| SSE NEWS ARCHIVE - October to December 2014
STANSTED 'WILL NEED EXTRA RUNWAY BY 2030'
The boss of Stansted said the airport was set
to exceed its maximum passenger capacity
Times Online - 10 December 2014
Stansted will submit plans for a new runway some time in the next decade, the boss of London's third airport has declared.
As debate rages over whether parliament should back new runway space at Heathrow or Gatwick, Charlie Cornish insisted that present expansion rates meant that his airport would apply for the repeal of existing local authority shackles and then lobby for a second runway to satisfy demand.
Mr Cornish, the chief executive of Manchester Airport Group, which took over Stansted last year after the break-up of BAA, said that passenger numbers had increased by 1.2 million to 11.3 million in the six months to the end of September. According to Mr Cornish, Stansted's projected rate of growth will see it sailing through its local authority-capped capacity of 35 million and hit its physical capacity on one runway of 45 million by 2030. That means that by the mid-2020s it will have applied to the government of the day to have its council cap removed and will have re-submitted plans for a new runway.
Asked what impact the eventual ruling on London airport capacity by Sir Howard Davies's commission will have on Stansted's growth, Mr Cornish said: "Whether its Heathrow or Gatwick, it is not material to our plans. In our view, what is the best for the UK is a network of competing airports and increased rail connectivity between them. What that means for Stansted is improved connections between London Liverpool Street and the construction of Crossrail 2 [the Herts-Surrey trans-capital project ] and, in the case of Manchester, the delivery of HS2 and HS3 [the proposed London-Manchester and Leeds-Manchester high-speed lines]."
Stansted's growth is being fuelled by Ryanair, Europe's largest airline, which accounts for 70 per cent of traffic at the airport. The two bigger airports plus East Midlands and Bournemouth, helped MAG's half-year revenues and operating profits to rise more than 8 per cent to £421 million and £117 million, respectively. Mr Cornish said that his priority at Manchester was to create a viable alternative to the London airports for China-bound travellers.
STANSTED SETS OUT VISION FOR A SECOND RUNWAY
Phil Davies - Travel Weekly - 10 December 2014
Stansted aims to submit plans for a new runway some time in the next decade, according to the boss of parent company Manchester Airports Group.
Chief executive Charlie Cornish insisted that present expansion rates meant that his airport would apply for the repeal of existing local council limits and then lobby for a second runway to satisfy demand.
Stansted's projected rate of growth will see it pass through its local authority-capped capacity of 35 million and hit its physical capacity on one runway of 45 million by 2030. That means that by the mid-2020s it will have applied to the government of the day to have its council cap removed and will have re-submitted plans for a new runway.
Asked by the Times what impact the eventual ruling on London airport capacity by the Airports Commission will have on Stansted's growth, Cornish said: "Whether its Heathrow or Gatwick, it is not material to our plans. In our view, what is the best for the UK is a network of competing airports and increased rail connectivity between them. What that means for Stansted is improved connections between London Liverpool Street and the construction of Crossrail 2 [the Herts-Surrey trans-capital project ] and, in the case of Manchester, the delivery of HS2 and HS3 [the proposed London-Manchester and Leeds-Manchester high-speed lines]."
He was speaking as MAG revealed that Stansted's passenger numbers had increased by 1.2 million to 11.3 million in the six months to the end of September.
STANSTED IS STAR PERFORMER FOR MANCHESTER
AIRPORTS GROUP, ACCORDING TO LATEST FIGURES
Herts & Essex Observer - 9 December 2014
STANSTED is the star performer for Manchester Airports Group (MAG) according to latest figures.
The interim, unaudited results for the six months to the end of September, published today (Tuesday) show the Uttlesford hub has been the fastest growing major airport in the South East, with an 11.9% increase in passenger numbers. Stansted has added two million passengers since MAG acquired the base from BAA in February 2013 and is heading for a 20m total this year.
According to MAG: "Stansted Airport posted a particularly strong set of financial results with EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation] up £7m (+11.4%) to £66m. The airport is benefiting from the advantages that come with being part of MAG which have included the signing of long-term commercial agreements with major airlines, on-going product expansion in areas such as lounges and fast track, an increase in third party commercial partnership agreements and further investment in car parking capacity."
MAG chief financial officer Neil Thompson said: "I am especially pleased with... Stansted which is now showing industry leading levels of passenger growth. Stansted alone has added over two million passengers since we acquired the airport in February 2013 and has begun to see substantial operational and commercial benefits from being part of the group. Unlike other London airports, Stansted has spare runway capacity today and significant room to grow in the future and it is vital that faster rail services are delivered between London and Stansted so as to ensure that this potential is utilised."
That call for infrastructure investment was echoed by Stansted's managing director Andrew Harrison. "We are very, very pleased corporately with how Stansted has performed... and that we have been able to realise the opportunity and potential we saw in Stansted."
He said MAG was sponsoring studies into the region's infrastruture requirements, particularly rail, and once that debate was "on the table" the issue of how the work would be financed could be thrashed out - although he pointed out Government had funded projects elsewhere in their entirety.
"What we need in terms of making the region strong is those good infrastructure links. It's vital for the long-term growth of the region - and the airport. Clearly we would encourage the government to invest for the long-term."
Stansted's longer-term aims under his leadership include refitting Satellite 1 "to show long haul carriers rather than talk about" in a bid to bag the kind of Far East or transatlantic route local businesses have told bosses they want.
The refurbishment of the terminal will continue until Autumn next year, with a raft of new restaurants and retailers, and then the emphasis will shift to less obvious improvements in the "customer experience" as passenger numbers continue to increase by an estimated 1m per annum over the next five to six years. In the immediate future, MAG has spent £2m on new equipment to keep the airport open during the worst of winter weather including a snow plough which includes a tumble dryer effect and a drive-through deicer for aircraft.
COUNCILS GIVE THEIR VIEWS ON PLANS
TO DOUBLE NUMBERS AT STANSTED AIRPORT
Halstead Gazette - 13 December 2014
Neighbouring councils have differing views on the planned expansion of Stansted Airport. Airport operator, Manchester Airports Group (MAGS), wants to double the number of passengers to 45 million a year by offering more flights and long-haul destinations from the existing runway.
Chris Siddall, Braintree Council's cabinet member for prosperity and growth, said: "Clearly this could offer enormous economic opportunities for the district and we have responded supporting the draft plan, subject to the airport continuing to make every effort to mitigate the environmental impacts of development of the airport and its services."
But Uttlesford Council said more needed to be more done to tackle road congestion as a result of the airport's growth and there should be more challenging noise mitigation measures.
Jackie Cheetham, cabinet member for aviation, said: "We welcome the concept of the draft Sustainable Development Plan, especially its commitment to partnership working, and we support the sustainable growth of Stansted as a single runway airport. However, without seeing the background data it is difficult to assess whether the aims set out in the plan are fair, or whether the plan should be more challenging and forward-thinking, particularly on environmental issues."
UTTLESFORD DISTRICT COUNCIL CALLS ON STANSTED AIRPORT
BOSSES TO GIVE MORE DETAIL ABOUT FUTURE PLANS
Herts & Essex Observer - 26 November 2014
UTTLESFORD District Council has dismissed Stansted Airport's draft Sustainable Development Plan (SDP) as lacking in detail. It wants more in-depth technical data from owner Manchester Airports Group (MAG) before it can make a proper assessment.
MAG says its plan looks at ways to develop and improve surface access links and strengthen its community engagement programme while being mindful of the environment. Ultimately it wants to more than double traffic on its existing single runway to up to 45m passengers per annum. A 10-week consultation to gauge public opinion on the document came to an end earlier this month.
Cllr Jackie Cheetham, cabinet member for aviation, said: "We welcome the concept of the draft SDP, especially its commitment to partnership working, and we support the sustainable growth of Stansted as a single-runway airport. However, without seeing the background data it is difficult to assess whether the aims set out in the plan are fair, or whether the plan should be more challenging and forward-thinking, particularly on environmental issues."
"We do not consider that the plan as drafted is an adequate basis for ongoing discussions about important strategic and local issues such as surface access and noise envelopes. We would request that the technical data is made available as soon as possible."
In its feedback to the consultation, the council welcomes initiatives such as the development of a proactive education and employment programme at the airport.
However, it also raises a number of concerns. These include a perceived imbalance between the assessment of road traffic implications and proposals to address them, the failure to introduce more challenging noise mitigation measures, and the need for greater recognition to be made of the economic importance of Essex and Herts. The council also calls for clarification on issues including community funding and compensation claims.
STANSTED-US FLIGHTS BOOSTED BY CAMBRIDGE TECH GLORY
Tony Quesred - Business Weekly Online - 9 December 2014
Soaring passenger numbers at Stansted allied to the global clout of the Cambridge technology cluster have handed the airport's owners unprecedented leverage in a renewed bid to lure US long haul carriers back to the UK hub. Manchester Airports Group (M.A.G) says Stansted's enhanced proposition as an airport for business will improve prospects of hooking up Cambridge hi-tech and life science entrepreneurs with peers in Boston, Washington and California on a permanent basis.
Airport MD Andrew Harrison, basking in record passenger numbers for Stansted on the back of a massive improvements programme, said the Cambridge business card was proving an ace. M.A.G has intensified talks with major long haul carriers on the wings of the Cambridge business proposition, Harrison revealed.
He said: "M.A.G planned its Stansted strategy meticulously following the acquisition of the airport and we are six months ahead of schedule with the upgrade. But coming here from the north of England I have to say I was surprised what a dial turner the whole corridor from Cambridge to London was for UK GDP. We have London gradually moving east and Cambridge increasingly popular with international companies as a rich and diverse centre of intellectual capital through life sciences and many areas of technology."
"Major moves or scale-up by companies such as Apple, Spotify, Huawei and AstraZeneca in Cambridge have created a new business agenda. On top of that our major low fares carriers, Ryanair and easyJet have both enhanced their focus in the business market - and all this is strengthening our hand."
"This time, as we are talking to the big long haul carriers, they are seeing much bigger passenger numbers than Stansted has been used to. And we are spending more millions improving facilities for long haul carriers and executive passengers. So in future we will be able to show the decision makers real life facilities rather than drawings on a plan."
Harrison said the decision makers with carriers such as American Airlines in Dallas - who years ago made an abortive bid to get a Stansted transatlantic service off the ground (as did Continental, of course) - could not afford to take a multi-million dollar chance on a new hub unless everything stacked up. That decision could in turn lead to losses racking into several more million dollars.
"We have to get the proposition right and with big US and European corporate players settling or growing in Cambridge our hand is being strengthened all the time."
While debate continues to rage about physically expanding Heathrow or Gatwick, Harrison said Stansted held the solution. It had the spare capacity to accommodate extra slots for low fares and long haul carriers and could handle significant growth with its single runway and within the existing airport boundaries. It has already shown that it can accommodate the world's biggest jets through its thriving cargo operations, Harrison added.
Harrison's comments followed the announcement by M.A.G of a strong interim financial performance with EBITDA +8.7 per cent. Long-term commercial agreements with airlines have generated a significant increase in passengers (+8.5 per cent to 28 million), taking numbers to near record levels at Manchester and delivering industry leading growth at Stansted.
Harrison said Stansted has been the fastest growing major airport in the South East (+11.9 per cent passenger numbers) and is now handling two million more passengers a year than it was at acquisition. Stansted posted a particularly strong set of financial results with EBITDA up £7m (+11.4 per cent) to £66m.
An impressive overhaul of the retail area at Stansted continues and M.A.G anticipates another 12 retailers further enhancing the revamp, with many High Street brands among the newcomers.
M.A.G is investing £40m in the redevelopment of the Stansted terminal with retail partners contributing up to another £40 million. The project will double airside retail space, improve passenger flows and provide 100 per cent footfall for all units. In recent months, World Duty Free, Next and M&S Simply Food have all opened stores and in the future Stansted will be opening a new Escape Lounge, upgrading Satellite 1 with the business market in mind, on top of accommodating those additional 12 retail outlets.
SUSTAINABLE AVIATION FUEL CAN CUT
AIRLINE EMISSIONS BY A QUARTER BY 2050
Airlines like BA have already introduced sustainable fuel
ClickGreen - 2 December 2014
A coalition of the UK's airlines, airports, manufacturers and air navigation service provider NATS, has launched its latest industry road map, which considers the opportunities for sustainable aviation fuels.
The Sustainable Aviation (SA) research identifies the potential for a 24 per cent reduction in aviation carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 and the generation of £265 million in economic value plus the creation of 4,400 jobs in the UK over the next 15 years. However, the report, launched today at a reception at the Houses of Parliament, warns Government support will be vital to achieve this potential.
The research identifies and forecasts the potential volumes of sustainable aviation fuel to 2050, both for the UK and globally. It highlights the possible contribution such fuels can make to supporting the decarbonisation of the UK economy, the opportunities for job creation and economic growth as well as the viability of the market for producers, refiners and investors.
SA says it hopes to build on the successful work promoting innovation that Government has already undertaken with industry, in order to develop a shared vision that focuses on investing in the commercialisation of high-value sustainable aviation fuels.
The leading findings of today's road-map, include:
* Forecasts that by 2030 there could be 90-160 operational sustainable fuel plants globally with revenue estimated at £8-17 billion - with up to 12 plants in the UK
* Defines an opportunity to develop a domestic industry for sustainable aviation fuels generating up to £265 million in economic value, and supporting up to 4,400 jobs
* Identifies that with the right policy and investment framework, UK aviation can reduce its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by up to 24% by 2050 through the deployment of sustainable alternative fuels.
* Recommends the establishment of a public-private initiative to help realise these opportunities, similar to the USA's Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuel Initiative (CAAFI).
Jonathon Counsell, chair of Sustainable Aviation, said: "The UK aviation industry is committed to reducing its impact on the environment and this Road- Map not only demonstrates an additional way for us to do so but also identifies a new industry that could supply thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions pounds to our economy. Sustainable aviation fuels have the potential to play an important role in achieving the UK's ambition to reduce carbon emissions from transport, contributing to EU 2030 climate change policy goals and the global aviation target to halve net carbon emissions by 2050."
"The UK should seize on its leadership in global aerospace and aviation and maintain this country's competitive advantage to boost investment in science, deliver increased jobs for the UK and produce significant emissions reductions. The UK aviation sector is unique in its commitment to working together to develop sustainable, low carbon, fuels that will help deliver on its climate change commitments. From recycling waste materials and gases into jet fuel, to the early stage development of algal oils for transportation fuels, the potential for the UK to become a centre of excellence for sustainable fuels is considerable."
"We look forward to working closely with Government to ensure policies are consistent across transport modes that will drive the necessary investment."
OUR COMMENT: Little information is given as to the possible sources for these lower carbon fuels. Sources that need agricultural land have to be avoided as food supplies may be affected.
EU RULING 'MAJOR BLOW' FOR HEATHROW EXPANSION PLANS
Will Ackermann - GetWestLondon Online - 12 December 2014
The cross-party 2M Group of councils says there is now 'no way out' for Heathrow, but the airport says the ruling makes no difference. Pollution levels at Heathrow are already in breach of EU limits, so will the airport be allowed to expand? Hopes for expanding Heathrow Airport were said to have been dealt a 'major blow' today, after the UK's Supreme Court assumed responsibility for enforcing EU pollution law.
Nitrogen Dioxide levels at the airport are already in breach of the EU Air Quality Directive, although management blame traffic on the M4.
The government had attempted to avoid a showdown with the EU by agreeing to reduce pollution levels in line with the directive by 2025, but the date has since slipped to 'post 2030'.
The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has now rejected this plan and UK ministers will have to prepare new measures for reducing illegal pollution levels 'as soon as possible'. The CJEU has given the Supreme Court responsibility for enforcing compliance with air quality law. Judges will examine the case next year.
The cross-party 2M group of councils opposing expansion says this is a 'major blow' for the plans. Hillingdon Council leader Councillor Ray Puddifoot, a spokesman for the group, said: "Before this ruling Heathrow believed it had over a decade to meet the legal pollution limits. Even then the airport was making some highly optimistic assumptions about cleaner aircraft being invented and then rushed into service. There is no way out of this for Heathrow. Ministers may have given them an easy ride but now the Supreme Court will have to be convinced pollution will be reduced 'as soon as possible' while increasing flights, road traffic and freight."
Building a third runway would increase the annual number of flights at the airport from 480,000 to 740,000, while the freight operation would double in size, as would the number of people using the airport. But Heathrow's management say the ruling will have 'no impact' on their plans for expansion.
A spokeswoman said: "We take air quality very seriously and have always said we will only go ahead with Heathrow expansion if we can do so within strict air quality limits."
"Within two kilometres of the airport, the only air quality monitoring site to exceed the EU limit value for NO2 [nitrogen dioxide] is located alongside the M4. The results at that location are largely as a result of road traffic, approximately three quarters of which is not airport-related.
In the last decade Heathrow has achieved significant reductions in emissions - even though the numbers of people and aircraft using Heathrow have increased."
"This is due to a number of unique initiatives to reduce local air pollution in Heathrow, including by promoting public transport options by funding the UK's largest free travel zone, the use of more sustainable vehicle options through our Clean Vehicles Programme, hosting the UK's first publicly accessible hydrogen refuelling site, and having one of Europe's largest electric airside vehicle fleets. In recognition of its work to improve local air quality, Heathrow Airport has recently won the title of greenest business of the year at the 2014 West London Business Awards."
OUR COMMENT: This ruling will have implications for other airports should development plams indicate that statutory emission levels will be breached.
NATS REVEALS RESIDENTS' RESPONSES TO PLANNED
DEPARTURE ROUTE CHANGES AT STANSTED AIRPORT
Herts & Essex Observer - 14 November 2014
NATS, the UK's leading provider of air traffic services, has published a report of feedback from 400 individuals and organisations from a 12-week consultation earlier this year.
Other householders responding to the moves to change the use of two existing departure routes to the south and east of Stansted, alleged the swap had already been made in their criticism. At the moment, flights towards the south are being kept at lower altitudes in order to pass through particularly congested airspace, and in particular to stay safely below Heathrow arrivals from the east over Essex and Kent.
Under the new proposal, most daytime flights would initially follow the route to the east, therefore avoiding the congested area and climbing continuously, so that the majority are above 7,000ft before crossing the A131, south of Braintree. Making this change will mean some villages are over-flown more, towns less, and some areas will see no change.
Eliminating regular daytime departures for a large area to the south of the airport would double the flights on the route to the east.
In its report, NATS says: "We do not seek to justify this proposal on population figures alone; this proposal would not only reduce the number of people over-flown during the daytime, it would also reduce CO2 emissions and minimise future delays. Some localities would be over-flown more regularly as a result, but we contend that the overall package of net operational and environmental benefits makes a compelling case for this change."
The proposal affects one third of Stansted departures - one sixth of total movements.
NATS claims it would deliver environmental benefits including continuous climb for flights currently held low on the southbound route, and an overall reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 14,900 tonnes per annum, equivalent in volume to 14,900 typical three-bedroom houses.
It is also a key enabler for the next stage of airspace redesign in the south-east, in support of the Civil Aviation Authority's (CAA) Future Airspace Strategy.
Of the 400 responses to the consultation; the majority (76%) were objections from people who would experience more overflights under the proposal.
Paul Haskins, general manager of London Terminal Control at NATS, said; "We are not surprised by the ratio of objections to expressions of support - in any consultation people are more likely to voice their feelings if they oppose the proposal or feel that it will have a negative impact on them. The response confirmed our understanding of general stakeholder concerns and demonstrates that the views of the Stansted community group are in line with general environmental issues highlighted in Department for Transport (DfT) guidance."
He added: "This is the first part of a long and complex set of airspace changes to deliver the UK's Future Airspace Strategy. This first proposal will provide environmental benefits through more efficient routings and climb profiles, whilst enabling future stages of the airspace programme, all of which will be widely communicated and consulted on. We would strongly encourage people to read the report as we will include its contents in the proposal that we will submit to the CAA."
The feedback report can be viewed at www.nats.aero/lampstansted and includes responses to the general questions raised by the respondents.
NATS will submit an Airspace Change Proposal (ACP) to the CAA on November 19 and all feedback from the consultation will be included with that. The CAA will then decide whether the ACP should be approved. If the CAA approves the proposal, the change will be implemented in December 2015.
OUR COMMENT: SSE disputes the claim that changes will save fuel and reduce CO2 emissions. For instance, no account has been taken of flight path changes outside the boundaries of Stansted airspace.
SIR HOWARD DAVIES: BRITAIN RISKS BEING
MARGINALISED IF AIRPORT EXPANSION IGNORED
Chairman of the Airports Commission warns there will be significant risks
to the UK economy if the next Government fails to take a decision on a
new runway, as he launches a national consultation on Heathrow and Gatwick expansion
Nathalie Thomas, Transport and Leisure Editor - The Telegraph - 20 November 2014
Airlines and businesses could start to "marginalise" Britain within the next five years if the next Government continues to duck decisions on where to build a new runway, the UK's airports tsar has warned.
Sir Howard Davies, chairman of the Airports Commission, said Britain will "pay" if ministers don't make a bold decision on where to build the next runway in the South East. Sir Howard delivered his stark warning as he launched a three-month public consultation on proposals to expand Heathrow, or to add a second runway at its rival, Gatwick.
The Commission also published a detailed analysis - extending to 40 different documents - of three runway designs, two at Heathrow and one at Gatwick, which were short-listed last year, allowing a like-for-like comparison of the different schemes for the first time.
The Commission concluded that adding an additional runway at either airport would cost significantly more than forecast by Heathrow and Gatwick themselves, while the bill for passengers, in order to finance construction work, would also soar.
A second runway at Gatwick would be the cheapest option, the Commission determined, costing £9.3bn plus a further £787m from the taxpayer to improve road and rail access. This compared to Gatwick's own estimate of £7.4bn.
The Commission said landing charges - fees that are passed on to passengers through their ticket prices - would likely have to jump to an average of £15 to £18 and as much as £23 at the peak to finance the second runway, calling into question whether the West Sussex airport would continue to provide an attractive base for low cost airlines such as easyJet. Gatwick's current landing charges are about £9.
However, despite being cheaper overall, Gatwick would only deliver a boost to the wider economy of £42bn to £127bn, according to the analysis, compared to as much as £214bn if Heathrow were to be expanded. This would have to be assessed against an estimated £18.6bn price tag for building a third runway at Heathrow, to the north-west of its current site, which would also require £5.7bn from the taxpayer to improve surface access.
Another scheme, devised by a private company, Heathrow Hub, to lengthen the airport's existing northern runway and effectively divide it in two, would cost £13.5bn, up from the original estimate of £10.1bn, the Commission said, plus £6.3bn from the taxpayer. The Commission's estimates are less optimistic and take into account the "bitter experience" of major infrastructure projects over the years considerably over-running their original budgets.
Despite the substantial increase in the estimated costs, both Gatwick and Heathrow airports declared that they were encouraged by the findings of the Commission.
Heathrow highlighted figures in one of the Commission's supporting documents that suggested that the rest of the UK, outside of London and the South East, would received more than twice as much economic benefit from a third runway than from expanding Gatwick. Gatwick, meanwhile, insisted that it was "confident" it could keep its costs to its original estimates while it highlighted that significantly fewer people would be affected by noise if it was given the go-ahead to expand over Heathrow.
It is not yet clear how Sir Howard will rank the various criteria against which he has assessed the three options - including, significantly, the impact on local communities - before the commission delivers its final conclusions next summer, after the next General Election. The public consultation will run for 12 weeks until February 3.
Sir Howard said that making no decision after the General Election would pose significant risks to the future of the UK economy. "You could start to see some quite unpleasant things happening from the point of view of the UK economy," the former director of the London School of Economics warned, adding the airlines and businesses could start to "marginalise" London in favour of other airports in Europe if there is insufficient connectivity.
STANSTED AIRPORT'S BOSS SLAMS PUBLIC COST OF
DEVELOPING A NEW RUNWAY AT HEATHROW OR GATWICK
STANSTED Airport bosses are "deeply concerned" over the
public cost of building new runways at Heathrow and Gatwick
Herts & Essex Observer - 11 November 2014
The Airports Commission has released its latest analysis of three shortlisted plans to answer the country's long-term aviation capacity crisis at the beginning of a three-week public consultation period. According to the analysis by Sir Howard Davies and his team, Gatwick's plan to add a second runway is the quietest and easiest to deliver while expanding Heathrow is more likely to deliver a bigger boost to the economy, and create more jobs.
Sir Howard is not expected to make his final recommendation to the government on the way forward until the summer of 2015 - after next May's General Election. However he has already determined the trio of plans for new runways at Heathrow and Gatwick will cost substantially more than the airports' suggested.
Sir Howard is evaluating a second runway at Gatwick, a third runway at Heathrow, or an extension to one of the existing Heathrow runways. The commission warns a second runway at Gatwick would cost £2bn more than the bid suggests. Separate plans to expand Heathrow are predicted to cost £3bn to £4bn more.
Alternative long-term proposals, including building new airports near Oxford or in the Thames Estuary, have already been ruled out, but in the short-term Stansted in the only airport in the South East with substantial spare capacity on its existing runway. It already has planing permission to almost double the current passenger traffic to 35 million.
Charlie Cornish, chief executive of MAG (Manchester Airports Group) which owns Stansted, said: "We are deeply concerned by the unprecedented levels of state aid factored into the Airport Commission's appraisal of the three schemes. Given the private interests at stake, adopting a special set of rules that favours the delivery of new capacity over the use of existing capacity, will have profound adverse consequences for competition and consumers in the long run. The onerous legal burden that will undoubtedly be associated with such a heavy reliance on state aid also raises significant questions about the viability of delivering any of these schemes."
STANSTED AIRPORT CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO LIFT
PLANNING CAPS TO CREATE EXTRA 10,000 JOBS
Eleanor Busby - Cambridge News - 11 November 2014
Stansted Airport bosses have called for a planning limit to be lifted in order to double its passenger volume and increase the number of jobs on offer.
The airport has linked up with business leaders across the East of England to urge the Airports Commission to allow it to expand its business between now and 2030. A further 10,000 jobs could be brought to the region if passenger caps that prevent making full use of the existing runway were lifted, according to the airport.
A joint letter, signed by representatives from the region's businesses, was sent on Friday to the chairman of the Commission, Sir Howard Davies, who is looking at airport provision in the south east of England. The airport wants a planning limit lifted so it can expand to double its current passenger numbers. Currently Stansted is limited to 35 million passengers a year by its planning permission - but it aims to reach its capacity, which is 40 to 45 million a year.
The group also wants major improvements to the rail network between Stansted and London, via Cambridge. This plea comes just days after Stansted's managing director Andrew Harrison called for more investment in rail links to the airport following a Network Rail report.
The letter said: "With any new runway likely to be at least 10-15 years away, we believe that exploring and delivering on these measures in the intervening years to unlock the potential of the existing infrastructure should be seen as an immediate priority for the Commission and for Government.
As a priority the Commission should work with Government to examine the case for the lifting of Stansted's planning caps, while continuing to press Government for improving rail access to Stansted."
Peter Sanders, from Stop Stansted Expansion, said the call for a lift on planning caps was "premature". He said: "In any event it will not be possible for the Government and the Airports Commission to 'deliver' on the lifting of planning caps. That would have to be the subject of a planning application, and if and when such an application is made it would have to be supported by environmental and health impact assessments."
Sir Howard is due to give an update on the Commission's work today.
STANSTED BOOST COULD CREATE 10,500 JOBS, BOSSES CLAIM
Paul Geater - eadt online - 10 November 2014
Moves to boost Stansted Airport could bring a further 10,500 jobs to the region over the next 10 to 15 years, its new owners have said. There could also be further new jobs created in businesses that supply the airport during that time.
The airport has linked up with business leaders across the region and north London to urge the Airports Commission to allow it to expand its business between now and 2030.
It has two main calls: it wants a planning limit lifted so it can expand to take double its current passenger numbers and it wants major improvements to the rail network linking Stansted with London, Cambridge and the midlands.
The letter says: "The airport is a significant economic asset and we were encouraged to see the Airports Commission set out a number of specific recommendations in the Interim Report to ensure the best use is made of the existing capacity at Stansted. With any new runway likely to be at least 10-15 years away, we believe that exploring and delivering on these measures in the intervening years to unlock the potential of the existing infrastructure should be seen as an immediate priority for the Commission and for Government."
The commission, under the chairmanship of Sir Howard Davies, is looking at airport provision in the south east of England and is balancing the needs of a new runway for either Heathrow or Gatwick. A new runway for Stansted is not currently on the cards.
The letter comes just days after Stansted managing director Andrew Harrison called for more investment in rail links to the airport. He said: "Network Rail clearly recognises the need to improve services to Stansted but its proposals lack the ambition and vision needed to deliver significantly faster services for airport users and commuters. We are already working with Network Rail, the Department for Transport and others to develop solutions that will result in greater savings in journey times."
Currently Stansted handles just under 20 million passengers a year. It is currently limited to handling 35 million passengers a year by its planning permission - but it wants to be reach its capacity on the single runway which is 40 to 45 million a year. And the rail link to Liverpool Street and Cambridge would need its capacity extended to cope with demand from a larger airport.
Disagreements over value of Stansted expansion
Mark Davison from Stansted Airport said an expansion using the current runway of the Essex airport was feasible - and the benefits could be achieved much quicker than the construction of a new runway elsewhere. He said: "We can get improvements at Stansted considerably quicker than we can get a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick. We have businesses in this region and in north and east London who would welcome an expansion of international services from Stansted and we now need more of them to show their commitment to this."
The letter is signed by groups from across the region, including Chambers of Commerce in Essex, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, and north London. It is also backed by Local Enterprise Partnerships from across the region. Mr Davison said the new owners, Manchester Airport Group, was keen to compete with Heathrow and Gatwick for long-haul flights ? but needed to see a commitment from businesses and travellers generally in this region who currently travelled to other airports for their long-distance flights.
He said: "We can take more long-haul flights, but we need to be able to show that the demand is there - and to do that we need the infrastructure in place."
However Brian Ross from the Stop Stansted Expansion group said the letter was: "Full of wishful thinking and lacks reality." He said: "This is a begging letter asking for a consolation prize for Stansted - ie asking the Airports Commission to support expansion on Stansted's existing runway to 45 million passengers a year compared to its present planning cap of 35. Stansted might well be technically capable of handling 45 million but the impact of that level of throughput on the local community, the environment and the local road network would be wholly unacceptable."
He said the problem for the business community was not the planning limit that was placed on the airport - it was the fact that only Ryanair appeared to want to make major use of Stansted.
LIB DEM CONFERENCE VOTES TO CONTINUE
OPPOSITION TO SECOND STANSTED RUNWAY
Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 7 October 2014
LIBERAL Democrats at the party's autumn conference in Glasgow this week have reaffirmed their opposition to a second runway at Stansted Airport.
The delegates also voted to defeat a motion to limit opposition to expansion at Heathrow.
Prospective parliamentary candidate for the Saffron Walden constituency Mike Hibbs said: "I'm pleased the party has maintained our opposition to additional runways. Whilst I strongly support Stansted's contribution to the local economy, I cannot see any economic justification for another runway, particularly while there is unused capacity. And the environmental damage that would result would be a disaster for the country, let alone for the local community. We need environmentally aware and sustainable policies, not uncontrolled growth."
MAG has previously said it wants a second runway at Stansted by about 2030 but remained silent on the divisive question of Heathrow expansion. Its intervention follows Birmingham airport's decision last week to back a second runway at Gatwick.
Mr Cornish said he had written to Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, arguing for a "dispersed model" in which the country's transport needs are served by Manchester and Heathrow, which already have two runways, along with Gatwick and Stansted, which wish to build second runways, combined with high speed rail links.
"You have got four major airports in the UK well connected by rail and road and that should provide the capacity the UK needs in the longer term," he said.
He disagrees with the Heathrow operator's argument that a third runway is necessary to allow British businesses to open new routes to fast-growing markets in the developing world. "The vast bulk of passenger growth over the next 30 years is going to come from European leisure sectors. There will be no doubt some growth in long haul, but it is predominantly European short-haul," Mr Cornish said.
LONDON TRAVELWATCH HIGHLIGHTS PROBLEMS FOR
PASSENGERS TRAVELLING TO STANSTED AIRPORT BY TRAIN
Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 9 October 2014
A REPORT calling for improvements to Stansted Airport rail services has been published by London TravelWatch. The document, published yesterday (Wednesday), highlights the problems faced by passengers using trains to access all of London's airports and suggests solutions to encourage more people to use public transport.
Stephen Locke, chairman of London TravelWatch, said: "Travel by air is a stressful experience for many people and a difficult journey to the airport will only exacerbate this. Poor access to some airports also makes it much harder for consumers to take full advantage of the competition that has built up in the air travel market. But our research shows that so much could be done, often at little cost and using existing infrastructure, to make passengers' journeys easier. However, the improvements do require decision makers and service operators to work together and recognise that many passengers will use services provided by more than one operator to complete their journey."
Stansted Airport's rail station is operated by Abellio Greater Anglia and its services include the Stansted Express to central London and local services to the Lea Valley and Cambridge while Arriva Cross Country operates between Stansted Airport, Cambridge, Peterborough, Leicester and Birmingham.
With specific regard to the Uttlesford hub, the report says: "Consequential loss is a common complaint from passengers on the Stansted Express. Many passengers believe that if they miss their flight due to delays on the train service, then the train operator will refund them the cost of their flight. The lack of Oyster/contactless availability has also been a problem for passengers using this airport."
TravelWatch points out that Stansted Airport has the longest journey times of all the London airports to central London by both rail and coach, although it also acts as a regional airport for Cambridge and East Anglia.
The report says: "The airport and other stakeholders have an aspiration to substantially reduce the rail journey time to central London. This would require substantial investment in additional track capacity, network resilience and reliability along the route to London to meet demand and reduce instances of disruption and overcrowding. We would support investment in such a scheme provided that there is no adverse impact on the ability to provide local services in an area which is also expected to absorb a large increase in housing and population."
The route is also proposed as a potential outlet for any Crossrail 2 line from North East to South West London and TravelWatch says Crossrail 2 would substantially increase the accessibility of Stansted Airport if an option is chosen that includes it in this project.
"Crossrail will improve accessibility of some parts of London to Stansted Airport through 'one change' interchange at Liverpool Street with the Stansted Express or at Stratford for slower but cheaper trains or coach services," the organisation says. "However, access to South London will remain more difficult, with most passengers needing to change at least twice, and journey times longer in the absence of a second Crossrail route with links to this area."
"Stansted has a less than ideal connectivity to Farringdon - which has the potential to be a location for an airport hub for central London, on account of its Thameslink and Crossrail connectivity to Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton airports - because it requires passengers to change at Liverpool Street. However this is not insurmountable, as Thameslink services could be extended in some form to Stansted via an enhanced Lea Valley route. To do this would require the reinstatement of existing short curve lines from Tottenham Hale to South Tottenham, and between Upper Holloway and Kentish Town."
AIRPORT REDUCES CARBON FOOTPRINT
Stansted Airport has reduced its carbon footprint by two-thirds
ITV News Online - 22 October 2014
Stansted Airport says it's reduced its carbon footprint by two-thirds over the past year, from just under 30,000 tonnes to just under 10,000.
The airport's just published its first corporate responsibility report since being taken over by the Manchester Airports Group.
Stansted also now diverts 93% of its waste away from landfill, while more than half of passengers using the airport get there on public transport.
OUR COMMENT: Well done! However, this achievement relates only to the operations of the airport itself. No figures for CO2 from the aircraft flying in and out of the airport!
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