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MANCHESTER AIRPORTS GROUP REPORTS
DOUBLE-DIGIT GROWTH IN FIRST-HALF RETAIL INCOME
Dermot Davitt - The Moodie Davitt Report - 7 December 2017
Manchester Airports Group (MAG) posted revenue of £104.6 million from its retail concessions in the six months to 30 September, a healthy increase of +13.4% year-on-year. The company owns and manages Manchester, London Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth airport.
The retail performance was driven by increased passenger volumes, and a strong contribution following a big investment in the food & beverage offering at London Stansted Airport.
Car parking revenue hit £103.1 million, +13.3% higher than the prior-year period, driven by additional capacity to serve increased passenger volumes, and more effective management of the customer trend of moving to pre-book channels, said MAG. Total commercial income (including retail, car parking and property) reached £270.1 million in the half, up by +10.6% on H1 2016.
Passenger volumes grew by a robust +9.1% across the company's airports to 34.9 million. Group revenue climbed by +12.9% to £544.6 million while adjusted EBITDA grew +9.6% to £236.6 million.
In its interim results statement, MAG said: "The largest increases in passengers are at our two main airports, Manchester (growth of +9.2% on prior period) and London Stansted (growth of +9.8% on prior period), where airlines have increased capacity and introduced new destinations, largely driven through low cost carriers such as Ryanair and easyJet. The introduction of Jet2.com has contributed significantly to growth at London Stansted."
"New long-haul routes with new and existing airlines have also been added, to increase the breadth of destinations across our airports, including the launch of new direct routes to Muscat (Oman Air), Houston (Singapore Airlines), Boston (Virgin Atlantic) and San Francisco (Thomas Cook and Virgin Atlantic)."
On 4 December, the group announced the disposal of its share in Bournemouth Airport to Regional and City Airports, a division of Rigby Group in the UK. The funds generated will be invested in its other UK airports.
OUR COMMENT: With such good retail figures why not just capitalise on developing this market? "Visit Stansted 'airport in the country' for the best retail opportunities! - including our aircraft museum. Enjoy the peaceful Essex countryside."
AIRPORT'S RUNWAY PLAN IMPOSSIBLE
TO DELIVER, SAYS REPORT
A new taxiway at Heathrow could interfere with departures
John Collingridge - Sunday Times - 3 December 2017
Heathrow will not be able to expand to its promised 740,000 flights a year because of safety flaws involving its third runway, a new report claims.
The airport will be restricted to fewer than 700,000 flights annually, undermining a core pillar of its £17.6bn expansion plan, according to the report by the engineering consultancy Ebeni. The main concern is a new taxiway at the end of the northern runway, which it is claimed could interfere with departures.
Ebeni's aviation experts think the tail fins of large aircraft such as the Airbus A380 superjumbo and Boeing 747 would infringe on the clearance space needed by other planes taking off. This would mean the taxiway could be used only between departures, forcing the number of flights to be cut by 15 an hour. The taxiway is needed to link the new third runway with terminals.
The report was commissioned by Heathrow Hub, a rival proposal for a cut-price expansion, achieved by extending the northern runway and splitting it into two separate strips.
Ebeni also claims the scheme drawn up by the airport's owners, which include the Spanish infrastructure investor Ferrovial and the Qatar Investment Authority, would have a much bigger impact on homes than Heathrow has suggested.
Jock Lowe, the former British Airways pilot who leads the rival proposal, said the flaws highlighted by the report made it "impossible for Heathrow to deliver on its capacity, noise and respite targets". He is due to be quizzed by the Commons transport committee tomorrow.
The report is the latest salvo in the long-running battle to build another runway in southeast England. Heathrow is currently restricted to 480,000 flights a year. Its complex plan involves building a third runway to the northwest, across the M25, giving it three parallel landing strips in a densely developed part of London.
While the proposal has been backed by the government, it awaits the final seal of approval. Heathrow needs the support of MPs, with a vote on the airports national policy statement (NPS) due in the first half of next year. Reports suggest Labour could vote against the third runway.
Derek Provan, Heathrow's chief operating officer, said: "We have unrivalled experience of operating a major airport and we are completely confident that we can safely operate 740,000 annual flights with a third runway. This was confirmed independently by the Airports Commission after the most extensive, in-depth review of aviation in a generation."
Heathrow has yet to confirm how it would build the runway over the M25. The hotels tycoon Surinder Arora has also put forward proposals, and called for the expansion to be prised from the airport operator's grasp. He said allowing his team to deliver and run the third runway would save £6.7bn.
AEF LAUNCHES NEW GUIDANCE FOR
PEOPLE IMPACTED BY AIRCRAFT NOISE
aef.org.uk Online - 1 December 2017
AEF has today launched a new guide for anyone who might be experiencing aircraft noise whether from commercial airlines or light aircraft, including helicopters.
The guidance, which can be found here, considers the issues that readers might be experiencing, and where they stand in terms of the law, their human rights, and rights to compensation. It also sets out how people can take action, including using complaints procedures, joining a local action group, and finding out about the airport's planning restrictions.
The guidelines have been launched in response to the many queries received about aviation-related noise issues. Our 2016 survey revealed noise as the biggest single concern for our members, with 83% of respondents reporting noise problems during the day, and 73% reporting noise problems at night.
UK AIR TRAVEL GROWTH EXPECTED TO FALL
AS AIRLINES MOVE CAPACITY ELSEWHERE
Travelmole Online - 29 November 2017
The UK could see a slowdown in air traffic growth over the next year as airlines shift capacity to other European countries, according to influential ratings agency Moody's.
In its latest report, it said traffic growth in Europe would remain strong - around 5% to 7% - next year, but it forecast a slowdown in the UK.
Moody's said the UK would be hit by the decision by some airlines to move some capacity to more profitable markets, including Germany.
As a result, growth in the UK would be only around 3% to 6%.
Over the first nine months of this year, the 10 largest European airports reported average passenger growth of 4.9 per cent, with Heathrow, the busiest, reporting a 3% rise.
"An improved economic environment, particularly in continental Europe, combined with continued low fuel costs, relatively contained air fare inflation, and growing airline capacity, will continue to stimulate demand for air travel and support the European airport sector's positive outlook," said Xavier Lopez del Rincon, Moody's vice president - senior credit officer.
The ratings agency is warning that Britain's departure from the EU presents a further risk for the UK. If the UK also fails to negotiate a new air traffic agreement with other European countries by the time it exits the EU, flying rights affecting around 80% of air passenger volumes will be lost.
CONSULTATIONS ARE REOPENED ON HEATHROW
EXPANSION PLANS FOLLOWING NEW EVIDENCE
KcwToday Online - 17 November 2017
A consultation for Hammersmith and Fulham residents to have their say on the plans for a third runway at Heathrow has reopened in light of new evidence.
The Department for Transport, who are running the consultation, released new evidence regarding noise, CO2 emissions and air pollution. This information was not public knowledge during the first round of consultations, which closed in May.
The announcement of the reopening of the consultation, which will run until 19th December, coincides with the year anniversary of the government's decision to expand Heathrow over Gatwick. This would mean an extra 700 flights to and from the airport a day.
The government's sustainability appraisal claims that building a second runway at Gatwick would have less of a negative impact on the surrounding area.
The news of the consultation follows a recent local demonstration where members of the protest group No Third Runway set up a number of red cardboard planes in Ravenscourt Park.
Victoria Timberlake, the group's co-Chair, said: "There is deep and heartfelt opposition to any further expansion of Heathrow. Seven hundred extra flights each day can only bring more misery to the hundreds of thousands of Londoners living under current flightpaths, as well as new misery to communities overflown for the first time."
If the plans are given the go-ahead, construction of the runway would begin early 2021, to be completed by 2025. For more information on the consultation phone 0300 123 4797 or visit www.gov.uk/dft/heathrow-airport-expansion.
CAMPAIGNERS SLAM STANSTED AIRPORT FOR
"OPPORTUNISTIC PLOY" OVER HUGE EXPANSION PLANS
Stansted Airport wants to significantly raise
the cap on annual passenger numbers
Harriet Clugston - Hertfordshire Mercury - 7 November 2017
Campaigners have hit back at plans for a huge expansion at London Stansted after the airport claimed that a cap on passenger numbers was restricting its potential for growth. The Essex airport, which is owned by Manchester Airports Group (MAGs), is subject to a planning cap that prevents it from handling more than 35 million passengers per annum (mppa).
Following a period of "extensive consultation with local communities over the summer" Stansted now says it wants to see this increased to 43 mppa - a slight reduction on the 44.5 mppa it was originally aiming for, but a huge increase on the 26 million passengers it currently caters for.
Airport bosses claim the change is necessary to enable it to meet a growth in passengers over the next decade, after it saw an increase of nearly 10 million passengers over the past five years. Over 700 people attended the airport's consultations over the summer.
However, campaigners argue these claims are undermined by official Government statistics which, they say, show predictions that "Stansted will be bursting at the seams by 2023" were "a gross misrepresentation of the reality".
According to the UK Aviation Forecast published at the end of October, the Government expects Stansted to handle just 31 mppa by 2030 and 35 mppa by 2033, based on the assumption that current planning caps remain in place. Should a new runway be built at Heathrow as planned, the forecast for passenger numbers at Stansted then drops to 22 mppa in 2030, consequently only reaching the present cap of 32 mppa in 2043.
Commenting on the findings, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) Chairman Peter Sanders said: "MAG's overstatement of potential demand to secure support for expansion is nothing more than an opportunistic ploy. It is designed to take advantage of a lull during Government consultations on the future of aviation and to try to rush through permissions that might otherwise be restricted once the new aviation policy emerges towards the end of 2018."
"MAG has presented its case as if failure to concede a further tranche of expansion would somehow compromise the rights of the travelling public as well as the UK economy, when the Government's own figures show this to be far from the truth."
However, Stansted Airport has pointed out that the Government recognises that its forecasts are "not intended to provide detailed projections for each individual airport", and that airport specific data may be used to inform local planning decisions.
A spokesman for the airport said: "Growth at Stansted over the last five years has significantly exceeded the previous projections from both Government and the Airports Commission. Stansted is now effectively ten years ahead of where the Government and the commission thought it would be today. Unfortunately, the Government's recently published forecasts suffer from the same fundamental flaws as their previous forecasts, in particular their failure to take account of commercial drivers that have delivered the exceptionally strong growth for Stansted Airport and its low cost carriers, such as highly competitive airfares and long term commercial agreements with airlines."
"Looking to the future, our independently prepared traffic forecasts show continued strong growth at Stansted, with the airport serving 35 million passengers in 2023. These forecasts provide the airport with the business case for the substantial investment in new passenger facilities that we will be making over the coming years."
The airport will be hosting three community feedback sessions in the coming weeks to update local residents about their revised plans and hear their views. They plan to submit a final planning application to Uttlesford District Council in early 2018.
RYANAIR BITES BACK AT BALPA
IN PILOT STRIKE CONSULTATION
Ben Ireland - TravelWeekly Online - 26 October 2017
Ryanair has hit back at Balpa after the union approached the budget airline's pilots to test the water over potential strike action.
Balpa (British Airline Pilots Association), which represents more than 10,000 pilots in the UK, is assessing the level of support among the Irish carrier's pilots to establish their legal status as contract workers or direct employees of Ryanair in a consultation that lasts until November 6.
The union says Ryanair pilots are "in revolt" and is asking them if they'd back industrial action.
But Ryanair has hit back at the union and urged pilots concerned about working conditions to deal with them directly. The Irish airline said Balpa's claims have "no validity" and published figures which it says show it pays more than rival carriers.
A spokesman for Ryanair said: "These claims from the BA pilots union (which has no involvement or recognition in Ryanair) and which currently presides over hundreds of pilot job losses in Monarch, have no validity. If Ryanair pilots wish to discuss or improve their pay or conditions, they can do so at any time using the established collective bargaining process, which has already delivered them industry leading pay 5 on/4 off rosters and unmatched job security."
Ryanair claims that when basic pay, 'productivity', 'sector pay', expenses and pensions are taken into account, it pays its captains 22% more than Jet2.com and 20% more than Norwegian.
The airline also dubbed the union's claims that it has "complex employment structures" as "false", adding: "A majority of Ryanair pilots in 2017 are direct employees, a minority are contractors, just like the contractor pilots which predominate among Norwegian, Wizz, Easyjet and other low cost airlines in Europe, and the many contractors employed by hospitals, hotels, airports and media."
The row follows Ryanair's pilot rota crisis which forced it to cancel thousands of flights over the winter and prompted the airline's chief executive Michael O'Leary to launch an extraordinary public attack on its pilots. He later apologised and Ryanair was reported to be offering improve terms and conditions to the many pilots who have the airline to join rivals such as Norwegian.
HEATHROW EXPANSION 'COULD DELAY'
AIR QUALITY COMPLIANCE
Greg Pitcher - NewCivilEngineer Online - 25 October 2017
Heathrow's third runway could harm efforts to stay under European Union air pollution limits, a report published by the government has warned.
An assessment by engineering consultancy WSP of the government's 2017 Air Quality Plan, which was published in July following several legal battles with an environmental law group, said the proposed north-west runway at the west London airport could impact on compliance with the EU's Ambient Air Quality Directive.
"With proposed opening of the scheme between 2026 and 2030 it is unlikely that concentrations in central London will have fallen sufficiently to remove the risk of the airport expansion impacting on EU limit value compliance," said the study.
The document was published amid a raft of information as ministers launched a fresh consultation on revised airports policy ahead of a vote on the controversial project next year. It comes almost exactly a year after transport secretary Chris Grayling confirmed that a third runway at Heathrow was the government's preferred way of boosting capacity in the South East.
An initial consultation on the draft Airports National Policy Statement concluded in May this year but the government has revised the policy in light of responses and fresh evidence, paricularly about how the third runway could impact air quality. This week it launched a new consultation on the revised statement.
Amid the flurry of publications, a framework for balanced decisions on design and use of airspace signalled a U-turn on previous proposals to transfer noise control responsibility to certain airports. And a forecasts document showed predictions that Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton and City airports would be at full capacity by 2030, with Stansted reaching full capacity by 2040 along with Bristol and Southampton.
The government said it was on track to publish final proposals for expansion at Heathrow in the first half of 2018 before a vote in Parliament.
Grayling said: "The case for expanding Heathrow is as strong as ever and we want to hear your views on it. This is an important consultation and I encourage everybody to get involved across the UK."
Heathrow described the latest consultation as a "key milestone". "The forecasts show expanding Heathrow, the UK's only hub airport, is even more important than previously realised," said a spokesperson for the airport.
"A third runway will ensure Britain's place in the world as an outward looking trading nation. That's why the government has committed to a final vote on expansion in the first half of 2018. Today's consultation will be welcomed by business groups, trade unions and the majority of MPs who all recognise that expanding Heathrow is the only option to connect all of Britain to global growth."
GOVERNMENT RELEASES REVISED AIRPORTS NPS DRAFT
Molly Dyson - BuyingBusinessTravel Online - 24 October 2017
The government has issued a revised draft version of its Airports National Policy Statement (NPS), updating its stance on the much-debated expansion of London's aviation capacity. While a third runway at Heathrow is still being supported, the report calls on the airport to take steps to ensure disruption in the area is handled properly.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling set out the next stage of delivering a third runway at Heathrow, with a final proposal to be published in time for a parliamentary vote in the first half of 2018, according to a government statement.
The draft sets out a planning policy framework, which an applicant would have to comply with in order to be granted consent to begin works on a new runway, including:
Delivering at least six more domestic routes across the UK by 2030
Providing a package of support for communities affected, including noise insulation for homes and schools
Setting legally-binding noise targets, periods of predictable respite and a ban of six-and-a-half hours on scheduled night flights
Paying home owners 25 per cent above market value rate plus costs for the purchase of houses if needed to make room for the new runway.
Grayling says the government is building on Heathrow's pledge to put forward a package worth up to £2.6 billion. Planning consent will only be given if the airport can put forward a strategy to stay within air quality and climate change regulations. The transport secretary also says he will have the power to review any flight path changes if he feels they are of 'national significance'.
The new draft NPS comes after Grayling delayed a decision on Heathrow's third runway following the general election, saying the need to form a new select committee pushed everything back. However, he comments that airport expansion is needed to boost the UK economy.
"Leaving the EU is a new chapter for Britain and provides us with a great opportunity to forge a new role in the world," Grayling said. "We are determined to seize that opportunity and having the right infrastructure in place will allow us to build a more global Britain."
The public now has until December 19 to respond to the draft NPS, after which point a final version will be drafted for review by Parliament.
A Heathrow spokesperson said the forecasts given in the consultation show expanding the airport "is even more important than previously realised" and claimed it has "already pledged to meet or exceed the conditions recommended by the Airports Commission to address impacts on local communities and the environment".
Meanwhile, a Gatwick spokesperson commented that the airport welcomes the revised draft and will "look carefully" at the consultation material. Gatwick also claims to be offering a "credible" privately-financed runway addition.
MPS TO SCRUTINISE IMPACT OF BREXIT
ON AVIATION IN ONE-OFF EVIDENCE SESSION
Rebecca Smith - CityAM Online - 23 October 2017
MPs will hold a one-off session next week to consider Brexit's impact on aviation, after the industry has called for certainty on flying rights when Britain leaves the European Union.
The Transport Select Committee has invited airline and airport representatives to the evidence session, including Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye, and British Airways owner IAG's chief executive Willie Walsh.
Chair of the Transport Select Committee, Lilian Greenwood MP, said transport secretary Chris Grayling "presented a confident view of the situation post-Brexit for UK aviation" when he appeared before the committee last week. Greenwood said next week's session "will test whether this optimism is justified, when we hear from the UK's leading airlines and airports with a view to getting their take on the current progress of negotiations and the potential implications from delays in securing a transitional deal for aviation".
Grayling was grilled by the committee over the fate for UK aviation post-Brexit along with other matters such as the collapse of Monarch Airlines this month.
The UK will no longer be guaranteed automatic flying rights when it leaves the EU, unless a transitional deal is negotiated ahead of the deadline.
The topic of aviation was back in the spotlight after chancellor Philip Hammond said earlier this month that it was "theoretically conceivable that in a no deal scenario there will be no air traffic moving between the UK and the European Union" when Britain leaves the EU. "But I don't think anybody seriously believes that is where we will get to," he added.
Grayling echoed that opinion when speaking to the committee last week, telling them: "I am very confident that we will end up with an agreement with the European Union, but aviation does not have to have an open skies agreement in order to function. If you had senior airline bosses like Willie Walsh and Carolyn McCall in front of you, they would say to you that they are not concerned that they will not be able to carry on flying post-2019."
AIR FRANCE BOSS SAYS UK MUST PLAY
BY THE EU COURT'S RULES AFTER BREXIT
Daniel Boffey - TheGuardianBusiness Online - 21 October 2017
Jean-Marc Janaillac says he is happy to see British airlines fly on the continent - as long as they accept European Court of Justice control.
As the head of Europe's largest intercontinental airline, Jean-Marc Janaillac can speak with authority on the complexities of cross-border travel. He carries some political insight, too, because he is chief executive of a business, Air France-KLM, that is 17%-owned by the French government.
At the intersection of pan-European travel and politics lies Brexit, of which Janaillac is a dispassionate observer. After all, it is not his business that will be most affected by a split between London and Brussels. Janaillac says Britain leaving the EU is neither "an opportunity nor a catastrophe" for a business created by the merger of the French and Dutch national airlines in 2004.
"For Air France-KLM, and other airlines, the British market is important but it is not a huge part of our activity. I think it is more a problem for British airlines than continental operators," he said.
The 64-year-old gives a tour d'horizon of the issues facing British rivals come the leaving date of March 2019. They range from the threat of not being able to fly beyond British borders to having to having to accept the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice - the latter being a red line in the Brexit negotiations for Theresa May.
But first, the basics: will the likes of British Airways and easyJet be able to fly to Europe once the UK has exited the EU? Janaillac, who took over Air France-KLM last July, says that the British government should be planning for the worst-case scenario, in which a new agreement between the UK and the EU does not materialise. This would mean flights between Britain and the continent could be grounded because the UK will no longer be a member of the European Common Aviation Area.
Under the ECAA regime, any airline owned and controlled by EU citizens is free to operate anywhere within the EU without restrictions on capacity, frequency or pricing. A new agreement will have to be struck if British airlines are to continue to enjoy the freedoms of today.
"Some say if there is not an agreement all the flights are going to stop and British people with homes in Spain will not be able to fly home for the weekend," he said. "Others say that former agreements are going to work. I think the government should prepare. I mean, plan in order to assure that things are going to be smooth in March 2019, if there is no agreement. I hope it is possible to have an intermediary period."
Then comes the Brexiters' pet hate - the European Court of Justice. Janaillac says that bowing to the ECJ will be unavoidable for a UK-based carrier if it wants to operate services within the EU - between Berlin and Rome, for instance. Indeed, easyJet has already announced plans to set up a new European headquarters in Austria for its intra-EU flights and that unit will therefore operate under the auspices of the ECJ.
For other British airlines, Janaillac says that it would be unacceptable if UK airlines were able to operate with a lower level of rights, or forced its passengers to seek justice in British courts. "We would approve the British airlines flying within Europe as European operators on one condition: if they have the same rights, they should have the same obligations as European carriers,? Janaillac said in an interview in Brussels, where he was attending a gathering of European airline executives. Citing the example of Norway's low-cost carrier, he added: "A bit like Norwegian [airlines]. I think it is very clear: 100% of the rights means 100% of the obligations. If not, we will not have a level playing field."
Janaillac comments reveal how problematic Theresa May's insistence that Britain will no longer accept the jurisdiction of the ECJ will become later in the Brexit negotiations. The prime minister has claimed that whether or not the UK has left, the remit of European judges should be regarded as a test of whether Brexit has been delivered.
The French state, which is already pushing the importance of the role of the ECJ in the protection of citizens' rights in the Brexit negotiations, is likely to be pushing the airline's interests, where it can. The French president Emmanuel Macron has made it no secret that he hopes that French businesses will exploit the opportunities caused by the UK's decision to leave the bloc.
Although Ryanair is a bigger player by passenger numbers, Air France-KLM is a powerful presence in the European airline business. It has a fleet of 346 planes which carried 93 million passengers to 328 destinations worldwide in 2016, allowing it to claim to be Europe's biggest carrier for intercontinental flights.
Speaking of easyJet's Austria move, Janaillac says: "I guess the authorities will check. I think the rule is either you control the airline or you don't. Is it a subsidiary that the company doesn't control? For me, it is a bit strange."
There is a competitive edge to his easyJet comments. Air France-KLM launched a new subsidiary, Joon, last month, as part of the French flag carrier's attempts to cut costs and compete with low-cost models and the recent expansion of Gulf-based airlines.
Janaillac said his new airline would only ever account for 10% of Air France-KLM's fleet but that it felt it had been "compulsory" for the company to diversify. Cabin staff will work under separate and less generous contracts to those enjoyed on Air France-KLM, and the airline will offer one-way tickets to passengers. "The idea was to have a new airline with a less expensive cost structure," he said. "We are going to fly between Barcelona, Lisbon and Berlin and we are going to compete with many airlines, but especially with easyJet. We do say that if you change the naming, the positioning, you [attract] people who would not have looked at our site."
RYANAIR STANSTED PILOTS REJECT PAY RISE OFFERS
rte.ie/news - 20 October 2017
Pilots at Ryanair's Stansted base have rejected an offer of significant pay rises by management.
They are the second group of employees to reject the pay offer, which was conditional on continuing to negotiate with the company through its 87 individual base Employee Representative Committees, rather than through unions, or through a new joint internal body known as the European Employee Representative Committee.
It is understood that contractor pilots who are not directly employed by Ryanair were not permitted to take part in the ballot. However, there was a 91.2% turnout among direct employees, of whom 61% voted no. Ryanair had warned that if the offer were rejected, pilots ran the risk of receiving no further pay rises for up to five years.
Stansted is one of Ryanair's biggest bases and the vote would seem to set pilots on a collision course with management over pay and conditions.
Pilots' key demands include collective negotiating rights and more permanent contracts, but Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary has consistently stated that he will only negotiate through local ERCs - a system that was validated by the Irish Supreme Court in a landmark case in 2008.
Pilots at Madrid have already rejected the offer made to their base.
Commenting on the ballot outcome, Ryanair said it was surprised that pilots had rejected large pay rises of up to £22,000 for captains and £11,000 for first officers. It said the outcome vindicated how effective and democratic its internal collective bargaining processes are. Ryanair said ten other bases have already agreed large pay rises. It said it will continue to engage with pilots.
Meanwhile, the first Ryanair pilot to openly criticise management in the current crisis - Captain Imelda Comer - has urged pilots to stand together and demand better working conditions. In a letter to colleagues, Capt Comer noted that up to half of the Stansted pilots were excluded from the ballot because they were contractors rather than being directly employed by the airline.
She queried who had made that decision, which "...clearly did not serve the best interests of the whole pilot body". She noted that a 2015 survey had revealed that only 35% of pilots were direct employees. She said that even if that percentage might have changed over the last two years, contractors still accounted for around half the pilot population - yet were completely excluded from any form of negotiations on decisions that fundamentally affected them.
Capt Comer told her colleagues that the Stansted pilots had rejected a management imposed solution to a problem that management had failed to understand - and that management had lost credibility in the eyes of the pilot body. She alleged that management failures and misplaced actions could put the stability of their operations, and the sustainability of the company under further threat.
She described the current situation as "the ultimate farce in industrial relations, Ryanair style" adding that if the aim was to retain pilots, or attract new ones, it would fail. Capt Comer concluded by saying: "It is time for the Ryanair board and its investors to question if the management team that got us into this mess are capable of getting us out of it."
MAG CALLS FOR UK-WIDE AVIATION STRATEGY
BreakingTravelNews Online - 19 October 2017
The government's new aviation strategy should set out an ambitious plan for improving international connectivity from UK airports as part of its vision for a new global Britain, according to MAG.
The leading airport group has laid out its view in response to government proposals for the new strategy. MAG, which operates the UK's two largest airports with spare runway capacity, Manchester and London Stansted, is calling for improvements in road and rail access to its airports to enable them to offer passengers better global connections.
At London Stansted, MAG is calling on government to accelerate the delivery of improvements to the Stansted Express. With faster rail access to London, MAG believes that London Stansted would attract more long haul routes, giving passengers more choice and providing high-tech and life sciences businesses in the corridor around Stansted with better access to global markets.
At Manchester Airport, MAG is focused on ensuring that the airport is connected directly to HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, so that passengers and businesses across the north and the rest of the UK can benefit from the airport's global route network.
The group believes that air freight's vital role in supporting trade and advanced manufacturing should be an important focus for the new strategy.
The government should support East Midlands Airport, the UK's most important hub for dedicated air-freight operations, by channelling more investment in road and rail infrastructure around the airport.
MAG believes that a successful aviation industry is required to deliver the government's vision of a "truly global Britain" after the country leaves the European Union, and that encouraging key strategic airports across the UK to develop to their full potential would be hugely beneficial for the country's economic success, and will give investors the certainty they need to invest in airport terminals and facilities to improve passenger experience in the coming decade.
Tim Hawkins, corporate affairs director at MAG, said: "The ability for passengers and businesses to reach markets around the world quickly and easily is critical to meeting the government's vision for a global Britain. Aviation generates £1 billion a week towards UK GDP, something that is made possible by the nearly one million people that work in and around the industry."
"The government can now provide a strong boost to the UK economy by making the best possible use of existing capacity at airports like Manchester and Stansted over the next ten to 15 years. That is why we are encouraging the government to commit, through the new aviation strategy, to a number of practical steps that will enable airports to improve the UK's international connectivity."
LONDON STANSTED TARGETS GROWTH WITHIN
ENVIRONMENTAL AND AIRCRAFT MOVEMENT LIMITATION
Kirstie Pickering - PassengerTerminalToday Online - 18 October 2017
London Stansted Airport has unveiled revised proposals that show how its growth over the next decade can be achieved without increasing either the number of flights that are currently permitted to operate each year, or the size of the airport's approved noise footprint.
The revised proposals come after extensive consultation with local communities seeking residents' views on plans to raise the cap on the number of passengers that can be served each year. An increase in the passenger cap is needed to enable the airport to make best use of its existing capacity.
Currently, around 26 million passengers use Stansted each year, up nearly 10 million passengers compared with five years ago. Stansted's growth potential is currently limited by a planning cap that would prevent the airport handling more than 35 million passengers per annum (mppa).
Following consultation, Stansted will now apply to raise the cap to 43mppa, to enable it to meet forecast growth over the next decade. The revised proposal represents a smaller increase in passenger numbers than originally proposed - 44.5mppa - and will enable growth to be met without increasing the number of aircraft movements that are currently permitted to operate each year.
Ken O'Toole, chief executive of London Stansted Airport, said, "The feedback we received from our neighbours during our extensive consultation was clear - that they support the ongoing growth and investment in the airport and welcome a further increase in destinations and choice. Local residents also told us that they were concerned about the proposal to increase the number of flights that the airport is permitted to operate each year. We've listened to those concerns and decided to adapt our proposals so growth can be met within the current cap on the number of aircraft movements."
"That means the airport's growth over the next 10 years to serve 43 million passengers can be achieved without increasing the existing limits on aircraft movements and noise. We think that this is good news for local residents. This is an example of community consultation in action - we talked about our plans, we listened and we have amended our proposals accordingly. These plans provide a good balance between ensuring our future growth, support for the region's economy and addressing concerns around local environmental impacts. With clarity over the airport's ability to grow, airlines and business partners will have the confidence to continue to invest and grow at Stansted."
OUR COMMENT: Growth with no more flights? Or reach the allowed limits sooner and hope for more support in the future?
REGULATOR TO ACCELERATE ENFORCEMENT ACTION
AGAINST RYANAIR OVER LATEST SPATE
OF MASS FLIGHT CANCELLATIONS
Rebecca Smith and Francesca Washtell - City AM Online - 28 September 2017
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) last night said it would accelerate "enforcement action" for "persistently misleading customers" with inaccurate information after a spate of mass flight cancellations.
The budget airline announced yesterday that 34 routes will be suspended from November through to March 2018 as it seeks to bring an end to recent flight cancellation troubles. The decision means routes including London Gatwick to Belfast, and London Stansted to Edinburgh and Glasgow have been suspended, with up to 18,000 flights and 400,000 more people affected.
The London-listed Irish airline said it will slow growth to curb the risk of having to announce more cancellations by flying 25 fewer aircraft and reducing its flying schedule.
But yesterday's cancellations prompted the regulator to expedite enforcement against the airline, saying the airline had "failed to provide customers with the necessary and accurate information relating to their passenger rights, particularly around re-routing and care and assistance entitlements, which includes expenses".
The regulator has warned it could seek legal action against Ryanair for breaching consumer protection laws, though it is not yet clear what form the enforcement action will take. The action comes after Ryanair said it was cancelling 2,000 flights after the airline miscalculated pilot leave.
CAA chief executive Andrew Haines said: "In expediting our enforcement action we are seeking to ensure that Ryanair's customers will receive the correct and necessary information, to make an informed choice about an alternative flight."
Alex Neill, of Which?, said: "Ryanair is still flouting the law and failing to properly inform people of their rights, so it is good to see the regulator stepping in. They must ensure their intervention forces Ryanair to immediately change its behaviour and comply with the law."
Ryanair shares closed up 4.01 per cent yesterday, despite the cancellations. The enforcement action was announced after the market had closed.
OUR COMMENT: This must mean that MAG's intended planning applcation for increasing the number of passengers and flights allowed from Stansted airport must be reconsidered, Ryanair has made a big contribution to the number of flights to and from Stansted over the years and no estimates of future Stansted airport passenger numbers can be regarded as reliable until the present situation is clarified.
400,000 MORE PASSENGERS TO BE HIT
BY RYANAIR CANCELLATIONS
BBC News - 27 September 2017
Ryanair will cancel another 18,000 flights between November and March, affecting the travel plans of another 400,000 passengers.
It will fly 25 fewer planes to cut the risk of further flight cancellations. A total of 34 routes will be suspended this winter, including Stansted to Edinburgh and Glasgow, Gatwick to Belfast and Newcastle to Faro.
Earlier this month the Irish airline cancelled up to 50 flights a day through to the end of October. It blamed the summer cancellations on "messing up" pilot holiday rosters.
Ryanair said suspending more flights meant it could "roster all of the extra pilot leave necessary" in October, November and December.
RYANAIR: THE 34 ROUTES BEING SUSPENDED
BBC News - 27 September 2017
Passengers affected by the move will be offered alternative flights or full refunds and had been emailed about advising them of flight changes occurring until the end of October. They will also be offered vouchers of 40 euros (£35) one way or 80 euros return towards on alternative flights on top of any refund.
The airline again denied it had a pilot shortage as some have claimed: "In the current year less than 100 of over 2,000 captains left Ryanair (mainly retirements or to long haul airlines) and less than 160 F.O's [first officers] who have mainly left to join long haul airlines."
Ryanair added that it had more than 2,500 pilots on a waiting list and had offered jobs to more than 650 new pilots who would be join by May next year.
In addition, ten days after saying it was preparing to buy the Italian carrier Alitalia, Ryanair said it would drop the bid to "eliminate all management distractions".
Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said: "From today, there will be no more rostering-related flight cancellations this winter or in summer 2018.
Slower growth this winter will create lots of spare aircraft and crews, which will allow us to manage the exceptional volumes of annual leave we committed to delivering in the nine months to December 2017."
The airline also said the total cost of the flight cancellations to date was less 25m euros (£22m) and expected the cost of the free flight vouchers would be less than £22m.
It said that it has had to scale back its original forecast for passenger numbers in the year to March 2018 from 131m to 129m but it said that it would not affect profitability. Ryanair's share price rose 3% in London, bringing the rise this year to 17%.
FURIOUS RYANAIR PILOT CALLS LBC
TO REVEAL ALL ABOUT WORKING CONDITIONS
Nick Ferrari - LBC Online - 22 September 2017
This RyanAir pilot was so angry by boss Michael O'Leary's comments about his employees that he called LBC to reveal all about the company's working practices.
After having to cancel numerous flights due to a lack of pilots, Mr O'Leary said: "I would challenge any pilot to explain how this is a difficult job or how it is they are overworked, or how anybody who by law can't fly more than 18 hours a week could possibly be suffering from fatigue."
John in Stansted was livid at that remark and called Nick Ferrari to set the record straight. He revealed that pilots have to pay just for an interview with RyanAir and then have to pay £26,000 for training, during which they don't receive a penny from the airline for the six month period. He even stated that pilots have to take their own water on flights as they are not even given a staff discount.
His call was a fascinating insight into the way that the company work - and why they are struggling with the number of pilots. LBC has asked RyanAir for a response.
MAG CONNECT INITIATIVE FORMS
PART OF MAJOR RECRUITMENT DRIVE
Phil Davies - Business Weekly Online - 19 September 2017
A major recruitment drive is being started by Manchester Airports Group in response to expected growth over the next 15 years.
The MAG Connect initiative will visit areas close to the group's four airports to seek new staff. The first is being staged at a jobs fair in Tottenham in north London, 35 minutes away from Stansted by train. The airport and train operator are providing support for people in the area who want to work at Stansted by providing an 80% discount on rail fares.
The MAG Connect concept will continue to be developed in key target areas around its airports at Manchester, East Midlands and Bournemouth. Other more long-term elements of the scheme will include a new Technical Skills College at Stansted in partnership with Harlow College.
The airports group expects to play a key role in meeting growing demand for air travel before a new runway is built in the south-east of England. MAG runs the two biggest airports in the UK with significant current runway capacity. Manchester airport will see a new terminal and other facilities added over the coming decade in an £1 billion investment while £130 million is being spent on a new arrivals building at Stansted.
MAG's four UK airports are estimated to have generated economic activity worth £7.1 billion in the last year, a 15% annual increase. A claimed 5,000 jobs were created on airport and in the supply chain as a result of this growth, in industries like construction, tourism and transport, and in businesses that rely on connections to global import and export markets.
MAG chief executive, Charlie Cornish, said: "Our airports are critical contributors to the ongoing economic health of the country, providing a gateway for welcome foreign investment and ensuring that the UK is able to meet the growing demand from international leisure and business travellers.
Increasingly, our airports are also providing hubs for a vibrant global air cargo industry, spurred on by the huge growth in e-commerce."
"We also know that delivering growth in the right way is key to securing the support of our stakeholders, and as our airports continue to grow over the coming years, we recognise the importance to local communities of being able to deliver this growth while managing the environmental impacts associated with our operations."
Employment minister Damian Hinds added: "With record levels of employment, businesses should be looking for new ways to fill vacancies. Today's announcement will not only help more local people find work, it's also an excellent example of a company working innovatively with Jobcentre Plus to benefit the local Tottenham area."
NEW STANSTED BOSS CALLS
FOR NATIONAL AVIATION STRATEGY
Phil Davies - Business Weekly Online - 15 September 2017
Spare airport capacity available today must be used to generate the biggest positive impact for consumers and the economy, the government is being urged by the new boss of Stansted.
Chief executive, Ken O'Toole, called for a national aviation strategy, being considered as part of plans for a third runway at Heathrow, that supports other airports to grow. He also reiterated industry calls for the reform of Air Passenger Duty.
The UK has the highest rates of aviation taxation of any developed nation by some margin, which inhibits demand and affects the ability to compete against EU and global competitors for airline capacity, he told the London Infrastructure Summit.
O'Toole claimed that a lot more can be done to improve the UK's connectivity with the rest of the world to ensure it succeeds as an outward-facing trading nation as the country prepares to leave the EU and at a time when airport capacity is at a premium.
He said: "The UK is going to need the aviation industry to be at the top of its game over the next 10-15 years to build a prosperous and global Britain. First and foremost, we need to ensure that we make the most productive and efficient use of the capacity we have already. We will shortly be applying to raise our planning cap so that we can make full use of our runway. Securing that approval would enable Stansted to meet 50% of London's expected passenger growth over the next decade, double our economic output to £2 billion and create thousands of new jobs."
O'Toole also stressed the importance of rail and road connectivity. "If we are serious about getting the most from our airports, joined up thinking on road, rail and aviation policies should be a priority for government," he said.
"In the case of Stansted, a key priority is creating the best possible rail links from the airport to London and Cambridge. Faster journey times will not only expand our reach but also, and most importantly, strengthen our ability to attract the increasing number of long-haul airlines that wish to serve London. Stansted offers the 'primary growth opportunity' in the south over the next 15 years and businesses and passengers will reap the benefits with increased global connectivity, trade opportunities and more choice."
EUROPE'S REGIONS AIRLINE ASSOCIATION
ISSUES BREXIT STATEMENT
Ian Sheppard - Air Online Weekly News - 11 September 2017
The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) has released a position paper in which it calls for the parties in Brexit negotiations to "safeguard the air traffic network in the European region" for the good of the economy and consumers.
Released on September 7, the paper explains ERA's views on Brexit, the popular term used for the UK vote on June 23, 2016, to leave the European Union. In a statement the association said, "ERA believes it is essential that a wide-reaching aviation agreement is reached between the EU and the UK at least 12 months before the deadline for negotiation ends in March 2019."
The UK-based association said the position paper is designed to "assist policymakers and those involved in the negotiations regarding the future aviation arrangements between the EU and the UK. Europe has one of the most liberal and effective air transport markets in the world," the statement continued, "facilitated by the deregulation of the industry." The paper makes three core recommendations that ERA believes are the minimum required to "maintain a healthy, well-connected European aviation industry."
First, the association calls for an EU-UK bilateral agreement "comprehensively guided by the spirit of EU Regulation 1008/2008." This, it said, will minimize service disruption. Second, it suggests that particular attention should be paid in the bilateral agreement to protecting four key principles enshrined in 1008/2008, namely the conditions for granting an operating license; the requirements to obtain an air operator's certificate (AOC); the provision on leasing; and the provision of intra-community air services.
Third, ERA would like to see "the continued application of EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) regulatory standards to UK operators and undertakings to support common safety compliance and a competitive, harmonized supply chain (for aircraft parts and materials) across the wider European region."
Caroline O'Sullivan, ERA's manager for policy and technical matters, commented: "ERA's position is focused on ensuring open and free traffic rights for all EU and UK carriers between the EU and the UK. ERA is also focusing on ensuring that EASA regulations continue to apply to the UK carriers and that the EU and UK carriers can continue to freely lease aircraft to each other without prior approval."
The ERA paper warns that having no agreement in place would have a "negative impact... All traffic rights between the EU and the UK would lapse, leaving uncertainty for businesses, consumers and aviation on the future of air services between the EU and the UK." It continues, "If there is no legal foundation established to underpin traffic rights?by March 2018, European flight operations will face paralysis."
The association is in the process of appointing a new director general and will hold its annual General Assembly in Athens, Greece, from October 17 to 19.
SUBJECT: HEATHROW IS IN FOR A BUMPY LANDING
Alister Osborne, Business Commentary - The Times - 8 September 2017
Few things in life are as exciting as government consultations. So, little wonder the one on the draft Airports National Policy Statement has proved such a hit. It's produced more than 70,000 responses. So, here's some cracking news. They can all write in again - because the forecasts are wrong.
No, Chris Grayling didn't put it quite like that. But the transport secretary's latest "update" on the planned £17.6 billion third runway at Heathrow certainly invites the question. Thanks to his boss calling her daft election, he was unable to include key info in the 16-week public consultation that ended in May. So, he's now proposing a "short period of further consultation".
And, what is this info, you ask? Oh, the "revised aviation demand forecasts and the government's final air quality plan". Or, to put it another way, the two main issues, alongside noise pollution, that determine whether Heathrow really is a better option than a £7.1 billion second runway at Gatwick.
Take the traffic forecasts. The government's decision - and the consultation - was based on the ones in the Airports Commission report. But even Mr Grayling would admit they are hopelessly wrong. Sir Howard Davies's commission had 2013 figures to go on, but for bizarre reasons used a "model base year" of 2008 to extrapolate trends.
The upshot? Laughable estimates for Gatwick, not least because the commission's oil price forecast was far too high. So, it missed the effect of cheap oil on demand for low-fare airlines, such as Easyjet - Gatwick's biggest customer. The result? It reckoned the airport wouldn't handle 46 million passengers a year until 2040. In fact, it's almost there already: 45.2 million in the 12 months to August. Not only that: it claimed that, even with two runways, Gatwick wouldn't have 50 long-haul flights a year until 2050. It already has 60.
From air traffic forecasts follow all sorts of other issues, not least the projects' economic benefits. Even on the old figures, the difference is tiny once you adjust for transfer traffic, which brings no real benefits to the UK. On updated forecasts, Gatwick may well be in front.
And on air quality, there's only one winner. Heathrow's in breach of EU nitrogen dioxide limits, mainly because of the cars on the M4, M25 and M40. Moreover, it's hard to spot anything in the new air quality plan that will solve that before the runway's planned 2025 opening.
In short, the new information, when it's published, could radically change the case for and against Heathrow. Mr Grayling insists that the new period of consultation, due to "begin later this year", won't change the timetable for the final national policy statement - and an MPs' vote in the first half of 2018.
But people need time to respond: a point that must be made by Sir Jeremy Sullivan, the former lord justice of appeal, whose job it is to ensure the consultation is "fair and thorough". Mr Grayling's latest "update" may have bigger ramifications than he thinks.
DfT CRITICISED FOR 'INADEQUATE'
HEATHROW EXPANSION PAMPHLET
Independent adviser also calls for consultation to be
reopened because of impact of snap general election
Jim Dunton - CivilServiceWorld Online - 7 September 2017
An independent adviser tasked with overseeing the impartiality of this year's consultation on the expansion of Heathrow Airport has criticised a Department for Transport leaflet created to publicise the process.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling appointed former Lord Justice of Appeal Sir Jeremy Sullivan to oversee the consultation on plans for a third runway at the airport in October last year. The consultation began in February in tandem with the publication of the government's Draft Airports National Policy Statement.
Sullivan's report on the consultation, which ran until May 25, generally praises the impartiality of the exercise, but highlighted particular failings with a pamphlet distributed to 1.5m homes that listed 20 one-off events for local residents most affected by the proposals to attend, but failed to list venues or times.
Sullivan said the pamphlet - titled "Heathrow Expansion - Have Your Say" - had been "the one instance" when the government's tight timescale for putting together the consultation had produced "unfortunate consequences".
"The department was the victim of its own ambition: to print and distribute 1.5m leaflets for a consultation commencing on 2 February 2017, with the first of twenty local events taking place on 13 February," he said. "I was told by the department that the explanation for criticism was that the addresses of all the venues were not known by the date when the printing of the leaflets had to begin in order to ensure that a sufficient quantity of leaflets was available to be delivered well in advance of the first week's local events. That excuse is not adequate because the department should have anticipated (and no doubt will in future consultations) that difficulty when deciding upon the start date for the consultation."
The pamphlet listed a borough or town and a date for each event, but not the precise location and time. Sullivan said that while criticisms that the pamphlet had been "propaganda" and "uninformative" had been made, residents who wished to attend the events it flagged up would have been able to find out venue information and times online or elsewhere.
His report, which is dated July 2017 but which was only published today, also urged the government to reopen the consultation because prime minister Theresa May's calling of June's snap general election had meant the exercise's final days had been covered by the pre-election purdah period.
"If best practice is to be adhered to, it will be necessary to re-open the consultation in order to deal fairly with the unfinished business," he said.
"And it will be necessary to re-open the consultation for a period which is sufficiently long both to make up for some loss of time (particularly for local authorities) during the purdah period, and to enable consultees to have a fair opportunity to consider the implications of the final modified Air Quality plan and the final passenger demand forecasts. My provisional view is that this period would need to be not less than eight weeks, excluding main school holiday periods."
In a written ministerial statement to parliament today, Chris Grayling confirmed that the consultation would be reopened for "a short period" to allow updated evidence to be taken into account. "This further consultation will focus mainly on the specific elements of the NPS affected, and is expected to begin later this year," he said.
The DfT told Civil Service World it accepted there were shortcomings in relation to the level of detail on consultation events contained in the pamphlet but said it had learned from the experience.
ESSEX COMPANIES INVITED TO HAVE THEIR SAY
ON STANSTED AIRPORT EXPANSION PLANS
Businesses in Essex are being invited to have their say on
Stansted Airport's plans to increase its annual passenger cap to 44.5m
Duncan Brodie - EADT Online - 6 September 2017
Numbers at Stansted have just passed the 25m mark for the first time, with the airport currently subject to a maximum of 35m passengers a year. In June, however, the airport gave formal notice of its intention to apply for the cap to be raised to 44.5m passengers year, representing the maximum possible use of its existing single runway.
And, next week, Essex Chambers of Commerce is staging an event in conjunction with Stansted Airport and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) at which businesses will be able to learn more about the proposal and offer their thoughts.
Speakers will include Paul Willis, Stansted's transformation project director, who will outline its aspiration to grow the number of airlines using the airport and to develop new routes, and Christian Brodie, chairman of SELEP, who will set out the region's Strategic Economic Plan and the importance of the airport development.
The event is being held on Wednesday, September 13, at the Park Inn by Radisson Harlow hotel in Southern Way, Harlow, from 4.30pm to 6.30pm.
News of Stansted's plans to seek an increase in its passenger cap were broadly welcomed by the business community but are being opposed by the Stop Stansted Expansion campaign, which has warned of the impact of an increase in flights on the environment.
EUROPEAN RIVALS PLOT TO SABOTAGE BRITISH AIRLINES:
CONTINENT'S BIGGEST CARRIERS DEMAND TOUGH
AVIATION DEAL THAT COULD SEE PRICES ROCKET
Victoria Ibitoire - Daily Mail Online - 1 September 2017
Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary believes UK airlines face hardship post Brexit. Mr O'Leary said UK carriers may no longer fly between EU destinations. He said European airlines want to undermine British airlines like BA and easyJet. Such measures could see British consumers paying extra for flights abroad. Europe's biggest airlines are conspiring to punish UK rivals after Britain leaves the EU.
In a move that would result in rocketing fares and fewer flights for British passengers, some of the Continent's biggest carriers are advocating a tough post-Brexit aviation deal. Leaked briefing documents seen by the Daily Mail show they want British airlines to be treated as 'third country citizens' in a move that would severely reduce the number of routes they can operate within the EU.
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary, suggested German and French airlines were lining up to 'shaft' British Airways and easyJet as a result of the Brexit process. European airlines such as Lufthansa want to stop their British rivals from flying between EU destinations following Brexit which would restrict their access to the market.
Germany's Lufthansa, French-owned KLM and TAP Portugal are among the foreign carriers that have backed the briefing - which pushes for the UK to lose its coveted 'cabotage' rights that enable airlines to fly freely in and around the EU. easyJet, Jet2 and Monarch would not be able fly within or between EU countries.
The European airlines are also pushing for the UK to be granted an aviation agreement similar to those of Israel and Morocco, conferring only 'third party' status. In these cases, EU states decide who can fly, how many flights can be operated and where passengers can fly to.
James Daley, of Fairer Finance, said: "This is just another trap that the British Government are going to have to navigate as they proceed with their Brexit negotiations. It's up to the Government to ensure that they negotiate a fair deal which protects the interest of British citizens."
Emma Coulthurst, of holiday price comparison site Travel Supermarket, said: "If the number of flights which a UK airline can take to an airport is restricted, prices are likely to rise."
Airlines UK, whose members include easyJet, Flybe, British Airways, Thomas Cook and Monarch, said it was aware of the briefing document, which has been circulating since May 11. Tim Alderslade, its chief executive, said: "We would encourage ministers to seek as liberal and open arrangements as possible, including cabotage rights. This is a technical issue that needs to be resolved but we fully expect flights to be protected because the benefits to both consumers and companies across the UK and the rest of Europe are so significant."
But Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary said: "The French and Germans aren't sitting on the sidelines. They're going to actively shaft BA and easyJet. This is a historic opportunity for them and it's in their briefing document - no internal flights between Europe for any UK airline even if there is a bilateral agreement. easyJet are s******* themselves."
It came after Mr O'Leary, who earns £3million a year, claimed he is underpaid and feels 'unloved and under-appreciated'. Discussing Theresa May's proposals to crack down on CEO's salaries, he added: "I think company bosses are remarkably badly paid. If you can have Wayne Rooney getting £300,000 a week and Alexis Sanchez on £400,000, I am seriously underpaid. I don?t score as many goals but I employ a lot more people and I make a much bigger contribution to the UK economy."
Mr O'Leary branded the PM's plans to force firms to publish the pay gap between the boss and the average worker and make list of companies where at least 20 per cent of investors vote against boardroom wages as 'inane bureaucratic nonsense'.
Leading economists have agreed with the Ryanair boss on Mrs May's proposals. Julian Jessop of the Institute of Economic Affairs said: "The aim should be to raise the incomes of the poorest, rather than to penalise success at the top".
OUR COMMENT: All part of the Brexit arguments?
THE LATEST BREXIT REPORTS ARE WORRYING FOR TRAVEL
Leader - TTG Media Online - 31 August 2017
The latest Brexit news to emerge last week made for worrying reading. UK air traffic faces a "catastrophic slump" read an exclusive story by Sky News, after it obtained a confidential report submitted to government by Gatwick, Heathrow, London City, Manchester and Stansted airports.
The story wasn't new. It repeated a warning that Ryanair has been shouting about for months - that unless an agreement on Open Skies is secured, then the UK could witness a 41% fall in passenger demand between March 2018 and March 2019. That means the loss of 8.1 million bookings between the UK and EU.
Coming in the same week that latest figures showed net migration had fallen to its lowest level for three years following a surge in the number of EU nationals leaving the UK since the Brexit vote last year, it made for rather worrying reading. When you add in the restrictions on employing UK staff in Europe that may emerge, at the risk of sounding like a Remoaner, combined together these points are undeniably concerning.
Employing EU staff is key for companies across travel, including the thousands of Brits employed by the UK travel industry working abroad in Europe.
A report released earlier this month by the European Tourism Association (Etoa) quizzed 100 of its UK members as to how they would cope if they had to recruit all non-UK EU staff using a formal immigration procedure. Almost half (49%) said they would see productivity "greatly reduced". Even more concerning, around 20% of Etoa's members said they were thinking of relocating their head office to an EU country.
Such reports will likely be dismissed by Brexiteers as alarmist and scaremongering. The problem is, when they keep being repeated by senior figures from across the business world, they become harder to ignore.
MPs will be returning from their holidays ahead of the reconvening of parliament on September 5. The shockingly poor exchange rate will have reminded them of the need to start getting on with the Brexit negotiations. The worrisome reports greeting them will be a sharp indication of what could happen if they don't.
CAMPAIGN GROUP WARNS RESIDENTS NOT TO BE
'TRICKED' BY STANSTED AIRPORT EXPANSION PLANS
Abbie Weaving - Eadt Online - 10 July 2017
A campaign group fighting plans to expand Stansted Airport says residents should not be 'tricked' into thinking the proposals are sustainable.
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) made the claims following a series of public exhibitions held by the airport in an effort to explain its latest plans.
The airport is hoping to submit a planning application to Uttlesford District Council, in which it proposes to lift the passenger cap of 35 million a year to 44.5 million by 2030.
Since the exhibitions started though, SSE says surveys are designed to trick people into thinking plans will be sustainable, when the environmental impacts of the expansion are yet to be assessed.
Brian Ross, the group?s deputy chairman, said: "The portrayal of the potential impacts that would arise from further expansion at Stansted is deliberately misleading and the public should be very, very sceptical about the claims being made to try to push through its proposals. The airport's so-called roadshow has all the hallmarks of a sales pitch for time-share apartments. It's all about spinning the positives and saying nothing about the negatives."
As well as more passengers, the airport also hopes to increase its aircraft movements from 274,000 a year to 285,000, meaning it would offer an extra 11,000 flights every 12 months.
SSE is urging people to question the plans and says that if they go ahead, residents will see an aircraft flying overhead every 85 seconds compared to the current rate of a couple of minutes. The resulting impact on the environment, the group says, will be "significantly worsened", with more noise and air pollution.
Speaking earlier this year, Stansted Airport CEO, Andrew Cowan said: "We know that growth is a sensitive and important issue for people living close to airports and we are committed to engaging, listening and sharing as much information as possible as we develop our plans."
The exhibitions will run until July 17 with the next session on July 12 at Braintree Town Hall, from 3pm to 8pm. Those unable to attend can share their views at ourstansted.com or by emailing email@example.com. Alternatively, SSE is urging people to write to Uttlesford District Council's planning department.
HEATHROW EXPANSION WON'T BE ENOUGH
AS LONDON'S AIRPORTS WILL NEAR CAPACITY
BY 2025, WARN BUSINESS LEADERS
Rebecca Smith - City AM Online - 10 July 2017
Heathrow's third runway will not be enough to support growing demand as all of the capital's airports will be stretched near capacity by 2025, business leaders warned today.
A new report by London First calls on the government to push forward with an aviation strategy that helps support growth and competition, by looking at flight movement limits and removing artificial caps on growth, such as those at Stansted. This would enable the airport to provide capacity for around an additional seven to nine million passengers a year.
It notes "clear demand" for further runway capacity in the south east beyond the third runway, and says proposals for future expansion at the capital's airports should also be enabled to come forward in "a far more timely and market-based way".
Richard Dilks, transport director at London First, said: "Government's backing for expansion at Heathrow was hugely welcome and a significant boost to British business, but it took 50 years to get to this stage. Government has to step up and help get the UK into the best possible shape ahead of Brexit, by supporting investment and recognising that the UK's global standing requires action beyond building a vital new runway at Heathrow."
The business group flagged the importance of improvements on links to the airport, notably rail, saying business case development should take place on a new Crossrail station at London City Airport. Other rail links considered crucial were investment in the Brighton main line as a "vital link" for City commuters and Gatwick passengers, and the confirmation of Western rail access to Heathrow.
While passenger experience has "improved considerably" in recent years thanks to significant investment by the airports, the report said more could be done to ensure "a high quality at our borders". Long queues and inefficient processes need to be clamped down on, as they send "a terrible signal to people wanting to come to the UK to visit or do business".
The five largest airports in London and the south east account for around 150m passengers annually, and the capital attracts more international overnight visitors than any other city in the world. The report says it is the UK's "international gateway for talent, tourists and investment".
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: "Delivering new runway capacity in the south east is vital to the future of the UK, boosting our economy and our position on the world stage. We are working with Heathrow and TfL to give passengers the best possible access and just last week plans were announced to increase Elizabeth Line services to the airport, including new trains to Terminal 5. We want to improve transport links to help our airports grow and we are committed to the £15bn Crossrail programme, which will serve Heathrow and the £6bn Thameslink upgrades which will benefit Gatwick."
OUR COMMENT: Has the Paris Climate agreement (recently reaffirmed) been forgotten? This has already led to a ceiling on the extra number of flights that can be allowed.
STANSTED AIRPORT EXPANSION MEETINGS ARE
'DELIBERATELY MISLEADING' CLAIMS CAMPAIGN GROUP
Charlotte Page - Hertfordshire Mercury Online - 9 July 2017
A campaign group has claimed that the consultations being held by Stansted Airport to discuss its expansion plans are 'deliberately misleading'.
On Thursday (July 6) meetings began for residents to share their thoughts and concerns on the proposal which will see Stansted become the second biggest airport in the UK. This would happen by making maximum use of its existing runway.
The group Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) however, has issued a warning across the region. Brian Ross, the deputy chairman for SSE, said: "The portrayal of the potential impacts that would arise from further expansion at Stansted is deliberately misleading and the public should be very, very sceptical about the claims being made to try to push through its proposals."
"The airport's so-called roadshow has all the hallmarks of a sales pitch for time-share apartments. It's all about spinning the positives and saying nothing about the negatives."
Residents attending the roadshow are asked to fill in a survey which the group say is designed to "trick people into thinking that further expansion at the airport will be painless and sustainable, before the environmental impacts have even been assessed." They add that the results will be biased as they believe the questions favour the airport's plans.
SSE has also raised concerns about the extra passenger numbers meaning approximately two extra flights per hour, but the group say that in reality, the proposal would mean an extra 2,000 flights a week.
A spokesman on behalf of SSE, continued: "This translates into an aircraft overflying during daytime hours from the current average of a plane every two and a quarter minutes, to a plane every 85 seconds. Noise, air quality and especially road and rail transport impacts would all be significantly worsened in contrast to the airport's claim that there will be 'no significant adverse environmental effects'."
STANSTED AIRPORT CEO CLAIMS IT WILL BE
'CLEANER, QUIETER AND SMARTER' AFTER EXPANSION
Hertfordshire Mercury Online - 9 July 2017
A spokesman on behalf of Stansted Airport said: "Stansted Airport already has permission to serve 35 million passengers a year, subject to a range of environmental limits including a robust cap on noise impacts. We are seeking local people's views at the consultation events on how we can make full use of our single runway by serving beyond 35 million passengers in the future whilst continuing to operate within the same environmental limits and current airport boundary."
Stansted Airport is holding seven more consultations in the area for residents to attend.
SSE has suggested that people share their thoughts to Uttlesford District Council's planning department via e-mail or through their online portal.
STANSTED AIRPORT CEO CLAIMS IT WILL BE
'CLEANER, QUIETER AND SMARTER' AFTER EXPANSION
Martin Ford - Hertfordshire Mercury - 8 June 2017
Stansted Airport's CEO has promised it will be "cleaner, quieter and smarter" as it bids to increase the number of passengers passing through annually by nine million.
The airport's owner, Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has taken the first steps in increasing capacity to 44 million passengers a year by 2030.
A planning application is being prepared to make use of spare capacity by raising its current cap of 35 million.
Stansted's CEO, Andrew Cowan, said: "Stansted will be critical in supporting the UK's economic growth and increasing our global competitiveness. Making the most of existing capacity at Stansted over the next ten to 15 years is a strategic priority. We have always been committed to meeting future demand in the most sustainable and efficient way possible."
Mr Cowan also pledged to listen to residents living nearby, and the airport will be running a consultation. The proposals have divided opinion in neighbouring Bishop's Stortford, where the prospect of more jobs has been welcomed, but concerns remain over a possible increase in air pollution and added pressure on transport and housing.
Mr Cowan added: "In the coming months we will be continuing to talk to those with an interest in Stansted's growth, including local residents, businesses and airline partners to ensure we maximise the social and economic benefits and address any impacts. We know that growth is a sensitive and important issue for people living close to airports and we are committed to engaging, listening and sharing as much information as possible as we develop our plans and thinking. We take our responsibilities to the communities around the airport seriously, and as part of our growth plan we will focus on operating in cleaner, quieter and smarter ways."
The boost to employment was emphasised by Mr Cowan, who highlighted the technical college being created with Harlow College. "We will remain focused on providing employment opportunities for local people, building on the fantastic education, jobs and training schemes we have in place," he said. We constantly monitor the air quality around the airport and have always met our clean air targets. At the same time, our airlines have invested heavily in quieter fleets of aircraft helping to reduce our noise footprint. We are also proud that over 50 per cent of passengers use public transport and will continue to push for better rail links to the airport."
The airport will announce the details of its consultation programme "in the coming weeks".
BAN ALL AIRPORT EXPANSION IN THE UK
TO TACKLE AIR QUALITY, URGE GREENS
Kate Proctor - Standard News Online - 8 June 2017
Heathrow is due to get a third runway - A ban on all airport expansion in the UK is the only way to tackle the country's poor air quality, the Greens said today.
The proposed clampdown on the heavily polluting aviation industry was revealed in their manifesto and would mean no third runway at Heathrow, or expansion at Manchester and Stansted which have considered developing their airports.
The party also wants to axe subsidies for aviation fuel to raise £13.8bn for the Treasury and issue car manufacturers with a one-off fine for cheating emissions tests which they believe would raise £8bn.
Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley said today the Conservatives had demonstrated a "shamefully weak" response to air quality issues and pollution levels in the UK are a national public health crisis.
Mr Bartley, who co-leads the party with Caroline Lucas, told the Standard: "The Green Party has the environment at the heart of its manifesto and the policies we're setting out today will ensure the next generation has clean air to breathe. This is an entirely preventable crisis and it would be a catastrophic failure if the next Government did not take action to help stop the 40,000 early deaths across the UK every year linked to air pollution."
Airlines currently pay no tax on the fuel they use or VAT, while road users pay 20 percent VAT on the petrol they buy.
PLANS TO ADD 10 MILLION MORE PASSENGERS WOULD MAKE
LONDON STANSTED AIRPORT THE SECOND LARGEST IN THE UK
Catherine Johnson - BraintreeandWithamtimes Online - 7 June 2017
STANSTED airport has put forward plans to increase its number of passengers from 35 million per year 45 million. In an environment scoping request, lodged with Uttlesford Council, the airport said there would also be a corresponding increase of 11,000 annual aircraft movements with associated construction.
Two new runway links would be added together with six additional aircraft stands. In the application, planning manager Alistair Andrew said: "It should be noted that, at this time, no significant adverse environmental effects are predicted as a consequence of the proposed development."
If successful the plans mean Stansted Airport would become the UK's second largest. The internal layout of the building could see some changes made with an additional security search area.
The report said: "On April 7 planning permission was granted for the erection of a separate arrivals building adjoining the existing passenger terminal. The new arrivals building will enable all current arrivals facilities to be transferred from the existing terminal building, which as a result can then be entirely dedicated to handling increased departures activity."
"This development also has the potential for much simpler internal reconfiguration to re-use the existing arrivals area to provide additional check-in and bag drop facilities, a second security search area, improved and more efficient international departure lounge capacity, and the ability to develop more customised and different facilities for particular airlines or groups of passengers."
RESIDENTS 'WILL GET SAY' ON STANSTED AIRPORT
PLANS SAYS UTTLESFORD DISTRICT COUNCIL
William Mata1 - Hertfordshire Mercury Online - 7 June 2017
Residents will be consulted on Stansted Airport expansion plans, according to Uttlesford District Council.
The local authority has received a request for an environmental assessment from airport owners MAG which will pave the way towards a full bid for planning permission. If the proposals are passed an extra 11,000 flights could leave every year and 44.5million people could use the airport.
Yesterday (Tuesday, June 6) plans protestor Lee Munden said concerns of residents would not be listened to.
In response to the issue a spokesperson from Uttlesford District Council said: "The council is aware of MAG's ambitions for growth at Stansted Airport. The council has therefore requested a scoping opinion which sets out the information it will need from the applicant before determining the planning application once it comes in."
"The council understands that a planning application is likely to be made later this year. Once the application is in, the council will consult local people, businesses and statutory agencies before determining whether or not to grant planning permission later in the year."
Stansted Airport has also committed to engage with residents, businesses and partners about the plans.
BISHOP'S STORTFORD OPINIONS DIVIDED OVER
PROPOSED EXPANSION OF STANSTED AIRPORT
Huw Wales - Hertfordshire Mercury Online - 7 June 2017
Initial plans to expand Stansted Airport and make it the second busiest in the country have been met with caution in Bishop's Stortford.
Preliminary environmental assessment proposals that were submitted to Uttlesford District Council, the planning authority covering Stansted Airport, would involve an increase of 11,000 flights every year. Despite the belief that the expansion would bring jobs to the area, there are concerns it would be put even more strain on Bishop's Stortford's housing market and transport network.
Councillor Colin Woodward, the mayor of Bishop's Stortford, said: "It probably will have an impact on Bishop's Stortford. A lot of people going to the airport don't want to pay the parking charges at Stansted and leave their cars on the streets instead. It will also have an impact on our already congested road network."
It isn't just parking that has caused concerns in Bishop's Stortford - housing and air pollution are also high on the list of issues that people feel need to be addressed. Councillor Colin Woodward has concerns over the impact it might have on housing and infrastructure.
Mr Woodward said: "We will see an expansion of staff which will have an impact on the housing market. There will be a move away from family homes in the area. The demographics of Bishop's Stortford will change as the people come here to work at the airport."
"Stop Stansted Expansion and others will be keeping an eye on the air routes. I am also concerned about the amount of pollution - in the past I have contacted them over it - especially in the eastern side of the town. We are directly impacted on and on those plans East Hertfordshire and Hertfordshire will have no voice."
Up to ten million more passengers could go through Stansted every year and 11,000 more flights could take off and land at the airport, making it the second busiest in the country, under the plans. But despite concerns, others are waiting to see the full plans to decide whether they will support or oppose the plans.
Councillor John Wyllie, said: "It will be a case of wait and see exactly what they are proposing and what benefits they plan to bring to Bishop's Stortford. Until then I would be sitting on the fence. There will be more employment and definitely more jobs but whether they will be imported jobs or local jobs is to be seen."
Councillor John Wyllie hopes that the plans might include proposals that would take the pressure off Bishop's Stortford and be beneficial to both the town and the airport. He said: "At the moment they do invest in the bus service and my personal hope would be for them to invest in the Stansted Express and maybe expand it to Dunmow and Braintree. There are people who drive to Bishop's Stortford to park to get a train to London and this would help them. That is something I would be looking for but I don't think it will be in the planning application."
Robert Lee, from Bishop's Stortford Chamber of Commerce, said: "The Chamber is very keen to support any development which will assist with sustaining and improving the prosperity of the area, whilst being mindful of environmental considerations. We believe that ensuring the efficient operation of the airport, with increased capacity, will be very beneficial to the local economy. In our opinion, the new arrivals building will contribute significantly to this. The direct and indirect stimulus to the local economy will be of benefit to businesses and citizens of Bishop's Stortford, Uttlesford and beyond."
Uttlesford District Council has received a request for an environmental assessment from Stansted Airport as a precursor to lodging a bid for planning permission. The application includes two new links to the runway together and six additional aircraft stands.
Alistair Andrews, Stansted Airport head of planning, said: "We are aiming to submit a planning application later this year, and this scoping report is a part of preparing that application. At this stage, no significant adverse environmental effects are predicted. However, the core topics of surface access transport, noise, air quality, socio-economics, carbon, climate change and health will be considered in detail in the environmental statement that will accompany the forthcoming submission."
STANSTED AIRPORT PROPOSES TO INCREASE ITS
ANNUAL PASSENGER CAP BY ALMOST 10 MILLION PEOPLE
Stansted Airport could increase its passenger cap by almost an extra 10million people under new expansion plans
Abbie Weaving - Eadt.co.uk Online - 7 June 2017
In a scoping document sent to Uttlesford District Council on June 1, the airport has proposed to amend the existing passenger cap of 35million a year to 44.5million, as well as to increase aircraft movements from 274,000 per annum to 285,000. If it goes ahead, this would see an extra 11,000 flights a year from Stansted.
The document is a precursor to a formal planning application, which will contain plans for further airfield infrastructure including two new links to the runway, six additional stands, and three more at the north eastern end of the airport.
Andrew Cowan, Stansted Airport's CEO, said: "By lifting the current caps, Stansted will be able to serve around 44million passengers a year on its existing runway by 2030. Making use of Stansted's spare capacity will benefit not only dynamic and fast growing east of England region, but also London and the UK as a whole - supporting the creation of thousands of new jobs and billions of pounds in additional economic activity."
Members of Stop Stansted Expansion Campaign (SSE), however, say they will fight the latest proposal. Martin Peachey, SSE noise advisor, said: "The group is fundamentally against it and we are having a meeting on Tuesday to hammer it out."
He added: "It's a difficult judgement [about whether it will be successful]. We managed to defeat the second runway and that's out of the window for a long time. This one will be a harder battle because it [the airport] can allow for up to 44.5million to use it."
He also said that because the airport is currently only serving 24million passengers a year that the plans are "premature", and will also have an impact on noise and air quality.
Mr Cowan, however, said the airport understands that growth is a "sensitive and important issue" for people living near to airport, and that they are committed to "engaging, listening and sharing" as much information as they can as they go forward. The scoping document also said that, despite a proposed increase of aircraft, planes are becoming quieter.
STANSTED AIRPORT ACCUSED OF SHOWING 'TOTAL DISREGARD'
TO RESIDENTS OVER MASSIVE EXPANSION PLANS
William Matal - Hertfordshire Mercury Online - 6 June 2017
Stansted Airport has been accused of showing a "total disregard" for residents over landmark plans to accommodate ten million more passengers every year. Residents and campaigners have united to point the finger at the airport after it emerged it is looking to embark on a major expansion plan.
The runway could see an extra 11,000 flights each year and the airport would become the UK's second largest if the proposals are passed.
Uttlesford District Council has received a request for an environment assessment from Stansted Airport as a precursor to lodging a bid for planning permission. The application includes two new links to the runway together and six additional aircraft stands.
Alistair Andrews, Stansted Airport head of planning, said: "We are aiming to submit a planning application later this year, and this scoping report is a part of preparing that application. At this stage, no significant adverse environmental effects are predicted. However, the core topics of surface access transport, noise, air quality, socio-economics, carbon, climate change and health will be considered in detail in the environmental statement that will accompany the forthcoming submission."
For years many East Hertfordshire and West Essex residents have campaigned against expanding Stansted because of noise and pollution concerns.
Peter Sanders, 78, who lives in Saffron Walden and is chairman of pressure group Stop Stansted Expansion, is committed to fighting the move which would see 44.5 million passengers per year. He said: "The application is premature. The current [maximum] figure is 35 million passengers per year and that is what it was ten years ago so why rush to this stage?"
"They say there will be no effects [to residents]. But the throughput is a very big increase from what it is today. They say it's not significant but try telling that to people who live under the flight path. We will be making representations to Uttlesford District Council."
Would you like to see an expanded Stansted Airport?
His views were reflected by Lee Munden, 58, of Rectory Field, Harlow, who has started a petition to stop planes flying so low over town.
He said: "The owners of the airport [Manchester Airport Group] would appear to be heavily focused upon the commercial aspects of Stansted Airport at the expense of local residents. Despite the rejection of the second runway, they are looking for ways to circumvent the system to increase revenue via increased passenger numbers. My personal opinion is that they have a total disregard for local residents concerns."
Stansted Airport has committed to engage with residents, businesses and partners about the plans.
STANSTED SET TO BECOME£ UK'S SECOND BIGGEST
AIRPORT UNDER HUGE EXPANSION PLANS
Stansted is set to massively increase its passenger numbers
Piers Meyler - Essex Online - 5 June 2017
Stansted is set to increase the maximum number of passengers it can handle by 10 million per year - making it the second busiest airport in the UK.
The massive increase - which equates to an extra 11,000 flights each year - has been revealed in a request submitted to Uttlesford District Council.
The request for a scoping opinion - the authority's formal view on what issues an Environmental Statement should contain - is being asked for ahead of a planning application to "facilitate making the best use of the existing single runway". This will include amending the existing cap on the number of passengers.
In a statement to Uttlesford DC Stansted Airport added it wants raise the cap from 35 million passengers per annum to approximately 44.5 million, as well as a associated increased in aircraft movements from the existing permitted total of 274,000 to around 285,000.
It would make Stansted the county's second busiest airport behind Heathrow - leapfrogging Gatwick which in 2016 handled 43.1 million passengers and 275,633 flights.
Although there is no plans for a second runway yet, the planning application will ask for permission for additional airfield infrastructure, comprising two new links to the runway, six additional stands on the mid airfield and three additional stands on the north eastern end of the airport.
Alistair Andrew, planning manager for the airport, said in a statement: "It should be noted that at this time no significant adverse environmental effects are predicted as a consequence of the proposed development. However, the core topics of surface access transport, noise, air quality, socio-economics, carbon, climate change and health will be considered in detail in the Environmental Statement."
NEXT GOVERNMENT 'MUST CONSIDER
SECOND RUNWAY AT STANSTED', SAYS IOD
The option of building a second runway at Stansted Airport should return
to the political agenda immediately following the General Election,
according to a leading business organisation
Duncan Brodie - Ipswich Star - 15 May 2017
The Institute of Directors (IoD) says that, with a third runway at Heathrow Airport not due to be completed until 2028 and traffic growing fast at Gatwick and Stansted, a new Airports Commission should be established by the new government immediately, with a brief to report back in a year.
As the previous Airports Commission, led by Sir Howard Davies, come down against a fourth runway being added at Heathrow, any further increase in runway capacity in the South-East is likely to involve either Gatwick or Stansted - or possibly both.
In the latest in a series of "Business Manifesto" publications, this one entitled Future-proofing Infrastructure, the IoD says: "The decision on a third runway at Heathrow has been made. It has taken so long and won't even be ready until towards the end of the next decade, so it's important to start preparing now for two new runways. Gatwick is more or less full and Stansted will be by 2027. That's why we are calling for a new Airports Commission 2.0. Its mandate will be to answer the question: where could up to two new runways be built at the lowest cost to the taxpayer, to the maximum competition-enhancing benefit of passengers and airlines, and in the quickest possible time?"
The report, written by Dan Lewis, senior adviser on infrastructure policy at the IoD, adds that, with Gatwick already close to capacity, Stansted Airport can "make the greatest difference" in the short-term. Stansted's current annual passenger total of around 24.5m - the 25m mark is expected to be reached soon, due to an expanded summer 2017 schedule - is still well with the airport's current planning permission for up to 35m passengers a year, which a planned new arrivals hall will help it to accommodate. However, the existing runway could be used by enough flights for the airport to handle up to around 45m passengers a year, although this would require fresh planning consent.
The IoD report says that, while lifting this cap would enable Stansted to handle an extra 20m passengers a year, compared with current levels, the airport's "Achilles' heel" at present is the 55-minute rail journey time to London. However, it suggests that this could be reduced to less than 30 minutes. "Already there are plans afoot for additional line capacity," it adds. "A more radical solution would involve extending Crossrail to Stansted and further on to Cambridge along the M11."
A proposal for the new east-west Crossrail route from Shenfield in Essex to Reading in Berkshire to include a spur from Stratford to Stansted Airport was put forward in 2012 when the Davies Commission was launched. However, Crossrail, which is to be officially known as the Elizabeth Line, is now at an advanced stage of construction and a more likely option for improving links from Stansted could be the proposed Crossrail2, a north-south scheme would link up with the Liverpool Street to Cambridge line.
A spokesman for Stansted Airport, which has long campaigned for improved rail links with the capital, said: "Stansted is one of the busiest and fastest growing airports in the UK and our vision is to continue growing in a sustainable way to better serve one of the most dynamic regions of the UK.
This vision will provide our region and London with more international connectivity by utilising Stansted's available runway capacity but it's vitally important we have a rail service that caters for future growth at the airport and along the burgeoning London-Cambridge corridor. To realise the full potential of the airport and the corridor, we need government to be serious about investing in our transport infrastructure and that means delivering a faster, more reliable and frequent rail service for our passengers and commuters to help business connect to the global marketplace."
Former Stansted owner BAA abandoned plans to build a second runway at the airport in 2010. Current owner Manchester Airport's Group (MAG), which acquired Stansted in 2013 as part of the forced break-up of BAA, has said it is considering "all options" for expansion up to 35m passengers a year "and possibly beyond" but has made no mention of plans for a second runway.
IoD report author Dan Lewis will be among the speakers in an Essex IoD event at Stansted later this month, taking part in a panel discussion at a breakfast event at the Hilton London Stansted Airport Hotel, from 7.30am to 9.30am on May 24. Other speakers will include Andrew Cook, director of highways and transportation at Essex County Council, Adam Bryan, managing director of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), and Jon Horne, chief operating officer at Stobart Aviation, owner of London Southend Airport. Places cost £26 plus VAT for IoD members and members' guests and £36 plus VAT for non-members. The event will be followed by the annual members meeting of the IoD Essex branch to which all IoD members are invited.
OUR COMMENT: No concerns about the views of local people or limits in the number of air flights required for an effective Climate Change Agreement
LONDON STANSTED AIRPORT SETS
NEW PASSENGER RECORD FOR APRIL
Cambridgenetwork Online - 12 May 2017
London Stansted welcomed over 2.1 million passengers to the airport during its busiest ever April, an increase of 11% over the same month in 2016 and passing the previous high for the month set in 2006. The record monthly total was boosted by the first full month of airlines' summer schedules and a number of new route launches, average load factor of 89.7% on each aircraft - another record for the month of April - and the later Easter holidays.
The international markets reporting strong passenger growth compared to April last year include the Canary Islands, Cyprus and France plus destinations in both Turkey and Denmark. In the 12 months ending April 2017, Stansted's passenger numbers grew by 5.7% compared with the previous year with the moving annual total rising to over 24.5 million.
Andrew Cowan said: "The start of the summer flying schedule is always a busy time at the airport but this year we have exceeded all previous records as we experienced our busiest ever April with over 2.1 million passengers passing through the terminal. The growth in passenger traffic was driven by strong demand for flights to many holiday hotspots across the Easter holidays, the launch of a host of new routes by our airline partners, particularly Ryanair and the newly arrived Jet2.com who kicked-off their first ever flight and holiday offer from any airport in the South-East. We also saw a record number of seats occupied on each flight for any April in the airport's history."
"The summer season promises to be another very busy and exciting time for Stansted as airlines add even more routes and increase capacity to key destinations which is great news for passengers who want to fly from their local airport. To help us keep pace with increased demand and improve the passenger experience, a number of projects around the airport will soon begin to provide additional check-in capacity, add more seating in the departure lounge and significantly increase car parking capacity. This work will help improve customer service and add vital capacity during the period in advance of the new arrivals building becoming operational and the subsequent full transformation of existing terminal."
Passenger numbers in the month of April rose by 11.0% from the same month last year and were 6.5% up on the record for April, set in 2006. Both 2006 and 2017 included Easter, whereas Easter fell in March last year.
Air Transport Movements (passenger ATMs + Cargo ATMs) for April, at 14,189, were 3.8% above the same month last year. The total ATMs for the month was 9.9% below the record for April, set in 2007 which also included Easter.
Cargo tonnage for the month was 0.7% down on April 2016. The cumulative 12 months cargo, at 254,437 tonnes, was up 3.6% on the 12 months to April 2016.
The 12 months total of ATMs to April 2017 was 2.9% up on the 12 months ended April 2016, but still 14.3% below the all-time 12 months peak which ended in October 2007. The latest 12 month ATM total was exceeded in every 12 month period ending between July 2003 and April 2009. In other words, there are less flights now than during the period when SSE was in the thick of fighting the proposals for a second runway.
The difference between growth in passenger numbers and growth in ATMs is largely due to a steady rise in the average number of passengers per flight. In April 2017, dividing passengers by total ATMs (including freight) showed 147.9 whilst the equivalent average passenger loading in 2009 was only 127.7. The average number of passengers per passenger flight is a little over 160, but information to calculate this figure is not consistently available.
Under the existing planning approval, passenger numbers have permission to grow by 42% from the present level to 35mppa, whilst ATMs have permission to grow by 59% to 264,000.
Ken Macdonald - SSE Transport Advisor
CAMPAIGNERS CALL FOR STANSTED AIRPORT
FLIGHT PATH CHANGES TO BE REVERSED
A campaign group is urging residents to make their views known to reverse flight path changes at Stansted Airport, which is causing "noise misery"
Michael Steward - EADT Online - 9 May 2017
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) says the flight path changes for aircraft taking off from Stansted has led to double the number of planes flying during the day on the easterly Clacton departure routes. SSE says the additional aircraft noise is causing noise misery for residents beneath those flight paths and that the "only winners are the airlines".
The flight path changes were implemented in February last year after approval by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), despite fierce opposition from residents, according to SSE. The campaign group says 82% of people who responded to the public consultation prior to the changes opposed them, but their views were ignored.
A review of the changes by NATS and CAA is currently underway and SSE is calling on residents to submit their views to push for a reversal of the changes.
Martin Peachey, from SSE, said: "Whenever there are changes to flightpaths there are always winners and losers but in this instance it seems that the only winners are the airlines. There must be a more equitable outcome so that local residents do not pay a high price in terms of increased noise misery."
SSE has written to NATS and the CAA and has offered to meet with NATS officials to discuss the issue further.
A spokesman for Stansted Airport said: "We recognise that aircraft noise is important issue for local residents and one we take very seriously through the implementation of our noise control plan, and the successful application of modern flying techniques to reduce the overall number of people impacted by noise. We believe it's right there is a considered process for airspace changes and that the CAA revisit the decisions they've taken, and if anyone feels they wish to contribute to the review they should take the opportunity to provide any feedback."
NATS said it was unable to comment as the review was entering its post-implementation stage.
AIR POLLUTION PLAN: SACRIFICING THE NATION'S
HEALTH TO SAVE AN ELECTION CAMPAIGN
Penalising UK drivers in the heat of an election campaign promises
a political car crash, so the government has hit the brakes and
slammed clean air policy into reverse
Damian Green, Environment Editor - The Guardian - 5 May 2017
For seven years, people in Britain have been forced to hold their breath and wait for a comprehensive plan to tackle the nation's toxic air crisis. After a series of humiliating defeats in the courts, Friday's government plan was meant to finally deliver.
But instead ministers hit the brakes and slammed the policy into reverse - the farcical new strategy has even less detail than the one already ruled illegal. What was the impassable roadblock in the way of finally starting to cut the 23,000 early deaths diesel pollution causes every year? Nothing but pure political expediency.
The only sure way to bring the toxic nitrogen dioxide spewed out by dirty diesel vehicles down to legal levels is to keep them out of cities and towns. The law demands the fastest possible action, which means deterring polluting drivers with charges - as will happen in London. But backing new taxes on drivers in the heat of an election campaign promises a political car crash, so ministers have simply swerved and crashed into the nation's health instead.
The most shocking aspect is that buried in the documents are candid admissions that the crisis is the "largest environmental threat to public health in the UK" and that it is a "direct result" of car makers gaming emissions tests for years, so that their vehicles pump out far more pollution on the road. Ministers even say: "We will continue to press car manufacturers to develop options for recalling existing vehicles to improve their real world emissions performance." But unlike in Germany and France, the government's pressing of car makers has driven precisely zero action.
Rather than tackle air pollution head on, the government has passed the buck to local authorities, daring them to impose the needed charges instead and face the electoral consequences. Ministers suggest councils should penalise any diesel cars more than two years old - most of them - but lack the courage of their convictions.
In place of meaningful action, the government's plan suggests gimmicks such as removing speed bumps and re-phasing traffic lights, measures as likely to increase traffic and emissions as to cut them.
One of the few good parts of the new plan is funds to clean up older buses, lorries and taxis but even this is old money, already announced in the budget. The much vaunted scrappage scheme is mentioned only as a possibility and even then would only cover 0.1% of all diesel cars.
OUR COMMENT: Remember that air pollution from associated traffic is a problem for all airports, including Stansted.
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