and Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt as well as Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria as part of the budget airline's 2013 schedule.
AIR EXPANSION 'NOT NEEDED' SAYS FORECAST
Adam Luke - Cambridge Evening News - 7 February 2013
Campaigners fighting a second runway at Stansted Airport claim new air traffic forecasts show there is no demand for expansion.
Peter Sanders, chairman of Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE), said predictions published by the Department for Transport last week reveal the Uttlesford hub, which handled 17.5 million passengers last year, will be able to meet its market demand without another runway even in 2050. In the report, it is forecast that Stansted will need to accommodate 26 million passengers in 2030 and of 38 million passengers in 2050.
Mr Sanders said: "These new official Government forecasts are far more credible than anything we have seen before, and far less threatening. They show that even in 2050, Stansted would be able to meet all its market demand without any need for a second runway."
Last month Manchester Airport Group (MAG) bought Stansted for £1.5 billion, and have set a target of returning to 2007's traffic peak within a decade - about 24 million passengers per year.
Mr Sanders added: "Amid all the hot air from Boris Johnson about building a four-runway 'mega-hub' at Stansted, it's refreshing to have some realism from the Department for Transport and Stansted’s new owners. If we can remove the threat of any new runways once and for all, this will lay the foundations for a vastly improved long-term relationship with the local community."
It is estimated that demand for air travel in the UK overall will grow from 221 million passengers last year to 320 million passengers a year in 2030. The figures actually represent a far slower growth than over the past 40 years, in large part due to higher oil prices.
AIRPORT 'IS GREENER THAN RIVALS'
Rare praise has been heaped on Stansted Airport by a campaign group
Cambridge News - 14 February 2013
Stop Stansted Expansion's economics adviser Brian Ross spoke at the airport's community consultative committee, the last to monitor BAA's performance before the airport's sale to Manchester Airports Group.
Mr Ross said Stansted was "environmentally efficient" compared with competitors - cutting the need for aircraft movements by increasing seat occupancy.
Each aircraft landing now carries an average 144 passengers, compared with 113 a decade ago and 59 in 1993. By contrast, each touchdown at Gatwick has an average of 142 travellers on board.
However, Mr Ross repeated that any second runway for Stansted remains unnecessary based on future passenger number prediction.
CROSSRAIL 2 PLAN BOOSTS CASE FOR STANSTED AIR HUB
London First lobby group's plans would increase
rail services to the Essex airport
Declan Lynch - NCE Online - 14 February 2013
The case for Stansted to become a four runway aviation hub for London was significantly boosted this week after plans for a £12bn Crossrail 2 line connecting the airport to the city centre were published. Last October Stansted emerged as a possible candidate to replace Heathrow as London's hub airport along with two sites in the Thames estuary (NCE 11 October 2012).
The Greater London Authority (GLA) is consulting on the best location for a new 24-hour four runway hub airport for the capital. This work will be fed into the Department for Transport's Davies Commission review of UK aviation policy due to be published in 2015.
Aecom global transportation strategic planning and advisory director John Vincent said the Crossrail 2 proposals have opened up the case for Stansted. "It becomes more viable from a transportation aspect," he said. "I think it has already emerged as GLA's plan B option if a Thames Estuary airport is not viable. Current rail services to Stansted restrict its expansion," added Vincent.
Stansted is currently served by four trains an hour from Liverpool Street station, with a journey time of 50 minutes. Crossrail 2 would provide a faster, direct link to major central London stations such as Euston, St Pancras, Tottenham Court Road and Victoria. At this stage it is not known what the Crossrail 2 journey time from central London will be.
London mayor Boris Johnson strongly hinted that Crossrail 2 would fit his hub airport criteria. "A four runway hub is indispensable for London," he said. "I don't think we are going to get that at Heathrow, so an airport in Essex fits into what we are trying to do." Johnson was speaking at the launch of the Crossrail 2 proposal which was produced by business lobby group London First.
The proposed route, which runs from south west to north east London features a 24km long tunnel between Wimbledon and Hackney. It was drawn up by a working group chaired by former transport secretary Lord Adonis and including Transport for London representatives. From Hackney, the line is to connects with the Greater Anglia line at Tottenham Hale, giving direct access to Stansted airport.
Manchester Airports Group bought Stansted airport for £1.5bn last month after the Competition Commission ordered previous operator Heathrow Ltd to sell it. Stansted refused to be drawn on whether it wanted to become a major hub airport. "Stansted Airport's strategy is to drive growth and fill the available capacity on the existing single runway," said a Stansted Airport spokesman.
But the spokesman said the airport was keen to improve its rail connectivity. "Our current focus is the 'Stansted in 30' campaign [for a 30 minute train journey between Liverpool Street and Stansted] we have launched to improve the reliability and journey times on the rail line between the airport and London. Better rail links will help Stansted attract more passengers and airlines," said the spokesman.
TFL to evaluate south east airport proposals
London mayor Boris Johnson has appointed consultant Atkins and architect Zaha Hadid to help develop plans for a new hub airport in south east England. Atkins will lead three of six packages of work: airport design and infrastructure; surface access; and environmental impacts. The firm will work with architects Pascall & Watson and Zaha Hadid Architects on the airport design and infrastructure work package.
The team will evaluate around 15 different proposals for a hub airport in the south east, producing a shortlist in the next couple of weeks.
Atkins will then work on a detailed feasibility of the shortlisted options ready for Johnson to submit a recommendation to the Davies Commission on air capacity in south east England.
OUR COMMENT: Boris would be better advised to spend "his" money on more effective plans to improve London's very poor air quality rather than encouraging a major spoilage of the countryside and villages round Stansted.
AIRPORT BOSS CALLS TO EXPAND
SUSSEX AND ESSEX AIRPORTS
BBC News - 1 February 2013
A proposal to expand Gatwick and Stansted airports so they can compete with Heathrow has been put forward by Gatwick Airport's chief executive.
Stewart Wingate said both the airports in West Sussex and Essex should expand. The plan would see three airports of a similar size competing with each other and spreading the economic benefit and environmental impact, he said. But anti-expansion campaigners said the South East had enough air capacity and demand should be spread across the UK.
Several plans have been put forward to increase air capacity in London and the South East including expansion of Gatwick, Heathrow, and regional airports. There are also three plans to build airports in the Thames Estuary off Kent, and a proposal to build a four-runway airport on Goodwin Sands near Deal.
'Noise and disturbance'
Mr Wingate said: "What we're promoting is a model which sees the airports of the South East competing with one another. What that means for us is a second runway going into Gatwick and subsequently a second runway going into Stansted."
But John Byng, vice chairman of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, said the prospect of a second Gatwick runway was "worrying" and added: "It will create much more noise and disturbance for local people."
He said: "There are lots of services that would be further overstretched by the expansion of Gatwick and what's more it's not needed. There is plenty of capacity in the South East for the flights that are needed. There isn't an airport in the country that's full except Heathrow. We ought to be spreading the load of aviation around the country better and certainly the one area of the country that doesn't need more employment of the sort that the airport provides is the South East."
IAG CHIEF CRITICISES UK GOVERNMENT
ON AIRPORT EXPANSION
Travel News - 6 February 2013
International Airlines Group (IAG), the UK-based parent company of Iberia and British Airways, has criticised the UK government policy for increasing airport capacity in the southeast of the UK.
The company chief executive officer, Willie Walsh, said at the opening session of the Business travel Show 2013, in London, "My own view is that we are not going anywhere with this. British Airways has planned its business on the basis that there will be no third runway at Heathrow. In 50 years time I expect that BA will still be operating from a two-runway airport at Heathrow."
"I have heard Gatwick talking about a second runway but that is assuming that airlines are willing to pay for it. I am not going to spend one penny on new runways at Stansted or Gatwick."
Earlier a study commissioned by the London Heathrow airport owner, BAA Ltd, suggested that lack of capacity at London Heathrow Airport is affecting the UK's economy. The report, prepared by Frontier Economics, says that the lack of capacity is currently costing the country up to GBP14bn a year in lost trade, and the loss may increase to GBP26bn a year by 2030.
London Heathrow currently operates at 99 percent capacity, with no extra capacity for new trade routes to new economies, thereby affecting the growth of the UK economy. There are around 1,532 more flights to cities in Mainland China from Paris and Frankfurt airports than from London Heathrow.
The mayor of the city of London, Boris Johnson, has appealed to the city's businesses and people to forward their views on how the city can solve the capacity crunch at London Heathrow airport.
We will try and keep you up to date with
events relating to the plans for the expansion of Stansted
Airport. We invite any interested organisations or individuals
to send us their own news. Please send contributions as
a Word attachment to Pat