Manchester airport infuriated by Holland-Kaye claim that Manchester area “needs” Heathrow for business
Giving evidence to MPs at the Transport Select Committee, on the proposed 3rd runway, Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye claimed those living in areas like Greater Manchester ‘needed Heathrow’ to sustain business links with the world. But Andrew Cowan, CEO of Manchester Airport, has accused him of making ‘misleading claims’ about its importance to Manchester passengers – and the UK economy. Holland-Kaye also claimed that the services Manchester had won – like Cathay Pacific’s direct route to Hong Kong – were thanks to Heathrow trail-blazing the route first. He tried to make out that Heathrow has a ‘unique’ position in providing long haul routes to countries like China, despite Manchester’s existing Beijing route along with Guangzhou and Shanghai services in the pipeline. Heathrow clams these are vital for business, despite admitting most passengers are not on business – they just facilitate more flights to destinations where business might be done. Heathrow always says, as its mantra, that “only” Heathrow can provide “connectivity” to world destinations. Andrew Cowan said Heathrow continues to make misleading claims about its benefit to the UK economy, and Heathrow “is far from being unique in connecting UK businesses to global markets.” Manchester is important for the Northern Powerhouse, jobs in the north and rebalancing UK economic growth.
The Transport Committee evidence session with Chris Grayling on Weds 7th Feb can be seen at http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/3a3a9566-614e-4ce3-9b27-3a10e33f5907
The Transport Committee evidence session with John Holland-Kaye on Mon 5th Feb can be seen at http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/be473f75-77f0-4b6d-91e6-6970c89d2655
There will be transcripts of both on Hansard in due course. http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/hansard/commons/
Heathrow Airport boss claims people living in Greater Manchester ‘need Heathrow’
Giving evidence to MPs over the proposed £14bn third runway at Heathrow, chief executive John Holland-Kaye claimed those living in areas like Greater Manchester ‘needed Heathrow’ to sustain business links with the world
By Charlotte Cox (Manchester Evening News)
7 FEB 2018
The boss of Manchester Airport has accused Heathrow’s chief of making ‘misleading claims’ about its importance to Manchester passengers – and the UK economy.
Giving evidence to MPs over the proposed £14bn third runway at Heathrow, chief executive John Holland-Kaye claimed those living in areas like Greater Manchester ‘needed Heathrow’ to sustain business links with the world.
Mr Holland-Kaye also claimed that the services Manchester had won – like Cathay Pacific’s direct route to Hong Kong – were thanks to Heathrow trail-blazing the route first.
He emphasised the Heathrow’s ‘unique’ position to provide routes to countries like China, despite Manchester’s existing Beijing route along with Guangzhou and Shanghai services in the pipeline.
Mr Holland-Kaye said: “What is unique about a hub airport like Heathrow is that we can develop long-haul connections typically to the business destinations that the UK needs in order to grow its economy. It is important not just for London but for the whole of the UK that we are connecting all of Britain to the growing markets of the world.”
He said Heathrow needed to be the ‘main port of entry’ from China, adding: “We need to make sure that all of the UK benefits from connectivity, and only Heathrow expansion can deliver that.”
His statement riled Andrew Cowan, Manchester Airport CEO. Currently in India to progress intended routes to Delhi and Mumbai – and on a leadership team battling for a direct route to Shanghai – he said: “It is concerning that Heathrow continues to make misleading claims about its role in the UK economy.
“Contrary to Heathrow’s claim, it is far from being unique in connecting UK businesses to global markets.”
Mr Cowan argued that with its new services to China, the US and the Middle East in recent years, Manchester Airport had shown it’s the ‘North’s global gateway’.
Insisting the hub plays a huge role in driving the Northern Powerhouse forward, he added: “The truth is that airports across the UK are doing far more to support jobs and stimulate regional economic growth than Heathrow ever will. The next 10 years will be crucial for the UK economy and for rebalancing economic growth.
“That’s why we need Government and politicians to focus on what they can do now to support growth and improved connectivity across the UK – and not be misled by Heathrow’s suggestion that it somehow has a monopoly on connecting Britain to the world.”
During the hearing with MPs, Mr Holland-Kaye added: “What we see happening typically in global aviation for long-haul destinations is that network carriers operating out of a hub airport are growing the number of destinations they serve; they are adding more secondary cities. A good example would be Cathay Pacific, which has recently started a four-day-a-week service from Hong Kong to Manchester.
“That is fantastic connectivity for Manchester and is exactly the right thing for the UK. That is on the back of having eight direct flights a day to Hong Kong every day of the year from Heathrow.
“We have been able to help develop trade via Heathrow for Manchester businesses that are now being served directly.
“That is a very good thing to have, but it is not a substitute for hub connectivity. Hong Kong to Heathrow is one of the busiest airline routes in the world; it is absolutely right that other cities should be able to develop connections, but it will be a long time before Manchester has a direct flight to Mexico City, or to some of the secondary cities in China that it desperately needs to be trading with.
“Until that time, Heathrow will be able to fill the gap and make sure that we are helping businesses in Manchester, Scotland, Belfast or the west to develop.”
It comes just a week after the UK signed a deal with China for 50 more weekly flights – all for non-London airports.
400-space car park for Manchester Airport is fighting to stay open after operating for six years without planning permission
Meanwhile, the Chinese government has awarded the rights for airline Hainan to fly Manchester to Guangzhou – with a commercial deal yet to be done.
Figures show that in its first year, the Manchester-Hong Kong connection boosted demand for travel between the north and China by 25 per cent.
A public consultation on the planned third runway at Heathrow was reopened last year due to new evidence on issues including noise pollution and air quality.
But the Department for Transport has insisted it is on track to be signed off by parliament. The airport hopes to begin construction in early 2021, with the runway completed by the end of 2025.
Mr Holland-Kaye was speaking at the Transport Select Committee which will be sitting all this week.
Manchester Airport currently serves 210 destinations while Heathrow has 180 destinations.
UK and China renew bilateral deal so each could have 100 return flights (up from 40) per week
The DfT has renewed the bilateral aviation agreement with China, to allow more weekly flights between the two countries. Until now, the limit had been 40 flights by UK airlines to China per week, and 40 flights by Chinese airlines to the UK. This has been raised to 100 flights each. There will be no limit on the number of all-cargo services (but most Heathrow freight goes as belly hold, not separate freighter). Currently Chinese airlines operate 38 flights a week between the two countries, and UK airlines operate 29. (Not enough demand for the 40). The only UK airports that have flights to China are Heathrow and Manchester. The earlier deal was that any UK airline could serve a maximum of 6 separate airports in China. Now UK airlines can operate to anywhere in mainland China. Laying on the hype, Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, said the deal was a “big moment for the UK”. However, airlines will have to decide whether it makes sense to use the extra capacity to offer new Chinese flights to and from China, with doubtful demand, when transatlantic routes are more profitable. The hope is probably for more UK business and UK exports. The DfT ignores the problem that the UK imports from China more than twice as much as it exports to China. More flights may exacerbate that. House of Commons Library data says that: “In 2014, UK exports to China were worth £18.7 billion. Imports from China were £38.3 billion. The UK had a trade deficit of £19.6 billion with China.” Flights to and from Hong Kong are in a separate bilateral deal.
Manchester Airport MD says UK needs a national aviation policy to address north-south economic divide
Ken O’Toole, who is the Managing Director of Manchester airport, (and on the board of Manchester Airports Group), says government ‘paranoia’ over Heathrow expansion harms efforts to close the north-south economic divide – and this means the “northern powerhouse” risks being derailed. He says there is an “over-emphasis on the south-east at the expense of everywhere else”. Ministers needed to draw up a national aviation policy to address the north-south economic divide. Though he was confident that Theresa May’s government was supportive of ex-chancellor George Osborne’s “northern powerhouse” agenda, there was a lack of a national aviation policy behind the strategy. Manchester airport is part of the northern powerhouse agenda, in part because it deals with much of the business travel into the north of England. The MAG owns Manchester and Stansted airports, the 3rd and 4th largest by passenger numbers in the UK. With the over-emphasis on the south east, Mr O’Toole believes the south east should not over-shadow the north or the rest of the UK. Manchester airport is the only airport other than Heathrow, with two runways. While it has 25 million (or fewer till recently) passengers per year it has capacity for 55 million, and “could overtake Gatwick to become the UK’s second-biggest airport within 15 to 20 years.”
Manchester Airport rubbishes claims Heathrow expansion is crucial for Northern Powerhouse to succeed
The boss of Manchester Airport, Ken O’Toole, has rubbished Heathrow’s claims that a new London runway is crucial to the Northern Powerhouse. He argues that Manchester is an international airport in its own right with many direct long-haul routes. He says Manchester airport could make up any long haul capacity gap over the next 15 years and beyond “if the country adopts a culture of healthy competition.” Manchester started a direct service to Beijing last week, giving the North its first ever non-stop flight to mainland China. But Heathrow continually tries to persuade that, without a third Heathrow runway, northern businesses would lose “up to £710m” per year. Manchester airport believes it can have a range of long haul flights, not only to tourist destinations – mentioning important markets like “Singapore, Hong Kong, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Boston and, from next March, San Francisco.” If people can get flights to these destinations direct from Manchester, they do not need to – inconveniently – travel via Heathrow. Ken O’Toole says some 22 million people live within two hours’ drive of Manchester Airport. They have a huge amount of spare capacity on their two runways. Heathrow is very nervous of losing the transfer traffic it cannot manage without, to either other hubs like Schiphol or Dubai – or the growth of airports like Manchester.
Hainan Airlines direct flights (4 per week) from Manchester to Beijing start on June 10th
Hainan Airlines will start flying (4 times per week) from Manchester Airport to Beijing from June 10th, as the first direct service from the north of England to mainland China. There are already flights from Manchester to Hong Kong. Some businesses including tourism hope this “will deliver a major boost to the region.” The University of Manchester is reported to believe the link will be a significant benefit to students. Faster air links to emerging markets could boost UK exports (they could also boost UK imports, which generally exceed exports). There are the usual comments like: “The Manchester Airport expansion shows that the city is ready to become an outward looking economic powerhouse” and there is even an expectation that it “will deliver an economic boost to the UK worth £250m” (no details or time-scale given …. it never is). Currently, more than 100,000 people from the North (about 6,350 from North Wales) fly to mainland China every year but have to travel indirectly via London or other overseas hubs. Manchester hopes that the flights will bring “hundreds of thousands of tourists to this part of the world every year.” North Wales Tourism and Bangor University have both praised the new service to Beijing and hope it “will unlock new opportunities for the area.” Many thousands more people will not need to use Heathrow for their travel to China.
Manchester airport granted planning consent for huge programme of building works on terminals etc
Manchester airport has huge expansion plans. The City Council’s planning committee has approved part of a £1bn building plan. The Manchester Airport Transformation Programme (MAN-TP) will expand and reconfigure Terminal 2, as a “super terminal” with a new elevated road, and a 7-storey car park and also reconfigure Terminal 3. It wants to demolish Terminal One and its car park. The airport hopes over the next decade the project “will see the airport continue to develop as a global gateway for the UK, directly to and from the North.” The airport sees itself as a key part of the Northern Powerhouse idea. The expansion will also create space for 50 food and retail businesses – (airports need to boost profits.) Local Ringway Parish Council are deeply opposed to the planned developments, and say the airport is “our worse enemy.” They have been fighting the airport’s plans for decades. Ringway PC says the impact on the environment will be ‘massive’. “They build on farmland, knock down old houses and they just don’t care. They don’t care about the environment, about small villages being decimated …It’s a one-sided exercise, because planning applications from the airport will always be waved through.” The building will overshadow local houses, make the roads busier and worsen noise pollution.