| RECENT NEWS
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.
MPS CRITICISE GOVERNMENT OVER
CARBON 'FANTASY' HEATHROW EXPANSION
Eedie.net Online - 28 April 2017
The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has criticised the UK Government for refusing to commit to air quality targets in relation to the third runway expansion, labelling the associated carbon calculations as a "fantasy".
As part of its response, the Government revealed that it will publish an Aviation Strategy white paper in 2018 as part of a broader aviation commitment
The Government has aligned itself with the findings of the Airports Commission, which suggests that Heathrow airport could expand without exceeding legal air quality levels. The EAC issued a report in February, warning that the expansion at Heathrow Airport could create a "black hole" in future carbon budgets.
In a response to the EAC's concerns, published this week, the Government has reaffirmed its belief that the Airport Commission's carbon scenarios and measures are "realistic", noting that none of the scenarios place extra pressure on other sectors to reduce emissions. Specifically, the Government noted it "remains open to considering all feasible measures to ensure the aviation sector contributes fairly to UK emissions reductions".
The EAC chair, Mary Creagh has since suggested that the upcoming general election will enable the Government to "duck their responsibilities to the environment", noting that no guarantees have been made that EU air quality policies will remain in place for the expansion to adhere to.
"Heathrow expansion should only go ahead if the Government has a clear plan for the extra air pollution, carbon emissions and noise," Creagh said today (28 April).
"I am pleased to see the Government agrees with my Committee's recommendation on measuring the noise impacts, but Ministers are still refusing to guarantee that EU air quality targets won't be quietly dropped after we leave the EU, have no national plan for air pollution, and their carbon calculations are a fantasy."
The Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling has stated that "we must tackle air quality and noise, and meet our obligations on carbon both during and after construction". The Transport Committee is expected to scrutinise draft recommendations and will publish its report by summer recess 2017.
With the UK planning to reduce emissions by 57% by 2032 - and by 80% by 2050 - as part of the recently-approved Fifth Carbon Budget, critics have questioned how the airport expansion will align with these national policies. Thursday's High Court ruling to publish an air quality plan by July places extra pressure on the Government to outline how the expansion will fit in with the UK Air Quality Plan.
"The Government is determined to meet its air quality obligations and to do so in the shortest time possible. We will publish the final UK Air Quality Plan by 31 July," the response notes. "Final development consent will only be granted if the secretary of state is satisfied that, with mitigation, the scheme would be compliant with legal air quality requirements."
"The Government is aware of the desire for certainty around what exiting the EU means for our environmental policy and legislative framework. That is why the Prime Minister announced last year our plans for a Great Repeal Bill. The Bill will convert EU law into UK law as it stands at the moment before we leave the EU."
As part of its response, the Government revealed that it will publish an Aviation Strategy white paper in 2018 as part of a broader aviation commitment. The Government also reaffirmed its intention to participate in the global aviation emissions scheme from 2021.
GOVERNMENT PRESSES AHEAD WITH THIRD RUNWAY PLAN
Air pollution around Heathrow is getting worse as the Government
presses ahead with plans for a third runway, it has been revealed.
Nicholas Cecil - Standard News Online - 6 April 2017
Nitrogen dioxide levels rose at nine out of 12 monitors in west London within two kilometres (1.24 miles) of the airport between 2015 and 2016, according to provisional data. At two sites in Hillingdon and Hayes it remained in breach of EU limits. At another, Oxford Avenue in Hillingdon, the average NO2 level spiralled from 32 micrograms per cubic metre of air to almost hitting the legal limit of 40.
Campaigners against a third runway seized on the revelations to cast further doubt on whether the airport can expand within EU air quality rules.
John Stewart, chairman of HACAN, said: "The key fact that Heathrow cannot hide is that air quality around the airport is going in the wrong direction. It is going to be harder than ever for Heathrow to build a third runway and stay within legal air pollution limits."
A report, published on the Heathrow Airwatch website, admitted that NO2 concentrations increased at many of the monitoring sites between 2015 and 2016 but stressed that this had happened across the South-East so "indicated" the specific rises were not the result of changes in local activities.
It emphasised that the annual average NO2 concentration remained below the EU limit at nine of the 11 monitoring sites outside the airport boundary within 2km of Heathrow.
It added that at the Hillingdon and Hayes monitoring stations, north of the M4, which were above the legal level, airport emissions from all sources contributed 16 per cent and six per cent of total nitrogen oxides respectively.
Another monitor near the northern runway recorded a reading of 47 micrograms per cubic metre, up three on 2015, but the report stressed that the EU limits did not apply as the public do not have access to this area. The report stressed that the number of aircraft movements made by the newest, cleanest aircraft had increased to more than 20 per cent in 2016 and continued to rise. Particulate PM10 pollution at the monitoring sites were within the EU limits.
The Government has backed another runway at Heathrow, rather than expanding Gatwick. Heathrow stressed that it took its "environmental obligations seriously" and that new public transport would transform access to Heathrow to cut road traffic emissions.
However, Councillor Ray Puddifoot, leader of Hillingdon council, said: "Local residents are well aware of the air quality issue and that Heathrow are doing insufficient work to mitigate it." Heathrow Airwatch is funded by a joint working partnership of Heathrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Slough and Spelthorne councils and British Airways.
A DfT spokesman said: "Delivering new runway capacity in the south east is vital to the future of the UK, both in terms of boosting our economy and our position on the world stage. The consultation currently underway clearly sets out the benefits and potential impacts of expansion, and we want to hear everyone's views as part of this process. This is accompanied by a world-class package of compensation and mitigation measures to support local communities. We take our environmental obligations extremely seriously and have been very clear that the new runway will not get the go-ahead unless air quality requirements can be met."
OUR COMMENT: A warning to all airports. More flights, more transport, then air pollution is inevitable.
LETTER OF THE DAY: ACTION NOT WORDS
ON NIGHT-FLIGHT BAN
"Have your say" Standard News Online - 6 April 2017
Night flights are a source of pure misery for communities under the flight path and the Chancellor is kidding himself if he thinks the partial ban recommended by the Airports Commission will satisfy them ["Ministers 'only backed third Heathrow runway if night flight ban remained'", April 3].
As Philip Hammond knows, the Government has already cut back the modest reduction in night flying and the airlines are fighting tooth and nail to trim it further. The only way to prove a night flight ban can be delivered is to introduce it now.
While we residents are allowed six-and-a-half hours free from plane noise during the night, the price we pay is a reduction in the respite from aircraft noise during the day.
Personally, I find the non-stop noise during the day just as distressing as being woken up at 4.30am.
PASSENGERS COULD LOSE OUT IN BREXIT AVIATION TUSSLE
Pádraig Hoare - Irish Examiner Online - 23 March 2017
A leading aviation analyst has warned passengers could be the biggest casualty after the EU ordered UK-based airlines to relocate to EU countries or sell shares to EU nationals to avoid losing major routes.
Mark Simpson of Goodbody said continuing uncertainty could lead to consumers being most affected in the long run as disruption was prolonged.
According to reports, EU officials have told airlines they will need to move bases and have the majority of European shareholders if they wanted to fly routes within continental Europe, after Brexit.
Mr Simpson said: ?This could rumble on for years. What we simply don't know is how old bilateral agreements will end up and how negotiations will be progressed. A compromise may well only be decided at the 11th hour. There are two easy sectors for the EU to talk tough on - aviation and financial services. The concern is that political posturing will win out."
Despite Ryanair being Irish registered with headquarters in Dublin, the company conceded that uncertainty was harming business. A spokesperson said: "This uncertainty will continue to represent a challenge for our business for the remainder of financial years 2017 and 2018."
"While there may be opportunities to expand at certain UK airports, such as the recent extension of our growth deal at Stansted, we expect to grow at a slower pace than previously planned in the UK and will continue to switch capacity into other key markets around Europe."
Ryanair reiterated its call that the UK remain part of Europe's Open Skies system. Aer Lingus and British Airways owner IAG said it would "continue to comply with the relevant ownership and control regulations".
EUROPEAN AIRPORTS CALL ON EU,
BRITAIN TO AGREE BACK-UP PLAN FOR AVIATION
Julia Fioretti and Victoria Bryan - Reuters Online - 21 March 2017
European airports on Tuesday called on Britain and the EU to agree a back-up plan for post-Brexit flying should they fail to agree a new relationship before Britain quits the bloc, saying a return to decades-old traffic rights deals should be avoided.
European Union-based airlines have the right to fly to and from any country in the bloc or even within other member states thanks to the single aviation market created in the 1990s. Britain's vote to leave the EU means it has to renegotiate that access, but the ruling out of sectoral deals by EU officials has rattled the aviation industry, which has to plan.
ACI Europe - the trade association representing Europe's airports - said it was concerned about the lack of back-up or transitional plan should Britain and the EU fail to agree a new relationship within the two-year time frame provided for in EU treaties.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has said that no deal is better than a bad deal with the EU, but for aviation, in the worst case scenario the uncertainty could ground planes.
"As responsible businesses, at this stage we simply cannot rule out a cliff-edge scenario for Brexit and aviation," ACI Europe Director General Olivier Jankovec said in a statement. "This means that adequate contingencies need to be established promptly in case the UK would exit the EU without any agreement on its future relationship with the bloc."
Airlines last week called on Britain to provide clarity on post-Brexit flying arrangements given that flight schedule planning for summer 2019, when Britain is due to be out of the EU, will begin in a year's time.
The absence of a deal governing flying rights between the EU and Britain after the 2-year negotiating period ends could mean airlines having to rely on older, more restrictive bilateral provisions between the United Kingdom and the other 27 EU member states, ACI Europe said. "We would prefer not to fall back on those bilaterals, but to get some sort of transition agreement that what we have today can be safeguarded. But what we are hearing is that if there is no agreement, there is also no transitional agreement," Jankovec told journalists in London.
Britain said on Monday it would send Brussels its official exit notification on March 29, triggering two years of negotiations.
(Editing by Ruth Pitchford)
A SUSTAINABLE AIRPORT?
ALTERNATIVE FACTS ON PLANES AND POLLUTION
David Howarth, University of Essex & Steven Griggs, De Montfort University - 17 March 2017
Aviation or ice shelves? The choice is ours.
The facts are simple: a new London runway means more planes, more noise, more pollution and more global warming, write David Howarth & Steven Griggs. The 'Heathrow 2.0' initiative's conflation of 'sustainability' and 'sustainable growth' and its avoidance of climate change reek of Trumpian 'alternative facts'.
"Most concerning is that this absence of leadership betrays the emergence of a new 'post-sustainable' aviation, designed to accommodate the challenges of Brexit. The justifications and mechanisms for an expansionist agenda are carefully being assembled."
Britain and Europe's largest airport is not the most obvious target for an eco-friendly rebranding. Yet Heathrow Airport recently unveiled a new sustainability strategy, Heathrow 2.0, to counter growing opposition to its expansion plans. Both the government and an independent Airports Commission have backed proposals to construct a new third runway at London's largest airport hub. But the plans remain highly contested, with ongoing concerns about noise pollution, air quality and rising carbon emissions. Heathrow expansion has become an emblematic issue in the fight against climate change.
At first glance, it is tempting to dismiss the launch of Heathrow 2.0 as yet another attempt at greenwashing. Indeed, those in favour of the new runway have made sustained efforts to depoliticise the issue ever since the 2010-2015 coalition government declared its ambition to put the environment and local well-being ahead of Heathrow's growth.
An airport that exists above politics gives the illusion that no one has to choose between more planes and more pollution, or fewer planes and cleaner air. In fact, the current plans to render its new runway carbon neutral echo the failed policy of 'sustainable aviation' under the New Labour government. This strategy was quickly discredited by scientists and environmentalists, because of its 'have your cake and eat it' narrative, in which we could fly more and still cope with rising carbon emissions.
'Decoupling aviation growth from climate change' - really? Nonetheless, such arguments pepper Heathrow's new vision for corporate social responsibility.
Much is made of the expected benefits of new technologies and innovations, the role of increased connectivity in creating jobs, the enjoyment we gain from the social benefits of flying, and the commitment to carbon offsetting schemes to address rising emissions. Heathrow 2.0 even aspires to "'decouple' aviation growth from climate change" - a key pillar of the ideology of sustainable aviation.
Yet Heathrow's strategy at least engages with the idea of sustainable development, through what it calls "responsibility". It promises to improve its practices as an employer, committing to a London Living Wage, and it pledges to put an end to human and wildlife trafficking. It wants to produce a "zero-carbon airport" with reduced emissions and 'polluter pays' policies. Heathrow 2.0 might even satisfy local demands for better noise protection.
But it's the detail that really matters. In important respects, the plans lack clarity and ambition. Strategic priorities like a 'noise envelope' to cap the overall disturbance emanating from the airport are often stated, but not accompanied with clear targets. Similarly, it is questionable whether locals will be too enthusiastic about targets to reduce late running aircraft after 11.30pm from 330 in 2016 to 270 in 2017. Or whether they will welcome no arrivals before 4.30am without clarity over the agreement to ban night flights from 11pm to 6am.
Where is the government?
As Heathrow itself accepts, importantly, the airport cannot deliver on most of the claims it makes. Of course, a carbon neutral airport is a worthy ideal. But it is the flights themselves that cause most carbon emissions and account for much of the noise pollution, while traffic to and from the airport also creates air pollution. Heathrow cannot control or make guarantees about fixing any of this.
Indeed, at the heart of these limits to Heathrow 2.0 is the failure of the May government. The airport is simply trying to fill the void left by Theresa May and transport secretary Chris Grayling, who have abandoned their responsibility to offer policy leadership in this field.
A recent Heathrow report by MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee criticised the government for its lax interpretation of air quality directives, its failure to address local health impacts, its overly ambitious targets for ultra-low emission vehicles, and its absence of detailed plans for road improvements and new rail access to the airport.
The committee also criticised the government for watering down proposals for an independent aviation noise authority and for not being clear about how to bridge the gap between theoretical models to reduce emissions and actual policy.
Most concerning is that this absence of leadership betrays the emergence of a new 'post-sustainable' aviation, designed to accommodate the challenges of Brexit. Gone are the attempts by the previous government to put climate change before new airports. In their place, the vital justifications and mechanisms for an expansionist agenda are carefully being assembled. The risk is that green concerns will be pushed further to the margins, as people are increasingly urged to believe that human progress and innovation are enough to meet environmental challenges.
In this emerging discourse, the demands of economic growth trump those of the environment and social well-being.
BREXIT, AIRLINES' WORST FEAR,
HAS BECOME THEIR PREOCCUPTATION
Gwyn Topham, Transport Correspondent - The Guardian - 9 March 2017
Operators flying in and out of UK are pursuing a legal framework to replace EU-wide agreements currently in place.
Carolyn McCall, chief executive of easyJet: "A deregulated aviation market is in the interest of every passenger in Europe."
There is no shortage of metaphors for what airlines expect from Brexit: analysts talk of crosswinds, executives fear turbulence. For some, it is simply flying into thick fog with no idea where they are going to land.
No airline wanted Britain to vote leave in last year's referendum; easyJet and Ryanair campaigned against it. A single European market in aviation brought cheap flights spanning the continent, ever more passengers, trade and jobs. Why would they jeopardise that?
Now, Brexit is a huge preoccupation for airlines operating in and out of the UK - and airports, whose health is largely contingent on the success of short-haul European travel. Most obviously affected are the British low-cost airline easyJet and Dublin-based Ryanair, whose main market is the UK. Their share prices were hammered by the referendum: easyJet?s dropped by a third, wiping £2bn off its value in four days. They face, at the least, uncertainty, bureaucratic headaches and a runway of costly red tape.
The worst-case scenario of planes unable to fly between Britain and Europe is one that few foresee. But the legal framework underpinning international flights, wrapped up in EU membership, is set to disappear.
Dame Carolyn McCall, chief executive of easyJet, says: "We don't know what's going to happen. We are spending a lot of time working with the commission and the government to say we believe a liberal and deregulated aviation market is in the interest of every single aviation passenger in Europe."
Airlines have argued that aviation is a special case. According to Brussels, that is deeply wishful thinking. The EU's highest-ranking mandarin for transport, Henrik Hololei, told the Guardian: "There will be no separate deal."
First comes a general Brexit deal, said Hololei, EU director-general for transport and mobility - one that could well limit the freedom of airlines to operate in and out of the UK. Brexit would "without doubt, have consequences" for airlines, he added. "They need to get a contingency plan."
Concerns include landing rights, operating licences and ownership rules. Prior to the EU and deregulation of the skies, landing rights were negotiated between individual states - treaties allocating airlines to specific airports. About 85% of Britain's international air traffic is currently governed by EU-wide agreements, including flights to Europe and North America, allowing open access for airlines. Those rights include the freedom for airlines to fly between, and within, other countries in Europe: for easyJet to operate between Nice and Nantes in France, for example, or for Ryanair to fly from Stansted to Glasgow.
EU membership may not be essential: members of the European Common Aviation Area include Norway and Baltic states, and Norwegian has become the third largest budget carrier on the continent. But obtaining similar conditions after Brexit is far from assured.
EasyJet is pursuing air operating licences from other countries to keep its intra-EU network running, a £10m insurance policy. Yet it will be powerless to assure future flights between Britain and the EU can operate as usual without governmental agreement.
A further headache once Britain leaves the EU could be ownership rules that limit foreign shareholders to a minority stake: under the Chicago convention underpinning international airline treaties, operators must be majority-owned by the government or nationals of their home territory - currently the whole EU. But once Britain leaves the EU, Ryanair will find 20% more of its shareholders classed as foreign, and may require some to sell.
EasyJet may be thankful that its main shareholder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, has dual British?Cypriot citizenship, allowing the airline to easily reach the 50% shareholding threshold it will need to be classed as either British or EU-owned. "If there is no deal by the time it leaves the EU, the UK's ability to trade will be made significantly more difficult" - Airport Operators Association.
Some suggest that International Airlines Group, which owns British Airways, could run into red tape; but IAG's chief executive, Willie Walsh, insists that the group's structures, dating from the merger of BA and the Spanish airline Iberia in 2011, are Brexit-proof.
If cross-border issues are costly irritations to individual airlines, the bigger picture for Britain is more concerning. The Airport Operators Association warns: "If there is no agreement by the time the UK leaves the EU, the UK's connectivity will be undermined and its ability to trade will be made significantly more difficult."
Daily flight schedules that now start and end in Britain with business-friendly departure times may become less likely should, for example, easyJet have to shift increasing parts of its operations to bases within the EU. Ryanair has already said it will now grow its business in other EU countries rather than Britain.
Then there is the impact of the Brexit vote on passenger numbers. The slumping pound makes it harder for Britons to afford a foreign holiday, but easyJet puzzles over why it has not, conversely, lured in Europeans for a cheap break. "What we're really worried about is what it's doing to demand," says Sophie Dekkers, UK director of easyJet. "We've not seen any significant increase in inbound passengers. It's only a hypothesis, but it could be a feeling after the referendum they've been rejected - that Britain is not making them feel welcome."
Falling demand will make routes unviable, she says. That decline would be swiftly exacerbated should Brexit talks end with passengers needing visas. Paperwork swiftly deters leisure travellers, as easyJet found when tighter immigration rules killed off flights from the UK to Moscow that it had battled to secure.
The British government says it will continue to work closely with the industry, adding that it is in the interests of all European countries to maintain open air links - with British passengers vital, for example, for Dutch long-haul flights and Spanish tourism. A spokesman said: "The UK aviation industry is the largest in Europe, handling over 250 million passengers and 2.3m tonnes of cargo last year, benefiting both consumers and business in the EU and the UK. It will clearly be in the interests of both sides in the negotiation to maintain closely integrated aviation markets."
BREXIT NEGOTIATIONS, DOLLAR STRENGTH
LIKELY TO LOOM LARGE OVER THE EU AIRLINE
INDUSTRY AS IT GRAPPLES WITH OVER CAPACITY
Gaurav Sharma - Moody's Online - 3 March 2017
Brexit negotiations and dollar strength likely to loom large over the EU airlines already grappling with overcapacity, according to Moody's.
The operating profitability of European airlines is likely to decline in 2017 as a widening supply/demand gap would push yields lower, according to Moody's. In a new report for its clients, the global ratings agency noted that the combined fleet of Ryanair, easyJet and Norwegian Air Shuttle, the three largest low-cost operators in Europe, will grow 12%, far outstripping anticipated demand growth in the continent of 4%.
Sven Reinke, vice president and senior credit officer at Moody's, said the development was likely have a negative impact on the industry. "With recent terrorist attacks in Europe and a stronger dollar, growth in passenger demand for air travel is slowing at the same time low-cost airlines are significantly ramping up capacity."
Moody's noted that incumbent airlines, such as Lufthansa, British Airways, Air France and SAS are likely to lose some market share to low-cost airlines as they begin to offer lower fares on the same routes. On short-haul routes, yields (measured in revenues per available seat kilometre) will likely drop further if Ryanair and easyJet lower their fares materially as they have indicated (15% for Ryanair, high single digits for EasyJet).
Overall, Moody's sees lower short-haul ticket prices across European airlines as inevitable if the two largest European short-haul airlines drop their prices. Furthermore, the agency opined that European carriers will increasingly feel the impact of the stronger dollar over the next couple of years "as a much larger portion of their cost base is denominated in dollars (i.e. with oil traded in dollars) compared to their revenues."
A double-whammy could follow if rising costs of dollar or dollar-linked holidays end up dampening demand from European tourists over the next 12 months. "At the same time, US tourists - who could offset lower European outbound bookings - might remain concerned about the threat of terrorism in Europe," Moody's added.
Brexit negotiations are also likely to loom large over the industry. Moody's said UK airlines such as BA and easyJet would not be the only ones affected if the UK exited the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) without a new bilateral agreement with the EU. "Euro area airlines with UK operations could also take a hit, particularly Ryanair, which generated 28% of its revenues in the UK in 2016," the agency concluded.
But that view is not necessarily shared abroad. One well-placed industry source notes: "Other governments will have airlines in their ear - upcoming low-cost airlines as well as legacy carriers - whispering that they see a lot of commercial, competitive advantages in keeping the UK out."
One executive does not discount the European commission's warning. Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair - who campaigned in vain against what he calls "the stupidest decision the Brits have ever made" - says: "There isn't going to be another arrangement. There's a real prospect that the UK will be dumped out."
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