Airports Commission publishes discussion on the UK’s existing regional airport capacity

The Airports Commission is calling for evidence on the connectivity and business models of the UK’s existing airport capacity. It has released a discussion paper – its 6th – entitled  “Utilisation of the UK’s Existing Airport Capacity” which considers the national aviation picture from which the Commission is considering the shortlisted options for additional capacity in London and the south east. This call for evidence focuses on the domestic and international connectivity provided by regional airports and airports serving London and the south east other than Heathrow and Gatwick, and considers what recommendations the Commission could usefully make to shape this national picture. It says all airports other than Gatwick and Heathrow are critical to the Commission’s analysis, and they will continue to play a crucial national role, especially at a time when the major London airports are operating very close to capacity. The discussion document looks at “connectivity trends at these airports, how the business models of these airports are developing and whether the connectivity provided by these airports can be enhanced.” Deadline for comment is 25th July.

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Airports Commission publishes discussion on the UK’s existing airport capacity

Discussion paper considers role of regional airports.

9.6.2014 (Airports Commission)

The Airports Commission is today (9 June 2014) calling for evidence on the connectivity and business models of the UK’s existing airport capacity.

The publication [ Discussion Paper 06: 
Utilisation of the UK’s Existing Airport Capacity ]considers the national aviation picture from which the Commission is considering the shortlisted options for additional capacity in London and the south east. This call for evidence focuses on the domestic and international connectivity provided by regional airports and airports serving London and the south east other than Heathrow and Gatwick, and considers what recommendations the Commission could usefully make to shape this national picture.

Launching the publication in Scotland, Sir Howard Davies, Chair of the Airports Commission said:

Regional airports and those in London and the south east other than Gatwick and Heathrow remain critical to the Commission’s analysis; it is clear that in the future these airports will play a crucial national role, especially at a time when the major London airports are operating very close to capacity.

The publication further examines connectivity trends at these airports, how the business models of these airports are developing and whether the connectivity provided by these airports can be enhanced.

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Discussion Paper 06:
Utilisation of the UK’s Existing Airport Capacity

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/318211/utilisation-existing-capacity.pdf

 

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The document’s introduction states:

1. In its Interim Report the Commission looked at the possibility of moving traffic between London airports, or away from London airports, to obviate the need for new runway capacity.

2. The Commission’s forecasts suggest that airports serving London and the South East will be under very substantial pressure in 2030, with demand significantly in excess of the total available capacity by 2050. [ Airports Commission, Interim Report, Chapter 4.]

So moving traffic between London airports would at best only delay the capacity crunch.
3. The Commission’s analysis also suggested that there is relatively little scope to redistribute this demand away from London and South East airports, as such efforts would either have limited impact or have a negative effect on UK connectivity and capacity as a whole. The climate change impact would also be adverse.

4. However, regional airports and those serving London and the South East other than Gatwick and Heathrow are still vital to the Commission’s analysis; it is clear that in the future these airports will play a crucial national role, especially at a time when the major London airports are operating very close to capacity.

5. The focus of this paper is therefore the connectivity and capacity provided by airports other than those short listed by the Commission for further consideration as long-term capacity options. The Commission wishes to understand the long-term strategic context within which the eventual expansion option is likely to sit, and any recommendations it could usefully make to shape this context. This paper is a call for evidence on that
subject.

6. The paper consists of two parts. First it examines non-London, or regional, airports.

●● Chapter 1 examines the role that non-London airports currently play in
providing connectivity and utility to the UK.

●● Chapter 2 considers how the business models of these airports are changing, and how they can be expected to change further in time.

●● Chapter 3 asks whether the connectivity provided by these airports can be enhanced, and sets out some of the options the Government and other bodies have to intervene in this sector.
7. Second it examines other (i.e. non Heathrow and Gatwick) airports serving London and the South East.

●● Chapter 4 focuses on the role airports serving London and the South East currently play in providing connectivity and utility to the South East and UK.

●● Chapter 5 explores what strategies airports serving London and the South East have historically pursued and asks how these are changing, and how they can be expected to
change further.

●● Chapter 6 considers the constraints to developing further connectivity and utility at airports serving London and the South East, as well as how and by whom these constraints can be mitigated.

●● Chapter 7 sets out a number of specific questions in relation to the above topics, and provides details of how to respond to the call for evidence. The Commission welcomes responses by Friday 25th July.

 


 

The document says:

 

The focus of this paper is the
connectivity and capacity provided by
airports other than those short-listed by
the Commission for further consideration
as long-term capacity options. The
Commission wishes to understand the
long term strategic context within which
the eventual expansion option is likely to
sit, and any recommendations it could
usefully make to shape this context. This
paper is a call for evidence on that
subject.

and

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Under any of the proposals additional
capacity will not be delivered at
Heathrow or Gatwick until the 2020s.
Even once this additional capacity
has come on stream the demand for
aviation in London and the South
East cannot be met by growth at
Heathrow or Gatwick alone. The
other airports serving London and the
South East will continue to need to
provide capacity to meet this
demand.

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The questions include:

Is the Commission correct to identify
a reduction in air connectivity
between the UK regions and the
London airport network over the last
decade? How do recent new routes
to the capital, and the stabilisation in
passenger numbers on domestic
routes to and from London since
2010, affect this analysis?

and

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Is the Commission’s analysis of the
multiple factors influencing domestic
air connectivity between London and
the UK regions accurate? Of the
factors outlined, which are the most
significant or important for explaining
how the market has developed?
What additional factors, if any, should
the Commission be mindful of?

and

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What future trends do respondents
envisage in domestic air connectivity
excluding routes into London? How
relevant are the factors explored in
relation to London and the regions for
these other domestic routes?

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See also:

New Airports Commission paper questions future growth of regional airports

Date added: June 12, 2014

The Aviation Environment Federation gives an interesting commentary on the Airports Commission’s latest call for evidence, which considers possible means to promote more effective use of regional airports. AEF says that while the Commission maintains its firm support for a new runway to bolster the UK’s connectivity to emerging markets, the paper suggests it would not be opposed to some scaling back in airport capacity in the regions. The Commission’s vision appears to be of an increasingly centralised airports system focussed on London. The Commission appears to challenge claims from some regional airports that they significantly benefit the wider UK economy. It notes that regional airports predominantly – and increasingly – cater to tourist travellers, the Commission argues that “aviation connectivity… facilitates outbound tourism, as well as inbound, so the net impact is unclear.” If the Commission’s final recommendation is to be a significant scaling back in activity at regional airports in order to allow growth in London, it can expect to face major obstacles.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=21842

 

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