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

image SSE NEWS ARCHIVE - January to March 2014


ITV News - 24 March 2014

Britain's most desirable rural area to live in has been named as Uttlesford in Essex - home to the historic town of Saffron Walden as well as Stansted Airport.

Uttlesford helped to push last year's winner, Waverley in Surrey, into third place for 2014, with South Northamptonshire ranked second in Halifax's annual rural quality of life survey.

Halifax uses a wide range of statistics from various sources to find the top countryside idylls, including those relating to the health, personal wellbeing and life expectancy of residents, crime rates, weather, employment, school results and broadband access.

Popular with both tourists and commuters with its close links to London and Cambridge, the district of Uttlesford was formed in 1974 when several boroughs merged. As well as being the setting for Saffron Walden, which has been hailed as one of the finest preserved examples of a medieval market town in the country and whose attractions include a museum and mazes, Uttlesford also cradles the towns of Thaxted and Great Dunmow.

Another reason people flock to Uttlesford is to pass through Stansted Airport, which employs over 10,000 people and is the fourth-busiest airport in the UK, with around 17.5 million passengers a year.

OUR COMMENT: It seems that the noise, traffic and pollution from the airport's activities is not yet sufficient to deter people from living in Uttlesford! Long may it last! MAG, please note!

Pat Dale


Dunmow Broadcast - 27 March 2014

Stansted is uniquely placed to meet London's growing aviation needs over the next 15 years, Stansted Airport's managing director said today.

Speaking at the inaugural London Infrastructure Summit, Andrew Harrison explained that Stansted could more than double the amount of flights it handles, and that improving the rail service to Central London would be key to unlocking the airport's full potential.

The summit, at Kings Place in London, was supported by the Mayor of London and focused on the importance of infrastructure to London's overall competitiveness. "Stansted is an important asset for London, and making the best possible use of its capacity should be an urgent priority for Government. The airport already has the infrastructure and planning permission to handle 35 million passengers a year, and the ability to handle a further 10 million passengers beyond that," said Mr Harrison.

"Wherever the Airports Commission recommends a new runway, it is critical for Londoners that we grasp the opportunity in the intervening period to make the best possible use of Stansted." He added: "That is why the Commission saw rail improvements as an immediate priority for the Government to address. We believe there are practical solutions that could be implemented quickly to reduce journey times to London by more than ten minutes. These would make a big difference to passengers, airlines, commuters and the wider region."

The theme for the event was infrastructure fit for a world city and the programme included panel sessions on key themes across London's main infrastructure sectors, including: the overall vision and plan for London; funding and financing; lessons learned from major projects like Crossrail; the aviation debate; and how to build long-term consensus on future priorities for London.


Hana Stewart-Smith - Alliance News - 24 March 2014

The UK Civil Aviation Authority said Monday that passenger and cargo services at Stansted Airport will be free from economic regulation from April 2014 onwards.

The decision follows an assessment of the airport's cargo services that decided there was not sufficient evidence that the airport had substantial market power for its cargo services. Only airports that have "substantial" market power are required to have airport licences and are subject to economic regulation.

"The CAA's role in cargo is to look after the interests of the consumers who own air-freight, and they appear to have a lot of choice in the market," said Director for Regulatory Policy at the CAA Ian Osborne in a statement.

The CAA said it will continue to monitor the effects of competition at Stansted and other UK airports.


Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 24 March 2014

STOP Stansted Expansion (SSE) campaigners have been dismissed as a "tiny, unrepresentative group" by the airport's biggest carrier. Ryanair has declined to respond to a series of jibes from the organisation, which was founded in 2002 and claims to have 7,500 members.

SSE poured scorn on a growth statement issued by the Irish budget airline on Wednesday last week (March 19) confirming further routes and increased passenger numbers at the Uttlesford base. An SSE spokesman said: "Michael O'Leary may have a habit of disappointing his customers but he rarely disappoints when it comes to media hype. His latest wheeze is to claim that Ryanair will open eight new routes from Stansted this coming winter season creating 2,000 extra jobs."

He said SSE had three questions for Mr O'Leary:

1. He lists the eight new routes as Athens, Basel, Bordeaux, Bucharest, Perpignan, Prague, Rabat and Skelleftea. However, anyone with access to the internet can quickly discover that Ryanair already flies from Stansted to every single one of these destinations and in some cases it is the third time Ryanair has issued a press release announcing the same 'new' routes. So SSE's question to Mr O'Leary is: "What exactly do you mean by new?"

2. Mr O'Leary's claim that his 'new' routes will generate an extra two million passengers and create an extra 2,000 jobs at Stansted is even more preposterous. That would mean a thousand jobs created for every million Ryanair passengers. According to Ryanair's latest annual report the airline employed 114 staff for every million passengers carried. That would mean 228 jobs for an extra two million passengers. So SSE's question to Mr O'Leary is: "Where do the other 1,772 Stansted jobs come from? Baggage handlers?"

3. Ryanair already accounts for over 75% of Stansted's passengers and plans to expand its business at Stansted by 50% over the next 10 years, thereby returning Stansted to its pre-recession level of business, last seen in 2007. The difference however is that Stansted will then be even more dominated by Ryanair. SSE's question to Mr O'Leary is therefore: "Why not just buy Stansted and be done with it? You could rename it London O'Leary Airport (LOL). At least people would then know it was nowhere near London, and the commercial possibilities would be endless. You could even start charging people a pound to use the airport's toilets. Now there's a thought!"

A spokeswoman for Ryanair told the Observer: "We don't respond to inaccurate claims made by tiny, unrepresentative groups such as this."


Travelmole Online - 13 March 2014

UK airports have seen three years of passenger growth, according to latest figures released by the Civil Aviation Authority, but traffic is still below the 2007 peak.

Last year, UK airports handled 228 million passengers, a rise of 3.5% - or 7.8 million more than in 2012. "This growth continues the recovery started in 2011 following three years of falling passenger numbers," it said. "Passenger numbers for 2013 were 8.5% above 2010 levels (210 million passengers), although still 4.8% below 2007's peak of almost 240 million passengers."

Iain Osborne, CAA director of regulatory policy, said: "Our figures show the strength of underlying demand for air travel, which picked up well in advance of the general economy. Solid growth in UK GDP may mean that passenger numbers continue to grow healthily. This is happening despite a shortage of runway capacity in the South East, as for the time being airlines operating bigger and fuller aircraft is allowing passenger growth to outstrip growth in numbers of flights."

"The prospect of growth underlines how important it is for aviation to tackle its environmental impacts - notably, reducing aircraft noise and carbon emissions. Addressing these issues is vital if aviation is to grow."

At the London airports - Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, London City and Southend - the increase was 3.5% to 140 million passengers. Heathrow, Gatwick, London City and Southend each handled their highest ever annual total: 72.3 million passengers used Heathrow 3.4% more than in 2012, 34.2 million (3.5% more) used Gatwick, 3.4 million (12% more) used London City and Southend grew 57% from 617,000 to 970,000 passengers in the year. Luton grew by 0.8% and, after five years of declining passenger numbers, Stansted grew by 2.2% to 17.8 million.

At other UK airports outside London, traffic rose by 3.5% to 88.7 million passengers. All airports with over a million passengers per year saw increases, with the exception of Liverpool and Belfast International, which saw declines of 6.1% and 6.7% respectively. Manchester saw the largest absolute rise of 1 million passengers (5.2%) to 20 million.

The majority of UK airport passengers (137 million) were travelling to or from geographical Europe - representing an increase of 4.1% from 2012. Within this, the largest absolute increase was in passengers travelling to and from Spain (up by 1.6 million, an increase of 4.8%), while the largest fall in passengers travelling to and from an individual European country was Cyprus, where numbers fell by 7.2% (0.2 million).

Egypt and Kenya registered the largest absolute declines in passenger numbers with 97,000 and 85,000 passengers respectively. In 2013, 20 million passengers took UK domestic flights, representing an increase of 2.2% on 2012. This was the first yearly increase in domestic passenger numbers since this segment peaked at 25 million in 2005.

OUR COMMENT: These latest (2013) CAA figures show that the number of ATMs (i.e. commercial flights) at UK airports continues to be almost static - increasing from 2.05 million in 2000 to just 2.06m in 2013 whilst the number of passengers increased by about 2% a year over the same period. This 2% figure happens to be the same as the predicted average annual increase in passenger demand in the long term DfT forecasts. We can therefore conclude that if the average payload per aircraft continues to increase by about 2% a year (which they more or less have done for as long as records exist) this level of growth can be accommodated with barely any increase in the number of flights. And since runway capacity is defined in terms of the number of ATMs that can be handled - rather than the number of passengers - why should there be such a panic about building new runways?

The only airport capacity problem is - and always has been - Heathrow where, for 25 years or more, airlines and others have complained about it not having enough capacity. Even so, Heathrow has managed almost to double its passenger throughput over the past 25 years - from 37.5m in 1988 to 72.3m last year.

Brian Ross, SSE Economics Adviser


Duncan Brodie, Business Editor - EADT Online - 19 March 2014

Budget airline Ryanair today unveiled its schedule for Stansted next winter, which it says will support around 2,000 new jobs on-site jobs at the airport.

Ryanair, which last year signed a new long-term agreement following Stansted's acquistion by Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is to add eight new winter routes and to offer additional flights to and from 36 other destinations - together equvialent to capacity for an extra 2million passenges a year. Speaking at a launch event in London, Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary said: "As Stansted's biggest airline, Ryanair looks forward to continuing to work closely with MAG to grow traffic, routes and jobs at Stansted Airport. Our eight new winter routes with multiple daily frequencies are ideal for business passengers or families booking a winter sun or ski getaway."

"Ryanair customers can also enjoy our recent customer service improvements including a second free carry-on bag, allocated seating and the use of portable electronic devices, with further improvements to be rolled out over the coming months."

The eight new destinations being added by Ryanair for next winter are Athens, Basel, Bordeaux, Bucharest, Perpignan, Prague, Rabat and Skelleftea. They will bring the total number of Ryanair routes at Stansted to 109.

Stansted managing director Andrew Harrison said: "Today's announcement is fantastic news for Stansted. Ryanair is a very valued customer and the boost to next winter's schedules, including new destinations and increased frequencies on key routes, gives leisure and business passengers even greater choice at great value and builds on the strength of Ryanair's extensive network here at Stansted, their largest base in Europe."

"MAG acquired Stansted to unlock its full potential and return the airport to sustained growth. We're making excellent progress with our 80m investment to transform the terminal building and the new security search area - double the size of the previous - is already open for business and work is now underway to transform services and facilities for passengers in the departure lounge. Ryanair passengers are already benefiting from customer service improvements including a second free bag and allocated seating with more changes to come. Ryanair is changing, Stansted is changing and today's announcement is further evidence that we are succeeding in transforming Stansted under our new ownership."

OUR COMMENT: A happier relationship than before?

See also the SSE Press Release

Pat Dale


Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 15 March 2014

STANSTED Airport aims to strengthen business and community links with a new corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative.

The interactive Stansted Airport Community Network provides links and advice to local firms about how they can join forces with the airport and "participate in a range of education, employment and volunteering projects to help make the local community a more vibrant place to live and work".

Managing director Andrew Harrison said: "At Stansted our values and what we stand for really matter and we recognise that for a modern business it is not just what we do but how we do it, and this is why we are setting up the community network. We are excited about the airport's future and have an ambitious vision to be the best airport in London. We will continue to work closely with all stakeholders, particularly our local communities and businesses, to ensure they share the benefits of our success."

"Our sustainability programmes on education and employment contribute to the economic growth in our region and we're increasingly integrating sustainability within all areas of our business. We're rightly proud of what we have achieved so far and we recognise that continued success can only be realised by working in partnership with our business and community partners. The network will help us bring together the airport's corporate responsibility initiatives and provide ideas on how business partners can get involved and give a little back to the community."

The airport has already launched a mentoring programme with Forest Hall School in Stansted Mountfitchet where 11 senior staff have bi-weekly meetings with 11 GCSE students, discussing topics such as approaches to revision and exams, how to balance studies with a life outside school and help in considering next steps.

Stansted also offers business advice to a group of Hockerill Anglo-European College students in Stortford as they set up a firm for the Young Enterprise programme. Staff are helping the pupils form and run a company. Last year, 25 young people spent a week on work experience with Stansted owner MAG (Manchester Airports Group) at the airport.

The network offers information on how businesses can benefit from the support of the airport's on-site Employment Academy plus advice on community volunteering schemes and work experience initiatives. As the network grows the airport has promised to develop the website and share further information about distributing e-newsletters and details on how to advertise on the site.


Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 17 March 2014

A SENIOR business leader has called for four-tracking of the Greater Anglia rail line serving Stansted to be prioritised in the next five years - ahead of any government strategy to increase airport capacity.

Baroness Valentine, chief executive of business lobby group London First, told the New Civil Engineer magazine that it was vital that the Department for Transport and Network Rail consider increasing capacity on the rail connection in the next few years.

The Uttlesford hub is currently handling around 18m passengers a year - around half of the capacity of its single runway and has been highlighted by the Davies Commission as a short-term option for growth while a decision on the location of any new runways in the south east is determined. Currently construction at Heathrow or Gatwick are being recommended by Sir Howard and his team in their preliminary findings.

Baroness Valentine said: "We need to sweat the Stansted asset now. At best, if a decision is taken on what should happen with Gatwick or Heathrow soon, it will still be 10 years before anything is built. By 2021 you could get four-tracking between Liverpool Street and Stansted [the Stansted Express line]."

Her comments calling for a rail upgrade echo those of airport bosses and MPs across the Observer patch, who want a better service for both local commuters and Stansted passengers.

OUR COMMENT: "We need to sweat the Stansted asset now". What does that mean?

Pat Dale


Philip Pank - The Times - 11 March 2014

A fourth runway at Heathrow would significantly reduce the number of flights in the South East, according to confidential analysis that has been described as a "game-changer" by opponents of the airport's expansion.

In a private submission to the Airports Commission, Nats, the air traffic control service, calculated "conflicting arrival and departure flows" and concluded that building a fourth runway in West London would reduce the combined capacity of Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Birmingham, City and Southend airports by 9 per cent.

It would cut capacity relative to a three-runway Heathrow by 18 per cent because of the disruption to flight paths to the other main airports. Those against Heathrow expansion said that the analysis, seen by The Times, was a "game-changer" in the debate over airport expansion as it undermined the long-term case for doubling the size of the country's biggest airport.

Opponents, including Boris Johnson and local residents' groups, claim that a third runway would be a "Trojan Horse" opening the way for another and subjecting more than a million people to unacceptable noise pollution.

The government-backed commission that will decide where to build the next runway has put two possible configurations for a third runway at Heathrow and a second runway at Gatwick on its shortlist. Sir Howard Davies, head of the commission, said that a third runway could be built by 2030 but it would be full by 2050.

The commission has excluded a four runway Heathrow from its shortlist, but the airport's 31 billion blueprint for expansion includes options to build two new runways. In its submission, Heathrow said that a third runway would meet the demand for air travel to 2040 but that from 2030 a decision would have to be taken on a fourth. Mr Johnson said: "A third runway at Heathrow would be followed by a fourth as surely as night follows day, and if our air traffic experts believe that will result in less overall aviation capacity rather than more, then that is yet another starkly obvious reason why expansion at Heathrow is a total no-go."

The Nats report, submitted to the commission last November, concluded that construction of a fourth runway would cut the maximum possible number of flights into the main airports to 1,550,000 from 1,680,000. Flights at Gatwick, Stansted and Luton would be reduced by 50 per cent. London City would see a 25 per cent reduction.

John Stewart, chairman of the campaign group Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise, said: "The fear locally must be that if demand does increase, a third runway will effectively become a Trojan Horse for a fourth runway. That is genuinely a new fact which could be a game-changer."

The Nats analysis highlights the difficulties of turning Heathrow into a "megahub" airport, but also points to potential limitations of a new hub in the Thames Estuary. It could increase total airport capacity by just 6 per cent, because of the closure of Heathrow, City and Southend airports. However, if runways were tilted to run northeastsouthwest, the airport would increase total capacity by 24 per cent.

Supporters of the scheme say that Nats has underestimated the potential benefits because it assumes that a new hub would face the same constraints as Heathrow, operating between 06:00 and 23:00. Because far fewer people would be affected by noise, it could operate 24 hours a day, resulting in a far greater capacity increase, they argue.

Sir Howard will make his final recommendation three months after the 2015 election.


Aviation News Online - 14 March 2014

NATS, U.K. air traffic services provider, together with partners Siemens Postal, Parcel and Airport Logistics, McLaren Applied Technologies and AVTECH Sweden AB, have won a four-year capacity management contract with Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL).

The contract will deliver an enhanced capacity analysis capability, which will allow Heathrow to rapidly assess proposed changes to the airport infrastructure, the companies said in a statement, noting that this will improve the schedule planning process; assist in making the airport more efficient; and help Heathrow deliver its operating schedule to plan.

The companies said the airport will have access to a set of enhanced capacity analysis tools, specifically configured to Heathrow and the unique challenges it faces, via a web-based portal. This will allow the airport planning and operations teams to assess the impact of various factors on performance, such as taxiway closures, apron restrictions, stand closure and reallocation, and air traffic control/ground movement procedures. Other problems such as schedule delays and weather conditions can also be incorporated, according to the statement.

OUR COMMENT: Will runway 3 still be needed?

Pat Dale


Eleanor Busby - Cambridge News - 26 February 2014

Newport Business Association (NBA) has called for business to be expanded to the north side of Stansted Airport.

Ahead of their Friday meeting on the topic, Cllr Jeremy Rose - Uttlesford district councillor for Newport and NBA founder - has called for the north side of the airport to be developed into a hub for local businesses. Cllr Rose said: "The north side of Stansted Airport, the business hub, is undervalued by Stansted Airport Limited, and seems to be a huge embarrassment to Uttlesford District Council (UDC). More opportunities should be developed to enable local businesses to start up and use land for business related use - not stifle the economic development because NIBI's want to restrict use to just airport related use. 22 per cent of staff working at Stansted Airport come from Uttlesford. The business opportunities are huge if only UDC would grasp the initiative and develop the north side of the airport into a thriving hub for business related enterprises."

At an NBA meeting on Friday, from 7.45am at the Coach and Horsed in Newport, Penny Stephens, from InFlite, will explain why she chose Stansted Airport to be site for her family business, but also how she's suffering from big competitors like BAA at Heathrow, Luton Airport business carriers and a lack of support from UDC.

A spokesman from Stansted Airport said: "Stansted Airport has long been a catalyst for economic activity and opportunity within the regional business community, helping support jobs, inbound tourism and key to attracting inward investment. Now, under the ownership of M.A.G, we have very ambitious plans to grow passenger numbers by attracting new airlines and increasing the range of destinations with existing customers. We've already secured long-term deals with both easyJet and Ryanair so our focus now is to broaden the route network, offer passengers more choice and create a richer mix of airlines operating out of Stansted, including business carriers."

Cllr Rose added: "We believe by working together our aim that Stansted should fulfil its full potential can go hand in hand with regional growth and shared prosperity."

OUR COMMENT: Is Cllr Rose referring to growth associated with Stansted's present capacity?

Pat Dale


Sam Tonkin - Dunmow Broadcast - 27 February 2014

Plans to widen the M11 between Stansted Airport and Saffron Walden appear to be back on the table - and work could start as early as 2019.

It comes nearly a decade after a 171million package of improvements to widen the stretch of road, from J8-9, to three lanes was shelved. In 2007, the Highways Agency tabled a separate 698million proposal to expand the M11 from three lanes to four between J6 (M25) and J8 (Stansted Airport).

This was abandoned in 2009 when then Secretary of State for Transport, Geoff Hoon, announced that no changes would be made before 2021. However, it seems there is a desire to amalgamate the plans after Essex County Council identified upgrades to the M11 corridor between J6-9 as a priority in its transport plan up to 2021. In the document, officials state the authority is to work with the Highways Agency to develop solutions for delivery from 2019.

Cabinet members met on Tuesday and agreed both the Essex Transport Plan 2015-21 and the prioritised list of schemes within it, which are designed to support and stimulate economic development. These include four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line, a second rail access tunnel at Stansted Airport and dedicated motorway access to Stansted Airport at J8a/b.

Cllr Rodney Bass, cabinet member for highways, said a lot would depend on the expansion of Stansted within its existing capacity. He told the Reporter: "Stansted Airport is not going to be the subject of a second runway because that is likely to go to Heathrow first and Gatwick after that. But what people need to understand is that the only airport capable of attracting immediate expansion of air traffic around London is Stansted. The Davies Commission laid out the need to make maximum use of airport capacity and, therefore, we're going to have to bring forward infrastructure schemes to support this."

Cllr Bass said Essex would play a supporting role to the Highways Agency in the discussions, adding: "I don't think anyone would say there is an immediate need for the M11 to be widened, although it does carry a lot of traffic, but if there was expansion at Stansted this would accelerate it."

Saffron Walden MP Sir Alan Haselhurst accepted widening the M11 would likely make sense "at some point or other" but that rail improvements should be the priority. He said: "I've had no pressure from constituents about the need to widen the M11 from junction 8 to 9, so it's not necessarily a dog I want to wake up. I would want to see where the advantage lies first. It would be ridiculous to rule out widening the M11 but let's make the railway top priority, in particular, the four-tracking up to Broxbourne."

Essex County Council is also looking into the possibility of creating a new M11 junction north of Harlow. The authority has been forced to restart its public consultation on 7a, which could be completed in 2020-2021, because the questionnaire gave no option for objecting to the scheme. Cllr Bass has said it is hoped the new junction would promote "future growth" and "regeneration of Harlow".


The Guardian - 28 February 2014

An all-party group of MPs, councils and aviation campaigners came to the House of Commons today (Wednesday) to officially launch an aircraft noise report which could change the course of the airport expansion debate.

The report was commissioned by Hillingdon Council on behalf of the all-party 2M Group of councils opposed to Heathrow expansion. It is supported by London MPs and aviation campaign group HACAN led by John Stewart.The group, including Hillingdon Council, claim that Sir Howard Davies, head of the Government's airports commission, has so far failed to address the 'ANASE update study' by leading acoustician Dr Ian Flindell.

The report suggests the number of people affected by Heathrow noise is currently around one million - four times the estimate recognised by the Davies airports commission.It shows the 57 decibel benchmark the aviation industry and Davies are using to measure aircraft noise impacts is flawed and severely out of date.The outdated metric allows the expansion lobby to claim that increasing the total number of flights would reduce the number of people annoyed by aircraft noise.

The updated ANASE report was first submitted to the Airports Commission in September last year. But Sir Howard Davies continues to rely on the old 57 decibel noise metric. He has since recommended more night flights over London and shortlisted Heathrow and Gatwick as potential sites for new runways.

Today's ANASE launch was hosted by west London MP John Randall on behalf of the all-party MPs group opposed to Heathrow expansion. He said: "Sir Howard Davies now needs to explain why he shortlisted Heathrow and Gatwick for expansion based on such an out of date noise survey. He leads a commission set up to rigorously scrutinise every aspect of the airport expansion debate, so why has he neglected such a fundamental concern? Our constituents deserve an explanation."

Cllr Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said: "It is unbelievable that Davies is accepting such out of date and challengeable data but it is indicative of how he was led into making such an early and poor decision. This commission has no real credibility and should be replaced."

At today's launch at the House of Commons MPs challenged Davies to explain why his commission has failed to respond to this new noise evidence. In his report Dr Flindell explains the 57 decibel benchmark Davies uses to indicate when communities become annoyed by overhead flights is based on a survey conducted in 1982 which asked people how they were affected by noise. In 32 years it has never been updated.

The ANASE study compares this research with modern-day survey results which show communities become annoyed at around a 50 decibel benchmark. The report's findings are supported by contemporary European noise studies and by people around Heathrow who complain bitterly about noise despite living outside of the 57 decibel contour. The European Union and the World Health Organisation also recommend a lower noise benchmark than the one Sir Howard is using. By the time a new runway becomes operational in 2030 the survey used to assess its impact would be 48 years out of date.

An extract from Dr Flindell's report reads: "From a purely research evidence perspective, it is surprising that UK policy-makers continue to base their understanding of numbers of people affected by aircraft noise on out-of-date, biased, non-independently-reviewed research - especially when there is available much more up-to-date evidence of UK residents' views on aircraft noise that is consistent with all other recent and substantive pieces of research in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. The consequence is that policy-makers continue to presume that 'the onset of significant annoyance' is 57 [decibels] and that communities below this noise exposure threshold are relatively unaffected by aircraft noise - despite the fact that many such residents say that they are."

The first ANASE study was published in 2005 but was immediately buried by the Government of the day which was about to unveil plans for a third runway at Heathrow. Instead the 2005 Government choose to maintain the 57 decibel metric as the official benchmark - allowing the third runway project to progress. The campaigners say Sir Howard Davies will not be able to sweep the report under the carpet and that he must base his recommendations on a noise metric communities can trust.


Nick Collins, Transport Correspondent - The Telegraph - 1 March 2014

People who suffer through overnight aircraft noise are at greater risk of heart disease and stroke, study finds.

The study, funded by the European Commission and led by researchers from Imperial College London, examined 4,712 people who had been living near airports in six areas. Living under a flight path for more than 20 years can raise the risk of heart disease and stroke due to the disruptive effects of night-time noise, a new study suggests.

For every 10 decibels of aircraft noise they are exposed to on an average night, the risk of developing either of the conditions increases by 25 per cent, researchers found. There was no significant link between noise from aircraft during the day and either of the illnesses, suggesting that disrupted sleep or stress could be to blame.

Noise from road traffic was linked to a similar increase in heart disease and stroke for people living in congested areas, but this was more likely due to air pollution than noise, experts said.

The study, funded by the European Commission and led by researchers from Imperial College London, examined 4,712 people who had been living near airports in six European countries, including the UK, for at least five years. The group as a whole was not significantly more likely than average to develop cardiovascular conditions, but there was a notable increase in cases among those who had been exposed to night-time aircraft noise for at least two decades.

Previous studies have shown that exposure to aircraft noise overnight can raise blood pressure, even in people who claim to have slept through it. Writing in the Environmental Health journal, the researchers said: "It may be that aircraft noise at night affects sleep and this is a potential mechanism for the observed observations."


Patrick Wintour - The Guardian - 10 March 2014

Letter to Guardian calling for regulator is signed by opponents of expansion as well as advocates of growth at London airport. An ombudsman could be responsible for advising on how best to compensate those experiencing noise, the best means of monitoring noise, and where possible to reduce or mitigate it.

Noise levels at Heathrow and other airports should be regulated by an independent ombudsman, according to an unlikely alliance of critics and supporters of the airport's expansion. The coming together of the two sides over the most contentious issue facing the west London airport in particular is also seen as a breakthrough in the political row over its future. The fresh initiative is spelt out in a letter to the Guardian, whose signatories include Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative MP for Richmond Park and a fervent opponent of expansion. Other signatories include Tim Yeo, the chairman of the energy and climate change select committee, the Green MP Caroline Lucas, and the directors of the Back Heathrow and Let Britain Fly campaigns, which support expansion.

Advocates of the initiative believe it could break the logjam of mistrust between residents and the airline industry. The business group London First advocated the appointment of an aircraft noise ombudsman in the autumn, and has been slowly building support from interested parties including the London assembly, Virgin Atlantic and the Stop Stansted Expansion campaign.

The letter to Guardian argues an independent ombudsman could have "a fundamental role in further establishing trust and confidence, thus bringing about a fair and reasonable balance between increasing demand for flights and noise control". The idea, requiring primary legislation, was strongly supported in principle by the interim report of the Davies commission into airport expansion, to which the government is due to respond in the next few weeks. The purpose of the ombudsman would be to work collaboratively with all interested parties to report on noise in an open, transparent and intelligible manner, and "to deal with noise limitation problems fairly and sustainably".

The body would have to report to parliament, and its precise terms of reference and enforcement powers would be critical to the body being useful and generally supported. Some argue that its powers should be limited to naming and shaming airlines that fail to follow its advice. Currently the only legislation affecting aircraft noise covers night flights, while the Civil Aviation Authority, funded by airlines and airports, monitors aircraft noise at Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted. Heathrow has a noise team to handle complaints but the reasons for its decisions are largely opaque.

In a joint statement given to the Guardian, the airline industry and environmental campaigners said: "For most, who do not live near to a major airport, air travel is exclusively defined in terms of the considerable economic or social benefits which it brings; their experience of aircraft noise is an ambient sound somewhere up in the sky. On the other hand, for those who live near major airports, aircraft noise can be an imposition. The time has come to adopt a fresh approach, to restore trust and give them the confidence that their legitimate grievances are being addressed."

The initiative comes as London First, Let Britain Fly and Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (Hacan) come together on Tuesday to hold their joint conference on aircraft noise. Gavin Hayes, the director of Let Britain Fly, a campaign group funded by the airline industry, said: "It's vitally important to do everything possible to enhance the quality of life of all of those who live around Britain's airports. There is a golden opportunity to ensure that aircraft noise is managed more effectively, progressively reducing it and the number of people it affects."

John Stewart, chair of Hacan, welcomed the initiative as "the first time that organisations from all points of the spectrum in the debate on aircraft noise have co-operated in this way to find solutions. That debate has for many years been challenging, complex and, regrettably, fraught. We believe that the time has come for a fresh start to efforts to break the deadlock."

There are currently disputes over the basics of aircraft noise with opponents of Heathrow claiming the Davies commission is basing its plans on an out-of-date survey that suggests communities do not become annoyed by overhead flights if they are below a 57 decibel benchmark, a finding based on a contested survey conducted in 1982.

An ombudsman could be responsible for advising on how best to compensate those experiencing noise, the best means of monitoring noise, and where possible to reduce or mitigate it. The ombudsman would also publish airlines' noise performance, disseminate noise mitigation best practice and mediate in disputes between airlines and residents. It would also advise on the noise consequences of proposed changes to flight patterns, and in some version be given powers to fine airlines that fail to follow advice. A similar body has existed in Australia since 2010, and in France since 2009. The French authority has powers to impose fines on airlines and lists all such fines, and the reasons for them on its website.

Other signatories to the Guardian letter include Dr Julian Huppert, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge, Stephen Joseph chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham and a possible Labour candidate for the London mayoralty, Caroline Lucas, the Green MP, Philippa Roe, the Conservative leader of Westminster city council, Valerie Shawcross , Labour London assembly member for Lambeth and Southwark, Henry Smith, the Conservative MP for Crawley, and John Stewart, chairman of Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise.


Aircraft Management Online - 19 February 2014

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Irish Aviation Authority Safety Regulation Division (IAA SRD) have today jointly published a draft performance plan for air navigation services (air traffic control) between 2015 and 2019.

The draft plan has been developed as part of the second reference period of the EU's Single European Sky (SES) performance scheme, which is an initiative to improve performance of air navigation services across Europe. This scheme focuses on four key areas: capacity, cost efficiency, environment and safety, with overarching EU-wide targets for each area.

The scheme requires each Functional Airspace Block (FAB) - areas of airspace grouped by European regions rather than individual states - to develop plans on how providers of air navigation services will improve performance between 2015 and 2019 and therefore contribute to the EU-wide targets.

The CAA and IAA SRD have developed the joint plan for the UK-Ireland FAB. This includes challenging targets for air navigation service providers to meet on the four key performance areas. The draft plan is now out for consultation, with stakeholders invited to submit comments by 4 April 2014.Following the consultation, the plan must be agreed by both the UK and Irish governments, before it can be submitted to the European Commission. All FAB performance plans must then be submitted to the European Commission by 30 June 2014 and if accepted, will apply from 1 January 2015 onwards.

The performance plan sets out targets for the second reference period (RP2) of the Single European Sky performance scheme, which runs from 2015-2019. The first period applies to performance between 2012-2014.

En route air navigation services in the UK are provided by NERL (a subsidiary of NATS); and in Ireland by the IAA ANSP (a state owned service provider). The plan also applies to providers of terminal air navigation services at airports with greater than 70,000 movements per year. For the UK this covers NSL (a subsidiary of NATS) and Birmingham Airport; and for Ireland this covers IAA ANSP services at Dublin Airport.


Top Science Institutions Release Online - 2 March 2014

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society, the national science academy of the U.K., have released a joint publication in Washington, D.C., that explains the clear evidence that humans are causing the climate to change and that addresses a variety of other key questions commonly asked about climate change science.

"As two of the world's leading scientific bodies, we feel a responsibility to evaluate and explain what is known about climate change, at least the physical side of it, to concerned citizens, educators, decision makers and leaders, and to advance public dialogue about how to respond to the threats of climate change," said NAS president Ralph J. Cicerone.

"Our aim with this new resource is to provide people with easy access to the latest scientific evidence on climate change, including where scientists agree and where uncertainty still remains," added Sir Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society. "We have enough evidence to warrant action being taken on climate change; it is now time for the public debate to move forward to discuss what we can do to limit the impact on our lives and those of future generations."

Climate Change: Evidence and Causes, written and reviewed by leading experts in both countries, lays out which aspects of climate change are well-understood, and where there is still uncertainty and a need for more research.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) has risen to levels not seen for at least 800,000 years, and observational records dating back to the mid-19th century show a clear, long-term warming trend. The publication explains that measurements that distinguish between the different forms of carbon in the atmosphere provide clear evidence that the increased amount of CO2 comes primarily from the combustion of fossil fuels, and discusses why the warming that has occurred along with the increase in CO2 cannot be explained by natural causes such as variations in the sun's output.

The publication delves into other commonly asked questions about climate change, for example, what the slower rate of warming since the very warm year in 1998 means, and whether and how climate change affects the strength and frequency of extreme weather events.

Many effects of climate change have already become apparent in the observational record, but the possible extent of future impacts needs to be better understood. For example, while average global sea levels have risen about 8 inches (20 cm) since 1901, and are expected to continue to rise, more research is needed to more accurately predict the size of future sea-level rise. In addition, the chemical balance of the oceans has shifted toward a more acidic state, which makes it difficult for organisms such as corals and shellfish to form and maintain their shells. As the oceans continue to absorb CO2, their acidity will continue to increase over the next century, along with as yet undetermined impacts on marine ecosystems and the food web.

Even if greenhouse gas emissions were to suddenly stop, it would take thousands of years for atmospheric CO2 to return to its levels before the industrial era. If emissions continue unabated, future climate changes will substantially exceed those that have occurred so far, the publication says.

The authoring committee offers this brief explanation of the science of climate change to help inform policy debates about the choices available to nations and the global community for reducing the magnitude of climate change and adapting to its impacts. The project was sponsored by the Raymond and Beverly Sackler U.S.-U.K. Scientific Forum. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, independent nonprofit institution that provides science, technology, and health policy advice under a congressional charter granted to NAS in 1863.

Is Aviation contributing to carbon reduction?


Reuters Online - 19 March 2014

The European Parliament's Environment Committee (ENVI) voted on Wednesday to reject a deal to exempt long-haul flights from paying for carbon emissions until the end of 2016, aiming to prevent the European Union from bowing to foreign pressure.

A preliminary decision ahead of a binding vote from Europe's parliament, the vote raised the prospect of a return to stringent polluting rules against foreign airlines vigorously opposed by trade partners outside the bloc as infringing their sovereignty. ENVI members in Brussels failed to pass the deal brokered by EU diplomats earlier this month to extend a so-called "stop the clock" measure exempting intercontinental flights from regulation under the bloc's Emissions Trading System (ETS).

"Today's vote simply means that MEPs do not like being bullied by third countries into dismantling EU climate legislation," said German MEP and ENVI chair Matthias Groote. The motion will now go to a full vote by the European Parliament, scheduled for April 3.

"The ENVI result is most worrying," said Athar Husain Khan, CEO of the Association of European Airlines (AEA). But Aoife O'Leary of Brussels-based green group Transport & Environment called it a "bad deal" that was rightly rejected. "This decision sends the clear signal to political leaders in member states, to industry and to foreign countries that the EU's sovereignty is not subject to external bullying," she said.

Negotiators from the European Parliament, the European Commission, and member states represented by current EU president Greece, on March 4 agreed a tentative deal to extend an existing suspension of EU law for flights into and out of the 28-nation bloc.

Those airlines were from 2012 forced under EU law to surrender a permit for every tonne of carbon dioxide they emitted during the entirely of their flights, but those rules were temporarily suspended later that year amid international pressure.

Failure to get final agreement on the compromise before the end of April would mean the original law is reinstated, likely reigniting trade tensions with Europe's major trading partners such as China and the United States, who said the measure breached sovereignty rules.

"Given the international controversy around the aviation ETS that we have witnessed during the past years, we believe that a full ETS is not a realistic option and that it would have a negative impact on European airlines, their operations and their employees," the AEA's Khan said.

The vote of the cross-party ENVI committee is a preliminary indication of whether the proposal, which is supported by other parliamentary committees including those governing transport and industry, can win enough support in the full parliament. "I think plenary will pass it. Everyone agrees that reinstating the original compliance coverage on April 30 is unacceptable. From a timeframe standpoint, there is too much pressure not to pass it," said Emil Dimantchev, an analyst with Thomson Reuters Point Carbon.

In its current form, the agreement would maintain the suspension of the law for intercontinental flights until 2016, with a provision to revert back to making all airlines pay for allowances in 2017 if a global deal on curtailing aviation emissions cannot be agreed.

The U.N.'s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) last October agreed it would deliver a global plan to curb airline emissions by 2016 for implementation in 2020.

The European Commission's responded by proposing an amended measure to only charge aircraft for emissions in EU airspace. That proposal, backed by many European lawmakers but rejected by Britain, France and Germany, eventually evolved into the compromise struck earlier this month.


Travelmole Online - 19 March 2014

The travel industry has been quick to welcome Chancellor George Osborne's surprise announcement that he is to introduce a single tax band for all long-haul flights, which will reduce the cost of flying to many destinations including Asia and the Caribbean.

Osborne announced in today's Budget statement that from April 1 next year all long-haul flights will be taxed at the same rate as flights to the United States, which are in the B tax band. He is ditching the higher C and D bands. His announcement to the House of Commons caught the travel industry off guard. Although many had been pushing for reform of multi-band system, which was considered inherently unfair as often passengers pay less for flying further, the Treasury had not previously indicated this was on the cards.

However, Osborne acknowledged that it was "crazy" that passengers were taxed more for flying to India or China than those flying to Hawaii and he admitted the tax was hitting exports, deterring tourists and creating "a sense of injustice" within Britain's Asian and Caribbean communities.

A spokesperson from A Fair Tax on Flying, which has campaigned for lower air tax, said ditching the higher tax bands would save passengers 200 million annually. It added: "The new banding system will help exporters including outbound tourism, it will encourage inbound tourism from long-haul destinations such as India and China and it will remove some of the distortions associated with the current system hurting holidaymakers - such as the premium passengers pay to travel to the Caribbean. Today's decision is therefore a positive first step. Hopefully the reforms announced today will have a such a positive impact that they will encourage the Government to undertake further reforms of APD in future."

ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer said: "ABTA strongly welcomes the Chancellor's announced cut to Air Passenger Duty and changes to the banding system as a first step in the reform of this damaging tax. Moving all long-haul flights into band B of APD at current levels will save passengers over 200m annually, and should boost travel and tourism as well as promote greater UK connectivity. ABTA has been at the forefront of campaigning to reform and reduce APD, and today's announcement is a clear recognition from the Government of the negative impact this tax is having."

However, Tanzer signalled the fight for further reductions will continue. "Whilst today's Budget is very much a step in the right direction, ABTA will continue to call for a reduction in overall rates of APD which, at their current band A and B levels, will continue to inhibit the contribution of the travel and tourism sector to growth and employment," he added. "ABTA will also review any potential anomalies created by the new banding system, and work with Government to mitigate their impact."

The new tax bands will take effect from April 2015, meaning a family of four will save 112 on flights to Sydney, Australia and 64 on flights to Cancun, Mexico.

Dale Keller, chief executive of the Board of Airline Representatives said: "The Government has finally acknowledged what the industry and business knew all along - that the highest rates of aviation tax in the world were a brake on driving the UK's economic growth with emerging markets. "Of course we would like the Chancellor to go further still on reducing APD but this is a step in the right direction and BAR UK will continue its engagement with the Government to deliver the fair and proportionate aviation tax that the UK deserves."

Virgin Atlantic welcomed the simplification of the air tax. In a statement it said: "A two band APD rate is a very welcome simplification to remove some of the biggest distortions of the current system, which the Chancellor himself admitted is crazy and unjust. The Government has rightly recognised the damage APD is having on exporters and the travelling public alike. A tax system which penalised high growth emerging economies such as China and India was always contrary to the Government's stated policy on trade and exports, so this is a positive step that recognises the impact of this economically damaging tax. There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating the huge economic benefits to the UK of reducing or abolishing APD and we hope that the Government will continue to go further in the long run."

TUI chief executive Peter Long said: "We recognise the importance of this change and the difference that it will make to hardworking families in the UK, along with the tourism destinations worldwide that will benefit from reduced Air Passenger Duty rates."

Cressida Sergeant, spokeswoman for TravelSupermarket, said: "We very much welcome the announcement that all long-haul travel will now be subject to the band B rate of 67 per person departing from the UK. Currently a family of four will pay a total of 376 in APD charges for a flight to band D destinations such as Australia or New Zealand. As a band B destination, this will reduce to 268, a total saving of 108. This is good news for both UK residents travelling to long-haul destinations and for visitors to the UK who are flying onto destinations previous within bands C and D."

Online travel agent loveholidays.com said it was "a victory for the travel industry on behalf of the hard-working holidaymaker". "We expect to see a spike in enquiries for holidays to Caribbean favourites such as The Dominican Republic, Jamaica and St Lucia as travellers realise that APD charges for these islands will fall," said CEO Al Francis.

The Chancellor also announced government support for start-up flights from regional airports, which got a luke-warm response from BAR UK. "We will need to evaluate any potential competitive distortion that could result, however, the Government's intentions are clearly supportive," said Keller.

Heathrow Airport used the opportunity to push for a third runway. CEO Colin Matthews said: "The Chancellor is right that British businesses need to sell more overseas and we welcome the package of support for exporters, as well as the reduction in Air Passenger Duty for long-haul flights to countries like India and China. A third runway at Heathrow would allow Britain to add new flights to those markets and help the Government deliver more trade, more jobs and more economic growth."

OUR COMMENT: How much extra CO2?

Pat Dale


STOP Stansted Expansion (SSE) has today called for
Government action to end the "scourge of noisy night flights"

Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 31 January 2014

SSE's submission is in response to a Department for Transport consultation which proposes that Stansted should continue to be allowed 12,000 flights a year between the hours of 11.30pm and 6am. This is more than twice as many as are permitted at Heathrow and, SSE claims, far more than are needed.

The campaign groups argues that the 12,000 cap was set in 2006 at a time when Stansted was still expanding rapidly. The Government anticipated that a second runway would soon be built and that more night flights would be needed. However, today Stansted is handling 30% less traffic than it was in 2006 and its plans for a second runway were cancelled in 2010.

SSE has told the Government that allowing Stansted 12,000 night flights a year can no longer be justified. In fact Stansted handled just over 8,500 night flights last year - well below the Government limit, but SSE is pressing for the total to be reduced further to 7,500 night flights from October 2014 and then further reduced by 500 flights each year until night flights are totally phased out.

SSE said: "The recent announcement by British Airways that it pulling the plug on its cargo operations at Stansted means that reducing the number of permitted night flights at Stansted from 12,000 to 7,500 should now be easily achievable."

SSE's submission also argues that those living in the vicinity of Stansted and under its flight paths should have the right to an uninterrupted night's sleep, which should mean a full eight hours and not just the 6.5 hours covered by the current restrictions on night flights. Martin Peachey, SSE's noise adviser, added: "For years the Government has been promising that it will bear down on aircraft noise at night. However, night flights at Stansted are still increasing, not decreasing. It's time to reverse that trend and set a firm timetable for phasing out night flights altogether."

However the British Shippers Council has told the Government: "As the UK economy comes out of recession and freight volumes grow again, in order to remain competitive in the global marketplace it is vital that the UK retains the capability to expand the number of night flights from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports. Not to do so would negatively affect use of the airports and damage the quality of the UK international supply chain."

Some comments from residents:

The whole area will soon be an urban conurbation. That's my point. Many passenger planes are already off vector on take off often to save fuel. Monitoring is a waste of time because nobody will do anything about it. So ban night flights and it will concentrate the mind.

The Other Side
Agree re sticking to the NPR's although Stansted due keep a log which I believe you can request of their track keeping as they monitor them. However the NPR's are OKish for passenger aircraft but the heavily laden cargo planes are on full throttle and struggling so they need a route further away from population as they are much noisier. The Fedex MD10 is a good example and running these into the night causes sleep disturbance in the south of Stortford at least. Freight hub should be located out of the population areas or maybe the planes should take the HPR vectoring away from Stortford after takeoff and then making their final turns towards destination away from major conurbations.

The Real Henry
I acknowledge that Stansted has to increase its cargo operations to relieve Heathrow which is now at full capacity with expansion inevitable but stalled by dithering politicians. I just wish ALL the cargo flights would stick to the Noise Preferential Routes when taking off to the South, rather than starting their turn early and overflying Stortford to cut the corner.

Fair point jat1978. Stansted employs I believe approx 14,000. East Herts has about 131,000 plus residents and Uttlesford about 80,000 plus. So 211,000 plus residents in total. Thanks but I suggest the majority would like to sleep. If they don't they are welcome to live in West London under the flightpath of Heathrow.

How about all the people that would lose their jobs due to this? BA only had 3 night flights a week anyway, compared to approx 100 by other cargo flights.

It is becoming quite obvious the authorities in league with global business is hell bent on turning part of East Herts and Uttlesford into an urban conurbation with Stansted Airport into another Heathrow. Their dream may be 25 years away but Hounslow MK II and Heathrow MK II appears to be a real possibility. Hopefully the planning guru(s)(haha) will find themselves past their sell by date by the time it ever comes to fruition. They've got to be booted out of office via the ballot box.


Travel News Online - 4 February 2014

The British Shippers' Council (BSC) has urged the UK government to expand the number of night flights from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports as the UK economy continues to recover and freight volumes grow again.

The BSC, part of the Freight Transport Association (FTA), said that the move was necessary 'to remain competitive in the global marketplace'. The advice came after its recent meeting with the Department for Transport about its second stage consultation on night flying restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, which sets out proposals for the period from October 2014, to October 2017.

A BSC statement said: 'Not to do so would negatively affect use of the airports and damage the quality of the UK international supply chain.' The statement added: 'Unless there is flexibility this is likely to restrict potential air freight shipments, undermining the reliability and predictability of UK supply chains faced with fierce competition from continental competitors. Demand is driven by customers from across the UK economy, for example in pharmaceuticals and advanced manufacturing, and these companies need to move their time-critical or high-value goods quickly and efficiently.'

Commenting on behalf of the British Shippers' Council, the FTA's Chris MacRae said: 'Night flights are an essential component in maintaining the UK's international economic competitiveness. Operators don't provide them by choice but driven by shipper demand, itself driven by end customer requirements. It is good news that the current regime is not proposed to be further restricted, but at the same time as the economy grows some easing of restrictions would be appropriate.'

The outlook for the British economy has improved by more than any other developed nation over the last six months, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said in November. The international watchdog said that it expected the UK economy to grow by 2.4 percent in 2014, compared to 1.4 percent in 2013.

OUR COMMENT: We have yet to see any detailed analysis of any figures that show why delivery at night improves economic performance. There may be a case for genuine urgent delivery of essential supplies but how many night flights fall into this category?

Pat Dale


Dunmow Broadcast - 11 February 2014

Stansted has today launched its 'Fly Stansted' campaign to highlight that it is the European airport for London with over 150 direct scheduled connections available on its route network - more than any other airport in the UK.

Stansted offers passengers the best on-time performance of any major airport in the south-east, and with an 80million project underway to transform the terminal building and retail offer, the 'Fly Stansted' campaign is looking to attract even more passengers to London's third busiest airport.

The campaign, running across Essex, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and key areas of London, shows passengers that Stansted offers the best choice and flight frequency to Europe of any London airport and promotes the availability of safe and secure on-airport parking from as little as 5 a day.

Stansted's destination map expanded again last week with new Ryanair services to France and Morocco, the first of nine new routes set to be unveiled by the airline in the coming months. More flights to Switzerland, Romania, Croatia, Czech Republic, Sweden and Montenegro will be taking-off from Stansted very soon, while Loganair and Atlantic Airways will also launch new flights to Dundee and the Faroe Islands respectively. In addition, charter operator Thomas Cook Airlines will add more flights and new destinations across the Greek Islands, Turkey and the Canaries this summer.

Stansted Airport's managing director Andrew Harrison said: "Stansted has been one of London's best kept secrets for too long now, and it's time we told passengers what they're missing out on. The airport has an unrivalled network of European destinations and is the south-east's most punctual major airport so our 'Fly Stansted' campaign is designed to drive home the message that we really are the European airport for London - both in terms of choice and on-time performance."

"Stansted has returned to passenger growth over the past year as more and more passengers, especially the savvy business traveller, recognise that the extensive choice of destinations and flight frequency together with our excellent punctuality record makes the airport a very attractive and competitive option when flying to and from Europe. We know that 46 million journeys are made each year by passengers living in the area around Stansted but only 12 million of those flights are taken from the airport itself. What we want to do is make sure that passengers choose Stansted whenever they can."

"We're already making really good progress in cutting through the myths that have surrounded Stansted in the past and I'm sure our 'Fly Stansted' campaign will boost awareness of what's on offer at the airport. Taken together with the significant investment we are making to improve facilities, our drive to provide even greater choice of destinations and the easy and affordable parking options available at the airport, Stansted really is the most obvious, convenient and exciting choice for anyone planning to head off to Europe this summer."

Sustainable Aviation? Policies please!


Jane Ashton and Eddie Redfearn will represent
the only tour operator on the council

Travelmole Online - 5 February 2014

Sustainable Aviation is a long term strategy created by the UK aviation industry to tackle the challenges of ensuring a more sustainable future for the industry. Launched in 2005, it is the world's first initiative to bring together the main players from UK airlines, airports, manufacturers and air navigation service providers to work together to achieve 'sustainable aviation'. The governing Council comprises of representatives drawn from the signatory organisations and agrees the strategy and programme of work on a biennial basis.

Thomson Airways, one of TUI Travel's six airlines, is a founding member of Sustainable Aviation when it was set up in 2005 and the TUI Group is recognised as one of the industry leaders in sustainability for its holiday offerings.

Jane Ashton, Group Director of Sustainable Development at TUI Travel said: "As a business that takes its responsibility towards the environment and communities very seriously we are delighted to take a seat on the Sustainable Aviation Council. TUI Travel has been pioneering sustainable tourism for over a decade and we will continue to work hard to find ways to continually improve and promote greater collaboration. We admire the progress Sustainable Aviation has made to date and we look forward to playing a greater role going forward."

Jonathon Counsell, Chair of the Sustainable Aviation Council commented: "As a founding member of Sustainable Aviation, we are extremely pleased that TUI Travel is now a member of the Council. Representing the tourism industry, both Jane and Eddie will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience that will undoubtedly help us in continuing to improve the sustainability performance of our vitally important industry."

Eddie Redfern, Head of Regulatory Affairs (Aviation) at TUI Travel, added: "The Council brings together the key players in the industry and together we will work tirelessly to continue sustainable development of the UK aviation industry."

This latest honour follows TUI's success In the 2013 atmosfair Airline Index, TUIfly was named the most climate efficient airline worldwide with over a million passengers and most climate efficient charter airline (for the second year in a row), and also ranked Thomson Airways as the second most climate efficient for short haul flights.


Group of 52 business leaders urge Ministers to make most of
Britain's current air capacity ahead of decision on extra runway

Nick Collins, Transport Correspondent - Daily Telegraph - 14 February 2014

More flights through Heathrow and more trains to London airports are needed now in order for Britain to stay internationally competitive, 52 business leaders claim today. In a letter to the Telegraph, the heads of leading financial, retail and transport firms urge ministers not to drag their feet over the capacity problem at the capital's main air transport hubs.

They argue that Britain's current airports must be made more efficient "to strengthen the UK's ability to trade with the world" and urge the Government to show it is "straining every effort to secure and extend the UK's global competitiveness".

An Airports Commission appointed by the Government is examining which airports around London are suitable for expansion, but an extra runway could take a decade to deliver. Sir Howard Davies, who chairs the Commission, told MPs last month that the Government had asked him to delay the publication of his findings until after the next general election.

In their letter, the business leaders warn that Britain risks slipping behind its international rivals unless ministers act on interim recommendations already made by the Commission, such as improving rail access to Stansted and Gatwick. The government should also consider appointing an independent ombudsman to oversee changes to tight restrictions on the timing of flights at Heathrow which are aimed at limiting noise, they argue.

Baroness Jo Valentine, chief executive of London First and lead author of the letter, said: "The world is not waiting while we navel gaze about whether we are going to put an airport in the Thames Estuary or expand Heathrow. There are many factors that make London a very successful city... This is just one factor, [but] clearly it is not helpful from a business perspective to have your air facilities withering which is what we are looking at for the next ten years."

In their letter addressed to Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, the group including Paul Kelly, chief executive of Selfridges, Adrian Montague, non-executive chairman of 3i group, and Nicola Shaw, CEO of HS1, recommends the provision of new track on the West Anglia main line to boost access to Stansted with Heathrow at 98 per cent capacity and Gatwick rapidly becoming full.

"At Heathrow we believe the airport should be granted greater operational flexibility to cut stacking and flight delays," they add. "All options must be ruled in to cut delays and preserve resilience".


'Backing the 36 billion leisure aviation sector
must be a strategic priority', say ABTA

Incentivetravel Online - 5 February 2014

ABTA, The Travel Association has today welcomed Sir Howard Davies, Chairman of the Airports Commission for a breakfast briefing highlighting the importance of good international and regional connectivity, the valuable role of leisure aviation in sustaining this, the need to improve the passenger experience, and the vital importance of world class surface access to the UK's airports.

The meeting came as research for ABTA carried out by ComRes revealed that 7 in 10 of MPs (70%) think that the UK risks being left behind competitively if a comprehensive plan to increase airport capacity is not prioritised. In the briefing, the first with a key focus on leisure aviation, Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive highlighted the vital role that inbound and outbound tourism plays in economic growth and the important role of leisure aviation, including via the UK's hub airport.

More than 80 per cent of passengers flying to and from the UK are doing so for leisure purposes, highlighting leisure aviation's important role in supporting the growth of business routes, including to emerging markets. ABTA's consumer research also shows that passengers hugely value the ability to connect quickly to other UK destinations seamlessly. Over half (52%) of those surveyed prefer a journey time to the airport of less than an hour. 86% of passengers would be unhappy to travel for longer than two hours, highlighting the importance of building high quality public transport into future plans.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said: "ABTA fully supports the call for increased aviation capacity. The fact is that aviation is a major asset to the UK economy as a wealth creator and a job creator. Business and leisure travel are inextricably linked; developing a single plan that delivers for both sectors is the best way to ensure maximum economic benefit."

"Whichever option emerges as the preferred solution will need cross-party political support. What businesses, investors and customers want to see now is commitment from all three parties to accepting the analysis and recommendations of the Davies Commission."

OUR COMMENT: Now we are told that more recreational air travel promotes the growth of business routes! To Holiday resorts?

Pat Dale


The total distance flown by employees fell from 191 million km in the first year to 123 million in the third. Yet in the fourth year it rose to 129 million.

Ben Webster - The Times - 3 February 2014

Companies in a green scheme to cut emissions from business flights have increased their air travel over a year after realising that virtual meetings can be a poor substitute for pressing the flesh. The scheme was aimed at showing that Heathrow and other airports did not need new runways, but the results suggest that even green-minded companies often see no alternative to flying.

WWF, the environmental group running the scheme, admitted that video conferencing was unsuitable for building relationships with new clients. The distance travelled by air fell sharply for the first three years after companies, including Microsoft, BT, Marks & Spencer, Lloyds TSB and BSkyB, joined the "One in Five" scheme, which aims to help organisations cut a fifth of their flights in five years.

However, WWF's report on the scheme's fourth year shows an annual increase in both long-haul and short-haul flights. The total distance flown by employees fell from 191 million km in the first year to 123 million in the third year. Yet in the fourth year it rose to 129 million. Overall emissions from the companies' flights fell by 36 per cent in the first three years but rose by 4 per cent, or 1,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide, in the most recent year.

Jean Leston, WWF's transport policy manager, said that video or audio conferencing could replace only about a third of business flights. "While new teams are forming and relationships are being built and there are new clients to be met, these are the kind of circumstances where even WWF admits you are going to have to have a certain number of face-to-face meetings involving flying. Where we say you can replace flying most easily is for internal meetings or for client meetings where relationships are already established."

She said that the recession had encouraged companies to find cheaper alternatives to flying staff to meetings and argued that this had resulted in a permanent change of behaviour. "There has been a cultural shift that the recession has accelerated."

Ms Leston said that some companies had dropped out of the scheme but declined to say which ones, saying it was a condition of the scheme that it would not give out "specific details on which companies have done what". She said that WWF, which opposes any new runways, did not know whether emissions from flights were rising or falling for the companies that had dropped out.

"When they drop out and they inform us they have achieved all they can through the challenge and gone beyond it in most cases, they have got the T-shirt, a company is not expected to submit any further data. It's a hassle for them so why would they? They may still be continuing to cut their flying but I don't know and I wouldn't want to speculate."

WWF said in a statement: "WWF believes that business will continue to fly less - not more - in future and that decisions on UK airport capacity need to reflect this fact. Companies profit by flying less."

Not just more airports, but more
roads & rail to airports?


Businesses stressed the importance of air travel to the
Essex economy at a meeting attended by a Government minister

Braintree and Witham News - 24 January 2014

Witham MP Priti Patel and the Essex Chambers of Commerce hosted a meeting in the House of Commons yesterday discussing aviation and transport infrastructure. Transport minister Robert Goodwill spoke at the meeting, along with representatives from Stansted and Southend airports.

After the meeting, Ms Patel said: "Businesses in Essex and the eastern region are fuelling the economic recovery in Britain but could do so much more with improvements to our transport infrastructure. Our businesses need strong air travel connections so that they can access opportunities overseas, including in the new and emerging markets, and bring foreign investment into the region."

"The county's airports are making huge, privately funded investments to improve the services they offer and the number of destinations passengers can fly to. To compete internationally we need to build on the success of these airports."

In October, business group London First proposed 620million of investment to improve rail links from London to Stansted. Ms Patel said: "We discussed with the minister the importance of the Government developing a long term aviation strategy which takes into account the strength of the East of England as well as the urgent need to improve transport links to our airports."

"Essex has enormous economic potential and with improved infrastructure and better access by road and rail to our airports we can add more value to the economy and create new jobs."


Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 5 February 2014

FRUSTRATED residents of Burton End are gearing up to make compensation claims totalling thousands of pounds against the owners of Stansted Airport and urging other villagers to do the same.

The householders, including those with properties worth more than 1.5m, fear time is running out for them to press for sums starting at 10 per cent of their homes' market value. Key to their claims is the completion of work associated with expansion at the airport in 2007. Stansted's previous owner BAA had always argued that crucial components of the project, such as a taxiway code-named Echo, which would trigger the compensation programme, are yet to be finished.

However residents of the hamlet close to Stansted Mountfitchet have looked at the fine print of the deal and believe the crux is that the work was substantially signed off - and the seven year deadline for the claim is therefore close to expiring.

A spokesman for ROBE, the residents of Burton End, said: "STAL have for years used their failure to complete Taxiway Echo as a reason for not setting up a compensation scheme. In our view this is both morally unjust and, more importantly, legally incorrect. We believe that the right to make claims has in fact already arisen, as the works essential for the expansion in passenger numbers beyond 15mppa have clearly been completed."

"We are therefore not prepared to allow STAL to delay matters further, and would therefore urge all home owners in the local area to take action now otherwise they may lose the right to do so."

The background to their action is complicated. In 1985, planning permission was granted for expansion at the airport a staggered. Phase 1 was approved for up to eight million passengers per annum (mppa) and the new terminal opened in 1991. Under the Land Compensation Act 1973 (the LCA), a homeowner is entitled to compensation for any diminution in the value of their property caused by public works such as the enlargement of runways, taxiways or aprons so in 1992, a compensation scheme under the LCA was launched.

As a result, more than 1,000 residents in Takeley, Stansted, Bishops Stortford, Thaxted, Broxted and the Hallingburys received compensation, in some cases for more than 10% of the value of their homes. In 1999, planning approval was granted for Phase 2, increasing to 15 mppa and residents argue that as the airport handled 23 mppa at its busiest, the project has been completed bar minor details.

A spokesman for Stansted's new owner, Manchester Airports Group, said: "We have written to ROBE regarding this matter and have agreed to look into this further."


Justin Burns - Airport World Online - 17 January 2014

Airport chief executives at the UK's two busiest airports locked horns over how airport capacity should be expanded in the South East of the UK. Heathrow's Colin Matthews and Gatwick's Stewart Wingate promoted their proposals at the RunwaysUK conference in London yesterday.

The Airports Commission, led by Sir Howard Davies, has short-listed three options for runway expansion, which include additional runways at both airports and an independent project to extend a runway at Heathrow. Matthews told delegates the UK needs one hub as opposed to a competing airports model that is being suggested and put forward for expansion by Wingate. Pointing to Tokyo, that Matthews says failed by building Narita, and moving traffic from Tokyo-Haneda, he says it resulted in it losing its position as the number one hub in Asia.

"Separate hubs do not work and Stewart's idea has never worked before. There are two different models being suggested. Gatwick's is to stop Heathrow from expanding - on this basis it is not competition. We need to provide hub capacity. The main hub supports the growth of a city. Put your largest hub closest to demand, which is London." Matthews added: "We think a third runway at Heathrow is politically deliverable and the proposal supports the UK, not one solution."

But Wingate refuted Matthews claims, and says other major cities around the world such as Moscow, and New York, have a competing airports model, as opposed to one 'mega hub'. Wingate says: "The heart of our case is airports competing against each other. Having one hub puts all your eggs in one basket. The country should not serve the one hub, competing airports should serve the country. Airports support people and the country."

Matthews says that the new runway proposed to the north west of Heathrow would cost 16 billion (?19 billion), increase aircraft movements from 480,000 to 740,000 and be ready by 2026. Wingate says Gatwick's 5-9 billion (?6-12 billion) proposal, would be ready by 2025 and was the 'progressive choice' of the options, which supports legacy carriers, charter carriers and low-cost carriers.

Earlier in the day, Airports Commission chairman Sir Howard Davies, delivered the conference's keynote speech and told delegates the interim report published in December has been 'fairly well received'. He also launched the appraisal framework that sets out in detail how the commission expects scheme design for additional airport capacity to be developed, and how the schemes will be appraised, which is an open consultation running until February 28.

Davies says the three options will now be developed and appraised against a criteria featuring five different areas. Each will be assessed on how they strategically address the connectivity issues and support regions in the UK; affect the environment; how they are funded and costed; mitigation strategies in place; and how practical they are to deliver.

Davies says the commission will also now research the radical Estuary Airport proposal, expected to cost anywhere from 20-100 billion (?24-120 billion) backed by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, by carrying out four projects into the viability. "This is a different type of proposition and is compelling. But there are many challenges and risks such as environmental issues and surface access," Davies says. The commission will make a decision by the autumn whether to add the 110mppa plan in the Isle of Grain in Kent to the short-list.

Also addressing delegates was Daniel Moylan, aviation adviser to Boris Johnson, who took a swipe at the commission, which he says has had a "touch of a Simon Cowell about it."

"The commission's interim report bafflingly states, in the face of the evidence that it has itself assembled, the UK does not face an immediate capacity crisis and that a single extra runway in the south east will be sufficient by 2030. This is, of course, very much Heathrow's corporate business plan but the mayor does not agree," Moylan says.

He called on the commission to 'seriously engage' with the mayor and says it is preparing to back Heathrow's expansion and has 'grossly' been given the advantage. And Moylan says a four runway Estuary Airport was needed to meet future capacity demands, but added it 'too toxic for any government to deliver'. His comments yesterday also highlighted the risk the commission's final recommendation, could fail to gain sufficient political consensus.

Lord Adonis, former Labour government secretary of state for transport, finished the day by telling delegates it was unlikely politicians would back any option before the election next year, and a decision on how to expand capacity 'could go on for years' to come.

The government is set to give a response in March to the three options outlined by the commission, which is due to give its final recommendation after next year's General Election.


London Mayor's office sends report to MPs lambasting the Airports
Commission as its chairman prepares to face MPs on Monday

Nathalie Thomas, Transport and Leisure Correspondent - Daily Telegraph - 20 January 2014

Boris Johnson has sent a stinging criticism of the Airports Commission to MPs before its chairman Sir Howard Davies faces a Parliamentary committee on Monday. A report, drawn up on behalf of London's Mayor, dismisses the government-backed commission, which is investigating where to build Britain's next runway, for drawing "inconsistent and incorrect" conclusions and for failing to provide the UK with a long-term plan.

The 21-page report, sent to members of the Commons Transport Select Committee, claims the commission has been influenced by the commercial interests of airports owned by wealthy investment funds rather than doing what is best for the general public. "They [the commissioners] seem to be very influenced by commercial considerations rather than public policy issues which is what I thought they were set up for," Daniel Moylan, the Mayor's chief aviation adviser, told The Telegraph. The attack comes ahead of Sir Howard Davies's appearance in front of the Transport Select Committee on Monday.

Sir Howard has short-listed three potential locations for a new runway in the South East of England. The short-list includes two designs for a potential third runway at Heathrow, plus a second runway at Gatwick. The commission excluded the Mayor's preferred scheme - a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary - from the short-list but has committed to review its decision in the Autumn following further research.

The report questions why the commission identified a significant shortage in airport capacity in 2050 but has chosen only to look at the short-term options up to 2030. "This does not provide the UK with a long-term plan," the report reads. "Their approach places inadequate weight on public health and quality of life, including air quality impacts, which are not considered in any detail."

The Mayor's office claims the process leading up to the publication of the short-list last month deteriorated into an X-Factor style competition with "a touch of Simon Cowell about it". Mr Moylan said the commission should have been clearer from the outset that a consultation prior to the short-list was effectively a procurement process rather than a public policy debate.

"At some point earlier they should have said why they were taking that approach because there were alternative approaches available to them which I think would have been more in the public interest," Mr Moylan said on Sunday.

A spokesperson for the Airports Commission said: "Decisions about airport capacity are of vital national importance and must be based on the best evidence available. The Commission is undertaking a thorough, comprehensive and transparent study subject to rigorous assessment considering economic, social and environmental impacts."

It emerged over the weekend that a high level report prepared for the commission by consultants at KPMG concluded that all schemes put forward for runway expansion would require ?significant? taxpayer subsidies - contrary to claims from some of the airports themselves.


The Government's aviation commissioner today launched a six-month
study into the "Boris island" airport plan to ensure a decision
on its fate would "not be vulnerable to challenge"

Matthew Beard, Transport Editor - airport-world.com - 16 January 2014

Sir Howard Davies announced the plan days after the Mayor wrote to him to demand his proposal for an airport in the Thames Estuary remained on a level playing field with plans to expand Gatwick or Heathrow.

Speaking for the first time since publishing his shortlist last month - in which the Estuary plan was not included but marked for further consideration - Sir Howard said he was confident his work would not be buried by politicians after next year's general election.

He told the Runways UK conference on London today: "My sense is that the appreciation of the need to do something is growing, but that's just my sense. The reaction to the interim report was that a few people said, 'This is nonsense, you don't need to do anything', but they were only a few. I think there is a realisation that there will be a big decision. What that decision is depends on the complexion of the House of Commons in May 2015."

He said a decision on whether to include Mr Johnson's plan will be made in the early autumn and that the commission will conduct its own study. He added: "We need to ensure all decisions we make are defensible and soundly based."


Expansion: The next government will 'duck' decision, Adonis predicts

Ian Taylor - Travel Weekly Online - 24 January 2014

The next government will delay a decision on a new runway for the London "if it can", whatever the recommendations of the Davies Commission, former transport secretary Lord Adonis warned last week. Adonis, who led the Department for Transport under the last Labour government and gave the green light to a third runway at Heathrow, insisted "there is no getting away from the politics" of the issue. He described it as "a minefield without end".

"Part of the problem is you never come to a complete crisis," he told the Runways UK conference in London. "There is no subjective test of how long you can afford to wait [for a decision]. It will only happen if the business class is able to impress politicians that this will lead to a crisis. If whoever is the next [transport] secretary thinks they can duck it, they will."

The Davies Commission is due to report in summer 2015, after the next election. But Adonis warned: "The likely outcome is that whoever is in government will delay. They won't just say ?'we'll delay', they will be clever. They will say 'we need more work on this' and hope it will be completed by 2020."

He added: "There is a real problem with making such a recommendation after an election. The legitimacy of the decision is going to be a real issue. I suspect what will happen is 2015 will see the beginning of a process, not a decision that will be acted on immediately." However, Adonis said: "Setting up the commission was a big step forward - although never has a commission been given so long to decide such a simple question."

Virgin Atlantic chief executive Craig Kreeger told the conference: "I remain perplexed by the UK attitude. I don't think other countries are having this debate. I wonder would the auto industry or financial sector ever hear the same arguments about whether they have a right to grow."

Cost: Passengers 'will pay for whatever gets built'
Passengers will inevitably pay the price of building new runways and that will limit the cost and extent of aviation-infrastructure development.

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) chief executive Andrew Haines told the Runways UK conference: "Whatever gets built will need to be paid for, and passengers will pay for it."

Haines added: "It is unlikely that, in the next 50 years, passengers will be prepared to pay for more than one new airport in the UK." He noted: "Typically, the CAA has allowed airports to recover the cost of developing infrastructure as it is incurred [rather than following construction of facilities]. That means developments need to be affordable."

Haines warned: "There is a danger of [developing] a white elephant. The experience of Stansted should provide a cautionary tale. The 2003 Aviation White Paper allowed for a second runway at Stansted. Now Stansted is operating at 50% of capacity."

Mayor: Moylan slams Davies' conclusion
The Davies Commission has turned the decision on where to build a new London runway "into a sort of Bafta awards", according to Daniel Moylan, adviser to London Mayor Boris Johnson. Moylan told the Runways UK conference on airport infrastructure: "There is a touch of the Simon Cowells about it." Johnson slammed the commission as "biased" at the weekend. Moylan told the conference: "Boris believed the commission would be used to defer a decision and to arrive at the worst conclusion, and that appears to be the case. He is increasingly puzzled by the commission's approach and alarmed by its interim report."

The commission published an interim report in December, narrowing the options for new runways to one of two proposals at Heathrow and a third at Gatwick. It promised "additional analysis" of proposals for a Thames Estuary airport, championed by Johnson, but described these as "extremely expensive" at up to 112 billion. The report also noted an estuary airport would "present major environmental issues" and "require the closure of Heathrow and London City".

Stressing he spoke on behalf of Johnson, Moylan said: "The commission has taken a debatable approach. It has inflated the cost of a new airport and cut Heathrow's own costs estimate. It has treated the mayor as though he was a private company with commercial interests [and] it's time they engaged with the mayor, given his legal responsibilities."


Chris Berry, Editor North West - thebusinessdesk - northwestnewsonline - 20 January 2014

MANCHESTER Airports Group has reported strong growth in half year earnings and says it has begun a turnaround at Stansted Airport, which saw passenger numbers fall for five years under previous ownership.

MAG said its investment programme and long-term deals with airlines such as Ryanair, easyJet and Thomas Cook, were reversing Stansted's fortunes. Year to date passenger numbers are up just under 2%.

After last year's 1.5bn acquisition of Stansted, MAG, which is owned by the 10 Greater Manchester Authorities (64.5%) and Australian infrastructure fund IFM Investors, is the UK's largest airport operator, owning East Midlands and Bournemouth as well as Manchester and Stansted with a 26.7% market share.

In the six months to the end of September MAG saw the benefit of its record deal as passenger numbers rose 73.8% to 25.9 million. Growth on a like-for-like basis was 6%. Revenue was up nearly 70% to 390m from 229.8m in the previous year. Within this number 9.5% represented like-for-like growth, while 60.2% was from the Essex airport.

Reflecting a similar growth trend, EBITDA was up 16.7% to 109m excluding the acquisition, and ahead 80.2% to 168.3m when Stansted is included. Operating profit before significant items rose from 60.8m to 76.7m (+26.2%). Including Stansted growth was 78% to 108.2m.

MAG chief financial officer Neil Thompson said the group was very pleased with the results which represented a "really strong trading performance against a tough economic backdrop." He said: "We are out-performing our financial targets and in line with our growth in market share, we continue to outperform the UK market in passenger numbers. We have secured long-term agreements with leading airlines and retailers, creating a strong future for our group. With a number of significant projects underway at present, I am confident that the next six months will be as exciting and rewarding as the last."

He said progress is being made to secure direct flights from Manchester to new destinations including Beijing, Mumbai and Hong Kong, though said they are "medium-term aspirations".

The company said passenger numbers across all airports are outperforming the UK market, in particular at Manchester Airport where the 20 million passenger target was reached during the summer and at East Midlands Airport, where the airport experienced a return to pre-recession passengers numbers during the summer. Mr Thompson said the long term growth deals with Ryanair and easyJet would add eight million passengers at Stansted over the next five years.

MAG said significant investment in both retail and car parking had provided strong income streams. The retail division was 3.4% up due to the new shopping and catering options available at Manchester and East Midlands Airport. Car parking revenue was significantly higher (13.9%), after substantial investment across all airports to create more on-site secure car parking, including 4,000 extra spaces at Manchester.

After the half-year end, MAG took a major step forward in its plans for the 800m Airport City development as it secured Beijing Construction Engineering Group (BCEG), Carillion and the Greater Manchester Pension Fund as joint venture partners alongside Argent as development manager.


Kari Lundgren - Bloomberg.com news Online - 20 January 2014

Manchester Airports Group plans to pitch its London Stansted low-cost hub to a host of long-haul carriers over the next 18 months in a bid to broaden the appeal of an asset that spurred first-half earnings 78 percent.

Operating profit at MAG, which owns Manchester, Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports, rose to 108.2 million pounds ($178 million) in the six months to Sept. 30 from 60.8 million pounds a year earlier, with the London terminal, bought on Feb. 28, contributing 31.5 million pounds of the gain.

MAG is pursuing plans to bring intercontinental carriers such as Dubai-based Emirates to Stansted in the wake of deals to boost flights operated by discount carriers Ryanair Holdings Plc (RYA) and EasyJet Plc. (EZJ) Valet parking, fast-track security and airport lounges are among enhancements being introduced to draw full-service players to the airport 35 miles north of London.

"Broadening our product offering is a key enabler to bring those airlines in, as we've done with Emirates and Etihad at Manchester," Chief Financial Officer Neil Thompson said in a telephone interview. Emirates serves the north-English city using the Airbus A380 superjumbo, with other long-haul clients including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL), Air Canada Rouge, Singapore Airlines Ltd. and Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd.

Catchment Area
MAG is also working to make foreign carriers aware of Stansted's potential, Thompson said, adding that about 8 million people drive by the airport annually to other London airports based on Civil Aviation Authority data.

The immediate area includes Cambridge University and science and technology company offices, including the planned base of drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc. (AZN) Some 6.7 million people live within a 1-hour car journey and 12 million within 2 hours. "If we had the right routes and frequencies and we could put those in place, there is a massive and strong catchment area that we can leverage and bring through," the executive said.

Norman Foster-designed Stansted contributed 10.1 million passengers to MAG's total of 25.9 million in the first half.

MAG is committed to improvements at the airport costing 80 million pounds in conjunction with retailers, including upgraded security lanes, a food court and revamped shops. The renovation of the facility will extend into next year, with a new Duty Free store due to open in July.

London's third-largest airport was sold by previous owner BAA Ltd. amid a forced breakup of its assets as antitrust regulators sought to foster competition.

Manchester Traffic
Heathrow Ltd., as BAA is now known, retains control of Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports, though it may sell those assets to Ferrovial, Sky News said in December. While MAG will "always take a look" at opportunities, the focus is on existing assets and the integration of Stansted, Thompson said.

Stansted attracted 2.2 percent percent more travelers in calendar 2013 for a total of 17.8 million, aided by the busiest December in four years. Manchester posted a 5.1 percent jump to 20.8 million, making it Britain's third-busiest airport after Heathrow and London Gatwick.

MAG's East Midlands terminal served 3 million customers in the six months through Sept. 30, up 11 percent, while Bournemouth traffic for the period was flat at 500,000.

MAG anticipates double-digit growth in operating profit for the third year in a row for the year ending in March, Thompson said. Like-for-like revenue climbed 9.5 percent in the first half, boosted by retail sales at Manchester and East Midlands, as well as car parking revenue, the company said.


ITV News - 14 January 2014

Stansted Airport enjoyed its busiest December in four years after nearly 1.32 million passengers passed through the airport. It was the fourth consecutive month of growth for the airport and an increase of 7.7% over the same month last year.

The overall number of passengers using Stansted in the past 12 months also increased by 2.2% to just over 17.84 million, the first full year of growth since 2007.

Managing director Andrew Harrison said the future was looking bright. "December's traffic results are a clear indication that Stansted is back and successfully competing with other London airports. We now expect the airport to enter a period of sustained growth this year following the signing of long-term agreements with both Ryanair and easyJet."

Mr Harrison said the airport was set to serve more than 30 million passengers a year by 2024 and was on track to reach its current planning limit of 35 million passengers by 2030.

Stansted is now turning its attention to developing long-haul services and is looking to attract airlines to put on flights to the Middle East, North American and Asia.


UK airport regulator CAA has lit the touchpaper to a fresh phase of growth
at Stansted Airport by freeing the Essex hub from restrictive price controls

businessweekly online - 10 January 2014

Stansted's wings had been clipped through fears that it was anti-competitive. Now - following a two-year review - CAA says that from April onwards, Stansted will be free again to compete with other airports without the need for price regulation. New airport owner, M.A.G says the move will trigger further expansion. It has already laid the foundations.

The CAA's decision effectively concedes that its trade tourniquet was too tight. It now concludes that Stansted does not have substantial market power.

M.A.G only acquired Stansted in February 2013 but in under a year has restored goodwill with mainstay airlines and struck deals that will underpin long-term expansion. Chief executive Charlie Cornish said: "Since MAG acquired Stansted we've focused on building strong commercial relationships with airlines and delivering a better experience for passengers."

"After just ten months, our approach to running Stansted is already yielding big benefits for passengers and airlines. The long term growth deals we've agreed with airlines - including Ryanair, easyJet and Thomas Cook - will see Stansted continue to grow rapidly over the next decade, offering passengers more choice in terms of destinations and frequencies."

"The CAA's decision today to step back from regulating Stansted is a welcome endorsement of the changes we've made and a positive recognition by the CAA that in Stansted's case competition rather than regulation will deliver the best outcomes for passengers and airlines. Stansted is flourishing in a competitive environment, as we build long-lasting commercial partnerships with airlines and deliver excellent service to our customers."

M.A.G has embarked on a 230 million expansion blueprint. Following consultation with airlines and other business partners an 80m project to transform the terminal building was announced in June. This included building a new security search with extra lanes and double the size of the previous facility; extending the departure lounge by over 60 per cent; providing additional seating, several new units and greater choice of shops, bars and restaurants; new walkthrough World Duty Free.

M.A.G believes the terminal transformation project marks the dawn of a new era for Stansted and significant investment is being made to change the way Stansted is viewed and make it the best airport in London. It says modern air travel has significantly altered the way in which passengers use terminal facilities, more so at Stansted where 50 per cent of passengers now check-in online, travel with hand luggage only and bypass traditional check-in procedures and head straight to security.


Back to Business Home News - 10 January 2014

Air passengers will be hit by a decision today to alter what airlines can be charged for using one of the UK's busiest airports, according to low-cost airline Ryanair.

Just three UK airports - Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted - are "regulated", in that the amounts the airports' bosses can charge airlines for using them is capped by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Ryanair said today that a CAA final decision on regulation for the three airports for the five years from April 2014 has revealed that Stansted is now being deregulated.

The budget Irish carrier said this decision would mean Stansted would increase charges resulting in "yet more damage to UK consumers and competition". Ryanair said the CAA was "falsely claiming" that Stansted did not have substantial market power and that therefore there was no need to further regulate charges at the Essex airport.

Ryanair said: "Against evidence and its own earlier findings, the CAA now inexplicably claims that airlines are able to exert buyer power on Stansted in circumstances where Stansted was allowed by the CAA to double its charges in 2007, which caused a five-year, 27% traffic collapse at Stansted while Heathrow and Gatwick were growing. "Even easyJet moved flights to Southend to avoid Stansted?s high charges."

The budget airline went on: "Today's deregulation decision by the CAA will allow Stansted to increase charges in future and will result in yet more damage to UK consumers and competition. This decision confirms yet again that the CAA's regulatory regime is 'inadequate', as previously found by the Competition Commission in its 2009 decision to break up the BAA (formerly British Airports Authority) airport monopoly."

Ryanair's legal and regulatory affairs director Juliusz Komorek added: "Today's decision is an example of the CAA's regulatory failure which will again harm consumers as Stansted will be able to further increase airport charges whenever it wishes, without any reference to competitive price levels. Effective regulation with aggressive price caps is the only way to ensure that consumers are protected and that Stansted can grow its traffic on a sustained basis. Ryanair condemns the CAA's continuing failure to effectively regulate Stansted."

Ryanair has been a constant critic of the CAA and the airport charges it sets.

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