| SSE NEWS ARCHIVE - January to March 2017
PASSENGERS COULD LOSE OUT IN BREXIT AVIATION TUSSLE
Pádraig Hoare - Irish Examiner Online - 23 March 2017
A leading aviation analyst has warned passengers could be the biggest casualty after the EU ordered UK-based airlines to relocate to EU countries or sell shares to EU nationals to avoid losing major routes.
Mark Simpson of Goodbody said continuing uncertainty could lead to consumers being most affected in the long run as disruption was prolonged.
According to reports, EU officials have told airlines they will need to move bases and have the majority of European shareholders if they wanted to fly routes within continental Europe, after Brexit.
Mr Simpson said: ?This could rumble on for years. What we simply don't know is how old bilateral agreements will end up and how negotiations will be progressed. A compromise may well only be decided at the 11th hour. There are two easy sectors for the EU to talk tough on - aviation and financial services. The concern is that political posturing will win out."
Despite Ryanair being Irish registered with headquarters in Dublin, the company conceded that uncertainty was harming business. A spokesperson said: "This uncertainty will continue to represent a challenge for our business for the remainder of financial years 2017 and 2018."
"While there may be opportunities to expand at certain UK airports, such as the recent extension of our growth deal at Stansted, we expect to grow at a slower pace than previously planned in the UK and will continue to switch capacity into other key markets around Europe."
Ryanair reiterated its call that the UK remain part of Europe's Open Skies system. Aer Lingus and British Airways owner IAG said it would "continue to comply with the relevant ownership and control regulations".
EUROPEAN AIRPORTS CALL ON EU,
BRITAIN TO AGREE BACK-UP PLAN FOR AVIATION
Julia Fioretti and Victoria Bryan - Reuters Online - 21 March 2017
European airports on Tuesday called on Britain and the EU to agree a back-up plan for post-Brexit flying should they fail to agree a new relationship before Britain quits the bloc, saying a return to decades-old traffic rights deals should be avoided.
European Union-based airlines have the right to fly to and from any country in the bloc or even within other member states thanks to the single aviation market created in the 1990s. Britain's vote to leave the EU means it has to renegotiate that access, but the ruling out of sectoral deals by EU officials has rattled the aviation industry, which has to plan.
ACI Europe - the trade association representing Europe's airports - said it was concerned about the lack of back-up or transitional plan should Britain and the EU fail to agree a new relationship within the two-year time frame provided for in EU treaties.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has said that no deal is better than a bad deal with the EU, but for aviation, in the worst case scenario the uncertainty could ground planes.
"As responsible businesses, at this stage we simply cannot rule out a cliff-edge scenario for Brexit and aviation," ACI Europe Director General Olivier Jankovec said in a statement. "This means that adequate contingencies need to be established promptly in case the UK would exit the EU without any agreement on its future relationship with the bloc."
Airlines last week called on Britain to provide clarity on post-Brexit flying arrangements given that flight schedule planning for summer 2019, when Britain is due to be out of the EU, will begin in a year's time.
The absence of a deal governing flying rights between the EU and Britain after the 2-year negotiating period ends could mean airlines having to rely on older, more restrictive bilateral provisions between the United Kingdom and the other 27 EU member states, ACI Europe said. "We would prefer not to fall back on those bilaterals, but to get some sort of transition agreement that what we have today can be safeguarded. But what we are hearing is that if there is no agreement, there is also no transitional agreement," Jankovec told journalists in London.
Britain said on Monday it would send Brussels its official exit notification on March 29, triggering two years of negotiations.
(Editing by Ruth Pitchford)
A SUSTAINABLE AIRPORT?
ALTERNATIVE FACTS ON PLANES AND POLLUTION
David Howarth, University of Essex & Steven Griggs, De Montfort University - 17 March 2017
Aviation or ice shelves? The choice is ours.
The facts are simple: a new London runway means more planes, more noise, more pollution and more global warming, write David Howarth & Steven Griggs. The 'Heathrow 2.0' initiative's conflation of 'sustainability' and 'sustainable growth' and its avoidance of climate change reek of Trumpian 'alternative facts'.
"Most concerning is that this absence of leadership betrays the emergence of a new 'post-sustainable' aviation, designed to accommodate the challenges of Brexit. The justifications and mechanisms for an expansionist agenda are carefully being assembled."
Britain and Europe's largest airport is not the most obvious target for an eco-friendly rebranding. Yet Heathrow Airport recently unveiled a new sustainability strategy, Heathrow 2.0, to counter growing opposition to its expansion plans. Both the government and an independent Airports Commission have backed proposals to construct a new third runway at London's largest airport hub. But the plans remain highly contested, with ongoing concerns about noise pollution, air quality and rising carbon emissions. Heathrow expansion has become an emblematic issue in the fight against climate change.
At first glance, it is tempting to dismiss the launch of Heathrow 2.0 as yet another attempt at greenwashing. Indeed, those in favour of the new runway have made sustained efforts to depoliticise the issue ever since the 2010-2015 coalition government declared its ambition to put the environment and local well-being ahead of Heathrow's growth.
An airport that exists above politics gives the illusion that no one has to choose between more planes and more pollution, or fewer planes and cleaner air. In fact, the current plans to render its new runway carbon neutral echo the failed policy of 'sustainable aviation' under the New Labour government. This strategy was quickly discredited by scientists and environmentalists, because of its 'have your cake and eat it' narrative, in which we could fly more and still cope with rising carbon emissions.
'Decoupling aviation growth from climate change' - really? Nonetheless, such arguments pepper Heathrow's new vision for corporate social responsibility.
Much is made of the expected benefits of new technologies and innovations, the role of increased connectivity in creating jobs, the enjoyment we gain from the social benefits of flying, and the commitment to carbon offsetting schemes to address rising emissions. Heathrow 2.0 even aspires to "'decouple' aviation growth from climate change" - a key pillar of the ideology of sustainable aviation.
Yet Heathrow's strategy at least engages with the idea of sustainable development, through what it calls "responsibility". It promises to improve its practices as an employer, committing to a London Living Wage, and it pledges to put an end to human and wildlife trafficking. It wants to produce a "zero-carbon airport" with reduced emissions and 'polluter pays' policies. Heathrow 2.0 might even satisfy local demands for better noise protection.
But it's the detail that really matters. In important respects, the plans lack clarity and ambition. Strategic priorities like a 'noise envelope' to cap the overall disturbance emanating from the airport are often stated, but not accompanied with clear targets. Similarly, it is questionable whether locals will be too enthusiastic about targets to reduce late running aircraft after 11.30pm from 330 in 2016 to 270 in 2017. Or whether they will welcome no arrivals before 4.30am without clarity over the agreement to ban night flights from 11pm to 6am.
Where is the government?
As Heathrow itself accepts, importantly, the airport cannot deliver on most of the claims it makes. Of course, a carbon neutral airport is a worthy ideal. But it is the flights themselves that cause most carbon emissions and account for much of the noise pollution, while traffic to and from the airport also creates air pollution. Heathrow cannot control or make guarantees about fixing any of this.
Indeed, at the heart of these limits to Heathrow 2.0 is the failure of the May government. The airport is simply trying to fill the void left by Theresa May and transport secretary Chris Grayling, who have abandoned their responsibility to offer policy leadership in this field.
A recent Heathrow report by MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee criticised the government for its lax interpretation of air quality directives, its failure to address local health impacts, its overly ambitious targets for ultra-low emission vehicles, and its absence of detailed plans for road improvements and new rail access to the airport.
The committee also criticised the government for watering down proposals for an independent aviation noise authority and for not being clear about how to bridge the gap between theoretical models to reduce emissions and actual policy.
Most concerning is that this absence of leadership betrays the emergence of a new 'post-sustainable' aviation, designed to accommodate the challenges of Brexit. Gone are the attempts by the previous government to put climate change before new airports. In their place, the vital justifications and mechanisms for an expansionist agenda are carefully being assembled. The risk is that green concerns will be pushed further to the margins, as people are increasingly urged to believe that human progress and innovation are enough to meet environmental challenges.
In this emerging discourse, the demands of economic growth trump those of the environment and social well-being.
BREXIT, AIRLINES' WORST FEAR,
HAS BECOME THEIR PREOCCUPTATION
Gwyn Topham, Transport Correspondent - The Guardian - 9 March 2017
Operators flying in and out of UK are pursuing a legal framework to replace EU-wide agreements currently in place.
Carolyn McCall, chief executive of easyJet: "A deregulated aviation market is in the interest of every passenger in Europe."
There is no shortage of metaphors for what airlines expect from Brexit: analysts talk of crosswinds, executives fear turbulence. For some, it is simply flying into thick fog with no idea where they are going to land.
No airline wanted Britain to vote leave in last year's referendum; easyJet and Ryanair campaigned against it. A single European market in aviation brought cheap flights spanning the continent, ever more passengers, trade and jobs. Why would they jeopardise that?
Now, Brexit is a huge preoccupation for airlines operating in and out of the UK - and airports, whose health is largely contingent on the success of short-haul European travel. Most obviously affected are the British low-cost airline easyJet and Dublin-based Ryanair, whose main market is the UK. Their share prices were hammered by the referendum: easyJet?s dropped by a third, wiping £2bn off its value in four days. They face, at the least, uncertainty, bureaucratic headaches and a runway of costly red tape.
The worst-case scenario of planes unable to fly between Britain and Europe is one that few foresee. But the legal framework underpinning international flights, wrapped up in EU membership, is set to disappear.
Dame Carolyn McCall, chief executive of easyJet, says: "We don't know what's going to happen. We are spending a lot of time working with the commission and the government to say we believe a liberal and deregulated aviation market is in the interest of every single aviation passenger in Europe."
Airlines have argued that aviation is a special case. According to Brussels, that is deeply wishful thinking. The EU's highest-ranking mandarin for transport, Henrik Hololei, told the Guardian: "There will be no separate deal."
First comes a general Brexit deal, said Hololei, EU director-general for transport and mobility - one that could well limit the freedom of airlines to operate in and out of the UK. Brexit would "without doubt, have consequences" for airlines, he added. "They need to get a contingency plan."
Concerns include landing rights, operating licences and ownership rules. Prior to the EU and deregulation of the skies, landing rights were negotiated between individual states - treaties allocating airlines to specific airports. About 85% of Britain's international air traffic is currently governed by EU-wide agreements, including flights to Europe and North America, allowing open access for airlines. Those rights include the freedom for airlines to fly between, and within, other countries in Europe: for easyJet to operate between Nice and Nantes in France, for example, or for Ryanair to fly from Stansted to Glasgow.
EU membership may not be essential: members of the European Common Aviation Area include Norway and Baltic states, and Norwegian has become the third largest budget carrier on the continent. But obtaining similar conditions after Brexit is far from assured.
EasyJet is pursuing air operating licences from other countries to keep its intra-EU network running, a £10m insurance policy. Yet it will be powerless to assure future flights between Britain and the EU can operate as usual without governmental agreement.
A further headache once Britain leaves the EU could be ownership rules that limit foreign shareholders to a minority stake: under the Chicago convention underpinning international airline treaties, operators must be majority-owned by the government or nationals of their home territory - currently the whole EU. But once Britain leaves the EU, Ryanair will find 20% more of its shareholders classed as foreign, and may require some to sell.
EasyJet may be thankful that its main shareholder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, has dual British?Cypriot citizenship, allowing the airline to easily reach the 50% shareholding threshold it will need to be classed as either British or EU-owned. "If there is no deal by the time it leaves the EU, the UK's ability to trade will be made significantly more difficult" - Airport Operators Association.
Some suggest that International Airlines Group, which owns British Airways, could run into red tape; but IAG's chief executive, Willie Walsh, insists that the group's structures, dating from the merger of BA and the Spanish airline Iberia in 2011, are Brexit-proof.
If cross-border issues are costly irritations to individual airlines, the bigger picture for Britain is more concerning. The Airport Operators Association warns: "If there is no agreement by the time the UK leaves the EU, the UK's connectivity will be undermined and its ability to trade will be made significantly more difficult."
Daily flight schedules that now start and end in Britain with business-friendly departure times may become less likely should, for example, easyJet have to shift increasing parts of its operations to bases within the EU. Ryanair has already said it will now grow its business in other EU countries rather than Britain.
Then there is the impact of the Brexit vote on passenger numbers. The slumping pound makes it harder for Britons to afford a foreign holiday, but easyJet puzzles over why it has not, conversely, lured in Europeans for a cheap break. "What we're really worried about is what it's doing to demand," says Sophie Dekkers, UK director of easyJet. "We've not seen any significant increase in inbound passengers. It's only a hypothesis, but it could be a feeling after the referendum they've been rejected - that Britain is not making them feel welcome."
Falling demand will make routes unviable, she says. That decline would be swiftly exacerbated should Brexit talks end with passengers needing visas. Paperwork swiftly deters leisure travellers, as easyJet found when tighter immigration rules killed off flights from the UK to Moscow that it had battled to secure.
The British government says it will continue to work closely with the industry, adding that it is in the interests of all European countries to maintain open air links - with British passengers vital, for example, for Dutch long-haul flights and Spanish tourism. A spokesman said: "The UK aviation industry is the largest in Europe, handling over 250 million passengers and 2.3m tonnes of cargo last year, benefiting both consumers and business in the EU and the UK. It will clearly be in the interests of both sides in the negotiation to maintain closely integrated aviation markets."
BREXIT NEGOTIATIONS, DOLLAR STRENGTH
LIKELY TO LOOM LARGE OVER THE EU AIRLINE
INDUSTRY AS IT GRAPPLES WITH OVER CAPACITY
Gaurav Sharma - Moody's Online - 3 March 2017
Brexit negotiations and dollar strength likely to loom large over the EU airlines already grappling with overcapacity, according to Moody's.
The operating profitability of European airlines is likely to decline in 2017 as a widening supply/demand gap would push yields lower, according to Moody's. In a new report for its clients, the global ratings agency noted that the combined fleet of Ryanair, easyJet and Norwegian Air Shuttle, the three largest low-cost operators in Europe, will grow 12%, far outstripping anticipated demand growth in the continent of 4%.
Sven Reinke, vice president and senior credit officer at Moody's, said the development was likely have a negative impact on the industry. "With recent terrorist attacks in Europe and a stronger dollar, growth in passenger demand for air travel is slowing at the same time low-cost airlines are significantly ramping up capacity."
Moody's noted that incumbent airlines, such as Lufthansa, British Airways, Air France and SAS are likely to lose some market share to low-cost airlines as they begin to offer lower fares on the same routes. On short-haul routes, yields (measured in revenues per available seat kilometre) will likely drop further if Ryanair and easyJet lower their fares materially as they have indicated (15% for Ryanair, high single digits for EasyJet).
Overall, Moody's sees lower short-haul ticket prices across European airlines as inevitable if the two largest European short-haul airlines drop their prices. Furthermore, the agency opined that European carriers will increasingly feel the impact of the stronger dollar over the next couple of years "as a much larger portion of their cost base is denominated in dollars (i.e. with oil traded in dollars) compared to their revenues."
A double-whammy could follow if rising costs of dollar or dollar-linked holidays end up dampening demand from European tourists over the next 12 months. "At the same time, US tourists - who could offset lower European outbound bookings - might remain concerned about the threat of terrorism in Europe," Moody's added.
Brexit negotiations are also likely to loom large over the industry. Moody's said UK airlines such as BA and easyJet would not be the only ones affected if the UK exited the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) without a new bilateral agreement with the EU. "Euro area airlines with UK operations could also take a hit, particularly Ryanair, which generated 28% of its revenues in the UK in 2016," the agency concluded.
But that view is not necessarily shared abroad. One well-placed industry source notes: "Other governments will have airlines in their ear - upcoming low-cost airlines as well as legacy carriers - whispering that they see a lot of commercial, competitive advantages in keeping the UK out."
One executive does not discount the European commission's warning. Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair - who campaigned in vain against what he calls "the stupidest decision the Brits have ever made" - says: "There isn't going to be another arrangement. There's a real prospect that the UK will be dumped out."
MORE ON STANSTED AIRPORT AIR POLLUTION
- LIFE UNDER A FLIGHT PATH!
Letters - Dunmow Broadcast - 2 March 2017
I would like to respond to David Mason's letter (February 23) about Margaret Beer's letter (February 16).
Mrs Beer is not a nimby, as he calls her, and she does not live near the airport. I live in the same village as Mrs Beer and we are 17 miles approximately as the crow flies from the airport - and when we all bought our properties none of us was under a flight path. We have all been put in this intolerable position along with all the other villages between Stansted and Clacton by bureaucrats at the Civil Aviation Authority, NATS and Stansted Airport when they decided to change the flight path from the Dover route to the Clacton route.
This has been done to justify the third runway at Heathrow. To achieve this they held a consultation about the changes and everybody including independent aviation experts all said that this was not the best route, not one person said it was a good idea, so they ignored the results of the consultation that did not go in their favour.
They went ahead with the changes anyway. I suggest Mr Mason gets his facts right before calling somebody a nimby. The government and bureaucrats wanted this for their own purposes and didn't give any consideration to the misery they have caused to others.
If you think these planes do not make a noise, you should try sleeping when they fly overhead or try sitting in our gardens when they literally fly over every two minutes in the summer making it impossible to use your garden and sit outside.
Your letter is typical of somebody who has not had these issues forced on them, I don't think for one minute that you would have written such a letter if they had forced a change of flight path over your home.
OUR COMMENT: The original letter that is being objected to is from a retired NATS air traffic controller but doesn't shed any light or new information on the airspace change. The need for civil aviation is appreciated, that safety is paramount, that if you live near an airport you may suffer noise nuisance and that aircraft are less noisy than they were. And we know that Stansted's aircraft movements have risen considerably since it started life as a USAF base in 1942. Equally we know that the routes were changed for the benefit of NATS.
Somewhat worryingly, as a former NATS air traffic controller, he asserts that "Departures from Stansted runway 22 typically pass over High Easter well above 5,000ft and climbing higher. These are altitudes at which such aircraft are really not making any significant noise".
In fact, the results from the STAL flight monitoring in High Easter between June and September last year show a different picture. Firstly it shows that departures from Runway 22 were mainly spread over heights between 3,500ft and 7,500ft. Secondly it shows that more than half the arrivals to runway 04 near High Easter were lower than 5,000ft - something the former NATS air traffic controller omitted to say and the consequence of NATS' failure to implement Continuous Descent Approach. And he appears unaware that the Government considers aircraft noise to be an environmental harm up to 7,000ft.
SSE's Noise Adviser
COLOSSUS OF THE SKIES COMES TO BRITAIN:
WORLD'S BIGGEST PLANE TO BECOME REGULAR
VISITOR AFTER OPERATOR OPENS NEW BASE IN THE UK
Rory Tingle - Mail Online - 25 February 2017
Antonov An-225 Mriya - which can transport ten tanks - is expected to make appearances at airports in Britain.
Its Ukrainian operators have set up a base at Stansted as part of a drive to expand their presence in the UK.
The giant plane has made 11 trips to UK using airports including RAF Brize Norton, Manchester and Prestwick.
OUR COMMENT: More Noise!
RYANAIR: UK MUST CLARIFY BREXIT
AVIATION PLAN WITHIN A YEAR
The UK government has a year to release its post-Brexit
aviation strategy to avoid leaving airlines in limbo
TTG Media Online - 24 February 2017
Speaking at the launch of new routes for London, Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said if prime minister Theresa May sticks to her current timetable for leaving the EU, she will trigger the two-year process towards the end of March. However, with airlines being forced to plan route development a year ahead of launch, he argued the industry will need to be well briefed in what will happen in 12 months' time.
Most importantly of all will be whether or not the government is able to negotiate the UK's remaining in the EU's open skies arrangement or whether or not a series of bilateral agreements will need to be arranged.
Jacobs said: "There isn't a plan but we need to see the arrangements. We want to see open skies continue. We are now a year away from needing to know what will happen with open skies. If we don't know by this time next year what are airlines going to do?"
In the meantime, Jacobs predicted the forthcoming summer will see prices remain low thanks to predicted overcapacity in Europe as the number of seats grows by 6% compared to a 3% predicted increase in demand. This will be further compounded by airlines continuing to take advantage of last year's low oil prices - Jacobs said Ryanair is currently hedged at 85% at $49 a barrel.
He added: "It is going to be another year of soft fares which is great now for our customers."
Many of the soft fares will be available for the forthcoming winter season which will see the airline run its largest programme out of London.
Stansted will see the introduction of three new routes to Aalborg, Oradea and Pardubice while summer services to Cagliari, Copenhagen, Naples, Nice and Oslo Torp and Ponta Delgada will be extended into the winter. A further 13 Stansted routes will also see extra frequencies which, once combined with Ryanair's Gatwick and Luton programmes, will give the airline its biggest winter season yet.
INDIA AND UK SIGN DEAL TO EASE RESTRICTIONS ON FLIGHTS
STAT Trade Times - 10 February 2017
India and the UK have signed a MoU to ease restrictions on the number of scheduled flights between the two countries, following successful talks in India this week. Passengers will now have a choice of greater range of flights as limits on flights from key Indian cities including Chennai and Kolkata have been scrapped. This in turn will give boost to trade and tourism for both the countries.
Building new links with important trading partners is a key part of the government's plans for a Global Britain, opening up new export markets and creating jobs and economic growth.
The agreement also opened all destinations in the UK for Indian carriers for code share flights, and reciprocally the UK carriers can also operate code share flights to any International Airport in India, through domestic code share arrangements.
The agreement was formally signed by Minister of Civil Aviation, Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju, on behalf of India and Lord Ahmad of UK during a visit to India where he led a delegation of British companies for the 2017 CAPA India Aviation Summit.
Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Indian Civil Aviation Minister, said, "The increase in number of flights between the UK and India is encouraging news for our businesses and tourists. We already enjoy strong ties with the UK and we welcome such continued association which in the long run will not only encourage business activity, but also people-to-people contact. I am sure that this agreement will bring direct and indirect benefits to many sectors of the economies of our two countries."
Tourism from India makes an important contribution to the UK economy. In 2015, there were 422,000 visits from India to the UK, bringing more than £433 million to the economy.
Lord Ahmad, Aviation Minister of UK, said, "India is one of our closest allies and key trading partners and this new agreement will only serve to strengthen this crucial relationship. We are unlocking new trade and tourism opportunities which will boost our economies, create new jobs and open up new business links. This is great news for both the UK and India and is yet another sign that we are open for business and ready to build and strengthen our trade links."
India is a rapidly expanding and important market for aviation and the agreement signed will allow airlines to develop new services and air routes.
OUR COMMENT: More flights! More noise!
MAG CALLS FOR MANCHESTER AND STANSTED
TO FORM PART OF AVIATION STRATEGY
Spare runway capacity at Manchester and Stansted airports
should be considered in the government's aviation strategy planning
Phil Davies - Travel Weekly - 9 February 2017
The call came from the head of parent company Manchester Airports Group as both airports reported strong passenger growth in January. MAG believes that the government's northern industrial strategy and forthcoming aviation strategy should take full advantage of the north-west hub's runway capacity.
This would promote international connections through the airport, as the UK needs to make best use of the limited runway capacity it has over the next decade.
Manchester continues to have "ample capacity" to grow further on its two full length runways as it becomes an alternative entry point to the UK over London. MAG-owner Stansted is also seen as a viable option for growth ahead of a third runway opening at Heathrow.
Chief executive, Charlie Cornish, said: "MAG operates the country's two biggest airports with spare runway capacity. Airlines are seeing the value of the capacity we offer and our double-digit growth is testament to our airports' strong appeal."
"We now need the government to prioritise through its industrial and aviation strategies the question of how we are going to make best use of the runway capacity we have in this country, by improving access to airports with capacity which are now growing significantly. Airports like London Stansted and Manchester can take the strain over the next decade and help deliver the vision of a Global Britain."
Manchester airport broke into the top 20 European airport rankings following growth of 17.7% in January. The airport handled 250,000 more passengers in the month than in January 2016, bringing the total up to 1.6 million. The January growth means that the airport has handled 25.9 million passengers in the last 12 months, enough to break into the European top 20, displacing Stockholm. The airport is now just behind Oslo and Palma in the European rankings. The move means that the UK joins Spain as one of two European countries with three airports in the European top 20.
Stansted saw passenger numbers rise by 5% year-on-year to give an annual rolling total of 24.4 million.
Manchester airport was last week identified by both Transport for the North and the Northern Powerhouse Partnership as a strategic infrastructure asset that will play a key role in rebalancing the UK economy. "For Manchester to enter the top 20 airports of Europe is a significant milestone and puts us amongst the leading gateways on the continent, in terms of total passenger numbers, the mix of destinations available and the aircraft operating on those routes," Cornish said.
MAG's other two UK airports - East Midlands and Bournemouth - also both saw double-digit passenger growth in January. East Midlands airport grew 14.6% to almost 220,000 as more passengers flew to the Canary Islands for winter sun. Bournemouth Airport?s 11.6% growth to 33,000 passengers was driven by the popularity of Gran Canaria and Lanzarote, as demand to the Canaries grew 29%.
COMMISSION ANNOUNCES PLAN FOR REVISIONS TO AVIATION'S
PARTICIPATION IN THE EU EMISSIONS TRADING SYSTEM
AEF Online - 9 February 2017
The European Commission has announced plans to continue to limit the future coverage of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) to intra-EU flights.
Under the terms of the existing legislation this temporary "Stop the Clock" arrangement designed to improve the chances of a successful UN deal on a global market-based measure (GMBM), was due to revert to full coverage of all emissions from flights to and from airports in the EU from the 1st January 2017.
But ICAO's agreement of CORSIA in October 2016 has prompted a change which has been disappointing to AEF and other environmental groups who were seeking wider coverage.
One of the primary justifications for the EU looking to show more ambition was the Commission's own impact assessment which concluded that "While the GMBM is meant to address international emissions on a global scale, it will not by itself contribute to the EU's 2030 objective of reducing emissions by at least 40% through domestic efforts, as set out in the EU's commitment to the Paris Agreement based on its currently agreed basic features and nature." This is an important conclusion with relevance for both EU and UK aviation climate policy.
Other changes are more welcome. These include the proposal to steadily reduce the number of free allowances granted to aircraft operators after 2021, increasing the number of carbon permits that must be bought. The Commission has also stated that it reserves the right to revisit the decision on coverage if CORSIA does not deliver an effective scheme. While the proposal has been agreed in outline, important decisions on issues of environmental integrity - such as which offsets will be eligible - will not be taken until 2018.
Don't Forget -
CAMPAIGN GROUP CALLS FOR RESIDENTS TO MAKE
VIEWS HEARD OVER STANSTED NIGHT FLIGHTS
Campaigners are urging councils and residents to make their voices
heard to reduce plane noise after Government plans to regulate
night flights at Stansted Airport were published
Michael Steward - Dunmow Broadcast - 2 February 2017
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) is calling on the Government to phase out all night flights at Stansted by 2030 expect in the case of genuine emergencies.
The Government opened a public consultation on January 12 regarding new measures to cut the noise allowed from night time flights at Stansted, as well as at Heathrow and Gatwick airports. Flight restrictions currently in place at the airports expire in October, and the new regulations will last for the next five years up to 2022.
SSE says Stansted currently has permission for 12,000 night flights a year, more than twice as many as are permitted at Heathrow. The campaign group argues that night flights have a far greater impact on residents around Stansted because of its rural location where background noise levels at night are generally very low.
An SSE spokesman said: "The main criticism of the Government's latest night flights proposals is that they do not go nearly far enough to tackle the very serious impact of sleep disturbance for residents around Stansted and under flight paths. The 12,000 annual limit applies only to the six and a half hours from 11.30pm to 6.00am whereas the normal definition of ?night? is the eight hours from 11pm to 7am."
"Moreover, a large number of Stansted's night flights are large, noisy cargo aircraft and unsurprisingly, these give rise to a disproportionately high level of noise complaints."
Aviation Minister Lord Ahmad said: "This government is committed to tackling the issue of aircraft noise, especially flights at night. Night flights are, however, important to the economy, creating extra choice for passengers and moving freight, and we need to carefully balance the needs of local communities with the benefits these flights can bring."
A Stansted spokesman said: "Stansted has significantly reduced its noise footprint over the years with the introduction of the latest generation of greener, quieter, more efficient aircraft."
The consultation will run until February 28, after which responses will be reviewed and a final decision published.
OUR COMMENT: It's YOUR sleep, so give YOUR views!
WHAT COULD GO WRONG?
Britain's hectic flight routes will be redrawn and streamlined in a major bid
to reduce delays and noise, Transport Secretary reveals. The complex
overhaul of the paths that commercial planes can fly along will be the
biggest shake up in half a century.
Harry Cole, Westminster Correspondent - The Sun - 25 January 2017
BRITAIN's hectic airline flight routes will be redrawn and streamlined in a major bid to reduce delays and noise. The fiendishly complex overhaul of the paths that commercial planes can fly along announced by Transport Secretary today will be the biggest shake up in half a century.
Chris Grayling told an audience of airline bosses that an overhaul of the way planes are directed is overdue because the sky has become increasingly congested. He believes new technologies can make the routes used by planes taking off or landing more efficient, leading to a boost in capacity and a reduction in delays, noise for communities and emissions. An official consultation will be launched next week to probe support airspace modernisation.
Speaking at an event organised by trade body Airlines UK, Mr Grayling said: "While modern aircraft are fitted with the latest satellite navigation technology, most of our airspace arrangements are half a century old. I know how frustrated you and your passengers are by the delays this causes and I recognise the damage it does to your businesses. Without action, flight delays will increase enormously in the next few years."
He added: "This wouldn't just be damaging for passengers, but also for the economy and the environment. That is why I am determined to address this challenge."
The UK handled over 250 million passengers in 2015 and has the third largest aviation network in the world.
STANSTED BIDS TO BECOME BRITAIN'S NEXT
LONG-HAUL HUB AS HEATHROW AND GATWICK ARE 'FULL'
Passengers promised proper connection facilities,
including baggage transfer
Simon Calder - Independent Travel News Online - 14 January 2017
Stansted airport is making a play to become a hub for one or more long-haul airlines, with Ryanair feeding flights to America and Asia.
"Heathrow is full, Gatwick is pretty much full, if anyone wants to grow in London we've got the capacity to make that happen," said Andrew Cowan, chief executive of the Essex airport. He was speaking as Ryanair launched nine new or reinstated routes from Stansted to destinations in Europe this summer.
Cities include Naples, Nice and Strasbourg. Services to some existing destinations in France, including Bordeaux, Nice and Dinard, will increase to daily departures.
The airline, Europe's largest, is also switching some Copenhagen flights from Luton to Stansted. A vicious fares war with easyJet at Luton to the Danish capital has seen Ryanair cut fares to £9.99; with Air Passenger Duty (APD) at £13, that means the airline is flying each passenger at a loss.
Ryanair now serves 140 routes from the Essex airport. The airline's chief commercial officer, David O'Brien, said: "It wouldn't at all surprise me that several long-haul airlines would be interested in tapping into our European network [at Stansted]. It's pretty blindingly obvious if you ask me."
He confirmed that Ryanair is working with Norwegian to provide connections with the transatlantic network at Gatwick.
Stansted has long been a strictly point-to-point airport, with no baggage-transfer operation. But Mr O'Brien and Mr Cowan said that facilities would be provided for seamless transit, without the need for the passenger to collect their bag and check it in again.
Ryanair confirmed growth to and from the UK will slow this year because of the uncertainty brought about by the vote to leave the EU. Mr O'Brien said expansion in Britain would fall from 15 per cent in 2016 to 7 per cent this year. He also said that if APD is cut in Scotland, then Edinburgh and Glasgow could benefit from new services at the expense of cities in the north of England.
Stansted has just reported record passenger numbers with 24.3 million passing through the airport in 2016. Its previous best was in 2007, with 23.8 million. The present rate corresponds to an average of one passenger every 1.3 seconds, right through the year.
OUR COMMENT: More noise at night?
STANSTED TO STUDY IMPACT OF PROPOSED
CHANGES TO NOISE RESTRICTIONS
Stansted Airport has said it will study the impact of proposed changes
to night time noise restrictions that will restrict the number of quieter
aircraft - such as turboprop freighters - that can fly to the airport
Aircargonews Online - 13 January 2017
The UK government yesterday announced the launch of a consultation on changes to night time noise restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted that propose the removal of an exemption for the quietest aircraft from current rules. The new rules will start in October 2017 and run until October 2022.
The removal of exemptions will affect Stansted more than the other two airports because it has experienced a boom in the number of flights of quieter aircraft, such as turboprops, in recent years because of growth in cargo/express carriers and private planes.
The consultation document said that if the exemptions were to have been removed during the last summer season, Stansted would have failed to meet noise restriction limits. To offset the effect of the removal of exemptions of the quietest aircraft on Stansted, the proposals do allow for an increase in the north London airport's noise quota.
Last year 1,700 flights that were exempt from noise restrictions took place at Stansted, but the proposals allow for an increase in Stansted's noise quota of the same amount. However, there are several other factors that could come into play if the exemptions are removed, such as future growth in express and cargo flights using turboprop aircraft and the increased use of more modern quieter aircraft.
Stansted said it would review the consultation document. "Night flights at Stansted play a critical role in supporting economic growth and jobs both in the east of England and the UK as a whole," a Stansted spokesperson said. "They are vital for the movement of time sensitive cargo including pharmaceuticals and perishable goods and airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet rely on early morning flights in order to keep airfares as low as possible for passengers."
"Stansted has significantly reduced its noise footprint over the years with the introduction of the latest generation of greener, quieter, more efficient aircraft. Future environmental advancements in aviation technology will ensure that we continue to minimise aircraft noise. We will now closely review the Government's consultation, gather evidence and respond accordingly."
The consultation document states: "Stansted is a hub for several large freight and express companies, which require the flexibility to fly throughout the night in order to ensure timely next day deliveries to key markets. Freight services make up approximately 35% of Stansted's night movements.
Unlike Heathrow and Gatwick, Stansted also has a large number of exempt aircraft operating throughout the night that are not currently counted towards the night flight restrictions. The number of these movements has grown rapidly in recent years and with the introduction of new larger commercial passenger aircraft which fall into this category, there could be further significant increases under the current framework."
Cargo carriers and express operators that flown from Stansted include UPS, FedEx, Royal Mail, CargoLogicAir, Antonov, Etihad Cargo, Qatar Cargo and Panalpina.
The consultation document can be found here, with the period for feedback running until the end of February.
OUR COMMENT: Residents and local councils must study the proposals and, with SSE, consider their responses.
ROW ERUPTS OVER NIGHT FLIGHT PLANS
FOR LONDON AIRPORTS
'Little difference': Campaigners have dismissed proposals
to reduce night flight noise over London
Patrick Grafton-Green - Standard.co.uk News Online - 13 January 2017
Plans to cut noise from night flights over London will make "little difference" to the lives of residents, campaigners have warned.
A public consultation has been launched setting out the government's proposed new measures, which will see the cuts achieved through the use of quieter aircraft with no change to the number of flights. Current restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted are due to expire in October and the new rules, put forward by the Department for Transport, would last for the next five years up until 2022.
The DfT says it hopes to balance the economic benefits offered by night flights with the cost they have on communities. However John Stewart of campaign group Hacan, which opposes a new runway at Heathrow, said while he wasn't hopeful of any significant changes until a decision on the runway is settled, local residents would be "very disappointed" with the plans, adding they would make "little difference".
He said: "My initial thoughts are that residents under the Heathrow flight path will be very disappointed. Their early morning wake-up call remains the first flight at 4.30am. The same number of planes will be getting a little bit quieter. The next few years will be exactly the same as the last few years."
Mr Stewart added that the group would be campaigning for no flights before 6am during consultation on Heathrow expansion.
The night flight plans will see a strict cap placed on existing levels for the number from Heathrow and Gatwick, and include reducing the total noise quota at Heathrow Airport by at least 43 per cent in the winter and 50 per cent in the summer. Gatwick will see noise levels reduced by 17 per cent in winter and 21 per cent in summer.
Aviation Minister Lord Ahmad said: "This government is committed to tackling the issue of aircraft noise, especially flights at night. Night flights are, however, important to the economy, creating extra choice for passengers and moving freight, and we need to carefully balance the needs of local communities with the benefits these flights can bring."
The consultation will run until February 28, after which responses will be reviewed and a final decision on night flights published. It will not cover the period in which a proposed new runway at Heathrow would be operational. Any ban on night flights at an expanded Heathrow would be consulted on separately.
GOVERNMENT MISSES OPPORTUNITY TO REDUCE NIGHT
FLIGHTS AT HEATHROW, GATWICK OR STANSTED
aef Online - Aviation Environmental Federation - 13 January 2017
The Government has published its proposals for changes to the night flights regime for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, the only three airports in the UK at which the Government imposes noise controls. The Government sets caps on the number of aircraft movements and on the total permitted 'quota count' (QC) both of which can act to limit night noise.
Under the quota count system, each aircraft is given a score based on its noise performance, and the total amount of noise in a given period is capped, so more flights may be possible if airlines use less noisy aircraft. Currently all three airports use well below their permitted 'quota counts', with the exception of Stansted which has crept closer and closer to the limit in recent years.
While the latest proposals would reduce the quota count limits for Heathrow and Stansted compared to current limits, the new limits would largely take up the existing slack in the system rather than driving down future noise. For Stansted, the Government proposes no change to the existing noise quotas.
For movement limits, the proposals are to retain, rather than reduce, the permitted number of flights at Heathrow and Gatwick, and to increase them at Stansted. The justification given is that the parallel proposal of a reduction in the noise threshold at which aircraft are covered by the regime, which will reduce the number of exempt aircraft, means that an increased number of movements needs to be permitted for Stansted in order to achieve an effective flatline. More significantly, the Government says it does not wish to prejudge the outcome of Stansted's anticipated application for planning permission to increase passenger numbers by imposing noise controls that would prevent this.
We are deeply disappointed by the Government's lack of ambition to get to grips with the night noise problem at London airports. Our members often tell us that the number of overflying aircraft they experience at night is a real problem, regardless of the marginal improvements in the noise performance of individual aircraft that have taken place over time.
A growing body of evidence indicates that night noise has harmful effects not only in terms of annoyance but also increased risk of cardiovascular disease, strokes and heart attacks. Noise at airports around the UK remains persistently above the maximum levels recommended for health by the World Health Organisation. The Government has also retained its definition of the operational night noise period as 6.5 hours, 90 minutes less than the standard definition used by the WHO.
We are also disappointed that the long-overdue study that the Government has been undertaking in relation to possible changes in the public experience of noise annoyance, and which we had hoped to be able to consider alongside this proposal, has still not been published. Research over the past decade from a number of countries indicates a significant decrease in the noise threshold at which people report disturbance, with Defra having found in recent years that as many as 1 in 3 people in the UK are disturbed or annoyed by aircraft noise.
The proposals published today appear designed largely to reset noise limits to match current levels: a policy that falls a long way short of the action required to tackle this problem.
Industry demands take precedence over public health
We are particularly concerned that the Government appears unwilling to prioritise action to protect public health over the incessant demand for growth from the aviation industry. The limits set for Stansted have been explicitly designed not to 'pre-empt' any possible application by the airport for permission to grow its passenger numbers.
In relation to Heathrow, as the proposed regime ends in 2022, it can offer no comfort that an expanded Heathrow will not bring further noise misery. Heathrow Airport itself last year offered the sweetener that if given planning permission to expand, it could provide a 6.5 hour night flight ban even before the runway became operational, suggesting that a ban could be deliverable now without crippling the airport, if only the Government had the will to impose it
NOISE FROM NIGHT FLIGHTS TO BE CUT, MINISTERS SAY
Tighter rules on night flights will help reduce noise
at three London airports, the government says
BBC News Online - 12 January 2017
Ministers plan to reduce the overnight noise limits at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, saying this will encourage the use of quieter planes. But there will be no changes to the total number of overnight flights that are permitted.
The new guidelines, which will run up until 2022, have no impact on the planned expansion of Heathrow. They have been put out to consultation with the current rules due to expire in October.
Airports are given quotas based on the total noise levels from aircraft taking off and landing there overnight over the course of a year. Under the planned changes, Heathrow's quota will be reduced by 43% in the winter and 50% in the summer, while Gatwick's will be cut by 17% in the winter and 21% in the summer.
For Stansted, the government said the overall noise would reduce if currently exempt aircraft counted towards the limit.
Night flight restrictions apply between 23:30 and 06:00, and at Heathrow no flights are scheduled between 23:30 and 04:30.
Aviation Minister Lord Ahmad said: "This government is committed to tackling the issue of aircraft noise, especially flights at night, which can be a blight for people living near airports. Night flights are, however, important to the economy, creating extra choice for passengers and moving freight, and we need to carefully balance the needs of local communities with the benefits these flights can bring."
John Stewart, chairman of anti-Heathrow expansion group Hacan, said: "Local residents will be disappointed that their early morning wake-up call remains the first flight at 04:30. We do, though, see the sense in postponing any changes until the question of a third runway is settled."
Heathrow has said it will reduce night flights if it builds a third runway. In October, the government announced a new runway at Heathrow was its preferred option for airport expansion in the south-east of England. But MPs have yet to vote on the final proposal, and it is unlikely that any new runway capacity would be operational before 2025.
The public consultation on night flights up until 2022 ends on 28 February.
SSE Recent News