Proposals by the CAA on changes to the regulatory regime for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted are the most significant reform of airport regulation since the 1987. Heathrow is likely to be prevented from raising its charges to airlines as much as it had hoped. The CAA plans could mean cheaper air fares from Heathrow, though the airport had wanted to be allowed to raise charges by 5.9% per year in real terms between 2014 and 2019 - to pay back to shareholders. The CAA wants a rise only in line with inflation, at the most. The CAA will be consulting on its proposals and make its final decision in October. Heathrow’s charges are higher than those of Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Hong Kong, because airlines like to fly there and there is little spare capacity – hence the market would allow the cost to rise. In the past, the CAA allowed Heathrow to rise its charges, to pay for infrastructure like T5. The CAA is now considering removing caps on aeronautical charges at Gatwick and Stansted from next year. They would then be able to agree aeronautical charges with the airlines, but the CAA would retain the right to intervene if it regards the agreements as unacceptable. The civil aviation act in 2012 gave the CAA new powers over airport regulation.
London’s air travellers received a welcome lift today after aviation regulators proposed changes that would limit the amount ticket prices could rise.
The proposals from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will mean airlines will be charged far less for using Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports from 2014-19 than they were for the 2009-14 period.
This will, in turn, limit the fare rises that would be imposed on passengers at these airports.
The CAA proposals, to be finalised next year, also provide cheer for the airlines which have been arguing against what they see as excessive charges.
Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted are the only airports regulated by the CAA, which can cap the amount airport bosses can impose on airlines in take-off and landing fees.
For 2014-19, the CAA has proposed that airline charges at Heathrow should be capped at the RPI rate of inflation minus 1.3%.
This is far less than the figure of RPI plus 7.5% for Heathrow for 2009-14.
It is also far less than the 2014-19 charge figure proposed by Heathrow bosses, which would have seen charges increase at the west London airport from the equivalent of £19.33 per passenger for 2012/13 to as much as £27.30 for 2018/19.
For Gatwick, where bosses had pressed for complete deregulation, the CAA today proposed a much more flexible system but still underpinned by a licence from the CAA.
The CAA said this new approach would require effective airport-airline collaboration, and that so far “the airport has not yet made acceptable proposals along these lines”.
If nothing can be sorted out, the CAA said charges for 2014-19 at Gatwick would be capped at RPI plus 1% which is lower than the RPI plus 2% regime that has been in place at the West Sussex airport for 2009-14.
At Stansted, where Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary has long complained about the level of charges, the CAA’s regulation will take the form of monitoring charges and service quality.
The CAA said this would ensure passengers at the Essex airport were protected while minimising the regulatory burden on airport and airlines.
But the CAA said it might impose more detailed regulation “unless prices at Stansted reduce over time”.
Passenger fare rises to be limited as airlines see regulatory charge fall
Heathrow bosses had proposed a rise in airline charges. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
April 30, 2013 (London 24)
Airlines are to be charged less for using London’s airports than they have in previous years, it was announced today, limiting the fare rises passengers will face.
The charges imposed on airlines from 2014-2019 will be less than for the 2009-2014 period. The Civil Aviation Authority has proposed that, over coming years, charges at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports should be capped at the RPI rate of inflation minus 1.3 per cent – which is far less than the previous rate of RPI plus 7.5 per cent.
The proposals from the CAA, which regulates London’s three largest airports, will provide cheer for the airlines, which have been arguing against what they see as excessive charges.
The charges suggested are far less than the 2014-19 charge figure proposed by Heathrow bosses, which would have see charges increase at the west London airport from the equivalent of £19.33 per passenger for 2012/13 to as much as £27.30 for 2018/19.
For Gatwick, where bosses had pressed for complete deregulation, the CAA today proposed a much more flexible system but still underpinned by a licence from the CAA.
The CAA said this new approach would require effective airport-airline collaboration, and that so far “the airport has not yet made acceptable proposals along these lines”.
If nothing can be sorted out, the CAA said charges for 2014-19 at Gatwick would be capped at RPI plus 1 per cent which is lower than the RPI plus 2 per cent regime that has been in place at the West Sussex airport for 2009-14.
At Stansted, where Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary has long complained about the level of charges, the CAA’s regulation will take the form of monitoring charges and service quality.
The CAA said this would ensure passengers at the Essex airport were protected while minimising the regulatory burden on airport and airlines.
But the CAA said it might impose more detailed regulation “unless prices at Stansted reduce over time”.
CAA chief executive Andrew Haines said: “Protecting consumers and improving their experience is the core focus of our regulatory decision-making.
“Few passengers flying from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted fail to notice their differences, so it should be no surprise that our regulatory approach also differs at each airport.
“The proposals we publish today reflect their individual circumstances, ensure passengers are protected when they travel, and allow for continuing improvements in service and competition.”
easyJet welcomes the CAA’s announcement that it views Gatwick as a monopoly airport.
Continued regulation of Gatwick will protect the interests of all passengers who use the airport.
easyJet’s preference is always to engage constructively with airports to reach commercial agreements which are in both parties interests – and the interests of passengers – and so agrees in principle with the CAA’s new approach to regulation at Gatwick.
However, despite easyJet’s efforts to achieve such an agreement with Gatwick we were unable to reach a mutually agreeable commercial deal.
This reflects the market power which Gatwick wields and shows the need for continued regulation.
easyJet is disappointed with the proposed charges of RPI +1% which appears to be driven by capital expenditure that doesn’t provide value for money for passengers and an unreasonably high cost of capital.
easyJet will respond to the CAA asking for it to reduce the proposed charges.
Ryanair supremo launches huge broadside over Stansted charges
JOHN MULLIGAN – 30 APRIL 2013 (Belfast Telegraph)
RYANAIR boss Michael O’Leary has again lashed out at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), claiming it’s been “sitting on its hands” while charges climb at Stansted, the airline’s biggest base.
Mr O’Leary was incensed earlier this year when the former owners of Stansted secured approval for a 6% increase in landing charges just days before the airport was sold for £1.5bn to Manchester Airports Group (MAG).
He has just written a fresh complaint to the CAA. Stansted was sold by Heathrow Airport Group, formerly BAA, which is majority controlled by Spanish construction group Ferrovial.
It was forced to sell Stansted after a ruling by the UK’s Competition Commission.
The watchdog ordered the sale of Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airport in order to boost competition.
Ryanair is Stansted’s biggest customer, accounting for about 70% of its business.
While Mr O’Leary initially welcomed the sale of Stansted, he was later angered when it emerged the price hike had been approved prior to a sale.
That increase was pushed through despite traffic at Stansted being in decline.
Mr O’Leary accused it of being a “sweetener” to encourage Manchester Airports to buy Stansted and urged the CAA to investigate.
But Iain Osborne, the CAA’s group director of regulatory policy and a former Northern Ireland Utility Regulator, refused to initiate such a probe. He told Ryanair that the price increase was in line with the permitted price cap and that there was “no reason” for the CAA “to question the airport’s motives”.
“It is inconceivable that any regulator, charged with protecting the reasonable interests of airport users, would not investigate why Ferrovial, on the week before they handed over Stansted to MAG, imposed a 6% price increase … which will clearly be of no benefit to Ferrovial,” Mr O’Leary said in a letter to the CAA this month.
Ryanair has scaled back its presence at Stansted due to the increased charges.
Passenger numbers at Stansted have fallen from about 24m in 2007 to 17.5m in 2012.
Heathrow faces order from regulator to cut charges to airlines
By Andrew Parker
……The Civil Aviation Authority’s proposals for Heathrow could potentially produce lower air fares and contrast starkly with plans for lighter touch regulation at Gatwick and Stansted airports……. Stansted will be offered the freedom to strike deals with airlines relating to aeronautical charges at the airport, with the CAA having the right to intervene if it regards the agreements as unacceptable. …… Similar arrangements could be put in place at Gatwick if it can reach agreements with airlines but should this prove impossible, the CAA is expected to say it would still cap the airport’s charges.
Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted face regulatory shake-up by CAA and pricing changes
Date added: April 21, 2013
The CAA has the responsibility of setting the maximum level of airport charges, every 5 years, for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted -the 3 “designated” airports. On 30th April the CAA is expected to announce its initial plans. It will make a final decision in January 2014. The landing charges generally rise a bit faster than the rate of inflation and the RPI (retail price index) and charges are passed on to passengers, increasing air fares. Since the last 5 yearly review, the three airports now each has a different owner, whereas before all three were BAA owned. The CAA is not expected to allow Heathrow to increase its landing charges of 5.9% a year above inflation – which it has requested – and which have enraged the airlines. Gatwick airport has been campaigning to be permitted to strike commercial deals with major customers such as easyJet, which it says would reduce its fares. Gatwick already has different landing charges in summer and winter. The CAA’s announcement is expected to trigger intense lobbying by airports and airlines over the regime for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.
Gatwick Airport wants freedom from regulation on prices by the CAA
With Heathrow and Stansted, Gatwick is one of only 3 UK airports that is subject to a price regime set by the CAA. It is arguing that should be allowed to negotiate landing charges directly with airlines, rather than being regulated, through entering into individual commercial agreements with airlines. Gatwick says such deals, which would be struck under a legally-binding framework, could incentivise airlines to offer more routes. Gatwick says even for airlines that didn’t strike commercial agreements, charges would still be lower, increasing by 1.3% above the RPI over the next 7 years. By comparison, under continued regulation, charges would increase 3.3% above RPI over 5 years – which would mean landing charges rising from £8.80 per passenger in 2014, to £11.45 by 2018/19. But Virgin Atlantic is not keen on the idea, and nor is easyJet. Virgin says “The CAA must continue to regulate to ensure that Gatwick delivers services our passengers need at a price which is good value for money.” http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=576
Heathrow Airport produces its 5 year business plan with large rise in landing charges to pay for £3 billion investment
Heathrow Airport has produced its business plan for Q6 (which is the 6th period of 5 years, from April 2014 -2019). It plans to spend some £3 billion on infrastructure, like work on Terminal 2. As Heathrow and the CAA over-estimated the number of passengers using Heathrow over the past 3 years, their income has been lower. Therefore Heathrow plans to raise its landing charges per passenger, by as much as 30 -40% by 2019 – much more than inflation. It said its prices “inevitably” had to rise in order to ensure a “fair return” to its investors. The CAA will publish its final decision on whether it has approved Heathrow’s proposals in January 2014. Launching the investment plans, Colin Matthews said the airport envisaged passenger numbers increasing from just under 70m now to around 72.6m by 2018-19. Heathrow’s 5-year plan is separate from any decision on whether a 3rd runway is built. Maximum airport charges allowed by the CAA are calculated using a complex formula taking into account the total value of Heathrow’s assets, return on capital invested and forecast number of passengers. http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=592,
On the 10 busiest domestic air routes, mainly between the south of England and Scotland, (or Bristol or Birmingham to Scotland) the market share of rail travel increased from 29% to 46% between 2006 and 2012. During those 6 years, the number of train journeys rose 52% (to about 7.7 million journeys) while at the same time the number of domestic air passengers fell by about 26% to about 9 million). The total number of trips by both means fell by some 3% over the period, due to the economic slowdown. The rail companies have taken to giving more discounted tickets over recent years. Data from the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) shows that around a quarter of all rail journeys are made using one or other sort of Railcard, giving around a third off the price. The growth of use of these Railcards has grown by some 92% over 6 years. The number paying full fare has fallen by some 37% and those buying advance tickets has risen by some 103%. There were some 21.1 million air passengers on all UK domestic routes in 2012, and about 2.3 million passengers in 2011. By contrast there were some 26 million domestic air journeys in 2006.
Airline style discounting by rail cuts aviation’s market share
Young people, the over-60s and passengers with disabilities are helping to increase rail’s share of the domestic travel market due to train companies’ use of airline style pricing and Railcard discounts.
On the 10 most popular domestic air routes in Britain, rail’s market share grew to 46% last year up from 29% in 2006, according to research by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) released today.
The findings also show that on these routes, between the financial years 2006/7 and 2012/13:
• Use of Railcards, providing a third off most fares, has risen by 93%, far outstripping the 49% growth in overall train journeys. Over this period, the number of journeys made with Senior Railcards has risen on average by 145%, Disabled Persons Railcards by 140% and 16-25 Railcards by 88%.
• Sales of cheap Advance fares, available up to 12 weeks ahead of travel, have grown even faster, rising by 103%. Advance fares are now used by around four out of every seven rail passengers on these routes, and sales of First Class Advance tickets have more than doubled on many of them. Use of Off-Peak fares has also seen 32% growth.
• Purchases of full price Anytime fares have reduced by over a third – on average, nine out of 10 journeys in 2012/13 were made with Advance and Off-Peak tickets.
Operators also attribute the rise in market share to significant investment in and improvements to services. Since privatisation, the number of services across the rail network per day has risen by 4,000, or 20%, and passenger satisfaction as measured by independent watchdog Passenger Focus has risen from 76% in 1999 to 85% today.
Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of ATOC, said: “Train companies have been winning market share from airlines by competing head to head and adopting airline-style discounting.
“Significant investment and an industry focused on attracting passengers are creating a virtuous circle where growing revenue is sustaining funding for faster and better services, in turn encouraging more rail travel.”
The findings are based on a comparison of rail industry figures with data published by the Civil Aviation Authority. More information about the CAA is available from its website here.
2006-07 2012-13 %age change
Total rail passenger journeys 5,184,525 7,726,106 49%
Journeys made with Railcards 1,043,845 2,012,623 92.8%
Journeys made with Senior Railcard 212,773 521,571 145%
Journeys made with Disabled Persons Railcard 22,720 54,535 140%
Journeys made with 16-25 Railcard 550,790 1,036,798 88%
Journeys made on Advance fares 2,201,350 4,472,538 103%
Journeys made on Off-Peak fares 2,019,492 2,662,490 32%
Journeys made on full price fares 632016 397646 -37%
Train companies offer a number of different Railcards which offer a third off most fares. More information is available at www.railcard.co.uk
Advance fares are available to buy up to 12 weeks before the date of travel and can usually be bought up until 6pm the day before you travel (subject to availability). They are single tickets that are valid only on the date and train shown on the ticket. Changes can be made up to 10 minutes before departure but are subject to a £10 admin fee and other terms and conditions.
Advance fares are unregulated, so operators can set the prices to make sure they are competitive with other types of transport customers can choose for these journeys. Train companies have almost doubled the number of Advance fares available in the last few years, and now sell around a million every week.
Off-Peak fares are cheaper tickets for travelling on less busy trains. These tickets may require you to travel at specific times of day, days of the week or on a specific route, but offer the advantage of not having to travel on a specific train. You can buy Off-Peak tickets any time before you travel.
There has been an 85% drop in the numbers flying between Manchester and London, due to the faster rail times between the two cities. Many of those choosing to fly to London do so because they are catching onwards flights from Heathrow.
Big growth in rail travel for some of Britain’s biggest cities despite recession
Fourteen cities, six of them among the most populated in Britain, recorded double-digit growth in rail journeys over the last five years despite a double dip recession.
Figures released today by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) show that ten of the 14 cities that have seen the highest growth between 2008 and 2012 are outside the south-east.
Reasons for the changes in journey numbers over the five years varied between cities:
• Coventry has seen the biggest overall growth of any city with journeys up 30% in five years. Business journeys have jumped 48%.
• Commuter journeys into and out of Birmingham have more than doubled in five years (103%).
• Milton Keynes registered a 28% rise in the number of leisure trips along with a 37% increase in business journeys to and from the city.
• Plymouth saw commuter journeys increase 38% over the period.
• Ipswich saw a 29% rise in leisure trips.
Between 2008 and 2012, the Government required train companies to increase the average cost of a season ticket by above the rate of inflation every year. Yet as operators have attracted people to travel by train by offering Off-Peak tickets, good value Advance fares and Railcard savings, the average price paid per journey has actually fallen from £5.19 to £ 4.95 in real terms.
According to ATOC’s latest figures, over 1.44 billion journeys were made by train last year. After years of declining use, rail travel has grown almost every year since the 1990s, making it more popular now than at any time since the 1920s.
Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of ATOC said: “When Britain has recorded little or no economic growth, rail has been helping our great cities by connecting people with jobs, services and leisure opportunities.
“The last time train travel was this popular was almost 90 years ago when the rail network was around twice the size. Significant investment and an industry focused on attracting more passengers have turned around decades of decline to deliver better stations, more trains and faster services.”
Notes to editors
- The table below shows the cities that have experienced double-digit growth in passenger rail journeys over the last five full calendar years. The six cities highlighted in bold below are among the ten most populated cities in Britain.
City 2008-2012 % rise in rail journeys
Milton Keynes 26%
Norwich 25% Birmingham 22%
Manchester 20% Cambridge 19% Edinburgh 17% Plymouth 17%
Newcastle upon Tyne 12%
Nottingham 10% London 10%
. Source: LENNON database
Some of the improvements introduced by train companies include:
- Virgin Trains now run over 600 services a week on the line between London and Manchester – up from 440 a week in 2008. They now run around the same number of trains on Sunday as they used to run on weekdays.
Since the introduction of a new timetable, Coventry and Birmingham are now served by 630 trains a week which equates to around one train every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday and on Sunday afternoons.
-In 2011, Chiltern upgraded the route between Birmingham and London, cutting their Mainline journey times by up to 20%. The company worked with members of the Birmingham business community to define their new service which includes free Wi-Fi and the ‘premium economy’ Business Zone that allows ‘on the spot’ upgrades. The launch of this new product was very successful with Chiltern seeing year on year growth of 46% from Birmingham to London.
- Greater Anglia offer Advance tickets between London and Ipswich that start at £8 and there are now more frequent services operating on some routes into Ipswich.
- First Great Western has reported a rise in the number of journeys being made into and out of Plymouth on branch lines both for business and leisure trips.
Over a thousand people attended a rally in Barnes, against the possible expansion of Heathrow. The rally was organised by Zac Goldsmith, and attended by Mayor of London Boris Johnson. Boris said he thought the Conservatives “would be utterly nuts to go into the next election with the possibility of a Heathrow third runway on the table.” [However, unfortunately Boris thinks the alternatives offered by Gatwick, Stansted and two sites in the Thames Estuary should be concentrated on. Worryingly, he seems to favour expansion at Stansted, and have little concern about aviation's carbon emissions]. Boris told the rally that a 3rd runway at Heathrow was “just too difficult to deliver – 15 years at least it would take to bring about. “Above all you would be inflicting noise pollution not just on west London but on huge parts of London that don’t even know they are going to be affected. That is not the right way forward for the greatest city on earth.” Zac said the opponents of a 3rd runway will continue to make clear their opposition to further expansion, and he wants “ministers to be left in no doubt that if they give expansion a green light, they will face a campaign on a truly massive scale.”
Today’s impressive rally against Heathrow expansion, organized by Zac Goldsmith MP, demonstrated the formidable forces that are massing once again to prevent expansion of the airport. It will have given Heathrow Airport and their allies who want a third runway considerable pause for thought. In the space of 40 minutes 15 leading politicians from right across the political spectrum lined up to speak. They included the Mayor of London and two cabinet ministers, Justine Greening and Ed Davey. And many more politicians wanted to speak but had to be turned away.
Airport expansion – like every major decision – will be a political one. And the politics are moving away from Heathrow. Politicians of all parties are putting Heathrow expansion in the “too difficult” box. The Liberal Democrats are firmly opposed. The Labour Party, under Ed Miliband and shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle, has made it clear it no longer supports expansion. There is a powerful lobby within the Conservative Party which is urging the Party to rule out expansion for good. The London Assembly and the Mayor are united in their opposition to it.
Look around the cabinet table: the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Business Secretary Vince Cable, Home Secretary Theresa May, the Secretaries of State for the Environment, International Development andNorthern Ireland, Ed Davey, Justine Greening and Theresa Villiers and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond are all known opponents.
This is a far cry from the opposition being confined to local authorities, local residents and environmental groups. Heathrow has become a London-wide, indeed a national issue, a national issue where politicians know there are votes and seats to be won and lost, where they are so aware of what happened to the last Labour Government’s attempt to expand Heathrow.
Astute people within the aviation industry like Willie Walsh, in charge of British Airways, have made their view clear that the tide has turned against Heathrow expansion. Today’s rally re-enforced that message.
April 27, 2013
Hundreds of people turned out for a rally today against proposals to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport.
The crowd at the anti-Heathrow expansion demonstration in Barnes. Picture: Nate Sibley/Twitter
The rally was organised by Conservative MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston Zac Goldsmith, and among those who attended this morning’s event in Barn Elms playing field in Barnes was Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
The Mayor has previously accused David Cameron of kicking the matter “into the long grass” by delaying an independent report on the future of aviation until after the next election.
He favours a new “Boris island” airport in the Thames Estuary or possible expansion at Stansted.
Mr Johnson urged the government to resist the “great Moloch of aviation capacity” and rule out a third runway at Heathrow before the next election. He said it would be “totally nuts” for the Conservatives to go to the polls without having buried the idea.
The Mayor told the gathered crowd: “It is just too difficult to deliver – 15 years at least it would take to bring about.
“Above all you would be inflicting noise pollution not just on west London but on huge parts of London that don’t even know they are going to be affected.
“That is not the right way forward for the greatest city on earth.”
Twitter user Veredorexport posted a picture of Mr Johnson at the rally and wrote: “Thank you @MayorofLondon and @ZacGoldsmith for standing up for the people of SW London!”
Nate Sibley, who helped Mr Goldsmith organise the rally, posted a picture of the crowd gathered at the rally, and wrote on Twitter: “Epic crowd at @zacgoldsmith and @mayoroflondon rally against Heathrow expansion!”
Former transport secretary Justine Greening made her first speech on Heathrow since she was moved to international development in September’s Cabinet reshuffle amid speculation that it was due to her stance on the issue.
Business Secretary Vince Cable, who has previously stated that expansion “will not happen”, was also at the rally.
Speaking about the event Mr Goldsmith said: “This rally is an opportunity for everyone living under the Heathrow flight path to come together and make clear their opposition to further expansion.
“We have done so in previous campaigns, and we will keep doing it until this government gets the message.
“I want ministers to be left in no doubt that if they give expansion a green light, they will face a campaign on a truly massive scale.”
Saturday 27th April – Heathrow ‘Mega Rally’ organised by Zac Goldsmith
At the Barn Elms Playing Fields, Queen Elizabeth Walk, London, SW13 9SA between 09:30 and 10:30
Zac Goldsmith MP joined by the Mayor of London, the former Transport Secretary Justine Greening, and other local MPs from all parties, and Council Leaders at a ‘mega rally’ to demonstrate the strength of feeling against possible expansion at Heathrow Airport, and to promote the Council’s referendum on the third runway. After a series of short speeches Boris cast the first ‘vote’ in a giant ballot box constructed by pupils and teachers at Richmond Park Academy.
This was an opportunity for everyone living under the Heathrow flight path to come together and make clear their opposition to further expansion. It demonstrated to Ministers that if they give expansion a green light, they will face a campaign against it, on a truly massive scale.
MPs addressing the rally include former Transport Secretary of State Justine Greening (Putney), Vince Cable (Twickenham), Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith), John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington), Mary McLeod (Brentford and Isleworth), Angie Bray(Ealing Central and Acton), and Viendra Sharma (Ealing Southall).
There have been a considerable number of cases of items falling from aircraft, onto houses under flight paths. The most recent is a case of a large pair of pliers that appear to have been left in the undercarriage of an easyJet plane (as reported by the Sun newspaper) which fell onto a house in Canvey Island, on its way to land at Southend. Falling from some 7,000 feet the pliers went straight through the tiled roof and the ceiling. Luckily the occupants were not hurt. In March a block of what appears to be frozen aircraft lavatory waste fell onto a static caravan in the Midlands, causing severe damage to the roof of the caravan’s bathroom and its floor, as well as ruining the rest of the bathroom. In February a block of ice did serious damage to the conservatory of a house in Clanfield, Hampshire, shattering glass. Again, fortunately, nobody was in the room when the block fell, as they would possibly have been badly injured by flying glass.
includes a video clipshowing the damage, when the block of yellowish ice crashed through the roof of a static caravan, and crashed through its floor, doing profound damage to the whole bathroom on its way. …. a pile of frozen poop from an airplane crashes through your roof and wreaks your home.
Last Saturday at 7 a.m. Caroline Guy thought she was being burglarized when she heard a loud crash. Imagine her surprise when she saw chunks of brown and yellow ice scattered throughout her caravan (trailer) and an 18-inch hole in her roof and floor. To preserve the evidence she stored the airplane waste in her freezer… wrapped up in a plastic bag, of course. This sort of accident happens if there is a leak in the plane’s lavatory system that thaws, and the ice (waste from the lavatory) breaks off from the outside of the plane when it makes its descent.
Fear by European countries, Airbus and many airlines, that loss of sales of Airbus planes to China was a reason for “stopping the clock” for a year, on aviation’s inclusion in the ETS. Now a deal has been agreed that China will buy 18 A330s from Airbus. Now inclusion of aviation in the ETS has been emasculated, Airbus is keen to sell as many planes as it can to China and returning to what it calls ‘business as usual’. The order that has now been announced is part of an earlier order for 45 wide-body jets, which are worth about $4n at list prices, although China may get a hefty discount on them. There is also an order by the Chinese for 42 A320 narrow-body jets, worth about $3.8bn though this deal had not been affected by the ETS debacle. Airbus, which is a subsidiary of EADS, hopes China will be its largest customer during coming 2 decades, buying large numbers of planes. France, Germany and Britain continue to do all they can to build strong commercial ties with China, to boost exports and income.
French President Francois Hollande is visiting China to boost bi-lateral ties
China has agreed to buy 60 planes from European firm Airbus, in a deal worth $8bn (£5.2bn) at list prices.
It is the first such deal since the European Union suspended the inclusion of foreign airlines in its controversial Emissions Trading Scheme.
China had voiced its opposition to the scheme, which charges airlines for the carbon they emit.
Last year, Airbus had alleged that China blocked firms from purchasing its planes amid the row over the scheme.
The deal was signed as part of a series of agreements during French President Francois Hollande’s two-day visit to China.
It includes an order for 42 Airbus A320 aircraft and 18 A330 planes.
The European Union’s plans to introduce the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) have been met with a lot of opposition.
The scheme creates permits for carbon emissions. Once an airline exceed its allowance, it has to pay to buy extra permits.
The number of permits is also reduced over time, so that the total CO2 output from airlines in European airspace falls.
The supporters of the scheme say that it acts as an incentive for airlines to pollute less.
However, more than two dozen countries, including China, Russia and the US, have opposed the move, saying it violates international law.
Under pressure from these countries, the European authorities agreed in November to suspend the inclusion of foreign carriers in the scheme for one year.
Fabrice Bregier, chief executive of Airbus, was quoted by the Financial Times as saying that the “agreement shows that China recognises the efforts that Airbus and the EU have made to resolve the [emissions trading scheme] issue and is a step towards ‘business as usual’”.
China places $4bn order for 18 Airbus wide-body jets
By Andrew Parker in London and Hugh Carnegy in Paris
……. Toulouse-based Airbus announced that China had signed an agreement to buy 18 A330 wide-body jets as François Hollande, France’s president, started an official visit to China. ……..Mr Hollande also wants more Chinese companies to invest in France to help tackle rising unemployment.
EC freezes ETS for airlines flying to and from Europe till November 2013 progress by ICAO
November 12, 2012 The EU has announced that it will delay the date by which airlines have to pay for their emissions on flights to and from Europe. This is very disappointing news. However, they will only delay until there is progress by ICAO on producing a global deal on aviation emissions. If there is not adequate progress by ICAO when it meets in November 2013, the EU ETS will continue to include international aviation, as it does now. Flights within Europe remain in the ETS as before – whether by EU airlines or non-EU airlines – the change is only for flights to and from the EU. Connie Hedegaard, announcing the change, said EU member states will still have to formally endorse the Commission’s exemption for non-EU carriers. The change has occurred because of intense pressure from countries such as the USA, India and China – and lobbying from Airbus on fears the ETS is causing it to lose plane sales. China and India have far more to lose than us if they start a trade war, because they export far more to us than we export there. Nonetheless, the EU and UK have meekly conceded to blackmail from China instead of doing the right thing. We understand that David Cameron was lobbying the EU to defer ETS. It demonstrates, yet again, the UK and EU leaders prefer to sacrifice action on climate change in favour of narrow business interests. The EC has repeatedly said it only included aviation in the ETS after more than a decade of inaction at the ICAO. Unfortunately the concessions made by the EC are much larger than required, and there is no expectation that ICAO will come up with anything worthwhile in the next year.but on the positive side, the EC can no longer be accused of not doing anything in response to voluble continuing criticism over its approach to aviation and climate change. Click here to view full story…
EU states deny reports that their Airbus ministers seek suspension of EU ETS until ICAO agreement
.which includes this: A spokesman at the UK’s Department for Business said it was incorrect that his minister was calling for a suspension of aviation from the EU ETS. “The UK is committed to reducing aviation emissions and to the role of the EU ETS in doing so,” he told GreenAir. “Like other European nations, the UK is keen to address issues that have been raised by a number of nations around the operation of the aviation element of the EU ETS. There was agreement by the European ministers at the Berlin Air Show that these issues need to be addressed through a global agreement to tackle aviation emissions. We recognise that a failure to resolve these issues could have a serious impact on the UK and European aerospace manufacturing and aviation sectors. We are pressing for faster progress in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and other fora to secure a global solution which delivers on the EU’s objectives of continuing to reduce emissions from aviation.”
Airbus tries to get inclusion of aviation in ETS suspended. EU confirms no change.
September 13, 2012 There have been press stories suggesting that European officials backing Airbus are recommending the suspension of ETS in order to avert a trade war with major economic powers such as China and the USA. China and India do not allow their airlines to participate in the ETS because the charge is for the whole flight distance, not just the section over Europe. Beijing has blocked purchases of European aircraft (Airbus) by its carriers, so Airbus is unhappy about losing its fastest-growing market and is putting strong pressure on the EU as they may lose plane sales. Those backing Airbus want a “solution” before April 2013, but the matter is not due to be dealt with by ICAO till September 2013. Connie Hedegaard has confirmed that there are “no changes in EU and member states approach on the ETS and aviation” and this is just pressure from Airbus. The EU has repeatedly said it won’t give up its pollution curbs on airlines. Click here to view full story…
Gwyn Topham, in the Guardian, speculates on whether the government granting planning permission to Lydd airport is an indication to their thinking on airport expansion in general. The decision came relatively soon after publication of the aviation policy framework in March which reiterated the idea of growth elsewhere to take pressure off London’s main airports. And it may be connected to Osborne’s budget talking up infrastructure and its impact on the economy. Approval has been given for up to 500,000 passengers a year, though Lydd will struggle to get anywhere near that. They hope to eventually be able to use the railway track that carries nuclear waste from Dungeness to link passengers to Ashford’s high-speed train – a 37-minute journey to London, albeit expensive. Though Lydd would like to get easyJet, as Southend has, but it is more likely to expand the executive jet service. And they hope when Gatwick is full and wants more A380, it will kick out the smaller planes, which will then find Lydd useful. That will take a while … and currently the lack of demand makes the Lydd business plan nonsensical.
Lydd airport in Kent. Local opponents question how many jobs an expansion will create. Photograph: Jeff Gilbert/Alamy
If only all airports could be this peaceful. Beside the soon-to-be-expanded runway of Lydd’s optimistically named London Ashford airport the clearest sound is birdsong. Sheep graze by the car park in front of the terminal building. In a couple of hours on an April weekday, only one small craft troubles the control tower: a light plane from nearby Shoreham on a training flight.
Gazing across the wildlife reserve to the nuclear power station on the Dungeness headland three miles away, an observer might not immediately see Lydd as an answer to British aviation’s big question: if, how, and where the south-east of England will develop the airport capacity that the industry and its allies in business and politics say the UK desperately needs.
But Lydd’s management believes it can be a part of the solution – and that the government’s decision to let it expand should be seen in the context of the wider debate. The location has echoes of the Thames estuary airport plan espoused by the London mayor, Boris Johnson – both remote, peaceful corners of Kent, where birds thrive but a number of people struggle for work. Both are close enough to the high-speed rail line for hopeful talk of quick connections to the capital from those who see tranquil backwaters ripe for economic regeneration.
But while architects and politicians project megahubs on Medway, Lydd would take a year to match the traffic of a few days at Heathrow.
The ambition here, once the runway extension that will allow fully loaded holiday jets to take off is completed after 2016, is to be a new Southend. That is, London Southend, another revived airfield harking back to a black-and-white heyday. Lydd was a jetsetters’ choice when film stars would Channel-hop by driving on to a Bristol Freighter plane: photos outside the terminal’s Biggles Bar show Diana Dors beside an open-topped car and a surprisingly dapper Duke of Edinburgh, even for 58 years ago.
Approval has been given for up to 500,000 passengers a year; executive manager Hani Mutlaq doesn’t want to stoke local antagonism by discussing plans beyond that. But the airport owns land giving scope to expand further. An adjacent railway track that carries nuclear waste from Dungeness could, he says, one day link passengers to Ashford’s high-speed train – a 37-minute journey to London, albeit with single fares even higher than the notoriously expensive Heathrow Express.
Drawing in the likes of easyJet, as Southend has, would be a coup, but the clearest plan is to expand the executive jet service. Right now, even the Saudi who owns Lydd – Sheikh Fahad Al-Athel, of the Al-Yamamah arms deal fame – can’t land his private jet, flying in from Jeddah via Luton instead.
With only a trickle of commercial passengers, the airport loses around £1.5m a year. But Mutlaq, an engaging Jordanian who landed in New Romney to propel, in various roles, his boss’s nine-year-long expansion bid, thinks there is a brighter future: “Heathrow’s out of capacity, Gatwick is running out, Stansted will too. At a certain point, Heathrow and Gatwick will say, guys, I need an [Airbus] A380 or a [Boeing] 747 in that slot – and start kicking people out.”
Those giant A380s are steadily coming in: three of British Airways’ dozen on order – the first to be based at Heathrow – will be operational this summer. Bigger planes will indeed play a part in the hub airport’s bottom line, to squeeze more passengers into the finite number of slots.
Ninety pilots are being trained to fly the A380 in a £10m simulator beside BA’s Grade II-listed Heathrow hangars – recently modified to allow the giant aircraft’s tailfin through the doors. BA’s Richard Frewer, who helped design the simulator, performs a virtual takeoff and landing at LA and Hong Kong; conversation is easy over the engines. The noise level is true to life, he says, and very different from other planes, where headphones are needed in the cockpit.. “Once you’ve pulled the flaps and the landing gear in, it’s very quiet. Disturbingly so.”
That quiet engine may prove as important for capacity as the hundreds of extra seats. Last week Hounslow council launched a public consultation to ensure its residents’ experience under the flightpath is heard loud and clear by the Davies commission, which will shape London’s airport development. Waiting for the roar of an incoming plane to clear the infants’ school where he was speaking, deputy council leader Colin Ellar said: “That noise you hear now I suffer every day, and it wakes me up at 4.30am.” Hounslow is relatively supportive of Heathrow, the borough’s chief employer: neighbouring Richmond’s forthcoming referendum is expected to starkly reject any possible expansion.
Even if many Tory MPs now rue the coalition’s decision to scrap Heathrow’s third runway – and the transport ministers squarely opposed to Heathrow expansion, Justine Greening and Theresa Villiers, have been shuffled on – the politics of bringing more planes over London remain toxic.
The aviation policy framework published in March reiterated the idea of growth elsewhere to take pressure off London’s main airports. Lydd’s management points to its planning sign-off coming in the wake of that statement and George Osborne’s budget talking up infrastructure: its £25m investment could mean jobs in a region where employers such as Pfizer have shut down.
But opponents question how many jobs will come. Louise Barton, a former City analyst now leading the Lydd Airport Action Group, says the lack of demand makes the business plan nonsensical: “Commercially, it’s a complete joke.” Campaigners believe the proximity of Dungeness B nuclear plant is a serious safety issue; others fear for the fragile protected habitat.Barton cheerfully admits to being “the biggest nimby” but says the area has plenty of airport options, from Gatwick to nearby Manston, another minor Kent airport that now connects to Schiphol’s KLM network. And while she believes Lydd’s expansion isn’t currently viable, she says a long view is needed. “Airports lead to urbanisation: you’d have new roads, housing and industrial estates if it ever takes off. You can’t stop the economic imperative of an airport.”That argument, if slightly rephrased, is one that backers of airports from Heathrow right through to Lydd would not dispute, but aggressively promote: that aviation is a driver of economic growth. The argument Britain will need to resolve is if the noise and pollution is a price worth paying – and who will pay it.http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/apr/25/lydd-airport-expansion-takeoff?CMP=twt_gu
If the airlines can’t make enough profit from flying their passengers from A to B, then they want to extract every bit of cash they can from them, in the airport shops. An anna-aero article discusses how airports and airlines might work more effectively together, to get passengers to buy more stuff. The airlines have more personal data about the passengers, and the airports want this data in order to maximise the retail earnings in their shops. But the airlines don’t want to share the chance of profit with the airports. The Chief Commercial Officer at Manchester Airports Group said – “airport retail is vital precisely because airport charges paid by airlines are already well below the cost of the infrastructure they use.” The airports and airlines don’t see eye to eye on this. There is a problem for retailers, with the low cost airlines that limit baggage, and the ‘one-bag rule’, which is a disincentive to buy a lot at the airport. An ACI conference next spring will look at actual practical solutions to enhance “Airline-Airport Cooperation to Increase Passenger Spend.”
The next opportunity to attract airlines – collaborating to enhance airport retail revenues
24.4.2013 (anna aero)
Hungry airports are bending over backwards to find (legal) means to attract airlines with minimal charges, shared marketing costs, and PSO deals etc. But airlines on the polar-opposite of the spectrum, including Lufthansa and Ryanair, seem to agree that airports are missing a real possibility: To cooperate with airports to build and share airport retail revenues.
It’s a simple principle: Airlines possess 100% of the data on flyers – email, gender, what credit card they use and, crucially, which two airports they will be visiting on any given trip.
In contrast, airports only know who is flying in far more general terms – unless the traveller has pre-booked parking – a rapidly increasing trend, but still a far less precise method of data capture than the comprehensive detail possessed by airlines.
As the airlines have the data, and the airports have the great shops, it does not take a genius to work out that both parties separately possess all the tools they need to work together to promote offers.
Ken O’Toole, the Chief Commercial Officer of Manchester Airports Group – and therefore responsible for both aviation development and the retail which brings in the remaining 48% of MAG’s revenues – is also the former Ryanair Director of New Route Development, so he knows very well what’s at stake by any notion of cooperation or sharing precious retail income: “If I said I was nervous I would not be understating it – we want to protect these revenue streams, while engaging with the airlines.”
Of course it’s only right for airports to be terrified of airlines like Ryanair finding yet another new way of squeezing money out of them. As O’Toole points out – “airport retail is vital precisely because airport charges paid by airlines are already well below the cost of the infrastructure they use.”
But, clearly it makes sense to at least explore moving beyond the zero cooperation between airports and airlines to see if they can create BRAND NEW retail revenue streams. “We have 180 airports in the network and countless others knocking on the door to get a Ryanair route – yet in two years I have had only three vague approaches to consider commercial cooperation,” said Ryanair’s ancillary revenue boss Walsh, who thinks he has a lot to offer from 80 million real customers and 290 million unique visits to the Ryanair website. “Do we have a plan? No. Do I have an interest? Yes.”
Airports and leading airport retailers assembled in Hamburg had mixed feelings about the idea. When asked for his opinion, World Duty Free’s Fred Creighton was particularly scathing about the idea and could not see a roadmap to progress until one giant roadblock is cleared – the ‘one-bag rule’ which has caused very specific damage to retail, and much resentment among passengers who have been stripped of their liquor and chocolate, or forced to pay for an extra bag at more than face value of the purchase.
Walsh was not in a position to offer any kind of resolution to this profound disagreement, but he felt that: “focusing on the one bag rule as the obstacle to moving forward means focusing on the problem and not the opportunity.”
Filip Soete, Marketing Director Nice Côte D’Azur Aéroport, a former Chairman of the ACI EUROPE Commercial Forum and who, like O’Toole, controls a portfolio spanning both aviation development and retail, also spent some time working on airport-airline retail initiatives. “Sharing is a sensitive and complex challenge –it’s a tripartite issue, not only involving airports, but also the concessionaires with whom we have existing agreements, but I agree that it something that should be explored – everyone is looking at everyone else to see who will make the first step.”
So what should be this “first step?”
In listening to the debate, anna.aero agrees with O’Toole that airports would be foolish to offer airlines the chance to slice and cannibalise their cherished retail revenues. Instead efforts should definitely be focused on the unanimous agreement that the average retail spend per passenger is still vastly below potential – less than $9, even at Rolex-selling London Heathrow – and therefore the “first steps” should be trials and pilot schemes for specific products and services, or promotions which can clearly be identified as “new spending.”
As a big fan of chocolate gifts (and cakes), anna.aero thinks that one idea would be create a special box of chocolates which is only promoted on the airline confirmation emails and boarding passes. If it sells, then the airline-airport cooperation plan to increase passenger spend would be shown to make some sense. Ken O’Toole says it is “blue skies thinking”. But if this initiative amounts to an increase of just 10 cents per passenger that would be worth $8m specifically from Ryanair’s contribution – or $80 million from traffic across Europe.
While there was not clear agreement on how this collaboration should work in Hamburg, there was willing from both sides. So it was announced that the 2014 ACI EUROPE Airport Trading Conference, being hosted by Zurich Airport next spring, would focus on reaching actual practical solutions and would undoubtedly become the event where airports and airlines meet and advance real means to enhance “Airline-Airport Cooperation to Increase Passenger Spend.”
Heathrow award for top airport for shopping for 3rd year. Net Retail Income per passenger £6.21 in 2012 (£5.64 in 2010)
Date added: April 18, 2013
For the third year, Heathrow got the award (within the airports industry) for the top airport for shopping. Heathrow has over 52,000 square metres of retail space and more than 340 retail and catering outlets. Heathrow overtook Dubai International to win the title of “World’s Best Airport for Shopping” for 2012. Heathrow has the highest retail sales of any airport in the world ahead of Incheon airport in South Korea. Figures from the Moodie Report in February 2013 said that Net Retail Income per passenger at Heathrow was £6.21 (up 4.4% on 2011, partly due to the Olympics) in 2012 and £5.95 in 2011, while it was £5.64 in 2010. (By comparison the Net Retail Income at Stansted in 2012 was £4.27 per passenger). At Heathrow in 2012 the gross retail income increased +5.7% to £460.1 million
Airport retail: rise and rise of the shopping centre, with an airport attached
Date added: April 15, 2012
A huge, and growing, proportion of the money made by airports is from retail. It seems that the industry expects significant increases in this spending over the coming years, and airports do all they can to get passengers to spend as much time as possible in retail, put retail outlets in arrivals, etc etc and devise means for them to buy goods for collection on their return, to avoid baggage problems. The industry expects most growth in the Far East, where women tend to spend a lot of designer brands. The airport retail industry finds passengers buy less when they are stressed by airport security waits and queues, and they buy more when calm and happy. Airports need a ticket as proof of identity, so they can monitor the types of travellers, and the routes, which generate the most cash. Seems the Chinese, the Russians and the Nigerians tend to spend the most. At Heathrow, the average passenger spends £4.35. But for fashion, the average BRIC passenger spends £45.50. No wonder BAA wants more.
How much profit do airports make from their retail activities, rather than flying?
Date added: February 13, 2012
Heathrow got 21.3% of its income from retail in 2010, compared to 53% from aeronautical. On average each Heathrow passenger spent about £5.70 (maybe £5.90) at the airport, with women spending more than men (!). BAA data say frequent fliers spend more than infrequent fliers. In the year 2010/2011 Gatwick airport made £115.6m from retail, and another £51.7m from car parking, with an average of £5.80 spent on retail per passenger. Stansted retail spending per passenger is about £4.00 to £4.20. In the year 2010/2011 Heathrow made about £380 million per year on retail, Gatwick about £115, and Stansted net retail income fell from £79.8m in 2010 to £73.9m. Manchester made about £70 million on retail, with about £3 per passenger.
The Labour Party shifted last year from its post-election position of being against a 3rd runway at Heathrow to being “sceptical” about it. Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle has publicly ruled out a new Heathrow runway, and also a Thames estuary airport. However, the Evening Standard reports that Ms Eagle is now understood (how is not explained) to see a new Gatwick runway as a stronger contender than a new runway at Stansted, if the Airports Commission concludes that the South-East needs extra aviation capacity. Gatwick is opening new routes, including to the Far East, as it seeks to become a rival to Heathrow while Stansted still has spare capacity. While at the end of last year Labour was pressing for the Commission to report earlier than 2015, it now says it will await the conclusions before drawing up its new policy. That is current Labour policy. Supporting expansion at Gatwick, or Stansted, has not been agreed by the shadow cabinet.
Labour was moving towards backing a second runway at Gatwick before a review was set up into Britain’s airport needs, the Standard reveals today.
Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle has already publicly ruled out a third runway at Heathrow, doing a U-turn on Gordon Brown’s firm support for expanding the airport.
She has also rejected Boris Johnson’s idea of an airport in the Thames Estuary, largely on cost grounds, branding it an “unworkable fantasy”. A second runway at Gatwick cannot be built before 2019 under a planning agreement.
Ms Eagle, though, is understood to have seen such a development at the Sussex airport as a stronger contender than expanding Stansted, if the South-East needed extra aviation capacity.
Gatwick is opening new routes, including to the Far East, as it seeks to become a rival to Heathrow while Stansted still has spare capacity.
The shadow cabinet minister is adamant that the Davies Commission into the UK’s airport capacity should not be pre-empted. While Labour wanted Sir Howard Davies, the former head of the London School of Economics leading the review, to publish its final report before the 2015 election, it will await its conclusions before drawing up its new policy. Supporting expansion at Gatwick, or Stansted, had also not been agreed by the shadow cabinet.
However, both party leader Ed Miliband and Ms Eagle remain “sceptical” about another runway at Heathrow.Labour, like the Conservatives, is divided over the future of the west London airport.
When the Crawley News asked each council member individually for their views last week, we received a call from Peter Lamb, head of the council’s Labour group, saying he was concerned posing the question now could cause division in his group.
And councillor Lamb has subsequently admitted e-mailing Labour councillors reminding them of the party position – that they would all wait for more information – despite admitting some of those councillors have opposing views.
All the Labour councillors bar one – Bill Ward – declined to express a firm opinion either way.
Peter Barclay, joint vice-chairman of Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, said he felt the Labour councillors had been gagged.
He said: “I know a couple of the Labour councillors and they are against the runway. These councillors should be allowed to exercise their independence. One hopes they would reflect the views of their constituents and speak their own mind, rather than toe the party line.
“This is a local issue. They shouldn’t be swayed by party politics. Speaking your mind is one of the bastions of British democracy. They shouldn’t be frightened to express their views, and I’m quite surprised.
“Our view, of course, is that one [runway] is enough.”
Gatwick Diamond Business’ Keith Pordum is for a second runway, and said this was an important issue that needed people to speak up now.
He said: “We want jobs here. If they don’t come from Gatwick, then where will they come from? Gatwick Airport is the economic heartbeat of the region. I expect the proposals for a second runway to be supported – and we need people to speak up now.”
Labour group leader Peter Lamb denied “whipping” his councillors into toeing the party line – but did accept an email had gone out after the News had got in touch “reminding” his group of the party position – and that although they hadn’t spoken up publicly, some of the Labour group were against a second runway.
He said: “There are one or two members who feel that way [that the runway should not be built].
“We are going to wait until there is some evidence.
“We’re not going to set out a position on the most significant decision for the town until we know the details – that would be irresponsible.”
Denying he had told people how to respond to our survey, he added he had sent an email and “reminded people what had been agreed” at an earlier meeting in November where the issue had been discussed.
Labour joins call to fast-track airports review – to get Davies to report before 2015 election
23 October 2012 (Evening Standard)
Labour has joined Boris in demanding that a review into London’s airports be completed before the next election. Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle has warned that delaying the report of the independent commission to be headed by Sir Howard Davies until after 2015 risked “kicking the issue into the long grass.” Maria Eagle said “There will therefore be no possibility of cross-party talks in advance of the election to establish whether consensus can be reached to support Sir Howard’s recommendations — and no opportunity to make the manifesto commitments that mean these are significantly more likely to become a reality.” Labour has shifted its post-election position from being against a 3rd runway at Heathrow to being “sceptical” about it. Ms Eagle also said (at the AOA conference) that the delay in the review would make it harder to form a policy on the proposed high-speed rail route.
Pupils at the Hounslow Heath Infant school ( children aged 3 – 7) just under a Heathrow flight path, have very loud and intrusive aircraft noise from the planes flying some 180 metres approx overhead. The problem is so bad that BAA (as it was) paid for the construction of some adobe structures in the playground, so the children can spend at least part of their time outdoors in places where they can hear each other speak. At some times of day, there is aircraft noise for 25 seconds out of every 90 seconds. Classes of up to 30 children can be seated inside the main dome, and inside the noise is reduced by some 17 decibels. Outdoor learning is valued by teachers and is also a statutory part of the national curriculum. The headteacher said the adobe structures are important as refuges because ”When kids are playing they are also developing their language skills, and in the playground again they’re being interrupted.” Schools should not be located under flight paths where planes are low.
Pupils of Hounslow Heath infants school play around the adobe huts designed to help minimise the noise of aircraft landing at Heathrow airport. Photograph: Frantzesco Kangaris for the Guardian
Buildings originally designed for earthquake and emergency zones in Asia and Africa are now being erected in London playgrounds to shield schoolchildren from the noise of aircraft landing at Heathrow.
Four “superadobe” domes have gone up at a primary school in Hounslow, under the flight path for Heathrow’s southern runway, and two other schools in the area plan to build similar structures. Constructed from coiled bags of earth with white plaster walls, the domes reduce the roar from incoming aeroplanes by 17 decibels for pupils inside.
The domes’ builder, Julian Faulkner, said he had constructed about 70 homes and shelters using the same materials and techniques more common in Africa and Asia, predominantly in Nepal’s earthquake-prone Kathmandu valley.
Planes pass 180 metres (600ft) overhead at Hounslow Heath infant school on their way to land at Heathrow. Faulkner said he was shocked by the sight of children clasping their hands over their ears in the playground. He said the buildings helped to mitigate the planes’ impact, “both of the noise and psychologically”. Classes of up to 30 can be seated inside the main dome, which has a diameter of 5.2 metres, with space for more in a sunken amphitheatre outside.
Another Hounslow primary nearby and a school in neighbouring Slough have commissioned their own adobes from Faulkner’s firm, Small Earth.
The superadobe design was an invention of the Iranian architect Nader Khalili, originally with a view to lunar settlements but first employed in a refugee crisis after the 1990-91 Gulf war, before answering the needs of west London’s noise-afflicted schoolchildren. The buildings can withstand tremors with a magnitude of up to 5.7. Their domes are also immune to the damage occasionally wrought on local homes’ tiled roofs by vortices from incoming jets.
The headteacher, Kathryn Harper-Quinn, estimates that when outside, teachers are rendered inaudible to pupils for 25 seconds in every 90. “I’ve been very concerned about the effects of the noise on the children’s learning,” she said.
In the huts, she added, “you can still hear the planes but you can also hear your own voice”. She said that as outdoor learning was both valued by teachers and a statutory part of the curriculum, staff had developed strategies to deal with aircraft noise, including the use of whistles to alert children who could not hear when teachers were speaking.
She said it was also important that the adobe structures were a refuge for children outside lesson times. “When kids are playing they are also developing their language skills, and in the playground again they’re being interrupted.”
Within the main building of the school, which teaches 520 infants aged between three and seven, special soundproofing measures are in place which diminish, but do not eliminate, aircraft noise.
Hounslow council has launched a public consultation on the effects of aircraft, sending 100,000 questionnaires to its residents, to form its submission to the Davies commission on airport capacity in south-east England. The commission will report in 2015 on the need for new runways, but may also propose measures later this year to permit more flights at Heathrow.
The council has decided against a simple yes-no referendum on Heathrow expansion, as favoured in neighbouring boroughs, as it recognises that the airport is a key local employer and most residents’ views are nuanced. However, it has backed calls from the London assembly member Murad Qureshi for a total ban on night flights.
It also wants to see improved noise mitigation measures. Under a current scheme, Heathrow pays for the installation of double glazing in the bedrooms of houses within a designated “noise contour”, where aircraft noise regularly exceeds 63 decibels. The airport has also funded the soundproofing of certain public buildings, although the council argues that the money is inadequate for both soundproofing and ventilation.
In many schools, that means summer brings a choice of stifling heat or noise in some classrooms. Hounslow Heath has had ventilation installed and Heathrow also eventually chipped in around £10,000 for the adobe shelters. However, Harper-Quinn said: “For the government to consider a third runway is very irresponsible. It will subject even more communities to the unacceptable levels of noise we suffer.”
The article refers to children’s learning – not actual damage to their hearing.
Just to provide a context, normal conversation is equivalent to a level of 60 decibels (not loud enough to cause damage) and we are told here that if aircraft noise regularly exceeds 63 decibels then there is a scheme whereby Heathrow will pay for the installation of double glazing in bedrooms. The noise level needs to be about 85 decibels before damage occurs (new safety regulations in the UK necessitate the wearing of hearing protection above 85 decibels).
However there is some evidence here to suggest that the children are being exposed to higher levels than that of, say, a normal conversation (60 decibels). I think that it would be a good idea if someone actually measured the noise levels in their playground over a period of time – just to be sure that this problem is not only hindering the learning process but actually causing long term damage to their hearing.
Fear that ‘Heathrow noise reduces pupil learning by third’ – as Hounslow opens its Heathrow consultation
The head teacher of an infant and nursery school directly under a Heathrow flight path, close to the airport in Hounslow, has been speaking of the impact of the planes on the learning of children at her school. Kathryn Harper-Quinn, who runs Hounslow Heath Infant & Nursery School said a recent study had highlighted the dramatic impact planes thundering 600-feet overhead have on children’s learning. Asked to recall factual details from an outdoor lesson, she said, a class of 7-year-olds could remember about a third less than those hearing the same lesson in a specially built noise-insulated hut. When the study was repeated with a fictional story, there was no noticeable difference in performance – a result Ms Harper-Quinn put down to pupils being able to fill in the gaps more easily. Speaking at the official launch of Hounslow Council’s consultation on Heathrow, she claimed a 3rd runway would blight thousands more children’s education. The consultation questionnaire contains 11 questions, and the deadline for responses is May 16th.
Heathrow noise ‘hinders pupils’ reading progress’ – would only worsen with more runways and fights
March 28, 2013 Children living under the Heathrow flight path are suffering two-month lags in their reading development as a result of aircraft noise. Hounslow council says pupils in the borough have to put up with “continual disruption”, and warned the problem will worsen if the airport expands to three or more runways. Around 40 schools are directly under the Heathrow flight paths with planes landing every 90 seconds or so much of the day. The council cites an international study by London University into aircraft noise which found it led to a “significant impairment” in reading development, as well as affecting long-term memory and motivation. As well as a 2-month delay in reading, the children’s education is suffering from the continual disruption from low-flying jets. If schools don’t have triple glazing the interruptions to lessons can be relentless. One school near the airport has had shelters installed in the playground so children can escape the noise. A 2010 ECRD study suggested that chronic aircraft noise has a deleterious effect on memory, sustained attention, reading comprehension and reading ability. Click here to view full story…
The Soundscape Project for children around Heathrow to experience peace and quiet
A new project to give children the outdoor sensory experience they are missing
in school settings where incessant aviation noise prevails.… Thousands of children endure their school days under Heathrow flight paths,
often subjected to very high levels of noise from planes overhead.
… Finding appropriate settings which are not affected by air traffic has been Soundscape’s
… 33,000 children in one neighbouring borough, alone, have diminished use of
their school grounds owing to overflying.( London Borough of Hounslow head of
children’s services 2009)
… Hearing the sounds of birdsong, grasshoppers, water flowing, or wind rustling in trees is a rare experience when the natural sounds are drowned by NOISE POLLUTION.
Soundscape wants the children to have the right to be heard, and to hear sounds of nature in a quiet setting
The CBI, somewhat predictably, has sent in a response to the government consultation on night flights, making out that they are indispensable to the UK economy. They claim that overnight flights played a “unique role” ensuring both timely movements of freight and allowing business travellers to arrive at destinations ready for a full day’s work. And there is more about claims that night flights are boosting exports through enhanced connectivity, increasing productivity, creating resilient supply chains and enhancing international competitiveness. And they claim that night flights contributed £1.2 billion to the economy in 2011, supporting 18,700 jobs and delivering £197 million in tax revenue – from discredited data by Oxford Economics. The CBI is, as usual, gung-ho about growth, and uses disingenuous claims about how “quiet” planes are going to get. They perhaps do not understand that an alleged “50% reduction in noise” means, in reality, about a 3 decibel reduction in the sound heard, which is on the borderline of what an ordinary person can distinguish. Not a massive cut in perceived noise.
Responding to a Department for Transport (DfT) consultation, the business lobby group said overnight flights played a “unique role” ensuring both timely movements of freight and allowing business travellers to arrive at destinations ready for a full day’s work.
A DfT consultation has sought to review opinion on current night flying operations at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports.
The CBI response document said: “More than simply flights that could not be undertaken during the day, night flights form an integral part of the business models of many of the UK’s key sectors – boosting exports through enhanced connectivity, increasing productivity, creating resilient supply chains and enhancing international competitiveness.
“The current night flights regime in London is working well, incentivising aerospace manufacturers and service providers to invest in quieter aircraft, which are helping to diminish the impact of necessary night flights on local communities around airports.”
The CBI acknowledged that more needed to be done to address concerns about noise, but said manufacturers were responding to the issue with more advanced aircraft.
It concluded: “The Government should maintain the existing regime, while leaving sufficient headroom in forecasting to avoid hindering economic recovery as the UK returns to growth in the coming years.”
The CBI calculated that night flights contributed £1.2 billion to the economy in 2011, supporting 18,700 jobs and delivering £197 million in tax revenue.
An additional eight night flight routes to major trading partners could boost trade by a further £1 billion, the organisation said.
Improving links to China and other developing nations is vital, the CBI said, with 54% of firms who see China flights as crucial to their business being dissatisfied with the current service.
“Modern aircraft such as the A380 show a decrease of 75% on approach noise from the planes they are designed to replace, while aircraft entering today’s fleets are on average 20 decibels quieter than comparable aircraft 40 years ago.”
In reality, there is some evidence that the A380 is, in practice, almost no quieter than the 747, and may sometimes be more noisy.
“A further 50% reduction of noise levels during take-off and landing is expected by 2020 alone and the aerospace sector has committed to achieving the objectives of the EU Flightpath 2050 programme, seeking to achieve a 65% reduction in perceived noise, of 15dB by 2050.”
In reality, A ‘50% reduction in perceived noise levels is misleading. A halving of sound pressure levels equates to a 3 decibel decrease but a reduction of 3 decibels is the minimum perceptible change under normal conditions.It takes a reduction of about 10 decibels to achieve a 50% reduction in loudness and this level of improvement in aircraft noise performance by 2020 is not remotely possible, even for new aircraft. (For more detail on aircraft noise see http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=12070 ).
“There are two principal ways in which night flights enable British businesses to flourish internationally and make the UK an attractive place to invest: firstly, by meeting international passenger demands for flexible connectivity, especially to emerging markets, and secondly, by supporting the express delivery industry’s ability to provide next-day delivery services.”
In reality, it is unlikely that most businesses would suffer it they got used to dealing with deliveries a few hours later. Or if businessmen organised their schedules to change the times of meetings by a few hours.
it regurgitates the discredited figures that have been put out many times by organisations like Oxford Economics (which is nothing to do with Oxford University) such as:
“The aviation sector is a major contributor to the UK economy. On its own, the sector generates about £10bn GVA each year, while employing as many as 120,000 people – a sum that increases significantly when taking into account the indirect jobs linked to the industry.1 Night flights – allowing for the timely departure and arrival of a limited amount of passengers and freight in the period between 23.00 and 7.00 – are an important part of this economic activity. Research indicates that £1.2bn of GVA was generated by these flights in 2011, sustaining 18,700 jobs and delivering £197m in taxation.”.
In reality, the CE Delft report on air connectivity and the economy, published on 23rd April 2013, was scathing about the data produced by Oxford Economics. They said:
CE Delft has critically assessed the framework used by Oxford Economics on two occasions (CE, 2008 and 2012). Our main points of criticism are:
Oxford Economics presents gross impacts of aviation on employment, taxes and GVA. An estimate of the net impacts on the UK economy would take account of the displacement of jobs, changes in the wage and air freight rate. Connectivity moves in both directions: an increase in tourism would lead to more spending of foreign visitors in the UK, but would also lead to higher spending of UK residents abroad. Oxford Economics only addresses the first issue.
Some impacts (e.g. the economic value of business trips, GVA of non-airliner entities at Heathrow airport) are counted twice.
Stop Stansted Expansion says majority of night flights are unnecessary and should be phased out
Date added: April 23, 2013
SSE has called for night flights to be progressively phased out at Stansted in order to reduce sleep disturbance for local communities. This is part of SSE’s submission to the Government’s current consultation on night flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. Because of its quiet, rural location, aircraft noise – especially at night – is more intrusive than in noisier, urban areas with higher background noise levels. The adverse economic impacts of night noise have been consistently underestimated. An independent study by consultants CE Delft last year showed that the cost to business of a ban on night flights at Heathrow would be outweighed by savings made through the reduced costs of sleep disturbance and stress caused by night flight noise. SSE believes this would also be the case at Stansted where the vast majority of night flights are not business related and do not need to operate during the night. Stansted is currently allowed 12,000 flights a year between 11.30pm and 6.00am – on average, 33 per night. This is more than twice as many as allowed at Heathrow even though Heathrow. The actual number of night flights at Stansted last year was just over 8,000. SSE wants the new cap to be well below this figure.
London Assembly says Heathrow night flights ‘disturb sleep and should stop’
Date added: April 12, 2013
London Assembly Health & Environment Committee has submitted its response to the government consultation on night flights. The Committee, chaired by Murad Qureshi, says they would wish to see night flights stopped altogether, or reduced to an absolute minimum. At the margins “quieter” aircraft cut the disturbance for residents at the edges of the noise footprint so their introduction is of benefit. But modern ‘quieter’ aircraft are still loud enough to wake people & do so regularly after 4.30am, so their number should be reduced. The Committee says Heathrow should adopt a 59 dB Lden threshold for determining areas eligible for insulation, not the current 69 dB Leq or proposed 63 dB Lden. If night flights do continue, an easterly preference at night would help achieve more of a 50/50 split between directions, as at present more come into land from the east over London. Some night flights are because planes are delayed etc so the Committee suggests a reduction in Heathrow daytime number of ATMs would help, so flights do not have to be accommodated at night. They want Heathrow to work towards WHO guidelines; the objective should be to reduce the area within Heathrow’s 40dB night noise contour.
Concern in boroughs near Heathrow about aircraft noise threat from new runways
Date added: April 5, 2013
The flight paths, and areas to be affected by aircraft noise if Heathrow was allowed to build a 3rd and even a 4th runway were revealed earlier this week by the 2M group. People in Richmond are very concerned about the even greater noise intrusion into their lives that would be caused. A Richmond Cabinet member said Heathrow expansion would make cause blight to spread to parts of the borough that are currently less affected whilst increasing the disruption for those who already suffer the burden of continual aircraft noise. Residents in Surbiton are also very concerned that their area may suffer from a large degree of noise. One resident said it would probably force her to move out of the area, and “It is greed, it is capitalism. I care greatly about the environment and we are already wrecking what we have got.” Another said the plane noise puts him off living in the area. Richmond are holding a referendum in May, as are Hillingdon and Hounslow councils, to show the Airports Commission and the industry that Heathrow is not an acceptable location for expansion.