| CAMPAIGN UPDATE - AT A GLANCE
A summary of current events in SSE's campaign against expansion of Stansted Airport
and other recent news related to the expansion of airports and aviation - 8 October 2015
Boris urges Tories to oppose Heathrow expansion...
Following a speech by Chancellor George Osborne on Day 2 of the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, indicating the Government's support for a third runway at Heathrow, London Mayor Boris Johnson took to the podium on Day 4 urging the Conservative Party to reject the Airports Commission's recommendation to expand Heathrow.Johnson warned: "If we are going to build new airport capacity, let's not bodge it with one runway in the wrong place in a short-termist and environmentally disastrous solution." See the City AM report.
...and all of his potential successors takes the same view
The next London Mayoral elections will take place in May 2016 at which time Boris Johnson will step down. The main parties have all now chosen their candidates, who are as follows: for the Conservatives, Zac Goldsmith - currently MP for Richmond Park - a longstanding environmentalist and fierce opponent of Heathrow expansion; for Labour, Sadiq Khan - until recently he supported a third Heathrow runway but now (perhaps with an eye on the opinion polls in West London) also opposes Heathrow expansion. The Liberal Democrat candidate, Caroline Pidgeon, is also a longstanding opponent of Heathrow expansion as is Green Party candidate, Sian Berry. See The Week report.
Campaigners "unsettle" aviation industry
SSE has again attended the Liberal Democrat, Labour Party and Conservative party conferences to press home its opposition to unsustainable airport expansion. SSE has co-hosted an exhibition stand with colleagues from Heathrow, Gatwick, the Aviation Environment Federation, Airport Watch and others. SSE's Brian Ross reports: "Our presence has been very successful with many visits from key politicians and lots of constructive conversations with party activists. The aviation industry lobbyists have very obviously been unsettled by the interest we have generated."
"Stansted will apply for second runway in next decade"
Stansted will reach the physical limit on its single runway of 45 million by 2030, according to Charlie Cornish, chief executive of owners Manchester Airports Group (MAG). By the mid-2020s the airport will have applied to the government to have the current cap of 35 million passengers lifted and will have re-submitted plans for a new runway, he says. Mr Cornish told The Times that whether the government opts for a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick was "not material" to Stansted's 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 Liverpool Street and the construction of Crossrail 2 and, in the case of Manchester, the delivery of HS2 and HS3." MAG says that passenger numbers have increased by 1.2 million to 11.3 million in the six months to the end of September. See The Times report.
Have your say on departure route trials
SSE has broadly welcomed trials of satellite-based navigational aids that enable more precise track keeping by aircraft taking off from Stansted. The airport says that participating aircraft directly overflew 85% fewer people on the trial routes. SSE has issued guidance for communities under the two flight departure paths: 22 Clacton and 04 Detling (previously, 04 Dover). The guidance is intended to help residents to respond to a consultation that closes on 27 November 2015. The airport will then submit a consultation report to the CAA followed by a proposal to adopt the new procedures permanently. SSE is urging residents and local councils to study the consultation documents and to make their views known. SSE supports changes to flight paths which reduce the number of people adversely affected by aircraft noise provided this does not give rise to a disproportionate and unbearable noise impact upon the minority of 'losers'. The consultation documents can be found at www.stanstedairport.com/consultation. A video features villages most affected by this trial: Little Hallingbury, Hatfield Heath and Hatfield Broad Oak (22 Clacton), and the Eastons and Great Dunmow (04 Detling). Maps show "before" and "after" flight tracks for the trials.
STACC "helped shape flight path policy"
Andrew Harrison, Stansted Airport's managing director, has thanked the environmental sub-group of the Stansted Airport Consultative Committee, for helping to shape the new track-keeping project. Uttlesford District Cllr Keith Artus, chairman of the Environmental Issues Group of STACC, said: "We feel the noise and environmental benefits from this project are considerable and urge our local communities to look at the achievements and facts provided in the consultation materials and make their responses accordingly." See the Herts & Essex Observer report.
VW scandal could offset Heathrow emissions
Heathrow has been quick to jump on the bandwagon of the VW emissions scandal by saying it should prompt the UK to clamp down on diesel pollution, helping to bring the airport within EU compliance rules. Environmental campaigners say expanding the hub will worsen air quality by bringing in more cars. However, Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye, who is seeking permission to build a third runway even though emissions near the airport have exceeded EU limits every year since 2010, says the VW exposť will hasten the introduction of electric and hydrogen powered cars.
See the Bloomberg report.
Biggest ever Heathrow rally
What is claimed to be the biggest ever rally against Heathrow expansion took place on 10 October in Parliament Square, headed by London Mayor Boris Johnson. Speakers included Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative's choice to replace Boris Johnson. Speaking before the event, one of the main organisers, John Stewart, who leads the Heathrow campaign group HACAN, said, "We expect this to be the biggest ever rally against the third runway. Thousands are expected to send a clear message to the Prime Minister that they will fight any decision to give the green light to a new runway at Heathrow." See the Putney SW15 report and also the No 3rd Runway report
Ryanair charm offensive pays off...
Ryanair's policy of "being nicer" to passengers has contributed to record passenger numbers, says chief executive Michael O'Leary. The airline carried 10.4m passengers in August, a 10% increase on the same month last year and the airline's load factor rose 2% to 95pc. Under its "Always Getting Better" campaign, the airline tripled its marketing spend to €35m and cut fees including charges for checking in at the airport desk rather than online. See The Telegraph report.
...and offers the prospect of long-haul connections
Ryanair has said it is in talks with long-haul airlines including British Airways, Aer Lingus, Virgin and low cost carrier Norwegian Airlines about providing them with transfer connections. Chief executive Michael O'Leary said the airline could begin transferring passengers to Aer Lingus by the end of this year, and could become a feeder for other long-haul airlines over the next 5-10 years. He estimated that low-cost carriers, including Ryanair, could feed up to half of their passengers into long-haul services within a decade. He also said he had talked with British Airways' parent IAG about the possibility of working together at Stansted if the latter were to ever launch flights from the Essex airport. See the Travel Mole report.
Commission hits back at Gatwick claims
Claims by Gatwick Airport's chief executive, Stewart Wingate, that the Airport Commission's preliminary report into future airport needs contained "omissions or superficial analysis in some critical areas" was lambasted by the Commission's chairman. Sir Howard Davies: "This dossier appears to repeat many points which Gatwick made to the Commission in the course of its work and which, unsurprisingly, were carefully considered. They did not alter the Commission's view that Heathrow was the best option. Using colourful language, as Mr Wingate has done, does not turn weak points into strong ones, and does him and his company no credit." See the Yahoo! Finance report.
Heathrow advocates pack Cameron's aviation committee
David Cameron's new ministerial committee to consider what to do about aviation capacity in the south east has been packed with supporters of a third runway at Heathrow, according to Jim Pickard, Chief Political Correspondent of the Financial Times in a recent article. Chaired by the Prime Minister, the group includes the three strongest advocates of a third Heathrow runway: George Osborne, Chancellor, Sajid Javid, Business Secretary, and Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary. None of the prominent critics of Heathrow expansion, such as Boris Johnson or Zac Goldsmith, has been included. The committee's creation will be seen as a sign of Mr Cameron's determination to proceed with a new runway, despite speculation he could again delay making a decision because of the political challenges it would present. Following the Airport Commission's recommendation for a third Heathrow runway, the Government has pledged to indicate a preference for the location of a new runway in the south east by the end of the year. However, that will lead to a new process of consultation, according to Whitehall sources, though it is not known how long this might take, reports the FT.
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