Transform Scotland has published the new report, ‘On track for business: Why Scottish businesses should try the train’, which sets out the economic benefits available to Scottish businesses and public sec tor bodies in switching from air travel to rail travel, and challenges Scottish business to save money and benefit the environment by using the train for business travel between Edinburgh and London. The value of productive work done on the train is part of the cost calculation. The report compares air and rail business travel for business on the Edinburgh-London route, and concludes that rail travel is a superior product to air. It says rail is better value for money, provides a high-quality working environment during the journey with with Wi-Fi, power points, and quiet work space, is more relaxing and is less hard on the environment. Progress has been made by major Scottish businesses RBS and SSE in switching from air to rail.
‘On track for business’ sets out economic benefits of switching from air to rail
Transform Scotland has today (Wednesday 24th) published the new report, ‘On track for business: Why Scottish businesses should try the train’, which sets out the economic benefits available to Scottish businesses in switching from air travel to rail travel, and challenges Scottish business to save money and benefit the environment by using the train for business travel between Edinburgh and London.
The report compares air and rail business travel for business on the Edinburgh-London route, and concludes that rail travel is a superior product to air, with key selling points of:
* Better value for money
* High-quality working environment
* More relaxing travel experience
* Superior environmental performance.
‘On track for business’ also reports on the progress made by major Scottish businesses RBS and SSE (the energy company) in switching from air to rail. The report calls for Scottish businesses and public sector bodies to actively switch their Edinburgh-London business travel from plane to train.
Transform Scotland director Colin Howden said:
“Our report makes a compelling case to Scottish business of the financial and productivity benefits of using the train for business travel to and from London. It is welcome to see the progress already made by key Scottish companies such as SSE and RBS in switching from air to rail, but many more companies need to follow their lead.”
“The financial benefit of making an Edinburgh-London return journey amounts to £217, including the value of productive working time and other benefits. Given that the price of a ‘Scottish Executive’ ticket, which gives first class return travel from Edinburgh and London, is only £229, it’s clear that greater account needs to be taken of the financial benefits of rail travel and not just the ticket price.
“Our challenge to Scottish business is to try the train. Given that it’s generally cheaper and provides a productive working environment, Scottish businesses can gain financially by switching many more of their employees’ trips on to rail for Edinburgh to London journeys.”
Report author David Spaven said:
“The train beats flying for business travel to London. It offers a high quality working environment, superior environmental performance and, crucially, better value for money. Unless a company’s sole criterion for choice of transport is journey time, air shouldn’t be treated as an automatic preference over rail.
“East Coast have introduced a wide range of major service improvements in the last few years, yet rail is carrying only 12% of Edinburgh-London business travel. The time is clearly right for many more businesses to ‘try the train’ and experience directly the benefits which rail can deliver.
“There’s no doubt that a majority of businesses could save money and improve productivity by switching to rail. As well as the direct business benefits, the substantially lower emissions associated with rail travel mean that businesses can improve their sustainability performance.”
Transform Scotland is also holding a Scottish Parliamentary reception on Wednesday evening, hosted by Edinburgh Central MSP Marco Biagi. At the event, report author David Spaven will present key findings from the report to MSPs and key figures from Scottish business.
Transform Scotland is the national sustainable transport alliance, bringing together rail, bus and shipping operators, local authorities, national environment and conservation groups, businesses and local transport groups – see http://www.transformscotland.org.uk/our-members.aspx for details.
 Key benefits of rail use for business travel on Edinburgh-London route:
* Price: Trains compete strongly on cost, with 81% of flights between Edinburgh and London being beaten by a cheaper East Cost rail alternative, and with no extras, booking fee or cost of travel into the city centre.
* Productivity: A highly effective and high quality, working environment — similar to a business lounge — with Wi-Fi, power points, and quiet work space.
* Environment: Train travel is vastly more sustainable. Train travel between London and Edinburgh results in approximately 27kg of greenhouse gas emissions (kgCO2e) per passenger, compared to 84kg by air.
* Punctuality: Rail punctuality rates are higher than airlines (87.9% of trains on time vs. 82.6% of flights) on Edinburgh-London routes.
* Seamless: No queues, no waiting, no stress.
* Quality catering: Complimentary food and drink service.
Labour has joined Boris in demanding that a review into London’s airports be completed before the next election. Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle has warned that delaying the report of the independent commission to be headed by Sir Howard Davies until after 2015 risked “kicking the issue into the long grass.” Maria Eagle said “There will therefore be no possibility of cross-party talks in advance of the election to establish whether consensus can be reached to support Sir Howard’s recommendations — and no opportunity to make the manifesto commitments that mean these are significantly more likely to become a reality.” Labour has shifted its post-election position from being against a 3rd runway at Heathrow to being “sceptical” about it. Ms Eagle also said (at the AOA conference) that the delay in the review would make it harder to form a policy on the proposed high-speed rail route.
Labour today joined Mayor Boris Johnson in demanding that a review into London’s airports be completed before the next election.
Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle warned that delaying the study — headed by former London School of Economics boss Sir Howard Davies — until after 2015 risked kicking the issue into the long grass.
Some senior Tories have come round to the idea of a third runway at Heathrow, as pushed by Labour before the 2010 election, despite the impact of more noise and air pollution. But Liberal Democrats are firmly opposed to expansion at Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted, or a new “Boris island” airport in the Thames estuary.
Amid the Coalition stand-off, Ms Eagle said: “The Government is making a huge mistake by putting party political opportunism before the good of the country — and, I believe, before democratic accountability — by pushing the outcomes from the aviation commission beyond the next election.
“There will therefore be no possibility of cross-party talks in advance of the election to establish whether consensus can be reached to support Sir Howard’s recommendations — and no opportunity to make the manifesto commitments that mean these are significantly more likely to become a reality.”
Labour has shifted its post-election position from being against a third runway at Heathrow to being “sceptical” about the development. At the conference of the Airport Operators Association, Ms Eagle also said the delay in the review would make it harder to form a policy in conjunction with the proposed high-speed rail link from London to Birmingham and further north.
At the gathering in the capital, aviation minister Simon Burns warned the growth of airports throughout the UK “cannot disguise the wider reality that Britain has failed to follow Germany, France and the Netherlands in planning for our long-term connectivity needs … we risk seeing European competitors benefiting more from the fast-growing markets of emerging economies.
“Maintaining the UK’s status as a leading global aviation hub is fundamental to our long-term competitiveness. Yet … we must take full account of social, environmental and other impacts.” He said the country and aviation industry could not afford “indecision”.
The Davies commission will consider all options, including expanding Heathrow. The Department for Transport played down suggestions that Mr Burns had committed the Government to implementing its findings.
The Mayor has raised the prospect of launching a judicial review to speed up the study. Ministers insist an interim report will be published next year. There are new plans for a second runway at Gatwick and a four-runway hub at Stansted.
In a particularly silly story, as part of the Telegraph’s continuing campaign against Air Passenger Duty, they misrepresent a survey done by the Airport Operators Association. The AOA has done a survey of travellers, (but the survey is not made public, so the nature of the questions cannot be seen) and this comes out with the un-surprising result that (shock, horror) 80% of those questioned would like to pay less tax. Nobody likes paying tax, and if any sample of payers of a particular tax were questioned about whether they would like to pay less, they would agree that they would. The Telegraph headling “Eight in ten Britons back air tax cut” is especially inaccurate, as in any one year, it is likely that only about 47% of Brits actually get on a plane (see below). So a survey of air passengers flying this year is only perhaps at best representative of half the UK population. That 80% is more like 40% of the total. And who is surprised if people want to get something for less, and pay less tax?
Surprise, surprise – people don’t like paying tax !
Telegraph says “Eight in ten Britons back air tax cut”
It says “More than eight in 10 Britons would support a reduction in aviation tax, new research has suggested”
22 Oct 2012 (Telegraph)
The study, commissioned by the Airport Operators Association (AOA), suggested that 82 per cent of people believe Air Passenger Duty (APD), paid by all passengers flying from airports in Britain, should be cut or frozen. [The survey is not made public. A request to see the survey questions has been ignored by the AOA].
The AOA said the poll of 2,097 travellers “clearly shows the support that the vast majority of business leaders and the public have for airports and aviation in general to help boost jobs, exports and inward investment, and to ensure flying remains affordable.”
Following the most recent rise in APD, an eight per cent increase in April, a family of four travelling to Europe must pay £52 in tax, [ie. it is only £13 per person - so the figure has to be bumped up by multiplying it by 4, to make it look large enough to count] while those flying farther afield are hit even harder. A family of four flying to New York, for example, are liable for £260 in APD, one visiting the Caribbean must pay £324, while those heading to Australia are hit with a £368 tax bill. Further increases, which will come into effect next April, are likely to be confirmed by the Government in the Autumn Statement.
APD has been criticised for pricing ordinary British families out of flying, discouraging foreign holidaymakers (who pay the tax on their return) from visiting, and damaging the economies of countries – such as those in the Caribbean – that are heavily reliant on tourism. [This article, as the Telegraph campaign as a whole, conveniently forget that APD is charged as aviation pays no fuel tax, and no VAT - so APD is seen by the Treasury as at attempt to partly compensate for this under-taxation. To fully compensate for the tax loss to the Treasury of not receiving VAT or fuel duty, APD would need to be almost quadrupled. Much more detail on this at link . AirportWatch comment].
A campaign that allows voters to email their MP to express disapproval at the “unacceptable” level of tax paid by British fliers has also highlighted a growing level of opposition to APD. [The article also conveniently ignores the habit of airlines and travel companies of merrily adding on charges, or raising their prices by large amounts over half terms and holidays, when the average family of four want to go on their trip. These sums charged to travellers are often far higher than the sum of APD, which is only a relatively low tax, imposed because air travel is not taxed by the normal means. See link and link. "Families forced to pay 269% more for holidays (by the travel companies) in popular weeks". Perhaps the Telegraph should run a campaign about this aspect of over-charging air travellers? AirportWatch comment].
So far more than 250,000 Britons have contacted their MP since the website, www.afairtaxonflying.org, was established.
Meanwhile, an early day motion calling for a review into the impact of APD has received the backing of nearly 100 MPs, including former Liberal Democrat leaders Charles Kennedy and Sir Menzies Campbell, and the Conservative 1922 Committee Chairman Graham Brady.
What proportion of UK citizens fly in any one year?
Around 50% – or 47% in 2010
In 2008 the Department for Transport publication, “Public experiences and attitudes to air travel” said “The survey indicates that 51% of adults had not flown in the last 12 months. This corresponds with the results of the 2002 Omnibus Survey, where 51% of adults had not flown in 2001. However, as the report notes, although the proportion of the population who have flown in the past year is the same in both surveys, in the more recent survey a higher proportion of air travellers were making multiple trips. In 2006, 30% of air travellers said they had flown three or more times in the last year; in 2002 the figure was 23%.” (page 55 of link)
Also, the DfT survey ‘Public experiences of and attitudes towards air travel’. of July 2010 ( link ) showed that 47% of adults had flown in the previous 12 months (down on the 49% recorded in the 2001 survey). It states (on page 2): “Just under half (47%) of adults had flown at least once in the last 12 months; 37% had made at least one short-haul flight, 18% had made a long-haul flight and 8% had made a domestic flight within the UK. A fifth (20%) of adults had made just one flight, 11% two flights and 16% three or more flights. These proportions are similar to the 2006 and 2008 Omnibus surveys “
At the announcement of the Davies Commission, by Patrick McLoughlin on 7th September, he said - of the Commission: ”A decision on whether to support any of the recommendations contained in the final report will be taken by the next Government.” (see link). The Guardian is now reporting that, speaking at the Airport Operators Association, Simon Burns (Minister of State for Transport) said the Conservatives would back and implement the findings of the commission led by Sir Howard Davies when it reports in 2015. Patrick McLoughlin said of it on around 7th October: “I hope all main parties will back his findings.” link The Guardian is saying that, before this AOA meeting, McLoughlin had only “pledged to consider” its recommendations The Guardian reports that the aviation industry has jumped on this comment by Simon Burns. The terms of reference and membership of the Davies Commission are yet to be confirmed, almost two months after it was first announced. Burns said there would be more details within weeks.
The aviation industry has seized on an apparent shift in policy on airport capacity in south-east England, as the aviation minister committed to accepting the recommendations of an independent commission.
Simon Burns, speaking at the Airport Operators Association (AOA) conference, said the Conservatives would back and implement the findings of the commission led by Sir Howard Davies when it reports in 2015. Previously his boss, the transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, has only pledged to “consider” its recommendations on the question of whether extra capacity, including a third runway at Heathrow or new airports, is needed.
Darren Caplan, chief executive of the AOA, said his organisation “welcomes the aviation minister’s unambiguous commitment to acting on the findings of the airports commission.
“We have been seeking such a commitment since the commission was set up, to ensure that its work was meaningful and would not be a waste of time of taxpayers’ money.
“We now respectfully ask whether the Labour and Lib Dem transport teams will follow suit.”
The government later appeared to row back from Burns’s comments, with sources saying it was “committed to the process” and hoped the commission would provide solutions.
The shadow transport secretary, Maria Eagle, said: “We’ve had a whole year of dither and delay from the government since Labour first proposed an independent aviation commission. Even after appointing Sir Howard Davies to lead this work, ministers are still trying to avoid taking decisions by asking the commission not to report until after the next election.”
Investors in airports are being drawn to the profit being made by the real estate and retail income they generate. Among European airports, Aeroports de Paris derived 39% of its revenue from real estate and retail in 2011; Zurich took in 50.3%; and Danish airport operator Koebenhavns Lufthavne A/S collected 33.6%. At TAV (Turkey), the share was 33%, and at Vienna it was 19%. Airports generally get the majority of their retail revenue after passengers check in and go through security. Goldman Sachs lists retail revenue as a major factor in recommending European airports to invest in. Two weeks ago, Fraport opened Pier-A-Plus, a terminal extension at Frankfurt, allowing Germany’s biggest hub to serve up to 6 million passengers a year and adding 50% to the airport’s retail space. According to ACI, air passenger numbers in Europe are up 2.3% this year compared to 2011, but Eurocontrol forecast that annual traffic growth will average 1.9% over the next 7 years in Europe, due to high oil prices and a weaker economic outlook.
Europe’s listed airports have generally flown under the radar of investors, but cheap-looking stocks and growing retail revenue streams are changing opinions about this area of aviation.
Many airports have completed expansion programs, leaving them with more cash. And even as traffic growth slows and airlines cut capacity, improvements to the shopping and other facilities passengers find after going through security are tempting them to spend more.
While the bulk of most airports’ revenue comes from the air carriers themselves, income derived from retail and real estate has become a significant source of growth.
Analysts like the airport sector as a whole, but they are particularly bullish about Vienna’s Flughafen Wien AG; Ataturk, the main base of Turkey’s fast-growing airport operator TAV Holding, and Switzerland’s Flughafen Zuerich.
“We prefer the smaller airports, like Wien, which offers higher structural growth, and Zurich, which has better exposure to profitable retail revenues, but still trade at a valuation discount,” said UBS analyst Alex Brignall.
Among European airports, Aeroports de Paris derived 39% of its revenue from real estate and retail in 2011; Zurich took in 50.3%; and Danish airport operator Koebenhavns Lufthavne A/S collected 33.6%. At TAV, the share was 33%, according to company reports. (About 21% + at Heathrow from retail in 2010. Link ].
At Wien, real estate and retail revenue contributed just 19% to overall revenue in 2011, but the total is expected to rise significantly as the airport finishes renovating two terminals in the next two years.
Airports generally get the majority of their retail revenue after passengers check in and go through security. Zurich is an exception; it has more retail space in areas accessible without checking through security because its urban location also tempts non-passenger shoppers, said Mr. Brignall.
Goldman Sachs lists retail revenue as a major factor in recommending European airports such as Wien and German airport operator Fraport. Two weeks ago, Fraport opened Pier-A-Plus, a terminal extension at Frankfurt, allowing Germany’s biggest hub to serve up to six million passengers a year and adding 50% to the airport’s retail space.
“We expect Fraport to achieve the highest EBITDA growth of the European airports as a consequence of higher fee increases and the completion of Pier A-Plus in October,” Goldman Sachs analysts said in a recent note, referring to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.
In addition to increased retail revenues, airports are expected to benefit as they reduce capital expenditure after a prolonged period of investment in expansion programs. This will lead to bigger payouts for shareholders over the next five years, analysts said.
UBS thinks that ADP and Zurich, currently estimated to have a 3.7% and 3.2% dividend yield respectively over the next five years, are the most likely to make additional returns.
Optimism remains even as growth in airline ridership slows in response to Europe’s economic troubles, prompting airlines to cut capacity.
Just last month Eurocontrol, an intergovernmental agency for air-navigation safety, forecast that annual traffic growth will average 1.9% over the next seven years on the back of very high oil prices and a weaker economic outlook.
According to Airports Council International, passenger numbers for Europe had reached 827,598 for the year up to August, a rise of 2.3% from the same period last year. The total for all of 2011 was 1.57 billion, up 7.3% from 2010.
Large hub airports like Zurich, Vienna, France’s Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt are relatively stable in terms of traffic because more airlines want to use them than they have room for, said Michael Burns, head of airports at PricewaterhouseCoopers. [It is not only Heathrow].
“Even if some aren’t at full capacity throughout the day they will be at peak times morning and evening, and if an airline goes bankrupt there will be another airline ready to take up the slack,” Mr. Burns said.
For example, Ryanair Holdings RYA.DB -0.48% PLC was quick to jump in and take up the slots used by Malev in Budapest when the Hungarian carrier fell into bankruptcy in February.
Shares in Europe’s airports have all risen since the beginning of the year. Both Wien and Zurich are up about 20% since the start of the year, but according to UBS, these smaller airports continue to trade at a discount to their peers.
TAV managed a 8.5% year-to-date gain as of the close of trading on Friday, and ADP and Zurich had both risen by double-digit percentages.
In addition to increasing stock prices, investors can expect healthy dividend yields, according to analysts. UBS is forecasting five-year yields of 4% for both ADP and Wien and as much as 4.8% for TAV.
Write to Marietta Cauchi at email@example.com
How much profit do airports make from their retail activities, rather than flying?
13.2.2012Heathrow got 21.3% of its income from retail in 2010, compared to 53% from aeronautical. On average each Heathrow passenger spent about £5.70 (maybe £5.90) at the airport, with women spending more than men (!). BAA data say frequent fliers spend more than infrequent fliers. In the year 2010/2011 Gatwick airport made £115.6m from retail, and another £51.7m from car parking, with an average of £5.80 spent on retail per passenger. Stansted retail spending per passenger is about £4.00 to £4.20. In the year 2010/2011 Heathrow made about £380 million per year on retail, Gatwick about £115, and Stansted net retail income fell from £79.8m in 2010 to £73.9m. Manchester made about £70 million on retail, with about £3 per passenger. Details at http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=1045
Airport retail: rise and rise of the shopping centre, with an airport attached
A huge, and growing, proportion of the money made by airports is from retail. It seems that the industry expects significant increases in this spending over the coming years, and airports do all they can to get passengers to spend as much time as possible in retail, put retail outlets in arrivals, etc etc and devise means for them to buy goods for collection on their return, to avoid baggage problems. The industry expects most growth in the Far East, where women tend to spend a lot of designer brands. The airport retail industry finds passengers buy less when they are stressed by airport security waits and queues, and they buy more when calm and happy. Airports need a ticket as proof of identity, so they can monitor the types of travellers, and the routes, which generate the most cash. Seems the Chinese, the Russians and the Nigerians tend to spend the most. At Heathrow, the average passenger spends £4.35. But for fashion, the average BRIC passenger spends £45.50. No wonder BAA wants more. Details at: http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=1723
A coalition of green groups has condemned the Treasury and DfTs move to remove international aviation and shipping from the UK’s 2050 carbon targets. DfT officials told an Energy and Climate Change select committee hearing last week that the UK could save money in the future for other sectors of the economy if aviation and shipping were to remain outside of the UK’s 5th carbon budget, due for consideration in 2015. The DfT did note that this would sacrifice the environmental benefit of including them in the budget, but is now thought to be working with the Treasury to highlight potential savings arising from exempting the two sectors, which are likely to account for around a quarter of the UK’s total emissions by 2050. Green groups say that leaving aviation and shipping out of the UK carbon targets would put at risk the UK’s target of delivering 80% emissions cuts across the economy by 2050. Instead of the 160 million tonnes of CO2 emissions the UK could emit by 2050 and keep within its goal, the country would be pumping out around 200 million tonnes should shipping and aviation be excluded.
A coalition of green groups has condemned the Treasury and Department for Transport’s alleged move to remove aviation and shipping from the UK’s 2050 carbon targets.
Department for Transport (DfT) officials reportedly told an Energy and Climate Change select committee hearing last week that the UK could save money in the future for other sectors of the economy if aviation and shipping were to remain outside of the UK’s fifth carbon budget, due for consideration in 2015.
The DfT did note that this would sacrifice the environmental benefit of including them in the budget, but is now thought to be working with the Treasury to highlight potential savings arising from exempting the two sectors, which are likely to account for around a quarter of the UK’s total emissions by 2050.
The rumoured move has angered campaigners, who claim that although aviation and shipping could be added to the fifth carbon budget at a late date, excluding them altogether would put at risk the UK’s target of delivering 80 per cent emissions cuts across the economy by the middle of this century.
The 2050 goal is part of the UK’s commitment to keeping global temperature rises below the 2C threshold most scientist agree is vital to avoid the worse effects of climate change.
Instead of the 160 million tonnes of CO2 emissions the UK could emit by 2050 and keep within its goal, the country would be pumping out around 200 million tonnes should shipping and aviation be excluded, according to Aviation Watch,[AirportWatch] an umbrella group including the Aviation Environment Federation, Friends of the Earth, and many other green organisations.
David Kennedy, CCC chief executive, told the select committee last week that excluding the sectors from the budgets would mean the UK would be very likely to miss its over-arching climate objectives for 2050.
Meanwhile, representatives of Sustainable Aviation and the UK Chamber of Shipping said they were comfortable with inclusion in the carbon budget and that both industries are already working on greater fuel efficiency in response to rising oil prices.
“It appears that the Treasury and the DfT are prepared to sacrifice crucial longer term goals for the sake of unproven short term savings,” she said in a statement. “Yet it is absolutely clear that exclusion of aviation and shipping emissions from the UK’s carbon targets would seriously weaken our commitment to reducing global carbon emissions.
“There is no room for badly thought out exclusions. We can only make the cuts that are needed if all sectors play their part.”
The DfT had not responded to a request for comment at time of going to press.
More capacity should in theory open up new routes to emerging markets and allow the UK to maintain competition with major hubs in Holland and France. But green groups argue there is substantial spare capacity within the current system and any increase in capacity will blow the country’s carbon budgets, rejecting claims emissions trading and cleaner technologies would result in the necessary emissions reductions.
Sir Howard Davies, a former head of the CBI and adviser to Lord Lawson, is chairing a commission examining the issue of whether to increase airport capacity but is not due to report until 2015.
Businesses have been pushing for a third runway at Heathrow, an idea staunchly opposed by the Mayor and ruled out in the coalition agreement, but seemingly gaining traction among Conservatives MPs following intense lobbying.
And just last week, Gatwick announced it is drawing up plans for a second runway, potentially increasing capacity to 70 million passengers a year.
From GreenAir online (with a lot of detail from what was said at the evidence session of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee
UK government uncertainty over whether to include international aviation emissions in carbon budgets
23.10.2012 (GreenAir online)
Tue 23 Oct 2012 – With emissions from aviation and shipping likely to make up a quarter of the total UK output by 2050, it would be impossible to achieve national climate objectives without including the two sectors in reduction targets, the head of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) told a House of Commons select committee last week. Under the UK’s flagship Climate Change Act 2008, the UK government is required to tell Parliament before the end of the year whether it intends to include the sectors’ international emissions in its legally binding carbon budgets but it is yet to reach a conclusion. Representatives from the UK aviation and shipping industries told MPs they were comfortable with the inclusion but a government minister and officials said the issue was complex and were equivocal about what decision would be made, which has left environmental groups unhappy. A possible scenario could be for the government to accept inclusion of international aviation emissions in principle but wait on developments with the EU ETS and at ICAO.
The UK target to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050 compared with 2000 has to include aviation and shipping, David Kennedy, Chief Executive of the CCC, which is the UK government’s advisor on climate change, told the committee. “For the government not to accept our advice would be a watering down of ambition,” he said.
The target is to cut overall UK emissions back to 160 million tonnes of CO2e by 2050, with aviation and shipping making up 40 million tonnes of the total. Without their inclusion it would require an 85% reduction from other sectors, he said, adding: “As it doesn’t involve any extra costs, why wouldn’t you do it?”
Said Kennedy: “If we went for a UK unilateral approach to aviation or shipping then there would be costs associated with that. This is an accounting tidy up which is why we don’t favour the UK going on a totally different path. We are very clear that the basis for inclusion should be European or international policies that are in place or we expect to be in place.”
He said the amount for emissions from aviation to be added in to the carbon budgets should reflect the cap set under the EU ETS, although the challenges from China, the United States and other countries against the EU ETS had raised questions about the scheme and about the appropriate timing to bring in aviation emissions. “Do you bring them in now, when the EU ETS cap may change, in which case you might change that number in the future, depending on what happens with the EU ETS or a global agreement at ICAO, or do you wait? Because there is a high degree of uncertainty we will not do that until there is a resolution.
“There is a debate to be had about the precise timing but the principle should be very clear that these emissions should be in the carbon accounting framework.”
Greg Barker, the UK’s energy and climate change minister, told the committee that the coalition government took the issue of aviation and shipping emissions “very seriously” and recognised they should be dealt with at an international level to be most effective.
“We believe the EU ETS is the most cost-effective way of reducing net aviation emissions. The question of how to reflect international emissions within the UK’s domestic carbon accounting framework is, however, a complex one. The methodology required to implement any decision to include them is also complex and will require very careful verification indeed. It is for these reasons that the emissions were excluded from the Act in 2008.”
He pointed out the targets defined in the Act did not include international aviation and shipping but the CCC’s targets did.
He said that due to the complexity, consultations were still ongoing with “cabinet colleagues” over the environmental and economic impacts of a decision but his department was testing the validity and robustness of the CCC’s methodologies, particularly in relation to Aviation EU ETS data it had recently received. He said a decision would be reported to Parliament before the end of the year and would take careful account of CCC advice.
An official from the Department for Transport (DfT) told the hearing that as well as the environmental impact of a decision, a very important factor was costs. He said it was key that international agreements delivered the necessary levels of ambition in emissions reductions. Another DfT official said there were cost implications for UK industry as a whole of between 0.5 and 2% of GDP beyond the 4th Budget period (2023-2027) if international aviation and shipping emissions were included, even though there may be environmental benefits.
Barker declined to answer a suggestion by the chairman of the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee, Tim Yeo, that it was possible the government might accept the CCC’s recommendation in principle to include international aviation and shipping emissions but to implement it at a later date due to current international political uncertainties.
The minister did admit that the hostile scale of the opposition by major powers to the inclusion of international aviation emissions into the EU ETS was “clearly a very serious challenge” but he believed there was still some way for the negotiating process to run and there was a need for ICAO to engage. A DfT official said the UK was working closely with both ICAO and IMO, in particular on the ICAO CO2 standard. Good progress was being made, although not fast enough for some stakeholders but negotiations were complex, he added.
Representing the UK aviation industry at the hearing, Dr Andy Jefferson, Programme Director with the Sustainable Aviation group said he supported the inclusion of international aviation emissions in UK carbon budgets, based on the UK share of the EU ETS cap as long as delivery was met through internationally agreed carbon trading.
He said an appropriately implemented EU ETS was a good starting point towards a global carbon trading solution encompassing all of aviation that ensured a level playing field for all participants. “We do not support unilateral UK targets, however, as we believe this will lead to carbon leakage, market distortion and the loss of economic benefit to our international competitors,” he added.
Putting forward an international perspective, Andrew Herdman, representing the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) and who is also Director General of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, warned the committee that the UK aviation sector would pay a high price through global uncompetitiveness if the UK government and the EU pursued unilateral policies. He said it was a “flimsy bridge” for UK policy-makers to base their targets on the EU ETS.
“Even if you buy the argument about an accounting tidy-up, I would caution about putting international aviation emissions into the carbon budget at this juncture given the uncertainty over the EU ETS and what form an ICAO global scheme might take,” he said. “The accounting and allocation of emissions is the nub of trying to structure a global agreement.”
Dr Keith Allott, Head of Climate Change at WWF-UK, said excluding aviation and shipping emissions from the carbon budget would raise fears about the government’s commitment to the climate change Act and to 2 degrees warming. He said there were concerns that certain government departments, including the Treasury, were resistant to the CCC’s recommendations because of the cost implications.
His organisation also supported a global agreement for aviation but, he added, no industry can get a free ride, either on dealing with climate change or on contributing its fair share of the tax burden.
After the hearing, Allott’s concerns over the possibility that the CCC’s recommendations may not be taken up by the government were expressed in a statement from AirportWatch, an umbrella group of environmental campaigners.
“It appears that the Treasury and the DfT are prepared to sacrifice crucial longer term goals for the sake of unproven short-term savings,” said its Communications Director, Susan Pearson. “Yet it is absolutely clear that exclusion of aviation and shipping emissions from the UK’s carbon targets would seriously weaken our commitment to reducing global carbon emissions. The need for carbon reduction is as urgent as ever – why would the UK consider watering down our targets? There is no room for badly thought out exclusions.”
Though there is no news yet on the terms of reference or the composition of the Davies Commission on future airport capacity, that does not stop the papers and the aviation industry from continuing to put forth their pennyworth on the matter. Steve Ridgway, in the Telegraph, says expanding Heathrow is the only way. Digby Jones says (with various inaccuracies) that we have to have a 3rd Heathrow runway and that “we can move Heathrow to 24/7 flying. That would be a temporary fix at best and a cause of discomfort for residents living under the flight path”. A cause of discomfort? And the Independent on Sunday has a stab at assessing the chances (only taking some of the issues into account) for Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Thames Estuary or a 4 runway hub airport somewhere in Oxfordshire by “a business consortium, now known to include British Airways and BAA veterans”.
Heathrow expansion is only ‘affordable’ option, says Virgin Atlantic chief
Virgin Atlantic chief executive Steve Ridgway has moved against relocating to a new airport in the Thames Estuary, warning that Heathrow expansion is the only “affordable” option to improve Britain’s links to key markets abroad.
The aviation veteran also attacked government “inconsistency” for the way ministers support aircraft manufacturers but heavily tax and regulate airlines, even though they support thousands of jobs and generate billions of pounds in overseas sales.
In one of his last interviews before he departs Sir Richard Branson’s airline after 23 years, Mr Ridgway said Virgin will only support a hub airport in a location that “passengers want to fly from”.
“Right now, and for the foreseeable future, in affordability terms, that is Heathrow,” Mr Ridgway said.
He conceded that both regional airports and point-to-point airports such as Gatwick have an important role to play in improving aviation capacity, but added: “If you’re going to connect the UK to the world you need to be doing that through a hub where you can build traffic and have viable routes.”
The mayor of London’s proposed “Boris Island” airport in the Thames Estuary, would, in itself, probably be quite “cheap” to build, Mr Ridgway admitted. But he said the transport links and other infrastructure would be the real stumbling block.
“It’s everything else that goes with it, moving the whole locust of the economy,” he told The Sunday Telegraph. (sic)
Mr Ridgway said he found it “frankly quite depressing” Government aviation policy had not progressed since he joined Virgin Atlantic in 1989.
He added that it “annoys” him the “love” for plane part exporters did not extend to firms “actually flying the planes”, even though they “generate many billions a year, so we are a pretty large exporter in our own right”.
His comments come after Heathrow revealed that it took an airline which wanted to launch new routes to Mexico four years to secure take-off and landing slots, despite the Government targeting greater trade with the Central American country.
This is Asia’s century. The cities and countries in the developed world that grasp that fact will be the winners in the coming decades, providing jobs and tax-generating wealth for their people. Those cities in Europe that can develop easy flight connections with the great cities of China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan will win. It’s a simple fact of 21st century commerce: flight connectivity means business.
Given that 60 per cent of the passengers on a long-haul air route don’t even originate at the departure airport in question, it is understandably difficult for people to grasp why it is so vital to a nation’s economic development that such flights are encouraged, indeed are vital to competitiveness.
Critics ask: since 240 of the passengers on a jumbo leaving Heathrow for Beijing today flew in a couple of hours earlier from some other country, why is it so important to the UK’s economic survival that we have as many of such flights as possible? The answer: because of the other 160.
A hub airport facilitates the routing in and out of intercontinental passenger traffic. Without that 60 per cent, the long-haul route isn’t financially viable — so the 40 per cent don’t benefit from a point-to-point route from, say, London to Beijing, because no airline can afford to operate the route. Thus the European cities that can provide the hub for the transit of the 60 per cent simultaneously provide the point-to-point route for the 40 per cent: that city grows and develops trade with the jewels of Asia.
So a successful hub airport for the UK is essential if we wish to maintain our position in the Premier League. Schiphol in the Netherlands, Charles de Gaulle in Paris, Frankfurt in Germany are large, successful hubs. Indeed, more long-haul flights leave Frankfurt for China every day than leave Heathrow for that country in a weekend. [This is not true, if Hong Kong - which is part of China - is included. See figures. Including Hong Kong, Heathrow has almost twice as many as Frankfurt or Paris, using 2010 data. AirportWatch comment].
Heathrow is still the most active hub in Europe and London is still Europe’s preferred commercial destination. But that is a position that is ours to lose. If something is not done, and done quickly, we will be consigned to an enormous loss of prestige, reputation, job creation and tax generation. There will be no way back.
Accepting economic decline and an inferior status is one of the choices available. Some will say that that is acceptable if it is the price for fewer aircraft movements in our skies. The inactivity of so many politicians leads me to believe that they have basically accepted that, regardless of what they may say to the contrary. Always watch what a politician does — or doesn’t do — not what he or she says.
But if we are to do something, what should it be? First, we can build a third runway at Heathrow. The arguments for and against have been well-rehearsed but it does present the quickest fix — although a recent US study points to increased pollution levels within a 50-mile radius.
Second, we can move Heathrow to 24/7 flying. That would be a temporary fix at best and a cause of discomfort for residents living under the flight path. ["A cause of discomfort" is a remarkable understatement of the truth. With several hundred thousand people across London having their sleep disturbed, every night, and the health and quality of life implications of that? AirportWatch comment].
Third, we can make much better use of Birmingham airport, which is currently operating at 40 per cent capacity. Build a high-speed rail link from Heathrow to BHX and treat it as another terminal with another long runway. This is worthy of greater investigation but airlines and their passengers will need to be persuaded that the time to travel by train between the two is worth it, rather than walking around the corner at Schiphol or Frankfurt.
Lastly, there is “Boris Island”. This would deal with the pollution issue because of its location. Such a huge infrastructure project at this difficult time would also provide an enormous boost for jobs and wealth creation. The cost would not have to be borne all at once and this is a project that is crying out for private sector capital. It would remove at a stroke the capacity issues that blight Heathrow. The UK’s continued pre-eminence as a European hub would be assured.
But more people belong to the RSPB than to all the political parties combined. Imagine the protest as bird breeding grounds were disturbed. The economic survival of our country would take a back seat to birds.
And to persuade airlines to make the move, Heathrow would have to close. Indeed, the proceeds of its sale for domestic building land would make a significant contribution to the cost of building a new island airport. But with Heathrow’s closure would come tens of thousands of redundancies. Are the same MPs who are campaigning for no expansion ready for the alternative? They can’t have it both ways.
Meanwhile, we will all be waiting well into the next decade just to get through any planning inquiry for a Thames airport. We cannot wait that long.
Those are the choices. What do I want? A new estuary airport has the greatest appeal, although a third runway will fix it more quickly. What do I really want? Simply for something to be done now.
Hiding behind the excuse that the Coalition Agreement prevents anything happening — by way of a decision as to what and where, let alone hold a planning inquiry or get anything built — is a dereliction of duty by ministers. The nation needs a decision: globalisation doesn’t wait for the niceties of domestic politics.
That decision may well be “nothing doing” — but at least then we’d all know where we stand. Businesses could plan for a diminishingly powerful Britain as relative decline takes hold. Environmentalists will have certainty and so will investors and job-creators.
But imagine the grandchildren of today’s political leaders asking them as they sit in their rocking chairs “Why is our country in the Second Division?”
I guess they won’t hear the truthful reply: “Because we dithered, because we failed to lead.”
Lord Digby Jones was director-general of the CBI from 2000-2006 and Minister of State for UK Trade and Investment in 2007-2008.
Independent on Sunday says:
London airports waiting to be cleared for take-off
There is widespread agreement that London needs more flight capacity, but little consensus on the options. Mark Leftly and Lucy Tobin report
The row over airports expansion in the South-east has produced very little that is tangible, bar the invention of a rather marvellous word to describe Boris Johnson: “bonkeramus”.
Mocking the London Mayor’s predilection for making up words on the spot, the Stop Stansted Expansion campaign coined the term to show just how unimpressed they were with his belief that the Essex airport could be replaced by a massive four-runway hub.
The campaign’s economic adviser, Brian Ross, says Johnson’s expertise in Latin should mean he is well aware that the phrase means “a bonkers idea put forward by an ignoramus”. For good measure, Ross added that Johnson should stick to running buses and bicycles.
Whether it’s a crazy idea or not, Johnson has manoeuvred himself squarely into the centre of the debate, primarily pushing for his preferred plan for a floating hub in the Thames Estuary waters. What he is truly opposed to is a third runway at Heathrow, even though business leaders and major airlines want extra capacity to ensure that the west London site remains one of the world’s foremost airports.
Prime Minister David Cameron has played a blinder politically by ordering both a Department for Transport consultation [No, the current consultation is on aviation policy - it began in July and aniticipated a DfT consultation on capacity. The government then decided in September to cancel this consultation, and replace it with the Davies Commission. AirportWatch comment] and an inquiry, headed by former Audit Commission chairman Sir Howard Davies, into the issue. That ensures that there will be no answer this side of a general election, which means that Cameron won’t lose votes in Conservative heartlands where residents don’t want any more noisy aircraft flying low over their houses. [He hopes he won't lose votes, though that is unlikely].
However, this hasn’t stopped more and more options being announced by their zealous supporters, the most realistic of which are illustrated above. There are others, such as expanding Birmingham airport and transferring short-haul flights from Heathrow to RAF Northolt in Middlesex.
On Wednesday, the chief executive of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker, spoke of the “catastrophic situation” for the British economy. He argued that London and the South-east can’t wait the 20 or more years it would take to build a new airport and needs to focus on the most expedient option, which he believes is a third Heathrow runway. [Qatar Holding, in August, bought a 20% stake in BAA, or Heathrow Ltd as it is now called. So there is a connection there. LInk AirportWatch comment].
If nothing is done, Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted will be at capacity by 2030. A report [sadly the report is an extraordinary one, and remarkably worldly] by a think-tank, the Policy Exchange, says that the capital desperately needs a four-runway hub if it wants to compete with European rivals in Amsterdam and Frankfurt. [Heathrow is, of course, already a larger airport, and better connected, than any of its European rivals, a fact that tends to conveniently be forgotten. AirportWatch comment].
This notion of a “hub” is key. It’s the passengers who transfer at Heathrow that brings in so much money and Dubai, which is in such close reach of six time zones, is threatening to overtake it as the world’s busiest international airport. [Dubai is better geographically situated than the UK for links to the Far East. The UK is well positioned for links to the Americas].
Tony Douglas, the former chief executive of Heathrow who today is overseeing the $7.2bn (£4.5bn) Khalifa Port complex in Abu Dhabi, says that most of the interested parties are looking at the issue from the wrong angle.
“If you really wanted to, you could build a platform on stilts over London and land aeroplanes there,” he chuckles, arguing that the point is that there first needs to be agreement over why an airport is required and what the actual needs of the economy are. Only then can the options be properly assessed.
However, The Independent on Sunday has taken a stab at evaluating the possibilities of five of the most promising options ever being built. The judgement suggests that Boris Island probably isn’t a flyer, while expansion at Gatwick and Stansted is likely, but far from a solution.
The secretive nature of the work being undertaken by a business consortium, now known to include British Airways and BAA veterans, to build a new four-runway hub in Oxfordshire means that it remains the wildcard.
However, given the short-term needs of the economy, an awful lot of evidence points to a third runway at Heathrow one day being approved.
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has invented a new word – ‘bonkeramus’ – in response to Boris Johnson’s suggestion of Stansted being developed as the UK’s new hub airport with four runways and operating on 24/7 basis.
SSE Economics Adviser Brian Ross commented: “Boris is fond of inventing new words and we’re sure that, with his expertise in Latin, he’ll understand that bonkeramus means ‘a bonkers idea put forward by an ignoramus’. The Mayor of London has neither the knowledge nor the authority to pronounce on airports policy for the East of England. He should stick to running buses and bicycles in London.”
Boris Johnson’s suggestion of major expansion at Stansted was made in a speech to London businessmen last week where he said that London needed more airport capacity but he re-affirmed his opposition to a third runway at Heathrow and hinted that his earlier ‘Boris island’ idea could be unaffordable.
The Mayor of London’s intervention comes less than a month after the Government announced that it would be setting up an independent Commission under Sir Howard Davies to identify and recommend options for maintaining the UK’s status as an international hub for aviation. The Davies Commission will produce an interim report by the end of next year and a final report by the summer of 2015, after the next General Election.
SSE has condemned Boris Johnson’s intervention, describing it as trying to pre-empt the work of the Davies Commission. Mr Ross concluded: “Boris should remember that he is the Mayor of London and has no mandate for the East of England. We will not stand idly by if he tries to appease his West London voters at our expense with an ‘anywhere but Heathrow’ policy.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
Stansted is expected to handle some 17 million passengers this year, compared to its 2007 peak of 24 million. It has permission to handle 35 million passengers a year.
Two airlines, Easyjet and Ryanair, account for over 90% of Stansted’s passengers. The airport no longer has any long haul passenger flights.
On Sunday, a year after the opening of the 4th runway at Frankfurt airport, thousands protested peacefully against the increasing noise in the region. There may have been as many as 8,000 people there. On a bright autumn day they assembled by the fence next to the runway and showed their anger partly by making loud music. They are demanding planned construction of a new third airport terminal to be ceased. They are also demanding the closure of the 4th runway, and an extension of the ban on night flights from 22:00 and 06:00 in the morning. The government insist that the expansion of the airport provides opportunities for economic growth. However, they realise they have a real problem with aircraft noise and the extent of persistent citizen opposition. In the past week,three new measures had been adopted on noise, including an increase in the angle of approach and an increase in altitude. The protesters to not intend to give up their opposition. Great photos.
On Sunday, a year after the opening of the new runway at Frankfurt airport, thousands protested against the increasing noise in the region. On a bright autumn day they drove by shuttle bus from the terminal to the fence next to the runway and showed their anger with music, using drums and trumpets.
The organizers, a coalition of some 60 citizens’ groups spoke of 8,000 participants. They demanded to bury the construction of the planned third terminal. “Finally stop greed and megalomania,” shouted one speaker - addressed to the airport operator Fraport.
Vigil outside the departure terminal
Previously, several hundred protesters were demonstrating against the airport’s expansion at a vigil outside the departure terminal. The protest musician “Klaus violinist” from Cologne summarized the displeasure of noise opponents: “What can I say except that it’s shit.”
The road next to the runway lit up with yellow of the protest movement. Banners read: “Today is Black Sunday”, “Aircraft noise makes you sick” or “Dirty Landing”.
Guest speaker John Stewart, president of the European aircraft noise opponents (UECNA) stressed the solidarity of the airport noise-plagued residents in other regions. “You are not alone,” he said, pointing to successful protests against runways in Munich, London Heathrow and Sienna in Italy. “In none of these airports was an extension necessary.” If all plane journeys shorter than 500 km could be moved by rail, you can save 45% of the total air traffic in Europe.”
The number of participants shows that the protest are not diminishing, but go on, said an activist. “Fraport does not believe that there is a custom process or movement sleep,” said the spokesman of the organizers, Michael Wilk. [meaning people do not just get use to the noise, and cope with sleeping through it].
Protests do not stop
Since the opening of the new runway, exactly one year ago, the protests have been continuous. The citizens’ initiatives demonstrate every Monday in the departure hall of Terminal 1. They go there with whistles and horns through the terminal’s hall, and, there are rarely less than 1,000 demonstrators.
According to police, there were no incidents on Sunday. The street of the rally was closed to public traffic. The airport operator Fraport urged their passengers to plan for delays in arrival.
Runway anniversary. With violin and big band against aircraft noise
Several thousand people protested against the runway.
Exactly one year ago, that the Northwest runway at Frankfurt Airport went into operation. The protests against aircraft noise tear since coming: Several thousand people demonstrated on the anniversary of the airport.
For the first “birthday” of Runway Northwest were on Sunday afternoon, police said around 3,500 aircraft noise opponents pulled before the fence in Kelsterbach Forest. The organizers – a coalition of citizens’ groups from across the Rhine-Main area – said there were up to 8,000 participants.
With trumpets and drums, banners and flags to protest against the increase border noise in the region – this will experienced by the subject as physical and mental violence, said a spokesman for the Alliance. The health effects from noise and exhaust fumes were immeasurable.
Thousands noise opponents demonstrate
“Stop greed and megalomania”
“Fraport need not believe that there is a habituation process or movement sleep,” said Michael Wilk, the spokesman for the organizers and announced that would continue the so-called Monday demonstrations in one of the airport terminal. The demand of the aircraft noise opponents is clear: the extension of the ban on night flights from 22:00 and 06:00 in the morning and the closing of the new runway.
Also, set the demonstrators for a construction freeze on the third terminal of the airport. “Stop finally greed and megalomania,” shouted one speaker at Fraport addressed.
Heralded the actions were musical: The start was the protest musician “Klaus violinist” from Cologne. “What can I say, except that it’s crap,” concluded the musicians along the displeasure of the demonstrators. Also, a big band from Mainz, which has also suffered aircraft noise showed solidarity with the demonstrators.
At noon, the protests had begun a vigil in front of the departure hall of the airport. “Enough! Off! Basta!” was the motto under which around 60 were called citizens’ initiatives for the demonstration.
100,000 takeoffs and landings less
Another key demand of the protesters is a reduction in air traffic by 100,000 to 380,000 takeoffs and landings per year. Support there was on this point by the President of the European aircraft noise opponents, John Stewart. “You are not alone,” he said, pointing to successful protests against runways in Munich, London Heathrow and the Italian Sienna. If all the flights that are shorter than 500 km, would be shifted to rail, in any of these airports need an extension, said Stewart.
Police said the protests were peaceful, and a slip road to the airport had been closed. The airport operator Fraport had warned passengers in advance before the effects of the rally. Travelers should plan for delays in arrival, Fraport had recommended.
Government emphasizes growth opportunities
After decades of debate, the runway was opened on 21st October 2011. German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), was the first person who had landed on the 2,800-meter runway. Thus, not only the protest of airport expansion opponent marks from the adjacent municipalities, for a year the leaders in politics and business have repeated how important the airport development is to the region.
For the black-yellow state government to restrict air traffic is not in question. Economy Minister Florian Rentsch (FDP) was rather ahead of Jubliäums defended the new runway and stresses the positive effect of the ban on night flights. “Thus, the state government found a balance between the interests of residents and those of aviation,” said Rentsch.
The CDU stressed that the expansion of the airport have a new growth opportunity. At the same time, the reduction of noise pollution remains a constant task, said the economic policy spokesman of the CDU, Walter Arnold. On Thursday, three new measures had been adopted on noise, including an increase in the angle of approach and an increase in altitude.
Greens and the Left support protests
The opposition in parliament renewed its criticism of the state government. Even after a year, they have not taken effective measures against noise, the Greens declared in advance that plan to a report of the “Frankfurter Rundschau”, according to a further attempt to have the fourth runway at the airport closed. The party will therefore examine whether “public order” is threatened by aircraft noise.
The Social Democrats also accused the state government for mainly acting too late and not adequately.
Mehrere tausend Menschen protestierten gegen die Landebahn.
Genau ein Jahr ist es her, dass die Nordwestlandebahn am Frankfurter Flughafen in Betrieb ging. Die Proteste gegen Fluglärm reißen seitdem nicht ab: Mehrere Tausend Menschen haben zum Jubiläum am Flughafen demonstriert.
Zum ersten “Geburtstag” der Landebahn Nordwest waren am Sonntagmittag nach Polizeiangaben rund 3.500 Fluglärmgegner vor den Zaun im Kelsterbacher Wald gezogen. Die Veranstalter – ein Bündnis von Bürgerinitiativen aus dem gesamten Rhein-Main-Gebiet – sprachen dagegen von bis zu 8.000 Teilnehmern.Mit Pauken und Trompeten, Transparenten und Fahnen protestierten sie gegen den zunehmenenden Fluglärm in der Region – dieser werde von den Betroffenen als physische und seelische Gewalt erlebt, sagte ein Sprecher des Bündnisses. Die gesundheitlichen Schäden durch Lärm und Abgase seien unermesslich.
“Stoppen Sie Gier und Größenwahn”
“Fraport braucht nicht zu glauben, dass es einen Gewöhnungsprozess gibt oder die Bewegung einschläft”, sagte Michael Wilk, der Sprecher der Veranstalter und kündigte an, die sogenannten Montagsdemonstrationen im Terminal eins des Flughafens würden weitergehen. Die Forderung der Fluglärmgegner ist klar umrissen: die Ausweitung des Nachtflugverbots auf die Zeit zwischen 22 und sechs Uhr morgens und die Schließung der neuen Landebahn.Außerdem setzen sich die Demonstranten für einen Baustopp am dritten Terminal des Flughafens ein. “Stoppen Sie endlich Gier und Größenwahn”, rief ein Redner an Fraport adressiert.Eingeläutet wurden die Aktionen musikalisch: Den Auftakt machte der Protestmusiker “Klaus der Geiger” aus Köln. “Was soll man sagen, außer dass es Scheiße ist”, fasste der Musiker den Unmut der Demonstranten zusammen. Auch eine Bigband aus Mainz, das ebenfalls unter gestiegenem Fluglärm zu leiden hat, zeigte Solidarität mit den Demonstranten.
Am Mittag hatten die Proteste mit einer Mahnwache vor der Abflughalle des Flughafens begonnen. “Schluss! Aus! Basta!” lautete das Motto, unter dem rund 60 Bürgerinitiativen zu der Demonstration aufgerufen hatten.
100.000 Starts und Landungen weniger
Mehr zum Thema
hr-online schaut auf die Diskussion um die Nordwestbahn des Frankfurter Flughafens.
Eine weitere Hauptforderung der Demonstranten ist eine Reduzierung des Flugverkehrs um 100.000 auf 380.000 Starts und Landungen pro Jahr. Unterstützung gab es in diesem Punkt vom Präsidenten der europäischen Fluglärmgegner, John Stewart. “Ihr seid nicht allein”, sagte er und verwies auf erfolgreiche Proteste gegen Landebahnen in München, London-Heathrow und im italienischen Sienna. Wenn sämtliche Flüge, die kürzer als 500 Kilometer seien, auf die Schiene verlagert würden, sei an keinem dieser Flughäfen ein Ausbau nötig, meinte Stewart.Für die Proteste, die nach Polizeiangaben friedlich verlaufen sind, war eine Zubringerstraße zum Flughafen gesperrt worden. Der Flughafenbetreiber Fraport hatte Passagiere im Vorfeld vor Auswirkungen der Kundgebung gewarnt. Reisende sollten Verzögerungen bei der Anreise einplanen, hatte Fraport empfohlen.
Landesregierung betont Wachstumschancen
Nach jahrzehntelangen Debatten wurde die Landebahn am 21. Oktober 2011 in Betrieb genommen. Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel (CDU) war die Erste, die auf der 2.800 Meter langen Landebahn Nordwest gelandet war. Damit jährt sich nicht nur der Protest der Flughafenausbaugegner aus den angrenzenden Kommunen, seit einem Jahr wiederholen die Verantwortlichen aus Politik und Wirtschaft, wie wichtig der Ausbau für die Region war.Für die schwarz-gelbe Landesregierung kommt eine Einschränkung des Flugverkehrs keinesfalls in Frage. Wirtschaftsminister Florian Rentsch (FDP) hatte vielmehr im Vorfeld des Jubliäums die neue Landebahn verteidigt und die positive Wirkung des Nachtflugverbots betont. “Damit hat die Landesregierung einen Ausgleich zwischen den Interessen der Anwohner und denen der Luftfahrt gefunden”, erklärte Rentsch.Die CDU hob hervor, dass der Ausbau des Flughafens neue Wachstumschancen eröffnet habe. Gleichzeitig bleibe die Reduzierung der Lärmbelastung eine beständige Aufgabe, sagte der wirtschaftspolitische Sprecher der CDU-Fraktion, Walter Arnold. Erst am Donnerstag waren drei neue Maßnahmen zum Lärmschutz umgesetzt worden, darunter eine Anhebung des Anflugwinkels und eine Erhöhung der Flughöhe.
Grüne und Linke unterstützen Proteste
Die Opposition im Landtag erneuerte ihre Kritik an der Landesregierung. Auch nach einem Jahr habe sie keine wirksamen Maßnahmen gegen Lärm ergriffen, erklärten die Grünen im Vorfeld, die einem Bericht der “Frankfurter Rundschau” zufolge einen weiteren Anlauf planen, die vierte Piste am Flughafen schließen zu lassen. Die Partei will demnach prüfen lassen, ob die “öffentliche Sicherheit und Ordnung” durch Fluglärm gefährdet ist.Auch die Sozialdemokraten warfen der Landesregierung vor, zu spät und vor allem nicht ausreichend gehandelt zu haben.http://www.hr-online.de/website/rubriken/nachrichten/index.jsp?rubrik=71831&key=standard_document_46420497
Northern Ireland Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson, has said he would like to see APD on short-haul flights cut, but said it might cost NI too much. The tax currently adds £13 to a flight in Northern Ireland, compared to €3 in the Republic. While legislation to cut APD on long-haul flights is going through the assembly, NI does not have the power to cut it on short-haul flights. Getting this power would affect the amount it gets in the block grant that Northern Ireland gets from the Treasury in London – of some between £60-90m a year. As the devolved administration does not have responsibility for tax-gathering, when tax is gathered in Northern Ireland, it is collected by HM Revenue and Customs and it goes directly to the Treasury in London. Sammy Wilson said ”Even if we did have the powers we would have to ask the question whether or not the £60m this would cost us, rising to £90m, would be better spent on other developments.” Tweet
7 October 2012 (BBC)
Cutting air passenger duty tax may cost too much – Sammy Wilson
Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has said he would like to see the Air Passenger Duty on short-haul flights cut, but said it might cost NI too much.
The tax currently adds £13 to a flight in Northern Ireland, compared to three euros in the Republic.
While legislation to cut the duty on long-haul flights is going through the assembly, NI does not have the power to cut it on short-haul flights.
Getting this power would affect the amount it gets in the block grant.
This is the money Northern Ireland gets from the Treasury.
As the devolved administration does not have responsibility for tax-gathering, when tax is gathered in Northern Ireland, it is collected by HM Revenue and Customs and it goes directly to the Treasury in London.
The Treasury then works out how much Northern Ireland should get from the United Kingdom’s overall income.
If the power to cut Air Passenger Duty on short-haul flights was devolved it would have a potential cost to the block grant of between £60-90m a year.
“I have already spoken against air passenger duty in its totality in the House of Commons during budget debates,” Mr Wilson said.
“There’s already additional costs now under the Emissions Trading Scheme which imposed burdens on airlines.
“We see this a double taxation and damaging to the economy.”
However, he added: “We don’t have the power to cut it – the only power that has been devolved to us is the power for direct long-haul flights.
“Even if we did have the powers we would have to ask the question whether or not the £60m this would cost us, rising to £90m, would be better spent on other developments.”
BA boss Willie Walsh not hopeful over air passenger duty
The head of British Airways has said there is no chance of Air Passenger Duty being scrapped on short-haul flights from Northern Ireland.
Legislation to cut the duty on long-haul flights is going through the assembly.
However, Willie Walsh said he had no hope that Westminster would get rid of the £13 tax paid by passengers on short-haul flights.
He said it was damaging the economy and that the whole tax should go.
“It’s better, I think, if the whole tax was scrapped rather than adjustments made on an ad hoc basis like we’ve seen in Northern Ireland for long-haul flights,” he said.
“It does put us at a disadvantage compared to the carriers that are operating directly from Belfast, because if you’re flying from Belfast over Heathrow you’re still paying the high levels of taxation.”
On Wednesday, Finance Minister Sammy Wilson said he would like to see the Air Passenger Duty on short-haul flights cut, but said it might cost NI too much in terms of what would be lost from the block grant.
This is the money Northern Ireland gets from the Treasury.
“We don’t have the power to cut it – the only power that has been devolved to us is the power for direct long-haul flights,” he said.
“Even if we did have the powers, we would have to ask the question whether or not the £60m this would cost us, rising to £90m, would be better spent on other developments.”
The Telegraph writes that it has taken Aeromexico four years to get some slots at Heathrow, and makes out that this is because Heathrow is full etc etc. There are already 4 flights per week to Mexico, and these new flights will bring the total number to 7 per week. The Telegraph compares this to Paris with 14 and Madrid with 19. In reality, due to the BA link with Iberia, there are relatively few flights from Heathrow to south America, as they go via Madrid. Looking at Heathrow’s website, and its new destinations, one could be forgiven for thinking the airport is only looking to attract tourists, as all its publicity about new destinations is about their tourism potential, and delightful things to go and see and experience. Not one word about their business potential, or the chances for business to drive UK exports. And Heathrow has found room for as many new flights per week to Alicante as there will be to Mexico. Driving UK exports via Alicante ? Really?
“Mexican airline waits four years to do business with Heathrow”
Heathrow has so little spare capacity to handle extra flights that it took four years for an airline hoping to launch routes to Mexico, one of Britain’s key emerging market trading partners, to complete the deal.
Colin Matthews, chief executive of Heathrow, said the four-year wait experienced by Aeromexico highlights how Britain is being held back economically by the Government’s inertia on airport expansion.
Britain has a goal to double bilateral trade with Mexico to $4.2bn (£2.6bn) by 2015 but Aeromexico has been waiting since 2008 for takeoff and landing slots to become available at Heathrow.
The airline will launch three flights a week from London to Mexico City in December, bringing the total number of connections between Heathrow and Mexico’s capital city to seven a week. That compares with 14 weekly flights between Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and Mexico City, and 19 from Madrid.
Mr Matthews said: “The centre of gravity in the world economy is shifting and Britain should be forging new links with economies like Mexico. But with this single deal taking four years to complete, the UK’s lack of hub airport capacity is causing us to fall further behind the rest of Europe.”
Heathrow is currently operating at 99.2pc of its capacity. The airport claims the UK is missing out on vital jobs and trade because of the Government-imposed limit on the number of flights that can take off and land at the airport.
Mr Matthews is expected to step up his campaign for expansion at Britain’s only hub airport following this week’s rebranding of BAA to Heathrow, which was carried out to reflect the fact Heathrow will account for 95pc of the group’s business in future.
But the airport is facing growing competition from Gatwick, which has commissioned a study into a second runway.
Heathrow’s Destinations page lists a lot of places that could only at a pinch be called key business destinations, but largely for tourism. Some are Male, (Maldives), Miami, Pisa, Cyprus, Milan, Nice among others.
Heathrow’s New Destinations page below. There is no indication that these are for business – all the blurb talks about tourist destinations. Not emerging economies or business opportunities for UK exports. There is no mention of business whatsoever.
All the blurb on the links is about tourism – lovely things to go and see and do.
Fly direct to eight Canadian cities with Air Canada, British Airways or Virgin Atlantic
From wilderness and wildlife to watersports and nightlife, Canada just might be the perfect travel destination.
And with Virgin Atlantic launching flights from Heathrow to Vancouver for summer 2012, it’s now easier than ever to get there.
In this section you can find out who flies where, plan where you’d like to go using our in-depth travel guides, and compare flight prices in our travel shop.
and the Dubai one:
Heathrow to Dubai
Biman Bangladesh, British Airways, Emirates, Royal Brunei or Virgin Atlantic
There’s nowhere on earth like Dubai. Once a fishing village, this futuristic desert metropolis now boasts man-made islands, golf courses and even ski slopes – not to mention the world’s highest building, the 2,625-ft Burj Khalifa.
This is one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities, blessed with an idyllic sunshine climate, and its ambitious expansion plans include the world’s largest shopping mall and a massive desert leisure oasis.
Despite the economic slowdown, this is a city on the rise and still a major tourist attraction. And with a great choice of Dubai flights from Heathrow, there’s no excuse for waiting any longer to visit.