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easyJet says it would fly from Heathrow, “if it was right for us” debunking Gatwick’s Heathrow myth

Gatwick airport, in its bid to try to pursuade the powers-that-be of its suitability as the site of a new runway, has often said that the low cost airlines would not fly from Heathrow. However, easyJet has now said that it would consider flying from an expanded Heathrow.  Carolyn McCall, the chief executive of easyJet, said it would look at flying from Heathrow in future “if it was right for us”, and it if wasn’t too expensive. Gatwick claims that the increase in demand for air travel will be for short haul flights, mainly to Europe or countries adjacent to Europe. Heathrow claims the demand for air travel in future will be long haul.  According to Gatwick’s chief executive, Stewart Wingate, Heathrow is inaccessible for low-cost airlines and charter carriers due to its high landing charges. But Ms McCall points out that easyJet already flies to and from other hub airports in Europe, such as Schiphol, Rome Fiumicino and Paris Charles de Gaulle. Though Heathrow has high landing charges, so do the other European  hub airports. Ms McCall made her comments shortly after easyJet announced a 7-year pricing deal with Gatwick and revealed it is in discussions to take over the airport’s north terminal, potentially forcing out British Airways. It made no mention of a 2nd Gatwick runway.
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easyJet debunks Gatwick’s Heathrow myth

Chief executive of budget carrier dismisses Gatwick’s view that Heathrow prices out low-cost airlines

EasyJet      plane
easyJet announced a seven-year pricing deal with Gatwick and revealed it is in discussions to take over the airport’s north terminal Photo: PA
By Nathalie Thomas (Telegraph)
27 Mar 2014

easyJet, the UK’s biggest airline, would consider flying from an expanded Heathrow, blowing a hole in one of rival airport Gatwick’s main arguments for why it should have the right to build Britain’s next runway.

Carolyn McCall, the chief executive of easyJet, said the budget carrier would look at flying from Heathrow in future “if it was right for us”, debunking the myth that the west London hub prices out low-cost airlines.

Setting its case for a second runway earlier this week, Gatwick insisted it offered the best location for the next runway in the south-east of England as it caters for low-cost carriers, which are expanding at a much faster rate than legacy airlines, and meet overwhelming demand for short-haul flights to Europe.

Although businesses in the UK are keen to establish better air links with destinations in far-flung emerging markets, the bulk of demand in future will continue to be for short-haul to Europe, the West Sussex airport insisted.

According to Gatwick’s chief executive, Stewart Wingate, Heathrow is inaccessible for low-cost airlines and charter carriers due to its high landing charges.

However, in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Ms McCall contested Gatwick’s assertions, pointing out that easyJet already flies to and from other hub airports in Europe, such as Amsterdam Schiphol and Paris Charles de Gaulle.

“We fly out of Charles de Gaulle, we fly out of [Rome] Fiumicino, which is Alitalia’s hub, we are the number two airline out of Schiphol, which is a hub,” Ms McCall said. “If it was right for us to fly out of Heathrow…we would consider flying out of Heathrow.”

She added: “I don’t think they [Heathrow] keep out low-cost airlines, they are highly priced but so is Frankfurt, so is Charles de Gaulle, so is Schiphol.”

Heathrow is currently operating close to capacity but is in a head-to-head battle with rival Gatwick to persuade Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission that it offers the better solution to meet aviation capacity needs in the South East up to 2030.

Ms McCall made her comments shortly after easyJet announced a seven-year pricing deal with Gatwick and revealed it is in discussions to take over the airport’s north terminal, potentially forcing out British Airways.

A new runway, either at Heathrow or Gatwick, will not open for more than a decade, forcing airlines to make best use of the existing capacity.   easyJet, which is the UK’s largest airline by passenger numbers, is already Gatwick’s biggest customer. The airport accounts for about a quarter of easyJet’s entire network – the equivalent of 14m-15m passengers a year – and Ms McCall said consolidating its operations in one terminal would help it to introduce more technology and improve efficiency. However, the move could result in British Airways, which occupies Terminal 5 at Heathrow, having to transfer to Gatwick’s smaller south terminal. easyJet plans to further increase its passenger numbers at Gatwick by around 10% in the year to March 2015 alone, Ms McCall said.

easyJet has also opened its latest European base at Naples airport, as it attempts to win passengers from Italian flag carrier Alitalia.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/10728483/easyJet-debunks-Gatwicks-Heathrow-myth.html

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British Airways offers cheaper ‘day trip’ fares

Cut-price fares launched for those wanting to spend just a day overseas. But is six hours in Rome really worth it?

The longest that BA’s flight schedule would allow anyone in Rome for example, would be a rather short six hours 

By Natalie Paris and Oliver Smith (Telegraph)

5 Mar 2014

British Airways is offering what it claims to be “affordable day trip” tickets for anyone wanting to fly to popular city break destinations and back on the same day

The airline is offering the return fares, from Heathrow Airport only, to Dublin (from £79); Edinburgh (from £89); Geneva (from £79); Vienna (from £99); Munich (from £99) and Rome (from £89).

The flights are for those travelling with hand luggage only and are for departures on Saturdays or Sundays.

At first glance, these seem like fairly good prices, when compared to the cost of adding together two single tickets through BA. But low-cost rivals still outflank the carrier. A quick look at Ryanair’s website reveals that a day return to Dublin on a typical April weekend, for example, can be found for as little £43.78 (also hand luggage only).

Prices aside, would a day trip to Europe be worth it? The longest that BA’s flight schedule would allow anyone in Rome for example, would be around nine hours – six if you take an earlier flight home – including time spent at the airports at each end. Dublin would be a better bet. A day tripper to the Irish capital could spend up to 12 hours exploring the city, including time to get to and from the airport.

Telegraph Travel ran a quick spot check on the BA website (www.ba.com) when the news was announced today to see what sort of prices we could find.

The day return tickets are not labelled as such, so took a little tracking down.

Day returns for Dublin were available for the advertised price of £79 for some weekends in March and throughout April and May. Same-day flights into and out of Edinburgh could be found for £89 during weekends in April, and return fares to Geneva were available for £79.

But the advertised prices for day returns to Munich and Rome were much harder to come by.

Taking Rome as an example, we only managed to find one available return fare between now and May 24 for £89. The price of a return on the first flight into Rome and last back to Heathrow on other weekend dates in March, April and May, variously cost from £169 up to £801 (on March 15).

BA said it could not reveal how many day trip tickets were set aside for each destination, due to the information being “commercially sensitive”, but admitted that availability changes depending on the route.

The fares are only available on flights departing at the start and the end of the day but travellers have a choice between two early or two late flights in some destinations.

Encouraging travellers to fly twice in a day might anger environmentalists. When asked to comment on the effect of such short trips, a spokesman said: “It’s the customer’s choice and they can offset their carbon emissions on the BA website if they wish to.”

The airline said it intends to roll out the fares to other European cities from Heathrow in future, where its flight schedules allow it.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/10678385/British-Airways-offers-cheaper-day-trip-fares.html

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Gatwick Airport’s PR  campaign, which they call “Gatwick Obviously says, under the heading, “The Future” :

“As the popularity of low cost airlines has boomed, Gatwick has made more low cost flights available. EasyJet is now one of our largest and best known airlines. As short-haul and medium-haul flights have increased, Gatwick has offered more of these routes to its passengers, now providing 45 of the top 50 European routes for example”

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EASYJET AND GATWICK AIRPORT AGREE NEW SEVEN YEAR GROWTH AND SERVICE IMPROVEMENT DEAL

27.3.2014 (EasyJet press release)

easyJet today announced that it has agreed a new seven year deal with Gatwick Airport (GAL) from April 2014 which will incentivise the airline to grow at the airport and provide the framework for easyJet and GAL to further improve customer experience for easyJet’s passengers.

Carolyn McCall, easyJet CEO commented on the deal:

“Gatwick is our largest base so it is of strategic importance to secure this new agreement with Gatwick Airport.  easyJet shares the CAA’s view that Gatwick has market power but also supports the move towards a more commercial arrangement with the airport within a regulatory framework.

“This agreement gives easyJet certainty on passenger charges over the next seven years and a clear incentive to continue to grow. More importantly, it will create a framework for easyJet and Gatwick to plan and deliver an improved experience for our passengers.

“Our shared ambition is for Gatwick to be both our biggest and best airport.”

Stewart Wingate, CEO of London Gatwick, said:

“This partnership with easyJet is a landmark deal in London Gatwick’s history. Four years after the end of the BAA monopoly at the airport, this partnership highlights how far we have come to be able to operate within a new framework of commitments and contracts. For passengers travelling with easyJet, they will have more choice, competitive fares and an even better experience. It is positive news for both business and leisure passengers travelling with easyJet from Gatwick.”

easyJet plans to continue to grow at Gatwick through increasing our slots and by deploying larger aircraft as easyJet replaces 156 seat A319s with 180 seat A320s and, from 2017, A320Neos. In the next year (end March 2015) alone the airline will increase capacity and passenger numbers by around 10% compared to the previous year.

The agreement has been reached within the new ‘commitments’ framework which will replace the current regulatory regime as confirmed by the CAA last year‎.

easyJet started flying from London Gatwick Airport in 1999 and now has 57 aircraft based there, operating on 108 routes. The airline has around 1400 cabin crew and 700 pilots operating from the airport.

http://corporate.easyjet.com/media/latest-news/news-year-2014/27-03-2014-en.aspx?sc_lang=en

 

 

 

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Gatwick hopes noise compensation pledge will help it win battle for a new runway

As competition hots up to persuade the Airports Commission, and ultimately Parliament, on their own cases for building a new runway, Gatwick and Heathrow have both stressed the importance of dealing with the aircraft noise issue, or at least hoping people believe they are dealing with it. Gatwick has committed to pay annual compensation of around £1,000 to local households most affected by aircraft noise should it receive approval for a 2nd runway. Heathrow, meanwhile, has pointed to a [dubious] survey it commissioned from Populus that aircraft noise is only the 7th most important aspect of a London airport for Londoners. The Gatwick scheme would only pay up when a new runway starts to be used, and might affect  around 4,100 households inside the 57 db(A) Leq noise contour. The compensation would not be paid to new residents choosing to relocate to the area once the runway is built.  Earlier Gatwick announced plans to offer hundreds of local homes up to £3,000 towards double glazing and loft insulation to mitigate aircraft noise. This level of payment if offered at  Heathrow would be vastly more expensive, by several orders of magnitude.
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Gatwick goes on the noise offensive with compensation pledge to help win battle for a new London runway

Gatwick goes on the noise offensive with compensation pledge to help win battle for a new London runway | Gatwick Airport,Heathrow Airport,GACC,NCS
Possible layout of a two-runway Gatwick Airport (image: GAL)
27 Mar 2014 (GreenAir Online)

As competition hots up to persuade the UK government-appointed Airports Commission, and ultimately Parliament, on their own cases for building a new runway, London’s Gatwick and Heathrow airports have stressed the importance of winning the aircraft noise debate. Believed to be the first airport in the world to make such an offer, Gatwick has committed to pay annual compensation of around £1,000 ($1,600) to local households most affected by aircraft noise should it receive approval for a new second runway. It has also released a supportive noise management report that benchmarks its approach with other leading UK and European airports. Heathrow, meanwhile, has pointed to a survey it commissioned from pollsters Populus that aircraft noise is only the seventh most important aspect of a London airport for Londoners.

Under the Gatwick compensation scheme, which would only come into effect if and when a second runway comes into operation, around 4,100 households situated within the 57 db(A) Leq noise contour would each receive an annual payment equivalent to the Band A Council Tax – the lowest band of property tax charged by the local authority. The compensation would not be paid to new residents choosing to relocate to the area once the runway is built.

“Expansion at Gatwick would, without doubt, deliver many upsides for our local community in terms of jobs and investment. But we must also recognise the negative noise impacts on local people from more flights,” said Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick Airport. “How we best compensate communities affected by major infrastructure projects is an issue facing a growing number of sectors – from aviation to energy.

“Environmental issues are at the centre of the debate about runway capacity in the South-East [of England] and noise reduction, mitigation and compensation are therefore at the heart of our expansion plans. This scheme will be a cornerstone of our planned package of measures for local residents.”

Earlier this year, Gatwick announced plans to offer hundreds of local homes up to £3,000 ($5,000) towards double glazing and loft insulation to mitigate aircraft noise, which will add 40% more homes to those covered already by the old scheme.

Last week, Gatwick published a report it had commissioned from aviation noise consultancy Noise Communications Solutions (NCS) that looked at the airport’s noise initiatives and benchmarked its approach to noise management against leading European airports including Heathrow, Stansted, Frankfurt and Schiphol.

Vicki Hughes, Managing Director of NCS, said the airport had implemented several innovative measures that would help ensure its position as an industry leader in the management of airport noise. Such measures include being the first UK airport to introduce Precision Navigation on all its departure routes which, claims Gatwick, allows aircraft to fly on more precise routes and therefore reduce the number of people impacted by noise.

“We take noise management very seriously and it is great that our approach has been independently validated by renowned noise experts,” commented Wingate. “However, even as we try to remove hundreds of thousands of people out of the flight path in line with government policy, we recognise that there will always be some communities affected by aircraft noise.”

As it steps up its case for expansion, the airport unveiled a new campaign this week, ‘Gatwick Obviously’, to promote the economic, connectivity and regenerative benefits of a second runway. The independent Airports Commission is due to recommend its solution to the London and South East England capacity debate after the next general election in May 2015. Subject to government approval and quick decision-making, Gatwick believes it can start construction of a new runway before the end of the next parliament in 2020, with the first flights taking off in 2025.

Next week, Gatwick is starting a six-week consultation with local residents and businesses over three options it is looking at for the proposed new runway. The airport’s own preferred option is a 1,045m runway south of the existing runway, with both being used for landings and take-offs. The airport will hold a series of 16 public exhibitions during the consultation period.

“The views of the local community are an essential element in shaping Gatwick’s second runway options,” said Wingate. “Therefore it is important we hear from as many people as possible through our consultation so that we can consider local opinions fully in our refined runway proposals.”

However, GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign), which includes local environmental groups and councillors and is fighting the runway proposal, said the consultation was a bogus exercise as it provided no provision for the public to vote against the runway. GACC Chairman Brendon Sewill said the outcome of the consultation was already pre-ordained, particularly over the three options. “Whichever option the public choose, the decision has already been taken,” he said. “And a vote for any option will be counted as a vote in favour of a new runway.”

GACC also criticises the more precise routes now being taken by aircraft departing the airport. “Concentrating flight paths may mean fewer people affected but at the cost of misery for those under the narrow flight path,” it said.

Sewill described the compensation payment offer as a “small bribe” and said the amount would be tiny compared to the loss of house values and the deterioration in the quality of life “of hundreds of thousands of people”.

Meanwhile, Heathrow Airport has published a report it commissioned from independent polling company Populus that shows aircraft noise was less important overall to a majority of Londoners compared to the economic benefits. The poll of just over 1,000 participants found noise ranked as only the seventh most important aspect of an airport, with only 8% ranking it the highest, and fewer than a quarter or respondents rated noise as among their top three issues.

Issues such as the number of destinations an airport flies to directly (35%), its proximity to central London (18%) and the economic benefits it delivers (10%) were all seen as more important considerations.

Commenting on the findings, Heathrow’s Chief Executive, Colin Matthews, said: “Noise is a vital issue for many people. This survey puts the spotlight on other aspects which are vitally important for Londoners when considering an airport.”

http://www.greenaironline.com/news.php?viewStory=1841

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Links:

Gatwick Airport – Aircraft Noise

Noise Communications Solutions

GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

Heathrow Airport

Populus

 

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The Heathrow poll saying noise is 7th most important aspect of a London airport:  [It is hardly surprising if Londoners, living far from the airport and nowhere near a flight path, say noise is not important to them.  It is the opinion of those who live in the noise-affected areas that matters on the issue of noise.  It is like asking the population of a town their opinion of the provision of local veterinary services, when most of them don't have a pet]. 

 

Noise less important than economic benefits when considering airports say Londoners

24 March, 2014 (Heathrow airport press release)

  • New poll shows noise ranks as only the seventh most important aspect of an airport
  • Fewer than a quarter of people (23%) rate noise as among their top three issues
  • Most important factors about a London airport are the number of destinations it flies to (35%) proximity to central London (18%) and economic benefits (10%)

 

A new London-wide survey shows that aircraft noise is only the seventh most important aspect of a London airport for voters, according to new research from independent polling company Populus.

8% of those surveyed ranked noise from flights as their most important issue. Issues such as the number of destinations an airport flies to directly (35%), its proximity to central London (18%) and the economic benefits it delivers (10%) were all seen as more important considerations. Fewer than a quarter of those polled said noise from flights was among their top three issues.

Colin Matthews, Heathrow’s Chief Executive said:

“Noise is a vital issue for many people. This survey puts the spotlight on other aspects which are vitally important for Londoners when considering an airport: For most people, the number of destinations an airport serves, the economic benefits it delivers and its proximity to central London are more important than noise.

A 3rd runway would enable Heathrow to serve more destinations and deliver greater economic benefits while continuing to reduce the number of people exposed to noise.”

Three quarters of those asked (75%) also believe that London needs a world class airport if it is to be a world class city.

Notes to editors

Populus interviewed a representative sample of 1,039 participants in March 2014.

http://mediacentre.heathrowairport.com/Press-releases/Noise-less-important-than-economic-benefits-when-considering-airports-say-Londoners-86f.aspx

[Needless to say, the results of the survey and the raw data, are not published]. 

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Earlier:

Gatwick hopes that by giving another 1,000 homes double-glazing it will defuse opposition to a 2nd runway

February 3, 2014

Gatwick airport continues to spend a lot of money in attempting to get backing for its 2nd runway and soften up opposition. It has now set up a new scheme – starting on 1st April – to give people overflown more double glazing and house insulation, to attempt to cut some of the noise. That, of course, does not work when the windows are open, or when people are outside – in a garden, or elsewhere. Gatwick says it is expanding its noise insulation scheme, to cover over 1,000 more homes across Surrey, Sussex and Kent. People will be able to apply for up to £3,000 towards double glazing for their windows and doors as well as loft insulation; ie the scheme could cost Gatwick some £3 million in total. They are now taking the 60 Leq contour, rather than the 66 Leq contour, as in the past – hence increasing the catchment area. They are also extending the area covered by 15km to both west and east of the airport. Stewart Wingate said “We understand that the public’s tolerance to noise is much lower than it was”… Gatwick is pushing hard to compare the noise problem it causes with the much larger noise problem caused by Heathrow, where flight paths go over many more densely populated areas. They ignore the issue of the low level of background noise around Gatwick, compared to background noise in a city or large town.   Click here to view full story…

 

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Zac Goldsmith challenges Heathrow to take a leaf out of Gatwick’s book

Friday 7th February 2014

Zac Goldsmith has challenged Heathrow to match Gatwick’s pledge to reduce the impact of aircraft noise for people living under the flight path. In a recent expansion of its noise insulation scheme, to be rolled out from April, homes around Gatwick can apply for up to £3,000 towards double glazing, while loft insulation has increased by up to 40%.   If Heathrow was to adopt a similar scheme up to 70,000 homes would be eligible to apply for funds – nearly double the current number.  The Conservative MP for Richmond Park said Gatwick’s move was a bold and responsible one by an airport willing to adapt to aircraft noise in line with the latest scientific evidence.  He said: “Heathrow continually downplays the effects of aircraft on the community in its bid to expand its airport, and is using wildly outdated formula for its own insulation scheme. Even without expansion, the airport already impacts more people than all other major European airports combined, and it’s time for the management to tackle the issue responsibly and seriously.” There are currently about 40,000 homes around Heathrow eligible for noise insulation.      http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/10993513.Goldsmith_challenges_Heathrow_to_take_a_leaf_out_of_Gatwick_s_book/

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Gatwick airport PR onslaught continues: it claims a 2nd runway would bring “Olympic-style boost”

Gatwick airport continues its PR barrage, in its attempt to be chosen to be allowed a new runway. It is arguing that the way the aviation industry will develop in future will make large hub airports obsolete. The airport claims a new runway would regenerate a swath of the South East from London to the coast and create thousands of jobs, across the Gatwick Diamond and beyond. They have hired Sir Terry Farrell to design and promote their plan, and he has said: “An extra runway at Gatwick and a new transformed airport here would provide for London – from the south, Croydon and going north – a bigger economic boost than the Olympics…..It’s an area that is waiting to have this kind of input.” He probably means there is unspoilt countryside in the area around Gatwick.  The claims of benefit from a 2nd runway include promises of jobs as far away as Brighton and Hastings, and “an extra 19,000 jobs in sectors such as retail, construction and ground handling” by 2050.” At present there are about 22,000 to 25,000 jobs at Gatwick. They claim they can build the runway for £5bn to £9bn.  The Airports Commission says the cost would be £10 – 13 billion including surface access improvements.  
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‘Turbo-charged Gatwick airport would bring Olympic-style boost to south London’

 25 March 2014

Bold plan: A new terminal and two new runways in a computer generated image of Gatwick
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Expansion at Gatwick would create an economic boost to rival the Olympic-inspired regeneration of London’s East End, the airport said today.

A second runway which could be in operation by 2025 would lead to new jobs and homes in the “Gatwick triangle” stretching from the airport to the south coast towns of Southampton and Dover.

The bold vision was outlined by renowned architect Sir Terry Farrell as he set out the most detailed plans yet for the proposed £7 billion transformation of Gatwick from budget airline specialist to premier league global airport.

The Sussex airport is battling arch rival Heathrow for the right to build a new runway to solve the South East’s chronic shortage of aviation space with a recommendation to be made to ministers after the General Election.

Sir Terry told the Standard: “A second runway will do for south London what the Olympics and Stratford did for East London. There will be better rail connectivity, a boost to employment and more homes. A second runway also brings with it investment in hotels, cargo holding and warehousing.

New terminal: the two-runway Gatwick, would include an upgraded station/transport interchange and inter-terminal transport link

“It will turbo charge that corridor all the way down to the south coast and do a lot for the natural growth of London in a balanced way.“

Dismissing Heathrow’s plans for a three-runway hub, Sir Terry added: “You have to think about a whole panning strategy for the South East. We’ve in the past talked about a constellation (of runways) but it’s really integrated connectivity of rail, roads and airports.

“A metropolis is different to smaller towns and cities like Frankfurt, Amsterdam or Dubai. Places like New York, Tokyo don’t build single airports – they build networks because they are regionally based. They’ve got to supply a complete system and to spread around. “

He said Gatwick would be balanced with the offer from Heathrow, Stansted and Birmingham which will be within 30 minutes from Old Oak Common when HS2 opens.

“It’s a question of how to make London work as the hub” he said.

The public’s experience of Gatwick would be “transformed” as passengers arrive and depart using a single transport gateway, linking rail, coach and taxis and modelled on Seoul’s Incheon aiport, also designed by Sir Terry.

A new third terminal would be dedicated to the second runway and all three terminals would be linked by a rail shuttle.

Gatwick says the airport would be much more compact than Heathrow and has guaranteed it would take passengers no more than 45 minutes from arrival at the hub to reach their plane.

Transport hub: it is hoped the plans would result in natural growth for London and the south east

Sir Terry, whose CV also includes the MI6 building and Charing Cross station, said: “It will be a completely different kind of airport which will be as good as the best in the world, it’s a transformation of the airport with a new hub for road and rail with a shuttle which will link the terminals in a way you can’t do as efficiently at Heathrow. It’s going to be very compact and on the passenger side a totally new airport.”

Unveiling its “Gatwick for growth” campaign at the Shard today, chief executive Stewart Wingate said a second runway at Gatwick would create an extra 170 million passenger journeys by 2050.

He said short-haul direct flights would continue to account for two thirds of the market and Gatwick was best positioned to supply this. Mr Wingate insisted that the UK did not need Heathrow’s hub – which offers a wider range of transfer destinations -  because these could increasingly be reached flying longer-range planes.

A second runway at Gatwick would create 27 more destinations than expanding Heathrow. By 2030, Airport charges – passed onto passengers in airfares – would rise to £12 to £15 at Gatwick and £35 at Heathrow, although analysts say a third runway at Heathrow could make it cheaper and more attractive to budget airlines. [These low figures are contested - the cost is actually likely to be more like £33 per head at Gatwick, up from around £8 now. These estimates take in the higher cost of the runway + terminal, as estimated by the Airports Commission, not Gatwick's very low estimate.   Link ].

Heathrow insists only a hub can serve the UK’s long-term economic interests by connecting to emerging markets. Heathrow also remains the preferred destination of the major airlines alliances.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/turbocharged-gatwick-airport-would-bring-olympicstyle-boost-to-south-london-9214054.html

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Also:

Gatwick steps up fight for airport expansion

By Jane Wild (Financial Times)

25.3.2014

Expanding Gatwick would regenerate a swath of the South East from London to the coast and create thousands of jobs, the airport argued on Tuesday as it stepped up its campaign to be allowed to build a second runway.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3f1d59ea-b42a-11e3-a102-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2x3kXFk3x

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This is the Gatwick airport press release:

Expanded Gatwick best for UK growth and London regeneration

25 March 2014

As Gatwick unveils a campaign - ‘Gatwick Obviously’ - to step up its case for expansion, emerging findings from new research that will be submitted to the Airports Commission in May show that with a second runway at Gatwick there would be more connections to more destinations than with a third runway at Heathrow.

Work led by Sir Terry Farrell also shows how expansion at Gatwick would provide better balanced growth for London, the region and the UK. With the majority of traffic shared between London’s two major airports, the economic benefits would be more evenly distributed across London and the South East and have significant regenerative benefits in particular for South London, including Croydon and down to Brighton and the South Coast.

An expanded Gatwick would help the UK connect to 27 more destinations than a third runway at Heathrow (442 vs 415 destinations served from London). The same research also shows that a second runway, as part of the network of airports surrounding London, would cater for 11 million more passengers each year by 2050 than a three-runway Heathrow.

Gatwick today also committed to bringing the economic benefits of an additional runway as fast as possible to the UK. Subject to Government approval and assuming quick decision making, Gatwick believes it can start construction of a new runway before the end of the next parliament in 2020, with the first flights taking off by the end of the following one in 2025.

The new information was presented today by Stewart Wingate, London Gatwick CEO, and Sir Terry Farrell, the UK’s leading architect planner, at an event at the Shard in Central London for political and business leaders.

Stewart Wingate said: “The next runway needs to bring the greatest economic return for the UK at the lowest environmental cost. That makes Gatwick the obvious answer as we will be able to connect to more destinations in the future because we are the only airport to cater for all airline models. It is the best solution that embraces long term aviation trends. It can also be delivered in less time with less cost and less noise. Most importantly, passengers will benefit from more choice and better value for money. If chosen – and with swift decision making – we are committing today to start work on site in the next Parliament.”

Sir Terry Farrell said: “I have no doubt that with a second runway, Gatwick will deliver more balanced, and more widely spread, economic growth for London and the South East. Expansion at Gatwick could do for South London and the wider region what the Olympics did for East London and give a huge boost in terms of jobs, housing and regeneration.”

http://www.mediacentre.gatwickairport.com/

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Actual cost of Gatwick runway, according to the Airports Commission:

[The Gatwick  press release does not mention the figure Gatwick often claims, of being able to build the new runway for £5 – 9 billion or so. By contrast, the Airports Commission’s interim report, published on 17th December, said:

” The costs of expansion at Gatwick, while substantial (estimated to be between
£10-13 billion over the period to 2030, once the costs of surface access
improvements are taken into account, and with allowances for risk and optimism
bias), are lower than those of expansion at Heathrow and significantly lower than
those of any new hub airport.”

Page 196 of  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/271231/airports-commission-interim-report.pdf

 

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See also

 

A new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick would mean big increases in passenger fees – New report

March 10, 2014

Who pays

The Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) has submitted a new report to the Airports Commission which casts doubt on the feasibility of building a new runway at either Gatwick or Heathrow. So far there has been little realistic discussion about who will actually pay for the proposed runways. The new study,Who Would Pay for a New Runway” by Brendon Sewill, shows that a new runway at Heathrow would be likely to mean an increase in landing fees and other airport charges from £19 per passenger now, up to £31. At Gatwick there would be a larger increase, up from £8 now to £33.60. The study points out that with all the London airports separately owned, unlike in the days of BAA, the cost will have to fall only on the passengers using that airport. If an expensive runway (and terminal) is built, the options are either that the passengers pay for it – or that it has to have public subsidy. A report for the Airports Commission, by KPMG, concluded that a new Heathrow runway would need a subsidy of around £11 billion, and a new Gatwick runway a subsidy of nearly £18 billion. However, the Government is reluctant to commit public funds, and new EU guidelines ruling out subsidies to major airports. That leaves landing charges – will passengers put up with that, or vote with their feet by using cheaper airports?

Click here to view full story…

 

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Norwegian airport operator Avinor to invest heavily in national aviation biofuel production

Norway’s state-owned airport operator and air navigation services provider Avinor has said it will contribute up to $16.5 million equivalent over a 10-year period to help develop an aviation biofuel sector in Norway.  Avinor said that its alleged “carbon neutral growth” could only be achieved if biofuels are a key part of the solution.  Norwegian advocates of aviation biofuel say biomass for producing biofuels should be reserved for the transport sector, in particular aviation, where there are few alternative options to fossil fuels. They claim aviation is key in getting tourist money into Norway, and regional development – and for some reason, they should be getting whatever biofuel is available, claiming “This is a matter of both social responsibility and benefit to society.” The Norwegian aviation industry may be aware that they are seen as high carbon, but appear not to comprehend that if aviation claims any genuinely low carbon fuels, that merely means some other sector  is likely to have to use higher carbon fuel instead.  Not everything can use renewably sourced electricity. The carbon emissions are merely shifted elsewhere, for aviation to try to look “green.”
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Norwegian airport operator Avinor to invest up to $16.5 million to support national aviation biofuel production

Mon 24 Mar 2014  (GreenAir online)

Norway’s state-owned airport operator and air navigation services provider Avinor has pledged to contribute up to 100 million Norwegian kroner ($16.5 million) over a ten-year period to help develop an aviation biofuel sector in the country. Announcing the move at an Avinor conference, ‘Fly with Norwegian biofuel in 2020’, the organisation’s CEO said the advent of new and more energy-efficient aircraft would not be enough as the industry works towards carbon-neutral growth, and biofuels would have to be a key part of the solution. Petter Heyerdahl, Associate Professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), told the conference that biomass for producing biofuels should be reserved for the transport sector, in particular aviation, where there are few alternative options to fossil fuels.

Dag Falk-Petersen, CEO of Avinor, which operates 46 airports in the country, including Oslo, stressed aviation played a crucial role in an increasingly global industry and in regional development and tourism in Norway.

“Avinor will be a driving force, and over a ten-year period we are prepared to contribute up to 100 million kroner to various projects and reports that can help to realise biofuel production for Norwegian aviation,” he told the conference. “This is a matter of both social responsibility and benefit to society.”

Torbjørn Lothe, Director General of the Federation of Norwegian Aviation Industries (NHO Luftfart), believed aviation no longer had the same legitimacy in the eyes of the population that it had enjoyed some decades ago.

“One can discuss how fair it is that aviation is picked on as an environmental sinner, but we have to show that aviation is forward looking through what we do,” he said, adding the industry supported the ‘polluter must pay’ principle.

However, he was unhappy with what he saw as a high level of domestic charges that distorted competition, and said society was best served by industry having the latitude to implement effective measures to reduce its impact. “To operate more energy efficiently is in any event a goal for an industry where fuel represents 30-40% of the operating costs for airlines,” he said.

Over 1,500 biofuel flights conducted so far had shown there was no need for technical adjustments to aircraft, he said, adding: “Norwegian airlines will buy biofuels when they are available in the required quantities and at a competitive price.”

NMBU’s Petter Heyerdahl argued there was not enough biomass in the world to replace fossil fuels and even if it was all used to produce biofuel, it would only cover half of current fuel consumption. “Such a degree of utilisation is completely unrealistic,” he said. “That’s why we must reserve biomass for transport purposes.”

A year ago, Avinor published a report on a study it commissioned from consultancy Ramboll on the potential for a sustainable aviation biofuels sector in Norway.

The aviation fuel arm of Norwegian oil producer Statoil recently announced a partnership agreement with SkyNRG to develop an aviation biofuel supply chain in the Nordic region (see article).

http://www.greenaironline.com/news.php?viewStory=1839

 

Links:

Avinor

NHO Luftfart

Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

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Local farmer wins legal challenge on Carlisle airport expansion and freight distribution

Local farmer, Gordon Brown, who farms at Irthington close to Carlisle airport, has won another round in the long battle against the expansion of Carlisle Airport and its cargo distribution centre.  The High Court judge, Mr Justice Collins,  ruled that planners had failed to properly consider the viability of the plans.  He allowed the challenge by Thomas Brown, and quashed the latest planning permission for a new freight storage and distribution facility at the airport. The judge said that Brown’s claim succeeded, though only on one ground, put forward by him – which was the failure by the council planners to consider the viability of the expansion plans properly. The decision was said to be borderline, and ”by no means straight forward,” had taken years, and generated an “excessive” amount of paperwork. The latest round of the legal battle comes more than 3 years after Brown won a ruling from London’s Court of Appeal quashing the council’s previous grant of planning permission. Whether there will be an appeal against today’s ruling is not yet known.
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Farmer wins Carlise airport expansion legal challenge

24 March 2014 (Planning Resource)

A farmer has won a legal challenge against the expansion of Carlisle Airport after a judge ruled that planners had failed to properly consider the viability of the plans.

London's Royal Courts of Justice

Mr Justice Collins allowed the challenge by Thomas Brown, from Irthington, and quashed the latest planning permission for a new freight storage and distribution facility at the airport.

The judge said that Brown’s claim succeeded, though only on one ground, put forward by him. That was failure by the planners to properly consider the viability of the expansion plans.

In backing Brown the judge said that the decision allowing planning consent could only be justified if the planning committee was properly entitled to conclude that there was a reasonable prospect of achieving commercial use of the airport.

But he said that a key issue involving a subsidy was “not properly dealt with” by the planning committee.

He added: “Since anything which went to show that a commercial operation would not be likely to be feasible, even for a shorter period than forecast might have tipped the balance, that failure becomes more important.”

He said that he had to consider whether the short-comings in the “socio-economic considerations” sufficed to show that the decision could not stand.

He continued: “This was such a border line decision that any material defect is of greater importance than it might have been otherwise.”

The claim was, he said, “by no means straight forward” and had a substantial history which had “generated enormous amounts of paper” with more than 4,900 pages put before him. He branded that as “excessive.”

The latest round of the legal battle was heard in London last month came more than three years after Brown won a ruling from London’s Court of Appeal quashing the council’s previous grant of planning permission.

The planning decision under challenge was taken in February 2013, when the council granted a fresh permission for a freight distribution centre and the raising and re-profiling of the runway.

The permission was made subject to a section 106 agreement imposing an obligation on Stobart Air to keep the airport open and the runway maintained unless it could be shown that the airport is no longer economically viable.

Summarising the case at the start of the hearing, the judge said it amounted to a claim that the council had no power to enter into the agreement, that it doesn’t achieve what it was proposed to achieve, and that it was unlawful because it was done behind closed doors.

On the question of legal costs, which are expected to be high he said the parties were seeking to agree the issue of legal costs. He gave them until 27 March to put any submissions on that to him in writing.

Whether there will be an appeal against today’s ruling is not yet known.

R on the application of Brown v Carlisle City Council. Case Number: CO/4248/2013

http://www.planningresource.co.uk/article/1286619/farmer-wins-carlise-airport-expansion-legal-challenge

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Comment from an AirportWatch member :

Mr Brown must be judged a complete hero for 7 years of standing in the way of this application. His argument that ‘it was the wrong location for a regional distribution centre’ is right – Stobart’s sold their ‘alongside J44′ existing distribution centre site before they had got planning permission for their new one at the airport and then used the recklessness of that decision to extort the determination of a permission from the Council, despite the fact that the airport is stuck 5 miles up the A689.

 


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Farmer who’s grounded Carlisle Airport plans says he’s fighting for equality

By Chris Story and Duncan Bick  (Times and Star)

24 March 2014

A farmer whose legal challenge saw plans to revamp Carlisle Airport quashed says his battle has been one to ensure equality.
Gordon Brown photo
Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown argues Carlisle City Council must stick rigidly to rules with Stobart Group and its plans to overhaul the airfield.

A senior judge’s decision to kick out the latest redevelopment plans is the second that the Irthington farmer has successfully had through judicial review at the High Court.

The ruling is, however, unlikely to be the end of the long-running saga, with Stobart already planning to table another planning application.

Mr Brown, who lives opposite the airport, said it would be premature to comment on an application not already lodged. But he told the News & Star: “I don’t think Carlisle City Council should have one planning system for Stobart and another for the rest of us.”

The court ruling to reject the latest multi-million pound proposals has reignited fierce debate over the airport’s future.

In February last year, the council granted Stobart Group planning permission for a 394,000sq ft freight distribution centre and to resurface the runway in readiness for scheduled passenger flights.

Mr Justice Collins overturned that consent on the grounds of an objection put forward by Mr Brown that there was a defect in viability forecasts of the expansion plans.

He said the decision to grant planning consent could be justified only if the council’s development committee could conclude there was a reasonable prospect of achieving commercial use of the airport.

But a key issue involving a subsidy was “not properly dealt with” by the council’s planning committee, the judge ruled. He rejected the other grounds of appeal put forward, describing the decision made by the council as “borderline”.

Mr Brown doesn’t believe anyone is interested in developing the airport as an airport – describing such a move as “commercial suicide”. He described the judge’s ruling as “in line with expectation”, adding: “The main area of concern was that Carlisle City Council was misrepresenting the entire decision-making process.

“In this situation they took a decision which perhaps they felt was a politically expedient one, rather than one that was based on planning policy.”

Both the city council and Stobart were disappointed by the judge’s ruling.

The council has not said whether it intends to appeal. Stobart has, however, said it was “encouraged” that the “vast majority” of arguments put forward by Mr Brown were rejected, saying its plans would have created “huge opportunity” with a daily flight to Dublin – and via customs clearance in Dublin to the US – and two daily flights to London and the south east through London Southend Airport, which the transport giant also owns.

A spokeswoman said the company still believed a thriving Carlisle Lake District Airport would provide economic growth.

Support has already been voiced for the firm to make another bid at redevelopment.

Cumbria Tourism chairman Eric Robson said: “I think it’s a great shame but the heartening thing is that Stobart have now said they are going to retry. Given that all but one of Mr Brown’s points were thrown out, I am pretty certain that next time around it will get the approval. The benefits to Carlisle, the Lake District and the Scottish Borders would be tremendous, there is no doubt about that.”

He added that a connecting flight from Dublin would allow tourists from North America to clear customs before arriving in Cumbria, giving the county an opportunity to exploit that market.

In Irthington, near the airport, views on the airport redevelopment remain mixed. Giving her own view, parish council chairman Margaret Ogden said: “We are just happy that it has come to some sort of resolution.”

Stobart Group had argued that rental income from a freight distribution centre would turn around the fortunes of the loss-making airport.

Although there was the prospect of daily flights two aviation consultants – commissioned by the council and Mr Brown – cast doubt as to whether passenger services would be viable.

Stobart has a fall-back scheme in place in anticipation that the council might lose the judicial review proceedings. It secured planning permission in December to build 310,000sq ft of warehousing and 9,200sq ft of office accommodation at Kingmoor Park on the northern edge of Carlisle.

http://www.timesandstar.co.uk/farmer-who-s-grounded-carlisle-airport-plans-says-he-s-fighting-for-equality-1.1124933

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Earlier:

 

HIGH COURT VERDICT THROWS CARLISLE AIRPORT PLANS INTO DISARRAY

21 March 2014  (In Cumbria)

Stobart Group is to submit new plans for the development of Carlisle Airport despite a legal set back today.

The company has expressed frustration and disappointment at the High Court’s decision to back a challenge from a farmer but says it is determined to provide passenger flights from the airport.

Mr Justice Collins, one of the country’s most experienced planning judges, allowed the challenge by Gordon Brown, from Irthington and quashed the latest planning permission for a new freight storage and distribution facility at the airport.

The judge said that Mr Brown’s claim succeeded, though only on one ground put forward by him. That was failure by the planners to properly consider the viability of the expansion plans.

In backing Mr Brown, the judge said that the decision allowing planning consent could only be justified if the planning committee was properly entitled to conclude that there was a reasonable prospect of achieving commercial use of the airport.

But, he added, a key issue involving a subsidy was “not properly dealt with” by the planning committee.

He said that he had to consider whether the short-comings in the “socio-economic considerations” were sufficient to show that the decision could not stand.

He continued: “This was such a border line decision that any material defect is of greater importance than it might have been otherwise.”

The claim was, he said, “by no means straight forward” and had a substantial history which had “generated enormous amounts of paper” with more than 4,900 pages put before him. He branded that as “excessive.”

In a statement issued following the hearing, a Stobart Group spokesman said: “We are disappointed in what the court found was a borderline decision but obviously respect the court’s findings. However we are encouraged that the vast majority of Mr Brown’s arguments were rejected by the court.

“We have worked so hard to build a bigger and better Carlisle Lake District airport. Through our Stobart airline investment [formally Aer Arann, this week renamed as Stobart Air] our plans would have created a huge opportunity for the region.

“These plans included a daily flight to Dublin (and via customs clearance in Dublin, to the United States) and two daily flights to London and the South-East through our London Southend Airport. This would have been fantastic for the people of Carlisle and the surrounding region and would have allowed tourists from London and the South-East and the USA direct access to the Lake District, Carlisle and surrounding area.

“We still firmly believe that a thriving Carlisle Lake District airport will provide economic growth and jobs for the people of Carlisle and the surrounding area and to that end we intend to submit a new application taking into account today’s finding.”

http://www.in-cumbria.com/high-court-verdict-throws-carlisle-airport-plans-into-disarray-1.1124604

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Tui’s Chief Executive Peter Long calls for staggered school holidays – to cut prices?

Tui’s Chief Exec, Mr Long, has suggested that parents who send their children to private schools, which break up earlier than state schools, should pay more because “they can afford it.”  He has apparently discussed this with the Dept for Education, and wants different counties to stagger school breaks to “enable holiday costs at peak periods to come down.”  The higher costs in peak time are, or course, because the travel companies choose to put their charges up then – the whole holiday industry capitalises on the higher demand.  Mr Long said the price difference between a holiday booked at the beginning of July (some private schools break up in early July) and one for the start of August was 20%. The industry wants a widening of the main holiday periods so that, in fact, they can charge more for holidays for more weeks, by spreading the demand. He seems to be a bit confused between private school parents, and staggering term dates between regions. Parents who scrimp and save and go without many consumer delights in order to pay for private school fees, are incensed by Mr Long’s proposals and lack of understanding. 
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Tui’s Chief Executive Peter Long calls for staggered school holidays 

By Phil Davies (Travel Weekly)
24 March 2014

Parents who send their children to private schools, which break up earlier than state schools, should pay more because “they can afford it,” according to Tui Travel chief executive Peter Long.

Long told the Financial Times he had discussed the issue with the education department and proposed that counties stagger school breaks to enable holiday costs at peak periods to come down.

He said the price difference between a holiday booked at the beginning of July and one for the start of August was 20%.

“There is an irony in that for the 93% of children in state schools, the holiday starts at the end of July. For the 7% of children that go to private schools, the holiday starts at the beginning of July,” Long said.

“Those that can afford to pay more for their holiday don’t have to pay more for their holiday because they can go in the first two weeks of July.”

If school breaks were staggered, those families who benefit from being able to go away in the first two weeks of July would see their prices go up, he added.

“They might moan but, arguably you could say they can afford it,” said Long.

The Tui chief said he raised the issue with the education department because he is president of the Family Holiday Association, which provides holidays for impoverished families.

Education secretary Michael Gove last month accused travel companies of attempting “to fleece parents” by ramping up holiday prices at certain times of the year.

But seeking “to dispel some of the myths”, Long said Tui Travel does not “suddenly put all the prices up” when schools break up.

“It’s because our costs go up as well, because we’re having to pay more for our hotel rooms in periods of high demand, which is economics,” he said.

Asked about the cost of a two-week all-inclusive holiday in high summer, Long said: “It’s great value and it’s not expensive. But it’s more expensive than a holiday in a period of lower demand.”

Mr Gove is proposing legislation to allow all schools to change term dates.

But Long said the best approach was to replicate the German model and stagger school breaks by county to “flatten the peak”.

The impact on Tui Travel would be neutral, he added.

“It’s effectively saying we’ll get a higher price at the beginning of July and therefore we can have a lower price in August,” said Long.

http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2014/03/24/47363/tuis+long+calls+for+staggered+school+holidays.html

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Below are some of the comments below the article:

    • Wouldn’t staggering the school holidays just allow the tour ops to charge peak prices for an extra few weeks? I can’t see prices coming down in August just cos they sold a few more holidays in June as a result of staggering dates can you.

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  • Mr Long, how on earth can you assume that parents who send their children to private school can afford to pay more? Many parents, like myself, scrimp and save to send their child to a private school and this often means going without a holiday at all. To state that we can afford to pay more is just WRONG. It might be an idea to get your facts right before making such inflammatory comments in future.

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    The problem is supply and demand. Most of Europe is off in August. I believe that schools could shorten the 6 weeks in summer to 4 weeks and then give each child two floating weeks that they could take over a twelve month period. Then if the child comes from a split family they could take a week with each parent during the year or the family could go away together for the whole two weeks, with a proviso that the child’s attendance is at an acceptable level.

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    I like the idea of staggering school holidays but I think that the impact on demand and pricing for regional departures should be considered. It could lead to regional departures being in high demand while the children in that area are off school which would then be reflected in the pricing. For it to work neighbouring regions would have to have very different dates eg. Greater manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside and west and south Yorkshire could all have very different school holiday dates in order to spread demand for Manchester flights. I’m not sure how it would effect smaller airports such as Doncaster, leeds and Liverpool.

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  • I can’t believe the two negative comments both mention ‘forgo-ing’ holidays, yet in the same rant condemn Mr Long’s comments who suggests ‘arguably can afford it’.
    Obviously not every parent will be able to afford it, the same as not every state schooled parent would be able to afford an off-peak holiday. But I would think that the vast majority of private schooled parents ‘could’ afford the additional costs. I ‘applaud’ you for forgo-ing holidays for the sake of your childrens educations.

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  • Why does Mr Long and TUI say this is a class issue,Private Schools Vs State, assuming people who can afford private schools have more money than those who send their kids to a state school. I work in the travel industry which is not the best paid, but i forgo Holidays, newish cars, and rent a house, because i have chosen to educate my child privately. It sounds as though Long and TUI have a strange way of addressing their critics.

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    Earlier:

    Government response rejects petition asking for no APD during school summer holidays

    18.2.2014

    A petition to the Treasury has been created, asking that the government suspend or reduce Air Passenger Duty  (APD)during the school summer holidays. The petition says British families need quality time together at a time they legally can (parents are not meant to take children out of school in term time).  Quite why the families have to get on a plane in order to have quality time together is not explained.  As the number signing is now around 38,000 there has been a response from the government. They say “APD exists to provide revenues for the public services. Revenue from APD plays an important part in supporting this Government’s stabilisation of the UK’s public finances.” They add that APD is charged by the airlines, and they have the option of not  passing the cost on to the passengers. They also say that APD for the majority of flights, which are to Europe, is only £13 for a return trip. “The duty makes up a relatively small proportion of the total ticket cost. For example, it is less than 9% of the cost of an early booking for return flights for a family of four to Málaga in July 2014. Other charges imposed by airlines, such as fuel or luggage surcharges, can make up a much higher proportion of the total ticket price.” The industry ramps up the price of flights and holidays during July and August, by far more than the price of APD.  For instance, holiday price £2,015.59 in August and £1,214 for the same trip in late September.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=19977
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Developments of “sustainable” jet fuels continue ponderously, hoping to ramp up supply

In a thorough over-view of current progress by various airlines and biofuel companies across the world, GreenAir Online goes through the main initiatives. In London, it is possible that the British Airways and Solena plant, to make jet fuel from London’s rubbish, might start to be built in 2015, though a site has not yet been announced.  KLM is hoping to do flights from Amsterdam starting in May using biofuels produced by the ITAKA consortium – a Europe-wide collaboration of interests involving Airbus, Embraer, Neste Oil, SkyNRG, Manchester Metropolitan University and others.  This was intended to use camelina grown in Spain as the main source of biomass for the fuel but this has proved “challenging”. Used cooking oil is therefore likely to be the source of the fuel for the May flights. There are initiatives in the Middle East with Etihad working with Boeing, Honeywell UOP, Safran and the Masdar Institute.  In Abu Dhabi, there is an initiative developing the Integrated Seawater Energy and Agriculture System (ISEAS) that grows salt-water tolerant Salicornia halophyte plants for use as biomass to produce fuels. And there are others – still expensive, still experimental, still not actually “green” or “sustainable.”
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Development of sustainable jet fuels moves towards next phase of new technology pathways and ramping up supply

21 Mar 2014 (GreenAir online)

The early excitement of demonstration flights and subsequent approvals for the use of some types of biofuel blends on passenger flights has given way to the less headline-grabbing ‘hard yards’ of establishing supply chains to provide airlines with cost-competitive and sustainable fuels.

New technology pathways are expected to be certified for commercial aviation use within the next year that will see innovative synthetic jet fuels reach the market. The recent disclosure that green diesel may become a blending source for jet fuel is another important step.

The challenge now is to move beyond one-off projects towards a continuous supply of jet biofuels using standard fuel logistics at airports. The recent Bio Jet Fuel conference at the World Bio Markets in Amsterdam brought together the aviation and biofuel sectors to discuss progress.  

GreenAir reports from the event on the latest developments in Europe and further afield.

According to British Airways’ Head of Environment, Jonathon Counsell, a 20-acre (8ha) site in east London has been selected for its GreenSky project with Solena and an announcement is expected within weeks. Getting the required planning permission had proved “extremely challenging,” he said.

GreenSky will convert around 600,000 tonnes of [London's?]  municipal waste into 50,000 tonnes of biojet and 50,000 tonnes of biodiesel annually, and will meet BA’s total fuel needs at London City Airport.

“We are doing this to help reduce our carbon emissions, not to get a source of cheap fuel,” said Counsell, who expects annual savings of up to 145,000 tonnes of CO2. “It’s very much a demonstration plant for us. If we can prove this works commercially then we will build a number of them in the UK – potentially up to six – at this scale or even bigger.

“The economics is driven by a current UK landfill tax of about £80 per tonne.  Within a 25-mile radius of the proposed plant there is some 10 million tonnes of available municipal waste. We do not want to pay a premium for this fuel so there are financial instruments built into the agreement to protect us from any price risk.”

Under its 10-year contract with Solena, BA will purchase all the fuel – worth $500 million at today’s prices – produced by the plant. “This has been critical to attracting investors,” said Counsell. “The downside is the significant capital investment, around $500 million. To de-risk the project it also requires world-class partners.”

The upside of the technology, he said, were GHG life-cycle savings of up to 95%, methane savings and no ILUC (indirect land use change) issues.

Construction is to start by early next year [2015] that will take two years, with production starting in 2017, forecasts Counsell. Around 1,000 construction jobs and 200 operational roles are envisaged.

Counsell was critical of a lack of interest by the UK government over aviation biofuels. “It is apparent to us that some governments are very supportive of their aviation industry and others are less,” he said. “What we need from our government is regulatory support and a level playing field with biodiesel.”


Artist’s impression of GreenSky plant:

Linden Coppell, Head of Sustainability at Etihad Airways, reported encouraging findings from the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium in which the airline is partnering with Boeing, Honeywell UOP, Safran and the Masdar Institute. In Abu Dhabi, the initiative is developing the Integrated Seawater Energy and Agriculture System (ISEAS) that grows salt-water tolerant Salicornia halophyte plants for use as biomass to produce sustainable fuels.

Research findings have shown they have low lignin and high sugar content and so are easier to process into biofuel than other feedstocks. As well as sustainable aviation biofuel and other fuels, they show potential for the production of high value bio-based chemicals. Since 97% of the planet’s water is in the seas and about 20% of its land mass is desert, she said the concept could be applied to many arid regions of the world.

Another local project, BIOjet Abu Dhabi, involving Boeing, Etihad, Masdar and various oil refining interests, was launched recently and a roadmap initiative to drive a sustainable aviation biofuel industry in the emirate is to commence next month, reported Coppell.

Ignaas Caryn, Innovation and Corporate Venturing Director for KLM, said it was important to reach the next stage in the development of aviation biofuels, namely the constant supply of such fuels and developing the entire supply chain for their production at a price competitive with their fossil equivalent.

He reported that KLM will be undertaking flights from Amsterdam starting in May using biofuels produced by the ITAKA consortium – a Europe-wide collaboration of interests coordinated by Spanish government aeronautical organisation Senasa and involving Airbus, Embraer, Neste Oil, SkyNRG, Manchester Metropolitan University and others. This is the first major aviation biofuel supply chain to be undertaken in Europe.

KLM signed an offtake agreement with ITAKA in late 2012. The basis of the project was to use camelina grown in Spain as the main source of biomass for the fuel but Caryn reported that this has proved “challenging” in the early stages, due partly to bad weather in the growing season and also farming inexperience when scaling up production of the feedstock. Used cooking oil based biofuel is therefore the likely source for the May flights. A second batch of ITAKA fuel is expected to be available by the end of this year when, he hopes, “lessons will have been learned”. Demonstrating the supply chain works and is continuous will be crucial, he added.

Further afield, KLM is in a partnership with the Brazilian Biojetfuel Platform alongside airline GOL. The initiative aims to establish a sustainable jet fuel industry in the country with research and development activity in several regions of the country.

KLM is also involved in the BioPort Holland supply chain initiative that brings together SkyNRG, Neste Oil, Schiphol Group, Port of Amsterdam and the Dutch government. Caryn said it would pave the way for more bioports in different regions of the world. During the World Bio Markets event, BioPort Holland was presented with the Sustainable Bio ‘Collaboration of the Year’ award.

Also during the event, sustainable aviation biofuel supplier SkyNRG, which has championed the bioport concept, announced a long-term cooperation agreement with Norway’s Statoil Aviation, the leading aviation fuel supplier in Northern Europe, to supply jet biofuel through a bioport in the region.

“We foresee that working with SkyNRG will accelerate our strong ambitions to supply the Nordic countries with significant quantities of sustainable jet fuel,” said Thorbjörn Larsson, Vice President of Statoil Aviation. “We want to ensure we can meet the short and long term future demand from customers, airports and authorities.”

In the short term, there is an acceptance by the two parties that the fuel will have a cost premium but, said SkyNRG CEO Dirk Kronemeijer, the aim is to accelerate supply and demand for sustainable jet fuel that is also affordable. The first projects in the Nordic region are expected to be announced soon.

The Lufthansa burnFAIR project involving around 1,200 commercial flights using biofuel blends between Frankfurt and Hamburg along with research into various production pathways finished at the end of 2013, reported Alexander Zschocke, the airline’s Aviation Biofuel Project Manager. A German-language final report with key results is due out in May, he said, and will be made available to any interested party.

Echoing KLM’s Caryn, he believed it was now time to move towards the use of biofuels as part of routine operations involving standard fuel logistics. This will be trialled for the first time this year as part of the ITAKA project and is expected to become operational practice at Los Angeles International Airport in 2016.

However, one issue that arose during the burnFAIR project, revealed Zschocke, was the variance in properties found in different samples of conventional jet kerosene, which has implications for biofuel blending.

To date, only HEFA (hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids) and Fischer-Tropsch derived fuels have been ASTM approved for commercial aviation use in blends of up to 50%. The next fuel to be approved – by the middle of this year, understands Zschocke – is farnesane, a plant or cellulosic sugar-based biofuel developed by US company Amyris in cooperation with French oil giant Total. The fuel is expected to be blended with conventional jet kerosene at a maximum ratio of 10%. Although some synthetic fuels awaiting ASTM approval will require no blending with conventional kerosene, these are some way off into the future, he said.

“For the time being, consideration of blending requirements is therefore indispensable when setting up a bio-kerosene supply chain,” he said. “Blending is key. The process itself is not rocket science – the issue is the properties of the conventional kerosene.”

Blended fuels must meet the same specification requirements as conventional kerosene plus some additional ones, he said, particularly concerning fuel density and aromatics content. “What we didn’t realise was how little is known generally about the properties of conventional kerosene and statistical data is almost non-existent.”

So Lufthansa went to airports throughout Germany to ask for certificates for fuel deliveries over a one-year period. “We took some key parameters that were relevant from a blending and emissions perspective and found some wide differences,” reported Zschocke. “For example aromatics content, which is specified at a minimum 8.4% for synthetic fuels, ranged from 5.9% to 25.5%, so even using a drop of this fuel would render it out of spec even though it is being used in Germany without any problems.”

The sampling found, in the main, that kerosene produced by German refineries had low aromatics content compared to imported fuel. However, the imported fuel was found to have a higher content of sulphur, which has negative environmental impacts. “There are therefore side effects which have to be taken into account,” warned Zschocke.

Lufthansa is now coordinating a blending study with the German Armed Forces Research Institute for Materials, Fuels and Lubricants (WIWeB) that is being financed by the European Commission as part of the European Flightpath 2020 aviation biofuel initiative. The study, which is conducting laboratory analysis of blending behaviour on a range of synthetic fuels, will conclude in the second half of this year and a report is to be published by the Commission.

Zschocke also revealed that aireg, the German aviation biofuel association, is to cooperate with its US counterpart CAAFI in efforts to streamline ASTM certification for new technology pathways. He said the number of pathways awaiting approval was “piling up” and putting pressure on engine manufacturers because of the amount of analysis and time required for testing the fuel from each pathway. “We need to improve and speed up the process,” he said.

Virpi Kröger, Manager of Renewable Aviation Fuel for Finnish company Neste Oil, advised the aviation industry to start with biofuel blends as low as 2% initially as this would significantly lower the price premium to around just 3% higher than conventional jet kerosene at today’s prices. A 2% blend would provide easier access to around one million tonnes of renewable fuel at an EU level and would also encourage investment in production, she suggested.

Willemijn van der Werf, Global Sustainability Director of LanzaTech, reported the company’s alcohol-to-jet fuel process is likely to be certified for commercial airline use within the next 12 months. Its Shougang bioethanol demonstration plant in China was granted sustainability certification by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) last October. A more recent life-cycle analysis study by sustainable energy consultancy E4Tech concluded the LanzaTech bioethanol achieved a 76.6% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over fossil fuel.

The recent disclosure (see article) by Boeing that green diesel, also known as renewable diesel, could prove a potential source of jet biofuel was described by the company’s Sustainable Biofuel Strategy Director, Darrin Morgan, as “a very substantial new development.”

He said green diesel had been found to be close enough in jet fuel properties to HEFA fuels and could work as a blending stock. However, because it did not quite meet freeze point requirements, it could only be used in lower blends but otherwise would likely meet or exceed HEFA specifications. He said support from the US FAA and aircraft and engine OEMs, which are central to the ASTM approval process, had been positive.

Morgan revealed testing of the fuel, including by the FAA, was currently underway and a research report would be released “in the not too distant future”. He said the fuel had already undergone nine months of “diligent” analysis and expected the fuel to be balloted by the relevant ASTM committee within a year.

“As an OEM, we have been hearing from many people that it’s difficult to go through all the hurdles to make jet biofuels,” he said. “This is us doing the job of making it easier to get into our market. It’s not easy to get a consensus on a new jet fuel specification but we, along with the US government, the FAA and other OEMs, are putting our shoulders into it. This can lower the barrier to entry significantly.”

There are currently around four biorefineries in the world producing upwards of 800 million gallons of green diesel. Increasing that to one billion gallons would represent around 1.5% of global demand if all green diesel was, hypothetically, to be used for jet fuel, said Morgan.

“It would be a significant milestone if we can get biofuels to 1% of the total jet fuel demand, especially from where we were just five years ago.”

Next year’s World Bio Markets will be held again in Amsterdam from March 10 to 12, 2015.

http://www.greenaironline.com/news.php?viewStory=1838

Link:

World Bio Markets 2014

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British Airways + Solena plant to make jet fuel from London’s rubbish – announcement soon?

GreenAir online gives an update on the anticipated biofuel plant (costing around $500 million)  to be built in east London, to produce diesel and jet fuel.  GreenAir says that according to British Airways’ a 20-acre (8ha) site has been selected for its GreenSky project with Solena and an announcement is expected within weeks. Getting the required planning permission had proved “extremely challenging.”  GreenSky will convert around 600,000 tonnes of London  municipal waste into 50,000 tonnes of biojet and 50,000 tonnes of biodiesel annually, and will – they hope – meet BA’s total fuel needs at London City Airport.  BA hope they can claim annual carbon savings of up to 145,000 tonnes of CO2. “It’s very much a demonstration plant for us. If we can prove this works commercially then we will build a number of them in the UK – potentially up to six – at this scale or even bigger.”  “The economics is driven by a current UK landfill tax of about £80 per tonne, so the scheme hopes to get the rubbish cheaply - saving councils the landfill tax.  Under its 10-year contract with Solena, BA will purchase all the fuel produced by the plant. They hope to start building in early 2015 and start producing fuel in 2017.
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21.3.2014

GreenAir online reports on the planned British Airways + Solena plant to make jet fuel out of London’s rubbish

Extract from longer GreenAir online article, covering other sources and schemes of aviation biofuel  - longer article at   http://www.greenaironline.com/news.php?viewStory=1838

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The recent Bio Jet Fuel conference at the World Bio Markets in Amsterdam brought together the aviation and biofuel sectors to discuss progress.   GreenAir reports from the event on the latest developments in Europe and further afield.

According to British Airways’ Head of Environment, Jonathon Counsell, a 20-acre (8ha) site in east London has been selected for its GreenSky project with Solena and an announcement is expected within weeks. Getting the required planning permission had proved “extremely challenging,” he said.
GreenSky will convert around 600,000 tonnes of [London's?]  municipal waste into 50,000 tonnes of biojet and 50,000 tonnes of biodiesel annually, and will meet BA’s total fuel needs at London City Airport.

“We are doing this to help reduce our carbon emissions, not to get a source of cheap fuel,” said Counsell, who expects annual savings of up to 145,000 tonnes of CO2. “It’s very much a demonstration plant for us. If we can prove this works commercially then we will build a number of them in the UK – potentially up to six – at this scale or even bigger.

“The economics is driven by a current UK landfill tax of about £80 per tonne.  Within a 25-mile radius of the proposed plant there is some 10 million tonnes of available municipal waste. We do not want to pay a premium for this fuel so there are financial instruments built into the agreement to protect us from any price risk.”

Under its 10-year contract with Solena, BA will purchase all the fuel – worth $500 million at today’s prices – produced by the plant. “This has been critical to attracting investors,” said Counsell. “The downside is the significant capital investment, around $500 million. To de-risk the project it also requires world-class partners.”

The upside of the technology, he said, were GHG life-cycle savings of up to 95%, methane savings and no ILUC (indirect land use change) issues.

Construction is to start by early next year [2015] that will take two years, with production starting in 2017, forecasts Counsell. Around 1,000 construction jobs and 200 operational roles are envisaged.

Counsell was critical of a lack of interest by the UK government over aviation biofuels. “It is apparent to us that some governments are very supportive of their aviation industry and others are less,” he said. “What we need from our government is regulatory support and a level playing field with biodiesel.”


Artist’s impression of GreenSky plant:

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http://www.greenaironline.com/news.php?viewStory=1838


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Earlier:

 

Solena partnership with BA to produce jet fuel from London municipal waste – delayed over 2 years?

10.9.2012In 2010 it was announced that Solena and BA would build a plant to produce jet fuel in London. Solena hoped the new aviation fuel would be produced from several types of waste materials destined for landfill. The airline said it plans to use the low-carbon fuel to power part of its fleet beginning in 2014. In 2010 they said the self-contained plant will likely be built in east London. It’s expected to convert 551,000 tons of waste into 16 million gallons of green jet fuel each year. However, the timetable has slipped. There is no planning application yet.  It seems they hope for “notice to proceed” in 2013.  One website said the project will start in 2nd quarter of 2014 and end 2nd quarter 2016.  Oxford Catalysts were selected to supply the modular Fischer-Tropsch technology . There has been no planning application yet at Rainham Marshes. The timetable seems to have slipped by at least 27 months.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=457.

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Is the Solena / British Airways plan for jetfuel from London domestic waste greenwash?

16 March 2012

Damian Carrington, of the Guardian, discusses the potential benefits of the plant in East London that is to be built by 2015 by Solena, to turn London’s household waste into jet fuel. It will also produce some electricity.  British Airways is pushing ahead with a plant that aims to turn half a million tonnes of Londoner’s household rubbish into 50,000 tonnes a year of jet fuel. Damian says: ” I’ll let you decide if this is greenwash or not: here’s some of the details.” BA’s Jonathan Counsel says ”We accept we are a significant source of emissions, and growing,” he says. “Taking action is about earning our right to grow.” Boeing says the industry wants to get 1% biofuel into the global jet fuel supply by 2015,  which equates to 600m US gallons a year. And more if it can.  Why should this household waste go to aviation fuel, rather than energy for other uses?

 

(Someone commented on this article that – as the location of the  plant is still unknown – “One of the construction mags indicated that it was “Rainham Marshes” and I gather there is already a convenient Veolia landfill site there on the Thames shore.” ??

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=1539  including earlier news on Solena / BA.

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British Airways partner with Solena to convert trash into jet fuel

By 

February 16, 2010

British Airways and Washington, D.C.-based bioenergy firm the Solena Group announced on Monday a partnership to establish Europe’s first sustainable jet-fuel plant and convert trash into jet fuel.
The new fuel will be derived from waste biomass and manufactured in a new facility that can convert several types of waste materials destined for landfill into aviation fuel.The airline said it plans to use the low-carbon fuel to power part of its fleet beginning in 2014.The self-contained plant will likely be built in east London. It’s expected to convert 551,000 tons of waste into 16 million gallons of green jet fuel each year.Quick hits about the savings:

  • The plant offers lifecycle greenhouse gas savings of up to 95 percent compared to fossil-fuel derived jet kerosene.
  • The project will reduce the volume of waste sent to landfill.
  • The plant itself will be CO2 neutral, and will emit oxygen, plus small quantities of nitrogen, argon, steam and carbon dioxide.
  • The only solid waste product is an inert vitrified slag material, which can be used as an alternative to aggregates used in construction.
  • Tail gas can be used to produce 20MW of excess electricity for export to the national grid or converted into steam to be used in a district heating system.

The green fuel will be produced by feeding waste into a patented high temperature gasifier that produces BioSynGas, or biomass-derived synthetic gas. Using a process known as Fischer Tropsch, the gas is converted into biofuels to produce biojet fuel and bionaphtha.

Bionaphtha is used as a blending component in gasoline, as well as a feedstock for the petrochemicals industry.

The resulting fuel would make all of British Airways’ flights at nearby London City Airport carbon-neutral, and is the equivalent of taking 48,000 cars off the road per year, BA says.

British Airways has signed a letter of intent to purchase all the fuel produced by the plant, which will be built by Solena.

“This unique partnership with Solena will pave the way for realising our ambitious goal of reducing net carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2050,” said British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh in prepared remarks. ” We believe it will lead to the production of a real sustainable alternative to jet kerosene. We are absolutely determined to reduce our impact on climate change and are proud to lead the way on aviation’s environmental initiatives.”

http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/smart-takes/british-airways-partner-with-solena-to-convert-trash-into-jet-fuel/4282

 

 

 

 

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Penn Medicine researchers show how lost sleep might lead to lost brain neurons

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have found evidence that not getting enough sleep does actual harm to the brain.  Instead of the usual solution of inadequate sleep, of trying to catch up on the hours when time permits, the Penn Medicine research indicates that chronic sleep loss may be more serious than previously thought and may even lead to irreversible physical damage to and loss of brain cells. It seems extended wakefulness is linked to injury to, and loss of, neurons that are essential for alertness and optimal cognition, the locus coeruleus (LC) neurons. There is a change in a protein linked to mitochondrial energy production in the cells.  The research is published in the prestigious Journal of Neuroscience. The research so far is in mice, and involved normal rest, short wakefulness, or extended wakefulness.  In humans there is some earlier evidence that attention span and several other aspects of cognition may not normalize even with 3 days of recovery sleep, after sleep deprivation, raising the question of lasting injury in the brain.  Researchers say more work needs to be done to establish whether a similar phenomenon occurs in humans and to determine what durations of wakefulness place individuals at risk of neural injury.
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First Report in Preclinical Study Showing Extended Wakefulness Can Result in Neuronal Injury

18.3.2014 (Penn Medicine)

http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2014/03/veasey/

Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA — Most people appreciate that not getting enough sleep impairs cognitive performance. For the chronically sleep-deprived such as shift workers, students, or truckers, a common strategy is simply to catch up on missed slumber on the weekends. According to common wisdom, catch up sleep repays one’s “sleep debt,” with no lasting effects. But a new Penn Medicine study shows disturbing evidence that chronic sleep loss may be more serious than previously thought and may even lead to irreversible physical damage to and loss of brain cells. The research is published today in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Related Links

Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania Health System

Using a mouse model of chronic sleep loss, Sigrid Veasey, MD , associate professor of Medicine and a member of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the Perelman School of Medicine and collaborators from Peking University, have determined that extended wakefulness is linked to injury to, and loss of, neurons that are essential for alertness and optimal cognition, the locus coeruleus (LC) neurons.

“In general, we’ve always assumed full recovery of cognition following short- and long-term sleep loss,” Veasey says. ”But some of the research in humans has shown that attention span and several other aspects of cognition may not normalize even with three days of recovery sleep, raising the question of lasting injury in the brain. We wanted to figure out exactly whether chronic sleep loss injures neurons, whether the injury is reversible, and which neurons are involved.”

Mice were examined following periods of normal rest, short wakefulness, or extended wakefulness, modeling a shift worker’s typical sleep pattern. The Veasey lab found that in response to short-term sleep loss, LC neurons upregulate the sirtuin type 3 (SirT3) protein, which is important for mitochondrial energy production and redox responses, and protect the neurons from metabolic injury. SirT3 is essential across short-term sleep loss to maintain metabolic homeostasis, but in extended wakefulness, the SirT3 response is missing. After several days of shift worker sleep patterns, LC neurons in the mice began to display reduced SirT3, increased cell death, and the mice lost 25 percent of these neurons.

“This is the first report that sleep loss can actually result in a loss of neurons,” Veasey notes. Particularly intriguing is, that the findings suggest that mitochondria in LC neurons respond to sleep loss and can adapt to short-term sleep loss but not to extended wake. This raises the possibility that somehow increasing SirT3 levels in the mitochondria may help rescue neurons or protect them across chronic or extended sleep loss. The study also demonstrates the importance of sleep for restoring metabolic homeostasis in mitochondria in the LC neurons and possibly other important brain areas, to ensure their optimal functioning during waking hours.

Veasey stresses that more work needs to be done to establish whether a similar phenomenon occurs in humans and to determine what durations of wakefulness place individuals at risk of neural injury. “In light of the role for SirT3 in the adaptive response to sleep loss, the extent of neuronal injury may vary across individuals. Specifically, aging, diabetes, high-fat diet and sedentary lifestyle may all reduce SirT3. If cells in individuals, including neurons, have reduced SirT3 prior to sleep loss, these individuals may be set up for greater risk of injury to their nerve cells.”

The next step will be putting the SirT3 model to the test. “We can now over-express SirT3 in LC neurons,” explains Veasey.  “If we can show that we can protect the cells and wakefulness, then we’re launched in the direction of a promising therapeutic target for millions of shift workers.”

The team also plans to examine shift workers post-mortem for evidence of increased LC neuron loss and signs of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, since some previous mouse models have shown that lesions or injury to LC neurons can accelerate the course of those diseases. While not directly causing theses diseases, “injuring LC neurons due to sleep loss could potentially facilitate or accelerate neurodegeneration in individuals who already have these disorders,” Veasey says.

While more research will be needed to settle these questions, the present study provides another confirmation of a rapidly growing scientific consensus:  sleep is more important than was previously believed.

In the past, Veasey observes, “No one really thought that the brain could be irreversibly injured from sleep loss.”  It’s now clear that it can be.

Additional Penn authors on the study include Yan Zhu, Guanxia Zhan, Polina Fenik, Lori Panossian, Maxime M. Wang, Shayla Reid, David Lai, James G. Davis, and Joseph A. Baur.

The research was supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health (R01 HL079555, HL096037, and R01 DK098656).

http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2014/03/veasey/

 

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Lost sleep leads to lost brain cells, says study

FoxNews.com
  • 694940094001_1409784734001_640-brain.jpg

Missing out on sleep for consecutive nights may do more than make you pour a larger coffee—it may lead to irreversible damage of brain cells.

It’s commonly thought that “catching up” on shut-eye after a few sleepless nights is enough to reset the body without lasting effects, but researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have now linked extended wakefulness with injury to, and loss of, neurons that are essential for alertness and optimal cognition.

Extended wakefulness occurs when the body is awake for periods outside of usual sleep periods. For example, working the night shift for three days, then spending the remainder of the week on a usual cycle with one’s family. Or cramming for an exam in the nights leading up to the test, then resuming one’s regular schedule.

“It’s a pretty realistic pattern, [having] three night shifts a week,” Dr. Sigrid Veasey, an associate professor of medicine and a member of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania told FoxNews.com. “It’s a realistic amount of sleep loss.”

Using that information, Veasey and her team studied mice in an environment that mimicked a shift worker’s typical sleep pattern. They found that short-term sleep loss led to damage of the locus coeruleus (LC) neurons, a small group of neurons essential for the brain’s alertness and cognition.  The LC neurons regulate the sirtuin type 3 (SirT3) protein, an enzyme that manages oxidative stress. The body uses mitochondria to generate energy, but a byproduct of that work are cell-damaging free radicals. SirT3 responds by making antioxidants that wipe out these free radicals. However, with extended wakefulness, the SirT3 is reduced, along with the LC neurons.

“Odds are that for short-term, if you’re pulling an all-nighter and your normal bedtime is 10 or 11 pm, and you stay up until 1 or 2 pm, you’re probably fine if you do that once. The SirT3 [level] goes up and clears out the garbage,” Veasey said. “If you have extended sleep loss repeated night after night for three consecutive nights, you don’t get the SirT3 response. Without that, there’s a lot of oxidative injury, a loss of 25 to 30 percent of those neurons … If that happens time and time again over a lifetime, it can lead to  irreversible cognitive impairment.”

The loss of LC neurons manifests as problems with higher cognitive function, being unable to integrate facts, a depressed mood and lapses in attention. Previous animal studies have also shown that LC neuron loss accelerated the course of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

“It’s a pretty significant problem from this tiny little collection of neurons,” Veasey said.

While the symptoms sound like they’d be easily noticeable, Veasey warned that chronic lack of sleep can throws off one’s perceptions.

“One of the things that’s really important with chronic sleep disorders is that there have been studies that if you’re actually sleep deprived … over time you lose the sense of how impaired you are— you feel like it’s just your normal self,” she said.

Moving forward, researchers plan to study how to increase SirT3 activity to protect people from cognitive impairment after sleep loss. Veasey noted that this understanding will be invaluable for military operations, physicians, nurses and health care workers who regularly work with extended sleep loss.

“[Sleep loss] is a major health problem, as well as a quality of life problem,” she said.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/03/19/lost-sleep-leads-to-lost-brain-cells-says-study/

 

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John Stewart blog: “Doing nothing about noise at Heathrow is not an option”

In a blog for HACAN, John Stewart considers the aircraft noise problem for people living at Brockley, in south east London, some 20 miles away from Heathrow.  They suffer from planes over head every 2 minutes for much of each day, at around 4,500 feet.  But they are not considered conventionally to have an aircraft noise problem.  After speaking at a meeting in Brockley about the noise, and then visiting the headquarters of NATS to see their air traffic control systems, John was struck by the lights on the screens illustrating just how many planes affect  people far from Heathrow. More than one million people live within 20 miles of Heathrow, along those approach paths. Around a third of those – the people living closer to Heathrow – get a half day’s break when the planes change runways at 3pm.  The rest, like Brockley, get no such relief..  John says his visit to NATS “showed me that doing something is difficult” …. “doing nothing about noise at Heathrow is not an option”…. perhaps a solution would be “for planes to join the approach path much closer to Heathrow.” …”I didn’t ask NATS about the impact of a third runway at Heathrow.  I didn’t really need to.  If 480,000 flights a year severely restrict NATS’ room for manoeuvre, 740,000 would light up the air traffic controller’s screen with a brightness yet unseen.”  
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Doing nothing about noise at Heathrow is not an option

 

HACAN Blog by John Stewart

Brockley to Heathrow

This is where Brockley is – the orange line shows the arrival flight path into Heathrow’s southern runway. 

I’ve written about it before.  But last week brought it home to me once again.  Doing nothing about noise at Heathrow is not an option.

On Tuesday evening I chaired a meeting in Brockley, 20 miles from Heathrow in South East London.  As I stood outside the church hall before the meeting started, I could hear a plane every two minutes or so, turning to join its final approach path to Heathrow.

I saw the same manoeuvre taking place on the screen last Friday when I visited the headquarters of NATS (National Air Traffic Control) in Swanwick and.  NATS are impressive.  They run an effective, efficient organisation that, it must be said, has improved significantly since they were privatized.  But the question I was left pondering was whether they are being asked to do the impossible at Heathrow.  They are required to mange safely and efficiently over 1300 planes landing and taking off each day but also are keen to assist residents under the flight paths.

 Which brings me back to Brockley.  As I sat with the air traffic controller watching his blank screen light up with planes approaching Heathrow, nowhere shone more brightly than the dazzling white line of aircraft on their final approach path, many having joined 20 miles from the airport.  More than one million people live within those 20 miles.  Around a third of those – the people living closer to the airport inWest London– get a half day’s break from the noise when the planes change runways at 3pm.  The rest, like Brockley, get no relief.

 And make no mistake the noise can be a real problem in those areas further from Heathrow.  A report published by the respected acoustics form Bureau Veritas in 2007 found that in many of these areas “aircraft noise dominated the local environment.”  http://www.hacan.org.uk/resources/reports/st0699.pdf   http://www.hacan.org.uk/resources/reports/hacan.flight.paths.study.pdf (summary).

 Doing nothing cannot be an option.  But my visit to  NATS showed me that doing something is difficult.  Quieter planes on their own won’t do it because the number of aircraft is the big problem.  Steeper descent approaches would help somewhat.  Predicable respite periods can be managed before 6am when there are fewer planes but NATS would struggle to introduce them during the day when they need to land as many as 45 planes an hour.

The most useful solution for “the squeezed middle” – those living some distance from the airport under the final approach path – would be for planes to join the approach path much closer to Heathrow.  The bright lights on the NATS’ screens – the planes – would be shared around more equitably.  The former Concorde pilot Jock Lowe, the man fronting the Heathrow Hub bid for a third runway, believes it can be done.  NATS are not ruling it out as more of the precision technology becomes available.

NATS are more hopeful of improving things more rapidly for residents under the take-off routes.  There is more scope for giving respite.  Aircraft also have an increasing ability to ascend ever more steeply.

I didn’t ask NATS about the impact of a third runway at Heathrow.  I didn’t really need to.  If 480,000 flights a year severely restrict NATS room for manoeuvre, 740,000 would light up the air traffic controller’s screen with a brightness yet unseen.  Wouldn’t they?  

 http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=268

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Webtrak over Brockley

This snap from Heathrow Webtrak  http://webtrak.bksv.com/lhr  shows a plane turning to join the flight path in the Brockley area. They are at around 4,500 feet altitude (some higher, some lower) at that stage.


 

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