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 - April to June 2013


T&E Newsletter - June 2013

The world's leading airlines have indicated the need to accept a global market-based measure to reduce aviation's contribution to climate change.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) agreed at its annual meeting earlier this month that a global carbon-offsetting measure after 2020 would be acceptable to its airline members. T&E has recognised the shift in air industry thinking compared with earlier statements, but says the IATA position is 'not convincing'.

IATA is a trade body representing 240 airlines, operating about 85% of global air transport. Its annual meeting in Cape Town approved a resolution which IATA described as a 'historic agreement on carbon-neutral growth'. It effectively asks governments involved in negotiations within the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to create a system, from 2020, whereby airlines must buy permits for any additional emissions above their 2020 levels. Such permits would come in the form of 'offsets' - money for carbon-saving projects in other sectors of the economy.

T&E's aviation manager Bill Hemmings said: "This resolution is still very far from what the world needs, but if we compare it with previous statements from the aviation industry, there is some progress. The industry finally recognises that it has an emissions gap to address and that better air traffic control, better planes and biofuels together will not be enough. But it defers any action for another seven years and sets out a string of unworkable conditions. The proposal also relies solely on out-of-sector carbon offsets without saying anything about their quality."

The timing of the IATA statement is important, as ICAO has been struggling to find consensus around the question of market-based measures. With the clock ticking on the EU's one-year freeze on enforcing emissions trading for flights to and from the EU, pressure is mounting on negotiators working on a global market-based measure. The industry move may now galvanise ICAO members.

This perhaps explains the mixed reaction across the environmental community. The EU's climate change commissioner Connie Hedegaard said the IATA agreement sent "a very strong message that the airline industry seems ready to support a global market-based measure". The Aviation Environment Federation said: "ICAO members should see this as an encouragement to come up with an effective scheme, not as a blueprint for such a scheme." But Carbon Market Watch rejected the IATA agreement, saying: "Only a cap-and-trade scheme with a stringent cap and a limit on the use of carbon offsets will create sufficient incentives for essential emissions reductions."

A coalition of 11 environmental, development and science groups wrote to the head of IATA just before the Cape Town meeting calling for a global aviation deal that would cover the environmental cost of airlines' emissions. Hemmings added: "Airlines don't like the EU's Emissions Trading System, and clearly they hope this move will help roll it back. But the EU ETS will return in a revised form and airlines need to understand this. The EU now needs to stand firm, and IATA should get wavering governments - starting with the USA - to support an agreement on a meaningful global market-based measure at this year's ICAO Assembly."

Frequent flyers want aviation climate action.
A group of frequent flyers with one of the USA's leading airlines have called on it to stop blocking efforts to combat climate change. In a letter to the chief executive of United Airlines, the frequent flyers accused United of opposing 'multiple efforts to curb climate change pollution at home and abroad'. And a member of the group, a billionaire investor Tom Steyer, said: "If United wants to stay competitive, it needs to take climate change seriously and act in its customers' - and the planet's - best interest."

The initiative is being coordinated by a group called Flying Clean, a coalition of American NGOs working to reduce carbon emissions from aircraft. It collected 85,000 signatures for a petition, among them 2,700 elite frequent flyers.

OUR COMMENT: About time too!

Pat Dale


House of Commons' transport committee chairman Louise Ellman
explains the issues that need to be addressed immediately
if the UK economy is to move forward

Buyingbusinesstravel Online - 29 June 2013

DESPITE FIVE DECADES of policy papers, inquiries, taskforces and commissions, the problem of runway capacity in south-east England remains unresolved. The Transport Select Committee recently looked into this issue as part of a major inquiry into the UK government's strategy for aviation. We heard evidence from business groups, local campaigners, environmental groups, airlines, airport operators, air traffic managers and many others. Our report was published in May.

Aviation in the UK continues to grow, with UK airports handling a staggering 221 million passengers in 2012, 1.4 million more than in 2011. The latest passenger forecasts predict that unconstrained demand at UK airports will be 320 million passengers per annum (mppa) by 2030 and 480 mppa by 2050.

Aviation is of huge importance to the economy. The UK aviation sector had a turnover in2011 of around 53 billion, generated around 18 billion of economic output and directly employed over 220,000 workers. Moreover, it has been estimated that the total number of jobs supported (directly and indirectly) by the aviation industry could be as high as 921,000.

Aviation also supports the economy by providing businesses across all sectors with greater connectivity with international markets. As a hub airport, Heathrow plays a unique role in connecting the UK to other parts of the world. For many years Heathrow has operated with two runways at full capacity while other competitor hubs, such as Paris, Frankfurt and Schiphol, have benefited from up to six runways. Alongside this, the growth of large hubs in the Middle East has threatened the UK's position as an international aviation hub.

We looked closely at the main options to address the critical issue of aviation capacity in the UK. We rejected ideas for a new hub to the east of London, including plans for a new airport in the Thames estuary area, as research we commissioned showed significant public funding would be necessary to make it viable. In addition, Heathrow would have to close, with unacceptable consequences. We also rejected the notion of linking existing airports by high-speed rail to form a split-hub, due to uncompetitive connection times. It would also not be feasible to move flights to other regions or airports with spare capacity ? airlines are commercial entities and operate where there is a viable market. Ultimately, we concluded that Heathrow must be allowed to expand. British businesses overwhelmingly favoured this option.

As aviation grows, it is essential that its environmental impacts are properly addressed. Future plans for growth must take account of progress on global initiatives to deal with emissions. Local impacts must also be dealt with.

The government must also take a more active role in promoting airports outside the south-east to enable new routes to develop. A move towards an 'open skies' policy might help, and we have asked the Airports Commission to assess the impact of such a policy. We also concluded that regions that are poorly connected should have protected slots at Heathrow so that they can capitalise on the onward connections facilitated by the UK's hub airport.

The overall level of air passenger duty (APD) has aroused great concern, and we called on the Treasury to conduct a fully costed study of its impact on the UK economy. If a negative impact is proven, APD should be significantly reduced or abolished. In the meantime, we recommended that an APD 'holiday' should be introduced for a 12-month trial period. We hope this might encourage new services from airports outside the south east.

It is also vital that the government takes a more strategic approach to improving road and rail access to the UK's major airports. If Heathrow expands, improved surface access infrastructure will be necessary. Gatwick and Stansted should both be served by a dedicated express rail service. Greater coordination between aviation policy and high-speed rail is required. High-speed rail offers the potential for greater movement of passengers between regions and, therefore, the government must ensure that the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail network serves Heathrow. HS2 might also attract more passengers from the south-east to airports in the Midlands and the north-west.

Our report makes a number of recommendations to the government on its aviation strategy. The issue of hub capacity, in particular, is one that can no longer be avoided. A decision is long overdue.

A reminder of possible future changes?


Gatwick's claim that the B787 Dreamliner threatens hub-and-spoke
air networks has met a fierce response from Heathrow

Piers Evans - Routes-news Online - 27 June 2013

Announcing the touchdown of its first B787 today, Gatwick described the new aircraft as "hub-busting". For Gatwick, the new model - along with A350s - heralds a shift towards point-to-point travel, at the expense of hub networks where feeder flights gather demand for long-haul routes. "Airlines, which plan decades ahead, are investing heavily in these new generation long-range aircraft and moving away from the traditional 'hub and spoke' model that generates transfer passengers," said Gatwick.

But a spokesperson at Heathrow - the UK's key air hub - denied that the new aircraft spells doom for traditional air networks. "B787s are great aircraft but they don't change fundamental airline business models," the spokesperson told Routes News. "That's why Gatwick's first B787 will be operated by the UK's largest charter airline flying to leisure destinations such as Menorca and Cancun, while the B787s at Heathrow are flying to long-haul business destinations such as Doha, New Delhi, and Addis Ababa. In fact, almost 90% of Boeing 787 orders are from network airlines operating a hub model."

As London's airports compete for approval to expand, Gatwick and Heathrow have already clashed over the future shape of air networks. While Heathrow sees a hub model as vital to the UK's connectivity, Gatwick has attacked what it describes as Heathrow's "mega-hub model". Gatwick sees its flights to Moscow, China and Vietnam as proof that long-haul connections to key emerging markets can survive without hubbing.

But a Heathrow spokesperson told Routes News earlier that its model ensures better links. "Hub airports use transfer passengers to support long-haul routes which otherwise wouldn't be viable," said the spokesperson. "That's why Heathrow flies to more than 70 long-haul destinations which Gatwick doesn't. Having a successful hub is good for passengers, good for business and good for the UK."


Ercan Ersoy and Kari Lundgren - Businessweekly Online - 28 June 2013

Ryanair Holdings Plc (RYA) said it's in negotiations to end a moratorium on growth at London's Stansted airport following the 1.5 billion-pound ($2.3 billion) takeover of its biggest base by Manchester Airports Group on Feb. 28. Europe's leading discount carrier is examining options to resume expansion plans abandoned after a spat with former owner BAA Ltd. over access charges, Chief Executive Officer Michael O'Leary said today in an interview in Istanbul.

"We are talking with MAG on growing our traffic," O'Leary said. If a deal is reached, Ryanair could start expanding "rapidly" at Stansted as early as next summer, he said.

Ryanair, which last year accounted for more than two-thirds of Stansted's passenger total, carrying 12.5 million people, had said when the takeover was completed that it would cut traffic 9 percent after MAG inherited a 6 percent fee hike from BAA. MAG this month signed an accord with EasyJet Plc (EZJ) aimed at doubling the airline's annual passenger count to 6 million in five years.

Combined growth from the two discount carriers could help return Stansted's passenger levels to their 2007 peak of 23.8 million from the current 17.5 million, according to Donal O'Neill, an analyst at Goodbody Stockbrokers in Dublin.

With a terminal designed by U.K. architect Norman Foster, Stansted ranks third behind Heathrow and Gatwick among London hubs and fourth in the U.K. including Manchester, which made its purchase after Ferrovial SA (FER)'s BAA, now known as Heathrow Airport Ltd., was forced to cede assets following an antitrust probe.


Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 11 June 2013

JUST three years ago, after all three main political parties pledged to block any new runways in the south east, Stop Stansted Expansion considered disbanding.

Today, aviation growth is back at the top of the political agenda and in the past month the Independent Transport Commission has suggested the Uttlesford airport is a viable option as the UK's new hub and leading London architect Make has gone a step further, formulating dramatic plans for a four-runway replacement for Heathrow in the Essex countryside.

And while London Mayor Boris Johnson's preference is for a Thames estuarial airport, dubbed Boris Island, he too has been pushing the case for Stansted expansion as the next best option.

So far Manchester Airports Group (MAG) which bought Stansted from BAA in a 1.5 billion deal earlier this year, has been cautious in its response to the suggestions being put to the Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, which is currently considering the best way forward for the county. MAG's official line is: "The Airports Commission has a vital role to play in exploring all viable options for additional airport capacity in the UK, including hub capacity. Other parties will be putting forward their views as this debate continues, which the commission will carefully consider. MAG will be submitting further evidence to the Airports Commission in July."

SSE has also been circumspect in its response to the growing focus on Stansted, but in an exclusive interview, chairman Peter Sanders explains the protest group's current stance. First he tackled the swift turnaround in fortunes: "Not only were we celebrating a great victory three years ago, we were actively considering disbanding SSE. Fortunately, we decided not to, but we honestly didn't expect to be back working at almost full throttle in such a short space of time. It just shows the power of the aviation lobby."

"In 2010 all three main political parties came out against any extra runways at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. The lobbyists then set to work and put enormous pressure on the Government to change its 'no expansion' policy. The government eventually buckled and decided to set up an independent commission to look into the whole issue of the UK's airport capacity. The Airports Commission - to give it its proper title - has been asked to consider whether or not there is a need for more runway capacity and, if so, to recommend where this should be. So everything is back in play and all sorts of people are coming forward with their pet airport expansion projects."

He believes the Airports Commission could decide no new, extra runways are required: "The UK as a whole isn't short of runway capacity and, as we know, Stansted is operating at only about half of its capacity. However there is a capacity problem at Heathrow and that's really what has sparked off this whole issue. We believe that the Heathrow capacity problem can be overcome, but if the commission disagrees it will no doubt consider expansion at Heathrow as one of its options."

However he conceded there was huge opposition for another Heathrow runway, putting the focus on Stansted: "Gatwick, Luton and Birmingham are also in the firing line, not to mention the idea of a new airport in the Thames estuary, Boris Island or whatever you care to call it. The commission won't make its final recommendations until after the next general election, two years from now, and it will then be up to the government of the day. The commission will however be making an interim report at the end of this year and this is likely to include a shortlist of airport expansion options."

Stansted growth is expected to be an option and Mr Sanders admitted: "There are two main risks for Stansted. The commission could decide that Stansted should have a second runway to cope with demand that can't be handled by Heathrow. The other risk is that the commission could decide that Stansted should become a four-runway hub airport to replace Heathrow. Boris Johnson and a few others seem to think that might be a good idea. We certainly don't and I doubt that anyone locally wants to see Stansted become twice the size of Heathrow. Even one extra runway would make Stansted as big as today's Heathrow, which is what we fought so hard against just a few years ago."

He said: "The commission is still gathering evidence and SSE is fully engaged in that process. So far we've made four separate submissions to the commission, each dealing with a different aspect of the airport capacity question, and we're currently working on our fifth submission. Later this month we have another meeting with Sir Howard Davies, the commission's chairman, and in early July we have been invited to give oral evidence at the commission's first public hearing, which is to be held in Manchester. So, the current phase of our campaign is directed to the commission, doing everything we can to minimise the risk of major expansion at Stansted."

And if the worst happens for the campaigners and Stansted makes the shortlist, he pledged: "We're obviously hoping that won't happen but make no mistake, SSE will be up for the fight. I am sure we would again have the overwhelming support of the local community and would be able to see off the threat of Stansted becoming another Heathrow, or even worse."


An initiative to boost the economic credentials
of the Lee Valley has been launched

Martin Ford - Cheshunt and Waltham News - 12 June 2013

The London-Stansted-Cambridge Corridor Consortium held its inaugural event at King's Cross, London yesterday (Tuesday June 11). Leader of Broxbourne Council, Cllr Paul Mason (Con, Broxbourne and Hoddesdon South) spoke at the event, which was also attended by Broxbourne MP Charles Walker. The corridor links Cambridge University with the capital, including Stansted International Airport, and the commuter road and rail network.

The LSCC brings together local public and private sector bodies to champion and lobby for the region. There was a range of speakers at the conference debating how the assets of the corridor can be capitalised upon and how the economy and quality of life can be enhanced.

Cllr Mason, a board member of the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), hosted a workshop on the Lee Valley Regional Park as an economic asset. Speaking afterwards, he said: "The corridor remains a vibrant area of economic activity that offers a real opportunity for further development working with key partners along it. The council has set itself some challenging targets around economic growth. I believe that this will help us achieve some of those targets by promoting growth and providing important opportunities for our residents."

Other speakers at the conference included Minister for Cities Greg Clark, Jim Fitzpatrick, opposition spokesman for Transport and deputy mayor of London Kit Malthouse.

OUR COMMENT: There is local concern that the LSCC, which relies on the owners of Stansted Airport and the north London boroughs for much of its funding, will place undue emphasis upon airport expansion as a driver of jobs and economic growth in the M11 corridor. Stansted Airport does, of course, have a role to play but its rural location needs to be respected and a proper balance struck between quality of life and economic considerations. Moreover, Stansted sits in an area of almost zero unemployment and it must not be viewed as the solution to the problem of high unemployment in north and east London.

Brian Ross


Financial Times - 18 June 2013

Expanding Stansted Airport or building new runways in the Thames Estuary would be more expensive and take more time than developing Heathrow according to a new report out today.

The study, which has been commissioned by Heathrow's owners, claims that adding extra capacity there would be better for tax payers. The report is being submitted to the government's Aviation Commission which is looking at how best to manage airport expansion.


Travelmole Online - 12 June 2013

Heathrow claims a new poll shows more local residents support the airport than oppose it and almost half of those questioned favour its expansion.

The poll of 6,000 residents in Hounslow, Richmond, Hillingdon, Windsor and Spelthorne, found:
* 60% of residents feel positive towards Heathrow compared to 6% who feel negatively
* 66% say that the benefits of Heathrow outweigh the disadvantages for their community
* 46% support expanding Heathrow, compared to 43% who oppose expansion

Heathrow is the 12th most important issue in determining which candidate to vote for at the next general election, with jobs and the economy the most important issue, it said. The area with the most aircraft noise, Feltham and Heston, is the area which is most supportive of the airport expanding, according to the poll carried out by Populus. 51% of people in Feltham and Heston support expanding Heathrow compared to 39% who are opposed.

Heathrow director of corporate affairs Clare Harbord said: "This research shows that most local residents back Heathrow. Anti-Heathrow campaigners claim that everyone living near Heathrow is opposed to the airport, but that simply isn't true. The recent report by MPs on Parliament's Transport Committee lays bare what the Mayor's plans for a new airport would do to this region: it says an estuary hub airport would require the closure of Heathrow - a course of action that would have unacceptable consequences for individuals, businesses in the vicinity of the existing airport and the local economy."

The airport claims 114,000 jobs in the area depend on Heathrow, representing one in five local jobs in the five boroughs closest to Heathrow. It added: "If Heathrow closed then people directly employed at the airport would have to be re-located or would be made redundant. It would be Britain's worst ever mass redundancy with job losses greater than when MG Rover closed its factory at Longbridge in 2005 (6,500 jobs), or during the worst year of UK pit closures in 1984 (30,000 jobs).

Heathrow announced today that it will provide seed funding for a new community campaign "to provide a voice for the thousands of local people who support Heathrow". Plans for the campaign are in their early stages but it said it will seek to establish itself and start identifying and recruiting support before the end of the year.


UNPOPULAR: Thousands don't want expansion

Ryan Bembridge - SW London Online - 31 May 2013

The Independent Transport Commission are calling for a new air hub after tens of thousands of Richmond residents opposed proposals for the expansion of Heathrow airport in West London. In a month-long referendum, conducted with the borough of Hillingdon, around four-fifths of the 60,000 Richmond residents who took part objected to the plans.

The poll asked whether a third runway should be built and if there should be more flights in and out of the airport. Richmond Council leader Lord True said: "Richmond and Hillingdon are against any plan to expand Heathrow now or in the future. It is not an adequate or a safe site for a massive airport. The government should stop fudging until 2015, rule out this not-fit-for-purpose site and get on with delivering an expansion in a better site."

He said the boroughs' combined number of objectors could overflow Twickenham Stadium twice over. Dr Stephen Hickey, of think-tank the Independent Transport Commission, said Heathrow was under immense competitive pressure from growing European airports but there was the need for a bigger hub. Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Dr Hickey said: "We think there are three options which ought to be looked at in more detail. One is the Thames Estuary, one is Heathrow and one is Stansted. But Stansted and Heathrow would need to be expanded compared with where they are today."

He said an indicative figure to build a new airport would be around 50 billion. Heathrow currently handles 78% of the UK?s long-haul flights.

London mayor Boris Johnson said he was staunchly opposed to any expansion programme and the environmental impact would be completely unacceptable. "It is sheer lunacy to even think about attempting to squeeze an extra runway into an area which is so densely populated and already blighted by noise and air pollution," he said. "Especially as a third runway can only lead to a fourth."


New airport to hit more jobs than 80s colliery closures, says Heathrow boss

Rhodri Phillips and David Willetts - The Sun - 16 June 2013

MORE workers face the axe if plans for Boris Johnson's island airport go ahead than at the height of the 1980s pit closures, HEATHROW's boss warned last night.

Colin Matthews said the London Mayor's push for a new hub airport in the Thames estuary would put 114,000 staff at risk. The chief exec told Sun City: "More than 100,000 at Heathrow would face relocation or redundancy under the Mayor's proposals for a new airport. The closure of Heathrow would count as Britain's biggest ever mass redundancy, with more people losing their jobs than during the worst year of pit closures in the 1980s." Up to 30,000 mining jobs were lost during 1985 - leaving the possible Heathrow redundancies much higher.

The Commons Transport Committee said this year that for Boris Island to be viable, Heathrow would have to close - which would have "unacceptable consequences" for West London. Mr Matthews said last night that his 76,000 staff and the other 38,000 workers who rely on Heathrow for their livings would be axed or forced to relocate. His warning will appear in a report published on Tuesday to be submitted to the Davies Commission, which is considering the future of UK airports.

Heathrow, used by up to 70million passengers a year, is running at full capacity. Experts insist the UK urgently needs a bigger hub airport - one which international passengers use to transfer to other flights. Mr Johnson proposes a four-runway airport on an island in the Thames to the east of London. But Mr Matthews argues that it would be better to increase two-runway Heathrow's capacity than build a new airport.

The Transport Committee said it favoured building two new runways two miles west of Heathrow. It is thought the two landing strips would cost between 8billion and 12billion and could be built by 2030. Mr Johnson has said that would consign millions of people to "unacceptable degrees of noise pollution". He jokingly added that it will "probably be cheaper to move London slightly to the east". The Transport Committee said a new airport in the Thames would need "huge public investment" in vast new road and rail infrastructure.


Incentivetravel Online - 11 June 2013

Transport Minister Stephen Hammond MP last week [5 June] addressed The Business Travel Conference 2013 during a keynote speech sponsored by Egencia. The Minister's speech tackled some of the critical issues facing business travellers in the UK, and noted that business travel managers "of all the transport audiences I address as a minister? must be among the best informed and most discerning" with their unique experience of the transport system and its strengths and weaknesses.

Outlining Government's plans to invest in improving roads, expanding the rail network and increasing airport capacity, Mr Hammond observed that failing to do so would lead to reduced competitiveness of the UK and a potential failure to attract international investors.

Plans outlined in the speech included:
* 1.5bn funding to improve the road network to ease congestion and speed up journeys
* An "unprecedented commitment to the future of rail" with Network Rail plans to spend 37 billion to run and expand the railway between 2014 and 2019
* Plans to deliver 140,000 seats on trains at peak times by the end of the decade
* A focus on increasing airport capacity through the Airports Commission, due to publish their first report later this year.

Egencia UK Managing Director Graham Kingsmill commented "At Egencia we are continually investing in travel management technology that meets the modern traveller's expectations of productive and enjoyable business trips. However, complete modern traveller experience can only be achieved with an effective transport infrastructure behind it. I was pleased to hear from the Minister the plans Government are putting into action to bring forward rail investment and HS2 for faster journeys and more passenger seats, as well as tackling airport capacity which is a pressing issue for many business travellers. We will continue follow these developments with interest."

The Business Travel Conference 2013 took place on 4 and 5 June 2013 at the Novotel London West, Hammersmith. Leading industry speakers came together to form an educational programme of seminars and workshops giving those responsible for booking, buying, arranging or handling business travel and meetings the opportunity to discuss some of the major issues facing the travellers today.


Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 5 June 2013

PROPOSALS from the Independent Transport Commission (ITC) for at least a three runway airport at Stansted would require the construction of a city the size of Peterborough, according to the research charity.

The startling conclusion comes in a new report, Flying into the Future, which examines the key issues for assessing Britain's aviation infrastructure needs, which are currently being considered by the Airports Commission led by Sir Howard Davies. The ITC suggests that three "plausible" options are the front-runners for delivering the connectivity it says the country's economy needs: continuing growth at Heathrow; building an entire new airport like Boris Island in the Thames estuary; or dramatically expanding Stansted.

The report assesses the impacts of the three alternatives and concedes all will have "significant and contentious" impacts: "Heathrow's strength is in developing from an existing base, while a Stansted hub or a new Thames Estuary airport would involve building from scratch a wide range of new infrastructure, including new housing, schools and local facilities. At Stansted we estimate that this would involved building the equivalent of a town the size of Peterborough to serve a hub with three or more runways."

According to the 2011 census, 183,631 live in the Cambs city, up from 27,570 in 2001. It has been estimated an expanded Stansted would need an additional 50,000 workers "requiring in effect a new 'Eco' town."

The commission concludes that expansion to a four runway airport is "likely to be more feasible at Stansted than at Luton or Gatwick." It says: "Stansted has very recently been acquired by new owners and... there are no proposals currently on the table for expanding the airport. But previous work assumed that adding a second runway would allow for more than doubling passenger numbers to around 80mppa. Options for adding two or three new runways were also considered. A third (close parallel) runway was though feasible allowing the airport to handle around 100mppa. As this is less capacity than Heathrow with a third runway, if it were decided to make Stansted the UK's hub airport, it might be sensible to consider four-runway options from the outset."

A leading London architect has already tabled such proposals and the report says Stansted enjoys a good location for expansion and with an estimated price tag of 30 billion, "would also be a good deal less costly that building a brand new airport in the Thames Estuary".

Airport bosses have not commented specifically about the report, but Stop Stansted Expansion's chairman Peter Sanders said: "It seems that hardly a week goes by without some architect or 'Think Tank' becoming an expert on airports policy."

"Unfortunately we shall see many more speculative proposals of this type in the coming months before the Airports Commission publishes its interim recommendations. It is our job as SSE and, more widely as a local community, to ensure that these highly speculative proposals do not become a reality. There is no need for a four-runway hub airport. We have more runway capacity in this country than Germany, France, Spain or Italy. We even have more runway capacity than Japan, which has double our population and double our GDP."


Andrew Parker - Financial Times - 22 May 2013

Stansted should replace Heathrow as the UK's hub by transforming the Essex airport into a four-runway operation with improved rail links at a cost of 23bn, according to proponents of the scheme. Make, the London-based architect, is proposing to curb the jet noise suffered by residents living under Heathrow's flightpaths by recommending that Stansted become the UK's hub by 2028 - capable of dealing with 120m passengers every year.

The battle of ideas for where the UK's hub should be will reach a key milestone on July 19, the deadline for proposals set by an independent commission looking at how to increase airport capacity. With the UK's only hub, Heathrow, operating at full capacity, Make is planning to submit its Stansted scheme to the commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies after concluding the enlarged airport could compete with similar facilities in France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Heathrow Airports Holdings' efforts to secure new runways for its hub are principally held back by west London residents' concern about jet noise. Stuart Blower, one of the Make architects behind its Stansted scheme, said: "One of the great advantages of our Stansted proposal is no aircraft need to fly over London." This is principally because the four runways proposed for Stansted - including a modified version of the existing one - run from the northeast to the southwest, meaning aircraft would not need to fly over London when approaching or departing the airport.

Make's proposal acknowledges that an expanded Stansted would create more noise for residents living near the airport, but highlights how the area has a lower population density than the southeast of England's other main airports - Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, and London City. Dealing with 17.5m passengers last year, Stansted is operating at about half its permitted capacity, with most taking European short-haul flights.

Stansted's main weakness is its relatively poor rail connections - the average journey time from London's Liverpool Street station to the airport is 47 minutes. Make is proposing the planned new Crossrail line linking east and west London should be extended to Stansted, which could result in journeys from the airport to Canary Wharf of 25 minutes.

This means the total cost of Make's core proposal would be 23bn - 18bn for the airport facilities plus 5bn for the Crossrail extension. That is a similar price to plans for a new hub in the Thames estuary by Foster and Partners, another architect.

However, Mr Blower argued that Stansted, because of its location to the northeast of London, provided a better location than the Thames estuary for a hub that could be connected by 9bn of improved rail links to the north of England and Scotland.

Manchester Airports Group, which bought Stansted from Heathrow airport Holdings in February, is expected to evaluate the case for turning the Essex airport into a large hub in the coming months. The company declined to comment, beyond saying it would submit evidence to the Davies commission in July.

OUR COMMENT: What about the "Peterborough Effect"? More and more population under the flight paths, and Aviation Noise is just as noisy in Essex as in west London!

Pat Dale


Plans: London-based architects Make have drawn up proposals to turn
the Essex airport into a mega-hub twice the size of Heathrow by 2028

Jonathan Prynn, Consumer Business Editor - Evening Standard - 23 May 2013

Backers of ambitious plans to turn Stansted into a four-runway hub airport today claimed the scheme would reduce the number of flights over London.

London-based architects Make have drawn up proposals to turn the Essex airport into a mega-hub twice the size of Heathrow by 2028. Stuart Blower, one of the Make architects behind the 23 billion project, said: "One of the great advantages of our Stansted proposal is no aircraft need to fly over London."

This is mainly because the four runways proposed for Stansted run from the northeast to the southwest. The architects also point out that the countryside around Stansted has a population density of 100 to 249 people per sq km compared with 2,500 to 4,999 around Heathrow.

Make intend to submit their plans to the independent commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies looking at how to increase aviation capacity in the South-East. However, they are certain to be opposed by local groups.

The Stop Stansted Expansion group has said in its submission that there is no need for more runways in the South East. Its economics adviser, Brian Ross, said: "If there was demand for another 100 flights a day to China, there would be ample capacity to accommodate that straightaway. In fact, the overall demand for business flights is declining: overseas business trips by UK residents have fallen by a fifth since 2000."

The Airports Commission will produce an interim report this year and its final recommendations by mid-2015.


Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 20 May 2013

STANSTED Airport's new owner has called for faster train links to the airport to help the hub double traffic and solve the south east's aviation capacity crisis. Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has submitted its response to the Airports Commission on proposals to make the best use of existing reserves in the next 10 to 15 years - the period before any new runways can be built.

Chief executive Charlie Cornish said: "The Airports Commission's interim report provides an opportunity for the UK to make a firm statement about the future of economic growth in the country. We have watched other countries develop their aviation infrastructure for the benefit of their economies and we have the opportunity to do the same."

MAG also runs bases at Manchester, Bournemouth and East Midland and he continued: "With new runway capacity unlikely to be available for at least 10 to 15 years, it is critical that airports and Government do everything possible to make the best use of capacity that already exists. MAG airports have a big role to play in providing improved connectivity for the whole of the UK, and our submission outlines the steps the Government needs to take to help achieve this goal."

Stansted has planning permission for 35m passengers a year on its existing runway, but it currently attracting less than half that total. Managing director Andrew Harrison said: "Stansted has substantial spare capacity across the day, which gives us the potential over the next 10 to 15 years to grow and compete strongly to win traffic from other airports. This will provide much needed breathing space in the London system, improving UK connectivity and delivering significant economic benefits."

"Key to unlocking this potential is improving surface rail access to Stansted, critically making rail journey times competitive with other main London airports. A 30 minute journey time would not only put Stansted on an equal footing but we also encourage significantly more passengers to choose Stansted over other London airports, helping relieve pressure on busier airports and making best use of existing capacity."

Greg Clark, chairman of the London Stansted Corridor Consortium, agreed: "The London-Stansted-Cambridge Corridor links the world's leading university and the world's leading city with an airport that has the planning and infrastructure in place to double in size. As such Stansted Airport offers huge potential to be a key driver for the UK's high-tech knowledge economy. With significant space and permission to grow now, unlike other London airports, Stansted has a pivotal role to play in the national aviation debate as well as helping to foster economic growth in Corridor and serving to attract much needed connectivity to the US and Middle East for the thriving business clusters in Cambridge, Tech-City, Stratford and Harlow."

"We recommend in the short term that Sir Howard Davies and the Government listen to our calls for better rail links to the airport. The commission needs to push for the incentives and deregulation at Stansted to attract new long haul airlines so that it can reach its full potential and become a major driver for our economy."

Other measures called for by MAG include: reforming Air Passenger Duty (APD); exploring reforms that would make more effective use of scarce capacity at Heathrow and improve the allocation of demand around the London system; promoting de-regulation as a way to strengthen competition between the London airports and encourage investment; and further liberalising bilateral policy to open up capacity to overseas airlines. The Best Use Submission was also submitted alongside MAG's response on climate change to the Airports Commission.


Dunmow Broadcast - 20 May 2013

THE interests of rail commuters must not be overridden by those of Stansted Airport, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has told the Secretary of State for Transport. The call comes following pressure from Stansted owners Manchester Airports Group (MAG) for reduced rail journey times between the airport and central London. MAG wants to see a 30 minute journey time compared to the present average of 47 minutes to and from Liverpool Street.

Writing to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, SSE chairman Peter Sanders said: "We fully agree that there is a pressing need for improved capacity and reliability on the West Anglia Main Line but to reduce the journey time from Stansted Airport to central London by 17 minutes is, in our view, asking for more than can realistically be achieved with the present service pattern."

"Moreover, MAG is suggesting that this can be achieved in the short to medium term. Our concern is that MAG may be seeking to resurrect an old BAA proposal for the Stansted Express to travel non-stop to and from London, cutting out all the intermediary stops."

Mr Sanders added: "If MAG wants to invest in a dedicated rail line to serve the airport then all well and good but, if it wants to continue sharing the West Anglia Main Line with local users, there needs to be a balanced approach. The airport mustn't be the cuckoo in the nest at the expense of other users of the rail service."


Nicholas Cecil, Deputy Political Editor - Evening Standard - 29 May 2013

A super-hub airport at Stansted would need a new town the size of Peterborough, a new report warned today. The study by the Independent Transport Commission backed a single hub airport at either Heathrow, Stansted or in the Thames Estuary, possibly with four runways.

It ruled out a "split hub" and also rejected the idea of "Heathwick" - linking Gatwick and Heathrow by a 5 billion high-speed rail link. But it appeared to be leaning towards expanding Heathrow, possibly with new runways to the west to reduce noise impact.

The think tank stressed that developing Stansted into a major hub or building a "Boris island" in the Thames Estuary, would almost certainly mean closing Heathrow, with the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in west London.

Airlines and passengers could face charges at an estuary airport of more than twice those at an expanded Heathrow given the huge cost of building it, with estimates of between 40 billion and 80 billion. More homes, schools and local transport infrastructure would be needed to support a hub at either Stansted or the estuary.

For the Essex site, the ITC predicted it would be on a scale the size of a town like Peterborough. The study argued that planes were getting quieter so the noise impact on residents from a bigger Heathrow could be reduced.

The paper is being submitted to the Airports Commission, which is due to deliver an interim report by the end of this year. Its final report will be published after the 2015 general election.


Zachary Norman - The Guardian - 6 June 2013

Major investment could be brought to the borough with the launch of a new development consortium next week. The London-Stansted-Cambridge Corridor Consortium, which launches on Tuesday, is a cooperative project bringing together local public and private sector bodies from the areas with the aim of boosting economic development in the corridor.

Connected by extensive rail and road links it is hoped the corridor will provide a platform for major growth in the area, particulary because Stansted Airport can double its capacity under existing infrastructure and planning permission.

Councillor Mark Rusling, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Corporate Resources, said: "For Waltham Forest this corridor could make a significant difference to both the economic wellbeing of the borough and the quality of life of our residents. It will put us at the centre of future conversations about the impact on London and will allow us to be at the forefront of discussions and debate. Most importantly it is likely to bring significant investment to the region and that can only be a good thing for local businesses and for future employment opportunities for our residents."

Chairman of the Waltham Forest Business Board Michael Polledri said the corridor, which the Business Board fully supports, would bring major investment to the area. He added: "This cooperative approach is what's needed if we're going to be serious about regeneration, rather than boroughs only thinking about what's good for them. The corridor is extremely important to each borough it is connected to."

Council Leader Chris Robbins and Cllr Rusling will be attending the launch of the LSCC at a major conference on Tuesday in Kings Cross. Cllr Rusling said: "The conference will be a great opportunity to hear from a range of speakers debating how we can capitalise on the assets of the corridor." Speakers at the conference include Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, First Secretary to the Treasury and Minister for Cities and the Deputy Mayor of London Kit Malthouse. Chair of the LSCC, Greg Clark, said, "The launch of the London Stansted Cambridge Corridor Consortium is an important moment for the Greater South East. This region, with an economy built on the high-tech, clean, green, and knowledge economy, has the potential to drive growth nationally. It is an investment opportunity like no other, and with the local and regional bodies starting to come together with a shared vision and common agenda, it can provide a genuine and compelling opportunity for all."

OUR COMMENT: More proposals for a huge development of the M11 corridor! History repeats itself! Do these "planners" realize that this would result in the urbanization of the whole of West Essex, East Herts and South Cambridgeshire?

Pat Dale


BBC News - 29 May 2013

If the government decides to expand Stansted or build a new estuary airport to form the UK's major air hub Heathrow Airport will need to close, a transport think tank has said.

The Independent Transport Commission said a major capacity airport is needed to compete with European rivals. It said Heathrow would have to close to give investors confidence that airlines would move their business. Its report will be submitted to the government's Airports Commission.

'Major impacts'
The commission's report, which a number of bodies - including airport protest groups and airport authorities - contributed to, concluded that one major hub is needed. It discounted the idea of a dual airport dubbed 'Heathwick', developing competing hubs across the UK or keeping the status quo at Heathrow.

Stephen Hickey, from the Independent Transport Commission, said: "Heathrow has now been overtaken by many of its competitors on mainland Europe and that will be a loss to the UK and London. At the moment we have the benefit of one of Europe's top hub airports. The risk is we are losing that capacity to Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt [and] Schiphol and the airlines will want to use those airports."

In September, the government launched a review of how the UK might expand its airport capacity in the South East. Options included adding a third runway at Heathrow, adding a second runway at Gatwick and building a new airport in the Thames Estuary.

'Prime location'
The report, Flying into the Future, stated: "In the event of a decision to develop a major hub airport at either locations [Stansted or the Thames Estuary], we do not see how the current Heathrow could continue to operate. The majority of our respondents share this view."

It said it does not believe enough consideration has been given to the possible loss of jobs or the potential cost of compensating airline businesses which have invested in Heathrow. Closing Heathrow would have "major impacts on the 114,000 people directly and indirectly employed by the airport as well as their families and the communities in which they live", it said.

But it added that releasing some 1,200 hectares of land - the size of Kensington and Chelsea - could offer "unparalleled opportunity for redevelopment for housing and other uses in a prime west London location".

Respondents to the Independent Transport Commission included residents group HACAN, Richmond Heathrow Campaign, Transport for London, Gatwick Airport and Heathrow Airport.

The commission is funded by a range of donors, Mr Hickey said, including airlines and the Civil Aviation Authority. The Airports Commission will make its final report to the government in the summer of 2015.


Air transport chief warns Heathrow risks turning its dealings
with airlines into constant tussle over cost, service and capacity

Gwyn Topham, Transport Correspondent - The Guardian - 3 June 2013

Heathrow has been branded one of the biggest airport problems by senior industry figures. Aviation bosses say the west London hub is too expensive and overcrowded, warning that its service may decline unless it changes course. Tony Tyler, the director general of the International Air Transport Association (Iata), said Heathrow "drives me mad with frustration", and accused management of not taking tough decisions to cut costs and of abusing its "monopoly" position.

In a change from attacking British government policy on Heathrow, Tyler lambasted the airport directly, warning that it risked turning its dealings with airlines into a constant struggle over cost, service levels and capacity.

Heathrow has been pushing for a 40% real-terms increase in landing charges that airlines regard as too high, raising the prospect of higher fares. The airport argues it needs to reward shareholders after investing billions of pounds over the past decade, including on the construction of Terminal 2, due to open next year. However, in April the the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the regulator that caps airport charges, said it would ensure further rises were kept below inflation until 2019. Fees have risen sharply surged to on average 20.78 per passenger over the past five years.

Speaking at the world air transport summit in Cape Town, South Africa, Tyler said the proposed cap was "weak medicine for a major illness". He also criticised Heathrow's response as disappointing and "not what you would expect of an important business partner". He added: "In a way only possible for a monopoly, it is threatening to cut capital expenditure to the detriment of service levels and operational resilience instead of getting serious about efficiencies." Heathrow should cut costs, improve operational efficiency and consider outsourcing, he said.

Other aviation bosses echoed Tyler's remarks. Alan Joyce, chief executive of Qantas and outgoing chairman of Iata, said: "When you look at what the airline industry has gone through - cutting costs - we don't see that drive in the airports to use new technology and change practices in the way airlines have done." He accused several airports of "taking the easy approach of trying to boost income through raising charges".

American Airlines (AA) and US Airways, poised to merge to become the world's largest airline, also said Heathrow's charges were too high. Tom Horton, AA chief executive, said: "We think it is contrary to the objectives of a robust and growing hub. It's not as competitive as it could be." Doug Parker of US Airways, who will replace Horton after the merger, said the charges at Heathrow were limiting airlines and their alliance partners. "We need to have a hub in Europe that is competitive with Frankfurt, Schiphol and Charles de Gaulle. We will not be able to expand in the way we want to," he added.

John Leahy, chief operating officer of Airbus, the aircraft maker, said: "In terms of infrastructure around the world, British airports are a little bit behind." He warned Heathrow must improve or risk losing traffic to other key hubs.

A spokesman for Heathrow said: "The airport has invested 11bn over the last decade in new facilities such as Terminal 5 and the new Terminal 2 and passengers say they have noticed the difference. We want to further improve the passenger experience but airlines' draconian proposals to make swingeing real-term cuts will have the opposite effect."

The CAA's proposals are under consultation until 25 June, and the regulator will reach a decision on charges by the end of the year. Despite their criticism, aviation leaders lent support to Heathrow's campaign for another runway. Horton said there was demand for additional flights to London that the airport was unable to serve, adding that AA considered the airport's expansion to be the only way to bolster capacity in the UK.


Press Release - Airport Watch - 6 June 2013

Heathrow Airport (formerly known as BAA) wants to see a third runway built close to the village of Stanwell Moor, just south-west of the exiting airport. In leaked news it emerged today that the airport operator will submit plans next month to the Airports Commission for a new runway in the Stanwell Moor area. Heathrow Airport's submission may contain other options but this is thought to be their favoured one. They will drop their previous plans for a new runway north of the airport which would have demolished the village of Sipson.

A new runway to the south-west of the airport is likely to require less demolition of properties. Heathrow Airport will also argue that the new flight paths will overfly fewer communities. To the east of the airport places in the firing line would be Feltham, Twickenham, Ham, Richmond Park, Wimbledon Common and Tooting. To the west, the areas around Windsor Great Park would be most affected.

It is expected that the plans for a third runway will be accompanied by the noise mitigation measures Heathrow Airport published last week. These included steeper descent approaches, less noisy planes and the naming and fining of the noisiest aircraft.

Heathrow Airport is expected to argue that at this stage they have no plans for a 4th runway. They also intend to retain runway alternation on the existing runways.

John Stewart, chair of HACAN, which represents residents under the existing flight paths, said, "This is a clever plan which Heathrow hopes might neutralize opposition amongst some of the communities and local authorities which successfully opposed a new runway to the north of the airport. It would create less noise disturbance than a northern runway but we will oppose it because a whole new runway of planes will be massively disturbing to vast swathes of people across London and the South East. Flight numbers will rise from 480,000 a year to over 700,000."


Simon Calder - The Independent - 7 June 2013

When the Concorde used to fly over Stanwell Moor it set off car alarms. Now, after a decade of relative quiet, long-suffering residents of the Surrey village under Heathrow's flightpath face having a runway outside their front doors.

They reacted with a mixture of indignation and resignation to the news that their village is the latest "silver bullet" solution to Britain's aviation woes. The owners of Heathrow are understood to have abandoned plans for a third runway north of the present airport perimeter - and instead propose to build it to the south, encroaching on a village of 1,300 inhabitants.

The new southern runway, already dubbed "R3S", is regarded as both cheaper and more attractive than the northern option. It would be used exclusively by smaller jets - the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 series - which are quieter than wide-bodied aircraft. In addition, the eastern end would be located about a mile further from London than the existing two runways. Arriving and departing aircraft would therefore be significantly higher when flying over the capital.

The planned location could be constructed with no need for a sixth terminal. It would offer direct access from British Airways' exclusive hub, Terminal 5, and Terminal 4 - home to Air France, KLM and the rest of the Skyteam alliance.

Much of the land needed for the runway is occupied by airport-related buildings, including a cargo village and car parks, which could be re-located with little fuss. But the western end would encroach on Stanwell Moor, a post-war development less than a mile from Terminal 5. Villagers have not been consulted on the plans. Aslam Andanjee, 58, who owns Stanwell Moor Post Office, said: "It's a surprise to me. We've never been mentioned before."

"Bloody hell - are they really?" exclaimed Robert Mandry when presented with a sketched diagram of the proposed third runway. The 69-year-old retired compositor has lived in Stanwell Moor for 10 years, and conceded that noise has abated during that decade. He speculated that residents could be persuaded to move with sufficiently generous offers: "Our house is worth 250,000. If they offer us 350,000 I expect we'll leave." Then he left to alert his partner, Rosemary Brown, who has lived in Stanwell Moor for 40 years. "She won't half be upset when I tell her," he said.

LHR Airports Ltd, which owns Heathrow, has declined to confirm or deny the reports. The company will submit its proposals for expansion to the Davies Commission, which is evaluating solutions for the airport capacity crunch in South-East England, before 19 July.

HACAN ClearSkies, which opposes expansion at Heathrow, said the new runway could increase flights by 46 per cent. Its chair, John Stewart, said: "It is a clever plan which Heathrow hopes might neutralise opposition amongst some of the communities and local authorities which successfully opposed a new runway to the north of the airport." He added that the campaigners would oppose the proposals because a new runway would be "massively disturbing" to "vast swathes of people".

But back in Stanwell Moor, Sri Haran - proprietor of the village shop, T5 Stores - gestured towards the airport and sighed: "There's not a lot a village can do when they decide".

More & More Runways!


Mark Gough - ITV News - 7 June 2013

Birmingham Airport is expected to announce on Monday that it is considering building a second runway.

It is in response to the Airports Commission which is looking at how Britain can meet demands for air travel in the future. It is a question which has triggered the suggestion of Boris Island, or the expansion of Heathrow. Now Birmingham Airport will join in the debate saying it could build a second runway.

As long ago as 2007, Birmingham Airport said it wanted to expand the current runway and have a second. It has got the extension, but the second runway plan went on the back-burner. And then High Speed 2 came along. With the proposed line running to the east of the airport - the most likely place for a station would be in a brown field site along the M42 corridor. If the HS2 station is built there it would make sense for Birmingham Airport to put its new terminal and runway near there too.

Birmingham Airport has always said it wants to considered as a major part of Britain's aviation plans for the future. It is also said in the past that it wants a second runway but that idea was shelved. On Monday it is expected to make that concrete with an announcement that a second runway is a viable option, admittedly not for several years, perhaps even decades.

Its plans are being supported by the West Midlands Economic Forum which will release a report expected to say that there is plenty more potential growth for Birmingham Airport as the world economy grows, but if the airport itself is not allowed to grow it could get left behind.


Richard Frost, South East Correspondent - Insider Media Online - 5 June 2013

Plans to build an airport in the Thames Estuary would decimate the regional economy west of London, Insider has been told. Jeremy Taylor, chief executive of Gatwick Diamond Business, also said the so-called Boris Island project was unnecessary because existing airports in the South East could satisfy growing demand.

The government is currently weighing up a number of options to boost airport capacity across the South East. One of the proposals under consideration involves creating a hub airport in the Thames Estuary off the coast of Kent and Essex, as favoured by London mayor Boris Johnson. But last month, the Independent Transport Commission (ITC) - an aviation think tank - stated that Heathrow Airport would need to close if the project went ahead.

Taylor, chief executive of the Gatwick Diamond organisation that champions business interests in the region, said: "The Thames Estuary airport calls for the closure of Heathrow. If this happened, we'd see a decimation of the economy to the western side of London and possibly across the whole of the UK."

The ITC argued that Heathrow's closure would be needed to persuade airlines and businesses to move to this new transport hub in the east. However, Taylor questions the logic behind closing the South East's largest airport, which handles approximately 70m passengers per year.

"I think it's nave to suggest that the businesses in Gatwick and Heathrow would follow government plans and relocate to Kent and Essex," he said. "We won't see them move 50 miles away [to east London] but 500 miles away to Europe."

He added that the Thames Estuary is "very flawed on a number of counts". As well as being "ridiculously expensive", he warned that there were unresolved issues around the need to create a major new population centre near the airport and what he felt was a lack of support in Kent.

Instead, Taylor feels that a better option for the government would be to support expansion at the three major airports already operating in the region - Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. "We're campaigning for a spread across the region," he said. "The existing airports can service the needs for future growth."


Newswise Online - 23 May 2013

Both fine-particle air pollution and noise pollution may increase a person's risk of developing cardiovascular disease, according to German researchers who have conducted a large population study, in which both factors were considered simultaneously.

"Many studies have looked at air pollution, while others have looked at noise pollution," said study leader Barbara Hoffmann, MD, MPH, a professor of environmental epidemiology at the IUF Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine in Germany. "This study looked at both at the same time and found that each form of pollution was independently associated with subclinical atherosclerosis." The research will be presented at ATS 2013.

"This study is important because it says that both air pollution and noise pollution represent important health problems," said Dr. Philip Harber, a professor of public health at the University of Arizona who was not involved in the research. "In the past, some air pollution studies have been dismissed because critics said it was probably the noise pollution that caused the harm, and vice versa. Now we know that people who live near highways, for instance, are being harmed by air pollution and by noise pollution."

Using data from the Heinz Nixdorf Recall study, an ongoing population study from three neighboring cities in the Ruhr region of Germany, Dr. Hoffmann and her colleagues assessed the long-term exposure to fine particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter <2.5 m (PM2.5) and long-term exposure to traffic noise in 4238 study participants (mean age 60 years, 49.9% male).

The exposure to air pollutants was calculated using the EURopean Air Pollution Disperson, or EURAD, model. Exposure to traffic noise was calculated using European Union models of outdoor traffic noise levels. These levels were quantified as weighted 24-hour mean exposure (Lden) and nighttime exposure (Lnight).

To determine the association of the two variables with cardiovascular risk, the researchers looked at thoracic aortic calcification (TAC), a measure of subclinical atherosclerosis. TAC was quantified using non-contrast enhanced electron beam computed tomography. Using multiple linear regression, the researchers controlled for other cardiovascular risk factors, including age, gender, education, unemployment, smoking status and history, exposure to second-hand smoke, physical activity, alcohol use and body mass index.

After controlling for these variables, the researchers found that fine-particle air pollution was associated with an increase in TAC burden by 19.9 % (95%CI 8.2; 32.8%) per 2.4g/m3. (To put that increase in perspective: in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency recently revised the overall limit downward from 15 to 12g/m3).

The researchers also found that nighttime traffic noise pollution increased TAC burden by 8% (95% CI 0.8; 8.9%) per 5 dB. (An average living room would typically have a noise level of about 40 A-weighted decibels, or dB(A), an expression of the relative loudness of sounds as perceived by the human ear, while busy road traffic would generate about 70-80dB(A)). Mean exposure to traffic noise over 24 hours was not associated with increased TAC.

Among subgroups of participants, the researchers found even stronger associations. The interaction of PM2.5 and TAC was clearer among those younger than 65, participants with prevalent coronary artery disease and those taking statins. In contrast, the effect of Lnight was stronger in participants who were not obese, did not have coronary artery disease and did not take statins.

Although the cross-sectional design of this study limits the causal interpretation of the data, Dr. Hoffmann said, "both exposures seem to be important and both must be considered on a population level, rather than focusing on just one hazard." She added that her research group plans to conduct a longitudinal analysis with repeated measures of TAC over time.


ENDS Europe DAILY - 4 June 2013

The European Commission has welcomed the global aviation sector's backing for a single carbon offsetting scheme for its emissions from 2021.

Commissioner for climate action Connie Hedegaard said Monday's agreement by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) was "a very strong message" that airlines were ready to "keep their emissions in check".

The text approved by IATA at its annual general meeting in South Africa endorses country negotiators' efforts at the UN's International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to develop a proposal on a market-based mechanism. It also indicates the industry's preference for offsetting over cap-and-trade. IATA represents about 84% of global air traffic.

Airlines are urged to strongly encourage their countries' governments to adopt "a commonly agreed, single global market-based mechanism to be applied to offsetting the industry's growth in emissions post-2020, which could play a complementary role with technology, operations and infrastructure measures". But airlines' call for governments to agree a global deal at this September's ICAO assembly comes with a number of caveats.

Governments should not be able to raise any revenues through the market-based mechanism. And if ICAO decides to have different rules for developed and developing countries, it should ensure equal treatment is granted to operators on any given route.

The baseline years for calculating emissions should be 2018-20, but airlines that want to grow should have their obligations adjusted accordingly. And any net reductions below an airline's baseline should be redistributed to the rest of the sector. Airlines should be also allowed to choose from a selection of different reporting methodologies, according to the IATA resolution.

IATA's support for a single, global deal is likely help the UN talks move forward, a spokeswoman for the Association of European Airlines told ENDS, adding that her organisation is "optimistic" about the prospect of a deal in September.

But environmental groups reacted to the resolution with scepticism. The resolution "kicks the ball into the long grass until after 2020 and sets out a string of unworkable conditions", Bill Hemmings of T&E said, adding that airlines' support for a global scheme indicates continuing industry opposition to the EU's emissions trading system (ETS) as a stepping-stone measure.

But the agreement "represents a welcome departure from their historical position that better air traffic control, better planes and biofuels alone can solve the problem", he noted. Eva Filzmoser of Carbon Market Watch said a global offsetting scheme would be the wrong choice "because it does not lead to emission cuts in the aviation sector itself".

Flights to and from non-European countries have been temporarily exempt from the EU ETS as ICAO tries to agree a deal on tackling airlines' emissions. If no such deal is reached in September, the commission will be under pressure to reverse the derogation, which would be unpopular with countries such as China.

Aviation - the arguments continue


Scientific facts must back proposals for extra runway capacity

Chiswickw4 Online - 19 May 2013

The all-party 2M Group of local authorities has warned that new proposals for extra runway capacity will fall at the first hurdle if they are not backed by scientific fact. The campaign alliance, which includes boroughs affected by aircraft noise, has submitted its first report to Sir Howard Davies Aviation Commission which spells out how Heathrow's previous bid for a third runway was based on wholly inadequate environmental assessments. A High Court judge subsequently ruled against the scheme.

The councils say the only way for the Commission to succeed is for each proposal to be publicly scrutinised against credible, consistent benchmarks. The group insists this process must be completely transparent if affected communities are to have any trust or confidence in the commission's recommendations.

Leader of Wandsworth Council and 2M spokesman Ravi Govindia said: "The overriding task for the Commission must be to win the confidence of those who will pay the price for any expansion - wherever it is located. It is for these reasons we urge Sir Howard to publish the assessment methodology so this can be opened for public debate. Previous Heathrow schemes have fallen by the wayside because the promoters failed to spell out the true environmental, financial and human costs. Without this discipline there can be no confidence that the business case has been properly evaluated and the environmental impacts for local communities fully articulated."

In 2010 Lord Justice Carnwath's ruled a third runway 'untenable' and 2M says the airport is subject to the same constraints today:
* The area around Heathrow currently exceeds EU pollution limits due to aviation emissions and congestion on surrounding roads
* The additional rail infrastructure required to support additional runway capacity has not been identified
* A credible, contemporary measure for the onset of community annoyance from noise has not been established

The councils asserts that a robust assessment of Heathrow's noise, transport and air quality impacts will rule out new runways, rule out more intensive use of existing runways and highlight the need to phase out early morning flights.

The 2M Group is an all-party alliance of local authorities concerned about the environmental impact of Heathrow operations on their communities. Members are not anti-Heathrow but work together to improve the environment and protect the quality of life for local people.

The group, which took its name from the 2 million residents of the original 12 authorities, now represents a combined population of 5 million people and was successful in 2010 in overturning plans for a third runway at the airport. The group's priority at this stage of the review process is to make the Commission fully aware of the environmental impacts that flow from any set of proposals submitted for the Heathrow site.

The group recently publish research highlighting the new areas of London which could be affected by flightpath noise if two new runways are built on the site. Images of the potential arrivals and departures maps can be downloaded from Wandsworth council's website.

2M also warns that more runway capacity will not guarantee better connections between London and emerging markets. In practice the airlines will use extra runway slots to fly to the most profitable routes, not untested new services to cities in China. For example, when BA bought up BMI's runway slots they used their increased capacity to fly more services to Alicante.


Simon Calder - The Independent - 15 May 2013

Solving London's aviation capacity crisis must make provision for flights to other parts of the UK, Sir Howard Davies has told The Independent. The man tasked with prescribing a solution to the shortage of runways in south-east England said: "It's been made very clear to us in our regional visits that, unless we think about connectivity to London, we will miss a big part of the picture."

A discussion document published on Thursday by the Davies Commission reports: "The number of domestic UK destinations served from Heathrow has fallen to seven in 2013, compared with 10 in 2000." Sir Howard said: "The big fear in places such as Belfast and Edinburgh is that if you only have a constrained airport like Heathrow, it will grow its links to China at the expense of regional flights - and to some extent that?s happened."

The Airports Commission, as it is officially known, is required to report by the end of this year on interim measures to make best use of scarce runway capacity in south-east England. Sir Howard said: "Bluntly, it's highly unlikely you'll be able to produce a set of short-term options which will massively increase the capacity at Heathrow."

His main task is to make recommendations on expansion by the summer of 2015. He said: "The optimist in me says, there might be a moment immediately after the next election, when a new government has a willingness to grapple with this and make decisions. Maybe it'll get lost in the mire again, but I hope not."

Heathrow, which is at the centre of controversy about expansion, has been operating very close to its stipulated limit for many years. The discussion document says an early-morning slot at the airport can trade between airlines at 15m. It also reveals that foreign governments are refusing to endorse any increase in capacity unless their airlines get access to Heathrow: "The Russian authorities have explicitly stated access to slots at Heathrow as a barrier to further liberalisation," says the paper.

One effect of the scarcity of slots has been for airlines to increase frequency to the most profitable destinations, at the expense of a diversity of destinations. The number of cities served from Heathrow reached a peak of 175 in 2006, but within five years a dozen destinations had been cut.

Seven weeks ago, British Airways abandoned its links with both Dar es Salaam and Tbilisi, capitals of Tanzania and Georgia respectively. Both Gatwick and Manchester serve dozens more destinations than Heathrow.

One inference that can be drawn from today's discussion paper is that London is increasingly resembling a city state - closer, in aviation terms, to Dubai and Singapore than to the rest of Britain. The document says: "While on average in the UK, each resident takes just over 1.5 flights abroad per year, a resident of London takes on average 2.5 flights."

While one in three passengers at Heathrow is connecting between flights, the figure at provincial airports is negligible. At Manchester, the third-busiest airport in Britain, only one in 50 passengers is in transit. Gatwick lost more than half its connecting traffic in the decade from 2000, as a result of British Airways abandoning its dual-hub model, and the shift of transatlantic services to Heathrow.


Heathrow third runway
One of the world's busiest airports with over 70 million passengers a year, Heathrow is already close to full capacity. A third runway is seen as the best option to keep Britain competitive but environment campaigners claim it would increase noise pollution to those living underneath the flight path and make Heathrow Britain?s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide.

New 'Boris Island' airport in Thames Estuary
Championed by the London Mayor Boris Johnson, the project at Shivering Sands, Kent, would include four floating runways tethered to the sea bed at a cost of up to 60bn. Critics point to the increased risk of birds striking planes, damage to the rare estuary wildlife and the huge cost as reasons for not building the airport.

Another runway at Gatwick
The world's largest single runway airport with more than 33 million passengers a year could add a second landing strip. The proposal would see fewer people affected by noise pollution at Heathrow and capitalise on the airport's good transport links to London. But with existing agreements meaning no second runway can be built before 2019 it is an unlikely solution.


Press Releases - mediacentre.heathrowairport.com - 17 May 2013

The Airport rejects mixed mode in short-term because of impact on local community

New package of measures proposed to improve reliability and reduce noise

CAA's price proposals threaten further investment at Heathrow in the short and medium term with potential consequences for UK hub competitiveness

Heathrow has today told the Airports Commission that there is no quick or easy solution to ease the UK's lack of hub airport capacity. Physical and planning constraints mean short-term solutions to increase flights and generate growth and jobs are limited.

Heathrow is not proposing the use of mixed-mode1 as a short-term measure to increase capacity. Heathrow believes that the incremental capacity delivered by mixed mode comes at a significant cost to the local community because it would end periods of respite from noise. This is different from an additional runway which would deliver sufficient capacity for the foreseeable future while still providing periods of noise respite for residents.

Heathrow has proposed a package of other measures that the Commission could support to improve Heathrow's reliability and punctuality for passengers whilst reducing noise impacts for local communities. At the end of this year, the Airports Commission will produce an interim report which will make recommendations on short and medium term options. These options do not need extra runways or terminals, but can be delivered within five years of the interim report (short term options) or longer than five years (medium term options).

In its submission on 'Making best use of existing capacity in the short and medium term', Heathrow says the only realistic solution to the UK's shortage of hub capacity involves building a third runway. Its submission says:

There is no quick fix to capacity problems and any marginal capacity improvements should be used to improve resilience rather than add more flights.

Heathrow is the world's busiest two-runway airport with a flight taking off or landing every 45 seconds. Flights at Heathrow are capped at 480,000 per annum by a Terminal 5 planning condition and last year the airport operated at 98% of the cap. Due to the Local Planning Authority's stated policy position on Heathrow expansion, the likely timescale to lift that cap would be several years. Because Heathrow is full, adverse weather typically causes more disruption than at other airports. The airport recommends that any short-term improvements in capacity should be used to improve reliability and punctuality for passengers rather than add more flights.

Investment over the last ten years has made Heathrow one of Europe's most successful hub airports but the CAA's pricing proposals put future investment at risk. Heathrow has invested 11bn over the last ten years and the airport has moved from the bottom to the top of EU airports for passenger satisfaction, with Terminal 5 voted the world's best airport terminal by passengers for two years running. The CAA's price cap proposals for Heathrow from 2014 to 2019 include a cost of capital of 5.35%. This proposed rate of return is insufficient to attract the necessary investment at Heathrow for the short and medium term. If the CAA's current proposals are implemented then the investment needed to further improve UK hub competitiveness and service to passengers would be put at risk.

Heathrow is proposing a new package of measures to the Commission that would improve hub competitiveness and deliver noise benefits. The measures include redesigning airspace and changing operating procedures to deliver a more efficient and resilient airport. Some of the measures are designed to ensure that fewer people are affected by noise. None of the measures would result in more flights at the airport.

Heathrow's Chief Executive, Colin Matthews, said: "The Airports Commission has a challenging task in its bid to find short term solutions to long term problems. The only real solution to a lack of runway capacity at our hub airport is to build another runway. We are not proposing the use of mixed mode as a short-term measure because of the impact on local communities of ending periods of respite from noise. We are listening to local residents' concerns and we are working hard to develop new long-term solutions that can deliver additional flights whilst also reducing noise."

The specific measures the airport is recommending that the Commission should consider are:

* Redesigning Heathrow airspace to improve airport and airspace efficiency and routing aircraft over less populated areas.
* Introducing runway alternation when the airport is operating with aircraft landing or taking off heading east to provide new respite periods for communities in Slough, Windsor and Hounslow.
* Introducing the measures used in the recent Operational Freedoms trial including 'early vectoring' to improve departure rates; tactically using both runways for arrivals when there are delays; using the southern runway for Terminal 4 arrivals and the departures runway for A380 arrivals.
* Putting an end to routine arrivals on both runways between 06.00 and 07.00 in return for permitting an increased number of arrivals on one runway between 05.00 and 06.00. This would deliver new periods of respite from early morning noise for local communities while improving hub competitiveness by making more passenger connections viable.
* Changing the policy of concentrating aircraft on only a few flight paths to one of using a greater number of routes in a pattern that provides predictable periods of respite from aircraft flying overhead.
* Reassessing the policy of 'first come, first served' by which the first aircraft to arrive into Heathrow airspace are permitted to land first. A better approach would be to serve aircraft by schedule, so that the airport is working to a plan, and to prioritise aircraft equipped with the latest performance-based navigation systems.
* Ending the policy of westerly preference by which aircraft land or take-off heading west, even when weather conditions are such that they could head in either direction. This would be subject to NATS concluding that this would deliver a noise benefit for residents without compromising operational performance.

None of these proposals would result in an increase in flights above the current 480,000 per annum cap. Although the measures proposed are valuable, by themselves they are no substitute for providing an additional runway which is ultimately required to deliver long-haul connectivity for the UK.


One extra runway at Heathrow would be sufficient to solve Britain's aviation capacity problems for the "foreseeable future", say the airport's management

Nathalie Thomas - Daily Telegraph - 17 May 2013

In a clear statement of intent, Heathrow has told the Airports Commission, chaired by former Financial Services Authority chairman Lord Davies, that Britain would be able to maintain its competitive edge in aviation for decades to come by building a third runway.

Other groups, including the Transport Select Committee, have made the case for turning Heathrow into a four-runway hub, by building two runways to the west of the current site. However, in its submission to Sir Howard, who has called for evidence on short-term measures to ease capacity problems in the South East of England, Heathrow states: "An additional runway at Heathrow would deliver sufficient new capacity for the foreseeable future."

Heathrow has so far been arguing the case for a vibrant hub airport in the UK and is yet to lay out where it would build extra runway capacity.

Colin Matthews, chief executive of Heathrow, currently believes the case for a fourth runway is uncertain, although the airport is likely to maintain the option of building a fourth runway as part of any expansion plans. "The Airports Commission has a challenging task in its bid to find short term solutions to long-term problems. The only real solution to a lack of runway capacity at our hub airport is to build another runway," Mr Matthews said.

Heathrow has ruled out a controversial runway system known as "mixed mode", which would allow it to accommodate 50,000 extra flights a year but is deeply unpopular with local communities. Instead, it wants more planes to land before 6am to reduce pressure between 6am and 7am, when both runways have to be used for arrivals to cope with the number of night flights coming in to land.

Heathrow also advocates "operational freedoms", a system which allows it to use its runways more flexibly during weather disruption, for example, but without increasing the overall number of flights a year.


Businesstraveller Online - 17 May 2013

Heathrow today said there are no short-term solutions to increase capacity at the UK's hub airport with the "only realistic option" being a third runway.

The airport said it did not want to use "mixed mode" operations to add flights because of the increased noise it would create for local residents. Mixed mode involves using both of Heathrow's runways for taking off and landing at the same time - it was trialled on a temporary basis last year to reduce delays rather than increase flights.

Heathrow made its position clear in a submission to the Airports Commission, which is looking into how to increase airport capacity in the south-east and is due to produce a report on short-term solutions by the end of 2013.

The commission yesterday said that the UK could host two airport hubs instead of one and that one of the three global airline alliances at Heathrow could move to another airport, the most likely being Gatwick, without damage to its business. Heathrow chief executive Colin Matthews said: "The Airports Commission has a challenging task in its bid to find short-term solutions to long term problems. The only real solution to a lack of runway capacity at our hub airport is to build another runway."

"We are not proposing the use of mixed mode as a short-term measure because of the impact on local communities of ending periods of respite from noise. We are listening to local residents' concerns and we are working hard to develop new long-term solutions that can deliver additional flights whilst also reducing noise."

Heathrow has instead made a series of suggestions of how to improve reliability and punctuality over the next few years without increasing capacity. The airport is currently operating at around 98 per cent of its 480,000 annual cap on flights.

"Heathrow is proposing a new package of measures to the commission that would improve hub competitiveness and deliver noise benefits," said the airport in its submission. The measures include redesigning airspace and changing operating procedures to deliver a more efficient and resilient airport. Some of the measures are designed to ensure that fewer people are affected by noise. None of the measures would result in more flights at the airport."

Gatwick, which has spare capacity of around 25 per cent, yesterday called for increased competition between London's airports to help solve the capacity squeeze.


Incentive travel Online - 17 May 2013

In its submission to the Airports Commission on making best use of airport capacity in the short to medium term, the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK (BAR UK) says that airlines are only experiencing capacity problems at Heathrow.

In a survey completed by 51 members, 74.51% (38 airlines) have not experienced capacity problems at any UK airport other than Heathrow while 23.53% (12 airlines) have not sought capacity at other airports. Over half the airlines (51.02%, 25 airlines) have certainly, or probably, diverted flights or capacity to other countries or destinations, rather than to other UK airports in the past two years, because of Heathrow's slot constraints. A further 47.83% (22 airlines) state that they are most likely to operate additional flights to another international hub or destination, rather than to another UK airport, whilst Heathrow remains full.

Dale Keller, chief executive, said "Our survey confirms what we have been saying all along, that it cannot be assumed that additional flights will be operated from other UK airports where space is not available at the Heathrow hub. It is hard to see how the Airports Commission can solve anything in the short to medium term when the reality is, that airlines are already free to grow at other UK airports whenever sufficient consumer demand exists to make each route commercially viable. What seems to be missing in this debate is that an airport is an unmoveable asset and it is the airlines and their route networks that bring the tarmac and terminals to life and create a hub. Airlines are choosing to fly to hub airports and that is where the UK must take action for the sake of the entire UK economy."


Andrew Parker - Financial Times - 16 May 2013

Heathrow suffered a setback on Thursday when the independent commission investigating the crunch in the UK's airport capacity argued Britain could support two hubs rather than one. Heathrow has been making its pitch for additional runways by insisting the UK can realistically only have one hub, but the commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies effectively took issue with this assertion in a document about airport business models published on Thursday.

The commission said that, based on analysis by the UK aviation regulator, it should be possible for one of the three global airline alliances at Heathrow to move to another airport - the most obvious location being Gatwick - without any large scale damage to their operations. The commission's statement highlights how it is far from certain that Heathrow - the UK's only hub, which is operating at near-full capacity - will succeed in its efforts to secure permission to build a third runway and possibly a fourth.

Gatwick, which is arguing against Heathrow's expansion, wants a second runway and has expressed an interest in the possibility of becoming a hub by securing one of the global airline alliances. "A complete alliance might... find it possible to transfer the entirety of its network [from Heathrow to another airport] if it chose to do so and the necessary capacity was available," said the commission, in its new consultation document.

"Modelling work conducted for the Airports Commission by the [Civil Aviation Authority] demonstrates that if any of the alliances currently present at Heathrow - Star Alliance, oneworld or SkyTeam - opted to relocate to either Gatwick, Luton or Stansted, theoretically this would not result in substantial connectivity losses for passengers of that alliance."

Oneworld, led by British Airways, is expected to stay at its longstanding Heathrow home, meaning Gatwick would likely aim to woo Star or SkyTeam. Heathrow Airport Holdings, whose shareholders include Spain's Ferrovial and Chinese and Qatari sovereign wealth funds, declined to comment.

Hubs such as Heathrow have a different business model from airports supporting so-called point-to-point flights - Gatwick's current focus. At hubs, one airline is often dominant - at Heathrow this is British Airways - and offers a range of flights to long-haul destinations. BA is able to make these long-haul flights profitable because a significant number of passengers can transfer on to them from other aircraft. These people either come via British Airways' short-haul flights or from aircraft operated by its oneworld partners.

The commission has set a deadline of Friday for ideas to make better use of existing runways. In its submission, Gatwick said its road and rail links must be improved, and that it should not face reductions in the number of night flights.


Press Statement - Aviation Environment Federation - 10 May 2013

Two reports have been published this week calling for expansion of operations at Heathrow.

London First, a business lobby group, has called on the Airports Commission to recommend the introduction of 'mixed mode' operations at the airport, which would end the practice of runway alternation whereby residents under the flightpath benefit significantly from half a day's respite from aircraft noise. The report argues for an increase in Heathrow services in order to serve the needs of business travellers and cites work by the consultancy Frontier Economics, commissioned by Heathrow Airport, in support of this argument.

But the argument made by Frontier Economics - that the UK economy could lose out on as much as 14 billion worth of trade if Heathrow is not expanded - relies on an unproven assumption that provision of airport capacity generates trade rather than the relationship working in the opposite direction. As consultants CE Delft noted in a recent report, "Frontier Economics implies a causation here which to date no scientific study has been able to show (as indeed they themselves acknowledge reluctantly on page 38 of the report, right before they repeat their earlier claim). There is indeed a correlation between connectivity and trade, but the causation might run backwards (trade drives connectivity) or some third factor (population growth) might drive both trade and connectivity."

London First also argues that the number of people exposed to significant noise at Heathrow has reduced over time with the introduction of quieter aircraft. But the statement relies on a noise metric - the 57 Leq contour - that no longer has credibility as the sole indicator of community annoyance. Numerous studies indicate that people's sensitivity to aircraft noise as measured in Leq has increased significantly over time, possibly because barely-perceptible reductions in the noise from individual planes can allow for disproportionately large increases in the number of aircraft operating without affecting overall noise exposure levels.

Heathrow is also the focus of a report published today by the Transport Committee of MPs, which focuses on the longer term and calls for an additional runway or runways at the airport. The Committee places particular emphasis on Heathrow's role as a hub; a contentious topic on which the aviation industry is divided, and which will form the focus of a forthcoming paper from the Airports Commission.

The committee quotes the conclusion of the independent Committee on Climate Change in 2009 that an increase in air transport movements of 55% or a 60% increase in passenger numbers could, given forecast technological improvements, be compatible with returning UK aviation emissions to 2005 levels by 2050. The Transport Committee uses this finding to dismiss the argument that Heathrow expansion could lead to a breach of climate change commitments. But the report fails to note that even if no new runways were built between now and 2050, official forecasts suggest that demand at other airports will grow such that aviation emissions will exceed the level of the climate target by a wide margin.


Transcom - Press Statement - Parliamentary Transport Committee - 10 May 2013

MPs on the Transport Committee have today rejected calls for a new hub airport east of London and urge the Government to permit the expansion of Heathrow where a third runway is long overdue.

Launching the report of an inquiry that examined the UK Government's Aviation Strategy, Louise Ellman, Chair of the House of Commons' Transport Committee said, "Aviation is vital to our economy and it is essential for the UK to maintain its status with an international aviation hub offering connectivity to a wide range of destinations across the globe. We recognise that demand for air travel across the UK is forecast to grow, believe that aviation should be permitted to expand and accept that more capacity is necessary to accommodate sustainable aviation growth."

"We looked closely at the three main options by which the UK could increase its hub airport capacity. Research we commissioned made plain that building an entirely new hub airport east of London could not be done without huge public investment in new ground transport infrastructure. Evidence to our inquiry also showed a substantial potential impact on wildlife habitat in the Thames estuary. The viability of an estuary hub airport would also require the closure of Heathrow - a course of action that would have unacceptable consequences for individuals, businesses in the vicinity of the existing airport and the local economy."

"Heathrow - the UK's only hub airport - has been short of capacity for a decade and is currently operating at full capacity. We conclude that a third runway at Heathrow is necessary, but also suggest that a four-runway proposal may have merit, especially if expanding to locate two new runways westwards from the current site could curb the noise experienced by people affected under the flight path."

"We conclude that adding new runways to expand a number of other existing airports will not, on its own, provide a long-term solution to the hub capacity problem. We do however encourage Gatwick's operator to develop a robust business case for their vision of a second runway. We reject the notion of linking existing airports by high-speed rail to form a split-hub; the outcome from this would be highly uncompetitive in terms of passenger transfer times compared to competitor hubs overseas."

In other core findings the Committee calls on the Airports Commission to:
* Address concerns highlighted during the inquiry that current DfT long term aviation forecasts may not take sufficient account of factors - such as HS2 ? likely to impact the UK economy.
* Assess the impact of introducing an unrestricted open skies policy outside the south east, to help airports in the regions secure new direct services.

The Committee likewise calls on the Government to:
* Establish a national scheme to ensure adequate compensation for people affected by noise from expansion at Heathrow.
* Develop a coherent national strategy to improve road and rail access sufficient to address significant problems that exist with surface transport connections to major UK airports.
* Ensure that the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail network serves Heathrow and develop dedicated rail services to serve Gatwick and Stansted.
* Take a more active role in promoting airports in regions outside the south east.
* Investigate whether it would be possible (under EU rules) to protect slots at Heathrow for feeder services from poorly served regions.
* Conduct and publish a fully costed study of how far Air Passenger Duty impacts on the UK economy and, if this provides clear evidence that the duty causes harm to the economy or government revenue, moves to significantly reduce or abolish APD.
* Carry out an objective analysis of the impacts of introducing differential rates of Air Passenger Duty.
* Introduce an APD tax holiday for a 12-month trial period for new services operating out of airports outside the south east.


Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 14 May 2013

STANSTED Airport's new bosses have welcomed the Transport Select Committee's report on the Government's future aviation strategy. The body's key conclusions were that a new hub in the Thames estuary is not the answer to the county's aviation crisis. Instead members concluded expanding Heathrow or providing additional runways to the west was the most practical option, but they acknowledged the merits of allowing Stansted to grow.

To that end the committee backed the need for a joined up transport strategy, highlighting the need for better road and rail links to the airport, such as extending the current Crossrail project. MPs said a "fit for purpose" express service for Stansted was long overdue. The Davies Commission is currently looking at all options for increasing the country's aviation capacity.

A spokesman for Stansted, which became part of the Manchester Airports Group in March, said: "The airports commission will reach conclusions on the merits of different capacity options once it has had an opportunity to consider them in detail, something it will be doing over the next two years. Stansted will be engaged in the debate and presenting our own evidence in due course."

"In the meantime, we're pleased the committee recognises the need for a coherent strategy on rail access sufficient to address the significant problems with access to major UK airports and acknowledges the merits of our Stansted in 30 campaign urging Government and Network Rail to reduce journey times and allow us to compete effectively with other airports."

The airport has just posted its latest passenger and freight statistics, showing a 3.1 per cent increase in travellers through the terminal during April, up to 1,558,658 from 1,512,424 during the same month a year ago. Cargo tonnage jumped 11.8 per cent from 17,002 to 19,006 during the same periods while flights took off by 2.7 per cent, growing from 11,293 to 11,594.


Whiteley-based air traffic control company NATS is to provide
expert advice to a Government commission examining future
airport capacity in the south east of England

Gazette Online - 20 May 2013

NATS Chief Executive Officer Richard Deakin confirmed NATS has been asked to be an expert advisor to the Airports Commission when he appeared on Sky News yesterday (May 19). Speaking to Dermot Murnaghan, Mr Deakin said he was delighted that the company - which has an air traffic control centre at Swanwick as well as its headquarters in Whiteley - had been asked to be part of the commission.

The Airports Commission is due to publish its report by the end of 2013, providing an assessment of the nature, scale and timing of any need for new capacity including more runways at Heathrow Airport. It will also set out recommendations for short and medium term actions to improve the use of existing runway capacity in the next five years and in relation to any long-term options that should be taken forward for more detailed consideration from 2014 onwards.

Mr Deakin said: "Airports are only as good as the airspace that supports them - and we have unrivalled expertise and understanding of how to make best use of this critical, but invisible pillar of transport infrastructure. I am delighted that the Commission recognises the value we can add and we look forward to working with them."

NATS will provide input into the Commission's review of measures to increase airport capacity and the implications for airspace design. NATS will also contribute to the early assessment of longer term options for improving airport capacity, including airspace considerations for new runways or airports.


3 May 2013

The Airports Commission set up by the Government to assess the UK's long-term aviation capacity needs has unveiled a panel of leading environmental, engineering and transport experts to assist in its deliberations. The panel will ensure the Commission has access to the very best scientific and technical expertise, providing an extra level of challenge and quality assurance.

The Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, has also published the criteria it will use when sifting any proposals for additional long term airport capacity.

Howard Davies said: "The experts we have appointed bring a wide range of skills and experience, and will ensure the Commission has access to a broad spectrum of quality scientific and technical expertise as we progress our work. In addition, our sift criteria underline the Commission's intention to conduct a process which takes into account the full range of relevant issues, including economic, social, environmental and operational factors."

The sift criteria announced today outlines the information required by the Commission in determining which options for additional long term airport capacity should be taken forward for more detailed development, should a need for more capacity be identified.


London Evening Standard - 22 April 2013

AN INDEPENDENT report into airports expansion today accused groups in favour of boosting capacity of "distorting" the economic arguments.

The study by Dutch consultants CE Delft claims the pro-expansion lobby is guilty of "miscalculating" and "exaggerating" the case for change. It also criticised the Department for Transport for failing to take into account social and environmental costs compared with the economic benefits. And it said London's economy would not necessarily get a boost from expanding or building new airports as it already had good air connections.

Sir Howard Davies's airports commission is examining whether the South-East needs additional capacity to remain a major world player. John Stewart of Hacan, the Heathrow anti-expansion group, said: "This new report could not be more timely. It comes just as the commission is asking the hard questions about airport capacity and connectivity. Its message is clear: new runways may not be nearly as important for our economy as is commonly assumed."

The study, commissioned by Hacan, said the Department for Transport estimated Heathrow expansion would produce 5 billion in economic benefits but when the New Economics Foundation used different predictions for growth and oil prices they found it would result in a 5 billion loss.

The new report comes as the Confederation of British Industry risked a backlash by claiming that night flights into Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick must be protected because they contribute 1.2 billion to the economy.


Sru Ping Chan - Daily Telegraph - 30 April 2013

Air passengers were given a boost on Tuesday after the aviation regulator outlined proposals to cut the take-off and landing fees that airport owners can charge at London's three main airports.

The proposals by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will mean airlines will be charged far less for using Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports from 2014 to 2019 than they were between 2009 and 2014, which should limit the fare rises that would be imposed on passengers at these airports.

The CAA has proposed that airline charges at Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, should be capped at the retail prices index (RPI) rate of inflation minus 1.3pc for the period between 2014-19, from current charges of RPI plus 7.5pc for the five years to 2014. It is also far less than the proposed figure proposed by Heathrow bosses, which would have see charges increase from the equivalent of 19.33 per passenger for 2012/13 to as much as 27.30 for 2018/19.

At London Gatwick, the world's busiest single-runway airport, the CAA proposed a price cap of RPI plus 1pc for the five years to April 2019, while at Stansted, where passenger numbers have fallen, the CAA chose to monitor charges rather than impose a cap.

The CAA said that Tuesday's proposals would "protect consumers" from steep price rises. Andrew Haines, chief executive of the CAA ,said: "The proposals we publish today reflect their individual circumstances, ensure passengers are protected when they travel, and allow for continuing improvements in service and competition."

However, the airports said the price caps would put passenger service "at risk". "Our first impression is that a 5.35pc return on capital will put passenger service at risk by not attracting the necessary investment in Heathrow for the short, medium and long term," Heathrow, which is controlled by Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial, said in a statement.

The owners of Gatwick airport, led by Global Infrastructure Partners, said the proposed price controls would limit the airport's ability to invest and was based on "unrealistic" traffic growth, financing and efficiency assumptions. "The CAA must not hold us back through imposing heavy handed regulation, red-tape in the form of a license and an inflexible price control," Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said in a statement.

Meanwhile, airline bosses attacked the proposals for not going far enough. Willie Walsh, the chief executive of British Airways parent IAG, said: "Heathrow airport is over-priced, over-rewarded and inefficient and these proposals, which will result in an increase in prices, fail to address this situation."

Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted are the only airports regulated by the CAA, which can cap the amount airport bosses can impose on airlines in take-off and landing fees. A consultation period will now be held until June 25, and the CAA will publish its decision by the end of the year.


Alistair Osborne, Business Editor - Daily Telegraph - 18 April 2013

London's top three airports are facing the biggest regulatory shake-up for a quarter of a century, with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) poised to introduce different pricing regimes at each of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

Top-down regulation of Gatwick could be replaced by a system allowing the airport to strike its own deals with airlines. In a radical departure, the CAA is looking to replace the outmoded regulatory formula at Stansted and give Gatwick more freedom to strike commercial deals. The regulator is also expected to force Heathrow to cut planned hikes to landing charges of 5.9pc a year above inflation that have enraged the airlines.

The regulatory changes could unleash lower fares, though the CAA is mindful of the need to encourage airport investment. The CAA will unveil its initial thoughts on April 30 for maximum landing charges per passenger at Britain's three regulated airports for the next five-year period starting in April next year. This sixth regulatory period marks a crucial split with the past, however, because it is the first time that all three airports are in different hands following the forced break-up of the BAA monopoly.

BAA, which is now renamed Heathrow, sold Gatwick to Global Infrastructure Partners for 1.5bn in 2009, while in January it offloaded Stansted to Manchester Airports Group for a similar sum. Changes of ownership have coincided with a new licensing regime for UK regulated airports that has, sources say, allowed the CAA to abandon its previous "one-size-fits-all regulation".

An added complication is the review by the Davies Commission into UK hub airport capacity, where any "game-changing" decision in 2015 would force the CAA to revisit its pricing proposals. At Stansted, the CAA is considering exempting the airport from the industry-wide pricing formula based on a "regulated asset base" (RAB) - the regulator's proxy for an airport's value - which rises in line with investment in new facilities, such as terminals and runways.

Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, which is responsible for 70pc of Stansted's traffic, has long complained that RAB-based regulation encourages "gold-plating". He argues that the current regime gives airport operators an incentive to build "Taj Mahal" facilities on the basis that the more they spend the more the regulator lets them charge per passenger.

He is also livid that Stansted's 1.3bn RAB is inflated by 156m of costs associated with the abortive plans to build a second runway at the airport. The CAA would acknowledge Stansted's facilities do not reflect its low-fare customer base but is balking at calls from Mr O'Leary to cut the airport's RAB to between 700m and 800m and base charges on that.

Instead it is looking at alternative formulas. These include benchmarking charges against those at similar European airports or removing price caps altogether and simply monitoring any above-inflation rises. The CAA would then intervene to settle disputes. The latter approach, similar to the one used in Australia, could pave the way for Ryanair to strike a long-term deal with Stansted's new owners over the charges. Freedom to strike similar deals could also underpin the new model for Gatwick, which wants to be removed from the CAA's pricing regime.

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate has claimed that charges would be lower if it was free to strike commercial deals with major customers such as easyJet. One industry source said: "The CAA is likely to call for them to prove it, while remaining as a regulatory backstop. It's not going to turn down a 10-year deal that's in everyone?s interests." Only at capacity-constrained Heathrow is the current top-down, RAB-based formula likely to remain.

Heathrow has infuriated airlines with plans to raise charges per passenger from 21.96 to 27.30 over the next five-year period, which it claims are necessary to support a 3bn investment programme - less than 11bn invested over the past decade that included building Terminal 5. It says its proposals "strike the right balance between continuing to invest for passengers and keeping charges at a level that is affordable for airlines". But the carriers are up in arms. The CAA is expected to force Heathrow to cut its proposed price hikes, though by how much is unclear.

The CAA's April 30 announcement is expected to trigger intense lobbying by airports and airlines over the regime for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. It will make its final decision in January.


Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 22 April 2013

STOP Stansted Expansion (SSE) has rubbished claims that the UK is facing an airport capacity crisis which is damaging the UK economy. The pressure group claims that contrary to the concerns of the aviation industry and high-profile politicians like mayor of London Boris Johnson, there simply is no demand for more business flights or more routes to emerging markets.

The campaigners' comments appear in a submission to the Airports Commission discussion paper on Aviation Connectivity and the Economy. They allege it is the corporate interests of the UK aviation lobby rather than concern for UK Plc that is driving calls for additional runways, highlighting specific examples to back this up.

In a jibe at holidaymakers, they say Heathrow flew more people to Miami last year than to the whole of mainland China, and more people to Nice than to either Beijing or Shanghai. Meanwhile, Gatwick flew almost 50 times as many people to Spain last year as to the four BRIC countries - Brazil, Russia, India and China - combined.

As far as Stansted is concerned, operators provide flights every day of the week to Alicante, but none at all to any of Europe's main business centres such as Paris, Zurich and Frankfurt. At the same time, SSE pointed out that London remained ranked as the best city in Europe for doing business and as the city with the best transport links with other cities and internationally.

SSE's economics adviser, Brian Ross said: "We are clearly demonstrating that the UK has neither an airport capacity crisis nor a connectivity crisis. If there was demand for another 100 flights a day to China, there would be ample capacity to accommodate that straightaway. In fact, the overall demand for business flights is declining: overseas business trips by UK residents have fallen by a fifth since 2000."

"The UK has more commercial runways than either Germany, France, Spain or Italy," he added. "We even have more runway capacity than Japan - also an island trading nation - which has double our population and twice our GDP."

The Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, has been tasked by the Government to examine options for maintaining the UK's status as a global aviation hub. It will produce an interim report towards the end of this year and its final recommendations by the mid-2015.


Cuts in night flight limits would have a
damaging economic impact, Stansted warns

Phil Davies - Travel Weekly - 25 April 2013

Reductions would also lead to flights moving to airports with a greater environmental impact, the airport claims in its response to the Department for Transport's consultation on night flying restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted which closes this week.

The Essex airport's head of public affairs and sustainable development Chris Wiggan said: "As the UK economy improves and passenger and freight movements continue to grow at Stansted, it is vital that government recognises this potential and retains our full night flight quota limit. Whilst we understand that night noise is an important issue for airport communities, a reduction in the limit would have a damaging effect on the UK economy and only serve to transfer movements to airports with greater environmental impacts."

He added: "Stansted is unique in the southeast as the only airport with a dedicated freight as well as a passenger operation. Over 1,000 people are employed in the freight operation, 500 alone at FedEx's UK base at Stansted. The speed of delivery that air freight can offer is an increasingly important factor for many modern businesses, especially where just-in-time practices and high value commodities are concerned."

"Night flights are not only critical to the express freight industry, they are important for passenger services and support the operations of affordable leisure and long-haul travel. Airlines like Ryanair and easyJet rely on flying in the early and late hours to maximise efficiency of their aircraft to help keep ticket prices down for passengers. It is also vital that any future night flights regime takes into consideration the Airports Commission process and supports airports in making the best use of available runway capacity in the UK over the short and medium term."

He claimed that since the current night regime began in 2007, Stansted has made "significant strides" to reduce its noise footprint with the introduction of the latest generation of quieter and more efficient aircraft. "It's essential that government policy strikes the right balance between the economic, environmental and social impacts of aviation," said Wiggan. "In striking this balance government should take full account of the critical role Stansted airport and night flights play in supporting the growth of the economy, both in our region and the UK as a whole."


The chief executive of Ryanair has written to the Civil Aviation Authority accusing the industry regulator of "sitting on its hands"
and "issuing platitudes" while traffic volumes plunge

Alistair Osborne - Daily Telegraph - 27 April 2013

Michael O'Leary wrote to Iain Osborne, the CAA's group director of regulatory policy, complaining about its refusal to investigate why Stansted's previous owner - the Ferrovial-backed Heathrow group - was allowed to increase landing charges by 6pc in February just days before it sold the airport for 1.5bn. That was despite ongoing falls in traffic at the Essex airport.

Mr O'Leary alleged the price rise, which took effect at the beginning of this month, was a "sweetener" to encourage Manchester Airports Group to "overpay" for Stansted and urged the CAA to investigate. When Mr Osborne refused, saying Stansted's increases were within the regulatory price cap and "we have no reason to question the airport's motives", Mr O'Leary fired off a letter of complaint.

"It is inconceivable that any regulator, charged with protecting the reasonable interests of airport users, would not investigate why Ferrovial, on the week before they handed over Stansted to MAG, imposed a 6pc price increase... which will clearly be of no benefit to Ferrovial," Mr O'Leary wrote earlier this month. "Why don't you do something on behalf of users for a change and investigate this pricing scandal, instead of just sitting on your hands issuing platitudes?"

Rejecting Mr Osborne's offer to engage with the CAA over its proposed new regulatory framework for the big three London airports - due to be unveiled on Tuesday - Mr O'Leary said: "Why should Ryanair bother engaging with you on 'an appropriate regulatory framework' when you have clearly no interest in actively protecting airport users from unjustified and unnecessary price increases which have delivered six consecutive years of traffic declines at Stansted?"

Passenger numbers have fallen from 24m in 2007 to 17.5m last year, partly due to Ryanair - which accounts for around 70pc of the traffic - cutting flights at the airport in protest at the charges.

The CAA will this week unveil its initial thoughts on maximum landing charges per passenger at Stansted, Gatwick and Heathrow for the next five-year regulatory period starting in April 2014. It marks a departure from the past as it is the first time all three airports are in different hands following the break-up of the BAA monopoly. At Stansted, the CAA is expected to exempt the airport from the industry-wide pricing formula based on the regulated asset base (RAB) - the regulator's proxy for an airport's value - which rises with investment in new facilities.

Mr O'Leary has long complained that Stansted's 1.3bn RAB is artificially inflated by such things as 156m of spending relating to its proposed second runway. "The obvious thing to do is cut the RAB to 800m and cut the charges in half," Mr O?Leary told The Sunday Telegraph. "The CAA goes on about the need to incentivise airport investment. What about incentivising traffic growth?"

Mr O'Leary is angry that under the current regulatory formula, Stansted can increase its charges to compensate for lower traffic than the CAA forecast. He said he expected a "meaningless" change from RAB regulation that still allowed Stansted to "jack up charges above inflation".

A CAA spokesman said: "Stansted's increase in charges was within the set price caps and under the current regime, legally there was nothing we could do." A Heathrow spokesman said: "The Stansted increase of inflation plus 1.63pc was determined by the CAA in early 2009 and is not in any way related to the sales process."


ENDS Europe - 1 May 2013

Europe's low fares airlines will go ahead with a legal challenge to an emissions trading derogation for non-EU flights within "a matter of months", according to Ryanair. It has not yet been decided in which jurisdiction to take the case.

The derogation was signed into law last week having been agreed by the European Parliament and member state negotiators in March. Low-fares airlines had signalled in February that they would challenge the derogation in court if and when the European Commission's proposal was adopted.

"It favours airlines with a higher proportion of long-haul flights into and out of the EU over low fares, intra-EU airlines," a Ryanair spokeswoman said. The vast majority of Ryanair?s business is intra-EU. The only non-EU country it flies to is Morocco, meaning that it will benefit very little from the derogation.

For 2012, the first year of emissions trading for aviation, Ryanair had by far the biggest shortfall in free carbon allowances of any airline, commission data shows. The Irish airline had to buy 1.9 million allowances before 30 April, the deadline for surrending their first allowances under the EU ETS. It received 5.6 million allowances free, enough to cover about three quarters of its needs.

Ryanair levies ?0.25 on most of its flights towards its ETS costs. It estimates the cost of 2012 ETS compliance at ?10-15m. The company booked a net profit after tax of ?560m in 2012, up from ?375m in the previous year.


Ross Bentley - EADT Online - 1 May 2013

SPARE flight capacity at Stansted Airport should be used more effectively to offset demand for air travel in and out of Heathrow, according to a new report.

Air Capacity in London, published by the London Assembly, shows that during summer 2012, Stansted's peak period, it used only 53% of its runway capacity. Currently, the Essex airport services less than half the 35 million passengers per year that it has permission to handle. The report also calls for improved public transport access from central London to Stansted to encourage travellers to switch from Heathrow and cites Stansted Airport Ltd's assertion that it could attract 1.5 million more passengers per year if the rail journey time from London was reduced from 45 to 30 minutes.

The study says these factors must be considered by the Airport Commission in its assessment of the different options for addressing airport capacity including London Mayor, Boris Johnson's proposal for a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary. The commission, chaired by ex-Financial Services Authority boss Sir Howard Davies, is expected to report back in 2015.

Chairman of the London Assembly's Transport Committee, Caroline Pidgeon, said: "Evidence we received shows that the Airport Commission must examine whether better use of existing airport capacity could be an intelligent cost-effective alternative to building new airports or runways."

Included in the 500-page report is a submission from Stansted Airport Ltd, which states that the airport is ready to take on more of London's passengers. It reads: "Stansted is currently operating at less than half its full capacity... and can handle more of London's demand with limited noise and environmental impacts. Growth to 35 milion passengers per annum will largely be achieved through more intensive use of current facilities, and will require only modest further investment. Making best use of Stansted's existing capacity would have significant economic benefits and would be delivered within approved environmental limits."

But for this to happen transport links with the capital must be improved, according to Witham MP Priti Patel, who is a lead campaigner on the issue. She said: "Network Rail recognises that journey times on the West Anglia line are not great. Investment plans are foot and I expect to see improvements to the service within five to ten years. We have seen more capacity become available at Stansted in recent years because a downturn in economic activity has hit the airport, and improved transport links are a vital ingredient in making Stansted more attractive and productive."

Economics advisor at the Stop Stansted Expansion pressure group, Brian Ross said he was "pleasantly surprised" by the report. He added: "The report shows what we have been saying for some time - that there is no airport capacity crisis and there simply isn't the demand for more business flights or more routes to emerging markets."


Evening Standard - 24 April 2013

LABOUR was moving towards backing a second runway at Gatwick before a review was set up into Britain's airport needs, the Standard reveals today. Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle has already publicly ruled out a third runway at Heathrow, doing a U-turn on Gordon Brown's firm support for expanding the airport.

She has also rejected Boris Johnson's idea of an airport in the Thames Estuary, largely on cost grounds, branding it an 'unworkable fantasy'. A second runway at Gatwick cannot be built before 2019 under a planning agreement. Ms Eagle, though, is understood to have seen such a development at the Sussex airport as a stronger contender than expanding, if the South East needed extra aviation capacity.

Gatwick is opening new routes, including to the Far East, as it seeks to become a rival to Heathrow while still has spare capacity. The Shadow Cabinet Minister is adamant that the Davies Commission into the UK's airport capacity should not be pre-empted. While Labour wanted Sir Howard Davies, the former head of the London School of Economics leading the review, to publish its final report before the 2015 election, it will await its conclusions before drawing up its new policy. Supporting expansion at Gatwick, or, had also not been agreed by the shadow cabinet.

However, both party leader Ed Miliband and Ms Eagle remain 'sceptical' about another runway at Heathrow. Labour, like the Conservatives, is divided over the future of the West London airport.


Robert Wall - Business Week - 22 April 2013

British Airways parent IAG SA said it will buy 18 Airbus SAS (EAD) A350 wide-body planes with a list price of almost $6 billion for the U.K. carrier. The A350-1000 jetliners will be delivered from 2017 through 2023, according to IAG, which also secured options for 18 more A350s for BA, together with an undisclosed number for Spanish unit Iberia, pending an earnings turnaround there.

The contract secures a position for Airbus's newest wide body at IAG after the London-based company said this month it would exercise options to add 18 of Boeing Co. (BA)'s competing 787 Dreamliners in addition to 24 already on order. British Airways needs both models to replace a fleet of aging Boeing 747 jumbos.

"The A350-1000 will bring many benefits to our fleet," IAG Chief Executive Officer Willie Walsh said in a statement. "Its size and range will be an excellent fit for our existing network and, with lower unit costs, there is an opportunity to operate a new range of destinations profitably."

IAG, as International Consolidated Airlines Group SA is known, closed 1.6 percent higher at 256.40 pence before today's announcement. The stock has added almost 39 percent this year.

The firm orders for the Airbus and Boeing models will be used to replace 30 of BA's 50-plus 747s as part of a fleet renewal plan for the U.K. carrier's wide-bodies that will eventually also see the retirement of 46 Boeing 777-200s.

A380s to Come
British Airways (IAG) will also begin taking delivery of Airbus A380s this year, with commercial service to Los Angeles starting Oct. 15. The unit will operate 12 of the European planemaker's flagship planes, with deliveries continuing through 2016.

"The A380 and the A350 are perfectly matched for greener long-haul operations," John Leahy, Airbus's chief salesman said. "This is an important announcement from one of the world's most respected and influential airline brands."

British Airways is the first European carrier to commit to the A350-1000, the largest member of the family. The deal, once finalized, will bring the backlog for the variant to 128 units. The fleet over-haul plan that Walsh is rolling out effectively cuts capacity while adding frequencies.

Biggest Version
The A350-1000 - which can seat 350 passengers in a three class layout - most closely matches the capacity of a 747 among planes BA is buying, with the carrier operating the jumbo in a four-class setup with as many as 345 seats. Orders for Madrid-based Iberia, which needs new long-haul jets to replace Airbus A330s and A340s, will be firmed up "when Iberia is in a position to grow profitably, having restructured and reduced its cost base," according to IAG, which is seeking more than 3,000 job cuts at the unprofitable business.

The A350s ordered today will be powered by the Trent XWB from Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc, the only engine currently available on the model and one which is guaranteed exclusivity on the 1000 variant. Rolls-Royce said today its part of the contract has a value of $1.6 billion, including maintenance. The 787s being bought for British Airways will be powered by Trent 1000 engines from the U.K. manufacturer. BA is due to start receiving Dreamliners this year once Boeing finalizes handover plans after the aircraft's return to service following battery glitches that saw it grounded on Jan. 16. The Airbus deal announced today still requires shareholder approval, IAG said.

OUR COMMENT: This new large Airbus A350 in common with its competitor the Boeing Dreamliner B787 (which British Airways has already purchased), has a key design criteria in that it will operate Point to Point services, which is a different operation from Hub and Spoke. In other words, it is designed to do for long haul what the B737 has done for short haul (and Michael O'Leary). The significance being that, traditionally for a large plane to be cost-effective on long haul routes, it needed to be feed by the short haul "spokes" of a Hub. Now the cost efficiency of the new A350 and B787 means that this is no longer the case. When Willie Walsh says "Its size and range will be an excellent fit for our existing network and, with lower unit costs, there is an opportunity to operate a new range of destinations profitably" that is code for "a Hub at Heathrow is no longer the only game in town". So back to the Airport Commission's papers on Capacity and Connectivity, the industry has already moved on.

Pat Dale


Chris Madden - This is Sussex Online - 19 April 2013

GATWICK Airport has rejected suggestions the UK needs a 'hub' airport and says current airport capacity should be used to increase connectivity.

The airport's chief executive, and other senior officers, believe the UK must focus on making the most of exisiting flight routes and capacity at the current airports in the short term, rather than looking to develop a central hub airport. Their comments form part of the airport's response to a paper on connectiviety and economy, published by the Airport Commission - the government body responsible for the country's air travel.

Gatwick's response urged the Commission to reject suggestions that one 'hub' airport is the only way to develop routes to new destinations, highlighting the fact that Gatwick already serves half of the world's fastest growing economies. Chief executive of Gatwick Airport, Stewart Wingate, said: "It is true we will need additional capacity in the future. Without it, connectivity will be severely affected and the passenger experience will be impacted by unacceptable delays and rising prices. However, relentless suggestions that traditional "hubs" are the answer is misleading. Evidence shows that the London market is predominantly an origins and destinations market which means that most passengers begin or end their journey in London."

"A mega-hub airport therefore would be yesterday's solution to tomorrow's problem. We must not be blindly led to believe that because some of our European competitors serve more marginal routes to emerging markets, that we are falling behind them or that this is happening because Heathrow is full. If real competition is allowed to flourish, as it has at Gatwick, new routes will be created where there is market demand. For example, already this year Gatwick has added a route to Indonesia, demonstrating that competition is capable of delivering the connectivity needed by London and the UK."

The latest Gatwick Masterplan outlined that the airport will not be operating at full capacity until at least 2020, meaning there is space to develop new destinations on the existing site.


Andrew Parker - Financial Times - 22 April 2013

The aviation industry is seeking to defuse the contentious issue of airport expansion by highlighting how aircraft noise can be reduced even as the number of flights is set to almost double by 2050.

In a new report published on Tuesday, Sustainable Aviation - a lobby group whose supporters include British Airways and Heathrow airport - said noise generated by the UK fleet could be cut by 20 per cent by the middle of this century compared with 2010 levels, even though the number of flights is projected to rise by 90 per cent over the same 40-year period.

The findings come a day after groups opposed to airport expansion - notably at Heathrow - published a report disputing the aviation industry's assertion that more runways would boost UK economic growth.

The government last year appointed a commission led by Sir Howard Davies, the former head of the CBI employers' organisation, to consider the case for airport expansion. Sir Howard is expected to look at several options, including building a new hub in the Thames estuary, as well as the case for two new runways at Heathrow.

Heathrow is Europe's noisiest airport because of the number of people living under its flightpaths, and bosses there acknowledge this is a big obstacle to its expansion. Matt Gorman, Heathrow airport's sustainability director, said: "We recognise that... if we are to be successful in growing Heathrow, we would need to achieve stretching targets on noise."

The report by Sustainable Aviation - which Mr Gorman chairs - highlights several factors that should reduce jet noise in the coming years, although it does not include specific proposals for individual airports. The most important factor is the new generation of passenger jets, led by the Airbus A380, which have much quieter engines than older aircraft, such as the Boeing 747. The cut in jet din could actually be as much as 50 per cent by 2050 if aircraft manufacturers go further and produce a generation of "ultra-low noise" jets from the 2020s onwards. These estimates for reducing aircraft noise were calculated using the government's forecasts on growth in aircraft movements, which assume no new runways are built.

Sustainable Aviation's overall objective is to "limit and where possible reduce" the number of people living near airports who are significantly affected by aircraft noise: usually judged to be the case where residents are regularly exposed to levels of 57 decibels and above. The number of people falling into this category has been falling around Heathrow and other airports, principally because of quieter aircraft.

Heathrow is exploring whether it could continue to reduce - or at least not increase - the number of residents affected by aircraft noise above 57 decibels even if it obtained permission for a third runway and potentially a fourth.

Meanwhile, a report published on Monday by CE Delft, a Dutch consulting company, concluded that aviation links could not be proven to foster economic growth. The paper, commissioned by environmental organisations and Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise, an anti-expansion group, said: "Many studies find a positive correlation between aviation and economic growth, but no causal relationship between connectivity and economic growth was found."


Paul Regeli - Takeley Newsletter - 17 April 2013

The Callous quote of the week comes from the UK's Civil Aviation Authority, in a report entitled "Proposed methodology for estimating the cost of sleep disturbance from aircraft noise".

The report states that "the science is not robust enough to monetise the cognitive impairment in children at this time". Surely they are taking the name of "science" in vain here. Should that not be "the philosophy is not robust enough to decide whether cognitive impairment in children has a monetary value"?


Sofia Mitra-Thakur - eadt news - 8 April 2013

Turbulence on transatlantic flights will become more frequent and severe by 2050 as carbon dioxide emissions rise, leading to longer journey times and increased fuel consumption, UK scientists have said.

Any air traveller has probably experienced turbulence. It can happen without warning and is caused by climate conditions such as atmospheric pressure, jet streams, cold and warm fronts or thunderstorms. Light turbulence shakes the aircraft, but more severe episodes can injure passengers and cause structural damage to planes, costing around an estimated $150 million a year.

Turbulence will be stronger and occur more often if carbon dioxide emissions double by 2050 as the International Energy Agency forecasts, scientists at the universities of Reading and East Anglia said in the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Carbon dioxide is one of the most potent greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. Increasing emissions raise the global average temperature, heating up the lower atmosphere. However, warming also changes the atmosphere 10 km above ground level, making it more unstable for planes, Paul Williams at the University of Reading and co-author of the report, said.

The scientists focused on the North Atlantic flight corridor - where 600 planes travel between Europe and North America each day - using computer simulations to examine the effects of climate change on conditions there. They found that the chances of encountering significant turbulence by the middle of the century will increase by between 40 and 170 percent, with the most likely outcome being a doubling of airspace containing significant turbulence.

The average strength of turbulence would also increase by between 10 and 40 percent. Bumpier air journeys would make flying more uncomfortable and raise the risks to passengers and crew.

Detours to avoid strong patches of turbulence would lengthen flight times, increasing fuel consumption, emissions and airport delays, which would ultimately drive up ticket prices, Williams said.

Air travel is one of the fastest-growing sources of carbon dioxide emissions, but the effects of climate change on turbulence have not been studied before. "Aviation is partly responsible for changing the climate in the first place. It is ironic that the climate looks set to exact its revenge by creating a more turbulent atmosphere for flying," Williams said.

The International Air Transport Association said the issue of climate sensitivity still held many uncertainties and the study would not change airline procedures. The aviation sector is aiming to halve its net CO2 emissions by 2050 from 2005 levels through new technology, alternative fuels and increased efficiency.

There have also been attempts to tax the sector amid slow progress towards a global deal on curbing aviation emissions. The European Union tried to force all airlines landing or taking off from EU airports to pay for their emissions last year through its carbon trading scheme. But opposition was so fierce it almost led to a trade war, so the law was frozen for a year for inter-continental flights.


Aef Online - 5 April 2013

The Airports Commission, appointed by Government to advise on the possible need for new airport capacity in the UK, has today published the third in its series of issues papers. This most recent publication considers aviation's climate change impacts, as well as the possible impact of climate change effects on any future infrastructure.

The Commission appears keen for the UK to avoid disadvantaging itself economically through constraints on airport capacity, and quotes the Committee on Climate Change as expressing a preference for European or international climate measures over unilateral action in the UK. Nevertheless the Commission notes that European action on aviation emissions - through implementation of the EU ETS for all arriving and departing flights - has been partially suspended for one year in the hope that progress can be made on an international approach to aviation emissions. And it acknowledges that there have also been problems with the effectiveness of EU ETS in recent years related to an oversupply of carbon credits.

In terms of UK action on aviation emissions, the paper acknowledges that while aviation is currently not formally included in the UK's Climate Act and carbon budgets, both the Committee on Climate Change and the Government itself have made allowance in the budgets for inclusion of the sector in future. As the assumption for the purpose of the budgets has been that aviation emissions will remain constant at the level of the EU ETS cap for aviation, and as this cap is close to the figure for the 2005 emissions level from UK aviation, "a significant overshoot of 2005 aviation emissions levels in 2050 would suggest more challenging reductions in other sectors", suggests the paper.

AEF's view is that such an overshoot would effectively make it impossible to achieve the aims of the Climate Act, as it would assume reductions of greater than 90% from other sectors of the economy. The paper devotes a whole chapter to consideration of possible 'carbon leakage' that may arise if the UK were to impose constraints on airport expansion for climate reasons while other EU states imposed none (the model used assumes unlimited growth at competitor, hubs, for example).

Yet it is clear from figures presented by the Commission that, even assuming that airport capacity is constrained to current levels, that APD continues, and that aviation is included in EU ETS or a comparable global measure, forecast demand growth remains significantly higher than the level compatible with climate targets. In other words, if we want to meet these targets, new measures should be considered for constraining emissions, and unconstrained aviation growth with new runways should be out of the question.

A situation in which the UK was the only EU member to take action on aviation emissions seems, meanwhile, extremely unlikely. All major economies have committed to carbon dioxide reductions of 80% of 1990 levels by 2050, matching the UK's legally binding commitment, and the EU-wide 2020 emissions reduction target includes aviation. It is also worth noting that both France and Germany are now witnessing significant public opposition to airport expansion on the grounds of noise and landscape impacts, with thousands of campaigners in Frankfurt meeting weekly for the past 18 months to call for closure of the airport's fourth runway.

Home News from Stansted


Business Weekly - 14 April 2013

The new owner of Stansted Airport has kickstarted major expansion of the security area in the main concourse to speed passenger flow-through and improve the travel experience. The 45 million revamp over the next two years forms the first phase of a five-year, 230m investment programme by Manchester Airport Group, which bought Stansted in the BAA London portfolio breakup.

Stansted managing director, Andrew Harrison said MAG didn't pay 1.5 billion for the airport in January to let it stand still. Having battled a protest group called Stop Stansted Expansion for several years, Stansted was on the front foot and Harrison said a new campaign was underway - Stop Stansted Shrinking.

He said MAG was determined to engage more passionately with the business community in the East of England region and build on Stansted's midway point between Europe's leading technology cluster - Cambridge - and financial centre (London). The airport was also stepping up dialogue with global carriers about bringing sustainable long-haul services to Stansted, especially to the US and Asia.

Harrison said: "We have strong credentials both as the leading low fares hub for pan-European passengers and also as a major player for regional traffic. We intend to build on those strengths and also step up the dialogue which is already underway with airlines that can bring long haul services to Stansted."

The existing security area will be moved and expanded with more lanes to avoid congestion. The plan will entail some of the retail and food outlets in the main concourse being shifted to other slots with a concentration airside. "We want to speed passengers through security so they can enjoy their shopping, eating and relaxation time while they wait for their flights. It is vital that we improve the entire experience of using Stansted for existing and new customers alike."

While it is early days for MAG, Harrison said it was clear that Stansted had "loads of potential". Formerly MD at Manchester Airport, Harrison was moved to Stansted following the acquisition to maximise that potential. He said: "This acquisition is arguably the most important thing the group has ever done as a business so it is vital that we get the growth strategy right. It is also the most exciting mission I have ever undertaken."

"The infrastructure at Stansted is fantastic and primed for growth but the experience for passengers is not as good as it should be, so changing that is an absolute priority. We need to make it efficient as well as enjoyable for the user - and scaling up the security allied to subtle changes to the check-in, retail and refreshment areas will play a major part in that aspect of our strategy."

Harrison said the move would double the space available in the security area, which would have extra lanes and be generously staffed. The mix of shops and calibre of business lounges will also form part of the revamp. "Firstly, only around 50 per cent of people using the airport physically use check-in desks these days - they are increasingly checking in online. So we can take some of that capacity and channel it into the enlarged security area which is the first port of call for most passengers."

"As far as facilities for the business market are concerned, we have more work to do. Business passengers provide 20 per cent of our traffic so we have to look after these important customers much better than we already do."

While Stansted has been used as a political yo-yo by successive governments, MAG has nailed its strategy to one runway in the short to medium term.

New Labour had argued that Stansted needed a second runway. Now London's Mayor Boris Johnson and Chancellor George Osborne are said to be championing a new four-runway option for the Essex airport. Harrison said: "We need clarity, not uncertainty. We looked at all the angles and recognised that we could drive through the initial phases of our growth strategy with the one runway so we are proceeding on that basis."

"The fact is that Stansted is 50 per cent empty and once the low fares airlines have completed the early morning rush, we have spare capacity for new carriers. We can accommodate the transatlantic guys after the low fares rush is over."

Harrison said 80 per cent of Manchester Airport's traffic is outbound; Stansted has a more even 50-50 split between passengers going out and those coming in. Talks had started with a hitlist of Manchester international carriers in a bid to persuade them to add Stansted to their favoured hubs. "We are talking to every one of those carriers, some 70 of them. Stansted only has between 10-14 carriers at any one time so it is clear we need to diversify. We are endeavouring to build momentum."

Harrison will also be triggering talks with major corporate players, such as AstraZeneca which has just announced plans to bring 2,000 jobs to Cambridge in shifting its corporate HQ from London and closing facilities in Cheshire. "AstraZeneca is a major user of Manchester Airport so the timing of their Cambridge move could be a force for good as far as Stansted is concerned."

No redundancies have followed MAG's takeover and none our planned. Harrison said: "I can't say there will never be a job lost along the way; all I can say is that to us this is a growth story. Our mantra is to Stop Stansted shrinking. It has had six years of getting smaller. Generally, if you achieve growth you employ more people, not less."

Recent passenger figures and consistently robust cargo volumes suggest MAG has a platform on which to build. "That can only spell good news for the UK and the East of England economy," Harrison said.


Eadt - 11 April 2013

STANSTED Airport has again been named the world's best airport for low-cost airlines at the World Airport Awards. For the third successive year, Stansted, now part of Manchester Airports Group (MAG), has topped a poll of passengers in the annual SKYTRAX airport customer survey, ahead of rivals Berlin Schonefeld and Luton.

The survey focused on all aspects of passenger journeys and captured the opinions of travellers of 108 different nationalities at 395 airports around the world.

Stansted Airport's communications director, Will Parkes, who collected the award during a ceremony in Geneva, said: "It's a fantastic achievement and a very proud moment for everyone at Stansted to be voted the world's best airport for low-cost airlines for the third year in a row. It's made all the more special as the award is decided by the people that matter the most in the aviation world and the users of airports across the globe - our passengers."

He added: "Stansted is now beginning a new era as part of MAG and there are very ambitious plans to develop and improve the airport. This includes significant investment plans to re-vamp the award winning terminal and build on our past success and excellent operational track record."

"Stansted already serves around 150 destinations across Europe but the focus now is to grow passenger numbers and broaden the route network with our existing customers and by attracting new airlines to the airport. It's fantastic to be once again recognised as a world-leading airport, but our determination is to make Stansted even better in the months and years ahead."

Edward Plaisted of SKYTRAX, said: "We have seen an upturn in the number of nominations in the low-cost airport category in the 2013 survey, and London Stansted should be delighted with its consistent performance over the last three years. Demand for low-cost air travel continues to grow, as does the number of airports specifically targeting terminal facilities that cater for these passengers. From our survey results we can see that Stansted continues to lead other 'low-cost' airports by someway in the global results and is ranked amongst some of the larger airports in Europe and Asia."


Duncan Brodie - eadt - 8 April 2013

LEADERS of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership's work on the green economy have hailed Stansted Airport as an example for the rest of the UK and Europe to follow.

During a visit to Stansted, Iain Dunnett, who is operations manager at New Anglia and part of the LEP's Green Economy Pathfinder (GEP) project to lead the national agenda on the low carbon economy, met with the airport's environmental team to discuss its efforts to reduce its environmental impact.

"Stansted is setting an excellent example," said Mr Dunnett. "As the biggest single site employer in the region, with over 11,000 staff, and being a gateway to our region for coming up to 18 million people every year, it is vital the airport showcases the difference a commitment to a green business approach makes. Stansted Airport, along with Norwich International and our thriving ports, are the international gateway into our region for business, and it is for that reason we greatly value its role in the green economy."

During the visit, Mr Dunnett toured a number of 'green' projects including its biomass boiler. He also heard how, during 2011, Stansted saved enough water to fill 80 Olympic sized swimming pools thanks to the help of a specialist programme of surveying and repairs to its 10-mile drinking water pipe network. The recycling of waste at the airport is now at 47%.

"Stansted has a wood-chip biomass boiler that provides the heat and energy needs of the terminal and uses renewable energy sourced from sustainable forests sourced within 20 miles of the airport," he said. "This important piece of kit has out performed all expectations and has helped reduce annual gas consumption by nearly 40%. The fact that it is now the airports primary boiler shows that having a commitment to running a low carbon business makes good business sense."

Mr Dunnett added: "The work of the GEP is all about how business can make a clarion call to the rest of the UK about how low carbon initiatives are a vital part of the economic recovery of the country. There, of course, are always challenges for places like Stansted to continually work on reducing its CO2 emissions and their impact on the environment around them."

"For example the team at Stansted have even been a key part of managing plan for Eastend Wood with Natural England and the Forestry Commission. That work has involved tree coppicing and tree removal and in a great link with New Anglia a Suffolk Punch horse was used to remove felled trees rather than heavier vehicles and machinery," he said.


Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 15 April 2013

STANSTED Airport has added another honour to its trophy cabinet after picking up an Air Cargo Award of Excellence. The accolade acknowledge achievements in air cargo and is based on a survey of airline and industry professionals.

Stansted received top marks for performance, value and facilities in the Europe category of airports handling up to 399,999 tonnes of freight a year. Mark Souter, Stansted head of airline relations, said: "We're extremely proud to receive the Air Cargo Award of Excellence, especially as it's voted for by our airlines and industry partners."

"Stansted has a worldwide reputation as an extremely efficient cargo hub and offers excellent operational capacity, airfield and infrastructure reliability, and easy access to the road network. Together with the ability to operate around the clock, we provide businesses with access to multiple markets across the globe adding significantly to the UK's appeal as a place to locate and invest."

Stansted is one of the largest freight hubs in the UK and home to an international cargo operation that transports over 200,000 tonnes of goods to destinations worldwide, including the USA and Far East. A testimony to the airport's status as a major international cargo facility is the growing number of industry leaders that have already chosen to operate from the airport - Cargolux, Asiana, British Airways World Cargo, Global Supply Systems, Fed EX, Martinair, Royal Mail, Panalpina, Titan, TNT and UPS.

In 2012, British Airways World Cargo introduced three new Boeing 747-8 freighters into service at Stansted. These superjumbos are 30 per cent quieter and produce 16 per cent less emissions than the Boeing 747-400 aircraft type they replaced.

Stansted's largest freight operator FedEx also strengthened their commitment to the environment and efforts to reduce its carbon footprint by upgrading its fleet with a Boeing 777 freighter in 2011. The jet, which operates on the Stansted to Memphis route, brings environmental benefits including lower noise levels and reduced emissions compared to the three engine MD-11 it replaced.


BBC News - 10 April 2013

Plans to expand a Kent airport have been given the go-ahead by the government following a pubic inquiry.

Lydd Airport bosses want a new terminal building and an extended runway to take up to half a million passengers a year. Opponents said safety fears about the nearby Dungeness nuclear plant had not been addressed.

Shepway District Council gave permission for the expansion plans in 2010 but the government called for a public inquiry. The 25m project, also known as London Ashford Airport, includes a runway extension of almost 300m (328yds).

Hani Mutlaq, the airport's executive manager, said the government's decision was "a victory for common sense and for the people of Romney Marsh". The approval is subject to environmental, noise and traffic conditions.

"Once all these have been addressed, we hope to begin the runway construction work as soon as possible," added Mr Mutlaq.

Adrew Ogden, from the Kent branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: "The issue of nuclear safety has always been raised. This was not examined fully or properly at the inquiry."

Following the runway and terminal extensions, more than 200 people will be employed, the airport said.

Yvette Austin, the BBC South East's environment correspondent, said: "The decision can still be challenged. The people who are opposed to the development such as the RSPB and CPRE Protect Kent, could go to the High Court. They have to do it within six weeks, so we may see more debate and more waiting."


Hammond: seeks Gatwick expansion

Gulf Times - 12 April 2013

Philip Hammond has become the first Cabinet minister to call publicly for expansion at Gatwick to solve the aviation crisis in the south-east.

The defence secretary strongly rejected expansion at Heathrow - but also ruled out a four-runway hub at Stansted and what he called the "fanciful" Boris Island idea. He claimed a second runway at Gatwick, followed later by an extra runway at Stansted, would provide "decades worth of passenger growth capacity" while preventing a "disastrous" closure of Heathrow.

"The need for more capacity at London?s airport system is undeniable, but the idea that this has to mean four-runway airports needs to be challenged," he wrote in his local paper, the Surrey Herald.

As a former transport secretary, Hammond's words will carry weight with the Davies Commission set up to consider the future of London's aviation links. But he was criticised by Brendon Sewill, chairman of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, who said: "I doubt if he has walked around the area - if so he would see there is no room for a second runway."

Sewill said expanding Gatwick would be another example of the "short-term solutions" that had blighted British aviation policy for 60 years. Heathrow airport bosses are also strongly against Hammond's ideas, saying a dual-hub strategy would not work for airlines or passengers.

However, Gatwick bosses are keen to expand and say a second runway there would affect fewer homes than new runways at Heathrow. Under an agreement with the local community, a second runway at Gatwick could not be built before 2019.

While in charge of the department for transport, Hammond favoured the so-called "Heath-wick" solution of two runways each at Heathrow and Gatwick, linked by super-fast rail to form a dual hub.

Hammond warned strongly against a new hub at Stansted - which is believed to be Boris Johnson?s new favourite - which would be "a disaster" for Heathrow and the west London economy.


David Bale - Evening News - 2 April 2013

The boss at Norwich International airport has hit back at claims that Britain has too many airports and that some, including Norwich, faced an uphill battle to justify their existence.

Paul Kehoe, chief executive of Birmingham airport, said that Britain has twice as many airports as it needs, which was the legacy of a short-lived boom in budget travel, and questioned whether airports such as Norwich, Blackpool, Doncaster and Middlesbrough were sustainable. Many regional terminals are suffering a hangover after expanding in response to a low-cost travel boom before the 2008 financial crisis.

The number of passengers passing through UK airports peaked at 240m in 2007 and has since fallen to 221m. Norwich's usage has halved since its peak. In 2007, Norwich had 699,000 passengers and in 2012 397,000. But regional airports have immediately hit back, saying they boosted local economies but were held back by air fare taxes.

Andrew Bell, chief executive Norwich airport, said: "Norwich airport was not simply built for the 'low-cost boom' that preceded the financial crisis in 2008 and its established existence before and after this period underlines its importance and sustainability for the benefit of its region. With most of the airports in the UK being privately owned, it is, of course, the market that will justify the continuing existence of one airport over another. I agree that there are airports in the UK whose continued existence may be less than certain in the unforgiving glare of market forces, but Norwich International is certainly not one of them."

He added: "Unfortunately, when trying to draw conclusions about an airport's sustainability based solely on passenger numbers, it is easy for the casual observer to miss the other fundamental aspects of some airport's business models. In Norwich's case, the business has diverse and strong foundations."

Mr Kehoe said that there were 20 airports handling commercial flights in an area between Leeds and Southampton. "Everybody's got an airport," Mr Kehoe said. "Is that sustainable in the long-term?"

He said that in economic terms there were only eight British cities that needed an airport, and added: "To be blunt, you've got to look long and hard at the likes of Blackpool, Doncaster, Durham and Norwich."


Travel Weekly - 11 April 2013

There will be no third runway at Heathow "in 50 years" but British Airways won't be moving airports, Willie Walsh told industry leaders yesterday.

Walsh, chief executive of BA parent IAG, told the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Summit in Abu Dhabi: "Heathrow is full, but there isn't going to be another runway." He said: "The issue is political. You will not see another runway because there are 73 politicians [MPs] in the area of Heathrow who will be fixated on it."

Walsh insisted: "No political party will come out and support a new runway." He also dismissed the idea the UK government would sanction an alternative hub airport. Walsh said: "There won't be a third runway and there won't be a new airport built in the Thames Estuary because of the cost of financing it. The airport charges would be too great."

He argued: "Every way you look at it, Heathrow will continue to be a two-runway airport. I fully expect BA to fly from a two-runway Heathrow in 50 years."

Walsh slammed the UK government once again over Air Passenger Duty (APD), insisting: "This is a damaging tax." He said: "A recent report from PwC showed scrapping the tax would boost the economy and see a positive effect on government finances."

Walsh hailed the industry campaign against APD and, in particular, the Axe the Tax campaign by BA, Virgin Atlantic, easyJet and Ryanair.

He described it as "one of the most successful lobbying campaigns we have had", adding: "Hundreds of thousands of consumers wrote to politicians." But Walsh said: "The reality is we need a more sustained campaign." He argued the industry made a mistake by not campaigning sooner. Walsh said: "The mistake was the industry did not scream and shout when Gordon Brown doubled APD in 2007. We didn't do it then and we have ourselves to blame."

Asked about competition from rail on routes to Paris and Brussels, Walsh said: "I've taken the train to Paris and Brussels and am pleased to say it has been delayed every time." But he added: "High-speed rail linked to hub airports would be fantastic."

Tony Tyler, secretary general of airline association IATA, told the summit: "Aviation supports 57 million jobs and carries 35% of trade goods by value. Yet governments put barriers in the way of it."


Travel News - 3 April 2013

The UK's Association of British Travel Agents, ABTA, has submitted its opinions to the Airports Commission on how Britain's airport infrastructure should be improved.

The UK's well documented airport capacity problems have lead the Airport Commission to seek the views of interested parties on effective options that are also practical, in order to ease the situation.

Amidst fears that the British economy is suffering as a result of its restricted capacity for air traffic expansion, ABTA's opinion is that the airport infrastructure in the South-East of England should be prioritised for urgent development. The organisation also suggests that attention is given to the mix of aviation models, as it believes that business and leisure travel should be viewed as interdependent and should be developed as such.

Key to ABTA's submission is that the travel infrastructure around airports should be addressed to provide realistic, speedy access from major conurbations. ABTA supported this view with the results of its 2012 annual consumer survey, with 78 percent of respondents wanting a journey time to the airport of two hours or less. A preference for flying from a local airport also found favour with a large majority of 62 percent, and connecting flights were unpopular with a third of those canvassed. 90 percent of those questioned for the survey considered themselves air travellers.

ABTA chief executive, Mark Tanzer, said, "It's essential that when the Government looks at airport capacity particularly in the South East, it recognises the interdependence of business and leisure travel and does not prioritise one over the other. It also needs a coherent policy on improving surface access to the airports. Passengers want short journeys to the airport and many are not willing to take connecting flights."

"The Government needs to invest in efficient, fast public transport connections which will also help restrict the impact of flying on the environment and local residents. The extension of HS2 to run via Heathrow would be a firm declaration of intent and would undoubtedly prove a great success with passengers both from the UK and overseas."


Matt McGrath, Environment Correspondent - BBC News - 15 April 2013

The UK's "irrational" use of biofuels will cost motorists around 460 million over the next 12 months, a think tank says.

A report by Chatham House says the growing reliance on sustainable liquid fuels will also increase food prices. The author says that biodiesel made from vegetable oil was worse for the climate than fossil fuels. Under EU law, biofuels are set to make up 5% of the UK's transport fuel from today.

"It creates a financial incentive to buy refined palm oil, cook a chip in it to turn it into used cooking oil and then sell it at profit..." - Rob Bailey Chatham House.

Since 2008, the UK has required fuel suppliers to add a growing proportion of sustainable materials into the petrol and diesel they supply. These biofuels are mainly ethanol distilled from corn and biodiesel made from rapeseed, used cooking oil and tallow.

Deep fried fuel
But research carried out for Chatham House says that reaching the 5% level means that UK motorists will have to pay an extra 460m a year because of the higher cost of fuel at the pump and from filling up more often as biofuels have a lower energy content.

The report say that if the UK is to meet its obligations to EU energy targets the cost to motorists is likely to rise to 1.3bn per annum by 2020. "It is hard to find any good news," Rob Bailey, senior research fellow at Chatham House, told BBC News. "Biofuels increase costs and they are a very expensive way to reduce carbon emissions," he said.

The EU biofuel mandates are also having hugely distorting effects in the marketplace. Because used cooking oil is regarded as one of the most sustainable types of biodiesel, the price for it has risen rapidly. Rob Bailey says that towards the end of 2012 it was more expensive than refined palm oil.

"It creates a financial incentive to buy refined palm oil, cook a chip in it to turn it into used cooking oil and then sell it at profit. It is crazy but the incentives are there." Oil made from rapeseed is widely used for biodiesel across the EU.

There are also worries that taking EU land out of production to grow rapeseed oil in particular is creating more climate problems than it solves. The more fuel of this type that is put into cars the bigger the deficit created in the edible oils market. This had lead to increased imports of palm oil from Indonesia, often produced on deforested land.

"Once you take into account these indirect effects, biofuels made from vegetable oils actually result worldwide in more emissions than you would get from using diesel in the first place," said Rob Bailey. "Plus you are asking motorists to pay more for the fuel - it makes no sense, it is a completely irrational strategy."

Biofuel benefits
The European Biodiesel Board (EBB), which represents the industry across the EU, said it was aware of the problems caused by the mandate. But it believes that biofuels have many positives. "Blaming biofuels for all the troubles in the world is a bit too exaggerated," said Isabelle Maurizi, project manager at the EBB.

"It has brought lots of benefits. It has improved the security of our diesel; it has reduced EU dependency on animal feed imports, thanks to the rapeseed we grow for biodiesel. If there was no biodiesel farmers would just make their land idle - no food, no feed!"

As the UK hits the 5% of liquid fuels mark, the government faces some difficult decisions on how to move forward on this issue as it faces tripling the costs for motorists by 2020.

Insiders suggest its preference would be to try and get agreement in Brussels on the impacts of indirect costs which might constrain what counts as biofuel. However getting agreement from countries with powerful agricultural sectors who benefit from the current arrangement will be difficult.

"When you have a lobby which includes the agricultural sector and the oil sector it is very hard for Governments to make a U-turn," said Rob Bailey.


Andrew Clark - The Times - 1 April 2013

Britain has twice as many airports as it needs, the legacy of a short-lived boom in budget travel, according to the head of Birmingham's international hub.

Paul Kehoe has suggested that airports such as Norwich, Blackpool, Doncaster and Middlesbrough face an uphill battle to justify their existence. Anybody listening to airports' competing claims about their "catchment areas" would be left with an impression that Britain had a population of more than 300 million, he said. Regional airports immediately hit back, saying that they boosted local economies but were held back by air fare taxes.

Mr Kehoe, chief executive of Birmingham airport, said that in an area stretching from Southampton to Leeds there were 20 airports handling commercial flights. The number of passengers passing through UK airports peaked at 240 million in 2007 and has since fallen to 221 million - a drop the size of Stansted airport's annual traffic.

"Everybody's got an airport," Mr Kehoe said. "Is that sustainable in the long term?" He claimed that in economic terms there were only eight British cities that needed an airport, in addition to essential outlying airports in Scotland?s Highlands and Islands. "Clearly, every community wants connectivity. Who am I to say you shouldn't have an airport?" he said. "But as a country, we need very effective airports and scale does matter. To be blunt, you've got to look long and hard at the likes of Blackpool, Doncaster, Durham and Norwich."

Mr Kehoe hit out at a deal last week under which the Welsh government paid 52 million to nationalise Cardiff's struggling airport The deal was condemned by Wales's Conservative Opposition as a "socialist vanity project" and has upset airports in Bristol and the Midlands. The Birmingham boss expressed concern about state aid, saying: "We don't have a choice about hospitals and education. But we do have a choice about whether we should go on holiday. Why should the taxpayer subsidise it?"

Many regional terminals are suffering a hangover after aggressively expanding in response to a low-cost travel boom before the 2008 financial crisis. At the peak of the boom, Doncaster's Robin Hood airport handled a million passengers a year, but its traffic has since dropped by a third. Blackpool's usage has fallen 42 per cent to 235,000 people since 2007, Norwich has halved since its peak and Durham Tees Valley's traffic has collapsed from 912,000 to 165,000 in six years. Several airports have ceased operations recently. Plymouth City airport shut in 2011 and Bristol's Filton aerodrome closed last year.

Blackpool airport rejected Mr Kehoe's remarks, saying that it was a key economic driver to Lancashire, providing support for offshore wind farms and gas rigs as well as allowing local residents to travel conveniently. A spokeswoman said: "Regional airports are extremely important to the connectivity of an area and can offer a different 'fast track' experience than those bigger international airports."

Some smaller airports blame the rising cost of aviation fuel and increases in tax on airline tickets for their difficulties. A spokesman for Durham Tees Valley airport acknowledged that minor airports were operating in "a very competitive and challenging environment" and criticised government "procrastination" for a lack of strategic planning in air links. However, the airport insisted that smaller transport hubs were crucial in spreading economic development across the UK.

Experts say that Britain's regional airports are not all in ideal places. However, many argue that they could be used more effectively to relieve overcrowding at Heathrow and Gatwick. Corin Taylor, senior economic adviser at the Institute of Directors, said: "There are things we could do in terms of improving surface access and providing rail-air through ticketing. I don't think a plan of closing airports in certain parts of the country makes a lot of sense. If there isn't enough demand for routes, they'll close anyway and airlines will go elsewhere. That's market forces."

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