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Prospects of the ETS survival weakened by pressure against it from UK, Germany and France

The prospects of carbon emissions from aviation being adequately accounted for by the EU ETS in future look bleak. The Commission has proposed changing the law so aviation emissions that take place outside EU air space are exempt. But Germany, France and the UK want to exempt foreign airlines from the ETS entirely – even for the portions of flights that take place within EU airspace – because anything less would not be politically acceptable to China, India, Russia and the United States. Some MEPs are now lining up against the Commission as well. The Parliament is still likely to be evenly split, when it comes time to vote, between those who oppose any retreat, those who support the Commission’s semi-retreat, and those who support the member states’ full retreat. The problem with the partial retreat is that foreign airlines (other than those from small developing countries) would still be liable for emissions taking place within EU airspace for flights landing or taking off at EU airports. Even the most stalwart European lawmakers have admitted privately that they could not hope to hold out against the combined pressure of Beijing, Washington and Airbus. The choice now lies between partial retreat and (more likely) full retreat. There will be a vote in January about the draft proposal.

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There are 3 committees in the European Parliament considering the proposal for changes to the inclusion of aviation in the ETS:  Industry, Research & Energy;  Transport & Tourism and Environment. The report from the Environment committee is good – it is at ENVI draft report Nov 2013 . The other two are disastrous as they exempt all international flights from the ETS (only intra-European flights are in) until at least 2017.  Meanwhile UK, France and Germany have also come out with a proposal to exempt all international flights from the ETS.

 

 

Caving in on the cave-in

Wednesday 4 December 2013  (European Voice)

by Dave Keating (European Voice’s environment reporter)

It’s not looking good for the European Commission’s proposal to undo an EU law that would have charged all airlines for the emissions of flights taking off or landing in Europe. An increasing number of member states and MEPs are coming out in opposition. But they don’t have a problem with the retreat. They say the Commission isn’t retreating far enough.

Last week Germany, France and the UK told a meeting of member states that they want to change the proposal to a more complete surrender. The Commission proposed to change the law so that emissions that take place outside EU air space are exempt. But Germany, France and the UK want to exempt foreign airlines from the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) entirely – even for the portions of flights that take place within EU airspace – because anything less would not be politically acceptable to China, India, Russia and the United States.

Seeing the writing on the wall, many MEPs are now quickly lining up against the Commission as well. But the Parliament is still likely to be evenly split, when it comes time to vote, between those who oppose any retreat, those who support the Commission’s semi-retreat, and those who support the member states’ full retreat.

Sovereignty spat

The ETS Directive, adopted in 2008 by the Parliament and member states, mandates that from January 2012 all flights leaving or landing at an EU airport must purchase credits for the carbon emissions they have emitted.

But after global powers including China, India, Russia and the United States objected on sovereignty grounds, the Commission announced it would temporarily exempt non-EU airlines from the rules, to give the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) room to reach a deal for a global market mechanism to reduce aviation emissions.

The freeze is set to expire at the end of this year. In September the EU offered to permanently exclude emissions which take place outside EU airspace – if ICAO at least agreed a timeline to a future global mechanism. Unlike with the freeze, foreign airlines would still be liable for emissions taking place within EU airspace for flights landing or taking off at EU airports.

ICAO did adopt a timeline to a future deal in 2020, and so in October the European Commission made good on its offer, proposing to exempt from the ETS any emissions that take place outside of EU airspace. This angered many in the European Parliament, as well as many European airlines, which said the Commission was caving in to foreign pressure even though nothing real had been agreed at ICAO.

However even this offer from the Commission did not mollify the foreign powers. Charging their airlines anything for emissions, even those that take place inside EU airspace, would be a violation of sovereignty, they insist.

The proposal to amend the ETS legislation has to be approved by the Parliament and Council.  Airbus, fearful of retaliatory action from China, has been leaning on Berlin, Paris and London to change the proposal so that only flights flying entirely within the EU would be subject to the ETS.  Such flights are, obviously, almost entirely operated by European airlines. Foreign airlines operating in Europe will be off the hook.

This week Finnish centre-right MEP Eija-Riitta Korhola, who is leading the file in the Parliament’s industry committee, submitted a report backing the intra-EU approach.

Centre-right German MEP Peter Liese, who leads on the issue in the environment committee, is defending the Commission’s airspace approach. [See the Draft Report by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety entitled "Draft report on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/87/EC establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community, in view of the implementation by 2020 of an international agreement applying a single global market-based measure to international aviation emissions"  at  ENVI draft report Nov 2013 ].

Meanwhile many Green and Socialist MEPs are still furious that the EU caved in so easily on this issue and they do not want to vote for any change to the law.

Though the upcoming Parliament vote on this issue may be split, it’s pretty clear who will win this fight in the end. With Berlin, Paris and London all intent on changing the legislation to match the demands of third countries, it’s very unlikely that the Commission’s original proposal will see the light of day. And there are few with the appetite left to fight for it.

A traumatic experience

The aviation emission dispute has been fairly traumatic for Brussels lawmakers. It now appears certain that a democratically-enacted law, which Berlin, Paris and London all approved back in 2008, will be easily bent through foreign pressure. Even the most stalwart European lawmakers have admitted privately that they could not hope to hold out against the combined pressure of Beijing, Washington and Airbus. Admitting this limit to EU influence and respect in the world has been a tough process.

“Why do we even bother making laws?” one disgruntled Parliament assistant grumbled to me. “The US just comes in and says, no, that’s not your law, this is your law.”

The irony, of course, is that a similar inclusion of international aviation in carbon trading was part of the US climate change bill that was being drafted back in 2008. That climate bill eventually failed. But what if it hadn’t, and the US had included foreign flights in its cap and trade scheme? Would the international community have demonstrated the same lack of respect for US law as it has for EU law? Would Washington have been so willing to change its laws because of the displeasure of its global partners?

For the EU, the cave-in is already guaranteed. The question now is how big it will be. The choice now lies between partial retreat and full retreat. The EU will most likely choose the latter. It’s a less-than-inspiring saga for Europe, and it’s one that lawmakers seem to want to get behind them as quickly as possible.

http://www.europeanvoice.com/page/european-voice-blogs-dave-keating/3554.aspx?blogitemid=1823

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See also

 

Peter Liese MEP seeks to strengthen draft EU directive on aviation in the ETS

November 29, 2013      .

The European Parliament’s environment committee rapporteur, Peter Liese, wants to tighten an EU directive on aviation in the EU ETS. The German liberal MEP, who is steering the draft directive through Parliament, is backing the EC’s compromise proposal, while proposing amendments to further strengthening the ETS. Peter Liese is advising the EU to revise its relevant legislation by 2016, not 2020, to put more pressure on ICAO to reach a global deal sooner rather than later. ICAO agreed in October to develop a global MBM to reduce aviation CO2 emissions, at its next general assembly in 2016. That could take effect in 2020. But European trust in the ICAO outcome is waning, as its record on action on CO2 in the past is dismal. Liese said: “….it is not at all sure that the ICAO Assembly in 2016 will really succeed to adopt clear rules for the MBM.” His draft proposal is effectively threatening the ICAO that the EU will revert to a full ETS from 2017 if global agreement is not reached. Already aviation gets special treatment in the ETS as only 15% of its permits are auctioned (higher % for other sectors) and the cap on emissions is only 5% lower, while other sectors have to reduce their emissions by 21% from their 1990 level by 2020. Environmental organisations reacted warmly.

Click here to view full story…

 

 

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Airports Commission surface transport improvement plans for Gatwick airport including £180 million station upgrade

Sir Howard Davies (Chairman of the Airports Commission) has written to George Osborne, on the subject of surface access to airports. He says that as adding any new runways will take a decade (or decades), in the interim “there is a strong case for attaching a greater strategic priority to transport investments which improve surface access to our airports.” The Airports Commission have recommended improvements for Gatwick including improvements to the train station, which could cost £180 million – “subject to the airport providing an appropriate contribution to the costs of the scheme.”  It is not currently regarded as being well suited to travellers, especially those with heavy luggage, so better luggage space would need to be added. The Commission says Gatwick is succeeding in getting more long haul routes, and due to capacity constraints at Heathrow, “we believe that the UK’s interests to enable passengers to more effectively access Gatwick’s increasing connections to new markets, as well as its existing route network.” The government says it will provide £50m towards the redevelopment of the station, subject to satisfactory commercial negotiations with Gatwick airport.
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December 4, 2013

Gatwick rail link funding approved

By Andrew Parker (FT)

Full FT article at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/beb386c0-5ce6-11e3-a558-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2mYUl6tAi

Ministers have accepted recommendations by a body investigating Britain’s airports that could lead to significant improvements to Gatwick’s train station and rail links at Stansted and Heathrow.

The Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, is calling for improvements to surface transport links to the three main airports in the southeast of England, which are mainly focused on enhancements to the rail network.

These improvements, if implemented in full, could cost £2bn and are intended to ensure better use of existing runway capacity.

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Full FT article at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/beb386c0-5ce6-11e3-a558-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2mYUl6tAi

 


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Airports Commission welcomes surface transport improvements

Surface access recommendations featured in National Infrastructure Plan

4.12.2013 (Airports Commission website)

National Infrastructure Plan 2013

Ref: ISBN 978-1-909790-57-5, PU1576PDF, 1.07MB, 152 pages

In the National Infrastructure Plan published today (4 December 2013), the government has set out its intention to act on the Airports Commission’s surface access recommendations.

Welcoming this move, Sir Howard Davies said:

I am pleased that the government has acted on our recommendations to enhance surface access to some of our major airports. Improving the quality of surface transport links can play an important part in optimising how we use our existing infrastructure in the short and medium term. We will present further recommendations for making the best use of existing capacity in our interim report, which we will deliver later this month.

As part of its work on making the best use of existing airport capacity, the Airports Commission has considered a range of measures to improve surface transport links to airports.

The Commission recognised that the 2013 National Infrastructure Plan and Autumn Statement presented the opportunity for early progress on this issue. Accordingly, Sir Howard Davies wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 26 November 2013 to set out the Commission’s recommendations for a short term package of surface transport improvements that would help optimise the use of existing airport capacity, whatever decisions might be taken in the longer term.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/airports-commission-welcomes-surface-transport-improvements

The letter is

Surface access letter

PDF, 358KB, 10 pages


 

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This is what the letter says, in relation to Gatwick:

Annex

 Recommendations on short term surface transport measures 

Gatwick

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Recommendation 1:

The Government should work with Network Rail and Gatwick Airport to implement a significant enhancement of the airport station, with an emphasis upon making the station more accessible to users with luggage (which should also enhance access for users with disabilities). The Government should pursue an ambitious (circa £180m) option for enhancing
the station through the construction of a new concourse and ticket hall with enhanced access to platforms, subject to the airport providing an appropriate contribution to the costs of the scheme. .

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Recommendation 2:

There is a need to improve the suitability of the Gatwick Express rolling stock to make it more suitable for airport users, for example by the provision of additional luggage space. The Government should take opportunities to enhance it where they exist in the franchising system.

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Recommendation 3:

The Government should work with train operators to promote the introduction of paperless ticketing facilities for journeys to and from Gatwick Airport station.

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Recommendation 4:

The Government and Network Rail should accelerate work to produce a detailed plan for the enhancement of the Brighton Main Line, with a particular emphasis upon enhancing capacity and reliability, so as to accommodate growth in both airport and commuter traffic. This could focus on the alleviation of particular pinch points (such as East Croydon).

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Recommendation 5:

The Government should work with the Highways Agency to develop a forward route strategy for the sections of the motorway network connecting to Gatwick Airport, with a particular emphasis on the connections between the M25, M23 and the airport itself. This strategy should consider options for expanding the slip-roads between the roads in question, which could become substantial congestion pinch points.

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Since the sale of Gatwick Airport, its new management has sought to increase the number of long haul destinations served by the airport and has already achieved some successes in this area. In light of the capacity constraints at Heathrow, we believe that the UK’s interests, in the window until any new capacity can be brought online, lie in enabling passengers to more effectively access Gatwick’s increasing connections to new markets, as well as its existing route network.

This is reflected in our recommendations.

We have also recognised the other pressures that exist upon the surface access links serving Gatwick; particularly the Brighton Main Line. We understand that this limits the extent to which the airport’s surface access might be improved in the short to medium term; London must remain open for business for residents and commuters, as well as for international travellers.
However, we believe that there are some works that can be done, particularly in terms of taking further the planned enhancements to the airport’s station.

The station is not, at present, well suited to the needs of airport users. Its configuration is poor, particularly for passengers with luggage who are forced to wait for the rather inadequate lifts provided or else struggle with their bags on narrow escalators. This does not provide the best welcome to intemational visitors or send the message that the airport is well suited to long haul airlines and their customers.

In respect of the further enhancement of the airport station, we believe there is a strong case for taking forward a significant programme of improvements (costed at £180m in 2008), which would completely replace the existing concourse and ticket hall with a new facility. We believe that represents the best means of enhancing the passenger experience at Gatwick and hence the airport’s ability to attract new long haul routes.

We have also reviewed a more modest scheme with costs below £50m, which would focus on improvements to the platforms and some modest refurbishment of the existing concourse and ticket hall. We do not believe that this would offer an attractive solution. However, since the airport itself would be a substantial beneficiary of the work, we recommend that the
implementation of the more ambitious proposal should be subject to it making an appropriate contribution to the overall cost.

Ticketing facilities at the station are also poor and the range of tickets and fares available can be confusing. We have noted the London Assembly Transport Committee’s proposal that Oyster facilities be provided at Gatwick Airport Station. We support this, but also note that paperless ticketing systems are rapidly evolving. We therefore recommend that Gatwick station be incorporated as soon as possible into the Oyster system or any successor.

The Gatwick Express service forms a key part of the airport’s surface transport offering, but we are concemed that it faces a number of challenges in supporting the airport’s connectivity growth. These challenges arise largely from a lack of capacity on the Brighton Main Line, but there are also clear reasons to suspect that the rolling stock’s configuration is not ideal for an
airport express service. We also need to recognise that while Gatwick Airport Station and the Gatwick Express are used by a number of commuters as well as aiport users, the primary purpose of these facilities is to support the airport. We believe that the configuration of both the station and the rolling stock needs to reflect this.

In respect of the studies into future enhancement of the Brighton Main Line and the M25 and M23, my understanding is that Government, Highways Agency and Network Rail would, in any event, have needed to undertake this work before too long, due to the growing demands and pressures on the infrastructure. Our recommendations, therefore, should be seen as a call for
the acceleration of this work and for due consideration to be given for the needs of airport users. I believe that the costs of the respective studies should not exceed £1 m each.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/263208/surface-access-letter.pdf

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London Gatwick welcomes Government funding for the redevelopment of Gatwick Rail Station

4 December 2013 (Gatwick Airport press release)

London Gatwick today welcomes the Government’s announcement that it will contribute £50m of funding to kick-start the redevelopment of Gatwick’s rail station – The Gatwick Gateway.

The announcement, made today as part of the revised National Infrastructure Plan, recognises Gatwick’s important role in UK aviation and the need to ensure a world-class railway station for both existing and future passengers.

The Government’s funding commitment follows a letter from the Independent Chair of the Airports Commission Sir Howard Davies to the Chancellor, which recognises Gatwick’s success in increasing the number of long haul destinations served, and includes a series of recommendations on improving surface access to enable passengers to more effectively access new and existing routes.

Of the 35 million passengers using Gatwick airport each year, 14 million arrive or depart by rail; making it the busiest airport station in Britain. Not only does the airport provide the fastest routes into the City and West End, it also connects directly to over 120 stations throughout London and the South East.

This connectivity will be further improved upon completion of a £53m project to improve platform capacity in early 2014 and with the introduction of the Thameslink franchise later that year.

As passenger numbers at Gatwick continue to grow, with new airlines flying to more destinations, the redevelopment will be vital in ensuring a world-class passenger experience both now and in the future. The airport’s analysis with Network Rail shows that a station with this number of passengers requires a concourse at least double the size of the existing facilities just to meet the current demand.

The National Infrastructure Plan also outlined a number of further measures for surface access at Gatwick, including accelerating a Network Rail study into the Brighton Mainline, incorporating the Gatwick to London route on a planned trial of smart ticketing and including access to Gatwick in the Highways Agency study on local motorways.

Commenting on today’s announcement, London Gatwick’s Chief Executive Stewart Wingate, said:

“We are pleased that the Airports Commission has taken on board our recommendations on how to ensure growth at our airport in the short and medium term and maintain the UK’s position as one of the best connected countries in the world.

“This new funding is a welcome and positive first step toward delivering the new Gatwick Gateway rail station. We have worked well with Network Rail on our current rail improvement project and are looking forward to working with them, the Treasury and the Department for Transport to leverage this initial investment.

“Gatwick currently has the highest percentage of passengers accessing the airport by rail of any UK airport and as we continue to grow the number of global routes served by legacy, charter and low cost airlines, the package of measures announced today will help us deliver a world-class passenger experience for Britons and visitors alike.”

John Dickie, Director of Strategy & Policy, London First said “The rail station at Gatwick has been neglected for far too long. For many visitors, it’s their first impression of the UK so we welcome this plan for improvement. Alongside enhanced services under the new rail franchise and the many improvements made to the airport itself, this is a key step in improvements that are good for Gatwick, good for London and good for the UK.“

Jeremy Taylor, Chief Executive of Gatwick Diamond Business, said “This is more great news for the airport and for the Gatwick Diamond area. The station is currently undergoing a £53million refit and we should start to see the benefits of the new Platform Seven in 2014. This money will go some way towards developing further public transport access to the Airport and I look forward to learning more about the plans.”

http://www.mediacentre.gatwickairport.com/News/London-Gatwick-welcomes-Government-funding-for-the-redevelopment-of-Gatwick-Rail-Station-87e.aspx

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see also

Airports Commission input into National Infrastructure Plan on improvements to surface access to main airports –  Heathrow recommendations

Date added: December 5, 2013

Sir Howard Davies wrote to George Osborne on 26th November, on surface access to airports. This has influenced the National Infrastructure Plan for 2013, now released. The Airports Commission says that as adding any new runways will take a decade (or decades), in the interim “there is a strong case for attaching a greater strategic priority to transport investments which improve surface access to our airports.” The letter gives specific recommendations on improving surface access at UK main airports. On Heathrow it recommends: “Recognising the importance of encouraging modal shift towards more environmentally sustainable forms of transport at Heathrow, not only for supporting future expansion plans [!?] but also for optimising the airport’s operations within its current capacity constraints, the Government should work with Network Rail to undertake a detailed study to find the best option for enhancing rail access into Heathrow from the south. Initial indications are that up to roughly 15% of Heathrow’s passengers in the London and South East region could benefit from improved Southern Access.” They “remain concerned that the proportion of users (particularly workforce) accessing Heathrow using private cars remains high, with consequent implications for air quality.”

Click here to view full story…

 

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VisitBritain data shows countries with highest spending by inbound tourists: top is USA (13% of the total), France (8%), Germany (7%) and Australia (5%)

Visit Britain has commissioned a report, by Deloitte and Oxford Economics. The report indicates that the tourism sector in the UK is worth some £127 billion per year now, and might grow at 3.8% per year. They say it might be worth £257 billion to the UK economy by 2025. Their report says that UK income from foreign tourists in 2012 was £24 billion, (giving a net UK tourism deficit from outbound tourists of £13.8 billion). The £24 billion contributed £6.7 billion to HMRC. Data for 2012 show that the countries whose visitors to the UK spent the most were the USA (by far the most at 13% of the total), France (8%), Germany (7%) and Australia (5%).  Then Ireland, Spain and Italy at 4% each. By far the largest number of visitors came from France (12% of the total), next Germany at 10% and USA at 9%. Predictably those who have come long haul spend more on their visits than Europeans. In 2012 about 73% of inbound visitors reached the UK by air. In 2012 there were 179,000 visits by Chinese people to the UK (0.6% of all overseas visits). They accounted for 1.7% of all nights in the UK by overseas visitors, and they spent £300m spent, accounting for 1.6% of the total spent whilst in the UK by overseas visitors.
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Inbound Tourism – Updated April 2013

Inbound tourism facts (from VisitBritain)
Trends

The table below shows trends in inbound tourism for the period 2002 to 2012 based on the Office for National Statistics International Passenger Survey.  The number of visits peaked in 2007 at 32.8 million, since when there were several years of slight decline followed by small increases in 2011 and 2012.  After a long period during which the average spend per visit hovered at a little under £500 there has been a marked increase in the past four years, driven on by the relative weakness of sterling.

The long-term trend is for the average length of time each inbound visitor stays in the UK to decline, however the figure has been fairly stable for the past six years.  In line with many other developed economies the UK has an international tourism balance of payments deficit.  This increased both rapidly and consistently in the decade to 2008, but has shrunk by over a third in recent years as Britons took fewer overseas trips.

2012 top level annual data from 2002

Top 10 Markets

The top ten inbound markets for the UK in terms of number of visits during 2012 accounted for two in three visits (66%).  It is noteworthy that only two long-haul markets, the USA and Australia, appear in the top ten.  Looking at spending by inbound visitors, the top ten markets account for 54% of all spending, with the USA worth almost £1 billion more than the next most valuable market, France.  All of the top ten markets measured in terms of value are ‘developed’ rather than ‘emerging’ source markets for international tourism.

   

2012 top ten markets

See more details below - for countries not listed above.

[In 2012, the number of visitors from China was tiny by comparison. 179 (thousand), and they spent about £300 million - less than half the amount spent by Dutch visitors, less than half the amount spent by Australians. See below for details . AW comment]
Fastest Growing and Declining Markets

Two out of the five markets which have recently shown the highest absolute growth in value (on average during the last five years) are markets in close proximity to the UK, namely France and Switzerland. It is notable that the value of the Australian market has grown on average by around £62m and the Chinese by around £45 million per year 2008-12.  The ‘relative’ growth in value on average over the last five years shows the rapid rise in importance of emerging markets China, UAE and Brazil. Whilst both the USA and Japan have shown growth in recent years in terms of visits both markets are considerably smaller than in the 1990s.

The markets which have declined most on average across the last five years in terms of absolute reduction in spending are topped by the large Republic of Ireland market.  The ‘relative’ decline figures show that the value of visits from Greece and Poland have decreased by 11% and 10% respectively on average each year across the last five years.

2012 growth decline markets

Journey Purpose and Seasonal Spread

In 2012 nearly two-in-five inbound visits to the UK were for a holiday (38%), while almost a quarter (24%) were for business.  Looking at the share of visitor nights by journey purpose it is clear that trips to visit friends or relatives (VFR) account for the largest share (39%), thanks to the fact that these trips involve a longer than average length of stay.

By contrast VFR trips account for a lower share of inbound visitor spend (21%) than they do of visits (29%), while holiday and business spending (40% and 24% respectively) are in line with their respective share of visits (38% and 24%).

In 2012 the period April to September accounted for over three in five holiday visits (30% April to June, 32% July to September), whilst only around one-in-six (17%) were in the first three months of the year.  By contrast business visits show a more even seasonal spread (23%-27%), while VFR trips are more likely to take place in the last two quarters of the year (27%, 26%) than the January to March (21%) period.

2012 purpose by season

Mode of Travel

The UK enjoys excellent global connectivity, with well over 100 countries having direct air connections to the UK in 2012.  It can be seen from the pie chart that in 2012 almost three quarters of inbound visitors reached the UK by air.

As visitors who travel by air tend to spend more per visit than those using other means of transport the share of visitor spend accounted for by visitors who fly to the UK stood at 84% in 2012.

Visitors who do not travel by air are almost evenly split between those who travel by ferry (14%) or use the Channel Tunnel (13%).

2012 mode

Distribution by area

London is a key destination for inbound visitors to the UK.  In 2012 15.5 million visitors spent time in the capital, spending over £10bn.  This represents 54% of all inbound visitor spending.

The rest of England attracted 12.8 million inbound visitors who spent an estimated £6.2bn, representing 33% of all inbound visitor spend.  Scotland attracted 2.2 million visitors and 8% of all visitor spending, with the equivalent figures for Wales being 0.9 million visits and 2% of visitor spend.  The ‘other’ category includes visits to the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, along with those visitors whose nights in the UK were spent travelling.

Note that some 1.8 million visitors from overseas made ‘day trips’ to the UK in 2012, with these visits generating £301 million of spending.

 

http://www.visitbritain.org/insightsandstatistics/inboundtourismfacts/

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Data country by country, from VisitBritain

at http://www.visitbritain.org/insightsandstatistics/markets/

 

The USA is Britain’s third most important market for volume of visits and top for the amount spent by visitors.

France is Britain’s most important market for volume of visits and the second most important for the amount spent by visitors.

Germany is Britain’s second most important market for volume of visits and third for the amount spent by visitors.

Australia is Britain’s tenth most important market for volume of visits and fourth for the amount spent by visitors.

Switzerland is Britain’s 11th most important market for volume of visits and 10th for the amount spent by visitors.

The Netherlands is Britain’s fifth most important market for volume of visits and eighth for the amount spent by visitors.

Spain is Britain’s sixth most important market for both volume of visits and the amount spent by visitors.

Italy is Britain’s seventh most important market for both volume of visits and the amount spent by visitors.

Japan is Britain’s 24th most important market for volume of visits and 17th for the amount spent by visitors.

China is Britain’s 28th most important market for volume of visits and 19th for the amount spent by visitors.

Hong Kong is Britain’s 38th most important market for volume of visits and 27th for the amount spent by visitors.

Brazil is Britain’s 22nd most important market for volume of visits and 24th for the amount spent by visitors

India is Britain’s 16th most important market for volume of visits and 15th for the amount spent by visitors.

Canada is Britain’s 14th most important market for volume of visits and ninth for the amount spent by visitors.

Russia is Britain’s 25th most important market for volume of visits and 22nd for the amount spent by visitors.

Austria is Britain’s 19th most important market for volume of visits and 32nd for the amount spent by visitors.

…….. and there is data on many more at

http://www.visitbritain.org/insightsandstatistics/markets/

 

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“British Tourism: job creation powerhouse”

16th November 2013   (Visit Britain press release)

  • Tourism economy set to grow 3.8% per annum – faster than manufacturing, construction and retail
  • Currently worth £127bn and growing to £257bn by 2025 – 10% of UK GDP
  • Supporting 3 million jobs throughout the UK in 2013 (9.6% of UK employment)
  • Accounted for one third of net increase in UK jobs between 2010 and 2012 (175,000 additional jobs) – and forecast to grow to 3.7 million jobs by 2025
  • Inbound tourism the driving force of growth
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Tourism’s central role in creating new jobs across Britain has been underlined in a report today from Deloitte, Tourism: jobs and growth’, commissioned by VisitBritain. [Report by Deloitte and Oxford Economics, though Oxford Economics is well known for using extravagant multipliers for their job and economic benefits estimates.  AW comment]

Since 2010 tourism has been one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK in employment terms, responsible for one-third of the net increase in UK jobs between 2010 and 2012. Recent employment growth in the sector has been ‘stellar’ over this period says the report – more than four times the rate of manufacturing.

The report forecasts that the tourism economy will be worth around £127 billion this year (2013), equivalent to 9% of the UK’s GDP. It supports over 3 million jobs, that’s 9.6% of all jobs and 173,000 more than in 2010. The sector is predicted to grow at an annual rate of 3.8% through to 2025 – significantly faster than the overall UK economy (with a predicted annual rate of 3% per annum) and much faster than sectors such as manufacturing, construction and retail.

Britain will have a tourism industry worth over £257 billion by 2025 – just under 10% of UK GDP and supporting over 3.7 million jobs, which will be around 11% of the total UK employment. Those jobs would be distributed throughout the UK – for while urban areas such as London, Birmingham or Edinburgh have the highest number of jobs in tourism, the relative level of tourism-related jobs tends to be higher in our rural and coastal areas. During this period of job creation, productivity in the tourism sector is also expected to increase by 2% per annum.

Deloitte has examined the relationship between the rise in tourism spending and job numbers. They have found that every £54,000 increase in spending in the sector creates a new tourism job in the UK.
Tourism’s impact is amplified through the economy, so its influence is much wider than just the direct spending of tourists. Deloitte estimates the tourism GVA multiplier to be 2.2, meaning that for every £1000 generated in direct tourism GVA there is a further £1200 that is secured elsewhere in the economy through the supply chain.
Inbound tourism 

Inbound tourism will continue to be the fastest growing tourism sector, with spend by international visitors forecast to grow by over 6% a year. The value of inbound tourism is forecast to grow from over £21bn in 2013 to £57bn by 2025, with the UK seeing an international tourism balance of payments surplus within a decade – almost forty years since the UK last reported a surplus.

If Britain were to become as successful as its European competitors in the new emerging growth markets for tourism (such as China), with further investment it could increase the value of inbound tourism by an additional £12bn by 2025 – an increase to £69bn or over 20% on the base forecast.

Christopher Rodrigues, VisitBritain Chairman said:“Tourism has become a bedrock of the UK economy – generating a third of the UK’s net new jobs between 2010 and 2012 – and still has the ability to grow at levels that will lead other industries out of the economic slowdown.

“Deloitte’s report suggests that by 2025 Britain could have an industry worth over £257 billion (56% more than in 2013 in real terms) supporting 3.8 million jobs – across the country and at all skill levels.
“Inbound tourism is already one of Britain’s top export industries and will continue to be the fastest growing sector of the industry, with spend by international visitors forecast to grow by over 6% a year.

“Inbound tourism’s record performance since the Olympics bodes well for the future but to achieve the industry’s full potential we need to continue to raise our game, marry policy and marketing and promote Britain even more aggressively overseas.”

Minister for Tourism, Helen Grant, added:“We have showcased the best of Britain to the world in the last three years with some massive, memorable events, creating a huge boost for the tourism industry. More visitors are flying in and spending record amounts of cash and it’s clear that the size of the prize going forward is big. Tourism can continue to play an increasingly important role in Britain’s economic recovery, with jobs created and real career opportunities for many.”  

http://www.visitbritain.org/mediaroom/pressreleases/tourismreport.aspx

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This is the VisitBritain Market Overview of China:

Market Overview – dated November 2013

Key insights from the Market SnapshotLatest Insights and General Market Conditions chapters

Click on the link to go straight to the full Market Profile

Global Context

  • International tourism expenditure (US$bn): 102
  • Global rank for international tourism expenditure: 1
  • Number of outbound visits (m): 46.8
  • Most visited destination: Hong Kong

Inbound to the UK in 2012

  • 179,000 visits, accounting for 0.6% of all overseas visits to the UK
  • 4 million nights, accounting for 1.7% of all nights in the UK by overseas visitors
  • £300m spent, accounting for 1.6% of the total spent whilst in the UK by overseas visitors
  • Compared to five years ago there has been a 25% increase in visits, a 40% increase in nights and a 69% increase in spend

Latest Insights

  • China’s new tourism law kicked in at the beginning of October, seeking to better protect tourists from misleading pricing and practices engaged in by some travel businesses. While there have been grumbles from the trade about a downturn in business this autumn due to the necessity of increasing tour prices to make up for the abolition of tours sold below cost that then included forced tipping or shopping trips to generate commission, the China National Tourism Administration has commented that this in fact shows that the law has had a positive impact and that the market is currently normalising, with any temporary downturn feeding into the long-term health of the industry. However, examples are already being cited of travel businesses managing to skirt the new regulation by rebranding tours as independent travel packages — only for travellers to find themselves part of a larger group of ‘independent’ travellers when they arrive at their destination.
  • Media coverage was all positive on the latest alterations made to the British visa application process, announced during George Osborne’s visit to China in October. Three key measures were announced, namely the introduction of a pilot scheme allowing selected Chinese travel agents to apply for UK visas by submitting the EU’s Schengen visa form, the implementation of a new 24-hour ‘super priority’ visa service from summer 2014, and consideration of the expansion of the VIP mobile visa service beyond Beijing and Shanghai to the rest of the country, sending visa teams to applicants in order to collect their forms and biometric data.

General Market Conditions

  • China’s population of 1.3 billion is still growing at 0.5% per annum
  • More than 400,000 UK residents describe their ethnicity as Chinese
  • In 2011/12 almost 80,000 Chinese born students were enrolled to UK Higher Education establishments
  • China is expected to account for 19% of the global economy by 2018 and is now the world’s largest producer and consumer of cars
  • By 2022 the number of urban households that can be described as ‘affluent’ or ‘upper middle class’ is set to number 225 million
  • There are an estimated 643,000 High Net Worth Individuals in China, with the typical millionaire aged in their late 30s and most saying that they intend to send their children abroad for at least part of their education
  • While English is taught at school those most proficient tend to be found working in companies that frequently deal with western countries
  • The ‘Mid Autumn Festival’ is an increasingly popular time for taking a foreign trip

Download the full Market Profile for comprehensive coverage on these topics.

http://www.visitbritain.org/insightsandstatistics/markets/china/overview.aspx

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Government and VisitBritain to launch “China Welcome” initiative to get more income from Chinese tourists to UK

The UK is blatantly trying to get as many high spending Chinese tourists  as possible to visit, and more importantly – as the government sees it – spend their money here. More and more of it. The shameless touting for Chinese business is, frankly, embarrassing.  We don’t even try to be subtle in our desire to leech money out of tourists from China. Now all the stops are being pulled out to increase visitor numbers – including making obtaining visas easier. Sec of State at DCMS, Maria Miller, will launch a “China Welcome” initiative in Spring 2014, and Visit Britain says the initiatives to attract more Chinese could see 650,000 Chinese visitors per year by 2020, spending about £1.1 billion in the UK. There were 179,000 visits to the UK by Chinese people in 2012, which was 0.6% of all overseas visits to the UK. They spent about £300 million in 2012. The UK travel industry is salivating at the prospect that “In the last 12 months China has become the largest tourism source market in the world, worth $102 billion.” VisitBritain says number of Chinese tourists coming to the UK was up (?21%) in the first half of 2013 compared to a year earlier, and their spending was up by much more. Airports are keen to benefit, with Birmingham jumping in, to get its share. Earlier this year, VisitBritain said the UK’s tourism economy will be worth around £127 billion in 2013. They hope UK  tourism will be worth £257 billion per year by 2025.

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Initiative launched to attract more Chinese tourists to UK

By Phil Davies (Travel Weekly)

3rd December 2013

Initiative launched to attract more Chinese tourists to UK
Culture secretary Maria Miller (pictured) has outlined plans to make the UK the most welcoming destination in Europe for Chinese visitors.The China Welcome initiative, to kick off next spring, was unveiled as part of Prime Minister David Cameron’s three-day visit to China.It will showcase, promote and develop how the UK travel industry caters to the needs of Chinese visitors.

Virgin Atlantic, Marketing Manchester, Marketing Birmingham, Hilton Worldwide, Gretna Green, Celtic Manor in Wales, the John Lewis partnership, Bicester Village, Harrods and The Roman Baths in Bath are backing the promotion.

They are already providing information in Mandarin and adapting to attract more Chinese visitors.

VisitBritain will work with businesses to build on this progress, sharing customer insights, raising cultural awareness and encouraging the training of qualified Mandarin-speaking guides – as well as translated websites and visitor literature.

VisitBritain aims to attract 650,000 Chinese visitors a year by 2020, worth almost £1.1 billion.

The tourist agency has endorsed UKInbound’s launch of the first Chinese Tour Guide Accreditation Scheme in the UK. Courses will start in London in February, with support from Capela Training, China Holidays and London & Partners.

Today’s announcement in Shanghai was also a call for more tourism businesses to sign up and get involved. Signatories will benefit from an increased competitive edge and better recognition from Chinese tourists, the government claims.

Miller said: “Britain is very much open for business and this is just the beginning. We want businesses from up and down the country to get involved, sign up and be part of this new game-changing initiative.

“The new ‘China Welcome’ initiative shows how serious we are about making sure Britain is ahead of the competition when it comes to attracting Chinese businesses and tourists.

“We are determined to encourage more Chinese people come to our shores, enjoy our culture, heritage, food, sport, shopping, countryside and music and invest in our country.”

VisitBritain chief executive Sandie Dawe added: “In the last 12 months China has become the largest tourism source market in the world, worth $102 billion.

“We want to make sure that Britain competes effectively for this market, helping the industry to develop products and services that appeal to Chinese visitors and making sure that the message of the GREAT British welcome is widely promoted.”

http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2013/12/03/46225/initiative-launched-to-attract-more-chinese-tourists-to.html

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Birmingham Airport joins campaign to bring more Chinese visitors to UK

Deal with travel specialist Caissa will promote Birmingham as a gateway to Britain

Birmingham is the fourth most popular destination for Chinese visitors to England

Birmingham Airport has announced a new partnership with a travel specialist in a bid to attract more Chinese visitors to the region.

Birmingham now the fourth most popular destination for Chinese visitors to England and the airport deal with Caissa forms part of the Visit Britain ‘China Welcome Campaign’.

Caissa will work with the airport in promoting Birmingham as a gateway to the United Kingdom for Chinese tourism.

China is currently one of the fastest growing visitor source markets for the UK tourism industry at a rate of 20 per cent year-on-year over the past few years. The Chinese visitor market is worth more than £1 million to the West Midlands economy.

Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council, added: “Birmingham’s profile as a visitor and business destination is growing at a global level, but we must ensure we do our homework and continue to follow through on our promise of a first class destination.

“While direct flights from Birmingham to China may be the ultimate goal, there is much to be done to get there.

“Persuading major airlines that there is a business case is the start and these agreements will help us prove our commitment to making such routes work.”

Paul Kehoe, Birmingham Airport chief executive, said: “This will enable the UK and the Midlands region to showcase its rich heritage and world class tourist attractions.”

Neil Rami, head of Marketing Birmingham, said: “China is a hugely important market for Birmingham and the wider West Midlands and we are determined to make it a first choice for Chinese visitors looking to enter the UK.”

http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business/business-news/birmingham-airport-joins-campaign-bring-6366922

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“UK aims to become China’s most welcoming destination”

3.12.2013  (Visit Britain press release)
  • SoS Maria Miller announces China Welcome campaign in Shanghai
  • New partnership between Birmingham Airport and CAISSA
  • Target to secure 650,000 Chinese visitors spending £1.1 billion by 2020 across Britain

 

Today, as part of Prime Minister David Cameron’s three-day visit to China, Secretary of State forCulture, Media and Sport, Maria Miller, will announce an initiative to make Britain the most welcoming destination in Europe for Chinese visitors.

The China Welcome campaign, launching in the Spring of 2014, will showcase, promote and develop how the UK travel industry caters to the needs of Chinese visitors. Founding members who have committed to the initiative – including Virgin Atlantic, Marketing Manchester, Marketing Birmingham, Hilton Worldwide, Gretna Green, Celtic Manor in Wales, the John Lewis partnership, Bicester Village, Harrods and The Roman Baths in Bath – are already providing information in Mandarin, adapting their product offer and attracting a significant number of Chinese visitors as a result.

VisitBritain will work with businesses to build on this progress, sharing customer insights, raising cultural awareness and encouraging the training of qualified Mandarin-speaking guides – as well as translated websites and visitor literature – to ensure that Chinese visitors to the Britain get as much out of their trip as possible.

VisitBritain has already endorsed UKInbound’s launch of the first Chinese Tour Guide Accreditation Scheme in the UK. Courses will start in London in February, with support from Capela Training, China Holidays and London & Partners.

Today’s China Welcome announcement, taking place at an event on the Shanghai Bund, is also a call for more tourism businesses to sign up and get involved. Signatories will benefit from an increased competitive edge, better recognition from Chinese tourists and, subsequently, more business from China.

At the event Maria Miller will also announce that Birmingham Airport and CAISSA – supporters of China Welcome - are working together to increase the number of Chinese visitors CAISSA brings into the UK through Birmingham Airport.  The partnership between Birmingham and CAISSA will see the development of new holiday packages and the introduction of special initiatives designed to welcome the Chinese visitor arriving at Birmingham Airport, an airport at the heart of Shakespeare’s England.

Tourism spend and visits from China have soared in the latest 2013 figures. The Chinese inbound market has grown faster in percentage terms than any other of VisitBritain’s twenty-two priority markets, with spend up by 132% (to £181m) and visits up by 21% in the first half of 2013 compared to the first half of 2012.¹

The combined effect of improved aviation capacity, streamlined visa processing, VisitBritain’s marketing efforts under the GREAT banner and the China Welcome programme aims to secure 650,000 Chinese visits a year by 2020, worth nearly £1.1 billion annually to the UK economy.

Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said of the campaign: Britain is very much open for business and this is just the beginning. We want businesses from up and down the country to get involved, sign up and be part of this new game-changing initiative.

“The new ‘China Welcome’ initiative shows how serious we are about making sure Britain is ahead of the competition when it comes to attracting Chinese businesses and tourists. We are determined to encourage more Chinese people come to our shores, enjoy our culture, heritage, food, sport, shopping, countryside and music and invest in our country.”

Sandie Dawe, CEO of VisitBritain added:“In the last twelve months China has become the largest tourism source market in the world, worth $102 billion. We want to make sure that Britain competes effectively for this market, helping the industry to develop products and services that appeal to Chinese visitors and making sure that the message of the GREAT British welcome is widely promoted.”

Earlier this month VisitBritain held its biggest China trade mission to date in Chengdu, with 43 UK suppliers meeting over 75 Chinese buyers. In September, British Airways launched a new direct route from Chengdu to Heathrow.
Notes to editors:

1. Figures from the Office for National Statistics relate to Q1 and Q2 of 2013

2. VisitBritain’s priority markets: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, USA

3. Companies currently signed up to China Welcome

http://b2b.visitbritain.org/Preview/newslettermail.aspx?cultureInfo=en-GB&cid=186804&subschduleid=9950&act=serverlink

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Easyjet launches Chinese website

 3 Dec 2013 (Buying Business Travel)

Easyjet has launched a Chinese website to cater for the growing number of passengers from China who fly with the airline on their trips in Europe.

The Luton-based carrier has seen bookings by Chinese citizens for travel on its European routes increase by 25 per cent in the last year.

Having already launched US, Russian and Brazilian homepages, the Chinese version is the 22nd Easyjet homepage around the world.

The move coincides with Prime Minister David Cameron’s trade mission to the Far East to boost trade ties between the UK and China.

Easyjet CEO Carolyn McCall said: “This year Easyjet has seen a 25 per cent increase in bookings from China versus 2012.

“The demand from Chinese customers is predicted to continue to grow over the coming years which means that, with a dedicated homepage, Easyjet is ideally positioned to capture more of the market of the millions of Chinese who are travelling to and within Europe every year.”

Easyjet said that Paris was the most popular European destination for Chinese citizens, followed by Milan, Rome, Nice, Barcelona, London, Edinburgh and Belfast.

Cameron praised Easyjet’s move: “As we compete in the global race, I welcome Easyjet’s move to launch a dedicated Chinese homepage and their commitment to Visit Britain’s China Welcome Charter, all of which underlines that Britain is open for business.”

Culture and tourism secretary Maria Miller added: “We are doing all we can to make it easier for Chinese businesses and tourists to come to Britain and enjoy the best our country has to offer.”

Last month, Easyjet announced it will launch two new routes from Gatwick to Brussels and Strasbourg in March 2014.

easyjet.com/cn

http://buyingbusinesstravel.com/news/0321733-easyjet-launches-chinese-website

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This is the VisitBritain Market Overview of China:

Market Overview – dated November 2013

Key insights from the Market SnapshotLatest Insights and General Market Conditions chapters

Click on the link to go straight to the full Market Profile

Global Context

  • International tourism expenditure (US$bn): 102
  • Global rank for international tourism expenditure: 1
  • Number of outbound visits (m): 46.8
  • Most visited destination: Hong Kong

Inbound to the UK in 2012

  • 179,000 visits, accounting for 0.6% of all overseas visits to the UK
  • 4 million nights, accounting for 1.7% of all nights in the UK by overseas visitors
  • £300m spent, accounting for 1.6% of the total spent whilst in the UK by overseas visitors
  • Compared to five years ago there has been a 25% increase in visits, a 40% increase in nights and a 69% increase in spend

Latest Insights

  • China’s new tourism law kicked in at the beginning of October, seeking to better protect tourists from misleading pricing and practices engaged in by some travel businesses. While there have been grumbles from the trade about a downturn in business this autumn due to the necessity of increasing tour prices to make up for the abolition of tours sold below cost that then included forced tipping or shopping trips to generate commission, the China National Tourism Administration has commented that this in fact shows that the law has had a positive impact and that the market is currently normalising, with any temporary downturn feeding into the long-term health of the industry. However, examples are already being cited of travel businesses managing to skirt the new regulation by rebranding tours as independent travel packages — only for travellers to find themselves part of a larger group of ‘independent’ travellers when they arrive at their destination.
  • Media coverage was all positive on the latest alterations made to the British visa application process, announced during George Osborne’s visit to China in October. Three key measures were announced, namely the introduction of a pilot scheme allowing selected Chinese travel agents to apply for UK visas by submitting the EU’s Schengen visa form, the implementation of a new 24-hour ‘super priority’ visa service from summer 2014, and consideration of the expansion of the VIP mobile visa service beyond Beijing and Shanghai to the rest of the country, sending visa teams to applicants in order to collect their forms and biometric data.

General Market Conditions

  • China’s population of 1.3 billion is still growing at 0.5% per annum
  • More than 400,000 UK residents describe their ethnicity as Chinese
  • In 2011/12 almost 80,000 Chinese born students were enrolled to UK Higher Education establishments
  • China is expected to account for 19% of the global economy by 2018 and is now the world’s largest producer and consumer of cars
  • By 2022 the number of urban households that can be described as ‘affluent’ or ‘upper middle class’ is set to number 225 million
  • There are an estimated 643,000 High Net Worth Individuals in China, with the typical millionaire aged in their late 30s and most saying that they intend to send their children abroad for at least part of their education
  • While English is taught at school those most proficient tend to be found working in companies that frequently deal with western countries
  • The ‘Mid Autumn Festival’ is an increasingly popular time for taking a foreign trip

Download the full Market Profile for comprehensive coverage on these topics.

http://www.visitbritain.org/insightsandstatistics/markets/china/overview.aspx


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British Tourism: job creation powerhouse

? date November 2013   (Visit Britain press release)

  • Tourism economy set to grow 3.8% per annum – faster than manufacturing, construction and retail
  • Currently worth £127bn and growing to £257bn by 2025 – 10% of UK GDP
  • Supporting 3 million jobs throughout the UK in 2013 (9.6% of UK employment)
  • Accounted for one third of net increase in UK jobs between 2010 and 2012 (175,000 additional jobs) – and forecast to grow to 3.7 million jobs by 2025
  • Inbound tourism the driving force of growth

Tourism’s central role in creating new jobs across Britain has been underlined in a report today from Deloitte, Tourism: jobs and growth’, commissioned by VisitBritain.

Since 2010 tourism has been one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK in employment terms, responsible for one-third of the net increase in UK jobs between 2010 and 2012. Recent employment growth in the sector has been ‘stellar’ over this period says the report – more than four times the rate of manufacturing.

The report forecasts that the tourism economy will be worth around £127 billion this year (2013), equivalent to 9% of the UK’s GDP. It supports over 3 million jobs, that’s 9.6% of all jobs and 173,000 more than in 2010. The sector is predicted to grow at an annual rate of 3.8% through to 2025 – significantly faster than the overall UK economy (with a predicted annual rate of 3% per annum) and much faster than sectors such as manufacturing, construction and retail.

Britain will have a tourism industry worth over £257 billion by 2025 – just under 10% of UK GDP and supporting over 3.7 million jobs, which will be around 11% of the total UK employment. Those jobs would be distributed throughout the UK – for while urban areas such as London, Birmingham or Edinburgh have the highest number of jobs in tourism, the relative level of tourism-related jobs tends to be higher in our rural and coastal areas. During this period of job creation, productivity in the tourism sector is also expected to increase by 2% per annum.

Deloitte has examined the relationship between the rise in tourism spending and job numbers. They have found that every £54,000 increase in spending in the sector creates a new tourism job in the UK.
Tourism’s impact is amplified through the economy, so its influence is much wider than just the direct spending of tourists. Deloitte estimates the tourism GVA multiplier to be 2.2, meaning that for every £1000 generated in direct tourism GVA there is a further £1200 that is secured elsewhere in the economy through the supply chain.
Inbound tourism 

Inbound tourism will continue to be the fastest growing tourism sector, with spend by international visitors forecast to grow by over 6% a year. The value of inbound tourism is forecast to grow from over £21bn in 2013 to £57bn by 2025, with the UK seeing an international tourism balance of payments surplus within a decade – almost forty years since the UK last reported a surplus.

If Britain were to become as successful as its European competitors in the new emerging growth markets for tourism (such as China), with further investment it could increase the value of inbound tourism by an additional £12bn by 2025 – an increase to £69bn or over 20% on the base forecast.

Christopher Rodrigues, VisitBritain Chairman said:“Tourism has become a bedrock of the UK economy – generating a third of the UK’s net new jobs between 2010 and 2012 – and still has the ability to grow at levels that will lead other industries out of the economic slowdown.

“Deloitte’s report suggests that by 2025 Britain could have an industry worth over £257 billion (56% more than in 2013 in real terms) supporting 3.8 million jobs – across the country and at all skill levels.
“Inbound tourism is already one of Britain’s top export industries and will continue to be the fastest growing sector of the industry, with spend by international visitors forecast to grow by over 6% a year.

“Inbound tourism’s record performance since the Olympics bodes well for the future but to achieve the industry’s full potential we need to continue to raise our game, marry policy and marketing and promote Britain even more aggressively overseas.”

Minister for Tourism, Helen Grant, added:“We have showcased the best of Britain to the world in the last three years with some massive, memorable events, creating a huge boost for the tourism industry. More visitors are flying in and spending record amounts of cash and it’s clear that the size of the prize going forward is big. Tourism can continue to play an increasingly important role in Britain’s economic recovery, with jobs created and real career opportunities for many.”  

http://www.visitbritain.org/mediaroom/pressreleases/tourismreport.aspx

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EU proposal to phase out state aid to small regional airports after 10 years prompts worries of “closure of 100 small airports”

In July 2013 there was a consultation on rules for state aid to European airports and airlines. There are concerns that state aid and subsidies to small airlines, or to start up air routes to small airports, distort the market. The airports and airlines that benefit are keen to see the state help continue and say it has a marked effect on boosting their local economies, and creating wider benefits than just the companies involved. Now the EU has suggested state aid should not be given to small airports until they become profitable – and many of them will not be profitable. State aid should only be for a transition period of 10 years maximum. It is suggested by parts of the aviation industry that this could lead to “the closure of around 100 airports” around Europe. The Swedish argue that their small regional airports are vital, as surface links are impossible over the huge distances. The EU’s Committee of the Regions has called for public financial support for airport infrastructure construction and development not to be considered a state aid. They say “A 10-year transition phase for all airports with under 3 million passengers per year cannot work,” and the different situations of different airports must be taken into account. They want airports with less than 1 million passengers per year to get support beyond the 10 year transition period. 
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What the consultation on state aid to airports and airlines said on the phasing out was:

17. Against this backdrop the present Aviation guidelines introduce a new approach to the assessment of compatibility of aid to airports and airlines:

(a) Whereas the 2005 Aviation guidelines left open the issue of investment aid, these revised guidelines define maximum permissible aid intensities depending on the size of the airport. However, for large airports with a passenger volume of over 5 million per annum, investment aid should not be declared compatible with the internal market.

(b) For a transitional period of 10 years, operating aid to regional airports can be declared compatible.

(c) The compatibility conditions for start-up aid to airlines have been streamlined and adapted to recent market developments.
104. In order to provide proper incentives for efficient management of the airport, the aid amount is, in principle, to be established ex ante as a fixed lump sum covering the expected funding gap of the operating costs (determined on the basis of an ex ante business plan) during a transitional period up to 10 years. For these reasons no ex post increase of the aid amount will be considered compatible

107. By [10 years after the beginning of the transitional period] at the latest, all airports must have reached full coverage of their operating costs and no operating aid to airports will be allowed henceforward, with the exception of operating aid granted in line with general State aid rules.
109. The Commission will approve operating aid to airports for a transitional period of no longer than 10 years beginning on [Begin of the transitional period].

http://ec.europa.eu/competition/consultations/2013_aviation_guidelines/aviation_guidelines_en.docx

 

  • January 2014: Adoption of the new guidelines on state aid to airports and airlines

 


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Revised EU state aid rules ‘could lead to closure of 100 small airports’

4.12.2013 (Euractiv)

The proposed revision of state aid rules to airports and airlines, unveiled by the European Commission in July this year, link will allow start-up aid for launching a new route during a limited period of time and allow operating aid to airports under certain conditions for a 10-year transitional period.

The Commission launched a public consultation over the revised rules but EU regions, especially those that have seen their economic development boosted by local airports, find the new rules “worrying”.

10 year transition phase

Speaking at a panel discussion organised by the Assembly of European Regions on 2 December, Annabelle Lepièce, a lawyer representing the French region of Languedoc-Roussillon, warned that “if the guidelines are applied as the Commission intends to, it could lead to the closure of around 100 airports” around Europe.

Lepièce criticised the EU executive’s plan to decrease operating aid to airports until they become profitable.

“Some of them will never become profitable,” Lepièce claimed, although some of these small airports contribute “immensely” to the economic development of the regions.

The lawyer cited the example of a French village, Saint André de Roquelongue, near Carcassonne in South-West France, which was entirely revived over the past ten years following the construction of a nearby regional airport. Thanks to the connection, the village was repopulated by younger people, mainly Brits, even leading to the opening of a new school.

Similar concerns were raised by Swedish MEP Marita Ulvskog, a social democrat. Sweden is a sparsely populated country where regional airports are “a necessity”, she claimed. With 21 people per square kilometer, the country suffers important geographic handicaps, which local airports help alleviate.

Road and rail are no alternative for big trips, she explained, as driving from north to south can take 21 hours and high speed trains go only “as far north as Stockholm”. Hence, she said domestic flights are a “basic component” of the country’s economy given the lack of alternatives.

“A 10-year transition phase for all airports with under 3 million passengers per year cannot work,” said Catiuscia Marini, link who drafted a report on the matter for the Committee of Regions. “It is not possible to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach in this field, the diversity within this category of airports is huge and there are completely different situations that must be taken into account.”

“The EU’s regions request, therefore, the European Commission allows the possibility to support, beyond the transition period, at least airports with a yearly traffic rate of below one million passengers,” she told EurActiv in an emailed statement.

In a letter to the Commission, sent in September, Swedish Social Democrats MEPs expressed their concern that “the vast majority of [Swedish] regional airports have no prospect of ever making a profit because of the small economies of scale outside of the major urban areas”.

While the Commission foresees specific conditions for so-called Services of General Economic Interest (SGEI), experts fear that most of the airports will fail to be considered as such, as the EU Executive’s definition is seen as “too restrictive” and “not sufficiently harmonised”.

Public mission

In its draft opinion, the Committee of Region calls on the European Commission to consider state aid to regional airports as a public mission.

“What is the Commission trying to do? Interfere in the economic policy of the member states?” asked Olga Simeon, an Italian representative from the Venice region who helped draft the report.

“In most cases, public investments in airports [...] help better connect the region with other transport modes. They grant advantage to the whole economy, not to one enterprise. Intermodality investments should be considered a public mission,” she said.

For the Regions, it should also be made clear that micro-airports with less than 300,000 passengers per year should fall outside of the Commission’s scope as they “cannot affect competition between member states, as  defined in the article 107 of the [EU treaty]”, Simeon concluded.

Charleroi airport

However, not all regional airports are small.

In Belgium, the Brussels-South airport in Charleroi manages 6.5 million passengers per year, and has become a viable alternative to the Zaventem (Brussels) national airport, which complained to the European Commission over the generous state aid granted by the Wallonia region to welcome the Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair. The case is currently being investigated by the Commission.

The impressive growth of small airports such as Charleroi has also been denounced, albeit for different reasons, by environmental NGOs, such as Transport and Environment:
“It seems small airports are exploding rather than struggling. State aid is the primary reason that smaller airports have grown so much faster than larger airports. This serious and unfair distortion of competition must be addressed urgently”, the NGO said, adding that “state aid for Charleroi should be out of the question as long as it offers rates so far below market rates”.

The investigation is still ongoing, and it will not be clear before the summer of 2014 whether the alleged aid the airport received was legal or not.

But it does prove the Committee of Regions’ point that there should not be a “one-size-fits-all” approach for state aid rules when it comes to regional airports.

“We want a tailored approach and ask for a review of the rules based on the specific needs of each region,” a spokesperson for the Committee of Regions said.

Next steps:

External links by Euractiv:

European Institutions

Other stakeholders

http://www.euractiv.com/transport/eu-state-aid-rules-lead-closure-news-532105

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Member States’ public funding of airports and airlines is currently regulated by the 1994 and 2005 Aviation Guidelines.

The 1994 guidelines were adopted in the context of the liberalisation of the market for air transport services and contain provisions for assessing social and restructuring aid to airlines in order to provide a level playing field for air carriers.

They were complemented in 2005 by guidelines on the public financing of airports and on the start-up of airline services from regional airports.

Neither of the guidelines has an expiry clause, but in view of the significant market changes that have taken place in the last decade, the European Commission initiated a review, with a first public consultation in 2011 aiming in particular to determine whether a revision is necessary (see IP/11/445).


 

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EU State aid rules must not apply to airport infrastructure development

29.11.2013  (European Union, Committee of the Regions)

The Committee of the Regions has called for public financial support for airport infrastructure construction and development not to be considered a state aid. The opinion drafted by the President of the Umbria Region, Catiuscia Marini (IT/PES), also calls for a wider flexibility in state aid rules aimed at making regional airports more competitive as well as promoting intermodality.

With nearly 830 million passengers in 2012, airports have become increasingly important for the EU’s competitiveness. For this reason, regions and cities request the chance of mobilising significant public resources for their modernisation and improvement. “Tight control of state aid
regulation in the EU is unique in the world. In the aviation sector we compete with other global player such as the U.S., Asia and the Middle East, who offer serious financial support for their airports and airlines placing our operators at a heavy disadvantage” said rapporteur Marini, adding that: “We should consider making our strategy for airports more flexible, consistent with the global challenges facing us, and closer to local communities’ needs”.

The opinion, adopted by the Committee of the Regions at the 28-29 November plenary session, comes in the context of the modernisation of State aid rules launched by the European Commission in 2012, and in view of its revised Community Guidelines on the financing of airports and start-up aid to airlines departing from regional airports.

According to EU regions and cities representatives, public support for infrastructure construction and development must not be put on an equal footing with private investment, as it often constitutes a form of fully-fledged economic policy measures and cannot therefore be considered as state aid. If the Union is to meet Europe 2020 objectives, efficient and modern regional infrastructure are a key factor and it is among the duties of all levels of government to promote concrete progress on this field. These principles should also specifically apply to public financing of airport intermodality, acknowledged as a top priority by the EU, which can have a huge impact on regions’ economy, citizens’ mobility and territorial cohesion.

For airports that see between 300 000 and three million passengers pass through each year, the Commission foresees a ten year transitional period leading to full autonomy from public financial support. The opinion points out that a strict transition period cannot be effective with regards to the diversity of airports falling into this category. Therefore, the CoR requests that public support for airports receiving under one million passengers per year will be still allowed, even after the end of the transition period and that the following rules will be based on the outcome of a mid-term review.

Given that 40% of EU airports have a yearly traffic under 300 000 passengers, the CoR calls for a wider margin of manoeuvre including state subsidies for small regional airports. These airports often connect the most isolated or disadvantaged areas and carry high costs that can hardly be lowered because of the limited target market. Public support is therefore key to keep them alive.

http://cor.europa.eu/en/news/Pages/airport-infrastructure-state-aid.aspx
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Previous press releases

http://www.netherlandscorporatenews.com/archive/inp/2013/12/02/T256.htm

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Lufthansa receives boost from EU court

By Nicholas Hirst  (European Voice)
21.11.2013
A German court cannot dismiss state aid allegations against Ryanair and Frankfurt Hahn airport.

A German court should suspend suspected state aid from Frankfurt Hahn airport to Ryanair pending a European Commission investigation into the matter, the European Court of Justice ruled today.

In 2006 Lufthansa asked a German regional court to order Frankfurt Hahn airport to recover and terminate alleged subsidies given to Ryanair.

But the German court ruled in favour of Frankfurt Hahn airport and Ryanair, finding that there had been no subsidies. This was despite the Commission itself having opened an investigation into the terms and conditions offered by Frankfurt Hahn to its main client Ryanair.

After an appeals court told the regional court to reconsider its ruling, it again indicated that it had doubts about whether there had been any illegal state aid. The regional court asked the ECJ what importance it should give to the Commission decision to open an investigation.

The European Union’s highest court ruled today that a national court is, at the very least, obliged to impose provisional measures stooping alleged subsidies where they are the subject of a Commission investigation.

Where the court entertains doubts as to whether the Commission is correct, it may ask the ECJ to rule but cannot simply allow the alleged state aid to continue.

But such rules could prove very disruptive, a lawyer specialising in state aid told European Voice.

If a national court is obliged to suspend alleged state aid pending a Commission decision, the recipient may be forced off the market even if the state aid is subsequently declared legal, he explained.

The Commission’s own investigation into Ryanair in relation to Frankfurt-Hahn has gone on for a little over five years.

A spokesperson for the Commission said: “The Commission will take a decision in this case after the adoption of the next guidelines on aviation in 2014. The Commission has proposed draft new rules in July and is analysing the replies to the public consultation. The draft new rules foresee in particular new provisions on aid granted to compensate the operating losses of airports.”

http://www.europeanvoice.com/article/2013/november/lufthansa-receives-boost-from-eu-court/78828.aspx
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 Earlier:

Consultation on rules for European Commission state aid to airports and airlines

July 2013

Under the European Commission, state aid is granted to various sectors of the economy. However, a key issue is the impact it has on distorting the market, and giving an unfair advantage to those companies or organisations receiving it. Airports and airlines are one sector that receives large amounts of state aid through the EC. The Commission’s DG Competition is tasked with overseeing state aid. There have been earlier sets of guidelines on state aid to airports and airlines, but there is a current consultation – due to end on 25th September (which may be extended). The exact amount of state aid given to the aviation sector is somewhat shady, but is at least €3 billion, for those subsidies that are fully notified.There have been widely publicised cases, such as that of Ryanair at Charleroi airport. Transport & Environment have produced an easy-to-read briefing on the state aid situation, and people are urged to respond to the consultation. The state aid gives the aviation industry unmerited subsidy, and helps to encourage very high carbon travel.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=17424

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and from Transport & Environment:

Key points about State aid to airports and airlines:

  • Aviation should not receive state aid except in very limited circumstances (e.g. remote islands, for example in the north of Scotland). It is not appropriate to give it to airports to subsidise cheap Ryanair holiday flights, or trips to second homes.
  • Aviation is the most climate intensity mode of transport, per unit time travelled, and it has significant impacts on citizens’ health across Europe, largely through noise pollution b ut also by  local air pollution, (and indirectly, by adding to the burden of more CO2 on the global climate).
  • Aviation is already receiving the indirect subsidies of being VAT and fuel tax free: this has recently been estimated to be worth €39 billion per year in the EU.  The UK has Air Passenger Duty, which goes some small way to compensate for the lack of VAT or fuel tax, but other European countries have even more under-taxed aviation sectors.
  • At the moment aviation receives at least €3 billion a year in State aid, and that is just the subsidies that are know about and properly recorded. The figures are not made transparent or clear, and are not easy to ascertain.
  • There is much unreported State aid so the Commission must make sure that ALL State aid to aviation is notified to the Commission, and that it is easily accessible in a publicly-available database.
  • Day-to-day operating aid is a hugely distortive form of State aid and should not be allowed. Operating aid is just one of the forms of State aid that is given; others are for infrastructure costs to airports, and the other is start up aid to airlines for new routes.
  • Past illegal aid should not be made legal retroactively, as this sends the signal to the industry to disregard the future guidelines as well and disadvantages those parts of the industry that actually complied with the past law
  • No airlines should get aid for start-up routes –if airlines are not prepared to take the risk of whether a route will be profitable then it is clear that taxpayers should not either. At present, State aid is often given to airports or airlines that a prudent private investor would reject. This is only acceptable if there is a strong social need for flights (eg. for an airport on a small island, with slow or difficult alternative transport).
  • It is clear that much taxpayer money across Europe has been wasted on airports. Only the Commission can ensure, through levelling the playing field that this does not happen in the future. The revision of these guidelines is the perfect opportunity to do so.

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Details of the state aid and its problems are in the T&E briefing at State Aid for Airports and Airlines

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Stop Stansted Expansion comment on the failure of their bias challenge against Airports Commission in the High Court

High Court Judge Mrs Justice Patterson has issued her ruling on the challenge brought by SSE arising from the role played by Mr Geoff Muirhead as a Commissioner on the Airports Commission. She agreed it was right for him to step down from the Commission as soon as it became known that his former employer, MAG, the owners of Stansted Airport, would be submitting proposals for extra runways there. But she ruled against SSE in deciding that no previous harm could have been done by Mr Muirhead, in terms of bias, during his involvement with the Commission from 2.11.2012 until his resignation on 20.9.2013 – which happened only after SSE had instructed its lawyers to commence legal proceedings. She did say that it could not be regarded ”as the most wise” for him to remain on the Commission for so long. SSE still has some concerns about the integrity of the process going forward. SSE say that because there is so much at stake and the position is still not entirely satisfactory, they will be considering the ruling and whether aspects need to be taken to the Court of Appeal.  
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Airports Commission – High Court Challenge

2.12.2013 (Stop Stansted Expansion)

High Court Judge Mrs Justice Patterson has today (2 December 2013) issued her ruling on the challenge brought by Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) arising from the role played by Mr Geoff Muirhead as a Commissioner on the Airports Commission.

Mrs Justice Patterson agreed it was right for Mr Muirhead to step down from the Commission as soon as it became known that his former employer, the Manchester Airports Group (MAG), the owners of Stansted Airport, would be submitting proposals for extra runways at Stansted.

Nevertheless, Mrs Justice Patterson ruled against SSE in deciding that no previous harm could have been done by Mr Muirhead, in terms of bias, during his involvement with the Commission from 2 November 2012 until his resignation on 20 September 2013 – which happened only after SSE had instructed its lawyers to commence legal proceedings.

Notably, Mrs Justice Patterson remarked in her ruling that neither the actions of Mr Muirhead, in remaining as a Commissioner until September 2013, nor those of the Commission in retaining him until then, could be regarded “as the most wise”.

Mrs Justice Patterson was also critical of the Commission for not being more transparent about Mr Muirhead’s consultancy arrangements.  The point she was referring to was that neither Geoff Muirhead nor the Commission had made any formal declaration that he was still being paid £150,000 a year by MAG when he was appointed to the Commission.

Although SSE has achieved its principal objective in pursuing this legal challenge, namely the removal of Mr Muirhead from the Commission, SSE still has some concerns about the integrity of the process going forward.  Some of SSE’s concerns were addressed in the course of the legal proceedings as a result of confidential information disclosed by the Commission in witness statements and exhibits, including the minutes of internal meetings.

Despite its public commitment to be open and transparent, the Airports Commission considers that it is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.  Therefore, much of the information released to SSE as a result of its legal proceedings could not otherwise have been obtained.

One (non-confidential) point that has become clear during these proceedings is the pivotal role played by Department for Transport civil servants on secondment to the Airports Commission.  This is because Commissioners only work on Commission business for two days a month, one of which days is set aside for its monthly meeting.  The Chairman is expected to work four or five days per month.  All the Commissioners work pro bono.

Because there is so much at stake, and because the position is still not entirely satisfactory, SSE needs time to give proper consideration to the Judge’s (60-page) ruling and to discuss it in detail with its legal advisors before deciding whether there are aspects of the judgment that need to be taken to the Court of Appeal.  In the meantime, SSE will be making no further comment.

 SSE Supporters outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London on 22 November 2013

NOTES TO EDITORS

 

  • Further background is contained in earlier SSE press releases on this subject, dated 19 August 2013, 20 September 2013, 8 October 2013, 13 October 2013 and 18 November 2013, all of which are available at http://www.stopstanstedexpansion.com/media.html.

 

http://www.stopstanstedexpansion.com/

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The comment from the Airports Commission was this very bland statement:

“The members of the Airports Commission welcome this decision. The Commission has sought throughout the past twelve months to be fair, open, transparent and robust in how it takes forward its work, including the development of its sift criteria. It is pleased that the Court has recognised this and its work will continue unaffected by this action.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/airports-commission-welcomes-judicial-review-decision

They could be thought to be fortunate that the decision went their way … whether it was a political, rather than a legal decision, we “couldn’t possibly comment” (to quote Frances Urquart, in the House of Cards).


 

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Earlier – background to this case:

SSE challenges Airports Commission at the High Court on “apparent bias” due to involvement of Geoff Muirhead

November 22, 2013        Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has launched a High Court bid to force the Airports Commission to revise its work on the future of aviation expansion in the UK. SSE’s case, asking that the Airports Commission should re-determine its so-called “sift criteria” for assessing growth options, was heard by Mrs Justice Patterson. SSE claims that the sift criteria process was infected by apparent bias because Geoff Muirhead, then still a member of the Commission, had worked as Chief Executive for – and continued to work for – MAG. The sift criteria will ultimately guide the Commission in its final decision on where any new runways in the UK should be built. SSE’s barrister, Paul Stinchcombe QC, argued that Mr Muirhead’s resignation was too late to save the sift criteria proceedings and that his involvement had tainted and was continuing to taint the activities and decisions of the commission by reason of apparent bias. The DfT said “there is no evidence whatsoever of bias and the Airports Commission is content that decisions taken to date are robust.” The Commission said its processes to date were “appropriate and robust”. Mrs Justice Patterson said she will make a decision on the matter in writing at a later date.     Click here to view full story…

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Stop Stansted Expansion challenge to Airports Commission on apparent bias going to High Court on Friday 22nd Nov

Date added: November 18, 2013

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) will go to the Royal Courts of Justice on Friday 22 November to present its case that a key element of the work carried out by the Airports Commission has been tainted by apparent bias and needs to be done afresh. SSE’s legal challenge stems from the involvement of Geoff Muirhead, who was appointed to the Airports Commission. He had retired as MAG’s chief executive in October 2010 after 22 years with the Group but he was then immediately appointed as their highly paid ambassador, a role he continued to fulfil even after he was appointed to the Commission. Mr Muirhead resigned from the Commission on 20 September 2013, shortly after SSE began its legal challenge. He was directly involved in determining the Commission’s ‘sift criteria’ for deciding the most suitable airport expansion options and SSE believes that these are clearly skewed to favour expansion at Stansted. SSE will be asking the High Court to order the Commission to re-determine the ‘sift criteria’ and to delay the publication of any short-list of options until the sift criteria have been re-determined.     Click here to view full story…

 

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Stop Stansted Expansion lodged papers at High Court alleging Airports Commission criteria “infected by apparent bias” due to Geoff Muirhead

October 15, 2013       The Stop Stansted Expansion group (SSE) have lodged papers at the Royal Courts of Justice alleging that the criteria being applied to decide on possible options for new runway sites in England are “infected by apparent bias”. SSE want High Court judges to order the Government-appointed Airports Commission to delay the publication of any shortlist of options until the “sift criteria” have been re-determined. They argue that there was apparent bias because Geoff Muirhead, a recently-resigned member of the Commission, had a conflict of interest. Mr Muirhead is a former chief executive of Manchester Airports Group (MAG), the owners of Stansted since February. He stepped down from the Commission three weeks ago after SSE warned Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin they would take legal action if he stayed. “For almost a year, Mr Muirhead was allowed to play a pivotal role on the Commission.” The High Court is being asked to order the Commission “to re-visit certain key decisions made by the Commission during the time that Mr Muirhead was involved”. Brian Ross, from SSE, said: “With proposals on the table from MAG to make Stansted the world’s busiest airport with four runways handling up to 160 million passengers a year, there is far too much at stake to allow the issue of apparent bias to go unchallenged.”         Click here to view full story…

 

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Stop Stansted Expansion says of the Airports Commission: A tainted process – a dubious conclusion

October 9, 2013      Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) is disappointed that the Airports Commission has formed the preliminary view that extra runway capacity is needed in the south east of England. In his speech on 7th October 2013, the chairman of the Airports Commission, Sir Howard Davies said that his Commission had not been persuaded by the arguments against expansion. In SSE’s view, the arguments for more runway capacity in the south east are dangerously weak and they will be taking up Sir Howard’s invitation to comment on his preliminary conclusions. SSE believes the UK, as a whole, already has more than enough runway capacity to meet the DfT forecasts to 2050, and well beyond. Regarding the recent resignation of Geoff Muirhead from the Commission, due to ties with MAG, SSE said they are mounting a legal challenge on bias – due to Mr Muirhead’s influence – in formulating the “sift criteria” and there will be more information on that next week.     Click here to view full story…

 

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German study: air travel taxes are an important instrument for climate protection

A study in Germany has been commissioned by a range of development and environmental organisations, into the effects of taxing aviation. It found that charging some taxes to air travel does not lead to movement of passengers from German airports to use foreign airports or to job losses in the aviation business – which is what he Federation of German aviation industry claims, probably incorrectly. The report says that additional revenue should be generated from air travel, to help fund mitigation and adaptation to climate change in developing countries. The organisations are calling on the coalition government in Germany to keep, and increase, air travel tax. The tax started in January 2011, and is charged based on distance travelled with rates of  €7.56, €23.62, or €42.52 for short, medium and long haul flights. In Germany, as in the  UK and in most of Europe, jet fuel is exempted from the energy tax on international flights and VAT is not charged. This tax break amounts annually to about €10.4 billion euros lost to the German tax authorities, which is massively more than the approximately €1 billion from air travel tax currently paid. The report wants to see taxation incentivise the most efficient utilization of planes. 
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Study: air traffic control important instrument for climate protection

20.11.2013 (Handel.de – Germany)

[Imperfect translation into English below].

The air traffic control does not lead to migration of passengers at foreign airports or to job losses in the aviation business as the Federation of German aviation industry claims. In order to develop an ecological steering effect and to generate additional revenue for the financing of climate change in developing countries, the air traffic control would have to be expanded.

These are the key findings of a study that was today (11/20/2013) presented in Congress in Berlin.

The study was supported and commissioned by Bread for the World, Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation Germany (BUND), Greenpeace, Robin Wood, the organic traffic Club (VCD) and Forum Ecological-Social Market Economy (GBG).

From the perspective of environmental and development organizations the continuing criticism of the aviation industry on their control is thus refuted. Given the ongoing coalition negotiations are therefore calling for organizations strongly supported the preservation and the development of air traffic control.

The environmental and development organizations emphasize that the first since the January 2011 levied in Germany charge based on distance is so far the only effective control tool for klimaschädlichsten transport.

Since jet fuel is exempted from the energy tax on international flights and VAT is not charged, annually about €10.4 billion euros escape the German tax authorities. Compared to these harmful subsidies of air travel however, the cost of air traffic control is just under one billion euros per year.

Therefore, the groups are calling on the CDU / CSU and SPD to maintain the air traffic control system and continue to develop it.

While it already makes a contribution to the reduction of environmentally harmful subsidies of air travel, a higher tax rate could also increase their ecological steering effect. Furthermore, additional tax revenue generated could be used to assist in the financing of mitigation and adaptation to climate change in developing countries.

In their model, the tax is not levied on seats, but on the whole plane, and differentiated by booking classes. This will see the organizations an extra incentive for the efficient utilization of the planes, with high load factors.

The polluter pays principle must also apply to aviation: passengers who take up much space [premium classes] and thus consume more fuel, should pay more. The use of the tax revenue for climate finance in developing countries constitutes a contribution to global justice.

Finally, most people suffer in the countries of the global South from the consequences of climate change – many of whom have never even flown.

The complete study “The air traffic control. Impact on the development of aviation in Germany.” You find here .

http://www.bund.net/fileadmin/bundnet/publikationen/verkehr/131120_bund_verkehr_auswirkungen__luftverkehrsteuer_studie_gesamt.pdf  (in German)   “Air traffic control - Effects on the development of of air transport in Germany.  Conclusions from the years 2011 and 2012″
Source: Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation Germany (BUND)

http://www.co2-handel.de/article186_21240.html

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“At the start of 2013 Germany froze its air passenger tax after the German federal Government published a study on the economic effects of the tax, concluding that two million passengers didn’t travel in 2011 due to the higher air fares”  according to  http://www.afairtaxonflying.org/facts/


Germany may abolish national air travel tax

Fri, 22 November 2013

A possible end to the air travel tax in Germany may have potential benefits for German airlines, according to a report in German tabloid Bild cited by Credit Suisse analysts on Friday.

German government coalition parties are said to be in negotiations to abolish the national air travel tax. Introduced in 2011 it generates approximately €1bn in revenues for the country.

Lufthansa and Air Berlin, as well as federal states including Bavaria, have lobbied against the tax and a potential abolishment would prove a significant positive for air travel demand in Germany, the report claims.

“The result of government negotiations remains to be seen, but we highlight the potential benefit to Lufthansa in the meantime,” Credit Suisse said.

http://sharecast.com/news/germany-may-abolish-national-air-travel-tax/21312484.html

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In 2011

Germany To Lower Plane Ticket Tax

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels
12 October 2011
Germany’s highly controversial plane ticket tax is to be lowered next year to compensate for additional costs arising from the extension of the European Union’s (EU) emissions trading scheme to flights over Europe from January 1, according to the German finance ministry. [The ETS has now virtually collapsed, and even where it works, the cost of carbon permits, at around €5 per tonne, is so low as to barely add any additional cost to flights. AW comment]. 

From the beginning of 2012, passengers will be faced with additional costs on international flights as the European Union’s right to impose carbon levies on all commercial flights using European airports was recently deemed by the European Court of Justice to be “compatible” with international law.

In accordance with the European emissions trading scheme directive, airlines operating into and out of the EU will from 2012 be required to surrender varying emission allowances, depending on the flight, and will be required to purchase any additional permits outside of their free allowance.

As a result of the new provisions, experts have calculated that passengers on long-haul flights may be faced with additional costs of between €2 to €12 a ticket.

Germany’s airline ticket tax, which entered into force from January 1, 2011, is currently levied at a rate of €8, €25 or €45 per passenger, depending on the destination.

A draft bill drawn up by the German finance ministry provides for a 5.52% reduction in the levy across the board, which would effectively lower the rates to €7.56, €23.62, or €42.52 respectively.

Concerned that they will be unable to sustain their cheap tariffs and that they will continue to lose passengers as a result, low-cost airlines have criticized the government’s proposed model, arguing that budget flights are disadvantaged under the current plans.

Despite an overall increase in recorded passenger numbers at airports in Germany in the first half of the year, low-cost and domestic flights have been significantly affected by the coalition government’s plane ticket tax.

In its release back in July, the German airport association ADV revealed that although the number of passengers at German airports rose by 8.1% in the first six months of 2011, despite turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, high oil prices and the effects of the volcanic ash cloud, developments at individual airports in Germany varied considerably.

ADV emphasized at the time that the effects of the plane ticket tax are becoming increasingly visible. Indeed, airports with a high proportion of low-cost and domestic flights have shown a significant decline in passenger numbers, the association revealed.

Warning of potential job losses in Germany, chief executive of ADV Ralph Beisel explained that the levy has led to a dramatic decline in passenger numbers in some airports in Germany. Beisel emphasized that airports in bordering states, including the Netherlands, have greatly benefited from the tax, revelling in increased numbers of new passengers.

According to ADV, low-cost travel declined by 0.8% in the first half of 2011, while sustained declines were observed particularly in the case of low-cost domestic flights, which in some cases fell by 22.6%. In stark contrast, ADV analysis revealed that numbers significantly increased at bordering airports in the same time period (for example numbers rose by 29.7% at Eindhoven airport and by 71.8% at Maastricht airport, both located across the German border in the Netherlands). Germany’s plane ticket tax represents a clear location disadvantage compared to bordering foreign airports, the analysis showed.

German airlines fiercely opposed and criticized the government’s plans from the outset, warning of competitive disadvantages for the country’s industry and arguing that passengers in border areas would merely fly from airports abroad.

The German government is due to re-examine its airline ticket tax and the effects of the levy next year [2012], and is expected to present its findings to the German parliament or Bundestag at the end of June.

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http://www.tax-news.com/news/germany_to_lower_plane_ticket_tax____51894.html

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Some 250 CEOs write to Chancellor (yet again) to try and stop APD rises in line with RPI due in 2014

Regularly, every few months, there is another push by the aviation industry and its supporters, to get Air Passenger Duty (APD) reduced or scrapped. There is an other of these lobbying events again now. Some 250 chief executives have written to the Chancellor, accusing the Treasury of “ignoring evidence that APD is harming the economy.” The UK has one of the highest aviation tax regimes in the world. Most other countries barely tax aviation. Several others in Europe do tax in one way or another. The reason the tax is charged is that UK air travel pays no VAT and no fuel duty. APD is intended to reduce this massive tax break, and in some way and incompletely, put a fair amount of tax onto air travel.  The aviation and business lobby ignore this, and claim APD has a substantial negative effect on the UK economy. They ignore the need for fair taxation, and the Treasury’s need for revenue.  The businesses say: ….we are bitterly disappointed with the Government’s decision to keep increasing a tax which acts as a barrier for business in attracting inward investment and creating new jobs.” They quote a study earlier in the year by PwC on which the Treasury commented: “We do not recognise the figures in this report or agree with the assumptions behind it.”
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For a lot more information, see 

Scrap air passenger tax rises, urges CEOs

Some 250 chief executives have written to the Chancellor this weekend, accusing the Treasury of ignoring evidence that Air Passenger Duty is harming the economy

By  (Telegraph)

30 Nov 2013

The Government has been accused of “turning a blind eye” to the damage caused to inward investment and job creation in the UK by a controversial tax on air travel.

Some 250 chief executives have written to the Chancellor this weekend, accusing the Treasury of ignoring evidence that Air Passenger Duty (APD) is harming the economy.

The UK has one of the highest aviation tax regimes in the world. In a recent study by the World Economic Forum, the UK was ranked 138th out of 139 countries according to the competitiveness of its air ticket taxes and airport charges – ahead only of Chad in Africa.

APD, which applies to all passengers flying from a UK airport, will be raised again in April 2014.

Rates have soared since 1994, when APD was introduced. Then, passengers paid £5 per person for short-haul destinations and £10 to travel further afield, but now as much as £188 can be added to a long-haul ticket.

“Year-on-year APD rises are making the UK economy increasingly uncompetitive,” the chief executives, including British Airways head Keith Williams and Heathrow Airport boss, Colin Matthews, write.

“As UK businesses, we are bitterly disappointed with the Government’s decision to keep increasing a tax which acts as a barrier for business in attracting inward investment and creating new jobs.”

The business chiefs, who range from directors of large companies such as Emirates and Lufthansa, to small firms, point to research published by PwC earlier this year which claimed that scrapping APD would deliver a 0.45pc boost to gross domestic product within 12 months and create 60,000 jobs by 2020.

The study, which used economic modelling used by government departments and organisations such as the International Monetary Fund, estimated the UK would be £16bn better off by 2015 were APD to be abolished.

The research was dismissed by the Treasury but the 250 chief executives, who also include Craig Kreeger, head of Virgin Atlantic, are pressing for the Government to carry out and publish its own study into how APD affects the economy. A similar call was made earlier this year by the Commons Treasury Select Committee.

“In the current economic climate it will be the private sector that drives growth, but taxes like APD are hindering us from competing internationally and slowing us down in the global race,” write the chief executives, who are members of the campaign group A Fair Tax on Flying.

An HM Treasury spokesman said: “The Government has frozen APD in real terms since 2010, and in the last year, APD has not changed at all for the majority of flights. Passenger numbers are going up, and airlines do not have to pass on the cost of APD to passengers.

“However, it is important that the aviation sector plays a part in helping to bring down the deficit.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/10485312/Scrap-air-passenger-tax-rises-urges-CEOs.html

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The Battle over Air Passenger Duty

1st December 2013

Blog by John Stewart

Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the introduction of Air Passenger Duty (APD).  It has proved hugely controversial.  Environmentalists and most residents groups’ believe it is not high enough.  Aviation interests argue it is crippling the industry.

Even today the Sunday Telegraph is reporting that some 250 chief executives have written to the Chancellor, in advance of his Autumn Statement this week, claiming APD is harming the economy.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/10485312/Scrap-air-passenger-tax-rises-urges-CEOs.html

In a sense, both sides are right.  Air Passenger Duty has the potential to transform demand for air travel.  And both sides know it.  If it is removed, more people will fly.  If it is increased, demand over time is likely to fall.  Higher rates of APD would hit leisure travel hardest as it is much more price-sensitive than business travel.  Less demand for air travel would, in turn, reduce the demand for new runways.

Howard Davies, the chairman of the Airports Commission, has argued that it is not his job to advise on taxation rates; that he has to work within the current regime.  In my view, he is correct.  It is the job of governments to decide the extent they want to use fiscal measures to manage demand.

When Kenneth Clarke, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, introduced APD 20 years ago in his budget of November 1993, it wasn’t to manage demand but to ensure aviation paid its fair share of taxation: “First, air travel is under-taxed compared to other sectors of the economy. It benefits not only from a zero rate of VAT; in addition, the fuel used in international air travel, and nearly all domestic flights, is entirely free of tax. A number of countries have already addressed this anomaly”.

By 2007 the Government was framing APD as a response to rising aircraft emissions.  But, in recent years, government has seen it as a substitute for tax on fuel and VAT.  Ministers regard it as easier to impose APD than enter into prolonged international negotiations to get agreement for aviation fuel to be taxed or for a VAT-type tax to be imposed on international flights.

At present there is a huge discrepancy between what motorists are taxed and the tax paid by the aviation industry.  Revenue from car travel (tax on fuel and VAT) bring the Treasury about £12 billion a year.  APD raises around £2.8 billion.  It would need to be quadrupled match the income from car travel.  **

Of course, the aviation industry argues that, unlike roads, it doesn’t depend (certainly in the UK) on state money to build and maintain its infrastructure.  It also points out there are tax-breaks given to rail and bus travel.  However true those arguments are, I’m not sure they fully answer Kenneth Clarke’s original point that aviation fails to contribute its fair share of general taxation.

The industry also argues that APD does not exist in other countries.  That is true.  However, there are a variety of ticket-type taxes or other charges in many European countries.  For example in Austria, the ticket fee depends on the distance, 7€ is for the short distances, 15€ for middle and 35€ for long distance.  None of them – yet – bring in as much money as APD.

But politicians across Europe are beginning to understand APD-type taxes have two potential benefits:  they rake in money during these recessionary times; and they can act as an effective tool to regulate demand if they want to do so.  That’s why they fill environmentalists and residents with hope and strike fear into the heart of the aviation industry.

I suspect the battle will go on for at least another 20 years.

http://hacan.org.uk/blog/

 ** [The RAC says in 2012, the overall motor vehicle traffic volume (not only cars but including lorries etc) in Great Britain was 302.6 billion vehicle miles, which is 492 million kilometres. This is similar to traffic volumes in 2011 (303.8 billion vehicle miles) and 2010 (303.2 billion vehicle miles).The CAA said in 2011 the number of seat kilometres flown by UK airlines was around 306 billion kilometres (not miles) but that excludes the seat kilometres of foreign airlines using UK airports.  Therefore, including an assumption on the foreign airlines that also use UK airports, the number of kilometres travelled by cars and air passengers to/from the  UK are broadly comparable.  AW comment]. 

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Earlier:

PwC report on APD met by dismissive comments from Treasury – Chancellor has no intention of lowering APD

5.2.2013

The 4 largest airlines in the UK (British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, EasyJet and Ryanair) commissioned a report from PwC on Air Passenger Duty (APD). The intention was to try and get APD reduced, or removed altogether. PwC put together arguments that the UK economy would benefit, if flyers could fly slightly more cheaply. There was a range of arguments, including more tax take, more investment, spin offs of all sorts.  However, this has cut no ice with the Treasury. The pressure from the 4 airlines got a frosty response from the Treasury, which made clear that the Chancellor had no intention of lowering APD. The FT reports that a Treasury spokesperson said APD, which is forecast to bring in £2.9bn this year, makes an “essential contribution” towards helping meet the government’s deficit reduction plans. “We do not recognise the figures in this report or agree with the assumptions behind it,” the Treasury said. The report also had to admit that making flying a bit cheaper would have a negative impact on parts of the UK economy, as yet more Brits took they money to spend abroad.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=607.


 

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Some other recent news about Air Passenger Duty:

Treasury Minister confirms APD is necessary and government has no plans to reduce it

27.10.2013      .On 23rd October there was an “Opposition day debate” in the Commons, on Air Passenger Duty -especially in relation to Northern Ireland. There were attempts by some MPs with no interest in environmental concerns, to make out that APD is a “green tax”, (and so, along with other “green taxes” should be cut, in the misjudged belief that would benefit the UK economy. The new Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Nicky Morgan, replied for the government, that “we must continue to work hard to reduce the deficit, so if we were to abolish APD, an alternative source for the revenue would need to be found. We never seem to hear any suggestions,” and “….the £3 billion that is raised by APD is a significant contribution to the Exchequer when we are tackling the deficit.” And “There is also no duty charged on the fuel used in international, and virtually all domestic, flights. …..despite the fiscal challenges, the Government have ensured that APD rates have been frozen in real terms since 2010, rising by just £1 for the vast majority of passengers since then. The Government therefore reject the suggestion that we have pushed taxes on aviation too high.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=18093 

Anti-APD campaign wastes no time in lobbying new shadow minister, Lilian Greenwood

September 10, 2013     . After the resignation of Jim FitzPatrick as a Labour opposition transport spokesman on 29th August over Syria, his shadow aviation responsibilities have been taken over by Lilian Greenwood (MP for Nottingham South). The aviation industry has lost no time in lobbying her on Air Passenger Duty. British Air Transport Association (BATA) say her new role “offers an ideal opportunity for the opposition to put pressure on the government between now and the next election to review the impact of APD on the UK economy.” While APD does no harm the UK economy, it has a very slight impact on demand for air tickets (it is only £13 for a return flight to anywhere in Europe), so the aviation industry is deeply opposed. All the lobbying ignores the fact that the Treasury charges APD because air travel pays no VAT and aviation does not pay fuel duty. People on internal return flights within the UK pay £26 in APD as each part of the trip is charged. Scotland has long lobbied to get APD devolved to the Scottish Government, with businesses campaigning to get APD removed.
http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=17294 

 

Report shows EU governments miss out on up to €39bn a year due to aviation’s tax breaks (no VAT or fuel duty)

July 30, 2013      . A report has been produced, by consultants CE Delft, for the sustainable transport group, Transport & Environment (T&E). It shows that debt-ridden EU countries miss out on up to €39bn every year from airlines not paying taxes. CE Delft found that this revenue shortfall is due to out-dated EU laws exempting international flights from fuel taxes, and from VAT, which is levied on almost all consumer goods. While every European consumer, small business and haulier has to pay on average a tax of €0.48 / litre of fuel for petrol or diesel, big commercial airlines – both those based in the EU and overseas – don’t pay any tax on their fuel. This revenue shortfall totals up to €32bn a year. In addition to this EU governments miss out on €7.1bn every year on VAT which is exempt on international flight tickets. T&E’s aviation policy officer Aoife O’Leary said: “International airlines are like flying tax havens inexplicably exempted from paying the basic EU taxes every EU citizen and company is obliged to pay.” However the airline industry says that without such tax holidays it would be hard pressed to turn a profit. (So much fuel used. So much CO2 generated. So little profit.) The EU consultation on state aid to airports & airlines closes 25th September.
http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=3975

 

Latest ‘Fair Tax’ campaign focuses on business

20 June 2013      .A Fair Tax on Flying has launched a new initiative [yet again!] to highlight opposition from businesses to Air Passenger Duty (APD). The latest initiative encourages UK and international companies to add their support to a petition hosted on the campaign website – www.afairtaxonflying.org/business – which says that ‘As APD continues to increase each year, our competitive position gets worse, not better. In the current economic climate, the Government should be making it easier for companies like ours to travel overseas to win new business.’ Businesses are also being asked to add their names to a letter to their local MP and the Chancellor, which campaign organisers plan to send later this summer.

For full details of the latest initiative click here. http://www.e-tid.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/FairPRESS-RELEASE.pdf   And it continues. To see full story seehttp://www.e-tid.com/latest-fair-tax-campaign-focuses-on-business/80973/

 

No change to the rate of APD in the Budget – it will continue to rise at the rate of RPI

20.3.2013
No change of rate of APD in the Budget. It will continue to rise at the rate of the RPI. The Budget document says: Air Passenger Duty (APD) rates – As announced at Budget 2012, APD rates for 2013-14 will rise in line with the RPI from 1… April 2013. (Finance Bill 2013) Budget 2013 announces that APD rates for 2014-15 will rise in line with RPI from 1 April 2014, as set out in Overview of tax legislation and rates. (Finance Bill 2014) The Government has no plans to vary APD rates by levels of airport congestion.
Treasury expects to get, from APD: year 2013/14 £2.9 billion; 2014/15 – £3 bn; 2015/16 – £3.3bn; 2016/17 – £3.5bn; 2017/18 – £3.8 bn. http://cdn.hm-treasury.gov.uk/budget2013_complete.pdf Budget document. Pages 86 and 103

Budget coming up this week – so it’s time for the habitual bash at APD by the airlines…

March 17, 2013    With the budget coming up on the 20th March, the airlines do their usual predictable attack on Air Passenger Duty, in the vain hope that the Chancellor will be persuaded to let flying be a bit cheaper, and agree to the Treasury forgoing an important source of revenue for the UK economy. The last attempt the airlines had was a report that they had written by PWC, with a range of claims about APD. The FT reported in February that a Treasury spokesperson said APD, which is forecast to bring in £2.9bn this year, makes an “essential contribution” towards helping meet the government’s deficit reduction plans. “We do not recognise the figures in this [PWC] report or agree with the assumptions behind it”   FT link    Air Passenger Duty is charged because there is no VAT on aviation, and the industry is zero-rated. There is also no fuel tax on jet fuel. So APD is charged, because of these tax breaks the industry receives. The aviation PR spin is that aviation is vital to the UK economy. In reality, around 80% of trips made by air from the UK are for leisure purposes, the majority taking Brits to spend their money on trips abroad. Cutting APD would only be beneficial to the aviation industry. It would not benefit the UK as a whole.    Click here to view full story…

 

PwC report on APD met by dismissive comments from Treasury – Chancellor has no intention of lowering APD

February 5, 2013   The 4 largest airlines in the UK (British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, EasyJet and Ryanair) commissioned a report from PwC on Air Passenger Duty (APD). The intention was to try and get APD reduced, or removed altogether. PwC put together arguments that the UK economy would benefit, if flyers could fly slightly more cheaply. There was a range of arguments, including more tax take, more investment, spin offs of all sorts. However, this has cut no ice with the Treasury. The pressure from the 4 airlines got a frosty response from the Treasury, which made clear that the Chancellor had no intention of lowering APD. The FT reports that a Treasury spokesperson said APD, which is forecast to bring in £2.9bn this year, makes an “essential contribution” towards helping meet the government’s deficit reduction plans. “We do not recognise the figures in this report or agree with the assumptions behind it,” the Treasury said. The report also had to admit that making flying a bit cheaper would have a negative impact on parts of the UK economy, as yet more Brits took they money to spend abroad.    Click here to view full story…

 

Airlines have another go at trying to get rid of APD. Reminiscent of turkeys and Christmas.

February 4, 2013    EasyJet has produced two press releases, making out that a new study done for the airline industry shows that the UK economy would benefit if Air Passenger Duty was cut. EasyJet, BA, Virgin and Ryanair commissioned PwC to investigate the possible effect of abolishing APD. Using elaborate contortions of facts and logic, and glossing over the point that the main beneficiaries of abolishing the tax would be themselves (not UK plc) they ignore the inconvenient facts that the majority of air travel takes Brits abroad, to spend their money elsewhere. Only a minority – around 20% at most – of air passengers from the UK are on business. The study also ignores the fact that air travel pays no VAT and no fuel duty – making it a very special case, and very under-taxed in comparison to other sectors. Much of the “logic” behind the calculations by PwC of the suggested economic benefits of removing APD involve indirect effects, such as boosting tax take in a variety of sectors, increasing investment, and presumed spin off effects of this over time. All very dubious. No industry likes to pay tax, but there is no reason why air travel – largely discretionary spending by the better off – should escape a fair level of tax. These APD claims by the 4 airlines really are stunning nonsense.   Click here to view full story…

 

Read more »

Police helicopter crashes onto crowded bar in Glasgow – 8 confirmed dead, many more badly injured

A police helicopter has crashed into a crowded bar, smashing through the flat roof and entering the building. The bar was full of people listening to live music. The helicopter, weighing around 3 tonnes, did huge damage to the building (there was no fire though) and many people were trapped in collapsed masonry and rubble. The three in the helicopter died, and 5 others s far are confirmed dead. There are many others seriously injured, as well as more with minor injuries. The helicopter apparently does not have a black box. Accident investigators are already working to establish the cause of the accident. Some eye witness reports indicate the rotors stopped and the helicopter virtually fell to the ground. The helicopter is an Eurocopter EC135 T2, which is the standard Scottish police helicopter. It began service in 1996 and there are now around 1,000 in operation, for police and emergency services. Witnesses spoke of hearing the helicopter’s engine spluttering as it fell. The crash will add to pressure on the Government to look into the safety of helicopters. Last week, the Transport minister Robert Goodwill rejected calls for a full-scale public inquiry into offshore helicopter safety.
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30 November 2013  (BBC)

Glasgow helicopter crash: Police name dead man

Police have named one of the eight people who died after a helicopter crashed into a busy Glasgow pub.

Gary Arthur, 48, was from the Paisley area, Police Scotland said.

Three people inside the helicopter and five people inside The Clutha were killed after the Police Scotland aircraft came down at 22:30 on Friday.

A further 14 people are being treated for “very serious injuries”. Prayers for the dead will be said at a service at Glasgow Cathedral on Sunday.

Police Scotland said in a statement that “the body of a male has been recovered from the scene”.

“The male has now been identified as Gary Arthur, aged 48, from the Paisley area. His family have been informed.

“Extensive efforts continue to recover the remaining bodies from the scene but, due to ongoing safety constraints, this is likely to take some time.”

Officers from Police Scotland’s major investigations team have asked for any footage of the incident or surrounding areas to be emailed to the dedicated address:  glasgowhelicopterincident@scotland.pnn.police.uk

The investigation will run in parallel with one being run by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

A total of 32 people were hurt in the crash – 14 of them seriously.

Dr Jennifer Armstrong, medical director at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said 18 of the injured people had now been treated and discharged.

“The main injuries we have seen include chest injuries, head injuries, long-bone fractures and lacerations,” she said.

It is thought that about 120 people were in the pub at the time of the crash.

Many were rescued or escaped but others were trapped by a collapse on the left-hand side of the building.

The emergency services remain involved in a “search and recovery” operation

The three occupants of the helicopter who died were two police officers and a civilian pilot.

A significant number of personnel from Police Scotland, The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Scottish Ambulance Service are still at the scene.

Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House told a news conference on Saturday afternoon that they would remain there for some time.

He said: “This is a complex and ongoing rescue operation. It will not be a quick operation. It is a very complicated and indeed dangerous scene.”

Chief Constable House said the operation would go on “for many days yet”.

He paid tribute to the emergency service personnel who were working at the scene and the people of Glasgow who disregarded their own personal safety to help survivors in the aftermath of the crash.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the same news conference that the increased death toll from the crash was “news that everybody today has been both dreading and expecting”.

“Our hearts go out to everyone who has been bereaved. It is impossible to imagine the grief and loss that they are experiencing,” she said.

“They should know that the thoughts and prayers of everyone across the city, and indeed across Scotland, are with them at this unimaginably difficult time.

Ms Sturgeon also praised the courage and fortitude of the emergency services and people of Glasgow in the aftermath of the crash.

She added: “I think we were all moved last night by the way in which those who were in and around the scene did everything possible to help and the outpouring of concern and kindness today, I’m sure, will be a comfort to those affected.”

Ms Sturgeon’s colleague, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, will attend a special service at Glasgow Cathedral on Sunday to offer prayers for the dead and injured.

In other developments:

  • A large area of the city centre has been cordoned off
  • A mass has been held at St Andrew’s Cathedral in city for those involved in crash and emergency services involved in response
  • The city council has cancelled St Andrew’s Day celebrations in George Square as a mark of respect
  • A minute’s silence was held ahead of the Falkirk v Rangers match
  • Flags are flying at half-mast on Scottish government buildings
  • Casualties were taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Western Infirmary and the Victoria Infirmary
  • The Police Scotland Casualty Bureau number is 0800 092 0410 - for those concerned about relatives
  • Glasgow City Council has opened a family reception centre at 40 John Street

The Police Scotland helicopter which crashed was a twin-engine Eurocopter EC135 T2.

In a statement, Eurocopter said its experts were “on standby to support the investigation in every way possible”.

“An accident investigation team from Eurocopter is on its way to Scotland to assist the UK Air Accident Investigation Branch and the BFU (German AAIB) in its efforts to investigate the cause of the accident,” the statement said.

Helicopter operator Bond Air Services said it was working with the police and emergency services.

A statement added: “Our thoughts are with those who have been affected by this tragic incident.”

William Byrne, 45, from Coatbridge, who was in the pub when the helicopter came down, returned to the scene on Saturday morning.

“There was a loud bang. Then there was dust and the lights went out. It was surreal,” he told BBC Scotland.

“We didn’t know what had happened. At our side of the pub at least two people were trapped under the gantry. Myself and others lifted it up and managed to get them out. I spent some time with one injured man.”

He added: “At our side of the pub I would say there were less than 10 people injured, mainly walking wounded, not seriously injured. One girl had clearly been hit on the head – she had a big bump.

“The other side of the pub took the brunt. Myself and my friends managed to get out without a scratch. Everyone helped everyone else to get out.”

About 250 people attended a special service at St Andrew’s Cathedral on Saturday afternoon.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia told worshipers: “We pray for those who have lost their lives, who are injured, the bereaved, and the emergency services and members of the public.

“We pray for our city of Glasgow, which is in mourning today.”

One of The Clutha’s owners, Saverio Petri expressed his “heartfelt sorrow to the people who have tragically lost their lives just going out to listen to some music”.

He told the BBC that he was serving drinks in the bar when the crash happened.

He said: “I was hit with some falling debris on my head, my arm, my leg, my foot – which subsequently knocked me to the ground.

“In my situation, luckily from my point of view, is what saved me and, unfortunately, where others perished, because I’d fallen behind the bar and the debris was landing more so on the bar or bouncing off the bar and to the front of the bar.

“I managed to subsequently get up, I climbed over the debris I could. I got as many people as I could out of the bar.

“The customers in the pub were exceptional in assisting in getting the injured out of the pub.”

A statement posted on The Clutha bar’s Facebook page on Saturday stated: “Our thanks go out to all the goodwill messages and prayers for those who tragically lost their lives in the accident last night. An event beyond comprehension and belief.

“The customers who could showed the true spirit of Glasgow along with all the emergency services. Our heartfelt sorrow to all of the families of those who perished.”

The band who were playing in the pub at the time of the crash, Esperanza, released a statement on their Facebook page.

Bassist Jess wrote: “Waking up and realising that it is all definitely horribly real. Despite the situation everyone was so helpful and caring of each other.

“The police, ambulances, firefighters all did a stellar job and continue to do so today in extremely difficult conditions.”

Eddie Waltham, a former firefighter who had a friend inside the pub, told the BBC: “A roof joist came down and hit him and pushed him towards the window which is at the left side of the left door.”

He added later: “My own reaction was to run straight up to the pub.

“It was amazing to watch just how people were trying so hard to get into this building.”

Gordon Matheson, the leader of Glasgow City Council, said his heart went out to the families affected.

He also praised the response of ordinary people in the area before the emergency services arrived.

Map of the area

Mr Matheson said: “People who were in the pub, the people who were in the streets and who just helped out their fellow human beings who were out having a good time.

“It’s Glasgow at its best you know, if people are in need the spontaneous response is to go to their help. And I want to pay great tribute to that and I’m very proud as leader of the city that that was the reaction. It doesn’t surprise me.”

The Queen has said her thoughts and prayers are with the victims of crash.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond said: “This is a black day for Glasgow and Scotland

The Eurocopter EC135 T2

Police Scotland helicopter
  • Began service in 1996 and there are now around 1,000 in operation
  • Used around the world by the police and emergency services
  • Has capacity for one pilot and six or seven passengers
  • Weighs 6,504 lbs (2,950kg)
  • Maximum speed of 137kts (254 km/h)
  • Twin-engined and has a maximum range of 334nm (620km)

What do we know about crash helicopter?

“The response from our emergency services and citizens has been exemplary.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “This is a tragic event and our deepest sympathies are with the families and friends who lost a loved one last night.

“I want to thank the emergency services who worked tirelessly throughout the night and I also want pay tribute to the bravery of the ordinary Glaswegians who rushed to help.”

Labour leader Ed Miliband described the crash as an “unimaginable horror”.

He added: “My thoughts are with… the people of Glasgow who are an incredibly strong people.”

In 2002, a police Eurocopter EC-135 came down in a field in Ayrshire. All three people on board survived.

In 1990, a police sergeant was killed when a Bell Jet 206 helicopter crashed in bad weather at Newton Mearns in East Renfrewshire.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-25165894

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‘It dropped. Just like dropping a 10p piece’: Eight dead after police helicopter crashes into packed Glasgow pub

PA

GLASGOW

30 November 2013 (Independent)

Eight people were confirmed dead after a police helicopter crashed through the roof of a packed Glasgow music pub.

It was feared that the death toll could rise when emergency services raise the wrecked aircraft from the shell of the Clutha, a bar in central Glasgow. But police were not discounting the possibility that some people inside could still be alive, insisting that a rescue operation was still under way, although the chances appeared slim.

Last night, Scottish Police confirmed the name of the first victim of the helicopter crash was 48-year-old Gary Arthur, from the Paisley area. Emergency service sources said there could be 10, or possibly as many as 20, people, alive or dead, inside.

One grief-stricken man said yesterday he had been told that his father had been sitting in his favourite spot at the bar when the helicopter crashed down on top of him. He planned to stay outside the Clutha until he learned the fate of his father for certain.

Police confirmed that all those on board the helicopter – a civilian pilot and two police officers – were killed, along with at least five revellers in the pub on Friday night. Fourteen people were in a serious condition in hospitals yesterday, but 18 others who were treated had been allowed home.

Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, described it yesterday as a “black day for Glasgow and also for Scotland”.

A view of the roof of the Clutha Vaults bar, showing where the helicopter crashed into it

The Air Accident Investigations Branch and Police Scotland both launched inquiries into the crash. Helicopter operator Bond Air Services said in a statement that it was “deeply saddened” by the incident and was working with the authorities.

Witnesses spoke of hearing the helicopter’s engine spluttering as the aircraft descended rapidly on to the pub’s roof.

The crash will add to pressure on the Government to look into the safety of helicopters. Only last week, the Transport minister Robert Goodwill rejected calls for a full-scale public inquiry into offshore helicopter safety.

From the outside, the Clutha – appeared to be intact yesterday, but the inside was described as a mess of mangled metal, dust and debris. Rescue workers covered the roof and helicopter with a protective tarpaulin.

At a press conference yesterday, Sir Stephen House, chief constable of Police Scotland, said that the “very complicated and, indeed, dangerous” rescue operation would continue through the night and into today. He said that it was not known how many people were inside.

“The helicopter is in there and it is dominating the whole space within the building,” Sir Stephen said, standing just outside the cordoned-off area around the pub. “Until it is out of the way, we won’t know everything that is going on underneath the helicopter. We simply can’t say what the situation is at this moment definitively.”

He added: “I have to ask you to imagine the situation where the helicopter has come down and is literally sitting in the middle of the building. Until that is resolved, we can’t know everything that is in that building.”

The Eurocopter EC135 T2 helicopter hit the pub at around 10.30pm on Friday evening.

Dogs from the Trossachs Search and Rescue charity were brought in on Friday night to search the wreckage, but they were stood down at about 6am on Saturday morning. Fibre-optic cameras, specialist sound equipment and carbon-dioxide indicators to detect human breath were also used.

There had been a party atmosphere in the Clutha on Friday, with the ska band Esperanza in full swing, when, at about 10.25pm, the helicopter crashed through the roof on to the bar, filling the room with blinding, choking dust. Some initially thought that a bomb had gone off.

Eyewitnesses in the pub described how they saw the bar “buckle” before collapsing, completely crushing people below. They said the bar went dark and filled with clouds of dust that made it hard to see and breathe.

Despite chaotic scenes, people in the pub, including some who were injured, and passers-by from outside helped to rescue people from the wreckage until emergency services arrived.

Kenny Hamilton, a 48-year-old painter and decorator, told The Independent on Sunday yesterday that he had been “knocked sideways” by the gantry above the bar when the helicopter hit. He was pulled out of the wreckage and then, despite suspected cracked ribs, he helped several people lift the shattered bar so that another injured man trapped beneath it could be taken to safety.

Echoing earlier comments by Mr Salmond, Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to “the bravery of the ordinary Glaswegians who rushed to help”, and emergency services personnel “who worked tirelessly throughout the night”.

Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson described the crash as “heartbreaking”, but nevertheless took some comfort from the response. “When there is trouble and people need assistance, the people of Glasgow head towards those situations,” he said yesterday. “The motto of the city of Glasgow is ‘People make Glasgow’. That was at no better time demonstrated than last night and in the period since.”

Flags flew at half-mast across the city and the annual St Andrew’s Day celebrations in the central George Square were cancelled. Throughout the day, a steady stream of people arrived to lay flowers on the pavement outside the Holiday Express hotel, a few yards down the street from the scene but as close as police would let them.

In a personal statement, the Queen added her condolences, saying that she was “saddened to learn of the dreadful helicopter crash”.

The names of the dead were understandably slow to emerge. But a clearly distressed John McGarrigle, 38, standing outside the Clutha, said he had been told by an eyewitness that his father, also John McGarrigle, 59, was sitting “right in the spot” where the helicopter hit.

“The realisation, and just a deep instinct kicked in right away as soon as I heard there was an accident at Clutha. I just knew something bad had happened to him,” he told BBC News at the scene. “When I came round and seen where the position of the helicopter [was], that was when I knew, because he sat in that spot all the time, where the ‘copter hit. I am still shaking. I could walk in there and pinpoint him myself in the rubble.”

Mr McGarrigle said he had checked every hospital with no sign of his father and planned to stand outside the Clutha until he saw that all the casualties were removed from the pub.

The Clutha – the name means “Clyde” in Gaelic – is a popular bar in the centre of Glasgow known as one of the city’s best music venues. It was once a favourite venue for Billy Connolly when he was starting out as a comedian.

Ska band Esperanza’s bass player and general manager, Jessica Combe, said yesterday that they were “waking up and realising that it is all definitely horribly real”.

“Despite the situation, everyone was so helpful and caring of each other,” she said in a statement. “The police, ambulances, firefighters all did a stellar job and continue to do so today in extremely difficult conditions.”

A statement on the Clutha’s Facebook page said that it had been “an event beyond comprehension and belief”. It read: “Our heartfelt sorrow to all of the families of those who perished.”

Additional reporting by Victoria Finan

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/major-rescue-operation-under-way-after-police-helicopter-crashes-into-packed-clutha-vaults-pub-in-glasgow-8974061.html

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AEF comment on CAA review of environmental landing charges at airports

The CAA published a review in October of environmental landing charges at the 6 largest UK airports. The CAA review considered whether differential landing charges, based on noise and air pollution by NOx emissions, could be used to encourage the take up of cleaner and quieter aircraft. The main finding of the review is that environmental landing charges have some incentive effects but are unlikely to be the main financial driver for using quieter and less polluting aircraft. Currently, charging varies across the 6 airports, with some offering greater financial incentives for better performing aircraft which limits the effectiveness of environmental charging. The Aviation Environment Federation believes future schemes should assess the cost of local air quality impacts and then charge airlines for their contribution (the differential would mean that the polluter pays more in addition to the existing landing charges). The environmental charges collected should not be retained by the airport but could be used to fund effective mitigation and avoidance measures.
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A review of environmental landing charges at airports, report by CAA

Nov 29 2013  (AEF – Aviation Environment Federation)

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) published a review in October of environmental landing chargesat the three designated airports for noise management (Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted) and three of the busiest airports in the UK  (Manchester, East Midlands and Birmingham).

The study examined whether differential landing charges for noise and air pollution – where noisier and more polluting aircraft are charged more than quieter, cleaner aircraft to land at a specific airport – could be used to encourage the take up of cleaner and quieter aircraft. [CAA use the term "clean" to refer to NOx pollution, rather than the unhelpful general use of the term to indicate lower carbon emissions]. 

The main finding of the review is that environmental landing charges have some incentive effects but are unlikely to be the main financial driver for using quieter and less polluting aircraft. Currently, charging varies across the six airports with some offering greater financial incentives for better performing aircraft which limits the effectiveness of environmental charging.

Of concern is that certain airports (Gatwick for example) applied reduced landing charges for early morning and night flights which are classified as off-peak periods. This creates an incentive for airlines to fly at times when residents are more sensitive to aircraft noise, which could exacerbate the noise problem.

In order to improve the effectiveness of charging schemes, the report calls for charges to be better linked to environmental impacts, along with greater differentials between efficient and noisy or polluting aircraft, and an earlier introduction of higher charges as new standards of aircraft emerge.

Under current CAA regulations, increases in environmental landing charges at the regulated Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick would have to be counter-balanced by decreases in other aircraft charges. Yet environmental charges only account for 3% of landing charges at Heathrow meaning there is scope for raising environmental charges.

CAA make several recommendations on noise, including that charging categories should cover all aircraft using the airport and that there should be different charges for operations occurring at night. The review also recommends that NOx landing charges should be distinct to those for noise.

Our view is that environmental landing charges should include a differential to take account of the relative contribution of each aircraft, and the ability to raise revenue proportional to the impact (the external cost of the impact).

In this case, AEF welcomes the introduction of differential environmental charges but the use of an existing charge – in this case the landing fee – makes the overall scheme “revenue neutral”. This is a missed opportunity and is, in effect, subsidising aircraft that are less polluting than the average by discounting the landing fee.

Future schemes at UK airports should assess the cost of local air quality impacts and then charge airlines for their contribution (the differential would mean that the polluter pays more in addition to the existing landing charges). The environmental charges collected should not be retained by the airport but could be used to fund effective mitigation and avoidance measures.

The report, titled CAP 1119: Environmental charging – Review of impact of noise and NOx landing charges was released on the 15thOctober 2013 and is available by following the link below:

CAA Environmental Charging Review

http://www.aef.org.uk/?p=1664

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CAA calls on airports to use landing charges to encourage cleaner, quieter flights

Date: 15 October 2013

UK airports should use their landing charges to offer better incentives for airlines to operate cleaner and quieter flights, says a new report released by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) today.

The report follows the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Aviation Policy Framework published in March this year, which suggested airports consider using differential landing charges to incentivise quieter aircraft. The CAA has since reviewed the noise and emission elements of landing charges at six of the UK’s busiest airports and has published in its report a set of good practice principles for airports to encourage airlines to operate more environmentally friendly flights.

During the review, the CAA found approaches to the environmental elements of landing charges varied greatly from one airport to another – with some airports offering greater financial incentives for airlines to use cleaner and quieter aircraft than others.

The report also found that whilst some airports used differential landing charges to encourage airlines to operate in the day, others applied reduced landing charges for early morning and night flights – most likely due to differences in demand. This approach therefore gives airlines a financial incentive to fly at times when residents are more sensitive to aircraft noise and could actually increase airlines’ environmental impact on local residents.

With approaches to differential landing charges varying across the six airports reviewed, the CAA is calling for charges to be more consistently linked to impact to maximise the incentives for more environmentally friendly operations.

Dan Edwards, Head of Economic Policy and International Aviation at the CAA, said:

“We are very clear that the aviation industry needs to do more to tackle its environmental impacts, particularly if the sector wishes to grow. This means adopting innovative approaches and using landing charges to encourage cleaner, quieter flights is one way we believe the industry can make a difference.

“Adopting the principles we’ve published in our review will lead to a more consistent approach to noise and emissions landing charges across the UK, with better incentives for airlines and ultimately reducing aviation’s environmental impact on residents.”

The review acknowledges that options to increase incentives for airlines will be restricted to increasing differentials in landing charges, rather than the overall landing charges airlines pay. In addition, airports will need to consider potential trade-offs with economic and consumer choice factors when considering their approach to landing charges.

The CAA’s review looked at six UK airports in total. This included Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted, which are all designated for noise management restrictions by the Secretary of State for Transport. The remaining airports included in the review are Birmingham, East Midlands and Manchester.

The full review is available here. 

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