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 - January to March 2012


Department for Transport - 26 March 2012

Under Section 78 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982, the Government sets noise controls at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports. With regard to night noise, these measures include a restriction on the number of movements and a quota count system. A movement is either a take off or landing. The quota count system works by allocating points according to how noisy an aircraft is.

Aircraft are certified by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) according to the noise they produce. The current night noise regime for these airports was announced in June 2006 and came into force in October 2006. It ends on 28 October 2012.

The Government has decided to extend the existing night noise regime at these airports for two years until the end of summer season 2014, when a new regime will come into force.

The night flying restrictions are divided into summer and winter seasons. The summer season is the period of British Summer Time in any one year. The winter season is the period between the end of British Summer Time in one year and the start of British Summer Time in the next.

For the Summer 2012 season, which commences on 25 March 2012 and ends on 28 October 2012, the movement limits and quota points allowance for the airports are:

Airport Movement Limits Noise Quota Points
Heathrow 3250 5100
Gatwick 11200 6200
Stansted 7000 4650
These movement limits and noise quota points apply to the night quota period which is 23.30 to 06.00.

The movement limits and noise quota points allowance for summer 2013 and summer 2014 will remain the same as for summer 2012, as set out in the table above.

For winter 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 the movement limits and quota points allowance for the airports are:

Airport Movement Limits Noise Quota Points
Heathrow 2550 4080
Gatwick 3250 2000
Stansted 5000 3310
All other aspects of the current regime will remain in place during the two year extension period.

Indicative Timetable for Replacing Night Flying Regime

March 2012 Announcement of two year extension to current regime.
Summer 2012 Consultation on draft Aviation Policy Framework, including general policy on night noise.
Autumn 2012 First stage consultation on new night flights regime. To include a review of the costs and benefits of night flights, including an expert assessment from CAA of current literature on aviation night noise health impacts. It will also consider the 2011 night noise contours required under the European Environmental Noise Directive and will seek detailed evidence on the effectiveness of the current regime and on airlines' fleet replacement plans.
October 2012 Current restrictions extended for 24 months.
Spring 2013 Publication of final Aviation Policy Framework (including overall night noise policy).
Summer 2013 Second stage night noise consultation carried out following publication of final Aviation Policy Framework. This will include proposed restrictions for the next regime.
March/April 2014 Announcement of new regime.
October 2014 Beginning of new regime.


Airport World Online - 27 March 2012

Londoners are divided in their support for expansion of London's airport capacity, according to an Ipsos MORI poll conducted for BBC London.

Last week, UK Prime Minister, James Cameron, said he was "not blind to the need to increase airport capacity, particularly in the South East", and Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced a need to confront the lack of airport capacity in the region.

Half of Londoners agree - 49% say London's airports capacity should be increased in the next few years while 46% disagree, according to the poll. Support for expansion is particularly high among people who voted for Boris Johnson in 2008, 57% say London's airport capacity should be increased compared to 39% against it.

Young Londoners (aged 18-24) are particularly likely to be against expansion, with 56% saying capacity should not be increased and 40% in favour of expansion. Among the half of Londoners who support expansion, the polls argues, three in ten (31%) think building a third runway at Heathrow is the best way of increasing London's airport capacity and a quarter (23%) of those in favour of expansion think building a new airport on the Thames Estuary would be best. A third (34%) of those supporting expansion think the best way of doing so would be to expand airports in and around London other than Heathrow.

Tom Mludzinski, deputy head of political research, Ipsos MORI said: "At a time when government is pressing the need for greater airport capacity in the country's capital city, Londoners themselves are divided. Even among those who agree that we need more capacity, there is no overwhelming favourite option. Londoners are yet to be convinced either way."

BAA chief executive, Colin Matthews, claims that he welcomes a debate about the proposed Thames Estuary Airport, which has the backing of London Mayor, Boris Johnson, because the UK needs to talk about London?s "aviation connectivity".

Speaking recently to Airport World, Matthews said: "There is not one simple obvious answer to London's capacity problems, but let's put them all on the table and talk about them now, not in a few years time, and let's not spend 10 years debating it as the topic of another London airport already been talked about for 40 years. I see problems with a Thames Estuary in terms of cost and timings, but Heathrow has its challenges, too, as its hub status will ultimately be lost in about 15 years without a third runway."

OUR COMMENT: To date, with elections for London's Mayor getting close, this issue has not been hotly debated - transport on the roads has been more important. Yet much of Greater London suffers from aircraft noise.

Pat Dale


James Cracknell - Uxbridge Gazette - 26 March 2012

HAYES and Harlington MP John McDonnell has said he is now more worried about the threat to use RAF Northolt as a commercial runway than he is about the Heathrow villages. Following weekend speculation that the third runway was back on the government's agenda, Mr McDonnell dismissed it as "the last death throes of the aviation lobby".

The Labour MP was speaking to the Gazette on Monday afternoon prior to an appearance in the House of Commons, where he was due to ask a question to ministers about how much access the aviation industry has had to the prime minister. He said: "This is the last death throes of the lobby for the aviation industry. I don't believe any serious politician or party would go back and look at the third runway. It is dead in the water, but I am concerned that this continues to blight the area every time it is mentioned."

And responding to speculation that the runway at RAF Northolt in Ruislip could be used as an alternative option for airport expansion, Mr McDonnell said: "Logistically it would be a nightmare to link it to Heathrow but they seem to be so desperate that they want to use Northolt as an excuse to expand. It's a real risk."

He said this had now become the main threat in Hillingdon from the aviation industry. A report from the Department for Transport on its new strategy for expanding airport capacity in the south-east is due in the summer.

More Runway Battles?


Plans to simplify planning laws and consult on new airport in
south-east set to anger both Tory traditionalists and Lib Dems

Nicholas Watt, Chief Political Correspondent - The Guardian - 19 March 2012

David Cameron has set the scene for battles with both Tory traditionalists and Liberal Democrats by pledging to take bold action to build up Britain's infrastructure. In a sign of Downing Street's anxiety over accusations that the government has failed to promote growth, the prime minister pledged to tackle a "failure of nerve" which has held back the economy.

Cameron showed he was prepared for a battle on two key fronts when he said the government would:
* Publish a new national planning policy framework that will lead to the biggest simplification in 60 years of "bureaucratic, top-down planning laws". The National Trust and the Daily Telegraph have been running a campaign against the planning reforms on the grounds that they will undermine the green belt. Cameron said: "We must get our planning system fit for purpose. It needs to be quick. It needs to be easier to use. And it needs to better support growth, jobs and homes."

* Hold a consultation on a new airport in the Thames estuary, known as "Boris Island", to ensure that the south-east of England maintains its status as a "key global hub for air travel". The Liberal Democrats said in their manifesto for the last election that they were opposed to "any expansion" of airports in the south-east. Cameron said: "We need to retain our status as a key global hub for air travel. Not just a feeder route to bigger airports elsewhere, in Frankfurt, Amsterdam or Dubai. Yes, this will be controversial. We will need to take decisions for the long term."

The prime minister set out his plans to rejuvenate Britain's infrastructure in a speech at the Institution of Civil Engineers in which he confirmed that the government was looking to invite sovereign wealth funds to lease trunk roads and motorways in England. This would be modelled on the funding system for water mains and sewerage which has led to improvements. But Cameron insisted no tolls would be introduced on existing capacity. "This is not about mass tolling - and as I've said, we're not tolling existing roads," he said. "It's about getting more out of the money that motorists already pay."

The prime minister said the time had arrived to strengthen and rebuild Britain's infrastructure as he invoked the memory of Victorian pioneers. "We are falling behind our competitors," he said. "And falling behind the great, world-beating, pioneering tradition set by those who came before us. There is now an urgent need to repair the decades-long degradation of our national infrastructure and to build for the future with as much confidence and ambition as the Victorians once did. Our national heroes include men of iron and steam like Brunel, Stephenson and Telford - all commemorated in Westminster Abbey alongside former prime ministers and great authors like Charles Dickens. Our inheritance includes daring bridges and soaring stations - structures built with Victorian swagger and intended to last like Norman castles."

The prime minister promised to "blast through the vested interests and bureaucratic hurdles" as he said he would:
* Work with the private sector to replace Britain's nine nuclear power plants, which are due to come to the end of their lives between now and 2030. There will be no state subsidy.

* Ensure that 90% of properties have access to high-speed broadband by 2015. The remaining "hard-to-reach" properties will have at least "functional broadband" of two megabits per second. George Osborne, the chancellor, will announce 10 "super-connected cities" with access to 100Mb broadband.

* Auction the 4G spectrum to ensure that the network covers 99% of the population.

The prime minister said he was braced for protests. "I'm not dogmatic about this. There will be costs and protests. And I am certainly not doing it in the hope of immediate political advantage. I can see the furious objections - the banner headlines - already. But rather than give in we should ask instead: what is it that people want for the future? Reasonable things. A decent home. A clean environment. Jobs for their children. The ability to get around without hassle, huge costs or endless jams. And then we should take the necessary steps to make these things a reality, not leave future generations to deal with the consequences of our cowardice."


Herts & Essex Observer - 21 March 2012

CHANCELLOR George Osborne's Budget speech today (Wednesday, March 21) confirmed a report on the future of aviation in south east England will be published in the summer.

The announcement has re-ignited fears of further expansion - despite the coalition's pledge to outlaw new runways in the region during the last General Election.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England's senior transport campaigner Ralph Smyth said: "The Government seems to be attempting to disguise a major u-turn on South East airport expansion as an economic aside. The Government needs to hold its nerve against the turbulence of vociferous lobbying of the aviation industry."

BAA ditched plans for a second runway at Stansted after the election and Mr Smyth said: "Smart hubbing through better allocation of runway slots would provide all the additional passenger capacity needed and avoid untold damage to the countryside including further loss of the rural tranquillity that remains in the south east of England. This is not a case of 'jobs versus the countryside' or 'runways versus rural England', but about tackling narrow minded and short sighted vested interests."

Airline bosses also joined forces to rap the Budget, after Mr Osborne said the Treasury would press ahead with increases in Air Passenger Duty (APD). Michael O'Leary, boss of Stansted's biggest carrier Ryanair, Carolyn McCall, the chief executive of Easyjet and the top brass of Virgin and British Airways united to say: "At a time when the Government talks about creating jobs and growth, its blinkered insistence on further increases in Air Passenger Duty achieves precisely the opposite."

"Youth unemployment is at record levels. Inbound tourism is a major employer of young people, but international visitors are being turned off the UK because of the exorbitant level of APD - which is by far the highest air travel tax in the world."

"In every other leading country, aviation is an expanding industry that underpins and facilitates growth in other parts of the economy. In the UK, rises of up to 360 per cent in APD in the last seven years are squeezing the life out of the economy. The CAA has confirmed that UK passenger numbers last year were the same as in 2004."


Government opposition to a third runway at Heathrow is beginning
to weaken, observers claimed, after the Chancellor pledged to tackle
a shortage of airport capacity in the south-east

Alistair Osborne, Business Editor - Daily Telegraph - 22 March 2012

Despite public denials from the Department for Transport that the Government could sanction expansion at Britain' premier airport, George Osborne's commitment to "confront" the capacity issue was hailed as the latest sign of a change of ministerial thinking. Echoing recent remarks from Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways-owner International Airlines Group, Mr Osborne stressed: "We cannot cut ourselves off from the fastest growing cities in the world."

The Government said in January that it was prepared to consider an ambitious 50bn project to build a new four-runway airport in the Thames Estuary. But supporters of Heathrow expansion maintain that a third runway would be a much quicker and cheaper option, costing 8bn-12bn.

Ashley Steel, KPMG's global chair for transport, said: "At long last pressure from business and lobby groups appears to be weakening the government's previous resolve to oppose airport capacity in the south-east. Finally there is hope for a third runway at Heathrow." He added that extra runway capacity was "essential for the continuing economic recovery".

Mr Osborne's admission that a consultation paper on options for a UK hub airport had now been pushed back from next week to "later this summer" was also widely interpreted as signalling a potential change of stance over Heathrow. Steve Ridgway, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic said: "We look forward to an urgent and open debate with Government on all options, which must include Heathrow."

Jonathan Riley, planning partner at law firm Pinsent Masons, said: "Taken with the Prime Minister's speech on Monday, it seems the Government are taxiing for a u-turn on south east airport capacity. The language of confrontation suggests one or more new runways will be supported."

A DfT spokesman insisted there had been "no change" in the Coalition's stance on a third runway - though he admitted no government made any commitments beyond one parliament. He said the delay over the consultation was due to ministers wanting to combine the issue of an airport hub with a separate document on the UK's"?overarching aviation framework", including such things as aircraft emissions policies. He said the aim was to have "a final policy in place by next spring at the latest".

An IAG spokesman said: "We need to see actions rather than words from the government's airport capacity review. The UK is lagging behind global powers that have understood that effective aviation links are key to unleashing economic growth."


Nicholas Cecil - This is London - 19 March 2012

Tens of thousands more flights will land in the South-East every year under "bold expansion plans" signalled by David Cameron. The Prime Minister promised to expand airport capacity in London and the home counties to cope with soaring demand. He went out of his way to highlight plans for a "Boris island" style airport in the Thames Estuary - raising the prospect of new hub east of London.

But he also said Gatwick's growing strength in business flights showed it could one day become a rival to Heathrow. In a keynote speech on improving Britain's ageing infrastructure, Mr Cameron said: "I'm not blind to the need to increase airport capacity, particularly in the South-East. Gatwick is emerging as a business airport for London, under a new owner, competing with Heathrow. But we need to retain our status as a key global hub for air travel, not just a feeder route to bigger airports elsewhere, in Frankfurt, Amsterdam or Dubai. Yes, this will be controversial. We will need to take decisions for the long-term - and we will be bringing forward options in our aviation strategy which will include an examination of the pros and cons of a new airport in the Thames estuary."

Business leaders immediately seized on his words as a sign that the Government is now properly recognising the need to maintain a major hub airport in the UK. Pressed on whether he was warming to the idea of a "Boris island" airport, Mr Cameron said: "We have always thought it's worth examining the potential for these ideas." Previously, transport ministers have been dismissive of the Mayor of London's proposal. But Mr Cameron stressed the Government now had an "open mind" about his blueprint and that there were other schemes for an airport in the estuary.

In a sign of the fierce rivalry with Mr Johnson, the Prime Minister added: "There will be various naming strategies, I'm sure." But he also praised the Mayor, who went out on a limb to push the idea of an estuary airport. "Boris Johnson has done a great job in driving forward this agenda," he said. The coalition agreement rules out new runways at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

After Mr Cameron's speech today, John Stewart, chairman of anti-airport expansion group HACAN ClearSkies, said: "This is a changed position, I think, from just before the election when we heard there were going to be no new runways in the South-East."

Chancellor George Osborne signalled in his autumn statement that now only a third runway at Heathrow is off the table. Rob McIvor, of business group London First, welcomed the Prime Minister's comments. He said: "We are starting to see greater acceptance of the need for increased hub capacity for the UK around London." But he added: "The real challenge is how to meet that in the near to medium term for which the only credible option is greater flexibility at Heathrow."

The new owners of Gatwick, Global Infrastructure Partners, have already outlined their long-term plans for a second runway. The blueprint for how the airport could look in about 2030 also includes a third terminal.

Another runway at Gatwick would not be allowed before 2019 under a deal with Sussex councils. Gatwick was bought from BAA by in 2009 which sees a "clear path" to grow it to 40 million passengers a year by 2020 by better use of the existing runway and larger planes. There is also talk of linking Gatwick and Heathrow with a fast rail link to create a joint hub airport.


Greenbuildingpress Online - 20 March 2012

David Cameron has attracted criticism for backtracking on previous green pledges twice this week so far, with a suggestion that his government would support further airport expansion in the South East of England, and a demonstration of a lack of understanding concerning the possible effects of the proposed planning reforms.

Greenpeace flagged up a major green U-turn as Cameron signalled that his government would support new airport expansion in the South East, and heavily hinted Gatwick would be the focus of these plans.

The coalition agreement explicitly says: "We will refuse permission for additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted." But the Prime Minister said "I'm not blind to the need to increase airport capacity, particularly in the south-east. We are acting now to make the best use of existing capacity... Gatwick is emerging as a business airport for London, under a new owner competing with Heathrow."

This morning's announcement comes just 48 hours after the coalition slipped out another major U-turn over the weekend, dropping any requirement that power stations become more efficient and less polluting over the next thirty years, according to senior campaigner Joss Garman from Greenpeace, who commented "The Prime Minister's totemic U-turn this morning has no mandate. Before the election he told voters he would refuse permission for new runways at Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted, now nothing's changed except he has caved in to lobbying by the aviation industry."

He added "Coming just 48 hours after another major green u-turn, this is fast becoming the coalition's worst week for the environment. No wonder that a recent opinion poll showed that only 2% of the British population think this is the greenest government ever."

But there was more - in a speech on national infrastructure to the Institute of Civil Engineering the Prime Minister made reference to highly controversial planning reforms expected to be published with the Budget on Wednesday. Neil Sinden, Director of Policy for the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), says: "The Prime Minister shows a disturbing misunderstanding of planning when he suggests that to prevent housing 'sprawling over the countryside' we must seek only to protect our 'Green Belts and National Parks'.

"The majority of the countryside does not enjoy any national designation or special protection. If the Government's planning reforms remain unchanged from the draft published last year, pressure for sprawling development is precisely what we can expect. Even in David Cameron?s own constituency of Witney, 55% of the countryside is undesignated and would be at increased risk of inappropriate development."

"No one is trying to stop all development. Clearly the country needs new housing and some of this is likely to be on greenfield sites. But unless the final NPPF recognises the intrinsic value of our countryside as a whole, we fear a rash of sporadic and inappropriate development across the country, disfiguring the rural landscape which is so valued by local communities. I very much hope that even at this eleventh hour the Prime Minister will stand up for the countryside as a whole, not just for our Green Belt and most special landscapes."

And it's still only Tuesday...


LeightonBuzzard Online - 21 March 2012

COUNCILS and campaign groups have voiced their opposition to plans to expand Luton Airport to 18 million passengers a year. The six-week consultation on the proposals from London Luton Airport Limited (LLAL), which owns the airport on behalf of Luton Borough Council, ends on Monday, March 26.

Both Dacorum Borough Council and St Albans District Council say the have concerns over the impact of the proposals on residents, and about the level of detail supplied during the consultation. In Dacorum's letter to LLAL, assistant director of planning, development and regeneration James Doe said: "The council remains very concerned over the potential increase in aircraft movements over time, and their effects on levels of noise in and frequency of daytime and night flights over Dacorum. The council does not accept your claim that noise levels will necessarily decrease. In addition, no reference has been made in the supporting material to the consequences of the increase in community disturbance stemming from the greater frequency of flights."

St Albans District Council described the proposals as "raising more questions than are currently answered". In its proposed consultation response, the authority's spatial planning manager Christopher Briggs said: "There needs to be a robust, sustainable, long term approach to the growth of the airport. There is no evidence of such strategy."

Responses to the consultation have also been sent in by campaign groups London Luton Airport Town & Village Communities Committee (LLATVCC) and Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (LADACAN).

North Hertfordshire councillor David Barnard said the proposals were "invasive aspirations" that would bring "massive profits to Luton at the woeful cost to its neighbours", and encouraged residents to send in their comments before the deadline.

To have your say, visit www.futureluton.co.uk, telephone 0844 225003, or write to Freepost RSUB-UEZB-SYXJ, GL Hearn, 20 Soho Square, London W1D 3QW


London mayor says third runway will not be built as long as
he is in office, but is open to more aviation capacity for the capital

Helene Mulholland - The Guardian - 26 March 2012

Boris Johnson, the Conservative mayoral candidate, has warned that further expansion of Heathrow would be "an environmental disaster" and akin to trying to "cram a quart into a pint pot". Johnson, the incumbent Conservative mayor who is seeking re-election in May, made clear his ongoing opposition to the idea of a third runway at Heathrow, insisting that "it will not be built as long as I am mayor".

He issued the warning amid reports that David Cameron and George Osborne are keen to re-examine long term policy on Heathrow amid fears that it is choking off economic growth. "Heathrow has a great future as a key UK airport. But we cannot endlessly expand it, and cram a quart into a pint pot," Johnson said. "A third runway would be an environmental disaster. It would mean a huge increase in planes over London, and intolerable traffic and fumes in the west of the city - and it will not be built as long as I am mayor of London."

"That is why the government is right to look at all new solutions for extra aviation capacity except the third runway at Heathrow. I look forward to engaging with [transport secretary] Justine Greening's consultation this summer."

The reported rethink about Heathrow will be embarrassing for Johnson, who is presenting himself at the mayoral election "as the only candidate who can secure a better deal for Londoners from No 10."

Johnson has consistently opposed a third runway but has been building the case for the past four years for a new airport hub on the Thames estuary to create extra airport capacity in the south-east on economic grounds. The government recently confirmed it would consult on the issue, though Johnson told the Guardian over the weekend that despite his efforts, "contrary to popular belief I am not the slightest bit wedded to some remote archipelago in the Thames estuary." Johnson is open to airport capacity being expanded at other sites, including Gatwick and Stansted. However, Justine Greening has previously ruled out both in answers to parliamentary questions.

Ken Livingstone, the Labour mayoral candidate, is generally opposed to expansion in the Greater London region, but has not ruled out expansion at Stansted if the business community can mount a good case that more flights are needed. He has outlined hopes for a "Crossrail 2 and 3" which would provide more rail services across the capital to link with trains coming into London.


ClickGreen Online - 14 March 2012

With passenger numbers at Heathrow potentially growing by a third to 95 million a year, road traffic around the airport could increase dramatically - worsening already poor air quality unless urgent steps are taken to improve public transport links, a new report warns today. 'Plane Speaking' by the Assembly's Environment Committee builds on the Committee's previous work on environmental conditions around the UK's busiest - and fastest growing - airport.

The report raises particular concerns about the significant contribution to poor air quality around Heathrow made by people using private cars and taxis to get to and from the airport: almost two-thirds of the 69 million passengers using Heathrow every year travel by car. Emissions from road traffic have contributed to the area around Heathrow achieving the dubious honour of being the second worst area in the capital for poor air quality, which can cause serious ill-health and premature death.

The situation could worsen as the number of passengers has the potential to rise to 95 million with the introduction of bigger planes and once redevelopment and construction projects at Heathrow are complete, generating even more road traffic. Committee Members believe improving public transport links - alongside the introduction of more greener, quieter planes and ensuring the airport's on-site vehicles meet the latest EU emissions standards - is essential to tackling the poor air quality around Heathrow.

Murad Qureshi AM, Chair of the Environment Committee, said: "Poor air quality causes the early deaths of at least 4,000 Londoners a year, and it's time more action is focused on Heathrow as a big player in this serious public health issue. Heathrow airport is of vital importance to London. And this is not just about planes. One of the biggest challenges to reducing emissions around the airport is the volume of road traffic. Improvements to public transport are absolutely essential to getting more of Heathrow's passengers and employees out of their cars."

"We need an integrated solution to surface access to and from Heathrow if we are to start to see air quality in the area improve. This means all the organisations involved - Heathrow Airport Limited, government, Transport for London, and rail operators - need to make improving transport links a priority."

The report sets out a number of actions for improving air quality, including:
* Introducing incentives to encourage people to use buses and coaches
* Expediting the upgrade of the Piccadilly line and extending its current operating hours by one hour at either end of the day
* Consideration of more robust measures to reduce the level of drop-off and pick-up traffic
* Ensuring Crossrail offers the service levels to take on the growing numbers of passengers coming into central London
* Making sure Heathrow is linked to the new planned high speed rail network which will help to minimise long car journeys to the airport
* Using incentives to encourage airline operators to remove the most polluting aircraft from their fleets more quickly and switch to more greener, quieter planes
* Ensuring Heathrow's on-site vehicle fleet meets the latest EU emissions standards

The Committee also looked at managing noise pollution around Heathrow, which now affects people living up to 20km away. The report recommends that the Government adopts the more stringent European standard for determining who is affected by noise, which will mean an additional 472,500 people will fall within the noise contour.

The trigger point at which residents qualify for assistance with noise insulation should also be lowered to make more Londoners eligible for help - and qualifying thresholds need to be more consistent, for example between City Airport and Heathrow. The Committee believes there is scope to develop a tighter and more consistent approach to dealing with the impacts of aircraft noise - and that local communities would welcome this.


Ian Taylor - Travel Weekly - 26 March 2012

A cross-party group of MPs and peers will today launch an inquiry into the impact of government policy on UK aviation. The move comes amid growing unease among leading Conservatives at the government's block on expansion at Heathrow and Gatwick. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Aviation announced the seven-week inquiry this morning and has invited aviation industry stakeholders to submit written evidence by May 16.

The group expects to hold a series of committee hearings over the coming weeks. In a letter to industry leaders the group says: "We believe that if the aviation sector becomes uncompetitive, it will not be possible for the UK economy as a whole to prosper."

Senior Conservative Party member Tim Yeo, chairman of parliament?s energy and climate change committee, said at the weekend he had "changed his mind" on a third runway at Heathrow. Yeo said: "We cannot wait around any longer. We have to get on with this." Prime minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne both signalled last week they would look afresh at the case for airport expansion in the southeast, through a strategy paper on airport capacity to be published this summer.

All-party parliamentary aviation group chairman Brian Donohoe MP said: "The UK's aviation industry is at a crucial juncture. Air Passenger Duty [APD] will rise next week by twice the rate of inflation and the government has announced it is re-igniting the debate on airport capacity in the southeast. The industry makes an enormous contribution to the UK economy, directly employing more than 352,000 people and paying in excess of 8.6 billion in tax each year as well as contributing 50 billion to GDP. However, it is simply not competitive internationally: the World Economic Forum's tourism competitiveness report ranked the UK 134th out of 138 countries for air ticket taxes and airport charges."

Donohue said: "This inquiry will explore to what extent government policy-making is responsible for this and what can be done to improve the long-term prospects of the UK as an international aviation hub." He said the inquiry will look at a series of issues that affect the UK industry's ability to compete internationally, including APD and its impact on competitiveness, the importance of the sector to the UK economy as a whole, and the impact on the environment and sustainability.

Donohue is Labour MP for Ayrshire Central. The All-Party Parliamentary aviation group consists of 20 MPs, including 10 from the coalition government parties.

OUR COMMENT: MPs climbing onto the aviation bandwagon! Their agenda is hardly likely to yield an independent judgement on either the economic need for expansion or the environmental and health effects of big increases in the number of flights.

Pat Dale


Paul Teed - Richmond & Twickenham Times - 15 March 2012

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has recommended BAA improves the way it communicates with communities next to Heathrow, to reduce hostility towards its runway trials. The CAA said the air operator faced distrust from residents suspicious of its motives and suggested it could involve council experts in collecting and analysing data.

Heathrow ended its first four month test on February 29. It allowed the airport to use one runway simultaneously for arrivals and departures when planes face a 10 minute wait, or if more than 30 per cent of aircraft are running more than 30 minutes late. Heathrow is due to start its second phase this summer.

Meanwhile, the Government has rejected an offer from Sir Richard Branson to invest 5bn expanding Virgin Atlantic operations if it dropped its opposition to Heathrow expansion.


Market Watch - 21 March 2012

Today NATS, the UK's leading air traffic services provider and a global supplier of aviation solutions, released its 2012 Corporate Responsibility report which outlines NATS' commitment to driving the sustainable aviation agenda in the UK.

The report, which is the third Corporate Responsibility report since 2008, chronicles the progress NATS has made since becoming the first air traffic management company in the world to calculate CO2 emissions in its airspace and set a target to reduce air traffic related CO2 by an average 10% per flight by 2020. To focus the company further on this goal, NATS has recently introduced another world first - 3Di, an entirely new environmental performance metric which has taken NATS three years to develop.

3Di, the 3-Dimensional inefficiency score, is a flight efficiency metric which extends the existing European horizontal flight efficiency metric to include vertical elements. 3Di seeks to account for the benefits delivered as a result of air traffic controllers delivering continuous climb departures, cruise levels as requested by airspace users and continuous descents, as well as most direct point to point routeings.

Working with airline customers and the UK regulator, NATS has integrated 3Di into its performance analytics and, as of January 1, 2012, became the first ANSP to be financially incentivised on environmental performance. Under the incentive regime, if NATS meets its targets it could be worth up to 120 million in fuel cost savings to airlines at today's prices, or around 600,000 tonnes of CO2 over the next three years.

"Fuel burn has always been a major cost to airlines. With the introduction of aviation into the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme, emissions will now be an additional cost," said Richard Deakin, Chief Executive Officer, NATS. "NATS has led the way by developing and committing ourselves to 3Di, a financially incentivised environmental performance metric that will support the industry in reducing costs and reducing environmental impact."

In addition to introducing the 3Di metric, the Corporate Responsibility report highlights the steps NATS has already taken towards making aviation sustainable, including:

NATS has made more than 100 operational and procedural changes in air traffic flows in the Swanwick, Prestwick and Oceanic regions. These have saved an estimated 115,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions - a fuel saving worth 22m. In 2011 alone NATS delivered over 26 changes at Swanwick and Prestwick, enabling fuel savings of over 19,000 tonnes fuel, worth almost 13m and saving 60,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

The UK-Ireland FAB - the first to be established under the Single European Sky initiative - has now been operational since July 2008 and is estimated to have enabled 48,000 tonnes fuel savings, that's 152,000 tonnes CO2. A new generation of advanced controller support tools became fully operational at Swanwick in November 2011. iFACTS, based on Trajectory Prediction and Medium Term Conflict Detection, provides decision-making support and helps controllers manage their routine workload, allowing the controller to check better climb profiles so an aircraft reaches cruising levels sooner and with fewer step climbs.

In 2011, NATS established local environment action plans for the 15 airport ATC units where NATS provides the air traffic control service. During 2012 NATS will complete the work to create a baseline figure for environmental performance at each airport unit and quantify, for the first time, the contribution the airport units collectively can make to NATS' overall 10% CO2 reduction target.

NATS remains dedicated to supporting aviation by enabling tools and technologies to improve the environmental performance of traffic in UK airspace. Working closely with partners in the industry, NATS is making progress minimising the environmental impact of air traffic management to enable the sustainable growth of the industry.

OUR COMMENT: NATS is to be congratulated on their work in assessing carbon emissions, how will this relate to the new environmental responsibilities being given to the CAA? And to the recommendations of the Climate Change Commission?

Pat Dale


Cambridge News - 19 March 2012

Night flights into and out of Stansted Airport will continue for at least another 18 months after politicians refused to bring in a ban this year.

Flights between 11.30pm and 6am into Stansted, as well as Heathrow and Gatwick, were earmarked for removal from this October following campaigns by residents living under flight paths. But at a recent meeting of Transport Secretary Justine Greening and other officials, supporters of the ban were told any changes would not come into effect until October, 2013.

Stansted is allowed 12,000 night flights each year.

OUR COMMENT: The unacceptable and unavoidable consequence of an ever-increasing number of flights.

Pat Dale


Seven leading European aviation companies have written to political
leaders complaining about a recently introduced EU carbon tax

BBC News - 12 March 2012

The signatories, which include Airbus, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, argue that the pollution levy threatens jobs and trade. They are concerned about trade-related retaliation by countries not complying with the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). China and the US both oppose the tax.

"The measure is threatening more than 1,000 jobs (at Airbus) and another thousand through the supply chain," Airbus CEO Thomas Enders is quoted as saying. The boss of EADS, the parent company of Airbus, Louis Gallois last week told reporters that China had suspended the purchase of planes made by European manufacturers because of the levy. "The ETS issue... is turning into a trade conflict," an Airbus spokesman told the Financial Times.

In a draft of the letter seen by the BBC, the companies urge politicians to pursue a 'compromise solution... which will mitigate third-country concerns whilst protecting the environmental integrity of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme'. They believe that the proposals should be put on hold until a global plan for carbon emissions is agreed.

"Trying to impose a scheme on flights outside of Europe risks retaliatory action against EU airlines and EU trade at a time when the European economy is under severe pressure," a spokesperson from BA said in a statement. "The amount of resistance to the EU's plans shows that the European Commission needs a Plan B in case there is retaliatory action," the statement goes on to say.

The European Union has gone it alone with its Emissions Trading System which levies a charge on flights in EU airspace based on carbon emissions. The opposition campaign is being led by Airbus and has the support of the chief executives of British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, Air France, Air Berlin and Iberia. Letters have been sent to leaders including Britain's David Cameron, Germany's Angela Merkel and France's Francois Fillon.


Airport Watch - 11 March 2012

AirportWatch, a coalition of national environmental organizations and airport campaign groups, has argued that a report due out tomorrow, which will claim that Air Passenger Duty (APD) is hurting the economy, fails to address the reason for the tax. The report from Oxford Economics, and commissioned by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), will claim that removing APD would result in an additional 91,000 British jobs being created and 4.2 billion added to the economy in 12 months.

AirportWatch Chair John Stewart condemned the report "as a little more than a self-interested attempt by the aviation industry to pay its full share of taxation. It pays no tax on it fuel and is zero-rated for VAT."

The aviation industry is actually under taxed. Not over taxed. In 2010/2011 the exemption from fuel tax and VAT was worth more than 11 billion to the airlines. After deducting APD revenues of around 2.5 billion in 2012 after the rise this coming April, the net benefit is around 8.5 billion - equivalent to a subsidy to the airlines of about 360 per household. John Stewart said "The Government has rightly ignored the special pleading of the aviation industry to pay even less tax. There is no indication that this latest report from the industry's favourite consultant will change the Government's mind."


Sir Richard Branson has revealed that Virgin Atlantic would invest
up to 5bn in the UK if the Government reversed its
"incredibly damaging" block on any expansion at Heathrow

Kamal Ahmed, Business Editor - Sunday Telegraph - 11 March 2012

In one of his most outspoken attacks on Coalition policy, Sir Richard said that Virgin Atlantic was now focusing on expansion in America and Australia rather than the UK. Thousands of jobs which could have been created in the UK have gone elsewhere, he said in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph.

Although Virgin Atlantic officials said that the airline had launched some new routes from Heathrow and invested in its presence at Terminal 3, Sir Richard said that the company had "effectively ground to a halt" in Britain.

His intervention will be damaging for the Government which is due to announce a review of aviation policy this month. Last week, The Sunday Telegraph published a letter from business and union leaders demanding the debate on Heathrow expansion and the third runway is reopened. Sir Richard said that having a review without including Heathrow, as the Government intends, "makes no sense whatsoever". BAA, the owner of Heathrow, is considering legal action against the review because of its limitation.

"I think the Heathrow decision was purely political and incredibly damaging," Sir Richard, the president of Virgin Atlantic said. "If there is one thing that is holding the country back it was the decision by all three parties to do the cowardly thing and that was to say they wouldn't allow a third runway. Heathrow came to a grinding halt five years ago. Virgin hasn't been able to offer many new routes out of Heathrow in the last five years. There would be a whole lot of destinations that we would be flying to and new destinations that we don't fly to today."

"We can't wait for another aviation review. Virgin would be willing to invest 5bn in expansion at Heathrow with new routes and take on thousands of new people [if the Government reversed its position]. Sometimes brave politicians need to change their mind and we need brave politicians on both sides of the political spectrum to put the country before party."

Sir Richard said he was sceptical about an airport in the Thames Estuary although he has pledged to look at the option. He warned it could become a "white elephant" and take up to 20 years to build. "The idea of a Thames Estuary airport, we're looking at it but for it to make sense you would have to close Heathrow down and that will cost hundreds of thousands of jobs in the Heathrow area," he said. "That would be even more politically disastrous for anyone who made that decision."

Sir Richard said that in five to 10 years planes would burn clean fuel and have quieter engines. That meant there was now less reason to object: "The aviation industry could quite rapidly go from being a polluting industry to being one of the cleanest industries."

In a separate development, a group of business leaders write in today's Sunday Telegraph that the Government should also look at using more capacity at the UK's regional airports. "Airports outside of the South East can provide additional capacity," the letter signed by chambers of commerce heads says. "Birmingham Airport could double its passenger numbers today. Manchester Airport could handle 50m passengers a year by 2050. Airports such as Liverpool, Manston, Doncaster and Blackpool could collectively accommodate tens of millions of extra passengers a year."


An offer from Sir Richard Branson to invest 5bn expanding Virgin Atlantic operations if the Government dropped its opposition to redeveloping Heathrow airport was rejected last night

Roland Gribben - Daily Telegraph - 12 March 2012

The Transport Department made it clear that the Government was committed to developing a new aviation policy framework that would examine all the options with the "exception of a third runway at Heathrow."

Sir Richard made his offer in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, coupled with a warning that thousands of jobs would be created elsewhere if there was no rethink with the emphasis on expanding in the American and Australian markets. The Virgin Atlantic founder was not surprised by the ministry's statement but his offer raised the stakes in an issue that has seen business and union leaders unite on expansion at Heathrow.

Airlines and travel agents are today adding to the Government's aviation headache with warnings that passenger taxes are pricing families out of flying and are damaging the economy. The heads of four airlines - IAG, the British Airways parent, easyjet, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic - in a rare demonstration of unity say the latest duty increase next month will add up to 500 to the cost for a family to fly to Australia and 440 to the Caribbean. Further increases are in prospect they say with the Treasury banking on a 46pc increase in revenue from the duty over the next four years to 4.8bn.

The chief executives of the airlines - Carolyn McCall of easyjet, Willie Walsh at IAG, Michael O'Leary of Ryanair and Steve Ridgway at Virgin - urged the Chancellor to suspend increases planned over the next four years and commission an independent study into the "economic effects of this job destroying tax." They said: "These endless cumulative increases in APD (Air Passenger Duty) are pricing families out of flying, both from and to the UK. That means fewer visitors to the UK, which destroys jobs in our tourism, aviation and hospitality industries and chokes off opportunities for young people at a time of exceptional youth unemployment."

The warnings are backed by the publication today of a study suggesting the tax is costing 91,000 jobs and removing it would provide a 4.2bn boost for the economy. Research by the World Travel & Tourism Council blames the duty for the slowdown in tourism and travel and says the British tax is the highest of its kind in the world.

David Scowsill, president and chief executive, said: "This tax is damaging the economy at a crucial time and is having a negative effect on trade with countries in the Caribbean, Africa and Asia." The research for the council by Oxford Economics shows abolishing the duty would create an extra 38,000 to 61,000 jobs with another 30,000 resulting from lower ticket prices.

Passenger taxes, introduced by the Government both for environmental reasons and as a tax raising measure, will be included in the aviation policy review. A draft consultation document, promised in the spring, will "address the environmental impacts of flying" and "maintaining the UK's aviation hub status."

Critics argue that airlines and the travel industry are being subsidised because they are not meeting their full share of costs. Lobby group AirportWatch points out that airlines benefit from duty and VAT free fuel, a concession that was worth 11bn in 2010-11.


From Mr Gordon Glass - Readers' Letters - Financial Times - 8 March 2012

Sir, It is timely to remind our government why all the political parties opposed a third Heathrow runway at the last general election. It would generate entirely new take-off and landing flight paths over London. Why? Solely to serve as a short-haul runway feeding passengers into even larger long-haul aircraft on the existing flight paths, with all the consequent increase in noise, pollution and crash risk.

Even BAA itself argued against a third runway at the Terminal 5 inquiry. In his report in 2000, the inspector noted "BAA's request that the secretary of state should rule out the prospect of an additional runway" and said: "I agree with BAA that the evidence placed before me demonstrates that a third main runway at Heathrow would have such severe and widespread impacts on the environment as to be totally unacceptable."

Even without the third runway, the inspector said, poignantly: "Terminal 5 would increase the risk of a major air crash, involving many casualties on the ground, which would raise questions about the future role of Heathrow."

Quite alarmingly, as the opposing local authorities could not afford the continuing high cost of the longest planning inquiry ever, it fell to me, as an unpaid individual professional, to be the sole body left challenging the development on the crash risks over London. I now run a not-for-profit company to "educate" public organisations on the risks to the wider public from transport. It is not public knowledge but, believe me, the risks to Londoners from Heathrow are already totally unacceptable.. and rising continuously.


Transport - Marion Dakers - 5 March 2012

THE GOVERNMENT said yesterday it will not reconsider a third runway at Heathrow, batting away fresh claims from businesses and interest groups that more air capacity is desperately needed to support economic growth.

"The government does not support the development of a third runway at Heathrow because of the unacceptable environmental consequences it would bring," the department for transport said in a statement. "[W]e will explore all the options for maintaining the UK's aviation hub status with the exception of a third runway at Heathrow."

The coalition is due to publish its views on the future of UK aviation later in the spring.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson emphasised his opposition to the expansion of Heathrow yesterday. "I don't think it's right to build a third runway at Heathrow, and if you look at the other measures that are being proposed, the extra capacity they're trying to load that into that airport, they're trying to cram a quart into a pint pot," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr show.

However, independent mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita said she would lobby for expansion: "A third runway will bring thousands of new jobs to West London, which has seen a slowdown in job creation because of the focus on east London and the London Olympic facilities."


Ministers are heading for a legal showdown with BAA, Heathrow's owner, should the government continue to rule out allowing a third runway at London's main airport

Andrew Parker, Elizabeth Rigby and Chris Tighe - Financial Times - 4 March 2012

BAA is signalling it could take legal action to ensure the government considers the case for expanding Heathrow as part of its aviation review. As the Department for Transport prepares to publish a new aviation policy paper this month, BAA is engaged in an intense effort to persuade ministers to review their opposition to a third runway at Heathrow.

On Tuesday, a report commissioned by BAA and done by Oxford Economics, the research consultancy, is expected to highlight that because Heathrow is operating at full capacity and cannot expand, the UK risks losing trade, inward investment and tourism. Two letters published in Sunday newspapers that were together signed by more than 100 business, consumer and political figures urged the government to consider expanding Heathrow.

Heathrow is BAA's most valuable asset, and one person close to the company said it was reserving the right to launch a judicial review of the government's aviation policy should ministers refuse to consider increasing the airport's runways. In an interview with the Financial Times last month, Colin Matthews, BAA's chief executive, said the coalition government should follow "proper process" in its policy making. He added he would not talk about a legal challenge before the government laid out its thinking on airport capacity, but said: "I cannot see the rationality for ruling out, at this stage, any option - that much is true."

The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats both campaigned at the 2010 general election on a platform of opposing the former Labour government's plans for a third runway at Heathrow. A spokesman for David Cameron, prime minister, said on Sunday: "As the coalition['s founding] agreement makes clear, there will be no third runway at Heathrow." The transport department added a third runway would involve "unacceptable environmental consequences".

In November, George Osborne, chancellor, said the government would look at all options for ensuring the UK continued to have a globally significant hub airport - except a third runway at Heathrow. But BAA has studied how in 2002 two councils successfully mounted a judicial review against the former Labour government's refusal to consider the case for expanding Gatwick airport.

A high court judge ruled that the government was irrational and unfair in excluding the option of extra runways at Gatwick in a consultation document, and ministers subsequently looked at expanding London's second-largest airport in a 2003 white paper. The coalition government will probably consider a proposal by Lord Foster, the architect, for a new hub airport in the Thames estuary, but it would be unlikely to open until 2028 at the earliest.

BAA estimates that, if the government backed a third runway at Heathrow, it could open six to 10 years after the ministerial go-ahead. A letter signed by 66 business, consumer, political and trade union figures, published in the Sunday Telegraph, highlighted how Heathrow was struggling to support links to fast-growing emerging markets and urged ministers to consider expanding the airport.

Another letter signed by 43 business figures, organised by London First, the business organisation, and published in the Sunday Times, said ruling out expansion at Heathrow "cannot be the right starting point".


Letters - The Evening Standard - 8 March 2012

Once again the aviation industry - and Irwin Stelzer, who at least has the good grace to admit that his tour was sponsored by BAA - seeks to persuade us that the UK will become an economic backwater if London only has seven runways rather than eight. But the industry conflates its own interests with the interests of UK plc and it hides some inconvenient truths in the process.

For example, the industry fails to explain why Japan - which, like the UK, is an island trading nation but has twice our population - achieves more than twice our GDP with far less airport capacity. The main reason is that fewer than a quarter of UK passengers are business passengers. Heathrow flies more holidaymakers to Miami than business people to China and has more passengers to Nice than to either Beijing or Shanghai.

London's airports handled 134 million passengers last year - more than 60 per cent of the UK total - and served more than 500 worldwide destinations direct. No other city in the world comes close to that level of airport capacity or connectivity. And there is no other part of the world where local residents have to put up with so much overflying, day and night.

The Government is right to stick to its election promise of no more runways at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick. And, the industry should accept the Government's democratic mandate, stop trying to re-open yesterday's arguments, and move on.

Yours etc.

Brian Ross
Economics Adviser
Stop Stansted Expansion


Leading regional airline offers additional 86 convenient regional
point-to-point connections and choice of 12 new flights by
optimising scheduling options through Manchester

4-traders.com - 8 March 2012

Manchester Airport is to benefit from an additional 86 regional point to point connections created by Flybe, Europe's largest regional airline and the UK's Number One Domestic carrier, as it becomes the first ever independent carrier in the UK to create a regional network hub from where passengers will have an additional weekday choice of 86 improved connections through Manchester International Airport.

This will benefit in particular passengers travelling to Aberdeen, Belfast City, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Inverness and the Isle of Man as well as those flying with its franchise partner, Loganair from Norwich. Flights are available for booking now at www.flybe.com for travel from March 26th with one way fares from 29.99 including taxes and charges.

In committing to better serve its passengers with improved connectivity, Flybe has worked hard with Manchester Airport to make these new services possible and reduce minimum connecting times to as little as 35 minutes. By streamlining connectivity through its Manchester hub, the airline believes the added choice of conveniently connecting domestic flights will prove of special benefit to those travelling on business, those wanting an affordable choice of multiple day returns and, just as importantly, creating additional opportunities for regional communities to access the many flight connections to the rest of the world offered from Manchester Airport.

Simon Lilley, Flybe's Director of Marketing, says: "Flybe has always looked at innovative ways to improve its services and with 5% of our passengers already taking advantage of the many connections we have been offering for several years, it made perfect sense to further optimise this obvious need. As Europe's largest regional airline serving 36 UK departure points, it made sense to 'join' more of them up and do it over Manchester, one of our largest bases. Manchester Airport immediately saw the potential and have worked hard with us to ensure that it could accommodate our re-adjusted schedule that now gives our passengers the added choice of over 80 new domestic connections. We also expect to see an increasing number of regional passengers choose to connect to the many international flights offered at Manchester rather than travelling through Heathrow."

Commenting on the deal, Ken O'Toole, Manchester Airport Group's Chief Commercial Officer, said: "We welcome Flybe's establishment of a hub operation at Manchester Airport. Flybe's selection of Manchester is a testament to the class-leading facilities available and confirms our position as the leading regional airport in the UK. We look forward to the increased connectivity and passenger volumes this announcement will bring."

Flybe's travel trade partners are equally positive about the move. Brian Potter, MD of Clyde Travel Management: "With such a capacity shortage at Heathrow, Manchester is an obvious benefactor. These additional Flybe services should really help change people's perceptions of where they can connect to via Manchester. Flybe now offers a wealth of options both through its added UK flights and because of its agreements with many of the long haul carriers to allow through booking of baggage and common baggage allowances to final destinations." And from the Isle of Man, Online Regional Travel Group's CEO Brian Kelly says: "In business it pays to make the right connection. Connecting to the regions with Flybe through Manchester gets our business and leisure travellers to the destination of their choice every time. Manchester makes a natural connecting hub from the Isle of Man and is of significant importance to our clients."

OUR COMMENT: An interesting development that could encourage better integration of existing competing air transport services, provided it does not seek to replace existing fast train services but rather to offer connections with lower emission transport services and also offers a better service to business passengers.

Pat Dale


Deborah McGurran, Political Editor - BBC News - 6 March 2012

The transport secretary has told us it's time to have a proper "fact based debate" about the future of airport capacity in Britain and in particular, the South East. "There aren't any easy answers," says Justine Greening. "It's a very complex question but we need to get on with a process which helps resolve these issues." Later this month she will launch a discussion paper which will try to tackle this political hot potato once and for all.

Future demand
During a visit to Southend Airport to open its new terminal she gave us an insight into her thinking. "We've got to make sure there is the level of capacity at our airports that we need, not just in the next 10 to 15 years but the next 20 to 30 years. We are getting to the stage where there is a question mark over whether we've got the capacity to meet the country's needs. In the short term we've always been clear that we need to make the most of the capacity we do have. We need to use what we've got better and more effectively and we're looking at how we do that, but we also need to look ahead." And it's that concern that has prompted the consultation.

Ms Greening does not want to prejudice proceedings but says the debate must be based on "real facts and figures and details around logistics, operations and airspace - then we'll have some of the information we need to make the right decision". She will not be drawn on whether the ultimate conclusion of this consultation will be a call for more runways or a new airport but she does rule out a third runway at Heathrow which is "not the right answer".

Proposals to build a new airport in the Thames are met with a more sanguine response. "This is the time for people to bring forward proposals on this issue," she says.

Coping with capacity
The aviation industry has been pushing for some time for the government to tackle this issue. "There is a capacity issue in the South East - it's probably a bit late but now is the time to do it," says Carolyn McCall, chief executive of Easyjet.

The capacity issue in the South East is to be addressed by the review. "There is a real opportunity to have an aviation policy which is long term and which addresses the need for a hub airport but also looks at needs elsewhere."

The transport secretary was opening the new 100 million terminal at Southend Airport. Next month Easyjet will launch services to nine European destinations, and other airlines are expected to move in as well.

"This is a real vote of confidence in Southend," said Ms Greening, who pointed out that this bit of airport expansion has created 500 extra jobs. It's also the first piece of airport expansion in the South East for more than 20 years. Southend hopes to handle two million passengers a year. That will help ease capacity in the South East but it won't solve the problem. That's for Ms Greening to work out.


Saffron Walden Reporter - 29 February 2012

AIRPORTS operator BAA has announced it is to launch a subsequent appeal against the Competition Commission's ruling that it must sell Stansted Airport.

The company today (Wednesday) initiated appeal proceedings against a ruling by the Competition Appeal Tribunal on February 1, which found in favour of the Competition Commission?s decision that the airport must be sold. BAA believes that the judgement was "flawed".

Campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) said it meant the uncertainty over the future ownership of Stansted Airport was set to continue for at least another six months. SSE's economics adviser Brian Ross said: "True to form, BAA has again waited until the final day before lodging this appeal. It is clear that BAA wants to cling onto Stansted for as long as possible but with every day that passes Stansted is losing customers and jobs and for any future owner becoming a weaker competitor for BAA's Heathrow Airport."


The regulator has set an unreasonable timeframe

Mark Leftly - The Independent on Sunday - 4 March 2012

The more devastating the butchering of airport operator BAA, the better: I'd like to see the terminals at Heathrow run by different companies, never mind just forcing it to sell whole airports. But the decision of BAA's parent, the Spanish conglomerate Ferrovial, on Wednesday to launch yet another legal challenge to the Competition Commission's decision that it must offload Stansted warrants sympathy.

Never mind the airports serve different parts of the South-east and are 65 miles from each other, and that Heathrow targets business customers, while Stansted is after holidaymakers on cheap flights with Ryanair. For BAA, timing is as important here as the principle of fighting the commission's muddled argument.

For all the faults of BAA's stranglehold of the airport markets - if you're into the study of "queuing theory", you will know that Heathrow fails any capacity measurement of what is considered acceptable use of its runways, check-ins and security processing - the Competition Commission should have shown some leniency on when the break-up took place.

The UK has had a quarter of a century to sort out the monopoly the Thatcher government created in BAA - authorities should not have waited until one of the greatest economic depressions the world has known to start slicing and dicing the group. Punishing BAA for its operational performance was right and necessary; forcing BAA to accept pennies for its assets was not.

Take Gatwick. BAA rushed through an auction in 2009 so it did not appear to be a forced seller, rather that it had begrudgingly accepted the commission's decision. No one swallowed that line, so the bids were low and BAA ended up selling the world's most prominent single runway airport for 1.5bn ? about half what it could have got in the boom times.

I'm not saying the commission should have told BAA it could wait to sell until we returned to the days of ludicrously cheap debt. But it should have given a reasonable timeframe of, say, five years, so that management could try to time the sale in the best interest of the business.

What's happening now is a waste of time and money but is perfectly understandable from BAA's point of view. I doubt it will win its latest appeal and I doubt Ferrovial believes it will either - they haven't exactly got a glowing record in their legal fights with the commission so far - but this will buy the group a few more months. Those months could be vital as the eventual prices BAA secures for Stansted and Edinburgh, the asset BAA is currently selling as a result of the commission's decree, are dependent on keeping a good distance between the auctions.

Banks are slowly coming around to the idea that major infrastructure assets with secure, long-term returns are still worth lending on. There was surprising interest in Edinburgh from banks when the parties involved worked up their bids in January. Banks were willing to lend potential bidders around 400m on what is expected to be an eventual price tag of between 600m and 700m. Also, the fact unusual investors - Carlyle Group and JP Morgan Asset Management - have made it to the four-strong shortlist suggests airports are attractive to companies with plenty of cash, but little to play with in the equity markets.

If BAA had accepted its latest defeat in the Stansted battle, on 1 February in the Competition Appeal Tribunal, the auction of the Essex airport would have taken place shortly after Edinburgh. Suddenly, the market is then saturated, banks spread their lending over two auctions and bidders lower their offers as they know there is another sale in the offing.

I will argue that BAA has exploited its monopoly over the years and so shouldn't be given any quarter now. It is certainly true that the British airport industry is in desperate need of shaking up, and speed is of the essence.

However, the commission should tell Ferrovial there is no need to fight the decision any longer, it will compromise by giving the group the opportunity of a little freedom on the timing and handling of the Stansted sale. Anything less and the commission looks as if it has adopted the prevailing social and political mood of bashing big business, rather than taking decisions that are right, fair and make economic sense.

OUR COMMENT: The future of Stansted airport affects a whole community - should they have a say?

Pat Dale


STANSTED Airport's retail profits have increased -
despite a slump in passenger numbers

Herts & Essex Observer - 5 March 2012

The jump in spending by travellers in the terminal is revealed in the 2011 year-end results for BAA (SP) Ltd, the arm which operates both Heathrow and the Essex hub. The report says Stansted's gross retail income rose 0.1 per cent from 83.1m in 2010 to 83.2m, which was highlighted as a "good performance given passenger trends".

The net retail income per passenger increased 3.4 per cent to 4.16 from 4.02. In the same period, traffic at the airport fell to 18m from 18.6m in the previous 12 months.

The report explains: "Stansted's traffic declined 2.8 per cent to 18m passengers. This reflects no recurrence of the volcanic ash and severe winter weather disruptions in 2010 that resulted in the loss of approximately 0.4m passengers. Adjusting for this, Stansted's traffic declined five per cent, reflecting airlines' redeployment of capacity from the UK to other European markets. Much of the decline was in the domestic market, which declined 15.8 per cent, principally due to cessation of services to Belfast and Newcastle."

"Excluding the domestic market, traffic was down only 1.5 per cent to 16.6m passengers. Further, Stansted experienced record load factors through most of 2011 [80.8 per cent compared with 78.8 per cent in 2010] whilst traffic has been declining, suggesting gradually more positive demand dynamics.?

The report also noted BAA's efforts to hold on to Stansted, despite a repeated order from the Competition Commission (CC) to sell the Essex base as part of an anti-monopoly move.

BAA issued proceedings at the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) for a judicial review of the CC's decision regarding material changes in circumstances since the CC's original report of March 2009. In December, a hearing to consider the case was held and in February the CAT rejected BAA's request. The airports operator is currently considering its position.


Passenger numbers last year fell for the fourth year in a row,
sliding 2.8 per cent to 18 million

Ian King, Business Editor - The Times - 23 February 2012

The rise of Stansted has been built on boom-time demand for weekend city breaks and family holidays in Europe, but yesterday the airport's success story turned full circle. The economic downturn has made such getaways an infrequent luxury and the airport's owner BAA said that passenger numbers last year fell for the fourth year in a row, sliding 2.8 per cent to 18 million. Stansted has now retreated to the same size it was a decade ago.

Stansted's operating profits fell by 35 per cent to 39.4 million, a weak performance that will do little to persuade potential bidders that the airport is worth BAA's 1 billion-plus valuation. The Competition Commission ruled four years ago that BAA must break up its monopoly control of airports in the South East of England and Scotland. It has already sold Gatwick, is in the process of selling Edinburgh and lost an appeal against the sale of Stansted last month.

BAA will now be required to start the auction for Stansted unless it attempts yet another appeal against the commission's ruling. Colin Matthews, the chief executive of BAA, said: "The challenge with Stansted is that it is quite dependent on UK consumer spending, whereas Heathrow is dependent on global economic activity."

"Stansted is the airport around London that has significant capacity available, so will see much faster growth than the others when the economy recovers."

While Stansted has struggled in the present economic environment, Heathrow has gone from strength to strength. The airport confirmed its status as Britain's principal gateway as it reported record passenger traffic last year, with numbers up 5.5 per cent to 69.4 million.

Heathrow is now operating at 99.2 per cent of its total capacity and Mr Matthews said this meant that Britain was missing out on growth in emerging markets because new flights to these regions could not be started. Operating profits at Heathrow grew by 9.2 per cent to 526.8 million, driven by higher aeronautical charges and retail.

BAA (SP), the holding company for Heathrow and Stansted, reported overall revenues up 9.9 per cent to 2.2 billion last year. Pre-tax losses were 255.8 million as operating profits of 572.1 million were wiped out by interest payments on debt of 789.9 million. BAA's debt increased by 5.3 per cent to 10.4 billion owing to costs associated with the company's takeover by Ferrovial, a Spanish infrastructure company, six years ago and capital expenditure on new terminals.

Heathrow is currently rebuilding Terminal 2, which is scheduled to open in 2014. Mr Matthews said: "The work we are doing at Heathrow will completely transform the airport, and passenger surveys show their experience is the best it has ever been."


EADT Online - 22 February 2012

AIRPORTS group BAA said today it was still "considering its position" following the latest reverse in its long-running battle with competition chiefs over an order to sell-off Stansted Airport.

The statement came as the BAA subsidiary which runs Heathrow and Stansted airports reported reduced losses for 2011, helped by improved turnover and cash generation. Revenue grew by 9.9%, from 2.07billion in 2010 to 2.28bn, and cash generation by 23.3%, from 918.5million to 1.13bn.

Losses before exceptional items were 19.2% lower at 166.7m, against 206.2m, while bottom-line pre-tax losses were down by a similar margin at 255.8m against 316.6m. As previously reported by BAA, passenger numbers at Stansted fell by 2.8% last year to 18.0million, against 18.6million in 2010, while numbers at Heathrow grew by 5.5% to a record 69.4million, from 65.7million. The combined total for the two London airports of 87.4million represented an overall increase of 3.7%.

BAA added today that punctuality at Heathrow had reached its highest level in more than a decade, with 79% of aircraft leaving within 15 minutes of their scheduled time against 71% the previous year. Punctuality also improved at Stansted, from 78% to 88%.

In July 2011, the Competion Commission ruled that there had been no material changes in circumstances that required it to review its decision in 2009 that BAA should have to sell Stansted, together with either Glasgow or Edinburgh airport in Scotland. A challenge by BAA was heard by the Competition Appeal Tribunal in December, with the CAT upholding the original decision earlier this month.

"BAA is currently considering its position in the light of the CAT's decision," the group said today. In view of the delayed resolution to the Stansted issue, the CC has reversed the order of the sell-out with BAA currently in the process of seeking a buyer for Edinburgh airport.

BAA added that although in 2010 the coalition had ruled out the development of any new runways in the South East, there were now signs that the Government recognised the issue of airport capacity. Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA, said: "BAA delivered a strong operational performance in 2011 with record traffic levels and high service standards at Heathrow. Last year saw Heathrow's best punctuality performance in over a decade and the international Airport Service Quality passenger survey showed that 70% of Heathrow's passengers rated their experience as 'Excellent' or 'Very Good', compared with just 41% when the Ferrovial-led consortium bought BAA in 2006."

"We continued to invest significantly in further improving our airports during 2011, particularly on the new Heathrow Terminal 2. The group's financial position has been strengthened with 3 billion in new financing completed in the last 12 months and we have fully repaid our 4.4 billion bank bridge loan nearly two years early. We are pleased that the UK Government recognised the importance of a successful hub airport to UK economic growth in its Autumn statement. All potential solutions to the UK's lack of hub airport capacity have their pros and cons and all should be on the table to ensure the right solution is found for both the short and long term."


Aircraft Operations to be moved to Cambridge Airport

Blueskyexecutiveaviation Online - 23 February 2012

Hard on the heels of winning a five-year, exclusive contract to run Cambridge Airport's FBO, ExecuJet Europe announced on Monday that it is to further strengthen its presence at its new UK home. The business aviation company plans to relocate its Aircraft Operations Department from Zurich, Switzerland to Cambridge during the second quarter of 2012, while, at the same time, retaining resources at its Headquarters to run its Swiss AOC.

"We recognise the value and flexibility of this sizeable new facility in the UK which has great potential to help develop and strengthen our European business further." Business aviation in the UK has traditionally been a very important market especially in terms of medium size and large business aircraft registered, generating over 30% of business aviation employment in the EU. "Bolstering our presence in the UK is a logical next step for us," explains Cedric Migeon, Managing Director ExecuJet in Europe.

"In striving to keep our business ahead of the game, we must take full advantage of opportunities available, while keeping a firm eye on the current economic situation in Europe. In reducing some of our costs and using the excellent resources we have in Cambridge, we will be gaining a competitive advantage in the market."

Some positions will be moved from Zurich to Cambridge, but the company's European Headquarters, as well as ExecuJet Aviation Group's Headquarters will remain in Zurich.

The move will have no effect on the Swiss AOC the company holds. Staffing in the UK will increase to a headcount of about 40 by year end for the office staff, which will complement approximately 40 UK-based crew. Extensive training is on-going for more than six months to ensure a smooth transition to the new team in the UK. ExecuJet has offered some employees whose positions have been made redundant in Zurich the opportunity to join the company's UK office in Cambridge.

"Cambridge Airport is excited that ExecuJet has decided to expand its presence here. We applaud them for their foresight in recognising what we are building up here at the airport," said Airport Director Archie Garden.

OUR COMMENT: How will this affect Stansted?

Pat Dale


Travel Weekly - 20 February 2012

There is no doubt we are living in painful and challenging economic times. Twenty eight years ago the UK was also undergoing significant structural change. Manufacturers were moving away from traditional mass production, the financial sector was preparing for its "big bang" to ensure London became the world's financial heart and the UK was leading Europe in freeing up regulated services, including aviation.

When we started Virgin Atlantic in 1984, this spirit of liberalisation meant we could respond to consumer demand for better, fresher service and greater value. We weren't alone. Three years earlier, British Midland Airways had finally won the right to introduce competition on to the routes from Heathrow to Edinburgh and Glasgow. Virgin Atlantic brought to transatlantic flying what British Midland had given to domestic flying in the UK: real freedom of choice.

Since then, Virgin Atlantic has prospered by offering choice to long-haul travellers. Sadly, British Midland (now BMI) has not achieved the same success. There are many reasons for this but in particular, BMI was unable to join up its largely short-haul routes with long-haul flying. Put simply, it could not take people from Aberdeen to Accra, Belfast to Boston or Dublin to Delhi.

Instead, BMI acts as a feeder to other long haul airlines, performing a vital service for a large number of business people and holidaymakers. In 2010, 1.6 million people travelled from Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester to London Heathrow to connect with a host of international destinations. Those people had a choice of airline for the domestic leg of their journey, and they could use the power of the web to compare prices and choose the airline that offered the best experience.

This choice BMI offers is not a 'nice to have' or a novel notion. This choice keeps prices down which means families far away can still travel to see each other, holidays remain part of our lives and struggling small businesses can continue to prosper. When British Airways was left as the only operator on the Glasgow to Heathrow route in 2011, fares paid by Scottish travellers rocketed by 34% in six months. That is not beneficial, it is backbreaking and plainly unfair.

Whether it's business people connecting from Manchester to Johannesburg or tourists from Tokyo visiting Edinburgh, BMI's existing network sustains choice for the three million travellers who fly between Heathrow and Scotland each year. The alternative is to force them to use British Airways only, an increasingly overbearing airline monopoly.

BA's parent company, IAG, has applied to the European Commission for clearance to take over BMI. Should this matter to politicians, business people and the UK travelling public? Of course it should and we should all brush up on the arguments. Not only will this proposed deal poorly serve flyers from the north of this country but it's likely that a dangerous fault line could grow at UK's only global airport hub at Heathrow.

London is unique in the world in having the demand to support two UK long haul airlines, providing choice on long-haul routes. It means Heathrow can sustain competition, adding economic value, and supporting thousands of UK jobs. However, if this IAG merger is not blocked, BA will control 52% of Heathrow's landing and take-off slots, tightening its suffocating stranglehold on flying in and out of this country.

When you consider that BMI is the next biggest slot holder at 8.4% and Virgin Atlantic, just 3%, you would wonder why there is even a conversation about whether BA is allowed to swallow another slice of the market. When you further consider that all of the remaining slots are held by a host of foreign carriers such as Qantas, Emirates, and United, which fly only between their home and ours, there will not be another opportunity for another UK airline to obtain enough extra slots to grow effectively.

The competition authorities know that nodding through a merger cannot be right. They know that BA is already overly dominant at Heathrow and that the airport is already full - unlike other European hubs. This makes it impossible for new competition to establish a meaningful base. The regulators also know that with BA removing competition from domestic and European flying into Heathrow, many airlines will have their supply of connecting customers choked off and long haul airlines may be forced to reduce their presence at the airport. In short, they know that an IAG takeover would spell an end to choice for many UK travellers and visitors.

However, there is another option. Virgin Atlantic is ready to play its part. I believe we can replace BMI's challenge to BA by adding regional UK flying to our long haul network. By creating a second network carrier at Heathrow, we can build new routes to the countries vital to the UK's economic future such as Brazil, China and India. We can support and grow UK employment and make Heathrow an effective, competitive hub.

The choice facing the regulators is stark: one dominant carrier that squeezes the life out of UK flying or two tenacious competitors that fight for low prices, increase customer value and ultimately provide more jobs, economic contribution and flying.


ENDS Europe DAILY - 22 February 2012

Countries opposed to the EU's inclusion of international flights in its emissions trading scheme (ETS) have reportedly agreed possible retaliatory measures following a two-day meeting in Moscow.

The 32 nations attending the meeting, including the US, China, India and Russia, have not yet released a statement listing the measures. However, reports from before the meeting suggest they may include legal action via the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the cancellation of bilateral air agreements.

New charges on EU airlines and restriction of their activities are also understood to have been on the agenda. On Tuesday, Russia said it was considering banning its airlines from the ETS. China and the US have already threatened such an approach.

For now, it will be up to the countries involved to choose which, if any, of the agreed options they pursue. Saudi Arabia will host another anti-ETS meeting in the summer.

Before the statement was released, a European Commission spokesman said Europe would continue to defend its legislation and investigate any firm threats to EU carriers.

He called on the 32 countries to instead propose alternatives to the ETS through the ICAO. "What the world needs now is more concrete action to tackle climate change and not declarations of possible countermeasures," he told journalists.

Asked how the EU would enforce penalties for non-compliance on foreign airlines, he said that the aviation directive allows national authorities administering the scheme to seek an operating ban from the commission. Brussels hopes it will never come to this.

Fearing foreign airlines will not comply or refuse to pay penalties, some EU carriers have suggested that the flights they operate on the same routes should be exempted.

On Wednesday, the head of the Association of European Airlines Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus said: "This situation is unacceptable. Airlines must not be taken hostage by politicians We urgently need both sides to focus on the core objective - managing global aviation emissions rather than on winning a battle of sovereignty."


ENDS Europe DAILY - 23 February 2012

The costs that airlines face under the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) will be small compared with the fuel subsidies they receive from government, says campaign group Sandbag. Its estimates are based on figures for carriers registered in the UK.

The 20 biggest UK-registered emitters, which account for 28% of all the aviation emissions allowances in 2012, the campaigning group estimates. A 0.377 per litre fuel tax - the level paid by recreational light aircraft - on flights covered by the ETS would cost the same airlines 8.9bn a year if they were not exempted from fuel taxes by an international agreement.

The cost to airlines is one of the main arguments against the ETS made by opposing countries. Counter-measures were agreed at a meeting in Russia this week.


Engineering Leeds Onine - 21 February 2012

Engineers from the Faculty of Engineering Leeds University have chosen Newcastle International Airport as the ideal place to study how planes affect air quality as they take off and land. For many years it has been known that aircraft emissions can have a negative effect and extensive research has been carried out in South East England, but limited information has been available for regional airports - until now.

Newcastle International Airport is working with academics from the University of Leeds aviation department to see exactly how the exhaust from jet engines influences the air quality in surrounding communities. Since August 2011, state-of-the-art monitoring equipment has been positioned on the airfield to continuously check a number of factors including the levels of nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide and oxygen. And with six months of data collected, the results are now being analysed as part of wider national project. Dr Darron Dixon-Hardy and Dr Hu Li, members of the aviation staff at the Energy Research Institute, are leading the research along with Helen Hughes, the airport's Environmental Adviser.

The research will contribute to a better understanding of aircraft emissions and their impact on air quality at medium-sized airports in particular. It is hoped the joint research will provide an insight into what contributes to airborne pollution and allow new ways of controlling and dispersing it.

Dr Dixon-Hardy said; "We've been monitoring aircraft emissions at a location very close to Newcastle's runway using state-of-the- art equipment. Results so far indicate that prevailing wind conditions dominate the dispersal of aircraft emissions and show that Newcastle Airport does not have a significant impact on local air quality. Newcastle Airport is forward-thinking in addressing the need to work with the university and we would like to thank them for offering us the opportunity."

Learning more about the impact of aircraft emissions at regional airports is becoming increasingly important as they make up the majority of the 50-plus airports in the UK and existing studies have mainly concentrated on air quality in neighborhoods, rather that at the pollutants' source.

Helen Hughes, the airport's environmental adviser, said: "The expertise and knowledge brought by Leeds University will provide Newcastle Airport with valuable information on local air quality. We are delighted with the partnership, and the results so far. The airport has been monitoring air quality levels for more than 10 years across 22 separate locations on site. This project will increase our knowledge in this area so we can monitor how we impact on our local community. The academics will analyse the results and provide a report at the end of the study."


Pilots fear EU plans to relax British flying rules will endanger lives
through longer shifts and increased fatigue

Gwyn Topham - The Guardian - 21 February 2012

Air passengers' lives will be put at risk by EU proposals to relax British flying rules, the pilots' association, Balpa, has warned.

Pilots will tell a parliamentary hearing on Wednesday of their concerns at regulations that would allow them to land a plane after up to 22 hours without sleep. Changes to shift patterns and reduced crew requirements on certain long-haul flights will likewise raise the chances of pilots falling asleep in the cockpit, they say.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (Easa) is proposing to harmonise safety rules across the continent, with its current consultation expected to lead to EU policy later this year. Balpa says the proposals fall short of current British practice and has called on the UK regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), to resist.

Jim McAuslan, Balpa general secretary, said the planned rules would, "contrary to scientific advice, allow pilots to do up to seven early starts in a row, which is desperately fatiguing. The government has to answer this question: 'Is it safe to land an aircraft after 22 hours?' If not, they need to reject these EU proposals now."

Louise Ellman MP, chair of the Commons transport committee, said: "We've received representations that this could be putting people's lives at risk. We're looking at it from a public safety point of view. Aviation has a very good safety record here and we need to keep it."

However, the CAA says the moves are welcome. A spokesman said: "Not every British citizen leaves on a British airline: many are flying to places with little flight-time limitation. Easa are looking to make the European baseline more restrictive - and in the pilots' favour."

He said the latest version of the proposals would incorporate European maximum working hours and a new requirement making airlines legally responsible for managing any pilot fatigue. "We are satisfied that, as a complete package, it provides an equivalent level of safety to the current regime. If you take Europe as a whole, for lots of pilots it will mean fewer hours."

British Airways said that while some parts of the European Aviation Safety Agency's proposals were more permissive, as a whole, with proper regulatory oversight, the new rules would raise safety standards. However, Rob Hunter, head of safety at Balpa, said there were no guarantees that mandated rest time for pilots meant sleep. "The jargon is 'airport standby' - this is not a bedroom. They could start their duty at 11am and could potentially be landing a plane at 3am the next day."

He also criticised proposals to allow only two pilots instead of three on flights of up to 14 hours, extended from 12 - affecting long-haul flights to the west coast of America from London. A Balpa/ComRes survey found that 43% of pilots had inadvertently fallen asleep in the cockpit, and almost a third of those had awoken to find their co-pilot asleep. While some airlines do allow for a napping captain in extremis, Hunter said: "Our view is that both pilots need to be alert on the deck at all times."

The US Federal Aviation Authority last December published new rules on flight times in the wake of a 2009 plane crash in Buffalo, where pilot fatigue was identified as a factor in an incident that killed 50 people.


Zoe Forsey - St. Albans Review - 23 February 2012

Angry residents have formed a campaign group in response to plans to dramatically expand Luton Airport's capacity.

The new plans, which could see 18 million passengers pass through the airport every year, have been met by a series of complaints from people living in the area, who claim the area is already congested. Hertfordshire Against Luton Expansion will hold its first public meeting this evening at Flamstead Village Hall from 8pm.

Nigel Emms, a founder member of the group, said: "Residents across Hertfordshire will experience more noise, more air pollution and more congestion on their roads and railways, while Luton Borough Council pockets the cash. It's also outrageous that Luton Borough Council, which owns the airport, can decide on its own planning application for such a controversial project."

Members of the group are hoping to stop the controversial plans and to pressure the operator to resolve the long-running issue of noisy night flights. All residents who feel strongly about the issue are invited to attend tonight's meeting.


STANSTED Airport managing director Nick Barton
could be forgiven for being downbeat

Herts & Essex Observer - 17 February 2012

Future ownership of the Uttlesford hub is once more in doubt following the recent Competition Appeal Tribunal ruling that it must be sold, it has lost its place as the UK's third busiest airport to Manchester after a slump in annual passenger figures from a peak 24m in October 2007 to 18m last year, and the recession across Europe continues to hit aviation hard - yet he is surprisingly optimistic.

In an exclusive interview with the Observer, Mr Barton made it clear that he and his team are not distracted and remain focused on growth despite the current uncertainties. "The issue of ownership is entirely a matter for the shareholders, who will be considering their position in due course," he said. "Our job as managers is to ensure the airport is improving on a continual basis."

Last year, Stansted was the most punctual airport in Europe - and third in the world - when it came to departing flights, and was voted the best low-cost hub at the World Airport Awards. Despite the economic downturn, more than 10,000 people work on site and 13 airlines operate around 550 flights daily to more than 150 destinations in 31 countries.

Mr Barton said: "It [future ownership] is of great interest and to some [staff] it will be of some concern, but we have to put that into context of what we're about. We are an airport and it's an airport that represents a very significant part of the regional economy and so if it's sold it will be sold for the right reasons."

Meanwhile, he said, the board had ensured that he and his team had enough latitude to shape the business in the best way for the future. "The key issue for us is how to make the airport busier in terms of driving its potential and supporting the aviation industry for the south east." He pointed to Jonathan Crick, who joined the Stansted team late last year, as the kind of "world-class" talent equal to that challenge, and said: "We are very, very happy to have the airport that we have with spare capacity - many others don't have that luxury."

Mr Crick joined the board of the airport from easyBus, where he was chief executive. He also has 15 years' experience at Monarch Airlines as both commercial director and sales and marketing director.

Mr Barton believed his experience "on the other side of the fence" with an airline gave him a valuable insight into what customers wanted, and how to lure carriers by offering the best passenger experience at the lowest cost. He said: "We're the most punctual [airport] in Europe and that speaks volumes to the airline community."

He was bullish about finding new business: "Within the mix of aviation activity, there's always movement, airlines are growing and airlines are contracting. To the extent that we're able to seize an opportunity to get a share of that growth, then certainly we are proactive. But there's no silver bullet - for the airport to grow sustainably, we need the aviation sector to grow sustainably."


Manchester Evening News - 15 February 2012

Greater Manchester's 10 councils have agreed in principle to restructure their ownership of Manchester Airport to fund a swoop for Stansted. Manchester Airports Group is seeking equity investment to give it the firepower to buy Stansted after current owner BAA was forced to put it on the market.

MAG is currently owned by the 10 local authorities, with Manchester city council holding a 55 per cent stake and the others five per cent each. Proposals have been put to the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, seeking approval for a new ownership model to be adopted if an external investor can be secured. That would involve the councils diluting their stakes in the airport in order to bring a partner on board.

Details of the extent to which their holdings would change are not being revealed, though the M.E.N understands Manchester council would retain at least a joint majority stake. The individual councils now need to individually give the plans the green light in the coming weeks.

It comes after MAG chief executive Charlie Cornish told the M.E.N talks are already under way with pension and infrastructure funds about possible investment. He hopes to narrow down the list of possible investors in the coming weeks and added he would consider a swoop for a European or American airport if a deal for Stansted didn't come off.

A joint AGMA and MAG statement said the restructuring would only happen in the event of another "quality airport" coming on the market. It added: "MAG is already key driver of jobs and growth in the north of England, but these proposals would allow the group to strengthen this position - and deliver maximum value for the local authority shareholders. "To make this possible, new governance arrangements are necessary, which each of the 10 Greater Manchester authorities would have to consider."

"The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities has agreed an in-principle framework for a new structure which will be considered by the individual local authorities over the coming weeks. In parallel with this process, MAG will begin to invite detailed proposals from private investors."


Travelbite Online - 17 February 2012

A new airline, Wow air, is planning to launch flights from London to Iceland in 2012, making it even easier for travellers to see the Northern lights this year. Wow air will start flying from London-Stansted to Iceland's main airport at Keflavik three times a week from June 1st.

As an added bonus, the airline is offering a special introductory fee offer for flights booked before midnight on the 24th February. Under the deal, tickets will retail at 69 each way, including tax and a baggage allowance of 20kg per passenger.

Baldur Baldursson, CEO of WOW Air commented: "We are aware that it is a brave move to launch a new airline in the present economic climate but have spotted an obvious gap in the market for low-cost flight options from Iceland to a number of European cities. We have extensive experience in the Icelandic tourism market and have ambitious plans for the airline - including an increase in frequency to London in the spring of 2013."

The new airline will be operating two 168-seat Airbus A320s and will also launch flights to Iceland from 11 other European cities, including Copenhagen, Warsaw, Krakow, Berlin, Stuttgart, Cologne, Zurich, Basle, Paris, Lyon and Alicante.


Dunmow Broadcast - 9 February 2012

LOW cost airline Ryanair has added another destination to its Stansted network following the announcement that flights to Warsaw will launch in July. It will be the airlines' eighth new route from Stansted for summer 2012.

Flight connections to the Polish capital will operate into the brand new Modlin Airport which opens its doors for business in July. Other new Ryanair services for the summer include the Hungarian capital, Budapest; Greek connections to Crete, Araxos Patras, Kos, direct flights to sun drenched Malta and Cyprus (Paphos); and flights to European Capital of Culture 2011, Turku in Finland.

Stansted's airline route and marketing manager, Paul Haynes, said: "New routes always create great interest and excitement with the travelling public and we wish Ryanair every success with these fantastic new connections, which I'm certain will prove to be very popular. Stansted already serves more destinations across Europe than any other airport in the world and these new links are a great boost to our network."

Ryanair's Michelle Lowe said: "Ryanair is pleased to announce a new route from London Stansted to Warsaw Modlin Airport which will operate daily from July 16. Passengers around the region now have a choice of over 110 top Ryanair destinations from London Stansted Airport."

Fares from Stansted starts as low as 26.99 one-way including tax. To book your Stansted connection to the Polish capital visit ryanair.com



Andrew Bounds - Financial Times - 15 February 2012

Manchester Airport Group, the UK's second largest airport operator and one of the few still in public hands, is to be part privatised.

The 10 councils that own MAG are seeking private investment to enable it to buy another "quality airport", with Stansted near London a possible target. "Following a strategic review... MAG is pursuing two key recommendations: one to explore the opportunity to add another quality airport to the group and the other, to bring in new equity investment as part of the deal. One will not happen without the other," said the councils in a statement.

MAG teamed up with Borealis, the Canadian infrastructure fund, to try to buy Gatwick in 2009 but balked at the 1.5bn price tag. It hopes that a private investor would give it more firepower to compete for assets.

BAA, the largest operator in the UK, has been forced to sell Edinburgh and Stansted by the Competition Commission, though it is appealing against the ruling on Stansted. Charlie Cornish, chief executive of MAG, which owns Manchester, East Midlands, Bournemouth and Humberside airports, has said it would be unlikely to bid for Edinburgh but could be interested in Stansted.

However, any deal would require the 10 Greater Manchester councils to agree to relinquishing some control. Manchester city council owns 55 per cent while nine others have 5 per cent each. The councils said the process was likely to take several months. MAG serves about 25m passengers annually and in the six months to September 30 it made pre-tax profits of 45m on 218.5m of turnover.


Mark Leftly - The Independent - 12 February 2012

First-round bids for Edinburgh Airport are due tomorrow, with JP Morgan and Gatwick owner Global Infrastructure Partners among the favourites to win the auction.

Spanish owner Ferrovial can expect to get around 700m - towards the high end of expectations - as it is likely to be inundated with offers. Others considering bids this week include the private equity groups 3i and Carlyle and the overseas airport operators Fraport and Aeroports de Paris.

The auction has piqued the interest of banks, which are said to be willing to lend around 400m on a deal. This is a high proportion of the sale cost, as Edinburgh would provide banks with stable long-term returns.

Ferrovial owns operator BAA, which was considered by the Competition Commission to have a stranglehold on the South-east England and Scottish markets. BAA was forced to sell Gatwick, but is trying to keep hold of Stansted.


BBC News - 12 February 2012

Complaints about noise from planes at Heathrow Airport have risen more than six-fold during a trial changing the way its runways are used.

The scheme, started in November, has made it easier to for planes to use the airport's two runways simultaneously. There were 480 complaints in the first month of the trial, compared with 75 during November 2010.

"BA has worked to maintain an open dialogue with local residents on the trial," the airport operator said. "After the first part of the trial is completed on 29 February, we will be able to share more findings and have a greater understanding of the impact of the trial on local communities," it added.

Coinciding with Olympics
When the trial began, BAA has warned that communities may lose their respite periods. Previously the runways were restricted to take-off or landing and switch each afternoon, except in an emergency, to give residents respite from the noise. Under the changes, dual use of the runways can be deployed when a plane faces a 10-minute wait to land or take off and if 30% of all flights are delayed by more than 15 minutes. Before the trial, the average time delay for flights at the west London airport was 12 minutes.

BAA insisted the number of flights at Heathrow would remain capped at 480,000 aircraft movements a year. The first trial finishes on 29 February while a second will run from 1 July 2012 until 30 September - coinciding with the London Olympics. The trial was recommended by the Department for Transport and will be overseen by the Civil Aviation Authority.


Luton Borough Council has been threatened with a 300m legal bill
if it tries to ditch the operator of its airport

Nathalie Thomas - The Telegraph - 14 February 2012

A row has broken out between the council, which wholly owns Luton airport, and Spanish operator Abertis over ambitious plans to at least double passenger numbers to 18m a year.

The council on Monday launched a six-week consultation on its proposals, which would see Luton exceed both Stansted and Manchester airports in size. Eventually it is hoped Luton will handle 30m travellers a year. Sources close to Abertis say this is "totally unrealistic", given its location on a hill and its proximity to Heathow's flight paths.

Steve Heappey, lead officer of holding company London Luton Airport Ltd, warned earlier this week that the council would be willing to break a 30-year concession with Abertis if the operator did not back its vision. The contract expires in 2028 but there is a break clause in 2014. Under the terms of the deal, it is understood the council would have to pay at least 300m to terminate the agreement early. Last year the airport generated just 23m for council coffers.

Abertis, which operates Luton through a subsidiary, will publish its own proposals to expand the airport "incrementally" later this month. It believes a more realistic passenger growth target would be 17 million.

The Abertis subsidiary, London Luton Airport Operations Ltd, said in a statement last night: "If the council decides to terminate our concession in order to implement its proposals, it will have to make a termination payment to us reflecting the value of the remaining years of the concession and certain other liabilities. Such a payment would be very substantial." Mr Heappey responded that no decision had yet been taken.


The Echo - 14 February 2012

SOUTHEND Council is set to formally oppose plans to build a 50billion airport in the Thames Estuary.

The council is expected to agree a motion to use "all means within its power" to block the bid to create one of the world's biggest airports, just a few miles off the town's coastline. The pledge will be voted on by councillors on March 1.

John Lamb, the Tory deputy leader said: "It is absolutely the last thing we need. We have a thriving tourism industry and a thriving airport. Both of those would be undermined by this scheme."

Two plans have been put forward for the estuary - London mayor Boris Johnson's original idea for a floating airport off the Kent coast and architect Lord Norman Foster's recent proposal for a four-runway airport on the Isle of Grain in Kent.

Previously, the Government has snubbed the idea of building a new airport as an alternative to a third runway at Heathrow. However, last month, it revealed it was considering the idea. Mr Cameron was said to be on the verge of announcing his backing for the scheme at the start of the year, but was blocked by Liberal Democrats, who oppose any airport expansion in the South East.

Mr Johnson even claimed the airport would only take six years to build if huge investment from countries such as Brazil or China could be secured. The idea has been consistently opposed by politicians from all parties in south Essex.

The Southend Council motion cites worries about noise, environmental damage and disruption to the fishing industry as reasons for rejecting it. It also highlights the problems an estuary airport could cause to the expanding Southend Airport.


Canterbury Times - 17 February 2012

BUSINESSMAN Michael Khoury has slammed airport bosses at Manston for considering freight night flights, which would fly over Herne Bay.

The amusements boss, who chairs Herne Bay's Chamber of Commerce, said: "This has to stop. They are exaggerating the amount of jobs they might create. This is not just about the economy - it's about quality of life."

"If they were going to create thousands and thousands of jobs most people in their right minds would swallow their concerns and try to support it. But they are being unrealistic and irrational. This issue has to be put to bed. Cargo planes roaring overhead in the middle of the night is going to damage our town."

Mr Khoury spoke out as Canterbury City Council officials urged residents to get involved in the consultation on the night flights plan. Executive member for transport, Councillor Peter Vickery-Jones, said: "Thanet District Council was planning to carry out a wide-ranging consultation, including contacting thousands of homes directly to hear views. Now, it is just holding a standard consultation, in which people are being given the opportunity to comment on the proposals."

"I am urging everyone in Herne Bay in particular, and people across the rest of the district in general, to take part in this consultation and tell Thanet District Council what they think about the possibility of regular night flights at Manston. It is vital our residents take this opportunity to make their views known."

Thanet council commissioned experts to assess the airport's claims on noise, and the amount of jobs created, and the reports found they had been exaggerated.


Crawley Observer - 10 February 2012

A CAMPAIGN group which has been fiercely critical of noise levels Gatwick has praised the airport's approach to aviation policy.

An assurance that the airport would not seek an increase in the Government's forthcoming consultation into night flights was welcomed by the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC). Brendon Sewill, chair of GACC, hailed the realistic approach following a meeting with chairman Sir David Rowlands and chief executive Stewart Wingate. Mr Sewill said: "There has been a lot of speculation in the press about the need for new runways. Most of it is nave and exaggerated."

"Airport enthusiasts need to realise that the latest Department for Transport forecasts show that the London airports will not be full until 2030. If the recession persists or the Euro collapses, the date may be much later. It would make no environmental or commercial sense to build a new runway anywhere in the South East while there is still spare capacity. Climate change targets cannot be met unless the current ban on new runways is kept until 2050. Gatwick is a small airport with no space for an efficient new runway."

A legal agreement made in 1979 between the airport and West Sussex County Council rules out a second runway until at least 2019.


ENDS Europe DAILY - 8 February 2012

The EU could change the rules including aviation in its emissions trading scheme (ETS) within the next year if the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) makes enough progress towards a global emissions deal, a top EU official said on Tuesday.

"We are ready to modify [our legislation] based on multilateral discussions," the director-general of the European Commission's climate department Jos Delbeke told an aviation conference in Brussels organised by green group T&E. "ICAO is accelerating its work programme as we speak," he added.

The US, China India and Russia are resisting the inclusion of their airlines in the ETS, despite a European court ruling showing EU rules comply with international law. These and other opponents to the ETS will meet in Moscow on 21 February. Mr Delbeke said that suspending the ETS rules was "out of the question". The EU needs to have clear signals on what ICAO intends to do by the end of this year, he added, to give it time to modify its legislation ahead of April 2013. This is the first deadline for airlines to surrender their carbon allowances.

The director-general laid out three conditions for any international agreement. First, it must be better for the environment, delivering more emission reductions than the EU ETS alone. Second, it should not discriminate between airlines. And third, it needs to include both targets - for 2020 and beyond - and measures.

"I think there are possibilities for an agreement in ICAO but it's very hard to see how the negotiation goes very far with the ETS hanging over every ICAO member's head," responded Thomas White, deputy US ambassador to the EU, at the conference. He said all the focus in ICAO is on opposition to the ETS.

MEP Peter Liese, rapporteur for the directive including aviation in the ETS, said he doubted the US and China really want a global deal. And Henry Derwent, chief executive of the International Emission Trading Association, warned: "The amount of distance ICAO would have to travel to get to a global ETS is very significant - I wonder whether it's realistic in six to nine months."


Europe wants to enforce a law requiring airlines
to pay for their greenhouse gas emissions

James Kanter and Nicola Clark - New York Times - 17 February 2012

BRUSSELS - China, the United States and two dozen other countries are looking at coordinated retaliation - including putting pressure on European airlines and other industries - if Europe tries to enforce a law requiring airlines to pay for their greenhouse gas emissions.

The system, the European Union's boldest initiative on climate protection to date, has provoked a worldwide outcry and raised the unwelcome prospect of a full-scale trade war. European officials have stood firm while challenging opponents to suggest an equally effective alternative.

The European system requires an airline landing or taking off in Europe to acquire permits corresponding to the amount of greenhouse gases emitted during the entire flight - regardless of where it originated or ended or the nationality of the airline. The system went into effect this year, although the first payments will not be due until 2013. Other governments have objected to Europe's attempt to regulate emissions outside its airspace, while carriers like American Airlines and China Southern are furious because they could face big bills as the number of permits that they need to purchase rises.

In the latest of a series of meetings on the issue, officials from 26 governments will gather in Moscow on Tuesday to discuss a "basket of countermeasures" to block the European system, according to the draft agenda. Those countermeasures include following China's lead in banning its airlines from paying the charges unless and until the Chinese government grants permission; imposing punitive levies on European airlines when they fly over other countries' airspace; reviewing bilateral and "open skies" agreements on landing rights, market access and other matters and freezing consideration of any new routes or capacity, according to a draft discussion paper.

In addition, the paper calls on governments to consider reopening trade agreements in sectors other than aviation and to freeze trade negotiations as a way of "putting pressure on E.U. industries". The meeting would "send a very strong signal to our E.U. friends that other countries are really angry and really preparing something strong," said a Chinese diplomat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the issue.

However, Connie Hedegaard, the European climate commissioner, said Europe would hold firm. In a phone interview on Friday, she noted that the European Union had tried for a decade to achieve a global solution to reducing emissions before passing its own law, and she criticized the governments meeting in Moscow for not coming up with a better plan. "Our legislation is not going to be changed," Ms. Hedegaard said.

Some European officials have suggested recently that parts of the new law could be suspended if there were clear progress this year toward establishing a global system. Those officials said such progress at the International Civil Aviation Organization, an arm of the United Nations, would have to be achieved by the end of the summer for the law to be suspended before the first payments are due on April 30, 2013.

On Friday, Ms. Hedegaard did not discuss the timeline for any possible modification of the European legislation. But any withdrawal of the law "must be the day where we actually have an agreement and it enters into force," she said.

The move by Beijing earlier this month to bar its airlines from participating for now in the European system represents the most direct act of defiance yet. The United States Congress is considering similar measures. The two-day conference in Moscow aims to adopt a resolution on the countermeasures and invite other countries to sign on.

Experts said the measures under discussion, if enforced, could disrupt the air industry. The imposition of countermeasures would most likely be felt by consumers in the form of higher airfares and fewer options in terms of routes and frequency of flights to Europe, said John R. Byerly, a former United States deputy assistant secretary of state for transportation affairs who negotiated the 2007 Open Skies agreement with the European Union.

Airlines would lose many of the commercial incentives that were created by the easing of cross-border regulations achieved through bilateral air service agreements over the last few years, Mr. Byerly said. "These rights are all very tenuous," Mr. Byerly said of air service agreements, because governments typically had the power to terminate them with just a few months' notice. "It is unique to aviation to have this potential downward spiral, where you eventually don't have any rights anymore," he said. "And then you have to put the whole thing back together."

Mr. Byerly cited the decade of stagnation that occurred after France terminated its bilateral air transport agreement with the United States in 1992 in a dispute over market access. It wasn't until 2001 that the two countries reached another full open skies agreement, he said.

The European Union contends that its system is less costly than portrayed by opponents, and would speed up the adoption of greener technologies at a time when air traffic, which represents 3 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, is growing much faster than gains in efficiency. The European Commission has been highly critical of the civil aviation organization, the United Nations agency, for failing to move quickly enough to establish standards and goals for greenhouse gases from aviation, as required under the Kyoto climate treaty 15 years ago.

Analysts said the threat of a trade war was real, if not imminent. "I expect that there will be a moderation" of the European scheme, said Gary Clyde Hufbauer, a senior fellow and trade expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. Mr. Hufbauer predicted that the Europeans would find a way to either increase the share of free emissions permits for this year from 85 percent to as high as 100 percent, or even to push back the deadline for airlines to pay.

"With all of the other much larger problems that Europe is facing right now, I would think they would not want to continue to irritate other countries on this issue," Mr. Hufbauer said. "All of this progress we've made with past agreements on code-sharing and alliances and cross-investment - that's the way of the future," Mr. Hufbauer said. "If things go forward on the current path, it throws a monkey wrench into all of that."

Failure to find a compromise would also endanger future international cooperation on climate issues, Mr. Hufbauer said. "Each side is showing its muscles of what it could do," Mr. Byerly said. "This is going to require give on both sides."


Ian Taylor Travel Weekly - 13 February 2012

Analysts and airline association IATA warn the high oil price is putting carriers at risk following a decline in the growth of passenger traffic. The price of oil hit a three-month high last week, with cost of Brent crude, the global benchmark, at almost $118 a barrel.

Hungarian carrier Malev and Spanish airline Spanair failed the previous week, with the oil price a contributory factor. Consulting analyst Lida Mantzavinou of Frost & Sullivan aerospace said: "The European air transport industry faces serve challenges, starting from the increasing jet fuel price."

At the same time many carriers would struggle to obtain credit, Mantzavinou warned, saying: "The economic crisis in Europe makes banks reluctant to support businesses that carry high risk."

IATA reported a business confidence index among airline chief financial officers in January which found: "A majority report deteriorations in profitability in the fourth quarter [and] the trend is expected to continue. There was a particularly sharp decline in expectations for traffic growth." The association said: "The persisting weak economic conditions could finally be starting to take a toll on passenger travel. Profit and traffic expectations have fallen to levels seen at the start of 2009."

Aviation analyst Chris Tarry agreed. In an analysis prepared for IATA, Tarry said: "Fuel remains the big swing factor, with a current expectation that the industry's fuel bill will be higher in 2012."

The price of Brent crude has risen 10% so far this year amid tension with Iran - a major oil producer. The dollar oil price is 15% higher than a year ago. However, the rise in the sterling price is greater because of the fall in the value of the pound - up 40% in 18 months. The cost of oil may keep UK inflation higher than government and Bank of England forecasts, squeezing household income and hitting spending.

Latest figures show the government's preferred inflation rate - the Consumer Prices Index - fell from 4.8% to 4.1% in January. However, the rate remains more than double the average rise in earnings.

Scotia Capital economist Alan Clarke told the Financial Times: "Consumer price inflation will prove higher than the Bank of England expects."


Spanish-owned BAA argued that it was not anti-competitive
for it to own Stansted and Heathrow

BBC News - 1 February 2012

Airport operator BAA has lost its appeal against a ruling that it must sell Stansted airport. The Competition Commission first ruled three years ago that BAA must sell Gatwick, Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports.

BAA sold Gatwick and recently agreed to sell Edinburgh, but it has continued to fight the Stansted decision. Spanish-owned BAA operates Heathrow, Southampton and Aberdeen, as well as Glasgow, Edinburgh and Stansted.

BAA argued that it was not reasonable to consider Stansted as serving the same market as its other airport serving London, Heathrow. As a result, BAA said it was not anti-competitive for it to operate both airports, but the competition authority did not agree.


Saffron Walden Reporter - 1 February 2012

RYANAIR has backed the decision by the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal that the sale of Stansted Airport can go ahead after years of appeals by BAA. While BAA delayed the sale of the airport it has doubled passenger charges and presided over record traffic declines from 24m in 2007 to 18m in 2011.

Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara said: "These repeated delays in the sale of Stansted must now end. BAA has used every legal tactic to delay this sale for four years since it was first recommended by the Competition Commission in 2008."

"Ferrovial and the other owners of Stansted are unfairly enriching themselves at the expense of UK passengers/visitors who are suffering higher charges and third-rate service at Stansted while the CAA's 'inadequate' regulatory regime does nothing to protect airport users."


Essex Chronicle - 2 February 2012

A CAMPAIGN group said it is "incredibly pleased" that BAA has promised to sell 279 houses near to Stansted Airport.

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) claims the sale "implies a clear intention against building a second runway" at the airport and "is a clear shift in the company's position". BAA had bought the homes in preparation for building a second runway. The issue was raised on January 25 at an airport committee meeting and focuses on housing in Broxted, Duton Hill, Great Easton, Takeley and Tilty.

Chairman of SSE, Peter Saunders, said: "This is a landmark decision and very welcome. It will help remove the blight and uncertainty which has overshadowed this community. The sales process will of course need to be handled sensitively to protect the position of those tenants who may not be able to buy the homes they currently rent - and a few of those tenants have rented from BAA for many years."

Although Stansted Airport has agreed that the sale of its properties will have to be done gradually, so as "to not flood the market", a spokesman told the Chronicle that the decision to sell the buildings had been made in May 2010 and said there was "nothing new" in the victory SSE has claimed.

Chief executive officer of BAA, Colin Matthews, said: "The approach the airport is adopting with regard to the disposal of these properties is to sell them in a sensitive manner over an extended period. This phased approach includes the entirety of the property portfolio acquired. Whilst these sales continue, the airport is doing all we can to maintain the stability of the local housing market which, in common with the national situation, remains in a fragile state."

BAA states that it has sold just 17 homes into private ownership in the past five years and that future sales must be at a higher rate.

Mr Saunders said: "It would be premature to view this as a sign that BAA has given up all hope of a second runway at Stansted. But it is a move in the right direction and we hope the Government takes note, especially as it is currently examining options for increasing London's airport capacity. BAA must now turn this promise into action within a reasonable time. No-one wants to flood the market, but we do now expect to see a steady flow of these BAA-owned houses being put on the market at sensible prices."


A LEADING local estate agent has urged BAA to be cautious when selling the homes it owns around Stansted Airport - or risk causing a property crash

Herts & Essex Observer - 4 February 2012

Following pressure from Stop Stansted Expansion, BAA chief executive Colin Matthews has reconfirmed the operator will sell ALL properties its owns around the Uttlesford hub. The company had bought 279 as part of its aborted expansion plans. The second runway project was scrapped following the 2010 General Election, and since then campaigners have demanded that all BAA's portfolio be put on the market.

Mr Matthews confirmed the sell-off in a letter to the Stansted Airport Consultative Committee (STACC) at its last meeting. He said: "The approach the airport is adopting with regard to the disposal of these properties is to sell them in a sensitive manner over an extended period. This planned approach includes the entirety of the property portfolio acquired. Whilst these sales continue, the airport is doing all we can to maintain the stability of the local housing market, which, in common with the national situation, remains in a fragile state."

That echoes advice to BAA from Mullucks Wells director Tim Trembath, also presented to STACC. The boss of the estate agency - which has branches in Stortford, Dunmow, Saffron Walden and London's Mayfair - urged restraint when selling the portfolio, saying there had been a 40-50 per cent reduction in house sales locally since 2007's peak with a reduction in values of up to 15 per cent over the same period - and there was no reason to believe there would be an improvement in the medium term.

He said: "In considering the sale of the properties by STAL (Stansted Airport Ltd), I would advise a cautious approach as the properties are clustered together in small communities. The reaction therefore to a more aggressive approach would be (i) the undermining of the value of any similar properties in the vicinity and (ii) reducing dramatically the saleability of other homes not owned by STAL in these small communities."

SSE wants the homes sold to bolster their defence against any lingering threat that the second runway scheme will be revived. Most BAA-owned houses around Stansted were acquired over the past eight years, but some have been owned by the company for more than 30 years after they were acquired in connection with earlier expansion attempts.

SSE chairman Peter Sanders said: "This is a landmark decision and very welcome. It will help remove the blight and uncertainty which has overshadowed this community for far too long. BAA must now turn this promise into action within a reasonable timescale. No one wants to flood the market, but we do now expect to see a steady flow of these BAA-owned houses being put on at sensible prices."

He added: "It would be premature to view this as a sign that BAA has given up all hope of ever building a second runway at Stansted. But it is clearly a move in the right direction and we hope the Government will take note."

A spokesman for BAA told the Observer that Mr Matthews's letter simply confirmed the existing situation and there was nothing new to report other than the airport was maintaining its stance - from as far back as February 2011 - on property disposal.


The fate of hundreds of thousands of migrating birds and the environment are hanging in the balance as the future of a possible airport on the Thames estuary is argued over by the London Mayor and the Prime Minister

Jane Merrick - The Independent - 22 January 2012

Standing (almost) shoulder to shoulder and looking rather pleased with themselves, these are the two men who are causing havoc in Downing Street and across Whitehall over the controversial "Boris Island" airport - and the Government's entire agenda. To some, Steve Hilton and Boris Johnson are maverick geniuses-on-bikes, whose free wheeling and free thinking are desperately needed to break the stalemate of the coalition, and think creatively beyond the tight constraints of economic austerity.

But to others, they are a tandem menace, overriding ministers in their own departments and provoking David Cameron and George Osborne into ambitious decisions that are neither sensible nor economically viable.

The Battle for Boris Island, which spilled out into the open last week, illustrates how government policy is being driven by what one source described as a "dangerous axis" of the London Mayor and the PM's strategy chief. One Whitehall source said: "There is the Quad [Mr Cameron, Mr Osborne, Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander], and then there are Steve and Boris. You couldn't call it a Sextet because you could never get everyone playing the same tune."

Despite the Prime Minister telling local MPs last year that the Thames estuary airport would not go ahead, and the Department for Transport also ruling it out, a consultation document in March on the future of airport capacity will pave the way for the "Boris Island" project. In his autumn statement last November, the Chancellor laid some groundwork by announcing a watering-down of protection of natural habitats in planning decisions.

Construction of the 20bn hub would cause huge damage to the local environment, say opponents, including wrecking the habitat of migrating birds every year and in turn increasing the risk of a plane being hit by bird strike. There is also little to justify the massive economic cost because creating a new hub to the east of the capital would drive business away from Heathrow.

One theory is that the disclosure - revealed in the Boris-friendly Daily Telegraph - was designed to help Mr Johnson's re-election as London Mayor in May with plans being quietly dropped at a later date.

Yet there is serious momentum behind the idea. Besides Mr Johnson, Mr Hilton is a driving force behind the plans. The No.10 strategy guru, who despite rumours that his influence is on the wane remains instrumental at the heart of government, has a key ally in Oliver Letwin, Mr Cameron's policy adviser and Cabinet Office minister. Before the plans were leaked to The Telegraph on Wednesday, Mr Letwin was spotted having a "heated" debate in the Members' Lobby in the Commons with Theresa Villiers, the aviation minister who is thought to be opposed to the airport.

As recently as last November, Mrs Villiers wrote a letter to Mark Reckless, whose Rochester and Strood constituency in Kent is among those that would be affected by airport, reassuring him: "The Department for Transport has no plans for a new airport in the Thames estuary, nor any other part of Medway or Kent. We want to get the most out of existing infrastructure in the South-east... The Government is committed to developing a new policy framework for aviation which supports economic growth while addressing the environmental impacts of flying."

Plans for an airport along the Thames estuary were investigated under the previous government's Aviation White Paper, before it was comprehensively ruled out in 2005. With Chris Huhne's political career hanging in the balance over the next few weeks over his alleged speeding offence, there are fears that, if he is forced to stand down as Climate Change Secretary, there will be no one to speak up for the green agenda in government.

Mr Hilton - alongside Mr Letwin - is also blamed for pushing through the Government's controversial Health Bill, despite misgivings at the heart of No.10 and among senior Lib Dems. While some of Mr Hilton's more provocative ideas - such as scrapping maternity leave to boost economic growth - have been laughed off, he remains an influence on Mr Cameron: the roots of the PM's attack on "crony capitalism" last week were in Mr Hilton's Good Business public affairs consultancy, founded in 1997.

With Mr Johnson, the influence on Mr Cameron is rather more basic. As Mr Johnson's biographer, Andrew Gimson, wrote in the Financial Times yesterday: "He [Boris] has made the airport a test of Mr Cameron's and Mr Osborne's virility. Are they strong enough to uphold London and the UK's competitiveness, or are they a pair of weaklings who will collude in national decline?"


Airtrafficmanagement.net - 19 January 2012

UK air navigation services provider NATS insists that any additional runway capacity, regardless of the specific location will require a major redesign of airspace - the largest for 50 years.

A redesign will ultimately enable NATS to manage traffic growth more efficiently and to review air traffic control procedures to minimise noise for people living below flight paths and to reduce fuel burn and CO2 emissions. "This work will optimise the use of the UK's national airspace asset but it is critical to know as early as possible what ground infrastructure the airspace arrangements will need to support," it said.

The news comes as the UK Government announced its plan to start formal consultations in March on how to ensure the UK retains international hub status.

"Aviation is a vitally important driver of the UK economy and we are pleased the Government acknowledges that. Runway capacity in the south east is currently insufficient to support demand which often results in aircraft needing to be placed in holding patterns before they can land," said NATS. "It is also important to recognise that airspace is as constrained as ground infrastructure in this region," it added.

NATS said it possessed 'unparalleled' expertise in airspace design and implementation including work on airspace to support the new Hong Kong airport will play a full role in the Government consultation.

Support is reportedly growing for a mega airport for London in the Thames Estuary region of southeast England. London Mayor Boris Johnson yesterday said the UK Government was "increasingly interested" in the ambitious proposal, which would see a massive new air hub built where London's River Thames meets the North Sea. One high-profile proposal would see a 150 million passenger-a-year airport built at the edge of the sea for 50 billion ($76 billion).


Aef.org.com - 24 January 2012

The CAA has published for consultation its first ever environmental strategy programme, setting out in a 50-page document - areas in which its work already has relevance for environmental objectives, and those where it considers it could play a greater role in future. It follows the publication by CAA of three Insight Notes, which make a series of policy recommendations for Government - Aviation Policy for Consumers, Aviation Policy for the Environment, and Aviation Policy for the Future - the unifying theme of which is a call for increases in airport capacity.

In the case of the Environment note, environmental impacts are - rightly - described as imposing a possible brake on airport development. But the measures proposed by the CAA for tackling them fall a long way short of what AEF believes is necessary.

In relation to climate change, for example the CAA notes that UK aviation emissions have doubled since 1990 (while most of UK industry has been cutting its emissions), and that to achieve the ICAO target of 2% per annum efficiency improvements "further, faster progress will need to be made over the coming decades", given that since 2000 the improvement rate has been around 0.6% per annum. Yet it opposes the national emissions cap for the sector (requiring stabilisation of emissions at 2005 levels) that was put in place under the last Government. This could help to drive the faster efficiency improvements that CAA wants to see, and reflects both industry forecasting of its own emissions trajectory and modelling from the Committee on Climate Change.

On noise, the CAA notes that despite improvements over time in terms of the numbers of people affected by high noise levels measured in Leq terms, many people continue to report high levels of annoyance, and night noise can have tangible impacts on health. But it makes no reference to the range of studies now showing clearly that aircraft noise annoyance is increasing over time, even as Leq contours are shrinking - evidence that increases in the number of aircraft passing overhead (which Leq does not reflect well) matter to people more than marginal reductions in the volume of individual planes. The CAA's recommendations that noise-affected communities might be appeased through discounts in airport shopping precincts or car parks (page 36) are a very long way from the protections those communities tell us they want and need.

AEF welcomes the fact that the CAA is beginning to engage actively in environmental issues, and we have supported proposals that the organisation's legal remit be reformed to allow it to take into account environmental considerations when exercising its existing functions - a reform that the draft civil aviation bill published recently would abandon. Yet we have always argued that CAA's role as regulator should be to deliver environmental goals set out by Government, and to advise on technical issues when requested to do so. The CAA's consultation on its own environmental role expresses a similar vision, stating 'We will use our expertise to develop and test new ideas, and work to ensure the evidence base for policy development is clear.'

To be blunt, the CAA's expertise does not extend to aviation's impact on the UK economy, carbon leakage, or community experience of aircraft noise - all issues on which its environmental insight notes give advice. AEF will of course respond to the CAA's consultation on its environmental strategy. But statements to Government and the press on wider policy matters are unlikely to be an appropriate part of it.


Rose Jacobs, Jim Pickard and Andrew Bounds - Financial Times - 7 February 2012

Justine Greening faces growing calls to support the development of regional airports rather than commit resources to building a hub in the Thames estuary, a scheme seen by many outside the south-east as a costly white elephant.

The transport secretary this week met Birmingham airport officials who asked that she use a report next month on aviation policy formally to recognise the role that Birmingham and other regional facilities can play in easing crowding in the capacity-constrained south-east.

"The aviation white paper must recognise the opportunity to distribute aviation in a way that economically benefits the whole UK - not just the south-east," said John Morris, Birmingham airport's head of government and industry affairs. He also warned against rushing into a commitment this spring to build a hub airport, a project that has won backing from Boris Johnson, London mayor, as well as some Downing Street officials.

Instead, Birmingham and its peers could offer "breathing space" while the government considers solutions to the capacity crunch, including ideas that abandon the premise of a single hub. "Whatever the long-term solution, what's needed now is some calm reflection," said Mr Morris.

Birmingham is not alone in encouraging Ms Greening to consider a so-called distributed model for aviation. Bristol airport said about 5m journeys a year were made by people living in the south-west but travelling through London airports and argued that by "clawing back" those passengers, it could help ease capacity in the south-east.

Charlie Cornish, chief executive of Manchester Airports Group, whose four airports serve 24m passengers a year, said: "There are the equivalent of seven or eight runways' [worth of] capacity spare at the moment. They present a more sustainable and cheaper alternative than building a new airport."

He added that rail could be better used to connect UK cities, a view Ms Greening appeared open to when she told the BBC on Monday that some Londoners could get to Birmingham as quickly as they could get to Heathrow on the Underground.

But many industry experts argue a single hub is essential if the UK is to compete for routes with the likes of Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam, since a critical mass of both domestic and transfer passengers is needed for airlines to add supply. BAA, the operator of the current hub, Heathrow, backs this view. It wants Ms Greening to consider all options for increasing capacity, including the third runway at Heathrow that her party ruled out.

Southampton airport agreed: "We believe all possible solutions should be on the table. Each option has pros and cons and none should be excluded without examining it properly."

Al Titterington of Newquay Cornwall airport went further, arguing that "the only realistic option to safeguard London's position and grow the UK economy is not a new hub airport in the Thames estuary - it is a third runway at Heathrow. The sooner this is acknowledged the better it will be for the industry and UK plc".

Birmingham airport also called on Ms Greening to encourage economic growth in the regions by cutting air passenger duty for some new routes.


Michael Szabo - Reuters - 20 January 2012

International airline partnership Star Alliance will likely tender for a broker this year to help its members buy CO2 permits, while Air France, a member of rival group SkyTeam, said its alliance partners would give first refusal to each other when selling allowances.

The French carrier, a subsidiary of Air France-KLM, last week bought its first carbon units directly from market via Paris-based emissions exchange BlueNext, Pierre Albano, head of environment at Air France, told Point Carbon News on Tuesday. "As soon as we fly, we are buying the credits... and for the time being, we are buying on the spot market," Albano said, without confirming the quantity. He added that Air France was currently testing its procurement strategy involving buying both EU Allowances (EUAs) and Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) to cover its own flights, but not those of partner KLM.

From January 1, around 4,000 airlines that fly to and from EU airports were included in the bloc's Emissions Trading Scheme ETS.L and must next year surrender carbon credits against their 2012 emissions.

The carrier expects fleet emissions of 16-17 million tonnes in 2012, meaning it would need to buy around 4 million permits on top of its free allocation of 12.6 million EUAAs, the aviation CO2 units distributed under the ETS. Albano said Air France-KLM will in total emit 30 million tonnes versus its free quota of around 23 million EUAAs.

Albano said SkyTeam members, including Delta, Alitalia and China Southern Airlines, are collaborating by sharing procurement and compliance strategies, and would also look to offer excess CO2 permits internally before selling them on the open market. "We have a kind of unwritten agreement to have first right within SkyTeam... before going outside, but it's more than likely all our members will be short permits," he added.

Rival coalition Star Alliance, which boasts members Lufthansa, United Airlines and U.S. Airways, does not have a similar arrangement, its director responsible for emissions trading told Point Carbon. "We're evaluating the current situation, but no final decision has been made... and there's currently no trading activity within Star Alliance," Andreas Naujoks said.

"There is a lot of uncertainty for the carriers in deciding when to enter the market... We don't know yet what China, the U.S. and Russia will do." The countries, along with Canada, India and some African nations, have attacked the EU aviation scheme for being imposed unilaterally and infringing on their sovereignty.

The European Court of Justice ruled last month that the plan was legal, but the U.S. and China have escalated their protests, warning of counter-measures that could spark the world's first carbon trade war. As a result, Naujoks said Star Alliance members, in evaluating the risk associated with buying units now versus in the future, may not see the value in entering the market at a time when there is still considerable uncertainty, both in regards to carbon prices and the future of the entire scheme.

EUA prices have collapsed to 7 euros from 17 last May on slow EU economic growth and ballooning credit supplies, and some analysts are predicting further falls. "It's a tough decision on the carriers' part to decide whether to buy now or wait," Naujoks said, adding that, to his knowledge, Lufthansa was the only Star Alliance to have started buying carbon. The Germany operator, the world's fourth largest, joined Leipzig-based EEX last April and is buying permits on behalf of subsidiaries Austrian Airlines and Swiss Air.

Star Alliance in late 2010 said it was considering tendering for a broker to handle its members' CO2 needs, but Naujoks on Wednesday said nothing had been decided due to the ongoing legal battle. However, he believes interest from Star Alliance members remains "rather high" since many are smaller, non-European carriers that are not able to secure the broker fee discounts that a large industry group could achieve.

But some Star Alliance members do not hedge fuel costs, he added, and therefore may not hedge carbon either, instead passing a market-based cost onto passengers at the time of booking.

"I think if the decision to tender for a broker is made, the majority of our carriers will join... If we do something, we will certainly start this year and finalise it, at the latest, by the beginning of next year," Naujoks said.

Star Alliance in mid-2010 held a similar tender for emissions verifiers, eventually selecting consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Deloitte. Air France's Albano said SkyTeam would not likely launch any carbon-related tenders. "We didn't see any opportunities for synergies in either verification or trading. Most costs are unit costs, which don't decrease with volume," he said, adding that it made more sense for SkyTeam members to use existing contracts with environmental data verifiers.

Officials at oneworld, another major global airline alliance, could not be reached for this story.


ENDS Europe DAILY - 6 February 2012

China turned up the heat in its battle against the EU's emissions trading scheme (ETS) on Monday, saying its airlines would be banned from the scheme. The new threat was shrugged off by a European Commission spokesman.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said the move has been approved by the government, according to Chinese news service Xinhua. However, the commission's climate spokesman said Brussels had not yet seen any detailed information from the Chinese authorities on the nature of the challenge.

Chinese airlines have complied with the ETS' requirements to date, he told journalists on Monday. Asked about the prospect of a trade war, the spokesman said discussions were still ongoing with all countries, including at the technical level with China. If other countries put in place "equivalent measures" to the ETS, the EU will exempt incoming flights from those nations from the scheme.

China's moves comes a few days before the US Congress is expected to pass legislation forcing government officials to keep fighting the ETS. The requirement, included in a bill on financing the Federal Aviation Administration, is weaker than the House of Representatives' which barred US airlines from participating.

If foreign airlines decide to resist the ETS by not buying allowances, the controversy could take some years to settle. Allowances for 2012 do not need to be surrendered until April 2013 and it would take time to chase non-payments through the courts.

Some UK MPs have suggested that non-compliant airlines should be barred from the country's airports but unilateral action of this type across the EU looks unlikely.


More than 50 European airports representing half of total EU air passenger traffic have signed up to an industry scheme to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions, airports body ACI Europe said on Tuesday

Charlie Dunmore & Keiron Henderson - Reuters - 31 January 2012

The Airport Carbon Accreditation scheme includes some of Europe's busiest airline hubs, including London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt. The share of EU passenger traffic covered by the scheme has doubled since its launch in 2009. "It is clearly helping to move European aviation on to a more sustainable footing," EU transport chief Siim Kallas said in a statement.

Airport operations account for about 5 percent of total aviation emissions, which in turn make up about 2 percent of total global CO2 emissions, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated.

The voluntary airport scheme aims to reduce the carbon footprint of airports by cutting emissions from ground transport, boosting the use of renewable energy and increasing the energy efficiency of buildings.

In its seond full year of operation, 43 accredited airports reduced their total carbon emissions by 729,689 tonnes, equivalent to the annual emissions of 180,000 cars, ACI Europe said.


Lobbying group representing many of capital's biggest employers
says expanded Heathrow is 'only credible option'

Gwyn Topham, Transport Correspondent - The Guardian - 1 February 2012

A commission of influential London business leaders has denounced the coalition as "negligent" for ruling out a third runway at Heathrow, and called on them to reconsider all the options for greater airport capacity in the south-east.

London First, a lobbying group representing many of the capital's biggest employers in the City and beyond, has launched a report describing an expanded at Heathrow as the "only credible option" for the capital. It accuses the government of being unwilling to consider "politically difficult solutions".

The third runway was explicitly ruled out in the coalition agreement. While BAA, the owner of Heathrow, together with airlines, businesses and unions have argued that expansion is necessary to preserve its status as an international hub airport, plans adopted by Gordon Brown's Labour government were fought by the Tories in opposition.

The current transport secretary, Justine Greening, campaigned locally as MP for Putney against the proposals. The criticism of the government comes in a report by London First's Connectivity Commission, made up of senior business people including the managing directors of leading banks and retailers.

Peter Robinson, the chairman of commercial law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, who chaired the commission, said: "Significant improvement is needed in London's connectivity to emerging international markets as well as to the rest of the UK - but this can be achieved if government grasps the severity of the problem. Government must prioritise investment in transport that contributes most to economic growth."

Jo Valentine, the chief executive of London First, said the government urgently needed to get to grips with the pressures on transport - "particularly our vital air links". She said: "Rather than kicking politically difficult solutions into the long grass it should consider all options and look at what is best for the UK's prosperity. It is negligent of government to continue to rule out a third runway at Heathrow when it should be looking at all options in its aviation review."

The government is expected to lay out its plans for aviation in the spring, when it may call for more evidence on the need for expanded airport capacity in south-east England. The renewed calls for Heathrow expansion come after Boris Johnson claimed his proposals for a Thames Estuary airport were gaining traction in Downing Street ahead of the review.

Last month a group of 30 Conservative MPs backed a report calling to re-examine the case for a third runway.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "As the chancellor made clear in his autumn statement, we will explore all the options for maintaining the UK's aviation hub status with the exception of a third runway at Heathrow."


Labour.org - 20 January 2012

Maria Eagle MP, Labour's Shadow Transport Secretary, responding to Baroness Warsi's comments on BBC Question Time and reports that the Government is considering reopening the Coalition Agreement on aviation policy, said: "The Government has muddled along for nearly two years without even the hint of an aviation policy, despite the importance of international connectivity to our economic competitiveness. Now they have gone from one extreme to the other with a new policy briefed almost daily, each new position contradicting the last. We started the week with the Prime Minister apparently persuaded of the case for a new airport in the Thames Estuary, a position that lasted a full 24 hours before being abandoned, and we end the week with new runways at Gatwick or Stansted being put back on the agenda despite the Coalition Agreement."

"British businesses cannot afford for this chaos and confusion to continue until the next election. Baroness Warsi was right to say on the BBC's Question Time that she backs Labour's offer to work together on a long term cross-party strategy on aviation. The Prime Minister should say if he agrees with the Chair of his party and instruct his Transport Secretary to finally respond to the offer we have made for the good of the country. Let's get on with agreeing how best to deliver the additional aviation capacity that is needed, alongside tough new rules on emissions, before we fall behind our European competitors."


Saffron Walden Reporter - 2 February 2012

EMPLOYMENT, training and apprenticeship opportunities at Stansted Airport could be boosted after the Stansted Employment and Training Academy received a donation of 50,000. The specialist recruitment service, which is managed by Urban Futures, was given the cash by the airport to help it continue its work to to create more job opportunities at the Essex hub. It also received an initial 250,000 from Stansted Airport when it was launched in 2008.

The academy's manager, Anita Garrard, said: "Since opening our doors in 2008, and with the generous support of Stansted Airport, we have supported thousands of individuals looking for new employment and helped deliver many training opportunities for people keen to improve skills and open new doors on their career path. Our partnership approach at Stansted, working closely with BAA, airport employers and public agencies, has proven to be very successful and we'll continue to do all we can to promote the wide variety of career opportunities available at this major international airport."

Chris Wiggan, head of public affairs at Stansted Airport, said: "As the biggest single site employer in the region, we're fully committed to helping people gain access to new skills and opportunities and the academy provides a first class walk in facility for anyone seeking employment at the airport, wanting to improve their skills or get connected with apprenticeship opportunities. The academy is an integral part of the airport community and we hope this latest cash injection will help open the door to more opportunities, giving more people across the region access to the varied roles on offer here at Stansted."


BBC - 8 February 2012

Aircraft maker Airbus is to check the wings of all A380 superjumbo planes currently in service.

The company has said that the cracks are not an immediate threat to safety and that repairs will be carried out if damage is found.

Last month, the firm announced checks of 20 A380 planes, which can carry up to 800 passengers.

Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Air France are among the firm's biggest customers for the jet.

The Future of Aviation - the arguments
over both facts and policies continue


The UK goverment is desperate for growth at, it seems, any environmental cost and while the Thames estuary airport remains a long shot,
do not rule out a revival of a third runway at Heathrow

The Guardian - 19 January 2012

Aviation has been the most potent symbol of carbon excess for the environmental movement, which is why it greeted with such delight the Conservative party's election promise to cancel a third runway at Heathrow and rule out expansion at Gatwick and Stansted.

But times have changed. The government is now utterly desperate for economic growth at, it seems, any environmental price. David Cameron's slogan - "vote blue to go green" - has rarely looked more cynical. If the Thames estuary airport, for which a consulation was announced today, goes ahead then "Boris Island" will once again put planes on the frontline of the fight against global warming.

As it happens, there is headroom in the UK's legally binding carbon targets for a 60% increase in flights by 2050, according to the governments official advisors, the Committee on Climate Change. To help tackle climate change, the nation must have reduced it emissions of greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050: a full quarter of that 20% remaining would be aviation, an area where it is relatively hard to reduce emissions, except by not flying in the first place.

But the Thames estuary proposal, at double the size of Heathrow, would account for all of that headroom, meaning not a single expansion at any other UK airport ever again. That's an unlikely scenario, in my opinion, given how seductively business groups argues that more flights bring economic growth. The inclusion of aviation in the European emissions trading scheme from 1 January may encourage more efficient aircraft, if the scheme is not lobbied into uselessness as other industries have managed, but increasing flights will easily outstrip any efficiency savings.

If a cavalier attitude to carbon emissions doesn't worry you, though it should, then planting what would be one of the world's biggest airports in the middle of one of Europe's most important sites for wild birds should. "This would be an irreversible act of vandalism on a grand scale," says Chris Corrigan, RSPB director for South East England.

The move follows a series of anti-environmental policies from the government, each justified on economic grounds, each greeted with horror by millions of people: the abandoned sell-off of public woodland, the ripping up of planning laws, the chancellor's attack on "ridiculous" environmental protections.

This is the key point. For all the government's talk of how hugely valuable the natural environment is - 30bn a year, according to its own definitive study - when push comes to shove, it is expendable in the pursuit of economic growth. Never mind that we live in a finite world. Never mind that our children will pick up the ever-growing bill for repairing the damage. Never mind that this government promised to be "the greenest government ever".

There is, however, another possible explanation for Cameron's decision to hold a consultation on the Boris Island airport, suggested to me by the Guardian's transport correspondent Gwyn Topham. He says the opinion of many in aviation is that the estuary airport, estimated to cost 50bn, will never be built. A third runway at Heathrow is a much cheaper and faster way to increase aviation capacity.

In this scenario, a consultation that concludes that Boris Island is a ludicrous proposition neatly leads to renewed enthusiasm for a third runway at Heathrow. That would plumb new depths of cynicism and could not happen under the current transport secretary, Justine Greening, who campaigned hard against Heathrow expansion in her west London constituency.

Only time will tell, but in the meantime the consultation gives Boris Johnson, seeking relection as Mayor of London, apparent good news for the millions living under the Heathrow flight path. And environmental issues, idiotically, get put back in the box marked "for the economic good times only."


Building a new airport on the Thames estuary is one of a number
of options for tackling the capacity shortage in south east England

David Millward, Transport Editor - Daily Telegraph - 19 January 2012

"Boris Island"
Pro: An embryonic scheme, designed by Douglas Oakervee, who oversaw the construction of Hong Kong airport. It would see a new airport being built on an artificial island on the Shivering Sands area, north east of Whitstable, Kent. Starting from scratch in a sparsely populated area should enable an airport to be built which would be capable of coping with the anticipated expansion in demand for aviation. Any airport built to the east of London would mean that millions of people would no longer suffer the problems of aircraft noise. It would also avoid the risks entailed of flying an aircraft over a major city. A large airport could end many of the delays faced by passengers flying to Heathrow, where stacking is a daily problem as planes wait for a landing slot at Heathrow. Building a state of the art airport should prevent London's decline as an airport hub and enable the UK to compete with continental rivals, who are already offering far more flights to emerging markets such as China. Initial estimates suggest 100,000 jobs could be created at a new hub airport.

Cons: Doubts have been raised over the viability of building an airport on a man-made island although this was done at Hong Kong. The plans are sketchy. Critics also believe that it could take 20 years to deliver the project, although this is disputed by Boris Johnson. There is the issue of bird-strike and the threat posed by the SS Richard Montgomery, an American wartime ship packed with unexploded bombs and shells. The project has run into strong opposition from environmental groups who have voiced fears that it will threaten sensitive wildlife areas for winter breeding birds, which are protected under European law, including the avocet and the redshank.

Lord Foster's Thames Estuary Airport
Pro: The project would make use of the sparsely populated Isle of Grain in the Thames Estuary with the 20 billion airport forming part of a 50 billion transport hub linked to a high speed rail network. Unlike the Oakervee proposals, this scheme has been worked out in some detail and has also been welcomed by Boris Johnson as a viable alternative to the Oakervee scheme. It also offers other regeneration benefits and environmental benefits. According to Lord Foster private investors have already expressed interest in the scheme.

Cons: The proposed airport would be built close to one of the world's largest liquefied natural gas terminals as well as the SS Richard Montgomery. There are also concerns about the threat of bird strike on aircraft using the airport. Both projects would also have to tackle the issue of flight paths, given the proximity of Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. Both estuary projects.

Pro: Stansted was due to have a second runway under plans drawn up by the previous Government, which were ditched by the Coalition. Given that the airport nestles in farmland, expansion would have posed fewer problems than adding a third runway at Heathrow. Relatively few people would have been at risk of an increase in aircraft noise. Road connections already exist linking the airport to London and Cambridge, one of the homes of the UK hi-tech industry and a growing market.

Cons: Although road connections are good, the same cannot be said about rail. Although there is a Stansted Express service, the track is inadequate to serve a major airport. Substantial investment in upgrading the line would be needed. Plans to expand the airport did face strong opposition from local campaign groups. Plans for a second runway would have entailed the the destruction of 87 properties, including 25 listed buildings in rural Essex. It will also lead to the villages of Bambers' Green and Molehill Green being flattened. Essex county council, which is vigorously opposing Stansted's expansion, estimates that around 5,000 homes face being blighted. Even an upgraded Stansted would struggle to attract major long-haul airlines who are wedded to Heathrow.

Pro: Very good connections to London already, by rail and road. The Gatwick Express, which was under threat, survived and Victoria station is only 30 minutes away. Brighton and the South Coast is also 35 minutes. Gatwick also has room to grow. Unlike Heathrow which is full, the airport runs at 78 per cent capacity. Its current draft master plan, based on one runway and two terminals predicts the airport will be able to handle 40 million a year by 2020.

Cons: Major expansion such as a second runway would face strong local opposition. A local planning agreement with West Sussex County Council precludes the building of a second runway before 2019. Despite luring some new airlines, Gatwick will have to work hard to lure carriers away from Heathrow. Should a second runway go ahead as originally planned, the village of Hookwood would be destroyed. Charlwood, which dates back to 1060, would be sandwiched between the new north and south runways and rendered uninhabitable.

Birmingham Airport
For ? High speed rail will mean Birmingham International Airport will be a 38 minute journey from Euston, in the heart of London. It would bring the airport closer to the capital than Stansted. Once the network is complete, Birmingham Airport would be only 48 minutes from Leeds and 38 minutes from Manchester. It has already been seen as a potential safety valve for the overcrowded South East. It also has permission to extend its runway by 400 metres, which means that destinations such as China, Cape Town and the American West Coast would be within reach.

Con ? The distance from London and the potential rail fare could prove a barrier. There is a danger that it could cost more to take the train to the airport than fly from it. There has been some local resistance to the expansion plans, with concerns raised about noise generated from additional flights. It could be hard to "sell" Birmingham as London's newest airport.


Amie Keeley - EADT Online - 19 January 2012

AN ESSEX MP is backing controversial plans for a new airport in the Thames Estuary, saying it is "long overdue".

Speaking yesterday, Bernard Jenkin, MP for north east Essex, said the country's current aviation policy is "suicidal" and London is at risk of being left behind on the world stage unless it goes ahead. His comments come after the government announced that it would be holding a formal consultation on UK aviation in March.

London Mayor Boris Johnson backs the plans, which could see a 50 billion airport being built on the Isle of Grain in Kent right next to Essex. It is seen as an alternative to building more runways at Heathrow. Mr Jenkin says the airport would be placed in an ideal location and prompt the regeneration of the Thames corridor. "The forthcoming consultation on a possible Thames Estuary Airport is extremely welcome and long overdue."

"The current policy of no new runways for London airports is suicidal for London, as a global city in the long term, and for the UK aviation sector. Our main hub airport at Heathrow has only two runways, which cannot operate 24 hours a day, for social and environmental reasons. Frankfurt has three, Charles de Gaul has four and Schipol Amsterdam has 7, and they are all 24-hour airports. London will become an international backwater unless we address this."

But the news, which has met opposition from regional environmentalists, is also being rejected by the Essex Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). Development Manager, Keith Brown, said: "Rather than create a new airport in the Thames Estuary, with all the problems that would bring, we would like to see better use made of the available capacity at existing airports including London Southend, London Stansted and Manston in Kent."

Dr. Rupert Read, co-ordinator of the Eastern Region Green Party, said the move would be "environmentally disastrous". "Why should the people of Essex have to suffer more noise, pollution and traffic? The evironmental benefits of bringing Heathrow's expansion to an end would be entirely negated if the government went ahead with a vastly-expensive, environmentally-disastrous runway in the Thames Estuary. What we actually need is a complete moratorium on new runways. Let's put that money - that enormous sum of money that would be spent on a boondoggle eyesore in the Thames estuary - into making our quality of life better, right here, right now."

Mr Jenkin argues that it is the best environmental option because it would minimise complex take-off manoeuvres which generate more CO2 and far fewer homes would suffer compared to those located near Heathrow. He added: "The Department of Transport has long defended the vested interests in aviation and always championed Heathrow, which is not the right place for London's leading airport. You would never start to build it there now. It high time for the government to take a fresh approach."


Heathrow's future could be in jeopardy if a new hub airport
is built in the Thames Estuary, leading airlines warned

David Millward, Transport Editor - Daily Telegraph - 19 January 2012

The threat to Heathrow also triggered fears that at least 100,000 jobs and potentially far more could be put at risk.

"Opening a new hub would require the closure of Heathrow, which would have profound effects on jobs and business locations in west London, the M4 corridor and the Thames Valley," said a British Airways spokesman. "A Thames Estuary hub airport would be an extremely complex project with many technical, operational, environmental and financial hurdles to overcome. It has yet to be demonstrated that these issues can be successfully resolved."

Similar doubts were voiced by a Virgin Atlantic spokesman. "It is good news that the Government is considering all options to deal with the South East capacity problem, but each option has issues that would need to be considered and resolved. For example, we believe that the UK can support only one strong and viable hub. If this was to relocate east it could have an impact on jobs and business in West London."

Colin Matthews, chief executive of Heathrow's operator, BAA, painted an equally stark picture of the choice faced by the Government. "You can't have two hubs. You can look at various cities around the world who have tried to do that. It is either Heathrow or it is another, and the consequences of closing Heathrow wouldn't just be big for my company, it would be big for 100,000 jobs in this part of London. It is a huge issue economically, it is a huge issue politically."

In addition to publishing a consultation on proposals for an estuary airport, the Government will also unveil its overall aviation strategy later in the year. According to one estimate more than one in five jobs in the vicinity of Heathrow are dependent on the airport. More than 75,000 people work at Heathrow and by the time those employed by companies dependent on the airport - such as caterers, hotels and other local businesses are concerned - the total is believed to be in excess of 100,000.

Even this figure does not take into account thousands of people employed on the M4 corridor, many of who working for hi-tech businesses such as Microsoft, for whom international links are vital.

This was highlighted by unions who feared the impact on the local economy. "Over 100,000 people are currently employed at Heathrow. A vanity project like this would wreck the economy of West London and blight the world reputation of London" said Oliver Richardson, Unite's acting national officer for civil aviation. "The UK is falling behind its international competitors. As the UK's biggest transport union, we recognise that there needs to be a proper and informed debate about the modernisation of Britain's transport links, but Boris Island is a non-starter."

Supporters of expanding Heathrow have argued that it would deliver a solution to Britain's aviation crisis far more quickly than a state of the art airport on the other side of London. "We need a solution now, not jam tomorrow," said Simon Buck, chief executive of the British Air Transport Association.

Strongest opposition to the expansion of Heathrow has come from local residents living under the flight path.

Backed by MPs, including Justine Greening, the Transport Secretary who represents Putney, they fought a successful battle to prevent the third runway being built. But they now face the threat that the airport, which many use for business and leisure, could shrink dramatically, denying them the international transport links which may have made the area attractive in the first place, and creating a trip across London to catch an international flight.


Roland Watson, Political Editor - The Times - 20 January 2012

The Conservatives are looking to unpick a coalition commitment ruling out second runways at Gatwick and Stansted as the Government seeks extra flight capacity in the South East.

Although David Cameron and George Osborne are warming to the idea of a new airport in the Thames Estuary, there are doubts about cost and feasibility. Ministers would have to legislate to make carriers leave Heathrow and use a new hub, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, told Tory MPs. The plan, championed by Mr Johnson, was criticised by some Conservative MPs, particularly in Kent, who said that they would oppose them. The Prime Minister and the Chancellor have refused entreaties from some Tory MPs to go back on the manifesto and build a third runway at Heathrow.

Despite admissions from senior Tory figures that ruling out a third runway gained few votes in 2010, Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne have ruled that they would lose trust if they reversed a signature issue. Instead, they are looking to expand Gatwick or Stansted, although that means revoking a separate promise in the coalition agreement.

The commitment came from the Liberal Democrat manifesto and could create a problem for Nick Clegg, who is against any expansion of air capacity in the South East. One possibility being explored is to give the Liberal Democrats an opt-out on any new policy that reopened the issue of new runways at Gatwick and Stansted.

Mr Clegg could argue that he was not breaking the wording of the coalition pledge: "We will refuse permission for additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted," because final planning decisions about how to boost air capacity in the South East may not be made before the 2015 general election. The Government's consultation on capacity, to be launched in March, will include a feasibility study of the Thames Estuary. It will include the man-made island and a hub on the Isle of Grain, put forward by the architect, Lord Foster of Thames Bank.

Well-placed Tories predict that the Government will end up backing a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary, although such a decision depends on whether ministers believe that private money would pay for it. The process is likely to be tortuous but Mr Cameron wants to go into the next election having made a decision about where new capacity would be built, even if logistical hurdles remain.


Duncan Brodie, Business Editor - EADT - 12 January 2012

SMALL business leaders in Essex have voted to oppose proposals by Mayor of London Boris Johnson for a new "hub" airport in the Thames estuary.

Instead, the county executive of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling for greater use to be made of available capacity at existing airports, including Stansted. The Government has ruled out construction of an additional runway at Heathrow, although Chancellor George Osborne's autumn statement left the door open for further expansion at Gatwick and Stansted, which it has previously ruled out.

Mr Johnson, however, has championed the creation of a new airport built entirely on reclaimed land in the Thames estuary. And leading architect Lord Foster has put forward an alternative involving some land reclamation to extend a site on the Isle of Grain, which would include a direct rail link to the new airport from the East Anglian main line.

Iain Wicks, chairman of the FSB in Essex, said: "There is acceptance by Essex FSB that there will be an increase in the number of people flying from airports in the South East. But rather than create a new airport in the Thames estuary, with all the problems that would bring, we would like to see better use mad of the available capacity at existing airports including London Southend, London Stansted and Manston in Kent. We also believe that if a hub airport is needed consideration should be given to London Gatwick being developed to fulfil that role."

Lord Foster's proposal, known as the Thames Hub, is for an airport capable of handling 150million passengers a year and also including direct rail links with the high-speed Channel Tunnel route and the Crossrail scheme currently under construction to improve east-west links in London. However, the Government is under pressure to review its rejection of a third runway at Heathrow.

Opponents of the policy, including the GMB union, which represents many airport works, says further expansion at Heathrow would be far less expensive than developing a new airport from scratch.


Andrew Parker - Financial Times - 10 January 2012

Ministers will come under fresh pressure on Tuesday to permit new airport runways in the south-east of England after the chief aviation regulator concluded that new capacity is needed.

In a new report, the Civil Aviation Authority says that the UK economy will suffer in the absence of additional runway capacity in the south-east, and consumers will face higher air fares and reduced choice on international routes.

The regulator also seeks to make new runways more palatable to local residents by saying people living close to noisy airports could be offered rebates on their council tax bills. The CAA adds that airlines with the loudest aircraft could pay for their noise pollution through a cap and trade scheme similar to the European Union's controversial system for tackling aviation industry carbon emissions.

The coalition government angered the aviation industry by rejecting the previous Labour administration's plans for a third runway at Heathrow Ministers have also ruled out new runways at Gatwick or Stansted airports during this parliament.

The Department for Transport is due to publish a new aviation consultation paper in the spring, which is expected to include options for increasing airport capacity in the south-east.

The CAA estimates that, without extra runway capacity, consumers would face fare premiums from airlines worth 1.7bn each year by 2030, which equates to 10 per passenger on a return flight. Andrew Haines, CAA chief executive, said: "Additional capacity would offer significant benefits for consumers, and for the UK as a whole, so long as it is delivered in an environmentally sustainable way."


WWF Statement - 10 January 2012

WWF and the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) have rejected a new report from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that claims new runways are needed in the south-east to meet consumer demand. The CAA's report ignores the advice of the government's climate advisers, and directly contradicts government policy about making the most of the airport capacity we already have.

According to WWF and AEF's recent assessment of UK airport capacity, there is already sufficient capacity in the south-east and other regions to meet future demand, in line with the recommended limits on aviation growth laid down by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) to ensure the sector plays a role in limiting its carbon emissions.

Our analysis shows that a small shortfall in capacity is expected in the south-east, but not enough to require a new runway or airport, especially given the trend towards larger aircraft.

Using BAA forecasts at the Heathrow Terminal 5 inquiry, which show average passenger numbers per aircraft increasing from 143 to 198 over time - and assuming other south-east airports also reflect the trend towards higher passenger loading, albeit to a lesser extent - WWF and AEF concluded that the shortfall in Air Traffic Movements (ATMs) in the south-east by 2050 would be tiny: less than 1%.

Our transport policy expert Jean Leston says: "This report is just the latest in aviation industry 'groupthink' that new runways will magically lift us out of recession. It's time they came back down to earth and thought about the climate impacts of what they're saying. "Every time we build more high-carbon infrastructure, such as airports and runways, we're pushing the world towards dangerous climate change. And we can forget any chance of hitting UK climate targets."

AEF director Tim Johnson adds: "I am alarmed that the CAA, who have no official status as aviation policy advisors, are now trying to tell the government what to do. Their calls for more capacity are the latest in industry lobbying that would see us return to the bad old days of unconstrained aviation growth at a time people are flying less and there is spare capacity that could be better used, in the south-east and elsewhere."


Elizabeth Pears - prweek.com - 19 January 2012

London Stansted Airport has enlisted consumer and corporate PR support to counteract declining passenger numbers.

The airport's appointment of Fishburn Hedges and sister agency Seventy Seven coincides with BAA publishing statistics revealing that Stansted has slipped from the UK's third busiest airport to fourth. Adam Keal, head of corporate and brand reputation at Fishburn Hedges, said: "Passenger numbers are the most significant challenge, but we are optimistic because there is a very positive story here."

He said the agency's strategy was still in the planning stages, but added that it would promote the airport as a medium-term solution to the South East's airport capacity crisis. It will also emphasise its position as the closest major airport to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford. "The debate is still raging about how the South East can accommodate more flights without extra runways, but the answer is staring us right in the face," said Keal. "Stansted is not operating at maximum capacity and has the infrastructure to handle twice its current number of passengers and jumbo jets."

Keal said handling BAA's ongoing fight to retain ownership of the airport; Air Passenger Duty; fuel prices or plans for a second runway were not part of the brief, although it was possible that the account might "veer off into other directions".

Keal singled out the airport's 21st birthday, taking place this year, and London 2012 as "licence to roam" with a more creative PR strategy. On the corporate side, the agency will be holding briefings with the business media.

BAA declined to comment on the value of the account or the other agencies that had pitched. While other airports in the BAA portfolio posted a rise in passenger numbers last year, Stansted's fell 2.8 per cent to 18 million. This put it behind Heathrow, Gatwick and, for the first time, Manchester. The number of passengers using the airport has been in steady decline since reaching 27 million in 2007.

OUR COMMENT: Now is the time to write to YOUR MP and express YOUR views. Give them the correct facts about the present position, all available on this website When the consultation on the future of aviation commences - Respond, give your views to the Government.

Pat Dale


EU schemers look for lucre in all the wrong places


The skies over Europe just became less friendly. Statists and environmentalists on the Continent have linked up to impose a new carbon-dioxide-emissions tax on flights to and from Europe. This heightens prospects for a trade war that could prolong economic stagnation the world over.

The European Union's "cap-and-trade" tax, which took effect Jan. 1, charges international airlines for their carbon-dioxide emissions, including mileage logged outside of European airspace. Of course, those carriers are already struggling financially and will have no choice but to pass along the extra cost to fliers. It will add an average of $30 to a round-trip ticket. U.S. airlines have estimated the new tax will cost them at least $3.1 billion by 2020, and travelers worldwide are expected to pay an additional $22.9 billion over the same period, gobbling up a sizable portion of airline profits.

In September, the Obama administration was joined by China, Russia, India, Brazil and 21 other countries in opposing the tax. They contended the measure violates the Open Skies Agreement, in which nations grant each other access to their airspace in promoting free trade. The EU's Court of Justice dismissed their complaint in December, allowing the tax to take effect.

The new carbon-dioxide tax presents a clear example of why the Old World's economy is failing. Socialist policies held over from the 20th century have accustomed Europeans to generous entitlements from their governments with little regard for the cost. Combine big spending with the resulting high taxes and low productivity, and you have once-strong nations staring at the very real prospect of bankruptcy. Last month, the International Air Transport Association warned that the eurozone crisis could, under the worst scenario, drag the aviation industry $8 billion into the red.

Imposing another tax on air carriers under such circumstances just makes matters worse - and that's what European leftists seem to want. The carbon-dioxide levy is part of an ongoing radical campaign to force the deindustrialization of the Continent. Yet the move has consequences far beyond Europe.

Wars, whether on the battlefield or in the marketplace, often begin as skirmishes, and the EU's carbon-dioxide tax could prove to be an act that triggers larger trade hostilities worldwide. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood threatened "appropriate action", such as a retaliatory tax on European airlines, if the new charge took effect. Likewise, China demonstrated its displeasure by threatening to cancel an order placed by Hong Kong Airlines for Europe's Airbus aircraft, worth billions of euros.

Big-government Eurocrats need to learn that taxing foreign travelers won't save them from an economic collapse of their own making. Soaring airline-ticket prices likely will result in a drop-off of fliers, negating the intended effect of the levy. Rather than scanning the skies for victims for their tax schemes, Europeans need to look in the mirror and admit that their own profligate spending habits have rendered them euroless. The sooner they learn to live within their means the better.


Abtn Online - 5 January 2012

Fears are growing of a trade war between the European Union and other leading countries over this week's introduction of airlines into the emissions trading scheme (ETS). Airlines in China are already reportedly planning to refuse to pay the tax according to the China Air Transport Association.

While the system was introduced this month, airlines won't have to start paying the tax until the first quarter of 2013 giving them time to take responsive action. Cal Haibo, deputy secretary-general of the China Air Transport Association, was quoted in a newspaper report as saying: "China will not cooperate with the European Union on the ETS, so Chinese airlines will not impose surcharges on customers relating to the emissions tax."

The EU legally has the option of enforcing fines of ?100 for each tonne of carbon dioxide emitted for which airlines have not surrendered a carbon allowance. The EU can also ban airlines that consistently refuse to follow the law as well as confiscating aircraft, although these drastic steps are unlikely to take place.

"Our law gives all countries the choice to reduce aviation's carbon pollution differently. If they take equivalent measures, all incoming flights from these countries can be exempt," said Isaac Valero-Ladron, EU spokesman for climate action.

But the Association of Asia-Pacific Airlines (AAPA) added: "Recognising the EU rule is challenging the sovereignty of states, various governments around the world opposed to the EU ETS are now evaluating what sanctions can be taken against the EU with the likelihood of a trade war ahead. The last thing we need is a trade war. Tit-for-tat measures would only add to the burden on the airline industry and the travelling public, without achieving any environmental benefit."

ETS was cleared to go ahead last month following a ruling by the European Court of Justice on December 21. The judgement by Europe's highest court followed a case brought by US carriers United and American Airlines in 2009, which opposed the inclusion of foreign carriers within ETS.

Simon Buck, chief executive of BATA, has also warned that including aviation in EU's ETS without a global agreement "could lead to a damaging trade war that is in no one's interests".

Lufthansa earlier this week warned that ticket prices would rise because it expected ETS to cost an extra ?130 million this year as it has to buy certificates to cover its carbon dioxide emissions.


An EU carbon trading scheme is set to add 130 to the cost of
a family holiday to the United States, a new study has found

David Millward, Transport Editor - Daily Telegraph - 3 January 2012

Research by the Civitas, an independent think tank, predicted that the Brussels-backed green levy, will not only hit air passengers, but also inflict serious damage on Heathrow Airport, putting large numbers of jobs at risk.

A family of four taking a transatlantic flight from Britain already have to pay 260 in Air Passenger Duty. This is due to increase in line with inflation each year. The introduction of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme in which airlines will have to pay for permits if they exceed their allowance will heap even more expense onto the cost of travel.

According to the EU's own estimates the scheme, which began at the start of the year, will add about 10 to the price of a transatlantic ticket. But unlike APD it will apply to inbound and outbound flights. This would, even by the EU's own figures add another 80 to the price of a family holiday.

However Citivas believes that the cost will continue to rise over the decade, predicting that by 2020 a family of four could find that it will be paying an additional 130 for return transatlantic flights to cover the cost of the carbon permits. Overall, the report says, the carbon trading schemes will cost airlines 1 billion a year, with the expense likely to be passed on to passengers.

David Merlin-Jones, the author of the Civitas study, has also questioned the green credentials of the carbon trading scheme. "Perversely, the EU ETS will encourage flight paths to deviate from the shortest, most fuel-efficient, routes in order to avoid the EU's unilateral price hikes. Ironically, the overall result could be more CO2 emissions produced, not less." He also warned that ETS would give airports outside the EU, such as Geneva a competitive advantage. Ultimately, the report warns, Heathrow could lose its status as a major international hub, which would put jobs at risk.

With Britain accounting for nearly a quarter of all aviation in the EU, the UK economy would be particularly badly hit. Just before Christmas a coalition of American airlines unsuccessfully challenged the scheme in the European Court of Justice. The court ruling in favour of the scheme has triggered fears that the USA and other countries outside the EU could retaliate in protest at their airlines being forced to pay the levy.

Although the impact on aviation has been the most controversial aspect of the trading scheme, the Civitas report argues that the EU's flagship environmental scheme is also hitting other parts of the household budget. Fuel bills will also rise as a result of the EU setting a minimum price for carbon. This, the report says, will push another 110,000 British families into fuel poverty by 2016. Overall the scheme will see each EU citizen subsidising the power industry by €30 a year, according to the Civitas calculations.

OUR COMMENT: It seems to be forgotten that the object of the scheme is to persuade reluctant airlines to reduce their overall CO2 emissions. Lorries and cars are having to do so and manufacturers are at last producing significant technical improvements - aviation must do the same!

Pat Dale

SSE Recent News
News Archive