| SSE NEWS ARCHIVE - From October 2017
MPS TO SCRUTINISE IMPACT OF BREXIT
ON AVIATION IN ONE-OFF EVIDENCE SESSION
Rebecca Smith - CityAM Online - 23 October 2017
MPs will hold a one-off session next week to consider Brexit's impact on aviation, after the industry has called for certainty on flying rights when Britain leaves the European Union.
The Transport Select Committee has invited airline and airport representatives to the evidence session, including Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye, and British Airways owner IAG's chief executive Willie Walsh.
Chair of the Transport Select Committee, Lilian Greenwood MP, said transport secretary Chris Grayling "presented a confident view of the situation post-Brexit for UK aviation" when he appeared before the committee last week. Greenwood said next week's session "will test whether this optimism is justified, when we hear from the UK's leading airlines and airports with a view to getting their take on the current progress of negotiations and the potential implications from delays in securing a transitional deal for aviation".
Grayling was grilled by the committee over the fate for UK aviation post-Brexit along with other matters such as the collapse of Monarch Airlines this month.
The UK will no longer be guaranteed automatic flying rights when it leaves the EU, unless a transitional deal is negotiated ahead of the deadline.
The topic of aviation was back in the spotlight after chancellor Philip Hammond said earlier this month that it was "theoretically conceivable that in a no deal scenario there will be no air traffic moving between the UK and the European Union" when Britain leaves the EU. "But I don't think anybody seriously believes that is where we will get to," he added.
Grayling echoed that opinion when speaking to the committee last week, telling them: "I am very confident that we will end up with an agreement with the European Union, but aviation does not have to have an open skies agreement in order to function. If you had senior airline bosses like Willie Walsh and Carolyn McCall in front of you, they would say to you that they are not concerned that they will not be able to carry on flying post-2019."
AIR FRANCE BOSS SAYS UK MUST PLAY
BY THE EU COURT'S RULES AFTER BREXIT
Daniel Boffey - TheGuardianBusiness Online - 21 October 2017
Jean-Marc Janaillac says he is happy to see British airlines fly on the continent - as long as they accept European Court of Justice control.
As the head of Europe's largest intercontinental airline, Jean-Marc Janaillac can speak with authority on the complexities of cross-border travel. He carries some political insight, too, because he is chief executive of a business, Air France-KLM, that is 17%-owned by the French government.
At the intersection of pan-European travel and politics lies Brexit, of which Janaillac is a dispassionate observer. After all, it is not his business that will be most affected by a split between London and Brussels. Janaillac says Britain leaving the EU is neither "an opportunity nor a catastrophe" for a business created by the merger of the French and Dutch national airlines in 2004.
"For Air France-KLM, and other airlines, the British market is important but it is not a huge part of our activity. I think it is more a problem for British airlines than continental operators," he said.
The 64-year-old gives a tour d'horizon of the issues facing British rivals come the leaving date of March 2019. They range from the threat of not being able to fly beyond British borders to having to having to accept the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice - the latter being a red line in the Brexit negotiations for Theresa May.
But first, the basics: will the likes of British Airways and easyJet be able to fly to Europe once the UK has exited the EU? Janaillac, who took over Air France-KLM last July, says that the British government should be planning for the worst-case scenario, in which a new agreement between the UK and the EU does not materialise. This would mean flights between Britain and the continent could be grounded because the UK will no longer be a member of the European Common Aviation Area.
Under the ECAA regime, any airline owned and controlled by EU citizens is free to operate anywhere within the EU without restrictions on capacity, frequency or pricing. A new agreement will have to be struck if British airlines are to continue to enjoy the freedoms of today.
"Some say if there is not an agreement all the flights are going to stop and British people with homes in Spain will not be able to fly home for the weekend," he said. "Others say that former agreements are going to work. I think the government should prepare. I mean, plan in order to assure that things are going to be smooth in March 2019, if there is no agreement. I hope it is possible to have an intermediary period."
Then comes the Brexiters' pet hate - the European Court of Justice. Janaillac says that bowing to the ECJ will be unavoidable for a UK-based carrier if it wants to operate services within the EU - between Berlin and Rome, for instance. Indeed, easyJet has already announced plans to set up a new European headquarters in Austria for its intra-EU flights and that unit will therefore operate under the auspices of the ECJ.
For other British airlines, Janaillac says that it would be unacceptable if UK airlines were able to operate with a lower level of rights, or forced its passengers to seek justice in British courts. "We would approve the British airlines flying within Europe as European operators on one condition: if they have the same rights, they should have the same obligations as European carriers,? Janaillac said in an interview in Brussels, where he was attending a gathering of European airline executives. Citing the example of Norway's low-cost carrier, he added: "A bit like Norwegian [airlines]. I think it is very clear: 100% of the rights means 100% of the obligations. If not, we will not have a level playing field."
Janaillac comments reveal how problematic Theresa May's insistence that Britain will no longer accept the jurisdiction of the ECJ will become later in the Brexit negotiations. The prime minister has claimed that whether or not the UK has left, the remit of European judges should be regarded as a test of whether Brexit has been delivered.
The French state, which is already pushing the importance of the role of the ECJ in the protection of citizens' rights in the Brexit negotiations, is likely to be pushing the airline's interests, where it can. The French president Emmanuel Macron has made it no secret that he hopes that French businesses will exploit the opportunities caused by the UK's decision to leave the bloc.
Although Ryanair is a bigger player by passenger numbers, Air France-KLM is a powerful presence in the European airline business. It has a fleet of 346 planes which carried 93 million passengers to 328 destinations worldwide in 2016, allowing it to claim to be Europe's biggest carrier for intercontinental flights.
Speaking of easyJet's Austria move, Janaillac says: "I guess the authorities will check. I think the rule is either you control the airline or you don't. Is it a subsidiary that the company doesn't control? For me, it is a bit strange."
There is a competitive edge to his easyJet comments. Air France-KLM launched a new subsidiary, Joon, last month, as part of the French flag carrier's attempts to cut costs and compete with low-cost models and the recent expansion of Gulf-based airlines.
Janaillac said his new airline would only ever account for 10% of Air France-KLM's fleet but that it felt it had been "compulsory" for the company to diversify. Cabin staff will work under separate and less generous contracts to those enjoyed on Air France-KLM, and the airline will offer one-way tickets to passengers. "The idea was to have a new airline with a less expensive cost structure," he said. "We are going to fly between Barcelona, Lisbon and Berlin and we are going to compete with many airlines, but especially with easyJet. We do say that if you change the naming, the positioning, you [attract] people who would not have looked at our site."
RYANAIR STANSTED PILOTS REJECT PAY RISE OFFERS
rte.ie/news - 20 October 2017
Pilots at Ryanair's Stansted base have rejected an offer of significant pay rises by management.
They are the second group of employees to reject the pay offer, which was conditional on continuing to negotiate with the company through its 87 individual base Employee Representative Committees, rather than through unions, or through a new joint internal body known as the European Employee Representative Committee.
It is understood that contractor pilots who are not directly employed by Ryanair were not permitted to take part in the ballot. However, there was a 91.2% turnout among direct employees, of whom 61% voted no. Ryanair had warned that if the offer were rejected, pilots ran the risk of receiving no further pay rises for up to five years.
Stansted is one of Ryanair's biggest bases and the vote would seem to set pilots on a collision course with management over pay and conditions.
Pilots' key demands include collective negotiating rights and more permanent contracts, but Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary has consistently stated that he will only negotiate through local ERCs - a system that was validated by the Irish Supreme Court in a landmark case in 2008.
Pilots at Madrid have already rejected the offer made to their base.
Commenting on the ballot outcome, Ryanair said it was surprised that pilots had rejected large pay rises of up to £22,000 for captains and £11,000 for first officers. It said the outcome vindicated how effective and democratic its internal collective bargaining processes are. Ryanair said ten other bases have already agreed large pay rises. It said it will continue to engage with pilots.
Meanwhile, the first Ryanair pilot to openly criticise management in the current crisis - Captain Imelda Comer - has urged pilots to stand together and demand better working conditions. In a letter to colleagues, Capt Comer noted that up to half of the Stansted pilots were excluded from the ballot because they were contractors rather than being directly employed by the airline.
She queried who had made that decision, which "...clearly did not serve the best interests of the whole pilot body". She noted that a 2015 survey had revealed that only 35% of pilots were direct employees. She said that even if that percentage might have changed over the last two years, contractors still accounted for around half the pilot population - yet were completely excluded from any form of negotiations on decisions that fundamentally affected them.
Capt Comer told her colleagues that the Stansted pilots had rejected a management imposed solution to a problem that management had failed to understand - and that management had lost credibility in the eyes of the pilot body. She alleged that management failures and misplaced actions could put the stability of their operations, and the sustainability of the company under further threat.
She described the current situation as "the ultimate farce in industrial relations, Ryanair style" adding that if the aim was to retain pilots, or attract new ones, it would fail. Capt Comer concluded by saying: "It is time for the Ryanair board and its investors to question if the management team that got us into this mess are capable of getting us out of it."
MAG CALLS FOR UK-WIDE AVIATION STRATEGY
BreakingTravelNews Online - 19 October 2017
The government's new aviation strategy should set out an ambitious plan for improving international connectivity from UK airports as part of its vision for a new global Britain, according to MAG.
The leading airport group has laid out its view in response to government proposals for the new strategy. MAG, which operates the UK's two largest airports with spare runway capacity, Manchester and London Stansted, is calling for improvements in road and rail access to its airports to enable them to offer passengers better global connections.
At London Stansted, MAG is calling on government to accelerate the delivery of improvements to the Stansted Express. With faster rail access to London, MAG believes that London Stansted would attract more long haul routes, giving passengers more choice and providing high-tech and life sciences businesses in the corridor around Stansted with better access to global markets.
At Manchester Airport, MAG is focused on ensuring that the airport is connected directly to HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, so that passengers and businesses across the north and the rest of the UK can benefit from the airport's global route network.
The group believes that air freight's vital role in supporting trade and advanced manufacturing should be an important focus for the new strategy.
The government should support East Midlands Airport, the UK's most important hub for dedicated air-freight operations, by channelling more investment in road and rail infrastructure around the airport.
MAG believes that a successful aviation industry is required to deliver the government's vision of a "truly global Britain" after the country leaves the European Union, and that encouraging key strategic airports across the UK to develop to their full potential would be hugely beneficial for the country's economic success, and will give investors the certainty they need to invest in airport terminals and facilities to improve passenger experience in the coming decade.
Tim Hawkins, corporate affairs director at MAG, said: "The ability for passengers and businesses to reach markets around the world quickly and easily is critical to meeting the government's vision for a global Britain. Aviation generates £1 billion a week towards UK GDP, something that is made possible by the nearly one million people that work in and around the industry."
"The government can now provide a strong boost to the UK economy by making the best possible use of existing capacity at airports like Manchester and Stansted over the next ten to 15 years. That is why we are encouraging the government to commit, through the new aviation strategy, to a number of practical steps that will enable airports to improve the UK's international connectivity."
LONDON STANSTED TARGETS GROWTH WITHIN
ENVIRONMENTAL AND AIRCRAFT MOVEMENT LIMITATION
Kirstie Pickering - PassengerTerminalToday Online - 18 October 2017
London Stansted Airport has unveiled revised proposals that show how its growth over the next decade can be achieved without increasing either the number of flights that are currently permitted to operate each year, or the size of the airport's approved noise footprint.
The revised proposals come after extensive consultation with local communities seeking residents' views on plans to raise the cap on the number of passengers that can be served each year. An increase in the passenger cap is needed to enable the airport to make best use of its existing capacity.
Currently, around 26 million passengers use Stansted each year, up nearly 10 million passengers compared with five years ago. Stansted's growth potential is currently limited by a planning cap that would prevent the airport handling more than 35 million passengers per annum (mppa).
Following consultation, Stansted will now apply to raise the cap to 43mppa, to enable it to meet forecast growth over the next decade. The revised proposal represents a smaller increase in passenger numbers than originally proposed - 44.5mppa - and will enable growth to be met without increasing the number of aircraft movements that are currently permitted to operate each year.
Ken O'Toole, chief executive of London Stansted Airport, said, "The feedback we received from our neighbours during our extensive consultation was clear - that they support the ongoing growth and investment in the airport and welcome a further increase in destinations and choice. Local residents also told us that they were concerned about the proposal to increase the number of flights that the airport is permitted to operate each year. We've listened to those concerns and decided to adapt our proposals so growth can be met within the current cap on the number of aircraft movements."
"That means the airport's growth over the next 10 years to serve 43 million passengers can be achieved without increasing the existing limits on aircraft movements and noise. We think that this is good news for local residents. This is an example of community consultation in action - we talked about our plans, we listened and we have amended our proposals accordingly. These plans provide a good balance between ensuring our future growth, support for the region's economy and addressing concerns around local environmental impacts. With clarity over the airport's ability to grow, airlines and business partners will have the confidence to continue to invest and grow at Stansted."
OUR COMMENT: Growth with no more flights? Or reach the allowed limits sooner and hope for more support in the future?
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