Home Page Link Thaxted - under the present flightpath and threatened with quadrupled activity Takeley's 12th century parish church, close to proposed second runway Harcamlow Way, Bamber's Green - much of the long distance path and village would disappear under Runway 2 Clavering - typical of the Uttlesford villages threatened by urbanisation
Campaigning against proposals to expand Stansted Airport

image SSE NEWS ARCHIVE - October to December 2010


Daily Telegraph - 31 December 2010

Passengers flying from Heathrow and other airports in south-east England face extra taxes under Government proposals to deter people from using London's crowded terminals. The Coalition is studying plans to charge higher taxes on flights from the south-east and lower duty on journeys from airports in other regions like northern England.

Under plans to reduce congestion at south-east airports, hundreds of domestic and European flights will also be stripped out of Heathrow with Birmingham used as a London overspill airport. Around 80 per cent of all UK flights take off from airports in the south-east, and Heathrow is the world's busiest airport.

Theresa Villiers, the aviation minister, said that a reform of Air Passenger Duty next year could introduce different tax rates to help "relieve overcrowding" at London airports. But the prospect of ministers trying to tax people off flights from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted is likely to prove controversial with travellers. Many users of London airports feel they already face high prices and poor service when they fly, a grievance only sharpened by recent disruptions at Heathrow following snow.

The Treasury is drawing up plans to overhaul air taxes, and is expected to launch a consultation at the Budget in March. Some regional airport operators have claimed that uniform higher taxes will lead big airlines to pull out of their airports and further concentrate their operations on the south-east.

Ms Villiers raised the prospect of regional variations in tax at a meeting with industry leaders in London before Christmas. She said: "It is not inconceivable that our tax reform might look at a higher tax to fly from congested South East airports." She added: "A key part of our approach is to create conditions for regional airports to flourish, and this also has the potential to help relieve overcrowding at south east airports."

APD has risen more than four-fold since 2006, with the latest increases taking effect from November 2010. The tax now raises around £3.8 billion a year for the Treasury.

BAA, which owns Heathrow, said any new differential tax penalising the south-east would make it harder to compete with airports like Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Paris for flights to emerging economies like India and China. A BAA spokesman said: "We already have the highest aviation tax in the world in the UK and if we are looking at increasing taxes on Heathrow - the UK's only hub airport - we will simply make the country less competitive."

The Conservatives fought the election on a pledge to introduce a "per plane" tax to replace APD, arguing that the change would encourage operators to fly fuller planes, ultimately reducing fuel use and carbon emissions. The Treasury said last night that no decision had been taken on flight taxes, adding that any changes will be subject to consultation following the 2011 Budget.

As well as the tax consultation, the Coalition is planning a wider overhaul of air policy. In the spring, the Department for Transport will issue a "scoping document" setting out ministers' overall strategy for aviation. The document will supersede the 2003 Aviation White Paper, which recommended a third runway at Heathrow and a second at Stansted.

Both have been ditched by the Coalition, which has also ruled out expanding Gatwick. That leaves the Government with the problem of how it will tackle aviation congestion in the South East. Sources said part of the solution will be to divert travellers to Birmingham International, which will effectively become a London "overspill" airport. Ministers say the building of the high speed rail link will dramatically alter the airport map of Britain, putting Birmingham airport 32 minutes from Heathrow.


Herts & Essex Observer - 23 December 2010

AIRPORT operator BAA has confirmed today (Thu, Dec 23) the appointment of Nick Barton as Stansted's managing director.

Mr Barton has been performing the role on an interim basis since the departure of former boss David Johnston at the end of November. He has six years experience at the west Essex hub, most recently as commercial and development director.

"I am delighted to be the new managing director of Stansted Airport," he said. "It is a privilege to be part of this fantastic airport, working with staff who provide an excellent service to our customers."

"2011 is a showcase year for us; we will be celebrating our 20th birthday in the spring and later in the year we will see brand new trains in service on the Stansted Express as we head towards 2012. My immediate focus is ensuring Stansted continues to be prepared for the on-going cold weather."

"We are striving to keep disruption to an absolute minimum for our passengers and, where possible, have been assisting other airports, taking in diverted planes to help people reach their destinations."


BAA chairman Sir Nigel Rudd has committed the company to accept all the recommendations of the inquiry into last week's snow chaos at Heathrow Airport, saying that if the Spanish owners do not back him, he would be forced to resign.

Andrew Cave - Daily Telegraph - 26 December 2010

Sir Nigel's position is revealed in his first interview following the disruption that led to the closure of Britain's biggest airport during its busiest week of the year.

Asked if Ferrovial and BAA would act on the results of the inquiry it announced last week - even if it advises BAA to invest as much money in preparing fully for snow as airports that have traditionally experienced much worse winter weather - he replied: "As long as I am chairman, yes. If the shareholders - and it is not just Ferrovial but other shareholders as well - stopped us doing something at Heathrow that I as the chairman thought was the right thing to do, then I would have to resign. But I would hasten to add that it has never happened in the past and I don't expect it to happen in the future."

Ferrovial owns 56pc of BAA, while Quebec's state pension fund has 26pc and the Singapore government's sovereign wealth fund holds the remainder.

Sir Nigel rebutted criticism the crisis showed the folly of allowing foreign ownership of such strategic assets. "I feel very sorry for them, that they're going to get criticism as a foreign owner when they have actually done just about all the right things in terms of investment and supporting the management."

"Ferrovial is spending something like 1bn a year on this airport. No project has ever been turned down by Ferrovial and the idea that Ferrovial has prevented the management of Heathrow from either being or investing in snow clearing investment is wrong. If we have not had enough snow-clearing equipment and that's seen in the inquiry then it's down to the management of Heathrow, not Ferrovial."

The inquiry, which will be carried out independently by a group of international airport executives, will review what went wrong, how BAA responded and what is the appropriate level of winter resilience preparation for Heathrow Airport.

In the interview, Sir Nigel, BAA chairman for three years, described the snow crisis as Heathrow's "black swan moment where something totally out of the ordinary happens".

"Our black swan moment is that in the busiest week of the year before Christmas [we have] the worst set of weather conditions that I can remember in my lifetime, not in the amount of snow but the amount of snow that came down in such a short period of time and then froze. That was the thing that did it."

He denied reports that BAA prevented some airlines from helping with the de-icing operation because of health and safety considerations and that the company had run out of de-icer. But he confirmed that BAA has authorised 10m investment in new snow equipment. BAA has 68 pieces of snow-clearing equipment at Heathrow, with 28 snowploughs, 10 trucks, 10 brushes, blades and cutters and 16 de-icers. Last year, it spent just 500,000 on replacing snow vehicles at the airport.

Separately, it is understood that the 2010 bonus that BAA chief executive Colin Matthews has voluntarily given up because of the company's handling of the crisis is likely to be worth about 500,000.

Some critics have said that Mr Matthews should also lose some of his pay, believed to be about 1m a year, but Sir Nigel said he disagreed fiercely. "No," he said. "Because he is an excellent chief executive? I can't think of anybody who could do the job any better."

Asked whether any resignations or sackings would result from the review, Sir Nigel said that if managers took the wrong decisions after full consideration of the options, no disciplinary action would be taken. He added: "If there has been negligence, then of course consequences flow from that. I have never been shy about firing people if I feel they are incompetent or not doing the job and I wouldn't shirk again from this either."

Sir Nigel said the problem was not with the runways, but with iced-up areas around the aircraft stands. This situation was worsened by British Airways' decision to cancel its flights from Heathrow last Saturday, which meant that nearly all the stands around Terminal 5 were occupied by planes.

He also stressed that Heathrow's resilience should not be compared with Gatwick and Stansted airports, which stayed open for much longer, but with international hub airports like those in Paris and Frankfurt, which suffered problems.

Earlier this year, Sir Nigel said that the coalition Government's decision not to allow a third Heathrow runway meant that the airport would become a "second-tier hub". In the aftermath of the snow crisis, Sir Nigel said he was keen not to revisit old ground or reopen the runway issue but it was clear that airports that had more runways were able to do a better job of keeping them open.

Sir Nigel is also keen that Heathrow's handling of the snow issue is seen in the context of its overall operational and safety record. He added: "These are exceptional weather conditions. Should we put the bar even higher and say we are actually going to plan for this situation or worse happening every year? I think the public would say 'yes, probably' now but you cannot plan for every eventuality in any operation. What you have to do is to do the best you can."


Reuters London - 20 December 2010

Serco (SRP.L), Global Infrastructure Partners and Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) are potential buyers of the British government's stake in National Air Traffic Services (NATS), the Times said on Monday.

An official decision is expected within three months, the newspaper said in an unsourced report.

Britain's Conservative-led coalition said in June it would look at how to dispose of its 49 percent shareholding in the air traffic control body as part of asset sales to help reduce a record budget deficit.

The remaining shares in NATS are held by a consortium of British Airways (BAY.L) and other British airlines, with 4 percent held by airports operator BAA, part of Spain's Ferrovial (FER.MC), and 5 percent by NATS staff.

The Times said Merrill Lynch, which is advising the government, and UBS, which is advising NATS, are considering either an initial public offering or a trade sale.

"Our possible interest would be in providing operational services if there is an opportunity, rather than acquiring an equity stake," the newspaper quoted Serco as saying.

Serco, Global Infrastructure Partners and Lockheed Martin where not immediately reachable for comment.

(Reporting by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)


Aviation & Transport News - 27 December 2010

The Times (Helen Power) reports that rivals to BAA have called on the Government not to hit them with arduous new rules because of the chaos at Heathrow, after Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said yesterday that he planned to give regulators powers to fine airport operators millions of pounds for disrupting travel.

A spokesman for Gatwick, which was sold by BAA last year, said legislation would not help, and that the real answer is to break BAA up and introduce more competition. Under existing rules, fines of up to ?£63m can be imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority for failures such as passenger queues at security and lack of cleanliness, but not for unreasonable delays due to the weather.

Ministers are considering a new airport economic regulation bill that would give more powers to impose fines for a wide range of service failures.

The Daily Telegraph (Steven Swinford) says that aviation minister Theresa Villiers admitted yesterday that the Government knew about Heathrow's inadequate preparations for winter. She said Mr Hammond discussed the airport's plans for severe weather with BAA earlier this year. A spokesman for BAA welcomed the prospect of new legislation to 'improve the experience for passengers'.


Press Release - BAA - 23 December 2010

BAA chief executive Colin Matthews today announces the appointment of an external international panel of experts to establish the lessons which can be learned from recent events at Heathrow. Mr Matthews has asked independent non-executive director Professor David Begg, who joined the BAA Board earlier this month, to lead an external enquiry.

The panel members are drawn from airports and airlines around the world and will have a far-reaching brief to look at the planning, execution and recovery from the difficult weather conditions of last weekend and will publish their report in March 2011.

In the meantime, Colin Matthews has today made an additional ?£10 million available to the airside operations team at Heathrow, in order to bolster winter resilience and the first of the new vehicles are arriving today.

The members of the enquiry will include:
David Begg, non-executive director of BAA and Chairman, British Chambers of Commerce Infrastructure Commission
Murray Sigler, former President of Canadian Airlines International and former CEO of Winnipeg Airport
Jim Cherry, CEO of Montreal Airport
Ben Decosta, former CEO of Atlanta and Newark Liberty Airports
Josef Felder, former CEO of Zurich Airport

The enquiry will be supported by Dr David Quarmby, who has recently completed the Government-commissioned review on UK winter resilience

Sir Nigel Rudd, Chairman of BAA, said: "This enquiry is a powerful statement of BAA's intention to respond quickly to recent events, and I am pleased that Colin and his team have taken swift action to begin an exhaustive enquiry. The Board will ensure that the full resources of the company are available to the enquiry in the coming months."

Colin Matthews, Chief Executive Officer of BAA, said: "The enquiry will forensically examine what went wrong at Heathrow, and look fundamentally at our ability to prepare and respond more effectively to periods of bad weather at an airport operating at its maximum capacity. The enquiry will have complete freedom to examine the sequence of events, and to deliver recommendations for BAA to implement."

Professor David Begg said: "I look forward to bringing together this experienced group of transport industry professionals to explore how well Heathrow airport was prepared for this most recent period of bad weather, how it responded and to make a series of recommendations to Colin Matthews and his team. In doing so, the panel will talk to airport managers, airlines and passenger representatives to provide a balanced perspective of what happened at Heathrow."


Was the privatisation of our major airports a mistake? It is a reasonable question to ask, given the performance of Heathrow in the last few days and mounting accusations of underinvestment by Ferrovial, the airport's Spanish owners.

David Millward - Daily Telegraph - 20 December 2010

In fairness Gatwick, which is privately owned, has performed slightly better. But it is telling that in many parts of the world airports are in public hands. They are either under state control or local or national government has a substantial stake.

The United States is hardly a socialist country but many major airports are considered too important to be completely entrusted to the private sector. JFK, for example, is operated by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. Logan Airport in Boston is operated by Massport, a body which is answerable to the governor of Massachusetts.

The state holds 60 per cent of shares in Charles de Gaulle airport and 51 per cent of the stock of Frankfurt airport is also in public hands.

As the chaos unfolds at Heathrow, Philip Hammond, the Transport Secretary is still fielding much of the flak. But because it is privately-owned he is powerless to intervene.

When the Tories embarked on their radical privatisation programme of the 1980s, Harold Macmillan warned of the dangers of selling off the "family silver". Perhaps his words were more prophetic than we realised at the time.


The Guardian - 20 December 2010

The failure of BAA to deal with recent snowfalls has exposed the price we pay for having our infrastructure in private ownership

Comment by Neil Clar

"The government's objective with this bill is to liberate airport management from political interference? to enable airport operators to respond to the needs of their customers, rather than to the shifting priorities of politicians and officials," declared the Earl of Caithness as he moved the Thatcher government's 1986 airports bill in the House of Lords, which was soon to become the 1986 Airports Act The privatisation of the state-owned British Airport Authority (BAA), we were told, would ensure that "better services are provided for all airline passengers".

I wonder if the Earl of Caithness (or even Margaret Thatcher herself), would have the courage to pop down to Hounslow and tell that to the tens of thousands of holidaymakers stranded at the BAA-owned Heathrow airport for the past three days. Even before this week's events, our privatised airports, with their shortage of public seating, their lack of reasonably priced food and drink outlets, and their depressing, unfriendly atmosphere, were an international disgrace.

But their spectacular failure to adequately deal with recent snowfalls has surely exposed to all but the most fanatical free marketeers, the enormous price we pay for having our infrastructure in private ownership. Writing in the Guardian in 2007, the designer Sir Terence Conran told a story that illustrates perfectly the difference between the ethos of a publicly owned infrastructure company and a privately owned one.

Conran revealed that when he was working on the design of the state-owned Heathrow Terminal 1 and the North Terminal of Gatwick airport in the 1960s, he was pressed to make sure that he provided "lots of seating" for the public. Conran contrasted the concern the state-owned airports authority in the 1960s showed for the comfort of the travelling public, to the much more commercial attitude of BAA today, where "every square inch must be turned over to retail space".

Unlike its state-owned predecessor, the privately owned BAA is seemingly guided by just one concern: maximising profits for its Spanish-owned parent company, Ferrovial. That means out with public seating areas, and in with forcing people to pay to sit down in rip-off cafes and restaurants. And it also means, as we saw this week, not ordering anywhere near enough snow ploughs to keep the runways open in the case of extreme weather. BAA is on course to post record profits of over 1bn this year - yet only spent 500,000 on materials and equipment to help clear the runways.

Other privately owned airports have fared poorly, too, this winter: earlier this month, the ex-BAA-owned Gatwick airport - now owned by Global Infrastructure Partners, a private equity fund - closed for two days because of a foot of snow.

It's revealing that one major airport in Britain that does manage to keep its passengers happy is one which is in full public ownership. Manchester airport, owned by local councils, was crowned best regional UK airport earlier this year and currently holds four out of the five major travel awards in the airport industry. And earlier this year, the Guardian reported that it was voted the world's best airport on Twitter.

Thatcherite Conservatives, of course, are not best pleased that this hugely successful airport remains in public ownership. "Next door to my Greater Manchester constituency there is a thriving modern PLC worth 3bn, which remains in the public sector without anyone batting an eyelid," complained Tory MP Graham Brady in the Spectator, adding that "the idea of the state running our utilities, airlines or railways now seems archaic and even faintly ridiculous".

Sorry, but the ridiculous thing is to have profit-hungry multinational companies running things that really are best left to the public sector. Even in capitalist America, airports are run as not-for-profit publicly owned entities. And America's airports, despite having to deal with far more extreme conditions, cope considerably better.

While we can't expect the current pro-privatisation coalition to take the requisite action, there's no reason why Labour - if it is genuinely on the lookout for sensible, popular policies - shouldn't reconsider its position and support the re-nationalisation of our major airports (as well as our equally inefficient privatised railways, which have also come up short in the current "big freeze").

By doing so, the party would be making a clear rejection of the hugely damaging principle that everything in Britain should be run for profit. That principle might work well enough when we're talking about grocery shops in Grantham, but when applied to a country's infrastructure and transport, the results, as we've seen again this week, can be catastrophic.


BBC News - 22 December 2010

Airport operator BAA has said it will investigate how Heathrow handled the winter weather

Heathrow airport's boss is to forego a bonus, as snow-hit air and rail firms begin clearing their passenger backlog. Colin Matthews said his focus was on getting people moving and rebuilding confidence in the airport, where two-thirds of flights are operating.

Heathrow reopened its second runway on Tuesday evening, but warned travellers not to expect services to return to normal straight away and only to travel to the airport if their departure was confirmed.

After being criticised for the length of time it took to clear tonnes of snow at Heathrow after a blizzard on Saturday dumped 5in (13cm) in one hour, BAA's chief executive Mr Matthews said: "I have decided to give up my bonus for the current year">

Prime Minister David Cameron had said weather disruption was understandable but he was "frustrated" at how long it took to improve the situation.

Airport operator BAA would not say what Mr Matthews's 2010 bonus would have amounted to. Last year, he received 994,000 in pay and bonuses, excluding shares.

The Independent's travel editor Simon Calder said the situation at Heathrow would get worse on Wednesday. He told BBC Breakfast: "Everybody thinks 'Oh well they've got both runways open, things will improve'. I'm afraid the backlog today is only going to increase - by another 60,000 people."


Travel: Stansted Airport receives praise despite closing due to snow

Nick Thompson - Saffron Walden Reporter - 20 December 2010

STRANDED passengers have had extended stays at Stansted Airport after snow forced the runway to close and many airlines to cancel flights.

Ryanair, the largest operator at the airport, cancelled all their flights in and out of the Essex airport all day on Saturday until 10am on Sunday. Other airlines were forced to follow suit and there were a total of 142 cancellations during the four-hour closure of the runway, between 2-6pm on Saturday, for snow clearing. Eight flights due to land at Stansted had to be diverted to other airports, including Birmingham.

Before the runway was shut, 30 flights from other airports which had been hit by snow earlier in the day, such as Gatwick and Heathrow, were diverted to Stansted causing a delay to scheduled departures.

A spokesman for Stansted Airport said: "The week before Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for the airport and there have been considerable delays for many passengers. We have been working hard with the airlines to clear the backlog and get people to their destinations. Some passengers did choose to camp down for the night and the airport's duty team made sure that people were catered for and told about what was happening. Retailers stayed open for as long as they could."

Stranded passengers used the social networking site Twitter to express their dismay at the travel chaos and one person complained that the information desk at the airport was empty.

The airport was open as normal today, but many passengers faced delays as the airlines tried to clear the backlog. Weather warnings are still in place across the UK, and flights may still be subject to delay or cancellation.

Passengers are advised to contact their airline before coming to the airport, and to allow plenty of time for their journey as road and rail networks may still be affected.

Read here a selection of comments from people in and around the airport over the weekend:

Michael Hodgson: Thank you to Ryanair and Stansted in keeping the runways open and the planes flying.

Sofia Zagzoule: After 2 days stranded in Spain my folks are home thanks to stansted airport for not freezing all flights.

Brian Duggan: Made it to Liverpool St station fine, but all Stansted Express trains cancelled, sharing a cab with two italians and Polish guy. Arrived at Stansted airport by cab 120 quid because of train cancellation, at least it's split 4 ways!

Nicole Casey: If no planes are going in or out of Stansted, how come they are flying low over my house RIGHT NOW?!

Greg Hands: Feeling thankful for flying Ryanair! Their plane to Stansted had 2 hour delay, but all BA flights were cancelled!

J Lee: Dear sir, I've been stranded in Stansted airport for past 24 hrs + waiting for plane that never materialised. It's not nice!

Carolin Mader: Btw my eyes still hurt and I'll be tired for days. I hate Ryanair and their ignorant staff at Stansted. 2 for over 2000 - not good enough.

Leia Ritter Ahmad: Here I am, stuck in snow. Want to move, but got no way to go. Oh Stansted, Stansted. Why do you mess with my head?

Karen: At Stansted airport waiting for daughters plane to leave. Lots of stranded people here.

Nathan Everest: At least this is one of the only UK airports actually having flights in and out! Well done Stansted, gold star!

Charlie Ellis: Dying in Stansted airport 26 hours going strong.

Lolly Leighton: Loitering around Stansted, picking way over sleeping bods.. Must've done 4 turns by now. Will now indulge in a 1664 & play waiting game!

Jakob Hultman: On our way out of London. Will wait at Stansted for at least 12 hours. Better do a lot of work on my essay then!

Richard Stewart: Feel sorry for the folk left at Stansted last night. Families with young kids sleeping on the cold floor when I left. No support for them.

Kejia Zhu: After yesterday's Stansted chaos, I've totally lost faith in the public's ability to handle a real crisis.

Robbie: Stansted is grim. People sleeping everywhere, families crying in corners cursing the gods of Easyjet and Ryanair. Train next time I think.

Arielle Brown: People bolting for the first stansted express train was like a scene from Arnie film and the toy action man Everyones trying to grab.

Isabelle Sandblom: Waiting for 9 hours at Stansted for nothing does not make my Top 10 favourite activities.

Simon Napper: Waiting for Easyjet flight to Stansted - glad we didn't try to get back to Heathrow today - what a shambles.

Abi Tyrell: So Stansted's closed, so now we have to work out another way to get there! better get this audition now...!

Elaine Thatcher: C'mon Ryanair, do the right thing. Stansted has now reopened so don't cancel any more flights. Please!!!!

Mark Hebblewhite: Chaos at Stansted - Ryanair are bloody rubbish, fed-up and wanting to shout at someone.

Kate Johnson: 2.5ins snow here and Stansted finally closed its runway. Back open now, but wussy airlines have cancelled flights. All be melted tomorrow.

Nick Lewis: Christmas Italian cancelled. News that a friend and his family are stuck at Stansted. Hoping to reach parents tomorrow.

Petr Zaparka: Stuck at the Stansted Airport. My flight was cancelled and train is 40 min late and counting.

Simon Whatley: Waiting for an impromptu flash mob to break into song in the baggage hall at Stansted airport. Lots of glum faces need cheering up.

Leyla Najafli: Concentrating my hopes on stansted airport remaining open... please please please? I wanna go homeeee. Don't go all 'gatwick' on me.

James Hall: Stansted? More like Stan-still.

Jayd Johnson: I'm stuck on a plane in Stansted they won't let us off! Hope we both get sorted soon.

Diana Best: Stuck at Stansted, in the middle of a field on a packed plane. It's snowing so hard we can't see out the windows.

Stephanie French: Flight into Stansted landed safely. Today I think Stansted wins award for best UK airport.


Stop Stansted Expansion calendar proves a knockout success

Saffron Walden Reporter - 14 December 2010

THE winning formula of beautiful pictures of some of the region's most picturesque heritage, homes and countryside is proving to be a knockout fundraising success for Stop Stansted Expansion's 2011 Community Calendar - but, says top seller Ray Woodcock, some customers may be left disappointed if they don't buy soon.

4000 copies of the glossy, large format calendar which has been produced annually since 2002 and sells at just 6 per copy have already been sold, despite the difficulties created by the harsh winter weather which has impeded the efforts of the volunteer sales team.

Just 500 copies are left in stock and those wishing to make sure of their copy of this much loved reminder of the reason why the community threatened by airport expansion plans is so strongly against the growth of Stansted Airport are urged to seek out their calendars now.

Christmas cards of a snowy Hatfield Forest, Robin in hoar frost and notelets featuring local scenes again complement the range being offered by SSE this year and are also selling like hot cakes.

While most of the scores of volunteers selling the calendar and cards have now exhausted their own supplies, stocks are still available from around 30 shops and other outlets in Uttlesford and East Herts, including the SSE campaign office in Takeley. A mail order option is also available.

Praising the efforts of all those who have supported this year's initiative, SSE campaign director Carol Barbone said: "Our campaign still has work to do in order to influence the shape of the forthcoming government policy on airports and, given the pressure being applied by the aviation industry to reopen the door to expansion at Stansted, there is a long way to go before we can lay the expansion issue to rest."

"Sales of the calendar will be vital in enabling our representations on behalf of the community to continue, both on the expansion issue and in terms of tackling the impacts of current impacts arising from Stansted's operations especially noise and night flights."


Readers' Letters - Saffron Walden Reporter - 9 December 2010

IT COMES as no surprise to read your report that in preparation for the new aviation policy to be developed in 2011-12 (Reporter, Nov 25), BAA will be urging the Government to allow Stansted to grow outside of its current boundaries.

At the three main party political conferences which SSE attended this autumn we were able to observe the machinations of the aviation industry taking every opportunity to ingratiate itself with those with the power to influence policy.

It was something of a wakeup call to see that the industry is not gently lying down in the face of the Coalition Government's policy of not allowing any new runways in the south east.

As for BAA's focus on "more considered and 'greener expansion' to keep pollution and noise impacts to a minimum", reported in the article, this is simply another example of the continuation of the smoke and mirrors approach which the airport operator has taken over the years to try to get its own way. No-one who has lived through the fight of the last eight years will be deceived as to BAA's real agenda.

Despite the scrapping of the second runway application this summer, there is clearly still a long way to go before we can really lay the expansion issue to rest.

SSE will therefore remain vigilant and active for as long as it takes to safeguard the future of our community through Government policy - whether in this Parliamentary term or beyond.

Carol Barbone
SSE Campaign Director


Our struggle for villages goes on

Readers' Letters - Uxbridge Gazette - 6 December 2010

JUST read your article on Sipson down here in Cornwall (Sipson: a village dying on its feet, Gazette, December 1). Very sad and very moving. I just wanted to say that although Jim and I have moved away, we are still working for the residents of the villages. In fact, we have been in touch with BAA on some issues regarding the bond in the last few days.

Sipson is still in our hearts. We both worked hard with BAA to get a good code of conduct for the houses sold to them in both Sipson and Harmondsworth, regarding the renting, as Colin Matthews correctly stated in your article.

They will be families only - no houses of multiple occupation and no subletting - all gardens will be maintained and all household rubbish will be put out in correct bags on the correct day, and any previous agreements regarding shared drives and so on will be honoured.

Therefore I advise the residents in both villages to contact BAA should this not be the case and if they have any concerns regarding these houses.

It is the houses that were bought cheaply - from 2002 and before when the blight set in, prior to the government asking BAA to bring in the bond - by unscrupulous landlords that have caused most trouble in Sipson, and they are the reason some have moved.

People must also remember that an older generation has been trapped for nearly 10 years. These people would have retired, moved on and younger families would have bought the houses. However, this did not happen as youngsters were - quite rightly - dubious about moving into the villages with the runway threat.

Sipson and part of Harmondsworth are lacking the support of the younger generation, and therefore the knock-on effect is the breaking down of the community. Even if the older generation had stayed, they would not have lived forever and the situation would be the same.

I sincerely hope a community worker, as suggested at the meeting, will be able to help. I would also ask that local residents fully support those youngsters at Grow Heathrow as their help has been a godsend to the village.

You might find it strange but those of us who for various reasons moved out of the villages have all kept in touch and will continue to do so. Most of us have been friends and neighbours for many years. I suppose it might be asked: why did you all move?

I would say until these landlords and hotel owners and developers who own many of the houses in the villages are sorted, you will not stop them killing off communities. I fought hard for nearly 10 years to save Sipson. This we did, but sadly the landlords, hotel owners and developers have killed the community.

Jim and I will continue to support the villages and do whatever we can.


OUR COMMENT: This letter could have been written from one of the many affected round Stansted and still unable to escape the effects of expansion blight.

Pat Dale


BAA Press Release - 10 December 2010

Resilient airports deliver growth with fuller planes

Heathrow sets fifth consecutive monthly traffic record, up 4.3%
BAA group traffic up 1.0%
Strong long-haul growth to North America, China and India
Passenger traffic at Heathrow grew 4.3 percent during November against the same month last year, leading to a fifth consecutive record month.

The aviation industry has continued its efficiency drive with a continuing rise in load factors - showing how full planes are - at Heathrow (up 1.0 percent) to 71.7 percent and at group level (up 1.3 percent) to 72.1 percent.

However, fog, snow and strong winds across the UK and Northern Europe hit passenger numbers by around 130,000 across BAA's six airports. Without the bad weather, the underlying result would have been an increase of 2.7 percent.

At Heathrow, domestic traffic was up 3.2 percent, while European scheduled traffic rose 7.5 percent. North Atlantic services carried 4.4 percent more passengers and other long haul routes recorded a collective increase of 2.1 percent. China (including Hong Kong) rose by 9.7 percent and India increased 5.3 percent, reflecting how important these links are to securing the UK's economic future.

As a whole, BAA's airports handled 7.9 million passengers during November, up 1.0 percent compared with the same period last year. Domestic traffic was the only major market to see a decrease, down 3.6 percent due mainly to weather disruption.

A reduction in low-cost airline capacity was the main factor behind the drop of 7.6 percent at Stansted, while at Southampton most of the 3.2 percent decrease can be attributed to the adverse weather late in the month.

Without the severe weather in Scotland and elsewhere, Glasgow would have reached last year's November total. However, as a result of the snow, volumes fell by 0.8 percent. Snow disruption was worst in the east of Scotland, and Edinburgh (down 3.9 percent) lost at least 50,000 passengers while Aberdeen (down 1.9 percent) lost around 15,000.

Cargo tonnage at Heathrow rose by 3.7 percent and for the group as a whole it was up by 2.8 percent, indicating that the global economic recovery is continuing as retailers ready their warehouses and stores for the Christmas rush.

Business commentary and outlook

Heathrow's resilience in performing well despite the poor weather shows how well prepared it has been and also reflects strong demand for long-haul travel. Because business travellers make up a third of its passengers, with more than half living outside the UK, Heathrow is less reliant on the British consumer sector and performs in line with the broader international economic environment and UK export sector which continues to improve.

Conversely, the recovery in leisure traffic elsewhere has remained subdued, in part because of carriers relocating to foreign bases.

Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA, said: "It has been a tough month for passengers with the worst snow for decades but people understand that safety comes first. We have invested in winter preparations and have worked around the clock to keep our airports running. But it is not just about clearing snow, it's also about landing and take-off rates and weather at destination airports. Heathrow and Stansted have remained open throughout, but elsewhere and across Europe some airport closures were inevitable."

"Despite a further increase in passengers at Heathrow we have kept queues' down, returned people's bags quicker" and improved passengers' journeys. Heathrow's ?£5 billion investment programme continues, modernising Terminal 3 and building a brand new Terminal 2 - the biggest private development in the country. We have a long way to go but real progress has been made in cutting queues, improving service and upgrading the older terminals."

"Airlines are benefiting from the improving economic climate and from having fuller aircraft, allowing us to make better use of the scarce resources we have at Heathrow. We're adjusting our landing charges to further incentivise greener, more efficient aircraft to benefit the industry, passengers and local community. On-going strong performance at Heathrow shows that the global recovery continues as we head towards Christmas and into the New Year."

OUR COMMENT: If the increase in passenger numbers is achieved with the same number of flights this is good news for climate change policies. We are not told what the average passenger occupancy/plane is at the different airports, it would also be enlightening to compare airlines.

Pat Dale


Steve McGraph - News Airline - 14 December 2010

Europe's largest low-cost carrier, Ryanair Holdings PLC, said Tuesday it would cut further routes and jobs in Germany in response to a planned tax increase on air travel.

The planned tax for January has already pushed other carriers, including Air Berlin PLC, to scale back on routes in a move that could mean less choice and higher prices for customers.

Ryanair said in October that it would cut 30% of flights from its main German base at Frankfurt Hahn, resulting in one million fewer passengers flying from the airport.

It announced Tuesday it would also cut 56% of flights from Berlin, 29% of flights from Bremen and 21% of flights from Dusseldorf, starting with its summer 2011 program. The Irish carrier said that all the cuts would result in the loss of 34 routes, 414 weekly flights, three million fewer passengers and 3,000 jobs.

"Ryanair will move these aircraft to bases outside Germany, which welcome tourists instead of taxing them," Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary said. "We urge the German government to look again at the damaging impact of tourist taxes in Ireland and the U.K. before this 8 tourist tax leads to similar declines in traffic and jobs at German airports."

As part of the German government's plans to reduce its budget deficit, it announced that from the start of 2011 short-haul flights departing from Germany will be taxed at 8 per passenger. Medium-haul and long-haul flights will be taxed 25 and 45 per passenger, respectively.

German Finance Ministry spokesman Tobias Romeis declined to comment on the matter, saying any corporate decision was down to Ryanair. However, in response to Mr. O'Leary's remarks that the government should reconsider the air travel tax, Mr. Romeis said the tax is part of the government's budget consolidation measures, which "will not be tampered with".

Air Berlin Chief Executive Joachim Hunold last month said that fierce competition on some routes would make it impossible to pass on all the tax increase to passengers and hence his airline had decided to reverse previous plans to expand and instead reduce its fleet of aircraft next year.

The German carrier is expecting a hit to revenue of between 160 million and 170 million due to the planned tax increases. It said it will reduce capacity by 5%, reducing its fleet by seven aircraft effective with its summer flight schedule 2011 and discontinue some of its least profitable routes to protect earnings.

Ryanair has always reacted fiercely to planned tax increases as its business model relies on keeping costs to a minimum to allow it to charge very low prices for its seats. It often flies to small regional airports that have lower airport charges than larger, neighboring airports, making passengers pick up the extra costs of reaching their final destinations. The airline cut routes in the U.K. and Ireland when those countries raised air travel taxes.

Ireland this month said it would cut its air passenger tax to 3 per person, from 10 per person, partially reversing the previous implementation of the tax. The Irish government said it wanted to talk to Ryanair about reinstating some flights that the airline removed when the tax was introduced.

"Ryanair regrets that the German government's 8 tourist tax now makes Germany an uncompetitive tourist destination at a time when many other EU governments (including Holland, Belgium, Greece and Spain) have scrapped tourist taxes altogether and/or reduced airport charges, in some cases to zero, in order to grow traffic and tourism," the airline said. "Even the Irish government last week recognized the damage done to Irish tourism and jobs and has slashed its failed 10 tourist tax to just 3."

OUR COMMENT: Ryanair again, still fighting the inevitable. Aviation emissions can not be left to rise, or we shall all suffer in the not too distant future. Has Ryanair any better idea than imposing taxes on flights - that might persuade airlines to cooperate?

Pat Dale


Sara Turner - Abtn Online - 10 December 2010

Stansted airport has been hit hard by low-cost airlines taking their business to other airports, BAA's latest figures confirm.

The number of air transport movements at Stansted fell by 11.7% in November, compared with the same month in 2009, while its passenger numbers fell by 7.6% year on year.

In a statement, BAA confirmed that "a reduction in low-cost airline capacity was the main factor behind the drop". The airport operator said the recovery in leisure traffic in particular remained "subdued", partly because airlines are "relocating to foreign bases".

No-frills airline Ryanair cut its capacity at the airport by 17% this winter, resulting in 140 fewer flights. It has moved the aircraft that were at Stansted to other European bases outside the UK.

Rival low-cost carrier Easyjet, however, increased its capacity at Stansted by 4.5% in November, compared to the same month in 2009.

When Ryanair announced the decision in July, it blamed the UK government's attitude to aviation, as well as high airport fees. At the time, Ryanair's CEO Michael O'Leary said the cut demonstrated how much air passenger duty was damaging UK tourism and the British economy.

"Sadly UK traffic and tourism continues to collapse while Ryanair continues to grow traffic rapidly in those countries which welcome tourists instead of taxing them," he said.


The Independent - 7 December 2010

After safety scandals and security rows, the airline industry is trying to clean up its image with cleaner, greener engines. But it's going to be a bumpy ride, says Nick Harding

In the next two weeks, the annual Christmas exodus begins and millions of people around the globe will take to the skies and head off like migrating birds for festive breaks. Cue the usual horror stories of weather delays and Spanish/French industrial action.

This year, for travellers heading to the US, there is a new strand to this annual narrative: the unwelcome pat-down. Thanks to the installation at many American airports of new body-scanning technology by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), there is rising outrage at the intrusive nature of security measures flyers are being subjected to. The scanners can see through clothing and map anatomically precise images of people who pass through them. And for those passengers who exercise their rights to opt out of these new checks, the alternative is equally embarrassing: the "enhanced" pat-down includes contact with breasts and genitalia.

Videos posted online depicting flyers' interactions with TSA agents, including pat-downs of children, have led to several anti-flying websites and a popular movement calling for a flying boycott. All the while, debate is raging at just how effective these new measures are. Some argue they will cause an increase in road deaths as travellers choose to drive, and earlier this month, an Israeli security expert told Canadian legislators that the machines are "expensive and useless", which is why the Israelis, known as among the best at airport security, do not use them.

Add to this debate the jitters sent through the aviation industry last month when an Airbus 380 jet engine exploded on a Qantas flight from Singapore to Sydney, and it would appear there has never been a worse time to fly. Business has certainly been adversely affected by the image of the shredded engine of flight QF32, which suffered a catastrophic explosion on 4 November. A subsequent investigation found that the British-manufactured Rolls-Royce T900 engine was destroyed following an oil fire caused by a faulty turbine component. Qantas grounded all six of its super-jumbos while tests were conducted and although it maintains there is "no risk to flight safety", many of its A380 T900 engines will now have to be overhauled or replaced. It has begun legal action against Rolls-Royce.

Set against this tumultuous backdrop, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that the aviation industry is actually standing on the cusp of a new age of technological advancement that should make jet travel greener and more efficient.

A new generation of more efficient, quieter aircraft jet engines carrying names such as the TXWB, the PurePower PW1000G and the T1000 are due for commercial introduction over the next two years. These new multimillion-pound developments will, according to their makers, Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney, get a new age of more environmentally friendly air travel off the ground.

Next year, Derby-based Rolls-Royce is set to begin commercial operation of its T1000 engine, which will power Boeing's groundbreaking Dreamliner 787 aircraft; it will be the first aircraft to be built from composite materials. Two years after that, Rolls-Royce is scheduled to launch the TXWB, powering the new Airbus 350. The company has spent years of man hours and billions of pounds developing these engines. While Rolls-Royce concentrates on powering wide-body transcontinental aircraft, its rival Pratt & Whitney hopes to secure the narrow-body market with the PW1000G, which is scheduled to enter commercial service in 2013. Its geared turbo fan technology allows different components in the engine to run at varying, more efficient speeds, which, the manufacturer claims, will improve fuel consumption by up to 20 per cent, cut carbon emissions by more than 3,000 metric tons per aircraft per year, and also slash aircraft noise by up to 75 per cent. It is being hailed as a "game-changer".

All three new engines have been developed in an attempt to address the seismic shifts the aviation industry has seen in the past decade in terms of environmental legislation and increasing fuel costs.

But creating a new commercial jet engine comes at a cost. It is a mammoth undertaking reflected in the price tag of the current market leaders, which sell for between $10m and $20m and, depending on the age and type of an aircraft, are often worth more than the aircraft they are fitted to. Even in the case of new aircraft such as the A380, which carries 525 passengers and costs around $300m, the four $20m engines needed to power it still account for a large percentage of the overall cost.

It took Rolls-Royce four years to develop a prototype TXWB just to the stage where it could be run through a flight profile on a static test bed. This initial run, made earlier this year, was the first stage of at least three years of testing and tweaking which the engine must complete before it is ready to carry passengers. Likewise, the T1000 was first tested on the ground in 2006, took to the air for the first time in 2007 and is not scheduled for commercial use until 2011.

The testing regime for any new design of jet engine is exhaustive. They are encased inside giant freezers and frozen to minus 40C to assess their cold-start ability, water is poured into them at a rate of 30,000 gallons an hour to ensure they operate in rainstorms, and each component is carefully assessed for damage using an array of technology including X-rays and electron microscopes.

One of the most crucial tests for a prototype engine assesses its ability to cope if a fan blade detaches itself from the main fan. In such a malfunction the engine needs to be able to shut down effectively and contain the blade inside the engine casing. The titanium-bladed fans are encased in a Kevlar-wrapped aluminium housing and spin so fast that the effect of the impact of a blade coming loose is equivalent to the impact of a one-ton car being dropped from a 200ft cliff. A loose blade could rip through a wing or fuselage. Fan blade tests use explosives to blow blades from the fan at maximum take-off speed. The test destroys the engine.

The underpinning theory of jet propulsion is the same in the new generation of engines as it was in the first jet engine developed by Frank Whittle in 1937. Cold air is sucked into a core, where it is condensed and forced into a combustion chamber and then ignited with fuel to create a gas jet fired through a turbine. Today's computer-controlled engines, however, bear little resemblance to their historic predecessors. In modern engines the turbine blades spin so fast, each one has the equivalent horsepower of a Formula 1 racing car. They have to operate in temperatures that reach 1,700 degrees, so the materials used to build them need to remain incredibly strong under immense stress. Rolls-Royce, in collaboration with several universities and research centres, formulates its own alloy compositions to handle the extreme conditions. Normal metals are composed of millions of interlocking crystals and the joins between those crystals are potential weaknesses. Rolls-Royce "grows" engine parts at its hi-tech forge from single crystals.

The cost-intensive development programmes involved in bringing a new jet engine to market explain the price tag of the finished product. For many airlines, it is simply too expensive to buy and maintain engines so, increasingly, they are leased to airlines by banks such as RBS, which has an aviation division, aviation finance companies, and manufacturers which offer lifetime-maintenance programmes. Rolls-Royce monitors the engines it leases in real time using internal sensors to relay data via satellite to an operations centre, where a team of technicians monitors the performance of each engine and analyses the data for any problems.

Bob James is a jet engine expert and managing director of leasing firm AerFin. He explains: "The new engines coming to the market are highly technologically advanced products. To bring an engine from start up to service can take eight to 10 years. Given the capital-intensive nature of the industry, it is much more beneficial for airlines to not own assets."

The complex finances of airlines and the long shelf-life of aircraft and engines mean that not everyone is eager to embrace revolutionary developments which will effectively date fleets of older aircraft. In the case of Pratt & Whitney's PurePower PW1000G engine, some industry experts say it will be so advanced it will devalue existing equipment.

"It is a major technological step forward and one we should be embracing," James says. "However, the problem is that it will be competing with other products that still have a long way to go in their operative lifespans and if airlines accept it, which in principle they should, it would mean an adverse impact on the residual value of fleets. We'd all like to see it but the knock-on effect is the potential for a major reduction in the values of older aircraft. Because aviation products like engines and aircraft have such a long development and are designed to last up to 30 years, if you change the dynamics mid-life, you have major issues with funding. It is a multitrillion-dollar industry and there are a lot of powerful people that don't want to see aircraft developed."

It appears that as far as jet travel is concerned, the flight to a more efficient future looks set to be bumpy.


The Guardian - 7 December 2010

Britain is set world-leading carbon emissions cut target requiring complete overhaul of energy, farming and motoring

The UK will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2030 under world-leading proposals from the government's advisers on climate change.

Achieving the target proposed by the Committee on Climate Change requires a complete revamp of the nation's electricity market, making it virtually zero-carbon, as well as an overhaul of heat-leaking homes and the replacement of petrol-driven cars with 11m electric or plug-in hybrid models.

The CCC's 2030 target, if passed into law as previous CCC targets have been, would be the first legally binding 2030 target in the world. The target - which is a cut relative to 1990 emissions levels - is intended to lead the way to a legally binding 80% UK cut by 2050.

"We are recommending a stretching but realistic fourth carbon budget and 2030 target, achievable at a cost of less than 1% of GDP. We therefore urge the government to legislate the budget, and to develop the policies required to cut emissions," said Lord Turner, who is the CCC's chair, as well as chairman of the Financial Services Authority. "The case for action on climate change is as strong as ever: climate science remains robust and suggests that there are very significant risks if we do not cut emissions. And countries acting now will gain economic benefits in an increasingly carbon-constrained world."

Chris Huhne, the secretary of state for energy and climate change, said: "We know that the status quo will not be enough to cut carbon, which is why we are planning to undertake a comprehensive review of the electricity market, increase home energy-efficiency under the Green Deal and create a green investment bank. We will formally respond to the report in spring next year."

The CCC's carbon budgets are intended to reflect the levels of cuts required internationally to avoid the dangerous climate change, often defined as a rise of more than 2C above pre-industrial temperatures. "If we don't do anything there are significant risks of dangerous climate change that we can't adapt to," said David Kennedy, the CCC's chief executive.

Kennedy accepts that the 2030 target proposed today is "highly ambitious". It will require 90% cut in power sector emissions, to be delivered by 40GW of new nuclear, wind and clean coal and gas power - equivalent to 25 large power stations. Delivering the investment needed to build this needs "fundamental changes" to the electricity market.

"We have had the most liberal electricity market in world - which had some benefits in a different era," said Kennedy. The market must be more "planned" he said, with the government putting out tenders for 25 to 40-year contracts to supply low-carbon electricity to cut investor risk and so the cost of capital. The government's proposals on electricity market reform are expected next week."

"What the government takes forward on this will be the most important test of their green credentials, said Kennedy. "It is absolutely crucial." He said there were three big tests of the coalition's pledge to be the "greenest government ever": radical energy market reform, a strong Green Deal bill to overhaul energy efficiency in homes and whether the government passes the 2030 target into law next year.

But David Porter, the chief executive of the Association of Electricity Producers, said: "If these huge sums [of required investment] are to be attracted to the UK, there must be a clear, credible and stable political and regulatory environment. We do not have that today, because our market is out of sync with the UK's highly demanding low-carbon agenda. It is [the electricity market] consultation which the industry awaits anxiously. The outcome will determine whether in the future we have a low-carbon electricity supply which not only meets environmental ambitions but is reliable and cost-effective."


Martin Williams - Daily Post - 14 December 2010

AIRBUS will supply nearly 26,000 aircraft in the next 20 years.

The company, which employs more than 6,000 people at its wing-making plant in Broughton, increased its long-term demand forecast by 3.6% due to a perceived rise in the need for single-aisle aircraft, and remains convinced that over 1,700 A380-sized planes will be required between now and 2030.

The airframer presented its 2010 Global Market Forecast (GMF) in Toulouse, where it predicted some 25,850 new airliners (including 870 freighters) will be delivered over the next 20 years, worth $3.2 trillion. This compares with 24,951 aircraft worth $3.1 trillion in its last forecast, published in September 2009.

The bulk of the demand in its forecast is for the single-aisles where its new A320 New Engine Option family will compete from 2016. It puts long-term demand in this category at 17,900 units, around 1,000 greater than it forecast a year ago. The airframer's forecasts in other categories are similar to last year's GMF.

It expects twin-aisle demand will reach 6,240 units through to 2029 (including freighters), while the very large aircraft sector (A380s) will account for 1,700 deliveries, including 1,300 passenger aircraft and 400 freighters. Although VLA deliveries only account for 7% of the total units, their high list price puts the category at 18% by value.

John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer Customers, told Business Post: "The recovery is stronger than predicted and reinforces both the resilience of the sector to downturns and that people want and need to fly. The single aisle sector is particularly strong, and our A320neo meets this future demand by providing our customers with the latest innovations and technologies whilst maintaining maximum commonality."

He added: "Our entire product range is very well positioned to meet the economic and environmental needs for sustainable growth for the decades ahead."

In passenger traffic growth terms, emerging economies are leading the recovery, according to the Forecast. Domestic Indian traffic growth (9.2%) is the fastest of any major market and the third fastest growth overall, after traffic between the Middle East and South America, and between North Africa and the People's Republic of China (PRC).

It also revealed aircraft are getting bigger as airlines capitalise on the benefits of larger aircraft to absorb traffic growth, minimise airport congestion, and reduce costs.

OUR COMMENT: A Thought for Xmas and the New Year. Where are the Green Planes?

Pat Dale


Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer Online - 2 December 2010

STANSTED'S managing director has left the airport after a little over a year in the post.

In a short statement, a spokesman confirmed today (Thursday, December 2): "David Johnston has left BAA with effect from November 29, by mutual agreement. We have appointed Nick Barton, currently Stansted's commercial and development director, as interim managing director while we consider a permanent successor to David."

Mr Johnston, a tough-talking Geordie, joined Stansted in October last year. He succeeded Stewart Wingate. He had previously been BAA's group procurement director, having joined BAA in 2007 as managing director of Edinburgh Airport. Prior to joining the operator, he was managing director of Thorn Lighting in Durham and he had international manufacturing experience.


Nick Thompson - Saffron Walden Reporter - 2 December 2010

DESPITE ditching immediate plans to create a new runway and terminal at Stansted the major buzzword among airport bosses is still "growth".

Stansted is a web of trains, planes and automobiles and, although an application to expand was withdrawn at the start of summer, commercial and development director Nick Barton is still keen to put long term plans for expansion in place.

Speaking at the airport's annual transport conference on Thursday morning he said: "We must face up to the challenges and bring things forward. We must respond to the need for growth as Stansted is the only airport in the South East with room to expand. We will overcome the tough market conditions and lay the foundations for future growth."

However, the meaning of the word growth does not necessarily mean that Stansted will be exploring the idea of extra runways any time soon. Bosses will be welcoming new trains from the end of March next year, and the entire 30-year-old fleet of Stansted Express carriages will be replaced by December 2011.

On top of that, National Express East Anglia managing director Andrew Chivers revealed that platforms will be lengthened and re-designed as part of that process. He said: "The one thing I said I'd do when I took this job was to improve the Stansted Express service to and from London. We will have 17 per cent extra capacity with 188 new carriages. We are all very excited. It took two years to get this agreement and we managed to put it in place last April before the announcement of an 8billion Government investment in rail. That allowed us to get the jump on other projects and now everything is on schedule."

A new timetable is also being investigated in which more trains going directly from Stansted to London with stops only in Bishops Stortford and Harlow. Elsewhere, the airport is continually improving and increasing its transport options.

The coach station is undergoing an expansion program, including new waiting rooms, information kiosks and information boards, and new routes are being added for "extra connectivity."

Mr Barton concluded his speech by adding that Stansted is meeting all of its targets on environment, transport links and noise levels set by independent watchdogs. He insisted that the airport "can achieve" green aviation and expansion. But added: "We recognise that we cannot grow uncontrollably. There are many issues locally surrounding airport expansion. But we are committed to meeting the UK's needs in providing extra capacity as air travel continues to grow."


Airport runway moratorium attacked by Sir David Rowlands,
former permanent secretary at the Department for Transport

Dan Milmo - The Guardian - 2 December 2010

Sir David Rowlands, chairman of the airport, has criticised the government for halting expansion at major UK airports.

The government moratorium on airport expansion has been strongly criticised by the former permanent secretary at the Department for Transport, who warned that ministers could not ignore the demand for new runways.

Sir David Rowlands, now chairman of Gatwick Airport, said the need for new airport capacity in the UK could not be avoided and warned that aviation's contribution to the British economy was not appreciated as much as it should be.

Rowlands, who left the DfT in 2007, said it was "mildly extraordinary" that the Conservative and Liberal Democrat government had blocked plans for new runways at Heathrow and Stansted. Asked if he was serving notice on the government's policy, he said: "What it cannot avoid is the policy consequences. I don't think this country really understands the consequences of the policy."

The previous government, British Airways and airport group BAA have warned that Britain's economic competitiveness will be damaged without a third runway at Heathrow to connect it to new destinations in emerging markets such as China. However, the current administration is backing a "better not bigger" policy that expects future growth to be taken up by other airports in the UK. Speaking at an Aviation Club lunch in London, Rowlands said regional airports could not "take up the slack" if Heathrow did not expand.

Rowlands also dismissed calls by Boris Johnson, the London mayor, for a new hub airport in the south-east. Warning that proposals for an airport in the Thames estuary were expensive and impractical, he said: "It is not going to happen, frankly."

Gatwick airport was sold by BAA in December last year to a consortium led by Global Infrastructure Partners, an investment firm, in a 1.5bn deal. Rowlands said the airport had no plans to build a second runway but had reserved land for one in order to keep its options open.

Philip Hammond, the transport secretary, said in a speech recently that the environment was an important factor in airport policy. "No government with a commitment to carbon reduction targets can adopt a crude 'predict and provide' approach to aviation capacity," he said.


Nick Thompson - Dunmow Broadcast - 29 November 2010

A "WORLD class four-runway hub to rival Dubai" is the ONLY way to compete globally in air industry, according to the Mayor of London's office.

In a blow to Stansted Airport's gradual expansion business model, deputy chief for transport Daniel Moylan criticised the way the Government is handling growing passenger numbers. He said that the only way to increase capacity is to build an entirely new "national hub airport" from scratch, including four runways and several huge terminals.

"Other countries are already ahead of us with projects that could take away trade and business from the UK because the Government is not dealing with capacity issues now," he said.

"London's prosperity depends on its connections with other world cities, but that will be at risk if we don't develop a purpose-built hub to meet the growing demand. Whether that be a new construction in the Thames Estuary, or a major extension on Kent International is up for discussion. But we want to spark that conversation now before it is too late."

The rant from Mr Moylan may have come as a shock for Stansted airport bosses as his vision for the future rules out gradual up-scaling as seen at the Essex airport over the last 30 years. Staff at Stansted will be increasing rail and bus links and are researching quicker ways to get passengers into the heart of the capital. They are also on the hunt for new business from airlines, such as the Air Asia X deal agreed last year.

With the Coalition Government set to publish its first white paper on the future of British aviation early next year, all ideas will be put into the hat. London Mayor Boris Johnson will be taking the case for a new hub airport in the South-East to transport secretary Philip Hammond before the paper is published.

Stansted commercial and development director Nick Barton will be pushing the case for more considered and "greener expansion" to keep pollution and noise impacts to a minimum. He will be urging the Government to focus on improving existing airports and allowing Stansted to grow outside of its current boundaries.

He also added that the airport will be ready for the 2012 Olympics and will be "the first and last impression people get in the UK". He said: "It is incredibly important for us to get things right. We want to make a good and lasting impression."

As it stands Prime Minister David Cameron has ruled out more runways at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. But business groups believe airport expansion is essential for the growth of London's economy.

Mr Moylan said that adding runways "here and there", or high-speed rail links, were not the answers to a growing UK market of 230 million passengers a year. "The debate is crucial. The Government has its head stuck in the sand and time is slipping by. The Mayor will be making the case to the secretary of state because there is a broad consensus in the business community that new airport capacity for the capital is essential."


For Sipson villagers the struggle continues

Dan Combs - Uxbridge Gazette - 29 November 2010

SIPSON village is used to fighting - but as hundreds move out of the village to escape the devastation caused by years of blight, what about those left behind? Reporter DAN COOMBS visited the village to speak to businesses who have branded it a 'ghost town', finding a pub and post office fighting for survival...

THE words 'third runway' and Sipson are synonymous, after a decade long battle. For many, the fight for expansion of Heathrow Airport is over, or at least dormant, until the political pendulum swings back in its favour. Hundreds of those who felt trapped in the village they loved, have taken BAA's money from their compulsory purchase offer, and decided to move on.

Most left in the village say they can't blame them, the price that was offered was so good. Offered the 2002 market price, all their fees paid for plus a generous index price, the one-off chance to cut and run proved too good an offer to refuse.

Among those who have moved on were the chair of the Harmondsworth and Sipson Residents' Association Jim Payne and his family, and No Third Runway Action Group (NoTRAG) stalwart Linda McCutcheon.

But for those still left, particularly the businesses, life is not the same as it once was. Houses have been left empty, as BAA takes on a 'modernising' programme, which many feel has been allowed to drag on far longer than it should have. Villagers feel that unless families and professionals are enabled to start moving in soon, and contributing to the local economy, what is left, will be allowed to die.

Sipson struggles for passing trade, as its location finds itself strangled between the behemoths of Heathrow Airport and the surrounding motorways, so businesses are reliant on regular customers. Jackie Clark runs the Hair by Jackie hairdressers in Sipson Road. She is the granddaughter of Jack Clark, one of Sipson's oldest residents to fight the third runway, who died in March 2009.

She tells a grim story of the current state of affairs of her business, blaming the fact many of her regulars have moved on. "The opening up and sudden closure of the bond scheme caused panic for people. You constantly see removal vans in the village, and my customers are always coming in saying they will be leaving soon. They were offered great prices by BAA so I can understand, especially in today's market, but there has been nothing offered to us businesses. It has really divided the community."

"We can't sell as nobody wants a business here, we are blighted in the same way as with the runway. I have lost one quarter of my annual turnover, including clients I have had for over 20 years. It is turning into a ghost town, its not the thriving community I grew up in, BAA have destroyed the village."

She feels the constant flow of people moving away has had another effect. "By my estimates, it's close to 300 houses empty. They are all sitting in darkness, and are big properties with three to four bedrooms, which means there is less security for us here, it needs to be stepped up."

She is worried the threat of the third runway will one day return, and be even harder to resist. "BAA won't sell the houses they now own, and will be the majority landowner in the village, so who will oppose them? Most of our fighters have gone. The residents association have gone, we don't know who to contact. In 10 years time the businesses won't be here at this rate, it will be a shanty town."

Jagjit and Kuldip Daurka, manage the Post Office in Sipson Road. They say the queues which once reflected a busy and thriving village have now all but disappeared, leaving them with a trickle of passing trade. Kuldip Daurka said: "We are not doing too well. We used to have big queues on pension day and child benefit day, but not any more. The problems started with the recession and got worse when the bond kicked in. BAA are supposed to be modernising and bringing people in, but everything is taking so long. We used to open at 7.30am until 9pm. Now we open at 8.30am and close at 7pm. It is pointless staying open the extra hours, we are paying electricity and staff wages that would see us making a loss."

Husband Jagjit said: "We are looking at putting an office into the building, to try to enable us to open a side business. This alone at the moment is a struggle. The fighters in the village have all gone, if they have moved, why should we stay? They did not think about us."

"It is good the people with family problems were able to move, but everybody was fighting against something so hard, they have been to quick to abandon what they were fighting for. At the very least BAA should give us the same option I feel like I do not want to carry on, but I'm stuck, we can't sell it and we have a lease for around seven years. It is catch 22."

Gerald Storr runs the butchers next door to the Post Office on Sipson Road. He admits to running the business in near darkness to save on electricity, putting on the lights only when a customer enters. "The number of people in the village goes down every week. This is usually a busy time of year but it has not been like that. My taking are around 30 per cent down and that is a conservative estimate. Five years ago business was fine and 10 it was brilliant. All the regulars have gone, and we are left with several short term rentals."

"BAA have created a monster because the village is dying. I don't know what can be done, they are supposed to be leasing the properties out and refurbishing them."

Shaun Walters is the landlord of the historic King William IV pub, and has to cope with the difficulties of his customers moving away, and the current state of the pub industry. The 16th Century pub is the focal point of the village, and was a hub of activity months ago when television crews covered the story of the third runway cancellation. Now that seems like a distant memory as pub regulars sell up and move on.

Mr Walters said: "The good news is that the brewery have finally agreed to fund some refurbishments to the car park and the front of the pub, which they wouldn't do with the threat of the runway hanging over us. But so many people have gone its going to be too late. There are countless houses sitting empty, I want to know why it is taking so long to get people in, it is costing us money. Regulars leaving can cost me up to 200 a week."

"We have had a few people in who are renting while they carry out work on the refurbishment of Terminal 2. It is important we get the right people into the village otherwise it won't be a community, its affecting me big time. We need professionals living down here, and families. At the moment nobody knows each other. I used to take 40 minutes to walk to work from Ashby Way as I was bumping into people I knew and would stop to chat. Now it takes me five minutes."

BAA claim that their figures show only around 100 properties acquired as a result of the bond scheme are currently empty. They said the delays in finding new tenants for them is to make them suitable for living. They also say they intend to meet with Hillingdon Council to discuss how they can help meet the borough's housing needs. However, they have said firmly that they are not looking to offer compensation to businesses.

Colin Matthews, BAA chief executive, said: "I recognise that our move to buy properties in Sipson was welcomed by some and not by others. We have worked closely with the Harmondsworth and Sipson Residents Association to support village life. For example, we jointly produced the enclosed leaflet which is given to all new tenants to tell them about the facilities and services available in the village. We also put together a joint Code of Conduct that all tenants must sign and adhere to prevent anti-social behaviour. This is working well."

"Nevertheless, the majority of properties we own have now been rented out, many to families or airport-workers who we hope are making use of local services. I appreciate these are difficult economic times for all businesses. While we are not able to compensate individual businesses, we would be happy to discuss other practical ways we might be able to help this and other businesses in the village."

John McDonnell MP for the area, has done a lot to fight for the village against the runway, and is continuing to take up the fight. He is planning to arrange a meeting with BAA to discuss what can be done to help businesses. "We are looking to see if we can get some business rate relief. It is a dire situation in the villages at the moment. The village needs to stabilise, and if we do not get what we want from BAA I will be taking the issue to Government ministers. The businesses such as the pub and the post office are the lifeblood of the community. If they go then what is there left? BAA did promise to let out the premises long-term to families or airport workers, they need to fulfil these promises."

A ray of hope?

THE Hillingdon Community Trust was formed back in 2003, as the result of the construction of Heathrow Terminal 5 and a commitment made by BAA to provide 1m a year for 15 years, which would be ploughed back into the community and supporting local businesses. In September the Trust appealed to find out how communities across the south of the borough wanted this to be spent. After feedback from village residents, a meeting has been set up to talk about how the Heathrow villages could benefit.

David Brough, one of the trustees of the charity, told the Gazette they were open to suggestions, and that the villages would be worthy recipients of the grant. "We are going to hold a meeting to discuss how to rebuild Sipson and Harmondsworth, putting it out to public consultation, we want to help. The money has come from the airport, so it seems right that the villages who have suffered, get something back."


Deborah McGurran, Political Editor - BBC East - 20 November 2010

Eric Pickles has said he wants to return power to local authorities

The complex arrangements for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), which will replace the dismantled Regional Development Agencies, have been investigated by the Politics Show in the East.

The LEPs are formed from councils and clusters of business leaders and aim to encourage growth by giving local firms access to public funds. So far four LEPs have been approved in the East but large parts of the region remain uncovered.

Other areas, particularly economic hotspots, like Stansted Airport, are also being claimed by more than one LEP.

The bids so far approved include Essex, which is looking south to a partnership with Kent and East Sussex, while Peterborough and Cambridgeshire join with Rutland. Hertfordshire has formed a stand-alone LEP and Bedfordshire, along with parts of Northamptonshire, is looking north to the South East Midlands LEP. Norfolk and Suffolk have submitted a bid to form an LEP which has yet to be approved.

"We have to recognise that in areas of enormous growth there are pockets of deprivation we have got to address" - Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary

Leicestershire's bid will include parts of Northamptonshire, like Wellingborough, in their "crossroads of England" LEP application.

The Partnerships have to be approved by the Department of Communities and Local Government, which is headed by Essex MP Eric Pickles. The Secretary of State told BBC East: "What we wanted was something that was much closer to the economic areas. LEPs are voluntary arrangements for businesses, academic institutions and local councils together, to work out a strategic plan for a real economic area. I think there are some really absolutely corking schemes, particularly in the Essex, Kent and East Sussex LEP. It is the kind of economic area that I think is going to dominate the country and dominate Europe in terms of its economic importance."

'Very powerful voice'

He added: "I think it's going to ensure that in the old eastern region, who always thought they were going to be ignored, this is going to give them a very powerful voice."

Business Secretary Vince Cable has designed the Local Enterprise Partnerships but has admitted to Parliament's Business Select Committee that the new organisations would not be able to access any central government money to help them start up. Instead they will have to look to local authorities for funding.

A week ago Mr Cable described the abolition of the eight RDAs as "a little Maoist and chaotic". He added that the scrapping of the RDAs had been poorly executed, although he still supported the transfer of power from Whitehall to the regions that they represented.

'Poorest wards'

The abolition of the RDAs is expected to cost the taxpayer about 1.4bn in wind-up costs over four years, a process that will coincide with a sale of land and building assets. Meanwhile, the coalition has announced a Regional Growth Fund of ?£1.4bn to stimulate enterprise over the next three years, directed particularly at communities that are currently heavily dependent on the public sector.

It is feared that the East, which has a higher proportion of private sector jobs, will miss out. But Mr Pickles disagrees, adding: "That isn't true because 3,000 of the poorest wards in the UK exist in the south. One of the poorest wards in the country is in Nelson in Great Yarmouth and in Essex there's Jaywick. We have to recognise that in areas of enormous growth there are pockets of deprivation we have got to address."


Richard Black, Environment Correspondent - BBC News - 11 November 2010

Carbon emissions fell in 2009 due to the recession - but not by as much as predicted, suggesting the fast upward trend will soon be resumed.

Those are the key findings from an analysis of 2009 emissions data issued in the journal Nature Geoscience a week before the UN climate summit opens. Industrialised nations saw big falls in emissions - but major developing countries saw a continued rise. The report suggests emissions will begin rising by 3% per year again.

"What we find is a drop in emissions from fossil fuels in 2009 of 1.3%, which is not dramatic," said lead researcher Pierre Friedlingstein from the UK's University of Exeter. "Based on GDP projections last year, we were expecting much more. If you think about it, it's like four days' worth of emissions; it's peanuts," he told BBC News.

The headline figure masked big differences between trends in different groups of countries. Broadly, developed nations saw emissions fall - Japan fell by 11.8%, the UK by 8.6%, and Germany by 7% - whereas they continued to rise in developing countries with significant industrial output.

China's emissions grew by 8%, and India's by 6.2% - connected to the fact that during the recession, it was the industrialised world that really felt the pinch.

Back on track

Before the recession, emissions had been rising by about 3% per year, with the growth having accelerated around the year 2000. The new analysis suggests that after the recession, those rates of growth are likely to resume. "Probably, we'll be back on the track of the previous decade, 2009 having been a small blip," said Dr Friedlingstein.

The figures come just a week before the start of the UN climate summit, held this year in Cancun, Mexico. Little progress is expected, following what is widely regarded as the failure of last year's Copenhagen summit. But the projections - produced by the Global Carbon Project, a network of researchers around the world - may focus delegates' minds anew on the enduring issue in tackling climate change: decoupling economic growth from carbon emissions.

Speaking last week at a meeting of Indian and British business leaders aiming to develop joint clean energy projects, UK climate minister Greg Barker conceded this was the missing ingredient. Fundamentally, he said, the question was "whether a transition to a low-carbon economy is compatible with continued economic growth - and no-one knows the answer, because no country has made the transition yet".


Report from Global PBN Summit - Greenair Online - 19 November 2010

The aviation company GE has extended its Performance-based Navigation (PBN) services in South America and China that will enable airlines to use optimized flight paths to operate in difficult weather conditions and terrains as well as shorten flight distances to reduce fuel burn and emissions.

The company has been selected by LAN Airlines to design and deploy a Required Navigation Performance (RNP) network at Lima Jorge Chavez International Airport and four other airports in Peru, Chile and Ecuador. GE has also installed RNP flight paths at Lijiang Airport in China. PBN technology can achieve significant environmental and economic benefits but community noise reduction, fuel savings and reductions in CO2 emissions will not materialize if aviation stakeholders fail to successfully engage communities around airports in the process, delegates to theG lobal PBN Summit held last month were told.

PBN engages the full potential of an aircraft to fly precisely-defined paths without relying on ground-based radio-navigation signals. RNP, a form of PBN, ensures the aircraft precisely follows the path and provides additional navigational flexibility, such as custom-tailored, curved paths through mountainous terrain or in congested airspace. They can be deployed at any airport and allow an accuracy of less than a wingspan, says GE. RNP technology couples GPS satellite navigation with onboard flight-management technology to provide precise lateral and vertical guidance.

This precision allows pilots to land the aircraft in weather conditions that would otherwise require them to hold, divert to another airport, or even to cancel the flight before departure. In addition, since the procedures are very precise, they can be designed to shorten the distance an aircraft has to fly en-route, and to reduce noise, fuel burn and exhaust emissions.

For a typical airline, GE maintains RNP can eliminate an average of 10 nautical miles from the distance an airplane flies on its approach to landing and create significant reductions in annual fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. GE's installation of RNP flight paths at Lijiang will allow Sichuan Airlines and Air China to maintain a reliable commercial air service at the airport.

"Chinese airlines are proving that PBN solutions, like these RNP flight paths, solve many of today's most challenging air traffic management problems," commented Steve Forte, General Manager of GE's PBN Services business. "We have been providing flight paths in China since 2004 and are pleased to be expanding our RNP work there to deliver benefits to Chinese airlines and the communities and passengers they serve."

Under the LAN agreement, PBN Services will design optimized arrivals and departures using RNP technology. Lima's international airport is an important hub in Latin America, serving around 9 million passengers and handling more than 100,000 operations annually. With just one runway and located in a densely populated area, the airport faces many challenges to accommodate rapidly increasing traffic volume.

At the Global PBN Summit, held in Seattle and hosted by GE, Dan Elwell, Vice President of Civil Aviation with the Aerospace Industries Association, said RNP will provide "more bang for the buck" than building new runways and ground-based infrastructure.

However, delegates were warned of serious challenges to implementing the new RNP navigation paths. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is working to implement new, more efficient paths that would significantly reduce the number of residents in the area who are affected by the noise of arriving traffic, but in order to do so must route aircraft over different parts of the community. Even though fewer people are ultimately affected by noise, the new paths can create issues for those who are.

"For us, it's community, community, community," said Mike Ehl, Director of Aviation Operations for the Port of Seattle. He explained it was difficult though for a public entity like his to deal with sensitive issues that have major political implications. Leadership was needed, he said, "but I don't know where we're going to find it."

Greg Albjerg, Vice President at infrastructure engineering company HNTB, said it was imperative that the aviation industry actively engaged with airport communities regarding the design and deployment of more efficient routes as people living in the vicinity had legitimate questions.

Chris Manning, a retired chief pilot for Qantas, said that although the community engagement process was sometimes difficult, there were serious potential repercussions if community stakeholders were not engaged early on.

An example of this was provided by Michelle Bennetts, General Manager of Corporate International Affairs at Airservices Australia, who said new RNP paths at Perth - which provided significant reductions in CO2 and an overall reduction in community noise impact - were nearly derailed by two citizens who lived 20 miles from the airport. They complained the new paths created a disturbance for them, even though aircraft crossed over their houses at an altitude of more than 10,000 feet. Bennetts said the confrontation could have been avoided if the community had been engaged early on in the process.

FAA Chief Operating Officer Hank Krakowski said PBN navigation paths would be very much part of the US NextGen airspace modernization process over the next eight years. By 2018, he predicted, NextGen will reduce flight delays by 21%, save 1.4 billion gallons of fuel and reduce CO2 emissions by 14 million tons annually.

Graham Lake, Director General of CANSO, which represents air navigation service organizations, called for an international baseline of current PBN implementation, as part of a coordinated push to implement PBN globally. He said that currently there was a lack of clear understanding of the status of PBN implementation across the world. "Therefore, our first task should be to benchmark current PBN programmes, and then move towards consolidated best practice for implementation."

Lake drew a link between the delivery of PBN and the emergence of '4D' air traffic management, which is the cornerstone of the NextGen and Europe's SESAR programmes, he said. "To make airspace management work in four dimensions, we need some key techniques to be implemented as soon as possible," he added. "Alongside collaborative decision making, air traffic flow management and real-time data link between aircraft and ATM systems, PBN is essential for realizing the capacity and environmental gains that air transport users are looking for."

GE Aviation Technical Fellow Steve Fulton challenged airlines, regulators, navigation service providers and airport community groups to work closely together to implement efficient PBN navigation routes that reduce fuel burn, noise and emissions, while laying the groundwork for future airspace modernization efforts.

OUR COMMENT: Can such new technology make a difference to the environmental and community problems created by the many planes flying across our skies? The probable answer is that improvements will only be marginal as there has to be trade-offs between safety, costs, CO2, noise and air quality. It's still the number of planes that creates the basic problems - hence the need to resist the calls from the industry for expansion, here, expansion there, and everywhere! Stop Stansted Expansion still has work to do!

Pat Dale


Kate Magee - PR Week UK - 5 November 2010

Campaign: Stop Stansted Airport Expansion
Client: Affected communities in Essex, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk
PR team: Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE)
Timescale: 2003 - ongoing
Budget: 2m (through fundraising)

SSE was formed in 2002 after a Government consultation on the future of aviation in the UK included options for up to three additional runways at Stansted Airport. The 2003 Aviation White Paper confirmed the Government's policy support for a second runway.


- To stop Stansted's owner BAA from gaining approval for a second runway
- To achieve a shift in government policy to veto rather than advocate a second Stansted runway.


SSE identified three main battlegrounds: legal challenges; influencing the City including BAA shareholders and investors; and challenges through the planning system. The PR team believed success depended on demonstrating the weak commercial case for an expanded Stansted and for a change to take place in the political climate owing to environmental considerations.

The PR team, led by campaign director Carol Barbone, built close relationships with opponents of airport expansion. It mounted three legal challenges, which attempted to weaken BAA's business case and render Stansted a less attractive proposition to a prospective buyer. Two of these resulted in two new consultations. The third was disallowed, but resulted in the postponement of the second runway public inquiry.

Enough SSE members also became shareholders in BAA to secure the right for SSE's economics adviser to address the company's AGM on political donations and to use the opportunity to argue the case against expansion in the wider media.

SSE lobbied the planning authority and won backing for opposition to a second runway.

It also published a 'BAA land grab' map, depicting an enlarged airport as an area covered by London's Circle Line underground, to enable the public to understand what was at stake.


SSE secured 7,500 members and online supporters including 150 special interest groups and councils. It gained the backing of all local MPs, the seven MEPs from the region and the four main county councils.SSE produced 19 proofs of evidence for the Stansted Airport Public Inquiry, secured celebrity support including Jamie Oliver, Terry Waite and Will Self, and held 300 public meetings to win community support. More than 2m was secured through fundraising.


On 24 May, BAA withdrew its planning application for a second runway following the rescinding of policy support from the coalition Government.

Pre-election, both David Cameron and Nick Clegg confirmed in writing their opposition to a second runway at Stansted. Since then, the coalition Government has ruled out new runways at Stansted during this parliamentary term for climate change reasons. The Labour manifesto stated it would not allow a second Stansted runway.

SECOND OPINION - Susanna Walker-Robson, Account director, Lansons Communications

Launched early in the Millennium when environmental issues topped the global agenda and concluded in one of the closest election years, perhaps this campaign had timing on its side. However, it involved so much more and developing the right strategy was crucial.

What really stood out was the clear identification of the different stakeholders and the carefully considered and targeted approach in reaching them. Focusing on the weak commercial case and speaking corporate language, first and foremost, positioned SSE as a serious organisation with a voice to be heard. With the business community and financial media onside, this established credibility and a platform to raise environmental issues, without being seen as overly emotive.

Opening political doors is not always easy and, from our own experience, we know it often relies on building relationships with key influencers and attending the correct events and committee meetings; more so in the run-up to an election. Becoming a shareholder to address the BAA AGM was also a clever move.

The visual addition of the map provided a powerful image of what could have been, while the right celebrity endorsement helped to win crucial community support.

This highly impressive campaign met its objectives. Furthermore, it demonstrated an integrated approach to stakeholder comms and engagement. In our view, the future of corporate comms.


Greenair Online, Report of BA/London Chamber of Commerce Seminar - 12 November 2010

Growth of the economy and global connectivity were entirely possible within the constraints of national and international environmental targets, British Airways CEO Willie Walsh told an environmental seminar hosted by the airline and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry earlier this week. He said aviation played a key role in ensuring London remained open for business and attracting inward investment and tourism.

BA's Head of Environment Jonathon Counsell said global regulation on carbon emissions was critical to the aviation industry but warned that "punishing" aviation taxes would take away investment in new technology and did nothing for the environment in reducing emissions. A great deal could be done on the ground as well as in the air to reduce aviation's impact, said Colin Matthews, Chief Executive of airport operator BAA.

"While it's crucial that London's infrastructure keeps pace with its growth, it is also crucial it is not at the expense of the environment," said Walsh. "The will is there. Both the UK and the aviation industry have a strong track record in tackling climate change."

He said that while the new UK coalition government had yet to express a clear policy on aviation, he welcomed the view of Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, that the capital and the south-east of England needed additional runway capacity.

"There is a large gap that needs to be plugged quickly so that the industry can move forward with some idea of what the government wants but if we are to maintain a focus on competitiveness and play our part in developing the UK economy then we will need further infrastructure. We respect the government's decision that the third runway at Heathrow will not be built but we need to look for a coordinated policy on airport capacity in the South-East."

BAA Chief Executive Colin Matthews added that rationing runway capacity at Heathrow increased rather than decreased carbon emissions.

Aviation is absolutely key to London's economy and its position as a global trading centre, said Martin Powell, the Mayor of London's Advisor on the Environment. He said the capital's airports served 370 domestic and international destinations, with passenger numbers increasing by 91% and flights by 57% in the last 20 years.

"This is extremely good news in economic terms but there is an obvious cost in environmental externalities such as noise and emissions of carbon, NOx and particulates, which the industry is striving to mitigate," he said. "In overall terms, emissions have increased and the 5% contribution of aviation to the UK's greenhouse gas emissions is significant."

He pointed out that local government had provided seed funding and brokerage for new green initiatives including contributing to a hydrogen fuel cell technology project for airport mobile power plants and had brought interested parties together for the proposed waste-to-aviation biofuel plant in East London, which he said was moving forward rapidly.

BAA's Matthews said there was a great deal airports could do to reduce emissions and improve air quality, such as providing more convenient ground power so that aircraft did not need to use their APUs, using electric vehicles within and around the airport and encouraging people to use public transport when coming to the airport.

He said the closure of Heathrow due to the Icelandic volcano eruption had enabled the airport to measure the contribution of aviation to air quality at the airport. "What we found was that levels of nitrous oxide declined by around 30% within the airport but didn't outside the airport."

He said pollution levels within the centre of London were twice those at Heathrow. "So to regard air quality as an aviation issue would simply be to short-change the population. It is principally an issue about diesel engines."

Matthews said noise was the main concern of residents around airports such as Heathrow. While airlines were introducing new and less noisy aircraft into their fleets, there was a perception by residents that the problem was getting worse, he said.

"Why is this? I think there are three possible reasons: although the noise footprint of houses affected is smaller it is more intense because there are more flights than there were, say, 10 years ago; secondly, our perception of noise is relative, not absolute; and thirdly I don't think residents trust what we as a company have to say about noise, and we really have to work on this and do a much better job and communicate better."

He said he was proud that Heathrow had recently received ACI Carbon Accreditation status at a higher level than other airport hub in Europe "Great news, but we have such a lot to do," he added.

Matthews unequivocally supported a high-speed rail (HSR) connection to Heathrow, which he said would bring the airport into line with the other main hubs in Europe that already had such links and would also have significant environmental benefits in that regional passengers would require only one flight instead of having to take two on long-haul journeys.

British Airways' Jonathon Counsell questioned the environmental claims of high-speed rail, believing they had been overstated. He said one UK train operator had maintained that the emissions from HSR transport were one-tenth those of flying but he had found independent studies that had showed the HSR benefit as closer to two to one when the entire lifecycle emissions were taken into account. "However, we welcome the introduction of high-speed rail, although it has to link directly into the airport," he added. "Passengers have to have a seamless transfer experience."

From an international perspective, Counsell told the seminar that global regulation on the aviation industry's carbon emissions was critical. "We have worked closely over the past two years with our industry body IATA in developing a common position," he said. "We want to be included in a post-Kyoto global framework. We are an unusual industry in wanting to be regulated, although it must be done in an appropriate way."

"What this means is that we require a global sectoral approach in which we are treated as one sector, meeting our carbon costs in the most effective way possible, paying for our carbon emissions once and minimizing any competitive distortions."

He said there was a big concern in the industry over the proliferation of "punishing" aviation taxes, with Germany and Austria joining the UK in introducing passenger departure taxes, along with proposals just published by a UN group to raise global climate change finance from aviation levies. "This would be damaging to the industry and take money away from investment in new technology. Importantly, it does nothing for the environment in reducing carbon emissions."

Counsell said the UK's Air Passenger Duty (APD) was leading to carbon leakage whereby UK passengers were hubbing on long-haul flights through other European airports to avoid paying the heavy tax.

According to Mark Schofield, Global Leader, Sustainability & Climate Change Tax Network, PricewaterhouseCoopers, a survey of UK businesses found that 58% of respondents believed APD had not been at all effective in changing their organization's environmental behaviour. "If we're going to have taxes in this area, it is really important that the government understands what the policy is that's being pursued and then understand how the policy instruments being used have the desired impact," he said.

"Is it going to make much difference to people's behaviour? It's difficult to know whether APD is a revenue raiser or whether it is intended to put people off air travel. This is an important question. If it is the former then you have to understand there is a potential economic knock-on effect. Businesses are looking for consistency in terms of policy, effectiveness and a level playing field. If you have a single-country tax, arguably there is no level playing field and it can be economically damaging to the country."

Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group, pointed out that the amount of revenue raised by the UK government on APD was similar to that proposed by the UN High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing on what could be raised on a global level from aviation. "Can we raise money from aviation on a 'polluter pays' principle, then answer is yes but it doesn't have to be punitive," he said. "If it's done through a global cap-and-trade system then that should be highly efficient and shouldn't put the cost of flights up significantly. And some of those revenues should be used to help fund projects in low carbon aviation technology."

"What is likely to happen for a while, though, will be a patchwork quilt of regional emissions trading and differential taxation in various parts of the world. It's going to be messy despite the best efforts of all of us to push for something that is even-handed, progressive and meets its objectives. Will we get a cap-and-trade agreement for aviation emissions at COP16 in Cancun? It is unlikely and may take several years to get there, but progress is being made."

Other speakers at the seminar included Paul Nash, Head of New Energies at Airbus; Lord Smith, Chairman of the UK Environment Agency; and Jim Fitzpatrick, Shadow Minister for Transport.

OUR COMMENT: What do YOU think? Can the number of flights increase and at the same time achieve the emissions target for CO2 (2005 levels). Will future technology meet expectations? And, what about noise? Quieter planes are not necessarily fuel efficient and, conversely, fuel efficient planes are not all quieter! Are Taxes necessary to keep the airlines ?? and passenger demand - on target?

Pat Dale


Charlotte Gray, Daily Express - 5 November 2010

HAILED as the "largest, greenest passenger aircraft" by manufacturer Airbus, the double-decker A380 can carry 555 people. Its first commercial flight was from Singapore to Sydney in 2007, and the four engines are either Rolls-Royce Trent 900 or Alliance GP7200.

Each plane is valued at 215million and can incorporate bars, lounges, beauty salons and duty-free shops. So far, the 37 A380s in service have achieved 192,000 flying hours and completed 21,400 commercial flights.

Dubai-based Emirates airline has 13 of the super-jumbos, Singapore Airlines 11, Qantas six, Air France four and Lufthansa three.

More than 200 planes are on order from Toulouse-based Airbus from 17 countries. British Airways does not currently use the aircraft, but has ordered 12, with deliveries to start in 2013. Virgin Atlantic has six on order, due to be delivered in 2015.

Qantas, which started using the A380 in 2008, has an impressive safety record, with no fatal crashes since it introduced jets in the late 1950s. But there have been scares involving the A380 in the past year.

In September 2009 a Singapore Airlines A380 was forced to turn round in mid-flight from Paris after an engine malfunction. Last March a Qantas A380 from Singapore burst two tyres on landing in Sydney. In August a Lufthansa crew shut down one engine as a precaution before landing at Frankfurt after receiving confusing information on a cockpit indicator. Also in August an engine on a Qantas 747 flight to San Francisco exploded, causing debris to tear holes in the engine cover.

OUR COMMENT: There are also two new Boeing aircraft; the 787 passenger aircraft (known as the Dreamliner) which has been delayed into service until next year and the 747-800 for which there is a passenger and freight version which have also been delayed somewhat. And it is the 747-800 freighter which BAA announced BA will operate out of Stansted. They are all noisier than an easyJet or Ryanair aircraft operating out of Stansted - and as 95% of all aircraft operating out of Stansted are the low cost carriers. This means that today 95% of all aircraft operating out of Stansted are less noisy than the new Boeing 787, the 747-800s and the Airbus A380.

Martin Peachey - SSE Noise Adviser


Report from EU Transport & Environment (T&E) in Brussels - 8 November 2010

Annual data compiled by the EEA (European Environment Agency) and submitted to the UNFCCC on the EU's greenhouse gas emissions usually leave out emissions from international shipping and aviation (so-called "bunkers")

To complement the 2008 data, T&E wrote an analysis which includes shipping and aviation figures and aims at clarifying the actual contribution of the transport sector to the EU's CO2 emissions.

Findings include:

Between 1990 and 2008, transport emissions increased by 34% while emissions from other sectors decreased by 14%. [In 2008] Compared with 2007 transport emissions decreased by 1.6% and those of other sectors by 2.2%. Consequently, the share of transport in total emissions rose further from 28 to 29%; in 1990 the share of transport was 21%;

Emissions from international aviation and shipping (both outside Kyoto) have risen by 110% and 56% respectively. Emissions from aviation were unchanged in 2008, those of shipping dropped by 2.1% compared with 2007;

In 2008 aviation and shipping accounted for 7.0% of total CO2 emissions, and 24% of transport emissions. In 1990, these figures were 3.8% and 18% respectively.


ENDS - 5 November 2010

A group of central and eastern European NGOs has launched a campaign to persuade policy makers that capping resource use must become a central plank of environmental policy.

Hungary-based CEEweb for Biodiversity argues that increasing consumption is at the heart of current problems such as climate change. Addressing sustainability issues individually has failed, it says, because the underlying causes are unsustainable consumption, cheap fossil fuels, "and more underlying drivers like inequality, belief in material values and in continuous GDP growth."

Putting limits on resource use would provide a more holistic response, it argues. The group set as aims for the campaign by 2012 to persuade all decision makers to realise that capping resource use is essential and by 2014 to see that "relevant measures" are taken.

CEEweb for Biodiversity launched the campaign this week at a kick-off meeting of the Resource Cap Coalition in Hungary. The meeting continues to Saturday.


David Robertson - The Times - 15 November 2010

BAA's chief executive is focused on just one thing - making his airports 'better', writes David Robertson

Kate Moss was preparing to frolic on the wing of a jumbo jet, Sir Richard Branson was holding court in front of the world's media and in the background an alarm was going off. It was a typical June day at Heathrow, the world's busiest airport.

It was Virgin Atlantic's 25th birthday and the airline was holding a press conference at its plush lounge at Terminal 3. Sir Richard and Lord Adonis, the Transport Secretary then, were fielding questions while in the background a bell was ringing. Catering staff had entered the lounge via a security door and left it ajar, setting the alarm off.

Realising the situation, a man at the back of the room cut through the crowd to close the door. It was Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA, the owner of Heathrow. Some bosses would have ordered an underling to close the door, but Mr Matthews is different. He is the sort of boss who picks up rubbish or gives directions to passengers on the Heathrow Express. He is about making things better and, boy, does Heathrow need someone like that.

When the British Airports Authority was privatised in 1986 it embarked on an aggressive expansion of its retail operations across all seven of its airports: Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Southampton, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen (Gatwick has since been sold).

BAA was more interested in cash registers than infrastructure and Britain's airports began to crumble. By the time that Ferrovial, the Spanish construction giant, bought BAA for 10.4 billion four years ago, the under-investment was obvious and Heathrow was being compared to a Third World airport.

Then things got really bad. Police uncovered a plot to blow up Heathrow flights by taking liquid explosives on to an aircraft and this prompted a security clampdown. Hand luggage was restricted and liquids banned. It caused chaos. BAA's airports had too few scanning machines and security guards to cope.

Then the botched opening of Heathrow's Terminal 5 left thousands of passengers stranded and humiliated BAA and British Airways. By the summer of 2007 even government ministers were referring to "Heathrow hassle".

This was what Colin Matthews walked into when he became BAA's chief executive in April 2008. He had previously been the head of Severn Trent, the water company, but had experience of aviation having worked as BA's technical director.

One of the first decisions Mr Matthews made was to drop the pretence that BAA was equally interested in all seven of its airports. Heathrow was the jewel in Ferrovial's crown and it was attracting so much criticism that steps had to be taken to protect it. Mr Matthews said: "One of the aims that existed when I came in was the idea of 'one BAA'. I was not sure that was right because Heathrow is a global hub while the others are different. Heathrow was the biggest in terms of passengers and revenue and surely the most important."

Mr Matthews based himself and the BAA leadership team at Heathrow and closed the company's offices in Central London. He stripped out layers of management to give the organisation a greater focus on performance - the area where Heathrow needed to improve most. "Previously the terminal manager reported to a chief operating officer who reported to a managing director who reported to the company COO who reported to the chief executive," Mr Matthews said. "The terminal manager now reports to the company COO, who reports to me. We have streamlined the process, which makes people feel more involved and responsible for what they are doing."

The focus for BAA's staff is now to make Heathrow and the other airports "better" - a word that crops up perhaps two dozen times during this interview. "Passenger expectations have changed over time," he explained.

"The problem with airports is that we still talk about percentages of success. Even if 99 per cent of people queue for less than ten minutes in security, that can still be thousands of people who have been held up. That is still a lot of frustration," Mr Matthews says.

This determination to make British airports better is paying off and Heathrow in particular has improved. The toilets are better, the buildings are being upgraded and the staff are more attentive. But the legacy of "Heathrow hassle" remains and it will be some time before public attitudes change.

This determination to make improvements was instilled in Mr Matthews early on. While in his twenties he worked for Lucas Industries, the British car parts manufacturer, and was posted to Japan. Mr Matthews spent a lot of time on production lines, absorbing the Japanese philosophy of continuous operational improvement.

"You could see the high quality of work done every day," he said. "There was a conversation between management and workers about what could be done to make things better. We can learn from that. In Japan continuous improvement was a phrase taken to heart. Each day had to be better. That was indelibly printed in my mind."

This attitude can now be seen in Heathrow's logo: "making every journey better". It is an aspiration that Heathrow's 65 million passengers a year would happily endorse.

Mr Matthews is aware, though, that he cannot become blinded by short-term needs given BAA's operating environment. The company is subject to regulations that throw up persistent problems and threaten long-term profitability.

One such challenge is a ruling by the Competition Commission that BAA's monopoly of airports in Scotland and the South East is bad for passengers and airlines. The Commission last year ordered BAA to sell Gatwick, Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh.

BAA disposed of Gatwick for 1.5 billion at the start of this year but has appealed against the ruling in an attempt to hold on to its other airports. If the Commission gets its way BAA could be forced into a firesale of assets at a time when it would struggle to get a good price. That could limit BAA's ability to invest in its remaining airports, limiting Mr Matthews' quest to make things "better".

Security is another constant issue for BAA, as the recent cargo bomb plot demonstrated. New rules and procedures are being imposed in reaction to every incident, slowing the security process. Mr Matthews has proposed taking a fresh look at airport security and developing a system from scratch.

Perhaps the single biggest challenge for BAA long term is its ability to increase capacity at Heathrow. The Government has ruled out a third runway and this will constrain growth. BAA argues that if Heathrow falls behind rivals such as Amsterdam Schiphol and Paris Charles de Gaulle it will lose the transfer passengers that make many routes profitable. British passengers might lose something they take for granted: direct flights from London to many great cities.

Mr Matthews said: "The alternative to Heathrow is not Gatwick or Stansted. It is Amsterdam and Paris. At some point in the future London might not have a hub airport and that would be a big cost to the UK."

Balancing the short and long-term challenges facing BAA is daunting but Mr Matthews is unflagging in his belief that Heathrow and the other airports can and will improve. "We can now say we are better than we were," he said. "The challenge is to ask whether we can be better tomorrow."

OUR COMMENT: Let us hope so.

Pat Dale


Alex Brummer - Daily Mail - 17 November 2010

Carolyn McCall is a woman on a mission to prove her critics wrong. The sleek and elegantly clad 49-year-old chief executive of easyJet wants to show that she can perform effectively in the transparent, exposed arena of a public company having spent the larger part of her commercial life sheltered beneath the benevolent wing of the Scott Trust as an executive at the Guardian Media Group.

If there are going to be more women as directors of public companies, it is going to require search firms and boards to think out of the box. "I had a pretty tough environment to work in (at GMG) which was complex and made me a good board director. But easyJet had to take a risk on me because I didn't have any PLC experience," she says.

Superficially at least, the mother of three - who slipped into the captain's seat at easyJet in July of this year - is off to a strong and bustling start as a public company boss.

With the help of chairman Mike Rake she has lifted the shadow over the carrier's governance and share price posed by the bitter exchanges between the previous management and the company's founding genius and largest shareholder, the ever restless Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou. Indeed, insiders say Stelios is much more susceptible to McCall's charms than he could ever have been to her predecessor, Andy Harrison.

The 'easy' branding issue (which reached the courts) has been settled, a dividend is finally being paid and McCall has put in place less demanding growth targets which limit the need for new fleet purchases.

But while getting the Stelios relationship right was the key to establishing more stability at the carrier, McCall also quickly came to recognise that there are huge operational issues to confront. Simply blaming volcanic ash and air traffic controllers disputes wasn't good enough.

In her first major interview as easyJet boss, McCall is excoriating about what she found despite the fact that group profits soared to £154m last year. But in trying to explain the problems McCall has a disconcerting tendency to speak in long, rambling paragraphs interspersed with words straight out of the management school manuals such as KPIs (key performance indicators) and LCCs (low-cost carriers).

So it is something of a relief when she discards the jargon to explain why easyJet wore the dunce's cap for reliability last summer. "I realised very early on there was no point in bulls****ing,' McCall says before wondering aloud if the quote might be 'too rude'."

"The staff knew very well there weren't enough crew and those we did have were in Gatwick, our biggest base, rather than in Europe. They were using their hours inefficiently and they were running out of hours, which knocked on to cancellations at the other end. There is no point hiding behind air traffic control action, we would have had cancellations anyway," she admits.

So what is McCall doing to address the problem? Returning to jargon she says "we've widened the training pipeline", adding: "We're recruiting pilots and cabin crew, and we have been doing that for two months so we are well in shape for the summer."

Stand-by pilot cover has been increased from 15pc to 20pc and the number of planes kept on stand-by has also increased.

Improving the experience of customers, having suffered real reputational damage, is critical for McCall who has set her heart on exploiting the business travel market, where the profit margins are better. McCall argues that while the website (where most journeys are booked) and flight deck experience is "very good" the problems are at the airports.

She vows to continue to work with airports "to reduce the queues" and is clearly pressurising the check-in subcontractor John Menzies to do better. "One of the things that is very important is to ensure that Menzies know exactly what we require from customer experience," she says.

"Business customers are one of the key planks of this strategy going forward. One, because we already have 18pc business passengers, even though we have done absolutely nothing to target them."

"Two, because they book later, so the yield premium on that is 20pc at the moment." In other words easyJet can earn one-fifth more from its business as opposed to its leisure travellers.

"We believe that we can grow that by giving them products that are really targeted to what their needs are without adding costs," she says.

McCall's 24-year journey from researcher in the marketing department at the Guardian to chief executive of a plc has not been without bumps, particularly in the recession years.

When she left the GMG, shortly after the company reported a £171m loss after writedowns, the news floor of the company's stylish new headquarters at Kings Place in North London was festooned with posters covered in graffiti.

One read 'flying off for more easy money' a reference to bonuses received at a time when the flagship Guardian title was shedding staff. Asked why she thought journalists were so angry she replies: "I didn't know that, I had no idea."

McCall staunchly defends her four-year stewardship as GMG chief executive, arguing that by the time she left, the crunch for the group was essentially over. "We knew that Auto Trader (the highly-prized vehicle website) was likely to float in the next 18 months. We had people lining up at the front door for Trader which would bring in a whole lot of money which we were going to put straight into the investment fund."

"The whole concept at the heart of GMG came from me. All the other businesses were about funding GMG for the long term and I set up the investment fund to do that," she says.

She recounts that regional papers (including the Manchester Evening News) were sold because they were 'a drain'. She explains initial proceeds from Trader were put into EMAP's business-to-business publications for tax reasons and to diversify.

McCall firmly rejects claims that money was wasted on fancy new offices and the 'Berliner' printed format. "I think there is a lot of rubbish talked about Kings Place," she argues. "We moved from eight buildings and 86 floors to three and a half floors and it was much more productive."

"The cost of the presses was £58m, I think you will find. We had to re-press out of West Ferry (where the paper had been printed) and it was the right decision because it's highly differentiated," she says.

Having vigorously defended her GMG record - which has been widely challenged inside Kings Place and by media writers - McCall is clearly not unhappy to have moved on.

In some respects running an airline is not that different, she suggests, to a media firm because it is a "24/7 challenge". Nevertheless, she obviously feels that the new working environment of a plc, Stelios and over-crowded terminals notwithstanding, is preferable.

"I tell you what, I feel liberated by easyJet. I think it's just fantastic to be talking about growth. We are highly accountable, it's very visible." One wonders what former Guardian colleagues will make of that.


Ryanair Online - 15 November 2010

Ryanair, the UK's favourite airline, today (15th Nov) condemned the BAA monopoly decision to appeal the recent Court of Appeal ruling that the BAA airport monopoly's London and Scottish airports should be broken up to deliver increased competition and a better deal for consumers.

This BAA monopoly appeal will cause further delay to the inevitable break-up of its control over London and Scottish airports and the eventual sale of Stansted and one of its two Scottish airports. The BAA monopoly's appeal once again shows that it has no regard for passengers, competition or London and Scottish tourism as it attempts to retain its stranglehold on these airports.

The Competition Commission's original report found that:

a) BAA's monopoly ownership of Edinburgh and Glasgow had adversely affected competition.
b) BAA's monopoly ownership of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted had adversely affected competition.
c) The way the BAA monopoly conducted its business had adversely affected competition.
d) The inadequate regulatory regime operated by the CAA had adversely affected competition.

Ryanair today renewed its call for the early sale of Stansted and one Scottish airport, which will pave the way for lower costs, lower fares and will reverse the traffic collapse which Stansted Airport, in particular, has suffered under the BAA monopoly's mismanagement in recent years.

Ryanair's Michael O'Leary said: "Ryanair has fought long and hard for the break-up of the high cost, inefficient BAA airport monopoly. The BAA's decision to appeal this issue yet again is simply a delay tactic designed to maximise the amount that this greedy airport monopoly can achieve for Stansted and one Scottish airport, both of which will inevitably be sold."

"Over the past 3 years, traffic at Stansted Airport has declined from a high of 24m passengers to just 18m passengers in 2010. This was entirely due to the BAA's high and rising prices, and the hopelessly ineffective regulatory regime run by the clueless CAA which was long ago captured by the BAA monopoly."

"Ryanair urges the Supreme Court to dismiss this appeal application by this ineffectual and damaging airport monopoly so that we can see the early disposal of Stansted and one Scottish airport, which will transform consumer choice, airport competition and will lower air fares for millions of passengers and visitors to London and Scotland."


Greg Roumeliotis, Dublin - Daily Mail - 17 November 2010

German airport operator Fraport would be interested in investing in Greece's Athens airport and some British airports to complement its emerging markets portfolio, one of its senior directors said.

"International airports make up a quarter of our core profit, we are looking to increase that to a third, hopefully in the next five years," Alexander Zinell, Fraport's senior vice president for global investments and management, said.

Fraport, which is in the middle of a 7 billion euros capital expenditure programme at its airport in Frankfurt - Germany's largest - is looking for assets in both emerging and mature markets, Zinell told Reuters on the sidelines of the Global Airport Development conference in Dublin.

"The Greek government is considering selling down on its 55 percent stake in Athens Airport, they need to cut their debt. This is a great asset we know well, we would look at investing in it," Zinell said. Fraport helped a private consortium led by Hochtief, which owns 45 percent of Athens Airport, to develop it, Zinell said. The Greek government is in the process of selecting advisors for its Athens Airport stake.

"We are also following the BAA situation in Britain, we like the Scottish airports because they have a good traffic mix with a diverse airline base, not just low cost carriers," Zinell said.

Last month BAA, majority-owned by Spanish infrastructure conglomerate Ferrovial, was told it would have to break up its network of British airports after the UK Court of Appeal overruled a previous decision in its favour. BAA said it would seek to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The appeals court reinstated an obligation on BAA to dispose of Stansted airport, northeast of London, and either Edinburgh or Glasgow airports in Scotland within two years.

Fraport would continue its push into emerging markets and was exploring opportunities in China, Brazil and Puerto Rico, Zinell said.

Although Frankfurt accounted for 58 percent of Fraport's passenger traffic in its majority-owned airports in the first nine months of 2010, its year-on-year growth of 4 percent is a fraction of the 18.6 growth Fraport saw in the Turkish airport of Antalya and the 15.5 percent growth Peru's Lima airport.

OUR COMMENT: Stansted?

Pat Dale


BBC News - 17 November 2010

More than 100 angry Ryanair passengers staged a sit-in in an aircraft cabin for several hours on Wednesday after their flight was diverted to Belgium. They refused to disembark until buses took them to their original destination in Paris.

A Ryanair spokesperson said the plane was among four flights that were forced to land in Liege. Stephen McNamara said that the passengers who held a sit-in were the only ones who refused to take the bus.


The travellers, mostly French tourists who were supposed to land near Paris after returning from holidays in Morocco, refused to disembark even after the crew had left the aircraft.

After several hours of negotiations with the passengers, officials convinced them to leave the place and wait inside the airport for buses that would take them to Paris, a firefighter told the AFP press agency.

Passengers told AFP that the flight had left Fez in Morocco three hours late but had been unable to land at Paris Beauvais. It landed in Liege at about 2330 local time but passengers only agreed to get off after 0330, with the bus leaving at 0430. "The plane did not land in Beauvais but in Liege without warning. Consequently, we refused to leave the plane," Mylene Netange told AFP.


Reda Yahiyaoui, a businessman who was travelling with his wife, a two-month-old baby and a three-year-old, said passengers had been left with no water and the toilets in the plane were locked. "The pilot left and he even left the cockpit door open," he said.

Mr McNamara denied that the crew had abandoned the passengers, saying that they had stayed in the plane for an hour before leaving.

Diverting planes to the nearest airport in case of fog is standard procedure, he said, emphasising that the passengers would have been returned home by bus earlier if they had not protested.


Dumfries & Galloway Standard - 19 November 2010

AN APOCALYPTIC vision of Britain sees the Government being forced to build a new town in Dumfries and Galloway to deal with mass migration from the south.

Tens of thousands of people may have to flee the south of England due to a lack of land to build homes and the devastating effects of climate change. But meanwhile, Dumfries and Galloway would turn into a thriving centre of power with new homes and businesses starting up.

It might sound like something out of a Steven Spielberg movie, but this is the prediction for 2031 being painted by a UK Government commissioned report written by around 300 specially gathered academics and scientists.

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills published the document called Land Use Futures: Making the most of land in the 21st century, following a two-year study. It paints a doomsday scenario of what land use changes may be required if climate change and increased population overcome the south of England and sets out the consequences of speedy climate change on Britain and the effects of a predicted nine million rise in population.

For example it suggests rivers in the south of England would run dry and Heathrow Airport would have to be made into a large reservoir. And it warns worldwide leaders may have to meet as soon as 2014 to set out a plan to deal with the affects of climate change.

One option set out in the report says the Government could build the "new towns" in three areas of Britain. It states that towards 2031 the south of England could be under significant "water stress" due to a rise in population.

The report adds: "Accordingly, the government is considering plans to disperse citizens to three new towns in Dumfries and Galloway, Northumberland and Powys - now engines of innovation and growth at the centre of the UK's land-based industries."

It goes on to say that after 2045, "water and wider environmental stress begin to constrain London's ability to grow and makes it a less pleasant place to live than it once was."

The report states: "The government revisits plans to build three new towns in Dumfries and Galloway, Northumberland and Powys - once 'rural' areas, these are now engines of innovation and economic growth that are creating new wealth and delivering new jobs.

"The planned developments will bring a new scale of development to the green industrial landscape that, it is hoped, will accelerate green growth even further."

The scenarios set out in the report are very much a "worst case". But John Beddington, the Government's chief scientific adviser who was in charge of the research, said: "Business as usual is not an option over the longer term. The effects of climate change and new pressures on land could escalate, seriously eroding quality of life."


BAA Traffic Commentary, October 2010 - 10 November 2010

Business travel recovery boosts BAA October passenger numbers

BAA today posted a 3.4 percent increase in total passenger numbers for October, boosted by a recovery in the level of business travel.

The UK's biggest airports operator said that total passenger numbers across its six airports rose by 318,000 to 9.75 million in October 2010, up from 9.44 million in the same period last year, helped by a 1.2 percent increase in the number of flights.

At Heathrow, BAA reported a 6.0 percent increase in flights and a 1.0 percent increase in passenger load factors, with an average 77.2 percent of seats occupied. Passenger numbers at Heathrow increased by 7.2 percent, up 410,000 to 6.1m.

At Group level, cargo activity remained strong with a 12.5 percent increase in tonnage handled. Heathrow outperformed this with a 14.7 percent improvement, strongly indicative of the wider national economic climate.

A 10.6 percent increase in Heathrow's European travel fuelled hopes that the continent's economic recovery is beginning to stabilise. BAA said that the number of continental travellers from Heathrow rose by 221,000 from 2.06m to 2.28m. Key routes included Geneva up 59.9%, Milan up 30.1%, Moscow up 27.5% and Berlin up 25.6%.

Three weeks ago, the International Monetary Fund said the recovery in Europe was "continuing" with the region's economy set to expand at an annual rate of 2.3 percent this year, and 2.2 percent in 2011.

Long-haul trips between Heathrow and China and Hong Kong increased by 16.1 percent, up by 23,000 from 150,000 to 173,000. The increase came even though the hub's limited capacity means it can only directly serve two destinations in China compared to three from Paris, four from Frankfurt and five from Amsterdam.

Prime Minister David Cameron's government and trade mission to China this week highlighted the importance of improving UK business links with the world's most populous nation.

Long haul trips between all BAA airports and North America increased by 7.5 percent, up 100,000 from 1.33m to 1.43m while other long haul journeys increased by 3.2 percent, up 56,000 from 1.78m to 1.84m.

However, such routes may be affected by an increase in air passenger duty (APD) which came into effect last week. The move may encourage travellers to make long haul journeys via another European hub instead of flying direct from London in order to avoid the tax, thereby increasing carbon emissions.

Amongst BAA's other airports, Edinburgh rose 3.5 percent to 854,000 - the encouraging performance attributable in part to an increase in business traffic. Southampton rose by 1.0 percent (from 155,000 to 157,000) as European travel boosted figures across the group.

Passenger numbers from Stansted fell by 3.1 percent to 1.72 million, with the lower numbers pointing to depressed leisure traffic.

Both Glasgow (down 7.4 percent to 662,000) and Aberdeen (down 5.0 percent to 264,000) continued to experience a period of contracting traffic.

Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA, said: "Passenger growth is good for the economy with thousands of people across the country employed in aviation, international trade and tourism. We are continuing with our £5 billion Heathrow investment programme - the biggest private investment project in the UK - providing thousands of jobs as we modernise facilities to improve everyone's experience of the airport.

"The continued strength of Heathrow reflects an upturn in global economic activity. Low sterling and interest rates make the UK a competitive place to do business. However, government spending cuts, a sharp increase in air passenger duty and an imminent VAT rise are weakening the prospects for in-bound tourism and British leisure travel."

OUR COMMENT: Stansted has always depended on the low cost carriers who do not offer a satisfactory service for business travellers as they usually fly to small airports (with cheap charges), often a long way from the major centres that business travellers would wish to visit.

Pat Dale


The Independent - 29 October 2010

Next week's rise in the Air Passenger Duty (APD) airport departure tax will make family holidays "unaffordable for many", Sir Richard Branson's airline Virgin Atlantic warned today.

APD rates increase on Monday, with those taking trips to the Caribbean being particularly badly hit. Those flying economy class to the Caribbean from next week will each pay £75 in APD - a 50% hike on the previous rate.

For APD purposes, the Caribbean has been put in Band C which means that passengers will be paying more to fly, for example, to Barbados which is only an eight-hour trip, than to Los Angeles which is a near-12 hour flight. This is because the whole of the USA has been put in Band B where APD rates are slightly lower.

Virgin said today that a family of four holidaying in Florida from next week would be paying a total of £240 in APD. Also, a retired couple visiting grandchildren in Australia, for example, and flying in premium economy class would, from Monday, pay £170 each - the highest APD rate.

Virgin Atlantic's chief commercial officer Julie Southern said: "Holidays are an essential part of our lives and are valued even more in these difficult economic times. With passengers now being asked to pay up to 10 times more tax since APD's introduction, the annual family holiday will become unaffordable for many."

She went on: "Given the forecasted rises in APD over the next five years, all travellers will be more than paying their fair share and in fact contributing more to the Treasury than the banks via the new banking levy. Our message to Government is that this absolutely has to be the last time that the travelling public faces APD rises."

A Virgin Atlantic survey of 2,000 long-haul flyers showed that due to the APD rises, 56% of holidaymakers believed they may have to cut the number of stays away while 58% would consider taking less holiday money to spend. Also, only 44% of those polled were aware of next week's changes.

Caribbean tourist chiefs are outraged at the APD rise, while British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh has called the tax "a disgrace". Travel organisation Abta and other travel industry bodies have continued lobbying ministers to protest at the new APD rates.

The Government is considering replacing APD with a per-plane tax, but not all the travel industry are happy with the alternative plan. APD is automatically added to the price of an air ticket when it is booked.

Phil Salcedo, publisher at Travelzoo UK, which does not sell holidays but publishes details of the best deals, said: "Around 30% of the travel deals that we check simply don't include taxes in the price. This means that, with this new increase in tax, travellers need to be extra wary and make sure the price they expect to pay doesn't massively increase when they get to a page of taxes." He added that the banding arrangement for the new APD rates was "provoking strong feeling in the travel industry".

It is possible to fly as far as Hawaii and pay less for APD than for a trip to the Caribbean. Also, Turkey falls into Band A, while Egypt is classed as Band B. This means a family of four travelling in economy class to Turkey will pay £48 APD in comparison to £240 in APD for the same family to travel to Egypt.

Bob Atkinson, of www.travelsupermarket.com, said: "The tax bands aren't consistent. APD is a flat tax and is therefore regressive. The tax should apply to the actual mileage or as a percentage of the total paid. There needs to be a complete revamp of the APD scheme. It should be replaced by a per plane tax so that we can then see the environmental efficiency of each airline and their aircraft, which would be far more responsible and help customers to choose between airlines."

Gareth Williams, chief executive of flight comparison site Skyscanner.net, said: "The tax hike could certainly lead to travellers considering flying long haul from European hubs in an effort to save money. In a recent survey we found that more than three-quarters of our users would be willing to fly indirectly to save money. Obviously if this does prove to be the case it could have serious repercussions for the long-haul UK aviation industry."

This is what passengers will have to pay for APD from November 1 2010, with the percentage increase on the rates introduced in November last year. Premium relates to prices for those travelling in premium economy, business class and and first class seats.

    BAND A (0-2,000 miles from London) ECONOMY PREMIUM INCREASE
    (inc. Europe) £11 £22 9%

    BAND B (2,001-4,000 miles)
    (inc. Egypt and USA) £60 £120 33%

    BAND C (4,001-6000 miles from London) £75 £150 50%
    (inc. Caribbean and South Africa)

    BAND D (more than 6,000) £85 £170 55%
    (inc. Australia and Singapore)

Budget airline easyJet called for the APD to change from a per person to a per plane tax. Chief executive Carolyn McCall said: "The Government should reform Air Passenger Duty to make it fairer for the public and to encourage greener behaviour by airlines. APD is already higher in the UK than anywhere else in Europe and UK passengers and the environment would be better off if the tax was shifted from per person to a per plane tax."

Asked whether the airlines would be prepared to take on the tax burden, Mr Walsh told Sky News: "No. We can't afford to take on the tax burden. We're talking about paying almost £450 million on an annual basis to the Exchequer through this tax. That's £450 million that British Airways does not have. I don't believe easyJet has the money to pay this tax and take it on. These are very significant tax burdens that need to be addressed by the Government if we are to contribute to the economic recovery that everybody wants to see."

Manny Fontenla-Novoa, chief executive of travel company Thomas Cook Group, said: "We have strenuously voiced, and will continue to do so, our disappointment to the Government that is has continued with its plans to increase APD. In either in its current form of a per-passenger duty, or the per-aircraft option being discussed by the coalition Government, there is no evidence of this tax having any environmental benefit and we will continue to lobby on behalf of our holidaymakers."

Thomas Cook has, for a period, introduced "beat the taxman" special deals on long-haul flights. Mr Fontenla-Novoa added: "It's ridiculous to think that holidaymakers travelling in premium seats on one of our long haul charter flights will have to pay the same APD fee as those flying in first class on a scheduled flight - so we've removed this cost from their holidays."

A survey by London-based trade exhibition World Travel Market (WTM) showed that 37% of the 1,000 people polled, all of whom holidayed this summer, would reduce their overseas flying due to the APD rise. A further 8% said they would not fly at all because of the tax hike. Also, 41% would reduce their overseas holidays under the per-plane tax being considered by the Government, with 10% stopping foreign holidays altogether.

In a separate WTM poll, more than 40% of 1,200 travel industry senior executives polled said increased taxation - particularly APD - was a major negative issue for the industry over the next five years. WTM chairman Fiona Jeffery said: "A further increase in APD could be a real concern to the travel and tourism industry. APD was doubled in 2007 and is now double the 2007 figure leading to the cost of flying abroad increasing. Our surveys show both holidaymakers and the industry are significantly concerned by both next week's increase in APD and the proposed switch to a per-plane tax."

OUR COMMENT: The airlines conveniently forget that the tax has been introduced to cover the high environmental costs associated with flying that have to be paid for by all of us. It has also to be recognized that aviation fuel is considerably cheaper than fuel for cars. Air transport has been favoured for too long.

Pat Dale


Graham Hiscott, Daily Mirror - 2 November 2010

BUDGET airline Ryanair is raising fares and baggage fees despite profits soaring 15%.

The airline made £420.7m in the six months to October as average ticket prices jumped 12%, partly due to passengers shelling out more to fly further afield.

Yet boss Michael O'Leary revealed average ticket prices will rise 7% to nearly £41 in the next six months. And he braced passengers for a hike of up to 10% over the next two years as rivals do the same.

O'Leary risked further angering customers by vowing to hammer those who check items into the plane's hold. They're already stung with penalties of at least £15 per bag each way, but O'Leary warned of more pain to come. "They'll go up again and they'll keep going up until people get the message," he said. "We'd rather carry just air in the hold, it doesn't weigh anything so it's free."

O'Leary might say that but it didn't stop Ryanair raking in £370m from baggage fees and other ancillary products and services in the period. In fact, the 22% surge in sales of add-ons was double the 10% growth in passengers to just over 40m.

O'Leary used the results to echo BA chairman Martin Broughton's criticism of over-zealous security checks, branding the ban on bottled liquids "ludicrous". And he appealed for "common sense" in response to the air cargo bomb plot which has sparked a review of airport security. He said: "People should get a grip and stop pandering to some lunatic in a cave in Yemen."


Nick Thompson, Reporter - Dunmow Broadcast - 4 November 2010

Stansted Airport

AIRPORT owner BAA has vowed to "review and update" its housing disposal strategy following a string of requests that it should sell back homes to communities.

The industry giant scrapped its immediate ambitions to build a second runway in May and since then homes purchased during the build up to the application can be returned to the public. However BAA has been criticised for not doing enough. And it is not just the adults that are unhappy.

Uttlesford liberal democrats supported calls for the coalition government to ask BAA to sell back its "second runway" houses despite it being a private business matter.

Councillor Alan Dean introduced 13-year-old Saffron Walden liberal youth Ben Westlake-Jones who told delegates at a conference that his family were forced to sell their home in Takeley to BAA in 2005, because nobody else wanted to buy it. Cllr Dean said: "There has been a great loss of community spirit in these villages, through residents selling up and leaving. BAA has a responsibility to restore the communities that have been blighted by its runway plan."

Uttlesford Liberal Democrat group leader Peter Wilcock added: "Although it is a private company, BAA has compulsory purchase powers similar to the government. Now that its second runway plans have been scuppered, it should do the decent thing and offer to sell back the houses it bought in villages around the airport."

However, BAA has defended its position and spokesman Melvyn Nice reiterated that since 2007 Stansted has been selling, where possible, properties acquired through the blight scheme but not required in the second runway project.

He added: "Following the withdrawal of the planning application in late May 2010, we are reviewing and updating, where necessary, this managed disposal strategy. To help protect the functionality of the local property market, and to avoid any possible distortion, we will not go into the precise details of the disposal strategy."

"We are more than happy though to discuss with anyone the possibility of buying a property acquired for G2, including, of course, previous owners. However, to date, we have yet to receive any approaches from previous occupiers wishing to buy back a property."

Stansted spends hundreds of thousands of pounds each year repairing and maintaining properties and large majority are let and occupied.

The company seems to have support from the Government as well after transport secretary Theresa Villiers told Uttlesford MP Sir Alan Haselhurst last week: "BAA purchased properties in the vicinity of Stansted airport as part of a non-statutory Home Owners Support Scheme to protect home owners from the effects of blight and allow them to sell homes and move away in advance of any potential second runway. The arrangements were entered into on a voluntarily basis between home owners and BAA. Any disposal of these properties is a matter for the airport operator."


CAA Press Release - 19 October 2010

Weaker pound increases average income of non-UK passengers visiting the country since 2008

While business passengers at Heathrow are the richest travellers, leisure passengers at Newcastle are worst off

Proportion of business passengers at Heathrow falls again in 2009

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has published results from the 2009 Air Passenger Survey, which questioned over 200,000 departing air passengers about their travel patterns at four London airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, and Luton), five Scottish airports (Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen and Prestwick) as well as at Durham Tees Valley, Newcastle and Manchester airports.

Sample results from the 2009 survey:

Following drops in average passenger income between 2007 and 2008 at most airports surveyed, 2009 showed average incomes increasing for business and leisure passengers at Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton, and for leisure passengers at Manchester and Stansted.

However, the increases to average income mainly affected non-UK passengers, as 2009's fall in the value of sterling against the euro, the dollar, and other key currencies increased the spending power of such passengers in the UK. Rising average incomes for UK residents were mainly associated with lower passenger numbers, indicating that there was a higher proportion of lower income passengers amongst those now not flying.

The highest increase in average annual income for leisure passengers between 2008 and 2009 was at Stansted. This was also one of only two airports, with Manchester, to see its business passengers' income fall.

Newcastle Airport's leisure passengers recorded the lowest average annual income at 37,663, whereas business passengers at Heathrow had the highest average income, at 79,335 a year.

Of passengers not changing planes at Heathrow, for the second year running the proportion travelling on business trips has dropped, this time from 37.2 per cent to 31.5 per cent. Gatwick by contrast saw its proportion of such business passengers increase from 16.2 per cent in 2008 to 18.2 per cent in 2009.

The 2009 survey also saw for the first time a limited sample of respondents (at Stansted and Glasgow airports) asked about their views on the environment. The survey found that in total 60 per cent of people surveyed said they understood the concept of carbon offsetting, but only six per cent had actually offset the flight they were taking. More respondents at Glasgow were aware of offsetting (72 per cent) than at Stansted (56 per cent), but marginally more people actually offset at Stansted. 11 per cent of respondents said that over the year they had consciously chosen to travel by air less to reduce their environmental impact. The CAA is undertaking further research in the area of customer attitudes to the environmental impacts of flying.

At 40.3 per cent, Heathrow had the highest proportion of leisure passengers in the A/B social group, whereas Inverness had the lowest at 19.8 per cent. However both Luton (67.3 per cent) and Edinburgh (65.5 per cent) had a higher proportion of A/B business passengers than Heathrow (64.3 per cent).

The largest income gap at an airport was recorded at Durham Tees Valley, where business passengers had an annual average income of 69,863, in contrast to the leisure passengers 44,063: which was the second lowest behind Newcastle.

Stansted had the most users of public transport of all surveyed airports (at 47.3 per cent), while Durham Tees Valley had the least at 1.3 per cent.

Aberdeen had a higher proportion of passengers travelling alone (78.2 per cent), while Manchester had the fewest at 34.6 per cent. Manchester also had the highest proportion of passengers travelling in groups of five or more people (3.9 per cent), Gatwick was second highest with 3.3 per cent.

Heathrow had a greater proportion of travellers taking trips lasting more than four weeks at 7.6 per cent, while Luton saw the lowest proportion at 1.5 per cent.

The highest proportion of passengers taking an average holiday length trip of two weeks was recorded at Manchester, with a third of passengers. The lowest proportion of this typical leisure trip was recorded at Inverness with 13.3 per cent.

The largest UK passenger family sizes were found at Prestwick, where 8.4 per cent of respondees had families with five or more people, whereas at Heathrow, 29.3 per cent were singletons.

Newcastle had the highest proportion of flyers over the age of 74, at 3.5 per cent.

OUR COMMENT: Congratulations to Stansted for achieving the highest use of public transport to and from the airport. If only they could also achieve the quietist noise map!

Pat Dale


ENDS Europe DAILY - 29 October 2010

Seven member states have still not implemented a 2008 directive on the inclusion of the aviation sector in the EU's emissions trading scheme (ETS), a European Commission official said on Thursday. Member states had until 2 February to do so.

The non-compliant countries are France, Slovakia, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Greece and Poland. The official said the commission will "pursue as usual every measure that is in its power to make countries [comply]", but declined to elaborate on whether it is considering infringement actions against non-compliant states at this stage.

The EU executive will propose an emission cap for aviation by the end of the year. It is still working on calculations. Airline emissions in 2012 will be capped at 97% of average emissions in 2004-06, equivalent to an estimated 210-220 million tonnes.


Pilita Clark, Aerospace Correspondent - Financial Times - 25 October 2010

The UK is to get its first significant aviation policy review in seven years, the transport secretary revealed on Monday, just moments after being subjected to a chilly industry assessment of the government's first five months in office.

Philip Hammond announced the move at an Airport Operators Association conference, in his first formal address to a sector still angry that one of the government's first acts was to ban new runways at the three biggest airports: Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

"I know some of you harbour fears that this government is anti-aviation", Mr Hammond said, insisting this was not the case. But he quashed any notion the new study could lead to a change of policy over runways, telling the Financial Times in a subsequent interview that this was "the only clear restriction" on the scope of the review.

He was also cool on Boris Johnson's plans for a Thames estuary airport, saying of the London mayor: "Devolution means he's free to look at whatever he wants to look at, but it's not something the department is pursuing."

He said aviation had to "decarbonise" and he hoped the review would lead to an understanding of how technological developments, such as aircraft made of lightweight composite materials, could eventually see aviation considered "a carbon good citizen".

As well as cracking down on airport expansion, the government has further vexed the industry by refusing to ditch contentious air passenger taxes due to rise again to as much as 170 a ticket from Sunday. It is looking at plans to replace per-passenger duty with a per-plane tax but, unlike other European Union governments, has shown no inclination to phase it out from 2012, when aviation is to be brought into the EU's emissions trading scheme (ETS).

Mr Hammond told the FT he accepted the ETS imposed a cost on the industry, but it "does not produce a correspondingly large benefit to the Treasury" and, at a time when there was a need to drive down the deficit, "aviation cannot be exempt from sharing and dealing with that problem".

Ed Anderson, chairman of the Airport Operators Association, delivered a robust critique of the government ahead of Mr Hammond's speech, saying the industry knew the government was against a third runway at Heathrow and against aviation being lightly taxed, "but we are not sure yet what it is in favour of".

Referring to Mr Hammond's oft-repeated comment that the government wanted "better not bigger" British airports, he said he thought this phrase was an "election slogan". "Better not bigger doesn't constitute a strategy," he said. Mr Anderson said later he thought Mr Hammond had been "positive" and he was pleased to hear about the policy review, "albeit over a longish time scale".

The review is the first since Labour published an air transport white paper in 2003. It will begin in the new year when the Department for Transport is to issue a "scoping document" setting out the questions to be answered in the study. This will be followed by discussion with relevant people in the industry, after which Mr Hammond said he hoped to publish a draft policy document for formal consultation early in 2012.

OUR COMMENT: An important question - when is an airport "Better, not Bigger"? Who is to be the judge? The government? The DECC? The Aviation Industry? Local Councils? Local Residents? Travellers? Local Business? or, perhaps, the new Planning Commission? The forthcoming aviation policy review will host a hard fought battleground.

Pat Dale


The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP - 25 October 2010


Thank you, John, for that introduction.

It's a pleasure to be here today at one of the keynote events in the aviation calendar. This is the first formal opportunity I have had to engage with the industry since my appointment 5 months ago. Although to those of you who know some of the leading players in UK aviation, it will not surprise you to hear that that does not mean I have been left unaware of the industry's views!

Indeed, almost my first challenge as SoS for Transport was to learn to say Eyjafjallajkull. And as I spent my second day in the job shuttling between a windowless COBRA meeting room and a volley of thermo-nuclear emails from various well-known airline bosses, I was never in any doubt that aviation was going to be a key part of the brief.

I want to address you this morning at two levels: of course as representatives of the aviation industry with very specific concerns about the challenges facing your sector, but also as business people with a stake in the success of UK Plc. Because I know that, as key figures in one of our leading industries, you will recognise the importance of getting our economy, and our public finances, back on a sustainable path.

Economy / Spending Review
When the Coalition Government came to office, we inherited an economy teetering on the edge of an abyss. Britain was saddled with the biggest budget deficit in the G20 and had just limped out of the longest and deepest recession in our peacetime history. Every single day we are adding 400 million to our national debt.

And if we had kept to the spending plans we inherited, British taxpayers would be paying out nearly 70 billion a year in debt interest alone by the end of the Parliament. And the debt would still be rising as a percentage of GDP. That's more than we spend on schooling our children and defending our country combined.

If we were to keep interest rates low, dealing with our debts was unavoidable. Tough decisions had to be taken. And this Government is taking them.

Immediately after coming to office we identified, and cancelled, 6 billion worth of planned public spending this year - by doing the kind of things that the private sector had already done a couple of years ago in response to recession - hiring restraint, a pay freeze, cuts to discretionary spend, renegotiation of contracts.

Our Emergency Budget in June set out an ambitious four year plan to eliminate entirely our structural deficit and get debt falling as a percentage of GDP. And to do the majority of it by reductions in public spending, with less than a quarter of the fiscal consolidation being delivered through increased taxation.

And because we understand that, ultimately, only strong economic growth can secure Britain's future; and we understand that in a global economy we will only secure that growth by being competitive... We announced a phased reduction in corporation tax, even at a time when taxes overall are set to rise.

Recognising the crucial role that private sector businesses and private investment will play in Britain's recovery. We set up an independent Office for Budget Responsibility to bring honesty back to official economic forecasts. And five days ago, we reached the next major milestone on our journey to fiscal and economic recovery with the delivery of the conclusions of the Spending Review - setting out precisely how we will deliver the ambitious spending reductions mapped out in the June budget.

We now have firm and fixed spending totals for government departments for the rest of this Parliament, alongside far-reaching reforms to welfare and our public services. And as we seek to cut the bills of a decade of debt, restoring the confidence businesses and individuals need to invest in Britain, we are prioritising expenditure that will set Britain back on the path to prosperity.

That means investing in the future - prioritising the infrastructure that will secure long-term growth and a greener economy. And we're already reaping the dividends of taking early action to balance Britain's books. In just five months, we have moved from the danger zone with Spain and Ireland to safety - From our credit rating being in peril, to our AAA status reconfirmed.

And with interest rates on British Government debt falling dramatically since the election and continuing to fall since the Spending Review announcement to a record low - demonstrating the restoration of market confidence in the UK. From being on the international watch list, to getting a clean bill of health from the IMF who described the budget as 'essential' to securing the conditions for sustainable economic growth.

But now the hard work really begins, as we seek to build on that early progress, and implement the tough but fair measures that will get Britain moving again while adapting to the new economic reality. Laying the foundations for building a strong, competitive economy for the longer term whilst delivering on our climate change targets.

I do not pretend that it will be easy. And we do not expect it to win us short term popularity! But we owe it to our children not to pass on to them the legacy of debt that the previous government ran up.

The decade of irresponsibility is over and we are resolved to take the tough decisions that are in our collective long term interest and to see them through. Because we are certain that this is the way to a better future for all our people.

Role of aviation
So growth green growth is the key. And I see transport - and the aviation sector - as integral to securing that future growth.

Our airports, airlines and associated industries generate billions of pounds of economic output. They also create, and sustain, hundreds of thousands of jobs, while bringing people, communities and countries closer together than ever before.

Now, I know you have been through some tough times in the last few years. First, a worldwide recession that dented consumer confidence, cut passenger numbers, and hit jobs and profits. Then an Icelandic volcano that blasted millions of tons of ash into the atmosphere, leading to unprecedented airspace restrictions across Europe.

Add that to an intense debate on the environmental impact of aviation, and the need to protect against the ever-present risk of terrorist attack, and it is clear that your industry has had its fair share of challenges.

I accept that. And I know, too, that some of you harbour fears that this government is somehow anti-aviation. So let me be clear: This government understands the social and economic benefits of aviation. We understand the important role aviation plays in our economy. And we want to work with the industry to address the challenges of climate change so that aviation can play its part in securing sustainable future economic growth.

3rd Runway
We will not agree on everything. Our first act was to cancel the third runway at Heathrow. A decision that the majority of you will not support. Nor has it been greeted with universal acclaim by the wider business community - although it is also true that not all businesses favoured the runway project.

In taking that decision, we listened not just to business, but also to those who would be most affected by the local environmental impacts of proposals for expanding Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. And we carefully considered the wider environmental impacts in the context of our - and our predecessors' - clear commitments on climate change.

I believe we made the right judgement call for the right reasons. No government with a commitment to carbon reduction targets can adopt a crude "predict and provide" approach to aviation capacity while aircraft CO2 remains an unresolved issue. And no responsible government can ignore the local environmental impacts - especially noise - of airport development.

I hope we can now draw a line under the decision we have taken on runways and work together to map out how best to secure the future of the sector within the constraints that we have accepted. Ensuring that, while that decision marks the closure of a chapter in the aviation debate, it can also mark the opening of an important new one.

Better not bigger
Our immediate challenge is to modernise and improve our major airports - to make them 'better not bigger'. When you travel, your first encounter with any city is often through its airport. And, when you arrive in a country, the airport should say something positive about the kind of place that country is - a great place to visit; a great place to do business.

Our forthcoming Airport Economic Regulation Bill will help ensure that this country's largest airports always give the right greeting and leave the right memory. And we will achieve that through better alignement of the economic incentives facing operators with the interests of passengers.

We will replace the outdated one-size-fits-all framework with a new regulatory licensing regime that is better tailored to meet the circumstances of individual airports. And we will give the Civil Aviation Authority a new primary duty to promote the interests of passengers and a duty to encourage investment - as well as new powers to tackle anti-competitive behaviour.

Meanwhile, our South East Airports Task Force - chaired by my Minister of State, Theresa Villiers, and comprising key sector stakeholders - is looking at ways to make the best use of existing airport infrastructure and improve conditions for all users. The initial focus of the Taskforce is action at our three biggest airports - Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

But we recognise the vital importance of Britain's regional airports in supporting the economies of areas outside London. Wherever they are located, all of our airports matter. So I am delighted that the AOA is a member of the taskforce - and I hope you will continue to play an active role in it over the coming months. And yes, Ed, it will be looking at UKBA activity and the roll out of new technology at the border as part of its work.

Policy framework
However, I also agree with Ed [Anderson] when he calls for the Government to provide a positive policy framework for aviation. I recognise the need for a policy framework which supports economic growth and protects Heathrow's status as a global hub as well as addressing aviation's environmental impacts, and it is my intention to develop such a policy framework over the next year or so.

And I recognise that, just as we have done with strategic roads, we need a policy not only to address the situation we face now, but to be able to look ahead to potential technological changes that will affect aviation's future environmental impacts - both local and global.

Of course I will want to draw on the expertise of those who understand best the benefits and impacts of aviation - and the likely future development of technology. So in the New Year DfT will issue a scoping document setting out the questions we are seeking to answer as we develop this policy.

Then we will open a dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders to seek their views and to draw on their knowledge and experience. My intention is to publish a draft policy document for formal consultation early in 2012.

Climate change
Of course, any aviation policy framework we set out cannot duck the climate change debate. We must work together to create an aviation sector that continues delivering social and economic benefits, while reducing carbon emissions.

The Committee on Climate Change has provided valuable advice about how reductions in aviation emissions can be achieved. And, building on this, my Department is working on a robust assessment of the abatement potential and cost-effectiveness of a range of different policy measures, which will inform our response to the CCC next year.

Let me clear: just as with road transport, the enemy is not the car, or the motorist it's the carbon... So with aviation, the enemy is not the airlines, or their passengers. The enemy is the carbon emissions.

So I want to look at how we can incentivise the decarbonisation of air travel - and encourage businesses in the industry to invest in low-carbon technologies and fuels. How we can lead the global debate and shape a low-emission aviation sector of the future - without disadvantaging UK airlines or UK airports. So far, the progress that's been made is encouraging.

At the 37th session of the ICAO assembly, the UK led the way in pushing through the first global deal for the international aviation sector. The agreement reached wasn't perfect - we concede that - but it was an agreement and that in itself is a major step forward.

And as Ed highlighted, there's the AOA's own scheme to reduce ground CO2 - an innovative programme that will help airports, airlines, air navigation service providers and ground handling companies cut their emissions.

Meanwhile, we're seeing the development of aircraft that pollute less and carry more passengers; the development of lightweight composite materials; more fuel-efficient operations; the future use of sustainable biofuels - all of these have the potential to make a real difference.

With a new aircraft today typically using 70% less fuel than sixty years ago, it is clear that technology can and must provide a convincing answer to those who see demand management as the only solution in the medium term to aviation-produced carbon - just as electric and plug-in hybrid cars will, over time, provide a robust answer to those who say the car can have no place in future transport policy planning.

If technology can play a role in mitigating the carbon impact of flying, so can it too in mitigating the noise impacts that are often the principle objection to airport expansion. Noise contours around airports have shrunk dramatically of course over the last 40 years - but at the same time, so has the tolerance of those who live in them.

I want to understand where the industry believes it can get to in the next ten, twenty, thirty years. I want to understand what technology is likely to deliver and I want to understand what scope there may be for noise-beneficial changes in operating practice, when and if the principle focus becomes noise mitigation rather than carbon reduction.

Of course, reforms to aviation taxation can play a key part in changing behaviour. But let's be frank - they can also play a key role in deficit reduction. I know the industry has serious concerns about what these reforms might look like, their impact on route viability, and their interaction with aviation's forthcoming inclusion in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

APD reform is, of course, a matter for the Treasury. But I and my officials will work closely with Treasury colleagues as the government develops its proposals.

Security / User pays
Security is and will remain a continuing challenge to the industry and the delivery of effective aviation security must be at the heart of the aviation policy debate. I have listened to your concerns regarding the need to reform the regulatory framework for aviation security. And I intend to develop a new regulatory system - one where the Government concentrates on setting the security outcomes that need to be achieved, and frees up operators to devise the security processes needed to deliver them in line with EU requirements.

Further announcements, as they say, will follow in due course. It goes, I hope, without saying that all our policy objectives will have to be met from a reduced budget. Though in the case of transport, not nearly as reduced as I had read in the newspapers it was going to be. That is the inevitable consequence of fiscal consolidation.

We must, of necessity, review everything that the Department does and ask ourselves the questions: does it really need doing? Are we best placed to do it? Who should bear the cost? Our plans to extend the "user pays" principle will shift costs and responsibility for certain activities - sometimes to the independent regulator; sometimes to the industry itself.

In some cases that will mean greater freedom and flexibility; increased scope for innovation. But with the flip-side being a direct responsibility for delivery in areas where government has previously sought to both specify and provide.

These are times of challenge and change - no doubt about it. But I know that the aviation sector has the talent, the capacity for innovation, and the determination to meet the challenges head on. I want to see you playing a full part in our future transport strategy.

I cannot promise that we will agree on everything. But I can promise that I will continue to engage with you, with an open mind and an open door, as we develop our strategy for aviation over the coming months. Working together we can build a prosperous and sustainable aviation industry for the future. An industry that can support our economic growth objectives, without undermining our climate change targets.


Andrew Willis - Euobserver Brussels - 20 October 2010

The European Commission has proposed a list of potential methods to enable the EU to raise its 'own resources' in future, citing the need to end current wrangling over member state contributions to the Brussels budget.

A separate EU-wide value added tax (VAT) is among the ideas contained in the commission's "budget review" published on Tuesday (19 October), a document which stems from a Franco-British spat in December 2005 over EU payments.

Other self-funding mechanisms could include a financial sector tax, a share of profits from auctioned greenhouse gas emission allowances, an EU charge related to air transport, an EU energy tax or an EU corporate income tax.

Presenting the review in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, EU budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski said the EU budget should rely less on member state contributions, as was previously the case.

National contributions, based on gross national income (GNI), represented 10 percent of the EU budget in 1988, but these days amounts to roughly 70 percent as takings from EU customs duties and farm levies have declined.

"The question of EU funding priorities is always overshadowed by debate on 'net contributors' or 'juste retour'," Mr Lewandowski told the MEPs. "That is why we need to find a way out of this."

In a bid to head off member state opposition to the funding proposals, the commission was quick to stress that the new mechanisms would not result in extra revenue for the EU institutions, but would instead relieve pressure on national coffers at a time of economic difficulty.

The formerly taboo subject of a European tax is likely to provoke strong reactions in the coming days, with the UK among wary member states who fear self-funding powers could lead to an overly-independent set of EU institutions.

The list of ideas in Tuesday's document will also kickstart the debate on the shape of the EU's next multi-annual budget, with the current spending period due to end in 2013. This year's annual expenditure will total roughly 130 billion, of which 70 percent goes towards the common agricultural policy (CAP) and poorer regions.

The upcoming talks are expected to be heated, with net contributors such as Germany, the UK and the Netherlands likely to look for EU austerity measures to match spending cuts back home. Poland and other eastern states are set to defend the EU system of payments of which they are net recipients.

France has indicated it will not support a scaling back of the CAP, while London has clearly said that its EU budget rebate is not up for discussion.

While shying away from specific recommendations on which sectors should have their funding cut, the commission's budget review does call for a shifting of money to areas that promote "smart, sustainable and inclusive growth... such as energy and climate change."

"The common agricultural policy needs to evolve, if only because reference values for direct payments are now a decade old," said a commission statement. "The EU budget must focus on added-value; in short, it must identify where one euro spent at the European level brings more benefit than at the national level," continued the statement.

Concrete commission proposals on the post-2013 multi-annual budget are expected to be published in July of next year, with unanimous member state approval and European parliamentary support needed before they can become law.


ENDS Europe DAILY - 22 October 2010

The European Commission has revised a greenhouse gas emission cap announced in July for installations covered by the EU's emissions trading scheme (ETS) in 2013. Emissions will now be capped at 2.039 billion tonnes, the commission said on Friday.

The revised cap takes into account installations that will join the ETS in 2013. These are plants producing bulk organic chemicals, hydrogen, ammonia and aluminium. The previous cap was based on installations covered in the 2008-12 trading period.

The scheme will also be extended to cover N2O emissions from the production of nitric, adipic and glyocalic acid and perfluorocarbons from the aluminium sector. The ETS currently only covers carbon dioxide emissions except for Austria and the Netherlands which include N2O from certain installations.

The scheme's extended scope raises the emission cap by about 113 million tonnes compared with the figure announced in July. The 2009 ETS directive requires that emissions fall by 1.74% annually during the period 2013-20, or 37.43 million tonnes.

Further small adjustments may be needed for a number of reasons, for example, if new entrants join the ETS before the end of 2012 new entrant reserves are not taken into account in the cap or if member states exclude certain small installations from the scheme because other measures to cut their emissions are in place.

The cap would also have to be revised if the EU decides to increase its emission reduction target to 30% by 2020 without conditions. However, this is unlikely to happen any time soon as member states are showing great reluctance to make deeper cuts. Employers association BusinessEurope is clearly against it.

The commission will propose a separate cap for the aviation sector by the end of year. A spokesperson said the EU executive was still working on calculations. It initially planned to announce it last year. Airline emissions in 2012 will be capped at 97% of average emissions in 2004-06, equivalent to an estimated 210-220 million tonnes.

OUR COMMENT: The move to include N20 emissions from certain industries should be extended to aviation as well. Not only are these emissions also greenhouse gases - they are also damaging around airports to both human health and vegetation.

Pat Dale


Web Reporter - Herts & Essex Observer - 21 October 2010

THE Government has refused to step in and push BAA to sell the homes it snapped up to clear the way for a second Stansted runway.

Uttlesford's MP, Sir Alan Haselhurst, pressed the case with a question to Transport Secretary Philip Hammond, but in response aviation minister Theresa Villiers made it clear that BAA's property portfolio would not be the subject of coalition intervention.

Stop Stansted Expansion has been campaigning for the operator to sell back the 200 homes it stockpiled as part of the now-scrapped G2 project to double the capacity of its Essex hub.

However, Ms Villiers told Sir Alan: "BAA purchased properties in the vicinity of Stansted Airport as part of their non-statutory Home Owners Support Scheme to protect eligible homeowners from the effects of blight and allow them to opt to sell their homes to BAA and move away in advance of any potential planning consent for a second runway."

"The coalition Government have made absolutely clear that they do not support a second runway at Stansted. However, the arrangements to which My Right Honourable Friend refers were private ones, entered into voluntarily between homeowners and BAA. Any disposal of these properties is a matter for the airport operator."

BAA says the disposal of its properties is a matter for shareholders.


Michael Edwards - Saffron Walden Reporter - 22 October 2010

NATIONAL Express East Anglia's (NXEA) new ?175 million Electrostar 379 trains are set to hit the rails next year but they will not be getting commuters on the Stansted Express line to London any faster. The trains, which cost 155 million GBP, will travelling at exactly the speed as the current crop so the journey time into the capital will remain the same.

Electrostar 379 trains have a top speed of 100mph but will be limited to 80mph meaning customers will not reach their destination any faster than before. Therefore commuters and tourists will still have to endure a 50 minute train journey to reach London Liverpool Street from Stansted Airport.

NXEA's Operations and Planning Director Mark Phillips said: "The trains are not faster but their acceleration is better so they will pull away from the station quicker. However, the journey time will remain the same due to the number of stops the trains will have to make on the Stansted Express route - our busiest route - as it provides an essential service for commuters in London."

What NXEA have tackled with the introduction of the Electrostar 379 is the amount of congestion on trains. The Electrostar trains will be introduced to the Stansted Express line in March 2011 to compliment the existing fleet and will boast more seating and luggage space than its peers.

"The design of the train was determined and customised according to the route it will be on. This means there will be enhanced luggage room in standard and first class," said Phillips. The train also features Wi-Fi for both standard and first class seating as well as CCTV for increased customer security.

NXEA's new crop will feature 30 trains; 20 of which will cover the Stansted Express line with the other 10 will cover the commuter route from Cambridge into the capital which stops at Audley End, Newport, Elsenham, Stansted Mountfitchet and Bishop's Stortford.

OUR COMMENT: Some relief for local commuters?

Pat Dale


Financial Times - 25 October 2010

Ferrovial's plan to auction 10 per cent of BAA was a disposal to happen. Few acquisitions have been as ill-fated as the Spanish infrastructure group's 2006 purchase (alongside the government of Singapore and the Quebec state pension fund) of the UK airports operator. The deal put an enterprise value of 16bn on BAA and represented a 30 per cent premium to its regulatory asset base. It also hobbled Ferrovial: it has net debt today of ?24bn, against a market capitalisation of ?6bn.

Ferrovial can argue it was unlucky. The BAA deal coincided with a public backlash against the dilapidated state of UK airports, which the opening of Heathrow Terminal 5 only partly soothed. The regulatory goalposts also began to shift. Ferrovial has had to sell Gatwick for 1.5bn, about half the airport's implied value in the initial transaction. It also must sell Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh.

The Spanish group insists that it will remain BAA's largest shareholder. But it clearly wants to extract value from its assets to pay down debt. It is already selling 10 per cent of a Canadian toll road for C$900m; a sale of 10 per cent of BAA should make it easier to sell more later. Despite this, Ferrovial investors' initial relief at Friday's news that it would cut its BAA stake from 56 per cent soon dissipated. By noon on Monday its shares were only up about 1.5 per cent since the announcement.

The sale of a stake will put a value on BAA, which Ferrovial thinks is not reflected in its share price. If the Gatwick deal is a guide, BAA is worth about half the 10.3bn Ferrovial paid for the equity. But most value is now concentrated in Heathrow, implying that this may be too low. Regardless, a sale will at least allow the Spanish group to recoup a little from its expensive UK adventure.


Mark Blunden - London Evening Standard - 25 October 2010

PLANS for an airport in the Thames estuary which could operate 24 hours a day have been attacked by campaigners, who claim it would lead to one million flights over London each year.

Opponents spoke out after it was revealed that City Hall is looking at proposals for the 14 billion airport, which would feature a high-speed rail link to the Channel Tunnel.

It would be cheaper and less complex than the 40 billion estuary plan backed by Mayor Boris Johnson and dubbed "Boris Island". The site for the latest proposal is on the Hoo peninsula, a wild bird reserve near Gravesend. Backers claim the noise pollution would only affect 56,000 residents, rather than the current three million under the Heathrow flight path.

The site, planned for 2025, would be open around the clock in a bid to increase flight capacity without expanding Heathrow - which could be phased out as more airlines and passengers transfer to Kent. A rail link would connect the airport via a spur to St Pancras, using the Channel Tunnel route.

The scheme by John Olsen, the British ex-head of Cathay Pacific, proposes flights will use airspace over the North Sea. "Relatively few people would be affected by noise and the cost would be low because there is already excellent infrastructure in the area," he said.

But Hacan, the group that led the fight against a third Heathrow runway, fears the increased number of flights would leave air traffic controllers no option but to use the skies over London.

They claim that if the airport was allowed to operate 24 hours a day it could double the number of planes above the capital. Chairman John Stewart said: "This site could be the equivalent of a third and fourth runway and double the 470,000 annual flights at Heathrow." His group is also concerned at the volume of flights in combination with traffic from City Airport.

Two reserves run by the RSPB at the Hoo site are home to hundreds of thousands of migratory birds, including the rare avocet. Mr Olsen's plan would see them relocated to man-made marshland on the other side of the estuary.

The proposal is among options being studied by Transport for London's deputy chairman Daniel Moylan. He said: "Boris believes that there is a pressing need for new runway capacity and welcomes a debate on where it should be located."

OUR COMMENT: Airport Anarchy?

Pat Dale


Living under a flight path with aeroplanes thundering over your head
could put your heart at risk, according to a new study.

Richard Alleyne - The Telegraph - 11 October 2010

Researchers found that dying from a heart attack was more common among people with increased exposure to aircraft noise.

"The effect was especially evident for people who were exposed to really high levels of noise, and was dependent on how long those people had lived in the noisy place," researcher Matthias Egger of the University of Bern, said.

This is not the first study to link the negative health effects, including cardiovascular risks, of living near flight paths. But this study could help determine whether the sound is really the main effect, or if it is something else tagging along with the noise, such as air pollution.

"It's been a problem that when you look at road traffic noise there are both high levels of noise and high levels of air pollution," said Mr Egger. "By looking at airports we were in a position to disentangle these effects."

Mr Egger and his colleagues identified 15,532 heart attack deaths among 4.6 million Swiss residents between late 2000 and the end of 2005 using detailed information from an ongoing mortality study called the Swiss National Cohort.

Government records and environmental data helped the team determine the distance of individuals' residences from airports and major roads, as well as relative levels of particulate matter in the vicinity. This allowed the researchers to pinpoint both aircraft noise and air pollution exposures for each individual over a period of 15 years or longer.

After accounting for air pollution and other factors including education and income levels, the group found that both the level and duration of aircraft noise drove up the risk of a lethal heart attack.

People exposed to a daily average of at least 60 decibels of noise had a 30 per cent greater risk of dying from a heart attack compared with those exposed to less than 45 decibels, the researchers report in the journal Epidemiology. Among those exposed to the higher decibel levels for 15 or more years, the risk was actually 50 per cent higher.

Measuring exposure is complicated by the fact that aircraft noise is intermittent and can temporarily soar above 100 decibels if you're close to one taking off or landing, said Mr Egger. But the average of 60 decibels is about what you would expect in a crowded, noisy bar.

Living within 300ft of a major road also increased the risk of heart attack but the researchers found no impact of particulate-matter air pollution on the heart.

Mr Egger said road and air traffic produce different noise patterns that might not be easily comparable as road traffic noise was more constant and arguably easier to get used to. "Noise probably does have effects on health and it is important that we gain a better understanding of these," he said, adding that further studies were needed.

The researchers suggested that further measures could be added to protect people from noise such as sound barriers controlling the speed and volume of traffic and better home insulation.


Martin Peachey - SSE's Adviser on Aircraft Noise - October 2010

A number of people have said recently that, while aircraft numbers at Stansted continue to decrease, levels of noise are increasing and they believe that either aircraft are flying lower or flight paths must have changed or both. I have put together the following analysis to try and explain the principal causes of this effect.

No flight paths have been changed, but:
The departure trajectories within the Noise Preferential Routes (NPRs) for take-off have changed slightly due to the change to the noise abatement departure procedure operated by the low cost airlines (not the larger planes). It affects the six departure NPRs differently and only applies to the first 4000ft of climb. Nonetheless it is causing lots of complaints in the Hallingburys, Hatfield Heath, Hatfield Broad Oak and in Duton Hill and the Eastons and to a lesser extent elsewhere.

BAA is trying to resolve the issue with a modified NPR centre line on one of the NPRs. Trials are still being undertaken and first results show that a small decrease in noise is possible in Hatfield Heath village. However it will not reduce the noise being emitted nor will it reduce the noise on the ground to those levels prior to the change of the take-off procedure.

The introduction of the A340 of Air Asia X on the Clacton route has added a very noisy plane to the scene and is causing lots of complaints and for which BAA has undertaken to resolve the issue. In my opinion BAA cannot do much to improve the situation. It is a foretaste of what could be in the pipeline if BAA manages to attract more long haul large planes and/or freight.

Due to the reduction in flights, the holding stacks are less used - in fact hardly at all. When this happens planes use what is known as 'direct routing' whereby with NATS approval they effectively fly straight towards the final approach segment which means that they are taking different lateral and vertical trajectories. This varies depending where you live in relation to the stacks and the airport. But it can mean aircraft are closer to you. And it can mean they are further away.

An example is in Suffolk, south of the Sudbury stack. When planes leave this stack they are at 7000ft and flying north of Sudbury. When they take a direct route they are at less than 5000ft and fly further south. So some people will have noticed more noise as a result.

I think direct routing is probably the largest single factor in increasing noise exposure since this results from a combination of changed lateral and vertical trajectories on arrival routes over a wide area.

The prevailing wind conditions have been unusual recently particularly these last two summers. Normally the modal split (i.e. which runway is in use) is about 70/30 for the westerly runway 22. However there has been much more use of runway 04 due to unusual weather patterns and again some people will have noticed more traffic as a result if they are under the 04 arrival and departure routes. This is probably the second largest factor.

Weather has an influence on the transmission of sound. Downwind is noisier than upwind and inverse temperature gradients will hold the noise (and smells) closer to the ground as well as changes due to different atmospheric pressure. These can all combine or not as the case maybe, but it could explain why people have noticed a difference particularly for wind direction. At the G1 Inquiry I used a +10dB factor for downwind correction and BAA's ground noise man agreed. An increase of 10dB is a doubling of loudness.

People tend to notice changes to noise patterns and in addition to the above, people could notice a different fleet mix and different day/night mix. However neither of these have changed sufficiently (except for the Air Asia X) so this is unlikely to be a cause.

People are definitely less tolerant of noise (particularly aircraft noise) than they used to be.

How many complaints have there been?
Looking at BAA's noise complaints statistics, the number of complaints, excluding multiples, increased by 50% in 2009 compared with 2008 while the traffic decreased by 12%. The first half of 2010 compared with 2009, excluding multiples, shows a 12% decrease in the number of complaints but a 19% increase in the number of people complaining while the traffic decreased by 7.4% (rolling 12 month average at end June).


Press Statement by NATS - 13 October 2010

NATS, the UKs leading air navigation service provider, has postponed plans for further consultation over changes to airspace north of London. Instead, the proposals will be incorporated into a wider review of airspace over southern England.

The downturn in air traffic levels since the 2008 consultation on proposed changes in the Terminal Control North (TCN) area, means there is less urgency on capacity grounds to achieve the changes. Current forecasts show that air traffic levels are not expected to return to the peak levels of 2007 until at least 2013/14.

Alex Bristol, Development and Investment Director, said: "We are looking at combining the necessary changes in the TCN proposal with other projects currently under way to create a bigger benefit overall."

"We are already working on a wider project involving the airspace over much of southern England. The TCN benefits are very much a part of helping us deliver bigger benefits, albeit on a longer timescale. These include keeping aircraft higher for longer on more direct routes, which saves fuel burn and CO2 and means less noise for people on the ground."

"Whilst the downturn in air traffic means we can take longer to ensure we have the best solution, we have always been clear that doing nothing is not a long-term option. This is a large and very complex area of airspace with many interactions and as traffic levels pick up, changes will be necessary to ensure continued safety and reduce delay. The work we have done so far in TCN and the feedback we have from the 2008 consultation will be very much a part of our revised plans."

"Terminal Control North (TCN), along with Terminal Control South (TCS) forms London Terminal Control (LTC) which in total covers much of southern England, as far north as Ipswich and west to Bournemouth with Banbury roughly marking the north-west corner. NATS is reviewing the airspace structure in this total area in light of available new navigation technologies and new tools under development to improve air traffic management techniques; our aim is to improve safety in this most complex area of airspace, to provide additional capacity to meet forecast long term demand and to meet environmental targets."

This work is still in early stages but is expected to deliver improvements in the period 2016-2020 with some earlier enabling improvements possible from 2013.


Richard Cornwell - Evening Star - 5 October 2010

FELIXSTOWE: With more than 600 passenger jets criss-crossing the Felixstowe peninsula every day, residents will be hoping numbers will not soar in future after the election of Ed Miliband as Labour leader. Mr Miliband has strong environmental credentials and has stated opposition to new runways at Heathrow and Stansted.

BAA has currently withdrawn its application for a second runway at Stansted - but campaigners know the fear will not go away until it is the policy of all parties not to pursue air traffic expansion.

The Evening Star's Air Fair campaign is highlighting the huge change in Suffolk's peace and tranquility in recent years since flightpaths were switched from north-Essex to cross south and east Suffolk instead.

This has sent hundreds more planes over the area - particularly the Shotley and Felixstowe peninsulas - and has been likened to the Clapham junction of the skies.

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE), which is actively pressing the coalition government for a moratorium on a second runway at Stansted and, in parallel, seeking to persuade Labour politicians to abandon their previous policy of supporting airport expansion, welcomed the election of Mr Miliband. Campaign director Carol Barbone said his appointment was a "significant step forward" towards changing the Labour party's airports policy.

Of all the leadership candidates the younger Miliband made the clearest statements of opposition to new runways in the south east - in contrast to his brother David, who remained wedded to the old expansionist position.

"Aviation industry representatives are making clear at every turn that they'll bide their time in the hope that a shift in the political winds will make it possible for expansion plans to be revived," said Ms Barbone.

Mr Miliband's leadership created the real prospect of achieving cross-party consensus on an airports policy which would provide long term peace of mind to communities overflown by jets from Stansted Airport.


ICAO members reach historic agreement on climate change

Perry Flint - ATW Online - 11 October 2010

Member states of ICAO finalized an agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions including creating a framework to implement market-based measures to manage aviation GHGs on a sectoral basis.

The comprehensive resolution, adopted by the 190 member states at the conclusion of the 37th ICAO General Assembly on Friday, formalizes last year's "aspirational goal" of achieving a 2% annual fuel efficiency improvement up to the year 2050.

In addition to agreeing to the development of a framework for market-based measures, the member states called for a feasibility study on the creation of a global MBM scheme and "guiding principles" for member states to use when designing and implementing market-based measures for international aviation. These will be reviewed at the next general assembly in 2013, ICAO said.

The resolution also calls for the creation of "a global framework for the development and deployment of sustainable alternative fuels for aviation, and a target of 2013 for a CO2 standard for aircraft engines".

ICAO Council President Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez said the resolution and related decisions "are good examples of the spirit of cooperation that can make a substantial contribution to the UNFCCC discussions." It is expected that the resolution will be presented at the UNFCCC meeting in Cancun Nov. 29-Dec. 10.

ICAO noted that the historic agreement was adopted with some members "expressing reservations and calling upon the ICAO Council to continue its work on specific aspects of the agreement."

The agreement was welcomed by aviation stakeholder groups including IATA and Airports Council International, although it fell short of adopting their positions in some key areas. "Governments have taken an historic decision. For the first time, we have globally agreed aspirational goals to stabilize emissions," IATA DG and CEO Giovanni Bisignani said in a statement.

He added, "No other industry sector has a similar globally agreed framework for managing its response to climate change in a manner that takes into consideration the needs of both developed and developing states. Moreover, it recognizes the need for governments and industry to work together. This is a good first step that prepares the way for future achievements."

ACI DG Angela Gittens said, "We are pleased to see that ICAO national delegations accept the need for a shared global vision and common goals as well as their willingness to move ahead on the agreed positions?despite some remaining questions that will be addressed in future discussions. The aviation industry has shown that we are committed, proactive and realistic."

IATA, ACI and groups representing aerospace manufacturers and air navigation services providers had presented a proposal calling for a 1.5% annual improvement in fuel efficiency through 2020; carbon neutral growth between 2020 and 2050; and a 50% net reduction in aviation GHGs by 2050 compared to 2005 (ATW Daily News, Sept. 20).

Friday's resolution also includes mechanisms for technology transfer to developing nations; a requirement for member states to submit to ICAO action plans for reaching goals set by the organization; assistance for countries to help them meet their objectives; and exemptions from MBMs for nations with very low emissions owing to their small traffic base.


Aviation Environment Federation - 11 October 2010

The future inclusion of the aviation sector in Europe's Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) may have moved a step closer last week as a result of international talks. But the scheme's effectiveness will be weaker as a result of European concessions at talks which also ended any hope of credible global measures to cut aviation's climate impact in the foreseeable future according to Transport & Environment (T&E) and the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF).

The EU entered negotiations at the ICAO Assembly, which concluded in Montreal last Friday, calling for a global cut in aviation emissions of 10% by 2020, based on 2005 emissions levels, as agreed by all EU member states in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate conference. Aviation is currently responsible for 4.9% of global man-made climate change.

But EU ambition was cut short by an American-led initiative to maintain the wording of a 2007 ICAO resolution that called for 'mutual agreement' whereby every single state affected by policies such as the EU-ETS would have to agree to be included; effectively killing such schemes.

The final 'resolution' passed by this year's Assembly did not contain such strong language on 'mutual agreement' but EU diplomacy to protect the ETS plan came at a heavy price.

The resolution states that airlines from countries with international aviation activity below 1 percent of the global total should be exempt from moves to restrict carbon emissions within the aviation sector. The EU stated that it would 'engage constructively' in discussion about these exemptions with regard to the EU-ETS and has since declared that it could also review whether emissions from inbound flights would be covered by the scheme. Excluding inbound flights to the EU would cut the emissions covered by the system by 40%.

Bill Hemmings of Transport & Environment (T&E) said: "The EU has paid a heavy price to weaken opposition to its plan to include aviation in the ETS. It is obvious that additional measures will be needed to get spiralling aviation emissions growth under control. The EU should start with a kerosene tax and VAT on tickets."

The fight over 'mutual agreement' cast a heavy shadow over the negotiations as talks surrounding global measures to cut aviation emissions dragged on fruitlessly.

The triennial Assembly failed once again to produce a single measure to actually reduce global emissions from the aviation sector. Instead the final 'resolution' called for 'Carbon Neutral Growth (CNG)'. But that concept allows for aviation emissions to grow unabated for the 23 years since Kyoto, and only then be 'offset' voluntarily above their 2020 level by emissions cuts in other industrial sectors. The Kyoto Protocol called for aviation emissions to be 'limited' or 'reduced', i.e. within the sector.

The final resolution also states that climate commitments for aviation are 'aspirational' i.e. non binding, with no obligations on individual countries, let alone penalties for failure.

But even the CNG plan, which amounts to business-as-usual, was too much for some negotiator. The Chinese representative called the plan an attack on the human rights of his country's citizens. CNG, along with almost every aspect of the assembly's 'resolution', was also subject to an unprecedented number of 'reservations' whereby states declare that they do not feel bound by the decisions.

Hemmings commented: "The Assembly represented a race to the bottom to reach consensus at almost any cost, followed by a descent into farce as many countries distanced themselves from various aspects of the resolution. ICAO's irrelevance grows along with emissions from the world's most energy and carbon intensive form of transport."

"As a forum for agreeing, let alone implementing, global environmental targets for aviation emissions, ICAO is clearly not fit for purpose, its 13 year record of failure shows that. The fact that ICAO members repeated their calls this year for the institution to remain in charge looks absurd, and completely out of touch."


ENDS Europe DAILY - 11 October 2010

Governments participating in the 37th assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) have agreed a global deal on climate change, described as a historic agreement. This is the first time an economic sector has reached such a deal.

The meeting's participants agreed to cap greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation from 2020, and to improve fuel efficiency by 2% annually up to 2050. The ICAO will also aim to set a global CO2 standard for aircraft engines in 2013.

Governments will submit action plans spelling out what they intend to do to achieve goals on emissions and fuel efficiency. Small emitters accounting for less than 1% of international air traffic will not have to submit such plans to the ICAO.

Climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard said the deal was "not as ambitious as Europe thinks it should be" but the EU won an important battle over aviation's inclusion in its emissions trading scheme (ETS). It will not be required to get the mutual consent of other countries as some such as the US had wanted.

This will make it more difficult for the US to argue against their inclusion in the ETS in 2012. A group of US airlines challenged the move in a British court in December last year. The case has since been transferred to the European Court of Justice.

ICAO governments agreed 15 guiding principles to use when designing and implementing market-based instruments (MBI) for aviation. The European Commission said the ETS scheme was in line with these principles. The governments also agreed to conduct a feasibility study on the creation of a global MBI.

Industry association IATA said that "governments must come to the table with much needed infrastructure improvements such as NextGen in the US" to help achieve the ICAO's fuel efficiency goal. This goal is slightly more ambitious than the aviation industry's own commitment, an annual 1.5% improvement.

Discussions on a global climate agreement for the maritime sector in September have been less fruitful. A coalition of emerging countries including China and India blocked a proposal to introduce mandatory energy efficiency standards for all new ships. They reject the idea of having universal standards.


Morning Star Online - 6 October 2010

Response by John Stewart, Chair, Hacan ClearSkies

The scrapping of plans for a third runway at Heathrow was an iconic victory for the campaigners and the biggest setback the aviation industry in Britain has ever experienced. But the industry would be sensible to see it as a wake-up call that the soaring growth in recent years in this country can't go on as before.

Aviation's contribution to climate change needs to be curbed. The noise which has been experienced by an increasing number of communities is unacceptable. Its tax-free fuel and exemption from VAT will not last forever as governments scramble for new sources of income. Above all, cheap oil, on which aviation is so dependent, will limit its growth.

The future will be very different. Planes will be quieter and cleaner but that alone will not do the trick. The amount of flying - certainly in the rich world - will need to fall. Domestic and short-haul flights will be first for the chop.

Long-haul flights will become more expensive. This will have big implications for the world's economy since the plane, along with the ship, has become the workhorse of the globalised world.

A move to a more localised economic system is probably inevitable. Let's start preparing for that now with a just transition of jobs from industries like aviation to those in green, sustainable industries.


BAA has been ordered to sell Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports in the latest twist in the punch-up between the Spanish-controlled company and UK competition authorities

Alistair Osborne, Business Editor - The Telegraph - 14 October 2010

Three Court of Appeal judges yesterday upheld a complaint from the Competition Commission that it was not guilty of "apparent" bias when it ruled BAA must sell three of its then seven UK airports. The Heathrow-owner has already sold Gatwick for 1.5bn - a 277m book loss.

The verdict overturns a surprise ruling in February from the Competition Appeal Tribunal that backed BAA's case that one member of the Commission panel, Professor Peter Moizer, had "a powerful connection" to Manchester Airport Group - a losing bidder for Gatwick.

The legal saga may continue as BAA, which is controlled by Spain's Ferrovial, said it would appeal to the Supreme Court.

A company spokesman said the appeal judges had upheld only "two of the five grounds argued by the Competition Commission", while noting "the court's view that apparent bias in relation to a panel member existed during part of the Commission's investigation".

BAA's stance was dismissed by Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, Stansted's biggest customer, as simply playing for time. "They'll appeal because all they really want to do is delay it and hope that values will rise," he said. "The sooner Stansted is sold the better. If the Commission had lost the appeal it would have put the sale back for years."

Ryanair supported the Commission's appeal and Mr O'Leary said he would be willing to work with any prospective bidder for Stansted, which has a 1.3bn regulated asset base - the regulator's proxy for its value.

"A new owner could build a second terminal for 200m instead of the 4bn BAA wanted to spend and we'd be happy to co-fund it," he said. "We'd even take a minority stake of 5pc-10pc [in the bid vehicle] if a bidder felt that would tie us in better."

Stansted's value is partly dependent on Ryanair, but after a dispute over landing fees the carrier has pulled planes out of the airport. "Passengers are down from 24m to 21m to 18m over two years," Mr O'Leary said. "We offer every year to deliver them growth but [BAA chief executive] Colin Matthews keeps turning us down."

BAA sources maintained it was no forgone conclusion it would have to sell Stansted or a Scottish airport. They said the period of the investigation where the Appeal Court had not thrown out BAA's claim of apparent bias included key decisions. They included forcing BAA to sell a Scottish airport and setting a two-year divestment timetable.

Peter Smith, at travelsupermarket.com, said: "The break-up of BAA's monopoly on UK airports should be welcomed by consumers."

Ferrovial shares rose 9.1 cents to €7.58.


Essex airport reduces energy consumption by three per cent

Will Nichols - BusinessGreen - 11 October 2010

Stansted, the UK's third-largest airport, has been awarded the Carbon Trust Standard for its success in reporting, managing and reducing carbon emissions.

The airport attained the standard after reducing its energy consumption by three per cent between 2008 and 2009. The airport has also undertaken a number of green improvements, installing a biomass boiler installed as part of 50m terminal extension, trialling single-engine taxiing of aircraft to reduce emissions from manoeuvring planes, and rolling out energy-efficient lighting across the airfield.

Dr Andy Jefferson, Stansted's head of health, safety and environment, said: "While celebrating this success, we also know there is more we can and must do. About 92 per cent of emissions from our buildings are generated by electricity use, so we've set a challenging target to reduce 2010 levels by five per cent compared with 2009."

OUR COMMENT: It would be churlish not to congratulate BAA on their achievement. BUT no airport can exist without receiving regular visits from those gas guzzling aircraft which consume so much energy. How is their contribution fitted into the equation?

Pat Dale

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