A highly misleading article appeared in the Times on 3 February 2014 suggesting that WWF’s “One in Five Challenge” members are increasing their flying and that they are leaving the Challenge because they need to fly more. The “1 in 5″ challenge is a scheme to encourage businesses to cut their business flying by 20% over 5 years. The Times journalist based his misleading conclusions on data cherry-picked from the 3rd Annual Report from the “One in Five Challenge”. WWF has set out the actual facts to counter the Times’ errors. Flights have not increased during the Challenge; they have continued to decline. Over a three-year period, the number of flights taken by Challengers fell by 38%, far exceeding the target set by the Challenge. Even between Years 3 and 4, when the journalist claims Challengers have flown more, they have actually flown less taking 2% fewer flights. Challengers are not leaving the Challenge to fly more as the article alleges. The reason it may appear companies have dropped out of the scheme is because there is more data from Years 1 & 2 than Years 3 & 4 is that several Challengers who have recently joined the programme have not submitted as many years of data as Challengers who joined when the programme was launched in 2009.
Sorry, you’ve got it all wrong—One in Five Challenge members are not increasing their flying
6 February 2014 (WWF UK)
A highly misleading article appeared in the Times on 3 February 2014 suggesting that One in Five Challenge members are increasing their flying and that they are leaving the Challenge because they need to fly more.
The journalist based his misleading conclusions on data cherry-picked from the 3rd Annual Report from the One in Five Challenge (PDF)
But these are the facts to counter the article’s fiction:
Flights have not increased during the Challenge, they have continued to decline. Over a three-year period, the number of flights taken by Challengers has fallen by 38%, far exceeding the target set by the Challenge (a 20% cut within 5 years). Even between Years 3 and 4, when the journalist claims Challengers have flown more, they have actually flown less taking 2% fewer flights.
Challengers are not leaving the Challenge to fly more as the article alleges. The journalist has assumed that, because there are more companies reporting data in Years 1 and 2 than in Years 3 and 4, that must mean companies have dropped out. In fact, the reason that there are fewer companies reporting in Years 3 and 4 is because there are several Challengers who have recently joined the programme and haven’t submitted as many years of data as Challengers who joined when the programme was launched in 2009.
Those few Challengers who have left the programme have done so because they have already achieved the award, not because they intend to fly more. The article provides no evidence or quotes from bosses (as the title suggests) that their companies are leaving the Challenge to fly more.
Although flight emissions and distances have grown slightly (4% and 5% respectively) between Years 3 and 4, Year 4 emissions remain 34% lower than they were at the start of the Challenge and kilometres distance is 33% lower.
In summary, WWF is very disappointed that the article completely overlooks the significant achievements of Challengers, which should be celebrated, and, instead portrays a false impression of the Challenge and its members.
Below is the Times article that got some of its facts wrong:
Sorry, must fly, say bosses pledged to cut air travel
“The total distance flown by employees fell from 191 million km in the first year to 123 million in the third. Yet in the fourth year it rose to 129 million”
Richard Pohle/Times Newspapers
By Ben Webster Environment Editor (Times)
February 1 2014
Companies in a green scheme to cut emissions from business flights have increased their air travel over a year after realising that virtual meetings can be a poor substitute for pressing the flesh.
The scheme was aimed at showing that Heathrow and other airports did not need new runways, but the results suggest that even green-minded companies often see no alternative to flying.
WWF, the environmental group running the scheme, admitted that video conferencing was unsuitable for building relationships with new clients. The distance travelled by air fell sharply for the first three years after companies, including Microsoft, BT, Marks & Spencer, Lloyds TSB and BSkyB, joined the “One in Five” scheme, which aims to help organisations cut a fifth of their flights in five years.
However, WWF’s report on the scheme’s fourth year shows an annual increase in both long-haul and short-haul flights.
The total distance flown by employees fell from 191 million km in the first year to 123 million in the third year. Yet in the fourth year it rose to 129 million. Overall emissions from the companies’ flights fell by 36 per cent in the first three years but rose by 4 per cent, or 1,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide, in the most recent year.
Jean Leston, WWF’s transport policy manager, said that video or audio conferencing could replace only about a third of business flights. “While new teams are forming and relationships are being built and there are new clients to be met, these are the kind of circumstances where even WWF admits you are going to have to have a certain number of face-to-face meetings involving flying.
“Where we say you can replace flying most easily is for internal meetings or for client meetings where relationships are already established.” She said that the recession had encouraged companies to find cheaper alternatives to flying staff to meetings and argued that this had resulted in a permanent change of behaviour. “There has been a cultural shift that the recession has accelerated.”
Ms Leston said that some companies had dropped out of the scheme but declined to say which ones, saying it was a condition of the scheme that it would not give out “specific details on which companies have done what”. She said that WWF, which opposes any new runways, did not know whether emissions from flights were rising or falling for the companies that had dropped out.
“When they drop out and they inform us they have achieved all they can through the challenge and gone beyond it in most cases, they have got the T-shirt, a company is not expected to submit any further data. It’s a hassle for them so why would they?
“They may still be continuing to cut their flying but I don’t know and I wouldn’t want to speculate.”
WWF said in a statement: “WWF believes that business will continue to fly less — not more — in future and that decisions on UK airport capacity need to reflect this fact. Companies profit by flying less.”
WWF’s “One in Five” challenge has cut corporate flights by their participating firms by 38% over 3 years
New results from WWF’s “One in Five Challenge”, a programme to help organisations cut 20% of flights within 5 years in favour of lower-carbon ways of staying connected, show that some of the UK’s leading companies have cut flights by 38% and flight expenditure by 42% over a 3-year period, saving them over £2 million and over 3,000 tonnes of carbon. Organisations that have achieved the One in Five Challenge, include BskyB, BT, Capgemini, Lloyds TSB, Microsoft UK, the Scottish Government, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Vodafone. The Challenge has helped companies to make significant inroads into cutting their costs and carbon from business travel and to change their business travel behaviour in favour of alternatives such as rail and video-conferencing. These results, together with other WWF-UK analysis which shows a significant, long-term decline in business flying in the UK, point to a permanent change in meeting and travel practices, questioning the business case for UK airport expansion. Having developed the One in Five Challenge and run it successfully for over 4 years, WWF is handing “One in Five” to Global Action Plan (GAP), the UK’s leading environmental behaviour change charity helping business to reduce environmental impact.
Organisations that have achieved the One in Five Challenge, including BskyB, BT, Capgemini, Lloyds TSB, Microsoft UK, the Scottish Government, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Vodafone, have cut far more flights, more quickly than anticipated.
WWF One in Five Challenge 3rd annual report: www.wwf.org.uk/oneinfivereport
WWF infographic on UK business travel trends http://www.wwf.org.uk/how_you_can_help/get_your_business_involved/one_in_five_challenge/no_business_case_for_airport
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In summer 2013 the UK nation’s tourism authority, “Visit Britain” launched a drive to get more overseas visitors to visit the rest of the country. Research for Visit Britain showed that of the 31 million who visited the UK in 2012 – a record number – half went to London only, never venturing outside the M25. The rest of England welcomed 13 million tourists, Scotland 2.2 million and Wales 0.9 million. The Visit Britain “GREAT Britain” initiative hoped to use the delights of country pubs, Stonehenge and cathedral cities such as Winchester and Lincoln promoted in campaigns abroad. Also that Britain is a comparatively small country and relatively easy to get around – and that they should not worry about driving on the left side of the road. It seems that many potential visitors just don’t know what there is to see outside London, or how to get there. Visit Britain offices abroad are being given a “Beyond London” dossier of suggestions for destinations to promote. Visit Britain is to step up efforts to exploit opportunities presented by low-cost airlines which use regional airports for direct flights to Europe. Although most passengers are British tourists, the airports have already seen an increase in Europeans coming to UK destinations. An international survey showed 75% believed the UK has plenty of interesting places to visit outside of London (22% strongly).
Tourism board to launch drive to lure visitors away from London
From castles and cathedrals to country pubs and canals, there can be no doubting the charms of Britain beyond the borders of the capital. But it seems that too few foreigners are finding them.
Britain’s tourism board wants overseas visitors to consider other parts of the UK during their visit, such as: (from top left, clockwise) Glen Coe, Suffolk pubs, Lincoln Cathedral and Chester. Photo: ALAMY
The nation’s tourism authorities are to launch a drive to get more overseas visitors to visit the rest of the country, amid fears that the industry has become unbalanced in favour of London.
New research for Visit Britain has shown that of the 31 million who visited these shores last year – a record number – half went to the capital alone, never venturing outside the M25.
The rest of England welcomed 13 million tourists, Scotland 2.2 million and Wales 0.9 million, prompting the organisation to make attracting visitors beyond the capital’s draws of Buckingham Palace and the West End its new priority.
The initiative will see the delights of country pubs, Stonehenge and cathedral cities such as Winchester and Lincoln promoted in campaigns abroad.
It will also attempt to convey to potential visitors that Britain is a comparatively small country and relatively easy to get around – and that they should not worry about driving on the left hand side of the road.
Research conducted among holidaymakers from US, France, Norway and Germany found there was a “general lack of knowledge” about other destinations outside of London, confusion as to which nations made up the British Isles, and “nerves” about driving on Britain’s roads.
A quarter said it was “too expensive” to travel across Britain, but nearly 30 per cent said they simply did not what it was like elsewhere in the UK or what was on offer. One more traditional foreign view of Britain appears to have faded, however, as only one in ten said the food was “poor”.
Sandie Dawe, the chief executive of Visit Britain, said London’s place on the world stage had been a huge draw, but that the rest of the country had huge potential to benefit.
“London is so popular and so dominant that when people think about Britain it’s such a strong draw. It’s a huge benefit, but also a challenge.
“The Olympics increased the interest in Britain around the world. We just have to make sure that some of our other fantastic assets are not put into the shade by the brilliance of London’s light.”
She added: “We have got some fantastic heritage, history and culture outside of London. When tourists think about romance, luxury, relaxation, France and Italy will pop into their heads before they think about Britain. But we have got some beautiful cathedral towns, such as Winchester, Salisbury, York, Chester or Lincoln.”
Visit Britain offices abroad are to be given a “Beyond London” dossier of suggestions for destinations to promote. Among the “hidden gems” which will be highlighted are Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, which was used as Hogwarts in parts of the Harry Potter series of films, the more than 2,000 miles of navigable canals and rivers, and the country pubs of Suffolk, which Visit Britain hopes will become a “foodie” destination.
The tourist authority is also likely to step up its work with the English Premier League. Shinji Kagawa, Manchester United’s Japanese footballer, has already extolled the virtues of Britain in a video for Visit Britain and the popularity of the league is already bringing in football fans from countries such as Norway and Belgium.
Visit Britain is also to step up efforts to exploit opportunities presented by low-cost airlines which use regional airports for direct flights to Europe. Although most passengers are British tourists, the airports have already seen an increase in Europeans coming to new destinations, with examples including Liverpool proving a hit for Spanish visitors.
Ms Dawe said far more could be achieved with the right strategy. “With places like Italy, people around the world would know Rome, Florence, Pisa, Venice, Naples,” she said.
“But when it comes to Britain they may say Windsor or Bath but that would be it. If you look at places such as the north-east there are beautiful castles and coastal walks. Suffolk is absolutely beautiful – there are places like Lavenham and Long Melford – and there is great potential in East Anglia as tourists often tell us they are interested in country pubs, and the British way of life.”
She added: “A large part of it is simply educational. When I speak to people in Brazil, India or China, you are talking to people from huge countries who cannot quite gather how small our country is. I tell Brazilians you can fit most of Great Britain in between Rio and Sao Paulo, and that it would take the same time to get to Scotland and the Highlands as it would to fly between the two cities. They have no idea.”
Edinburgh is Britain’s most popular single destination outside London, with 1.3 million foreign visitors last year. Other leading destinations include Manchester, which had 932,000; Cambridge, 398,000; York, 199,000; and Windsor, which had 182,000.
Quiz: How well do you know Britain?
63% of respondents now want to visit Britain with 75% looking beyond London
January 2013 ? (Visit Britain website)
A new study commissioned by VisitBritain and its partners in the* suggests that global perceptions of ‘Welcome’, Britain’s ‘Overall Nation Brand’ and the UK’s sporting and cultural credentials have significantly improved thanks to the hosting of the London 2012 Games.
The Nations Brands Index (NBI) research** rates 50 of the world’s leading nations around six core categories. Research was carried out in July 2012 and then repeated post Games. The study sets out to reveal how the international image of a country can change before and after hosting a major sporting event.
According to the new research Britain’s ‘Welcome’ has seen the biggest jump by moving from twelfth place pre-Games to ninth – putting Britain in the top 10 for the very first time.
Britain’s ‘Overall Nation Brand’ and ‘Culture’ ranking moved up one place. ‘Tourism’ held its position in fourth place, with ‘People’ remaining fifth overall. Fourteen of the total 15 panel countries rank the UK within the top 10 on the overall NBI. Nine of the 15 panel countries – including key source markets USA, China, Japan, Russia and India – put the UK in the top three post Games, a marked improvement on previous years.
More key findings include:
• 63 per cent said the Olympics had increased their interest of visiting for a holiday
• 75 per cent of those who saw coverage agreed they wanted to see more than London
• 73 per cent agreed that Britain offered outstanding venues for watching live sport
• 70 per cent said Britain has lovely countryside
• 58 per cent agreed that Britain has a wide variety of world cuisines on offer
Perceptions of British sport see it move two places into the top five in the overall rankings (5th). The UK will continue to host major sporting events in the coming years with a Champions league Final, Tour de France, Rugby Union and Rugby League World Cups, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in 2014, followed by the World Athletics Championships to be held in London in 2017.
Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive of VisitBritain said: “London’s hosting of the Games, the amazing opening and closing ceremonies and the warmth of welcome shown to our international visitors have combined to boost our global image.
“With our partners we have taken every opportunity to promote Britain to overseas audiences through our GREAT marketing campaign, our digital activity on Facebook and Twitter and by inviting foreign travel journalists to write about Britain. This work is now paying off with post Games visitor figures significantly up on last year, and prospects for 2013 looking strong.
“Britain is already an established visitor destination and our tourism ranking is high. The goal this year was to maintain rankings in culture and heritage where we are strong, and improve in areas such as the warmth of our welcome where we had room for improvement. We intend to build on these encouraging results to ensure we turn that increased goodwill into visitors and deliver a growth in tourism that will deliver jobs across the country.”
Culture Secretary Maria Miller said: “The summer of 2012 put the UK firmly in the global spotlight, allowing us to shape international perceptions and show the best of Britain. These results are very encouraging, and show that the UK’s sporting and cultural credentials have significantly improved thanks to London 2012. We are determined to deliver a lasting economic legacy for the whole country, boosting tourism and growth.”
To maximise the promotion of Britain overseas before, during and after the Games, VisitBritain together with UKTI, British Council and FCO mounted a major marketing campaign under the banner GREAT Britain. The campaign showcases the very best of Britain in a highly impactful campaign promoting culture, heritage, countryside and sport, and also education and business.
Notes to editors
* GREAT Partners include: VisitBritain; Cabinet Office, UKTI; FCO and British Council
** NBI research conducted by Anholt-GfK Roper. The post-Games NBI wave was undertaken in 15 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, UAE and USA. Respondents rated 50 nations on questions in six categories: Exports, Governance, Culture, People, Tourism and Immigration/Investment.
Read the full analysis of the study here. January 2013
The GREAT Britain campaign:
‘Yes, London is GREAT, now explore the rest of the country’, declares Visit Britain
By SARAH GORDON
5 August 2013 (Daily Mail)
Of the 31 million people who visited Britain last year, half spent at least one night in London, while of the 12 million holidaymakers who came to these shores, two-thirds based themselves in the capital for at least a night.
Now Visit Britain is looking at how it can shift holidaymakers’ focus and encourage them to explore the UK’s other delights, with new tourism campaigns and extra information supplied to its tourist offices abroad.
Visit Britain offices around the world are going to be given special packs to help them better ‘sell’ the delights of Britain, from Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, which appeared in the Harry Potter films, to Stonehenge and experiences like our country pubs and canal network.
These will tie in with an extension of Visit Britain’s hugely successful ‘GREAT’ campaign, which has targeted key cities in key markets with films and image-led print adverts showcasing what makes Britain great.
Two problems the tourist board faces are convincing the rest of the world how small and easy-to-navigate the UK is and how driving on the left is not as daunting as it seems.
While Edinburgh remains the second most popular tourist destination after London, many tourists miss cathedral cities such as Lincoln, York, Winchester and Salisbury. However, Bath and Windsor often feature on itineraries for their heritage and royal links.
And while regional airports have encouraged visitors to other cities such as Liverpool, few explore rural spots, despite the abundance of picturesque villages, traditional pubs and verdant landscapes.
Visit Britain is keen to highlight that it is not trying to encourage visitors to avoid London, but that it has spotted an opportunity for ‘London Plus’ tourism, with visitors combining the capital with other experiences.
Heritage: Tourists could be encouraged to visit Cathedral cities like Lincoln
The latest research by Visit Britain found that London remains the key draw for visitors, but the majority of those questioned would like to combine it with trips to destinations up to two or three hours away.
However, knowledge about what else to see in Britain can be scant in some markets, with holidaymakers concentrating more on ticking off the top sights in the capital.
On a more positive note, the reasons cited for wanting to travel beyond London include wanting to explore more heritage sites, to add variety to their itineraries, to find unique places to stay and see the countryside and to see how British people live.
Visit Britain’s aim is to approach tourism to the UK much as they do in countries like Italy, where visitors are keen to explore cities like Venice and Florence as much as Rome.
In Italy, visitors spent just 13 per cent of their stay in Rome, while in France, tourists spent just 26 per cent of overnight stays in Paris. However, in the UK, 41 per cent of overnight stays are spent in London.
A spokesperson for Visit Britain confirmed: “We compete against a number of other destinations where overseas visitors tend to visit a wider range of locations. We want visitors to enjoy brilliant London but then extend their stay by visiting other parts of Britain, something our research proves they are keen to do.”
But tourism figures for the UK so far this year are positive, showing a 2 per cent rise in visitors during the first five months of the year and a a 10 per cent spike in cash generated.
The £25 million ‘GREAT’ image tourism campaign – which has targeted 14 major cities in nine countries – is also performing well on the international stage, especially when compared to competitor tourist boards with substantially larger budgets.
Nearly three-quarters of the audience in target cities recall seeing the ‘GREAT’ campaign and 23 per cent of those who recall the campaign plan to visit in the next year.
Sandie Dawe, chief executive of VisitBritain said: “In 2012 Britain became the first Olympic host since Sydney to see an increase in inbound tourism in the year of the Games.
“The GREAT campaign is playing a major role in our efforts to attract a greater number of overseas visitors, with those seeing our images increasingly likely to visit the UK in the next few years. It is essential that we continue to deliver this campaign in our high value tourism markets and the growth markets of the future if we are to enhance overseas perceptions of Britain as a must see destination.”
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Defra has updated its Noise Action Plans for large urban areas, roads and railways following a consultation that closed in October 2013. There has been no update to the guidance for Airport Operators since July 2013 but the Noise Action Plan for agglomerations has some information about aviation noise. The Government‟s policy on noise is set out in the Noise Policy Statement for England (NPSE). Its vision is to: “Promote good health and a good quality of life through the effective management of noise within the context of Government policy on sustainable development.” It aims to avoid, mitigate and minimise significant adverse impacts on health and quality of life. Earlier Defra prepared guidance for airport operators on how to prepare their Noise Action Plans, including the management of aircraft noise affecting noise sensitive buildings, such as schools and hospitals. Unfortunately responsibility for preparing airport Action Plans rests with the relevant airport operators, which is akin to having the fox in control of the hen-house. Those troubled by aircraft noise have found airport Noise Action Plans to be high on words, and worthy statements of good intent, but low on any real actions or targets to genuinely reduce aircraft noise – with rising numbers of air transport movements.
Defra has updated its Noise Action Plans for large urban areas, roads and railways following a consultation that closed in October 2013. There has been no update to the guidance for Airport Operators since July 2013 but the Noise Action Plan for agglomerations has some information about aviation noise.
Noise Action Plan: Agglomerations
Environmental Noise (England) Regulations 2006, as amended - January 2014
Below are some extracts, relating to airports, from the document.
This Action Plan has been developed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as the Competent Authority for preparing and adopting this Action Plan under the terms of the Environmental Noise (England) Regulations 2006, as amended („the Regulations‟). The Regulations implement the Environmental Noise Directive (END) in England. The END requires, on a five year cycle:
The determination, through noise mapping, of exposure to environmental
noise from major sources of road, rail and aircraft noise and in urban areas
(known as agglomerations)
Provision of information to the public on environmental noise and its effects.
Adoption of Action Plans, based upon the noise mapping results, which are
designed to manage environmental noise and its effects, including noise
reduction if necessary.
Preservation of environmental noise quality where it is good, particularly in
This Action Plan applies to relevant authorities within the 65 END agglomerations [An agglomeration is an urban area with a population in excess of 100,000 persons and a
population density equal to or greater than 500 people per km2] that were covered by the second round of strategic noise mapping, undertaken during 2012.
It accompanies two additional Action Plans, which are being published at the same time, covering the management of noise from road and railway sources. Responsibility for preparing airport Action Plans rests with the relevant airport operators.
In line with the Government‟s policy on noise, this Action Plan aims to promote
good health and good quality of life (wellbeing) through the effective management
of noise. It is intended that this Action Plan will assist the management of environmental noise in the context of Government policy on sustainable development.
This means that those authorities responsible for implementing this Action Plan will need to balance any potential action to manage noise with wider environmental, social and economic considerations, including cost effectiveness.
This Action Plan will be relevant to the various highway and rail authorities responsible for transport in the agglomerations, local authorities in agglomerations, including those with environmental, transport and planning responsibilities, and interested members of the public.
It has been estimated that the approximate number of people associated with the Important Areas identified through the process described in this Action Plan for the 65 agglomerations, with respect to road and rail noise, is just over 130,000. This is expected to correspond to just over 3,300 Important Areas.
The equivalent figures covering Important Areas for major roads and major railways outside agglomerations can be found in the roads and railways Action Plans, which also describe the process used to identify them.
Noise is a natural consequence of a mature and vibrant society. Noise, however, can have major implications for quality of life (wellbeing), human health, economic prosperity and the natural environment.
The Government‟s policy on noise is set out in the Noise Policy Statement for England (NPSE). The NPSE‟s vision is to:
“Promote good health and a good quality of life through the effective management of noise within the context of Government policy on sustainable development.”
Its aims are to:
avoid significant adverse impacts on health and quality of life;
mitigate and minimise adverse impacts on health and quality of life; and
where possible, contribute to the improvement of health and quality of life.
Of the 65 agglomeration areas it includes, the table on page 31 shows which are affected by which airport. Those relevant to Gatwick and Heathrow are Crawley Urban Area; the Greater London Urban Area and Slough Urban Area respectively
3. Implementing this Action Plan
3.1 The responsibility for the management of noise from road and railway sources lies with various authorities including the Department for Transport and the relevant transport authorities. The implementation of this Action Plan forms part of their existing responsibilities in this area.
4. Monitoring and review
4.1 Defra will monitor the progress of this Action Plan through liaison with the
relevant authorities and will provide periodic updates on progress. As required by the Regulations, this Action Plan will be reviewed at least once every five years.
The Action Plans cover:
Part B: Noise from road traffic …………………….. 13
Part C: Noise from railways ………………………… 16
Part D: Noise from industry …………………………. 19
Part E: Noise from aircraft ……………………………. 21
Part F: Quiet areas ……………………………………….. 24
The section on Noise from Aircraft states:
Part E: Noise from aircraft
The management of the impact of aircraft noise in agglomerations
This section applies to agglomerations affected by noise from the operations
at airports covered by the Regulations.
As outlined in the regulations, the relevant Airport Operators are the Competent Authorities for development of the Action Plan for their airport.
The Regulations required that noise level information from aircraft (air noise) [Footnote: The Regulations require that only air noise be mapped; that is the noise from the moment that the aircraft is about to move down the runway at take-off (known as start of roll) to the moment after landing and just before it turns off the runway to taxi to the stand.] be determined in terms of several noise indicators. These include:
15.4 The estimated total number of people and dwellings exposed above various
noise levels from the strategic mapping of noise from aircraft using these
airports will be available on the Defra website.
The relevant airports are either revising their existing Noise Action Plans or preparing an Action Plan if none already exists. The Airport Action Plans will be published on the websites of the relevant Airports.
For the purposes of this Noise Action Plan, only the noise impact from those airports for which noise mapping was required to be carried out according to the Regulations has been considered. Some agglomerations are not affected by noise from any of those airports. A list of agglomerations affected by aircraft noise covered by the Regulations is shown in Appendix C, along with links to the relevant airport Action Plans.
16. Noise from aircraft in agglomerations: identification of problems and situations that need to be investigated
Defra prepared guidance for airport operators regarding the preparation of their Action Plans. It included the following:
As a first priority, consider what further measures should be taken in areas shown by the noise maps to have residential premises exposed to more than 69 dB LAeq,16h according to the results of the strategic noise mapping;
Consider what further measures should be taken to assist the management of aircraft noise affecting noise sensitive buildings, such as schools and hospitals, in the light of the policy in the Aviation Policy Framework; and
More generally, examine the day, evening and night results produced from the noise mapping and consider whether there are any features of the noise impact from departing or arriving aircraft that might be managed further.
Noise from aircraft in agglomerations: actions that Defra intends to take
Defra will review the draft Noise Action Plans prepared or revised by the various airport operators to be satisfied that the requirements of the regulations have been met and the action planning guidance followed. The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is responsible for formally adopting the airport Noise Action Plans.
An airport operator will need to consider whether any element of their proposed airport Action Plan might conflict with any formally identified quiet areas. In order to avoid any such conflict arising, Defra will liaise with airport operators whose operations affect an agglomeration and inform them of any quiet areas.
Noise from aircraft in agglomerations: long term strategy
Defra will continue to encourage any development of future policy on aviation and sustainable transport to reflect any emerging scientific knowledge or trends in community response to noise from aircraft.
Defra will continue to liaise with the Department for Transport regarding the establishment of reliable data on the community response to noise from aircraft.
Defra will continue to develop, agree and disseminate good practice approaches and methodologies through the Interdepartmental Group on Costs and Benefits noise subject group (IGCB(N)) to support the policy appraisal of noise. Further information is available from www.defra.gov.uk/evidence/economics/igcb.
DEFRA: No plans for stakeholder events on Airport Noise Action Plans
DEFRA has confirmed, in a response to a letter from an AirportWatch member, that
there are no current plans to hold a stakeholder event to consider airport NAPs. The letter, from the Environmental Noise Policy Team states:“Major airports i.e. those with 50,000 annual movements and above have been required under the EU Environmental Noise Directive to map the noise impact of their airport and produce strategic action plans. These plans – which have to be produced in consultation with the local community – are required to set out proposed action by airports to mitigate aircraft noise.17 airports in England have been required to submit draft plans to Government for consideration for formal adoption. The majority of the airports have now submitted plans which are being subjected to a rigorous scrutiny process.Once formally adopted by Government, airports are then required to publish the final plans on their website. There are no current plans to hold a stakeholder event to consider airport NAPs. However the Department for Transport proposes to publish a summary of emerging trends and issues arising from the plans later this year.”http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=4269
Gatwick Campaigners slam airport’s revised noise action plan
Date Added: 24th May 2010
Campaigners from GACC have attacked the revised Gatwick Airport Noise Action Plan as “flawed” and the result of a consultation which was “largely a sham.” GACC says the current situation on the draft NAP is “extremely unsatisfactory.” From a FoI request they have discovered that the revised draft after consultation only included a few changes even though the public – and GACC – had submitted many comments and constructive proposals. Click here to view full story…
Noise Action Plans and Noise Policy Statement for England
Date Added: 16th March 2010
The Noise Action Plans published today are for road and rail, not for airports
which were done during 2009. Also published today is the Noise Policy Statement
for England (NPSE) which sets out noise management policy for the first time in
the form of the Government’s long term vision to manage noise and improve health
and quality of life through the management of noise within the context of Government
policy on sustainable development. (Defra)
Click here to view full story…
Plans to tackle airport noise a sham, say campaigners
Date Added: 11th February 2010
Research by AEF for AirportWatch has found that airport ‘noise action plans’
will fail to tackle impacts on local communities. European laws now require airports
to draw up action plans to tackle their noise pollution. But these plans are written
by the airports themselves, and just re-state what they already have to do to
comply with, local planning requirements. Not one plan meets all the requirements
of the EC law, and airports have failed even to comply with the weak demands of
the EU’s legislation.
Click here to view full story…
Airport Noise Action Plans Not Fit For Purpose
Date Added: 6th October 2009
Environmental Protection UK has considerd a number of the airport draft noise
action plants, and feels overall that they are not fit for purpose. They are in
essence a summary of what the airports are already required to do and, with airport
operators as the competent authority, the plans contain very little in terms of
additional controls that would avoid, prevent and reduce environmental noise from
these airports. Click here to view full story…
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As with anticipated growth in numbers of air passengers, the government also tries to predict future numbers of cars. As with air passengers, forecasts of road vehicle numbers made 10 – 15 years ago have proved to be wildly too high, with much less growth than had been expected. The government is now predicting that road traffic will grow by 40% by 2040 as the UK’s population and economy expand over the next few decades. It is banning planners from taking climate change into account when deciding whether new roads should be built. The stance has been criticised by the Campaign for Better Transport. The government argues the traffic increase won’t affect plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the sector, but it hasn’t justified how. In June 2013 the government announced the “biggest-ever upgrade of our existing roads, worth up to £50 billion over the next generation.” Road and rail travel currently account for about 20% of the UK’s carbon emissions. Government advisor the CCC suggests CO2 emissions from cars, vans and trains need to reduce by 40% between 2010 and 2030, if the government is going to hit its targets under the Climate Change Act. Meanwhile aviation has – at best – a vague target to return its emissions to their 2005 level by 2050.
Government plans to increase road traffic by 40% could hit climate targets
- 5th Feb 2014, (The Carbon Brief)
- by Robin Webster
The government predicts road traffic will increase by two fifths by 2040 – and it’s banning planners from taking climate change into account when deciding whether new roads should be built. The government argues this won’t affect plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the sector, but it hasn’t justified its position.
Last June, chancellor George Osborne announced the “ largest programme of investment in our roads for half a century”. The government is going to plough £50 billion into the country’s roads, remedying decades of underinvestment, it says.
The government wants to increase road capacity as the UK’s population and economy expands over the next few decades. Campaign group, the Campaign for Better Transport, disagrees. It says the government is “ outrageously” ignoring its climate commitments, in order to press ahead with road expansion.
The government’s plans for road expansion
The following graph, taken from a government document, illustrates planned traffic growth over the next few decades. The coloured lines illustrate differing levels of growth, dependent on what happens to the country’s economy and population:
Source: Road transport forecasts 2013. Department for transport. In its central case (the red line), traffic increases by 42 per cent between 2010 and 2040.
There’s an obvious tension here between the government’s commitment to increasing road travel, and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Road and rail travel currently account for about a fifth of the UK’s carbon emissions. Government advisor the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) suggests surface transport emissions – emissions from cars, vans and trains – need to reduce by 40 per cent between 2010 and 2030, if the government is going to hit its targets under the climate change act.
The government predicts transport emissions will fall until 2030, and then rise again as demand increases. The committee tells us its modeling only goes up to 2030, so it can’t say whether a 40 per cent increase in traffic by 2040 is compatible with the government’s climate targets, or not.
The government also says road developments will have a “ very small” impact on the country’s emissions. But it doesn’t explain how it works this out.
Achieving emissions cuts
Local planners could take the emissions-impacts of new roads into account when making decisions as to whether individual roads should go ahead or not. The CCC appears tosupport this approach. It says:
“it is important that transport emissions are factored into planning decisions alongside other costs and benefits.”
In its draft plans, the Department for Transport (DfT) explicitly forbids this approach, however. It says “while individual [road] schemes may result in an increase in carbon emissions”, planners should not take climate emissions into account when making decisions.
The DfT takes this position because it believes its carbon plan will ensure emissions go down. In other words, it argues its policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions elsewhere will offset the increase in carbon from new roads.
Saved by efficient cars?
The transport section of the carbon plan explains how the government intends to cut emissions from the transport sector. Over the next decade, it says it will focus on the “easy wins” in surface transport – incentivising more efficient car engines and the use of sustainable biofuels as fuel.
In the 2020s, the document says “we will move towards the mass market roll-out of ULEVs [ultra low emission vehicles]” – vehicles powered by batteries, hydrogen fuel cells or sustainable biofuels.
There aren’t any numbers in the document showing how a 40 per cent increase in traffic will be squared with emissions reductions, but the government appears to be arguing ULEVs will play a major part in fixing the problem. According to this argument, it can dramatically increase the number of vehicles on the road without increasing carbon emissions.
This creates two possible problems, however.
First, takeup of ULEVs [ultra low emission vehicles] may not proceed as rapidly as the government claims. Professor Jillian Anable, an expert on transport and climate change from the university of Aberdeen, tells Carbon Brief the government’s predictions for the rate at which ULEVs will expand is “really quite optimistic”. Decarbonisation of the car fleet by the middle of the century is “far, far from certain”, she adds.
Second, the government may need to tackle transport demand in addition to encouraging takeup of fuel-efficient cars, if it’s going to hit its climate change targets. The carbon plan mentions a few projects intended to encourage people to travel less by car, but clearly doesn’t see this as a priority.
The CCC, which uses government modelling as the basis for its calculations, agrees car travel will go up by 2030, by about a fifth. But it also says voluntary reductions in car use – achieved through fewer trips, more travel by public transport, and more walking and cycling – could reduce car and van travel by 5% by 2030, relative to what it would have been.
Locked into a car-dependent future
The government seems quite focused on expanding the country’s road network, however. In the DfT paper ‘ Action for Roads‘, it argues the road network is “vital to our nation” and must be made “fit for the future”.
It says the government’s carbon plan will explain how the government can both dramatically increase the amount of traffic on the road and reduce emissions. It mainly appears to be relying on fuel efficient cars to achieve this.
But experts have doubts about whether this technological fix is the right approach. Professor Anable tells us:
“History tells us that road expansion generates more traffic, and more road use. If we build roads, but don’t manage to decarbonise car use, we could be in a worse place than before.”
Professor Anable argues that the government has a choice. It’s choosing to create a future in which we’re more and more dependent on cars. But the longer that goes on, the harder it is to reverse – and the more difficult, and expensive, it is to reduce transport emissions.
Update 5th February: A separate point has been made by some twitter correspondents, who argue the Department for Transport has a history of over-projecting future growth in traffic.
In its draft planning document, the DfT says its modelling has “performed well in the past at forecasting traffic levels”. But according to a recent article in ENDS magazine, previous government projections of “massive growth” in traffic failed to materialise.
This argument is illustrated in the following graph, created by the Campaign for Better Transport. The coloured lines show the government’s predictions for how much car traffic was going to increase – and when those predictions were made. The black line shows what actually happened:
By contrast with air passenger forecasts:
New Air traffic forecasts: Government expects growth in air travel to slow down considerably
30.1.2013The Department for Transport expects the rate of growth in air travel to slow down considerably over the coming decades. Their passenger forecasts published late yesterday expect demand for air travel to increase by just 1%-3% a year up to 2050 compared to historical growth rates of 5% a year over the last 40 years. The DfT lists 4 reasons for the slow down in growth for air travel: – higher oil prices; – an end to the decline in average fares seen in the last two decades; – the maturity of the air travel market to and from the UK; – and the availability of alternative modes of travel. The Department estimates that the major South East airports will be full by 2030 but recognizes there is some uncertainty about this: “ there is a range around this projection and they could be full as soon as 2025 or as late as 2040”. The central forecast, taking into account the impact of capacity constraints, is for passenger numbers at UK airports to increase from 219 million passengers in 2011 to 315 million in 2030 and 445 million by 2050. Compared to the DfT forecasts in August 2011, these forecasts are 6% lower for 2030 and 5% lower for 2050. Any proposals for airport expansion must be seen in this light. http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=648The Department for Transport expects the rate of growth in air travel to slow down considerably over the coming decades.
Their passenger forecasts published late yesterday expect demand for air travel to increase by just 1%-3% a year up to 2050 compared to historical growth rates of 5% a year over the last 40 years.
The Department gives four reasons for the slow down:
- higher oil prices;
- an end to the decline in average fares seen in the last two decades;
- the maturity of the air travel market to and from the UK;
- and the availability of alternative modes of travel.
The Department estimates that the major South East airports will be full by 2030 but recognizes there is some uncertainty about this: “ there is a range around this projection and they could be full as soon as 2025 or as late as 2040”.
John Stewart, chair of HACAN, which represents residents under the Heathrow flight paths, said, “The exact figures about future demand may be uncertain but the trend is unmistakable: the growth in air travel in the developed world is slowing down. Any proposals for airport expansion must be seen in this light.”
Link to the full consultation, including the Executive Summary https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/69925/uk-aviation-forecasts.pdf
Graph below of UK air passengers (millions) from AEF:
Full document at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/69925/uk-aviation-forecasts.pdf
by contrast, the forecasts from August 2011 are at http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/uk-aviation-forecasts-2011/uk-aviation-forecasts.pdf
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IATA has produced its data for airlines globally for 2013, its air passenger market analysis. This shows there was a 5.2% increase in passenger demand in 2013 compared to 2012. ie in Revenue Passenger Kilometers. Its growth was 5.3% in 2012 and 5.9% in 2011. While RPK growth was 3.8% in Europe, it was 7.1% in Asia-Pacific; 11.4% in Middle East and 2.3 % North America. IATA’s figures show globally only 80% of plane seats are filled – so 20% were empty. Total passenger traffic market shares by region of carriers in terms of RPK are: Asia-Pacific 31.9%, North America 26.4%, Europe 23.9%, Middle East 9.3%, Latin America 6.0%, and Africa 2.6%. IATA says of Europe: “European carriers saw traffic rise 3.8% in 2013 compared to 2012, a slowdown compared to annual growth of 5.3% in 2012. Capacity rose 2.8% and load factor was 81%, second highest among the regions. Modest economic improvements in the Eurozone since the second quarter and rising consumer and business confidence are providing a stronger demand base for international travel.”
IATA figures for 2012 . link
Growth in RPK – Revenue passenger kilometres by airlines
|Growth compared to a year earlier
||RPK growth in 2013
||RPK growth in 2012
||RPK growth in 2011
||Growth in 2010
From IATA press releases http://www.iata.org/pressroom/Pages/index.aspx
Passenger Demand Maintains Historic Growth Rates in 2013
6.2.2014 (IATA press release)
View Full 2013 Air Passenger Results (pdf)
Geneva – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced full-year traffic results for 2013 showing a 5.2% increase in passenger demand compared to 2012. The 2013 performance aligns with the average annual growth rate of the past 30 years. Capacity rose 4.8% and load factor averaged 79.5% up 0.4 percentage points over 2012.
Demand in international markets (5.4%) expanded at a slightly faster rate than domestic travel (4.9%).Strongest overall growth (domestic and international combined) was recorded by carriers in the Middle East (11.4%) followed by Asia-Pacific (7.1%), Latin America (6.3%) and Africa (5.2%). The slowest growth was in the developed markets of North America (2.3%) and Europe (3.8%).
“We saw healthy demand growth in 2013 despite the very difficult economic environment. There was a clear improvement trend over the course of the year which bodes well for 2014. Last year’s demand performance demonstrates the essential and growing role that aviation-enabled connectivity plays in our world. And with system-wide load factors at 79.5% it is also clear that airlines are continuing to drive efficiencies to an ever-higher level,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
|Dec 2013 vs. Dec 2012
|2013 vs. 2012
International Passenger Demand
International passenger demand grew by 5.4% in 2013 compared to 2012 with all regions reporting growth. Capacity rose 4.9%, boosting load factor to 79.3%, up 0.4 percentage points over 2012.
Asia-Pacific airlines’ traffic rose 5.3% in 2013, the highest increase among the three major regions and slightly above 2012 annual growth of 5.2%. After a slow start, carriers in the region saw a pick-up in demand in the third quarter, supported by stronger performance of major economies such as China and Japan. Capacity expansion of 5.2% meant load factor was virtually flat at 77.7%.
European carriers saw traffic rise 3.8% in 2013 compared to 2012, a slowdown compared to annual growth of 5.3% in 2012. Capacity rose 2.8% and load factor was 81%, second highest among the regions and a 0.5 percentage point rise over 2012. Modest economic improvements in the Eurozone since the second quarter and rising consumer and business confidence are providing a stronger demand base for international travel; and after weakness in previous months, job losses in the Eurozone stabilized in December.
North American carriers reported the slowest passenger growth of any region at 3.0% compared to 2012 but an improvement over 2012 growth of 1.3%. With capacity up just 2.2%, load factor rose 0.8 percentage points to 82.8%, the highest for any region. The economy is showing some positive signs: employment growth has picked up, as has consumer spending.
Middle East airlines recorded the strongest increase in passenger traffic in 2013, a rise of 12.1% compared to 2012, but below the 15.4% growth recorded in 2012 compared to 2011. Carriers in the region have benefitted from the continued strength of regional economies, particularly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and solid growth in business-related premium travel, particularly to developing markets such as Africa. However, capacity grew faster at 12.8% and load factor declined slightly by 0.1 percentage points to 77.3% from 77.4% in 2012.
Latin American carriers posted an 8.1% rise in demand in 2013 over 2012, down slightly compared to the 8.4% rise in 2012. This was the second-strongest performance (after the Middle East) and was supported by the healthy expansion of economies like Colombia, Peru and Chile. Capacity expanded 7.4% year over year, causing load factor to climb to 79.2%, up 1.3 percentage points compared to 2012.
African airlines’ demand rose 5.5%, slightly above the global average but below 2012 growth of 7.5%.
Capacity expansion of 5.2% meant load factor rose 1.9 percentage points to 69%, the lowest among the regions. Overall, the demand environment is strong, with robust economic growth of local economies and continued development of internationally trading industries. But some parts of the continent have shown weakness including South Africa, which recently experienced a slowdown in its economy, with a corresponding impact on the demand base for international air travel.
Domestic Passenger Demand
Domestic air travel demand grew by 4.9% in 2013 compared to 2012, up from 4.0% in 2012 versus 2011. Capacity rose 4.6% and load factor climbed 0.4 percentage points to 79.9%. All markets recorded positive gains, with the strongest growth occurring in China and Russia.
US traffic expanded by 1.9% in 2013 (up from 0.8% in 2012), while capacity grew at the same rate, with the result that load factor was flat at 83.8%, the highest for any market. The improvement in demand compared to 2012 reflects sustained increases in consumer confidence throughout the year as well as rising employment activity, particularly over recent months.
China traffic climbed 11.7% in 2013 compared to 2012, the strongest for any market. Capacity rose 12.2% last year, with the result that load factor declined 0.6 percentage points to 80.3%, which was still the second best among markets.
Japan’s domestic market improved significantly in 2013 as annual demand rose 5.2% (up from 3.6% in 2012) while capacity expanded by 5.1% and load factor was little changed at 64.3%, by far the lowest for any market. Significant government stimulus led to an acceleration in the economy in the first half of 2013 which supported increases in business activity and improving employment rates, boosting air travel demand.
Brazil’s airlines recorded the slowest demand growth last year, with traffic up just 0.8% compared to 2012. Efforts by the government to stimulate the economy have borne little fruit, however capacity reductions by airlines of 3.3% pushed load factor to 76.3%, well above the 71.8% recorded in 2012.
Indian domestic traffic rose 4.0% last year, compared to a 2.1% decline in 2012. The demand environment has been challenging in view of the weakening economy, high inflation and slowing manufacturing and resource industries. Capacity climbed 3.5% in 2013, and load factor was 74.6%, up 1.7 percentage points compared to 2012.
Russia had the second strongest domestic market, with demand up 9.6% in 2013 on a 9.1% rise in capacity. Russian demand is being supported by a resilient labor market and government policy focused on maintaining high employment and sustained income levels. Load factor was 74%.
Australian airlines’ domestic traffic rose 2.8% in 2013 compared to 2012, while capacity rose 3.8%, depressing load factor 1.0 percentage point to 76.5%. Interest rate cuts have failed to stimulate the economy, which remains broadly sluggish, with rising unemployment and fragile business and consumer confidence.
The Bottom Line
Commercial aviation is celebrating its first century in 2014.
“What was impossible yesterday is an accomplishment of today, while tomorrow heralds the unbelievable.” With these words, Percival Fansler, creator of the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line, inaugurated the era of commercial aviation on 1 January 1914.
“Fansler was right. The first century of commercial aviation has changed the world. It has made it a better place through connectivity. Forward-looking governments recognize the power of aviation to drive economic growth and spread prosperity. These governments are laying the foundations for our next century and in doing so will reap enormous benefits. But not all governments are on the same page. This anniversary year is an opportunity to remind short-sighted governments that they risk being left behind if they cripple aviation with taxes, over-burden it with onerous regulation, or fail to provide the infrastructure that it needs to grow,” said Tyler.
View Full 2013 Air Passenger Results (pdf)
Notes for Editors:
IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 240 airlines comprising 84% of global air traffic.
You can follow us at http://twitter.com/iata2press for news specially catered for the media.
Domestic RPKs account for about 37% of the total market. It is most important for North American airlines as it is about 67% of their operations. In Latin America, domestic travel accounts for 47% of operations, primarily owing to the large Brazilian market. For Asia-Pacific carriers, the large markets in India, China and Japan mean that domestic travel accounts for 42% of the region’s operations. It is less important for Europe and most of Africa where domestic travel represents just 11% and 12% of operations respectively. And it is negligible for Middle Eastern carriers for whom domestic travel represents just 6% of operations.
Explanation of measurement terms:
RPK: Revenue Passenger Kilometers measures actual passenger traffic
ASK: Available Seat Kilometers measures available passenger capacity
PLF: Passenger Load Factor is % of ASKs used.
IATA statistics cover international and domestic scheduled air traffic for IATA member and non-member airlines.
All figures are provisional and represent total reporting at time of publication plus estimates for missing data. Historic figures may be revised.
Total passenger traffic market shares by region of carriers in terms of RPK are: Asia-Pacific 31.9%, North America 26.4%, Europe 23.9%, Middle East 9.3%, Latin America 6.0%, and Africa 2.6%.
By comparison, for 2008:
By comparison the Iata press release for 2012 figures is at http://www.iata.org/pressroom/pr/Pages/2013-01-31-01.aspx
Passenger Demand Grew as Air Cargo Declined in 2012
Geneva – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced full-year traffic data for 2012 showing a 5.3% year-on-year increase in passenger demand and a 1.5% fall for cargo.
The 5.3% increase in passenger demand was slightly down on 2011 growth of 5.9% but above the 5% twenty-year average. Load factors for the year were near record levels at 79.1%. Demand in international markets expanded at a faster rate (6.0%) than domestic travel (4.0%). In both cases emerging markets were the main drivers of growth.
The 1.5% fall in demand for air cargo compared to 2011 marked the second consecutive year of decline, following a 0.6% contraction in 2011. The freight load factor for the year was 45.2%.
“Passenger demand grew strongly in 2012 despite the economic bad news that dominated much of the last twelve months. This demonstrates just how integral global air travel is for today’s connected world. At the same time, near-record load factors illustrate the extreme care with which airlines manage capacity. Growth and high aircraft utilization combined to help airlines deliver an estimated $6.7 billion profit in 2012 despite high fuel prices. But with a net profit margin of just 1.0% the industry is only just keeping its head above water,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
“In contrast to the growth in passenger markets the air cargo market contracted by 1.5%. The industry suffered a one-two punch. World trade declined sharply. And the goods that were traded shifted towards bulk commodities more suited for sea shipping. The outstanding bright spot was the development of trade between Asia and Africa which supported strong growth for airlines based in the Middle East (14.7%) and Africa (7.1%),” said Tyler.
|Dec 2012 vs. Dec 2011
|2012 vs. 2011
International Passenger Demand
International passenger demand grew by 6.0% in 2012. The strongest growth came from emerging markets, particularly the Middle East (15.4%), Latin America (8.4%) and Africa (7.5%). Capacity grew more slowly than demand (4.0%) supporting a near record level international load factor of 78.9%.
Asia-Pacific carriers saw passenger growth of 5.2% in 2012 which was stronger than the 4.0% growth in 2011, though the 2011 figures were affected by the Japanese tsunami. The 2012 performance was in line with the global average and contributed about a fifth of the total industry growth. After a slow start, the fourth quarter was boosted by a revival in the Chinese economy and strengthening momentum in Asian exports and imports. Capacity expansion of just 3.0% for the year kept the load factor at a healthy average of 77.5%.
European airlines’ passenger traffic expanded 5.3% in 2012, sharply down on the 9.5% growth of 2011. Growth was generated by the long-haul performance of Eurozone airlines (within-EU travel stagnated due to slow economic growth). Additionally, around a quarter of the growth in European airline international traffic came from airlines outside of the Eurozone (Turkey being a major contributor). Capacity increased by 3.1%, pushing the full-year average load factor to 80.5%. Combined with other benefits of industry consolidation, the European industry broke even on the year—a much stronger financial performance than would be expected under such harsh economic conditions.
North American carriers reported the slowest international passenger growth of any region at 1.3% (down from 4.1% in 2011). Restructuring, consolidation, and tight capacity management (down 0.3% for the year) delivered the highest load factor (82.0%), contributing to an estimated $2.4 billion profit.
Middle East airlines contributed almost a third of the total expansion in international passenger markets with 15.4% growth (ahead of the 8.9% growth recorded in 2011 that was impacted by the Arab Spring). This was achieved with a capacity expansion of 12.5% while improving the load factor to 77.4%. The region’s carriers increased the connectivity of their expanding hubs with significant increases in both network (destinations) and frequency. Despite the expansion, the improved load factor indicates that the growth is sustainable and that airlines in the region have been successful in attracting new passengers.
Latin American carriers recorded 8.4% demand growth in 2012. This was the second-strongest performance (after the Middle East) and was supported by rising incomes and falling unemployment in the region (particularly Brazil). Capacity expanded more slowly than demand (7.5%) and the load factor stood at 77.9% for the year.
African airlines had a solid year of growth, up 7.5%, as the continent’s economic expansion drove traffic demand. Capacity expansion of 7.1% was just below traffic growth. This improved the load factor to 67.1%, but it was still the weakest of all regions.
Domestic Passenger Demand
Domestic air travel grew by 4.0% in 2012. China (9.5%) and Brazil (8.6%) were the strongest performers. India was the weakest with a 2.1% contraction on 2011 levels. Total capacity growth (3.8%) was in line with demand (4.0%) and the domestic load factor stood at 79.5%.
US traffic expanded by 0.8% in 2012 (down from 1.5% in 2011), and capacity grew by just half of that at 0.4%. This supported an 83.4% load factor—the strongest among the major markets. The slowdown reflects the maturity and subdued economic growth of the US market which accounts for about half of all domestic travel.
China and Brazil showed the strongest demand growth in 2012, of 9.5% and 8.6% respectively. They both increased capacity, but Chinese capacity growth of 11.3% outstripped demand, whereas Brazil’s 4.8% was around half the traffic increase. Nevertheless, at 80.9%, Chinese load factor remained strong, and considerably higher than Brazil’s 71.8%.
Japan’s domestic market saw demand grow by 3.6% in 2012 while capacity expanded by 2.3%. Japanese domestic demand continues to suffer from a weak economy that stalled the recovery from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Japan’s domestic market remains 7% smaller than pre-tsunami levels with the weakest load factor (62.0%) among the major domestic markets.
Indian domestic travel shrank by 2.1% on 2011 levels. Weak economic growth was exacerbated by increasing operational costs, insufficient infrastructure, high taxes and onerous regulation. Capacity growth fell to 0.3% (from 16.2% in 2011) and the average load factor for the year was 72.9%.
Air Cargo (Domestic and International)
Air freight markets declined for a second straight year, falling a further 1.5% in 2012 after a 0.6% decline in 2011. Air cargo has come under pressure from a slowdown in world trade growth, and shifts in the freight commodity mix. Expanding emerging economies have driven demand for bulk items carried by sea, while economic weakness in the West dampened demand for high-value consumer goods transported by air. Freight capacity grew just 0.2% over the year, and the freight load factor was 45.2%.
Asia-Pacific airlines (the largest players in the air cargo market) reported a 5.5% decline in demand and cut capacity by 2.4%. As the world’s major manufacturing center, the region suffered from the slowdown in demand from Western markets. The freight load factor, although remaining the highest of all regions at 56.1%, fell more sharply than anywhere else, hurting cargo profitability.
European and North American carriers also saw falls in freight demand, of 2.9% and 0.5% respectively. European carriers increased its capacity by 0.3% which led to the load factor falling to 47.2%. North American carriers managed to reduce capacity by 2.0%, ahead of the fall in demand, but it still left the region’s freight load factor at 35.0%, the second weakest of any region.
Latin American airlines saw freight demand decline by 1.2%, but capacity grew 4.9% over the year, leaving the load factor to fall to 38.3%.
African and Middle Eastern carriers were beneficiaries of new trade lanes and developing trade links between the two regions. Freight demand grew 7.1% and 14.7% respectively, both improvements on 2011 when the Middle East expanded 8.2% and Africa declined by 2.1%. The Middle East had the fastest capacity expansion of any freight region (11.4%) but the load factor still improved to 44.8%. Africa’s freight capacity grew 9.2%, outstripping demand. The freight load factor fell to just 24.7%, the lowest of any region by a significant margin.
The Bottom Line
“We are entering 2013 with some guarded optimism. Business confidence is up. The Eurozone situation is more stable than it was a year-ago and the US avoided the fiscal cliff. Significant headwinds remain. There is no end in sight for high fuel prices and GDP growth is projected at just 2.3%. But improved business confidence should help cargo markets to recover the lost ground from 2012. And the momentum built-up at the year-end should see the passenger business expand close to the 5% historical growth trend. 2013 will not be a banner year for profitability, but we should see some improvement on 2012,” said Tyler.
In its December outlook for 2013, IATA projected that 2013 would see 4.5% growth in passenger markets and 1.4% growth for cargo demand. That will contribute to an improvement in profitability from $6.7 billion (1.0% net profit margin) in 2012 to $8.4 billion (1.3% net profit margin) in 2013.
View full 2012 traffic results (pdf)
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Gatwick airport recently struck a deal with European low fares Norwegian Airlines, which hopes to start low-cost transatlantic flights to 3 US airports using 787 Dreamliners. It has given Gatwick airport a boost, with its excitement about its planned 3 flights per week to New York after July 2014, and 2 flights per week each to Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale. These may cost as little as £150 one way. However, there is now a lot of opposition by unions in both the USA and in Europe about the way Norwegian employs Thai air crew, for salaries that are very much lower than those paid to US or European employees, so it can undercut its rivals. Employment costs in Norway are high. Airline unions and pilot groups have asked European and US authorities to deny Norwegian Air Shuttle’s request for a new long-haul license, accusing the budget carrier of trying to avoid taxes and skirt employment laws. It now plans to register the operation in Ireland and keep using Thai crew along with some American staff. There are fears that air crew will lose their fundamental rights, including the freedom to assemble, and the freedom to collectively bargain. Attempts to fly cheap long-haul routes date back to the 1970s, when Laker Airways flew from London to New York. It went bankrupt in 1982.
Unions Lobby To Halt Norwegian Long-haul License
February 5, 2014 (Airwise news)
Airline unions and pilot groups asked European and US authorities on Wednesday to deny Norwegian Air Shuttle’s request for a new long-haul license, accusing the budget carrier of trying to avoid taxes and skirt employment laws.
Norwegian this year became the only European budget airline to launch long-haul operations, flying to North America and Asia from the Nordics with Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
It now plans to register the operation in Ireland and keep using Thai crew along with some American staff.
Labour groups including the transportation sector of AFL-CIO and the Air Line Pilots Association International argued that the plans are intended to take advantage of regulatory loopholes and leave safety oversight in doubt.
“This setup will deny the workers their fundamental rights, the freedom to assemble, the freedom to collectively bargain,” Lee Moak, the president of the Air Line Pilots Association International told a news conference in Oslo after meeting Norwegian officials.
He added that the plan would give the carrier an unfair economic advantage over other European and US airlines.
Describing the claims as false, Norwegian’s spokeswoman Anne-Sissel Skaanvik said: “We follow all the laws and regulations in all the markets we operate in and we offer competitive wages to all of our employees.”
Attempts to fly cheap long-haul routes date back to the 1970s, when Laker Airways flew from London to New York. It went bankrupt in 1982 when rivals cut fares and squeezed it out of the market.
Norwegian started flying on relatively uncompetitive routes such as between Oslo and Fort Lauderdale, but now plans to launch a London-New York service.
It said it can afford to undercut its rivals, sometimes by 20 to 40 percent, due to the 787′s 20 percent lower operating costs.
The Irish Aviation Authority rejected any suggestion it was not capable of oversight. “The IAA already provides safety regulation of Ryanair to the highest international standards,” it said.
New 7 year deal between Gatwick and Norwegian, that includes airline’s backing for 2nd runway
Gatwick airport has struck a deal with European low fares airline Norwegian, which includes getting their active support for the airport’s plans to get a 2nd runway. This comes weeks after the CAA agreed that Gatwick can make bespoke commercial arrangements with its airlines. Norwegian is to start low-cost transatlantic services to 3 US airports, using Boeing 787 Dreamliners next summer in addition to an increased European network. It is expected that there will be 3 flights per week to New York after July 2014, and 2 flights per week each to Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale. These may cost as little as £150 one way. The number of destinations served by Norwegian from Gatwick will rise to 33 in 2014 with 6 aircraft based there. This will make Norwegian one of the top 4 airlines at Gatwick during 2014. Low fares to the USA is expected to draw in more passengers. The airline’s CEO said: “Norwegian is very supportive of Gatwick’s runway expansion plan which would mean that the airport could offer even better operating facilities in the future.”
This is the link to the presentation given by Norwegian Airlines CEO, at the January “RunwaysUK” conference:
Watch Bjorn Kjos, Chief Executive, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Presentation and Q&A
Unions urge boycott of Norwegian Air
October 30, 2013 (News in English from Norway)
Its pilots have been threatening to go on strike, its new long-haul routes are deeply troubled and now Norway’s once high-flying Norwegian Air faces a passenger boycott. The boycott is being urged by one of Norway’s top labour leaders, who claims the airline is trying to undermine the Norwegian welfare state.
Norwegian’s pilots have won a pensions dispute with their employer. PHOTO: Norwegian Air/Hans Olav Nyborg
Norwegian Air has gone from being a successful low-fare carrier within Europe to being plagued by labour and service problems mostly tied to its new long-haul service to Asia and North America. PHOTO: Norwegian Air/Hans Olav Nyborg
The boycott call comes after state broadcaster NRK reported on its nightly national newscastDagsrevy on Tuesday that Norwegian’s new Thai flight attendants have base pay of less than NOK 3,000 (USD 500) a month. That’s a fraction of what the airline’s Norwegian flight attendants earn.
“I don’t see any reason at all to fly on Norwegian when it behaves in this manner,” Stein Gulbrandsen, head of Norway’s largest labour organizationFagforbundet, with more than 300,000 members, said on NRK’s national radio stations Wednesday morning. He equates the extremely low pay to social dumping.
Two Thai cabin crew members posing with Norwegian chief executive Bjørn Kjos on the airline’s first flight to New York. NRK has revealed that the Thailand-based crews are paid a fraction of what Norwegian cabin crews receive. PHOTO: Norwegian Air
Two Thai cabin crew members posed with Norwegian chief executive Bjørn Kjos after the airline’s first flight to New York. NRK has revealed that the Thailand-based crews are paid a fraction of what Norwegian cabin crews receive. PHOTO: Norwegian Air
The Thai flight attendants based in Bangkok who work on board Norwegian’s new long-haul flights between Bangkok, Oslo and New York receive some additional payments, for example when they work on a 12-hour shift between Oslo and Bangkok, but that payment (called atillegg) amounts to NOK 200 (USD $34).
“We have to look at that as a gross provocation,” Gulbrandsen said.
He sits on the trade union organization’s powerful arbeidsutvalg (working committee) and doesn’t only want Fagforbundet’s roughly 340,000 members to stop flying on Norwegian. He’s urging all Norwegian passengers to boycott the airline.
“Respectable organizations and respectable people don’t patronize operations that are trying to undermine the Norwegian welfare state,” said Gulbrandsen.
‘Well above’ average pay in Thailand
A smiling Thai flight attendant, dressed in her Moods of Norway-designed uniform, confirmed on air Tuesday night that she was earning base pay in Thai bhat that was the equivalent of NOK 3,000. NRK’s interview with her was monitored by Norwegian spokesman Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen and he did not refute the figures, but claimed that NOK 3,000 is “well above” the average monthly wage in Thailand.
He conceded that the flight attendants don’t work in Thailand, and have expenses when they are on layovers in Oslo and New York, for example, for which they’re paid an extra NOK 800. NRK reported that Norwegian’s foreign flight attendants often walk long distances from their hotel to a grocery store to save on eating expenses.
Sandaker-Nielsen claimed, however, that the Thai flight attendants do live in Thailand and have accepted Norwegian’s pay offer. “The amount our cabin crews sit with every single month when they get their salaries paid by us is much higher than what the average pay is in Thailand.
Unions call for political response
Gulbrandsen isn’t impressed and Norway’s trade union confederation LO has also criticized Norwegian and cancelled its travel agreements with the airline.
“The Norwegian government authorities can’t sit still and accept that the respectable labour agreements we have here in Norway are undermined in this way,” Gulbrandsen said, adding that he hopes for some political response. The airline registered its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft in Ireland, though, so that it would not be forced to hire higher-paid Norwegian crews on board its low-fare long-haul routes.
Norway’s flight attendants’ unions have also urged boycotts of cut-rate carrier Ryanair, leaving Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) as an apparently acceptable locally based airline on which union members can travel internationally in good conscience. SAS, though, has also been plagued by labour trouble over the years, with analysts and not least Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary blaming the unions for SAS’ severe financial losses.
US fleet boycotts Norwegian Air
December 27, 2013 (News in English from Norway)
Four of the largest American airlines are lobbying United States transport authorities to ban Norwegian Air flights from landing in the country. The US airlines claim Norwegian’s Irish-registered fleet and use of Asian personnel with cheaper working conditions violates an aviation agreement between the US and the European Union, giving Norwegian an unfair competitive advantage.
Norwegian Air’s first new Boeing 787 Dreamliner finally landed at Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen on June 30. The airline has now begun testing them before putting them into service on Norwegian’s new long-distance routes to Bangkok, New York and Fort Lauderdale.
Norwegian Air invested in Boeing 787 Dreamliners to operate long haul flights between Asia, Norway and the USA. The planes were plagued by technical problems, delaying the intercontinental service. Now American pilots and airlines are challenging Norwegian’s US routes, claiming the use of lower paid Asian employees violates an EU/US aviation agreement. PHOTO: Norwegian Air
American Airlines, Delta, United and US Airways have joined the fight against Norwegian Air, following complaints made by a powerful American airline pilots’ organization to the Department of Transport last week, newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported.
The American fleet is angry Norwegian is using its Thai-based crew to fly long-haul routes between Bangkok, Oslo and New York. Some personnel earn less than NOK 3,000 (USD 500) a month, a fraction of local Norwegian wages. The US pilots and airlines say it’s a blatant attempt to get around EU/US laws and agreements, using a loophole to beat the competition.
Norwegian has denied any wrongdoing, saying it has stuck to the rules and will continue to do so. “These airlines have dominated the skies over the Atlantic, and keep ticket prices high,” Anne-Sissel Skånvik, Norwegian’s communications chief told DN. “They certainly don’t want competition.”
“Establishing in the EU was done to get traffic rights that we don’t have now,” Skånvik said. “It’s difficult to think that the Americans will pursue a policy where a license given to a European Economic Agreement country isn’t a problem, such as it is today, but a license to a European company is out of the question.”
Norwegian’s main rival, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has also raised concerns over Norwegian’s moves to slash personnel costs. SAS told DN last week the US airlines’ bid to get Norwegian’s American permits revoked will raise issues of principle at an international level.
Financial analysts are also watching the case to see how Norwegian fares in the US. “Norwegian has determined that much of its long haul will be linked to the American market, so it’s important there’s not too much nonsense in the establishment of the new routes,” Preben Rasch-Olsen from research and advisory firm Carnegie told DN. “Norwegian is groundbreaking in many ways, both in how they think and act. The American companies see Norwegian as a threat.”
Norwegian accused of social dumping
BY SINE NEUCHS THOMSEN
SEPTEMBER 9, 2013 (Scand -Asia.com)
Thai cabin crew on Norwegian’s new route to Bangkok is paid around 100.000 Thai baht per month. Norwegian labor union leader calls it social dumping.
Norway’s fast expanding airline Norwegian, which just opened new routes to Bangkok and New York is accused for committing social dumping, online paper NA24 reported.
The cabin crew on the dreamliner route Oslo-Bangkok-Oslo is paid a salary of approximately 100.000 baht per month, which is about three times more than an average high salary in Thailand.
But the fact that the cabin crew is not paid a Norwegian salary and do not have the same work conditions as if labored in Norway, led the Norwegian government and the leader of the labor union Parat to accuse the airline for social dumping.
Leader of the union Hans-Erik Skjæggerud said that he is not asking for Norwegian salary and work conditions for all employees in Norwegian, but only for those who through their work are connected to Norway.
“What we mean is, that employees flying on Norwegian routes who’s production is in Norway, should have Norwegian conditions. In other words, employees who are flying Oslo-New York-Oslo and Oslo-Bangkok-Oslo are supposed to have Norwegian conditions. Those who work for Norwegian and fly Spain-England-Spain are of course supposed to have Spanish conditions. That is also what we claim in the current Ryan-air case we are running,” Skjæggerud said.
The reaction to the Thai cabin crew’s work conditions comes after online paper NA24’s article that focused on exactly that.
Skjæggerud feels that the NA24 story makes it sound like he and the Norwegian government are interested in exporting the Norwegian work conditions. But that is wrong, he explained.
“We just do not wish Kjos (Norwegian’s CEO Bjørn Kjos) or O’Leary (Ryanair CEO) to import foreign work conditions to Norwegian production,” Skjæggerud said.
Head of communications at Norwegian, Mr. Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen has commented on the claims by Parat.
“The Thai staff have a contract with a recruitment agency in Bangkok. We have no reason to doubt the information they gave Nettavisen NA24 regarding the wages. The staff know themselves how much they earn and the interviewee Jui is probably more honest that the unionbosses of Parat who are known to spread misinformation,” says Norwegian’s Communications Manager Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen to NA24.
“Parat tries to claim that when an aircraft is is inside Norway then it can be defined as “Norwegian production” which they seem to own. That is the essence of their argument. But aircraft operated by our competitors like Thai, Qatar and United flying between Norway and Asia and USA is not defined as Norwegian merely because they land in Oslo,” Sandaker-Nielsen says.
Norwegian Air Shuttle’s long-haul business model. “Flag of convenience” or fair competition?
CAPA > Aviation Analysis >
8th January, 2014
On 31-Dec-2013, Norwegian Air Shuttle implemented changes to its corporate structure, involving the establishment of two fully owned subsidiaries – one in Norway and one in Ireland. Each has its own air operator’s certificate (AOC), although the Irish company, which is the vehicle for Norwegian’s long-haul operation, does not yet have a permanent AOC.
Norwegian’s fledgling long-haul network includes services from Scandinavia to Bangkok and two US destinations: New York and Fort Lauderdale. From summer 2014, it will add Los Angeles, Oakland andOrlando to its US destinations and London Gatwick will become its first trans-Atlantic base outside Scandinavia.
Norwegian’s new structure aims to minimise the costs of its long-haul operations, in particular labour costs. With widebody aircraft registered (and an AOC application) in Ireland, crew based in Thailand and elsewhere, a Norwegian brand and destinations increasingly focused on the US, Norwegian’s long-haul business model is market leading to say the least. US airlines and unions predictably oppose its foreign air carrier permit application, deriding its “flag of convenience” (a misnomer in this case) approach to gaining an “unfair” advantage.
Two principal operating subsidiaries and ‘country-specific resource companies’
Under Norwegian new corporate structure, there are two principal operating subsidiaries. The Norwegian operating subsidiary operates from NAS’ existing Scandinavian bases and employs all pilots permanently employed in Scandinavia on the same wages and conditions as previously. Norwegian’s statement says that other staff remain employees of the parent company, Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA.
However, it has also been reported that its Swedish cabin crew are to be transferred to contractor Proffice (Afonbladet/Boarding.no/TheForeigner.no, 19-Dec-2013).
In Oct-2013, when announcing the planned changes to the corporate structure, NAS said “fully owned country-specific resource companies will be established”. Pilots hired outside Scandinavia were to be offered permanent employment in the respective resource companies, starting with those in Finland in 1Q2014, followed by those in Spain and the UK. Currently, these pilots are contract staff rather than permanent employees.
The Irish company awaits a permanent AOC and a US foreign air carrier permit
The purpose of the Irish operating subsidiary is to secure traffic rights to fly out of Europe and so is Norwegian’s long-haul vehicle. This subsidiary, named Norwegian Air International Limited (NAI), has a temporary AOC, with the authorisation of Norway’s aviation authorities, pending the approval of its application to the Irish Aviation Authority for a permanent AOC.
NAI has also applied to the US Department of Transport for a foreign air carrier permit to access traffic rights in accordance with the US-EU Open Skies agreement. While neither application has yet been approved, sources in Norwegian told CAPA that both are proceeding according to its plans. In the meantime, Norwegian is continuing to operate its international operations with existing AOCs and its existing long-haul subsidiary Norwegian Long Haul. Norway is part of the European Economic Area, but not part of the European Union. An Irish AOC for NAI will give it the same traffic rights as other EU-based carriers.
Predictable opposition from US airlines and labour unions
The US foreign air carrier permit application has met with strong opposition from some major US airlines and from US pilot representative bodies, including the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA).
Delta, United, American and US Air submitted a joint reply to NAI’s application on 20-Dec-2013, in which they referred to Article 17 bis of the US-EU agreement. According to the carriers’ joint reply, this recognises that “the opportunities created by the Agreement are not intended to undermine labour standards or the labour-related rights and principles contained in the Parties’ respective laws.”
They argue that not only do NAI’s plans violate the US-EU agreement, but they also fail to meet the DoT’s public interest standard. They say that a key objective of the standard is “strengthening the competitive position of [US] air carriers to at least ensure equality with foreign air carriers”, but that US carriers’ competitive positions would be “unfairly and unlawfully compromised by approval of the NAI scheme”.
In a press release on 17-Dec-2013, ALPA took a similar line to that of the US airlines and said “Norwegian Air International was clearly designed to attempt to dodge laws and regulations, starting a race to the bottom on labour and working conditions”.
ALPA added that the NAI scheme raised the spectre of the “flag of convenience” business practice that “undermined the U.S. maritime industry”. It also called on the Irish government not to grant NAI an AOC. For its part, on 23-Dec-2013, SWAPA criticised Norwegian for attempting to utilise a “venue shopping strategy”, whereby a carrier chooses “which” set of regulations from “what” country it chooses to follow.
Cheaper labour: a key objection for opponents and a key motivation for Norwegian
A key element of the objection expressed both by the US airlines and pilot bodies is that NAI will reportedly employ crews under lower wage employment contracts that are neither European nor US (the ALPA press release suggests that individual employment contracts are governed by Singapore law).
This is also a key element of Norwegian’s motivation for this new structure. Norway is a very high wage economy and also has substantially higher social charges than in most European countries (or the US). Norwegian law prohibits the employment of staff from outside the European Economic Area. Not only will NAI avoid Norwegian labour costs, but it will also avoid Irish labour costs under the proposed scheme as Irish regulations are more flexible.
Norwegian is already using such tactics to minimise labour costs on long-haul operations, employing crew based in Bangkok. This led to complaints by Scandinavian labour unions, almost prompting a pilots’ strike in Oct-2013. According to reports in the Scandinavian media, pilot union Parat claimed that Thai cabin crew are paid only NOK3,000 (USD540) per month, below the minimum wage in Norway and other parts of Europe. The reports also say that the airline puts the figure at NOK15,000 (USD2,700) per month after taking account of various allowances. Norwegian says that its Bangkok cabin crew wages are the same as other Asian-based crew.
Norwegian’s head of communications has defended his airline’s attempts to bring new competition to routes between Europe and the US, rejecting the complaints of US carriers. “These airlines have dominated the skies over the Atlantic, and keep ticket prices high,” said Anne-Sissel Skånvik, “they certainly don’t want competition.” (NewsinEnglish.no, 27-Dec-2013).
Norwegian is also recruiting US-based crew, who will be on US contracts.
See related report: The airline base concept: European LCCs love to base aircraft and crew abroad, unlike others
Norwegian’s wholly owned Irish aircraft finance company
In Aug-2013, Norwegian announced the establishment of a fully owned asset management company incorporated in Ireland, with USD as its functional currency. The asset management company operates as lessor of Norwegian-operated widebody aircraft, beginning with the Boeing737-800 delivered in Sep-2013. According to the CAPA Fleet Database, two of Norwegian’s three Dreamliner aircraft are owned by DP Aircraft Ireland Limited and leased to Norwegian.
At the time of the Aug-2013 announcement, Norwegian said: “Ireland is the largest aviation finance cluster in Europe which makes the country a natural location given Norwegian’s global expansion and large aircraft orders.” In addition to limiting the group’s currency exposure, the new company allows it to take advantage of favourable tax rates in Ireland.
Every possible tactic to minimise costs on long-haul, but there are challenges
Norwegian appears to be using every possible tactic to minimise costs for its long-haul operations. While having an Irish operating subsidiary may also give it increased flexibility in terms of traffic rights, its principal advantage would seem to be the flexibility it gives to employ staff in other countries, wherever they may be based.
This allows it to avoid Norway’s high labour cost environment. Its decision to establish an asset management company in Ireland allows it greater efficiency in its aircraft-related costs. Nevertheless, even according to Norwegian’s own expectations, long-haul profitability will take some time to achieve. Moreover, a leisure focused point-to-point long-haul network with remotely based employees and aircraft brings marketing and operational challenges.
See related report: Norwegian improves its 1Q2013 results, but widebody profits may be one for the long-haul
Other European LCCs have taken advantage of EU liberalisation of traffic rights and, to some extent, labour laws, to establish pan-European operations. Norwegian is the first to attempt to circumvent the web of regulations that have previously prevented any carrier from establishing truly pan-global operations. Norwegian is still very small on long-haul, but it is clear that US competitors do not feel comfortable at the threat its future growth could bring.
Norwegian needs to secure the pending approvals, but US airline whinging is misplaced
Just as the likes of easyJet and Ryanair have occasionally bumped heads with regulators in Europe, often prompted by competitors and unions, it is to be expected that Norwegian will not always enjoy a totally smooth path on its own expansion trajectory. As long as its applications for a US foreign air carrier permit and Irish AOC remain outstanding, there is a risk that they will not be approved. US carriers have become more vocally protectionist recently, notably voicing objections to the planned expansion of the Gulf carriers into US markets.
What is clear is that Norwegian needs to secure the pending approvals for operations that will allow it lower labour costs than the very high levels that apply in Norway if its long-haul ambitions are to remain economically feasible. Even then, as CAPA has commented previously, the opportunity to find meaningful sources of cost advantage on long-haul is not as great as it was when LCCs started to eat into the short-haul market.
See related report: Norwegian Air Shuttle: Asia’s longhaul LCC model comes to the N Atlantic (but watch falling profits)
On the other side of the debate, and especially in the light of this latter point, the whinging of Norwegian’s trans-Atlantic competitors seems misplaced.
They would perhaps be better served by seeking to lower their own costs and to promote their products and networks than by attempting to harness regulators to prevent competition that will surely come from somewhere, some time. As long as there are regions of the world where labour costs are lower than in other regions, it is inevitable that a global industry such as aviation will find ways to arbitrage those differences.
But a US industry that is now reaping the financial benefits of Chapter 11 restructuring and consolidation is reluctant to rock the boat with the powerful pilots’ unions – a strategy that may come back to bite them as those same unions become more anxious to share in the new-found profitability of their employers.
Read more »
The Conservatives entered the 2010 elections promising voters that if they wanted to ‘go green’ they needed to ‘vote blue’. But the Conservative party’s climate change agenda has suffered a number of setbacks since David Cameron set foot in number 10 four years ago. Now the “2020 Conservatives” group has made a bid to reboot the party’s environmental agenda – but they’re being very careful how they talk about the plans. Their new report called “Sweating our Assets” aims to get the party’s environmental agenda back on track. The group includes Laura Sandys. The Guardian described the report as the ”pro-Green Tory” manifesto, and claimed it is intended to push back against the influence of climate skeptic party members. It’s not immediately obvious the report has much to do with climate or environmental policy, however. Notably, the word “green” doesn’t appear once. Instead of promoting policies explicitly aimed at tackling climate change or preserving the UK’s green and pleasant land, the report proposes ways to make the economy less wasteful and more efficient. It aims to promote environmental policy indirectly, beneath the language of financiers and boosting economic growth.
Climate policy without the greenery: Is this the new face of Conservative environmentalism?
4 Feb 2014 (The Carbon Brief)
The Conservatives entered the 2010 elections promising voters that if they wanted to ‘go green’ they needed to ‘vote blue’. But the Conservative party’s climate change agenda has suffered a number of setbacks since David Cameron set foot in number 10 four years ago.
Now a group of Tory politicians has made a bid to reboot the party’s environmental agenda – but they’re being very careful how they talk about the plans.
Climate policy without the greenery
Yesterday, a group of self-acclaimed “progressive” Conservatives launched a report they hope will get the party’s environmental agenda back on track.
The report was authored by the “2020 Group“, which includes climate minister Greg Barker and “green champion” Laura Sandys. The Guardian described the report as the “pro-Green Tory” manifesto, and claimed it is intended to push back against the influence of climate skeptic party members.
It’s not immediately obvious the report has much to do with climate or environmental policy, however. Notably, the word “green” doesn’t appear once.
Instead of promoting policies explicitly aimed at tackling climate change or preserving the UK’s green and pleasant land, the report proposes ways to make the economy less wasteful and more efficient.
It certainly has some eye-catching policy proposals.
For example, it recommends a ban on chucking plastics, wood, textiles and food into landfill sites. It says materials should be recycled and re-used instead – a process it describes as “sweating assets”.
While such policies could have a significant environmental impact, the report takes a more detached approach to another big issue: climate change.
The report doesn’t assess how its proposals might impact carbon dioxide emissions, or call for industries to curb emissions in the name of tackling climate change. Instead, it argues that the government should help companies reduce their emissions to minimise the impact of policies that make polluters pay – such as carbon levies and taxes.
The language of “resource efficiency”, a “circular economy” and “putting a value on a unit of energy saved” is a long way from the brand of green conservativism Cameron promoted in 2010.
Back then, the party’s leader was urging his colleagues and the public to back a “new green revolution” that included policies to explicitly reduce emissions, decarbonise the economy, and tackle climate change. Now, the most ‘green’ Tories of all don’t even mention “climate change” in a report ostensibly promoting policies to drive a decarbonised economy.
So how did the Conservatives go from promoting a green revolution, to hiding environmental policy beneath the language of financiers? The answer partly lies in the Tory party’s internal politicking, according to one academic.
Professor of politics at the University of York, Nick Carter, looks at the evolution of the UK’s climate policy from 2006 to today in a new paper. He concludes that one of the main drivers behind the Conservative party’s shift away from climate action since 2010 has been a growing opposition on the right of the party.
In the paper, he argues the party’s right wing:
“… has developed a deep partisan hostility to climate policy by framing it ‘variously as a ”green tax”, as ”subsidies”, as an unwarranted intervention by the state, and sometimes as associated with Europe – all frames which connect with wider political values at the core of the Tory right identity.”
He says the prime minister appointed a number of climate policy antagonists to ministerial posts – such as the current environment secretary, Owen Paterson, and ex-energy minister,John Hayes - largely to calm the party’s right.
Carter also argues that the conservative right has recently found an ally in the chancellor, George Osborne. He claims that since 2010, Osborne has made it clear he is “unconvinced by green growth arguments” and has “made several moves that were inconsistent with a low carbon strategy”.
As a consequence of such internal pressure, the Conservative party’s leadership has moved away from climate-friendly policies. The 2020 Group’s report is intended to bring the leadership back.
So is this the new face of conservative environmentalism?
It’s tempting to draw parallels with the US, where the political right has fractured into factions of those that support climate action, and those that don’t see the need for it.
Faced with such conditions, President Obama has started using a new phrase to talk around the issue of climate change: “carbon pollution”. The term is supposed to be more politically neutral than the terms “carbon dioxide”, “greenhouse gas emissions” or “climate change”.
Obama arguably paved the way for political acceptance of his his Climate Action Plan - the most far-reaching climate policy programme the US has seen in over a decade – by changing the way he talked about climate change.
Perhaps the 2020 Group are trying to take a leaf out of Obama’s book: By not talking about climate change, maybe it will create the space for government action. That would suggest ‘pro-green’ Conservatives have decided the best strategy to nudge their party back towards climate action is by promoting environmental policy under the radar.
While the US’s experience shows that could work, it would mean the new conservative environmentalism is a far cry from 2010′s confident blue-green revolution.
This is the “2020 Conservatives” report:
Sweating our Assets
Posted by Laura Sandys on 4th February 2014
This report proposes a series of policies that can enhance our economy and increase its resilience, productivity and efficiency in the face of an ever changing and increasingly challenging global economy. The 21st century global race will not be won by those whose economic model was cast in the 19th century. Instead, it is the resource aware, efficiency focused and productivity driven economies that will set the new standard by which competitiveness will be judged. The UK has a long way to go to match our most efficient competitors – Japan; Germany; and China.
Read the full report
Note: The views expressed in this post are those of the author, not of the 2020 Conservatives group as a collective, the Conservative Party or the Government.
2020 Conservatives say of themselves:
Who We Are
We are a group of Conservatives who believe in:
- A modern, fair and inclusive politics
- An open, aspirational and liberal economics
- And a strong, just and pluralist society
We want to open political debate to new ideas which liberate individuals and extend opportunity.
We champion policies which are rooted in evidence, respectful of human nature and radical about human potential.
We welcome change which makes our country the champion of progressive thinking in the future.
Tory modernisers make hard-headed pitch for greenery
3 February 2014
by Isabel Hardman (Spectator)
The 2020 group of modernising, mostly 2010-intake, Conservatives is trying to muscle in on their party’s manifesto-writing process by producing an impressive number of reports that they hope the Tory brains trust writing the 2015 offer will hoover up. The latest, ‘Sweating our assets’: productivity and efficiency across the UK economy was led by Laura Sandys, with David Ruffley, Baroness Wheatcroft, Nicola Blackwood and Steven Barclay all contributing. It has some eye-catching proposals, such as a ban on certain products such as mobile phones going to landfill. But what is more interesting about this report is the way it is trying to frame a favourite argument of the modernisers.
When I interviewed Greg Barker in December, he suggested that the Conservatives needed to offer a ‘credible distinct centre-right pro-business entrepreneurial green offer’. Barker co-ordinates the 2020 group, and this report certainly seems to be a very serious attempt at making that offer. It isn’t the woolly, fluffy, hug-a-husky stereotypical green and environmentalist document that would instantly put off the rather less green characters in the Treasury and the Business department. Instead, Sandys’ report attempts to make a serious economic case for dealing with waste that paints the environmental benefits as a fortunate side-effect, rather than the main purpose of the policies it recommends.
For instance, it recommends measuring the value to the economy of a unit of energy saved, arguing that ‘this may show reduced GDP, but enhanced profitability to UK PLC’, and similarly a measurement of the economic value of a ‘unit of waste remade’. The MPs think waste policy should move from the Environment department to the Business department:
‘DEFRA will only ever look at waste from an environmental point of view, but, while environmental considerations are extremely important, reusing, remanufacturing, recycling and reducing landfill use will only be encouraged if waste is seen as an economic opportunity.’
The report lists the benefit of ‘remanufacturing’, where recycling and reusing become an industry in their own right. It argues that the government should ‘redefine waste as a business opportunity’ so that ‘a new stream of exciting business will emerge’.
Read more »
There remains concern about the manner in which defective lithium batteries can catch fire and explode. There have been several incidents where items such as laptops and mobile phones have overheated, in planes or in airports. In June last year, police at San Diego International Airport noticed a passenger’s bag was smoking as it journeyed around the carousel. Inside, a lithium-ion battery had touched a screwdriver and both had melted. In September 2012, a flight attendant and two passengers were burned when they handled a mobile phone and spare battery that overheated during a flight. In April 2012 a lithium battery inside someone’s personal air purifier caught fire at 28,000ft. A recent estimate said that the average small plane carrying 100 passengers could have 500 lithium batteries on board when you tot up all the watches, laptops, cameras, e-readers, tablet computers and suchlike. The CAA say the huge growth in people carrying lithium batteries on aircraft poses a growing fire risk. In general, batteries bought from respectable retailers are regulated and safe, as long as passengers pack them in their bags properly. But there is a higher risk from cheap, copycat batteries bought online. Some can develop faults. The EU is slowly increasing access to the internet during flights, increasing the number of phones, and tablets on board.
Batteries on planes pose ‘increased fire risk’
By Richard Westcott BBC transport correspondent
4 February 2014 (BBC)
David Crowder of BRE Global Limited demonstrates the dangers of faulty batteries
In June last year, police at San Diego International Airport noticed a passenger’s bag was smoking as it journeyed around the carousel.
Inside, a lithium-ion battery had touched a screwdriver and both had melted.
In September 2012, a flight attendant and two passengers were burned when they handled a mobile phone and spare battery that overheated during a flight.
In April 2012 a lithium battery inside someone’s personal air purifier caught fire at 28,000ft.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) report says “a flight attendant described a shooting fire from a passenger’s device at about the same time that the captain felt a small thud”.
The battery lay burning in the aisle until the quick-thinking flight attendant put it out with wet towels then shoved it into a cup of water to cool it down.
And all that is just on American aircraft.
A recent estimate said that the average small plane carrying 100 passengers could have 500 lithium batteries on board when you tot up all the watches, laptops, cameras, e-readers, tablet computers and suchlike.
Now the UK’s safety regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), has told the BBC that the huge growth in people carrying lithium batteries on aircraft poses a growing fire risk.
Geoff Leach, the manager of the CAA’s Dangerous Goods Office, told me that batteries bought from respectable retailers are regulated and safe, as long as you pack them in your bag properly (see box).
But he is very worried about cheap, copycat batteries bought from dubious sources online, batteries that could develop a fault with dramatic consequences.
Lithium batteries look harmless enough, but they pack a hell of a punch if they overheat.
We have been filming at a place called the “Burn Lab”, which belongs to the Building Research Establishment (BRE).
No prizes for guessing what happens in the Burn Lab, by the way.
They set up a test for us, to create deliberately a fault in a number of batteries by heating them up to 300C.
Clearly, we were forcing them to fail so you don’t need to worry that your legitimately bought battery will suddenly combust, but the results were explosive. Literally. Just look at the film.
A tiny camera battery no bigger than a box of matches made us all jump out of our skins as it went bang, then flew 5m across the lab.
We cleared out of the building for the laptop battery test. It exploded several times, leaving a sizzling mess behind.
Airport security allow just about every type of personal electronic device on board after checking but threats from their batteries remain
The CAA has been working with its US counterpart, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), to produce a series of videos showing aviation professionals and the public how to pack batteries safely and what to do if they happen to smoulder or even catch fire.
The films will eventually go online, to be watched by cabin crew, luggage handlers, members of the public and people sending things in the post (don’t forget that a lot of post goes on aircraft, even within the UK, so ask at the Post Office if you are sending a device with a lithium battery inside).
Many airlines already train their staff on how to put out lithium battery fires.
The CAA aren’t the only ones to have voiced concerns over lithium batteries. Earlier this year the highly respected Royal Aeronautical Society produced a report that talked about the risks from batteries bought from questionable sources on the “grey market”.
At the end it concludes: “The risk of future fire-related incidents or accidents has increased due to the proliferation of lithium batteries and other risks.”
I would like to stress that lithium battery fires on aircraft are a very rare event, when you think how many billions of them are flown around every year. But one fire is one too many. Talk to pilots and many will say that fire and smoke are their biggest fears.
No-one is suggesting that the authorities ban lithium batteries from aircraft.
In fact, the European Union is slowly paving the way for passengers to access the internet during flights, a move that is sure to increase the number of phones, and tablets on board.
Plus, many pilots now use electronic tablets instead of big thick paper books on the flight deck.
But regulators, along with the Royal Aeronautical Society do want to raise awareness across the industry and among the public, spreading the message that lithium batteries are powerful and you need to be careful about where you store them and where you buy them, especially if you are getting on an aeroplane.
How to avoid battery blow-up
- Carry batteries where you can get to them – in your hand luggage, not your hold luggage
- Put a tape over the metal terminal of any spares or wrap in a plastic bag
- Keep them away from other metallic objects
- Be careful where you buy them in the first place – if they’re a lot cheaper, there may well be a reason
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Business leaders in Birmingham have criticised the Airports Commission’s interim report, released on 17th December, for overlooking the “crucial role” Birmingham Airport could play, in allegedly supporting the local and national economy. The Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) said the potential for the airport to capture thousands of new passengers was not being considered. It has written to MPs Louise Ellman, chair of the Common’s Transport Select Committee, and committee member Chloe Smith to outline its view. The GBCC would like to invite Ms Ellman and other members of the Transport Select Committee to visit businesses in Birmingham “to showcase how Birmingham Airport can help drive the export-led recovery.” The GBCC says it is pleased that Birmingham Airport has been identified as a long-term option for development. They say that “the catchment area for Birmingham Airport is home to half a million businesses (approximately 25% of British business) and has the largest share of manufacturing activity of all airport catchment areas.” Also that the Commission ”could have gone much further in exploring the role of both HS2 and other economic assets across the West Midlands.”
Business leaders condemn government report for not recognising Birmingham Airport’s economic potential
3rd February 2014 (The Business Desk)
By Duncan Tift – Deputy Editor
Business leaders in Birmingham have criticised a government report on the future of UK airports for overlooking the “crucial role” Birmingham Airport could play.
The Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce said the potential for the airport to capture thousands of new passengers was not being considered.
It has written to MPs Louise Ellman, chair of the Common’s Transport Select Committee, and committee member Chloe Smith to outline its view.
GBCC chief executive Jerry Blackett said he was disappointed the recent Airports Commission interim report had overlooked the crucial role Birmingham Airport played in supporting the local and national economy.
“I would be delighted to invite you and other members of the Transport Select Committee to visit businesses in Birmingham to showcase how Birmingham Airport can help drive the export-led recovery,” he told the MPs.
“While we are pleased that Birmingham Airport has been identified as a long-term option for development in the Airports Commission, we believe that the report has not demonstrated a modal shift in UK aviation policy and has not fully examined the role of aviation in supporting the rebalancing of the UK economy.
“The catchment area for Birmingham Airport is home to half a million businesses (approximately 25% of British business) and has the largest share of manufacturing activity of all airport catchment areas.”
The potential of the airport to attract new business has never been better underlined than the decision by low cost carrier Flybe to increase the number of flights it makes from the airport.
In one of its largest ever investment in regional services, the airline is launching seven new flights from Birmingham, siting three new jets at the airport and creating 50 new jobs.
It says the expansion is warranted because of the potential of the airport to attract the new business.
The move has also established Birmingham as its largest regional base.
Blackett adds: “In 2008, the value of West Midlands exports stood at around £16.8bn. By 2012, this had increased to £22.6bn, with exports to Asia growing rapidly. The Birmingham Airport runway extension, opening later this year, will put the airport in the top six longest runways thus enabling longer haul flights.
“Businesses in the Birmingham Airport catchment area are exporting more goods to emerging markets in Asia and the Middle East than any other airport. As we have seen, the burgeoning middle-class in China has driven demand for products by West Midlands manufacturers, such as Jaguar Land Rover, and this will rapidly increase demand for air connectivity. We need to ensure that this growth story is not stifled by a lack of access to emerging markets.”
This was a point made by the head of the West Midlands UK Trade & Investment organisation, Paul Noon. Speaking at the announcement of the new Flybe flights he said the expansion of the airport was good news for businesses looking to tap into new opportunities in Europe.
Blackett said the interim report also omitted a detailed examination of the transformational effects of HS2 on Birmingham Airport and the regional economy.
“Birmingham Airport’s close proximity to the HS2 Interchange Station means it would benefit substantially from the HS2 connectivity packages and transport improvements that have been proposed by Birmingham City Council and Centro, thus expanding its catchment even further,” he said.
“The Airports Commission report could have gone much further in exploring the role of both HS2 and other economic assets across the West Midlands, such as UK Central. We feel that the Airports Commission interim report largely represents conventional thinking. As such, we would encourage you to visit Birmingham businesses to highlight the challenges and opportunities to develop a regional airport strategy.”
Airports Commission publishes interim report with 2 options for a runway at Heathrow and 1 at Gatwick. Estuary still being considered
December 17, 2013
The Airports Commission’s interim report has put forward 3 options for a new runway, and have kept their options open on an estuary airport. There would only be one runway, not two and they consider this should be in operation before 2030. At Heathrow the choices are a north west runway, 3,500 metres long, destroying Harmondsworth; and an extension westwards of at least 3,000 metres, of the existing northern runway. They also consider a wide spaced Gatwick runway to the south. The Commission also says “there is likely to be a demand case for a 2nd additional runway to be operational by 2050.” They claim this is “consistent with the Committee of Climate Change’s advice to government on meeting its legislated climate change targets.” Stansted is ruled out, and on the Thames Estuary they say: “The Commission has not shortlisted any of the Thames Estuary options because there are too many uncertainties and challenges surrounding them at this stage. It will undertake further study of the Isle of Grain option in the first half of 2014 and will reach a view later next year on whether that option offers a credible proposal for consideration alongside the other short-listed options.” The report also contains recommendations to the government for immediate action to improve the use of existing runway capacity. Among others, these include better airspace organisation and surface transport improvements such as enhancement of Gatwick station, a rail link from the south to Heathrow, and a rail link between Heathrow and Stansted. Click here to view full story…
Airports Commission: interim report (228 pages)
Various associated papers are also at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/airports-commission-interim-report
Airports Commission: interim report – appendix 3 technical appendix PDF, 1.41MB, 116 pages contains a section on carbon emissions from pages 64 to 72.
Birmingham Airport publishes proposals for its future growth – including 2nd runway – to the Airports Commission
July 26, 2013 Birmingham Airport has made a submission to the Airports Commission on its future growth plans. It hopes to grow from 9m passengers a year now to 70m, (the size of Heathrow currently) while allegedly reducing the number of people affected by night noise. They are aware that the Commission is looking at the number affected by noise in the proposals submitted. Birmingham airport says its current runway extension will allow it to handle 27m passengers a year and it has the potential for a 2nd runway to be built some time after 2030 – if the demand required it – costing under £7 billion. The airport estimates that by using the new runway for night flights, it would remove over 13,000 people from the 57dB night noise contour. Birmingham airport say they have support from a large number of businesses in the area, and are well placed for business travellers who are keen to avoid Heathrow and get direct flights to Birmingham. “We have recommended to the commission a network of great long-haul airports to serve Britain’s great cities. Our proposals show that Birmingham Airport is in a position to sit at the heart of this network, serving a valuable catchment area and relieving pressure on congested airports in the South East.” Click here to view full story…
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Gatwick’s new £53 million station platform has been opened. Transport Minister Susan Baroness Kramer formally opened Platform 7 and its associated facilities. First Capital Connect, hopes having this new platform will mean better services for passengers going to the airport, and that it will unblock a bottleneck on the Brighton main line. With some 14 million people arriving at, or departing from the airport by rail each year, (about one third of passengers) improvements were necessary for the “passenger experience.” The Brighton Main Line is one of the busiest routes in the UK and the new platform at Gatwick should mean fewer delays for passengers using the line, as well as those getting off or on at Gatwick. The news coverage of the opening is characteristically gushy. This is part of a large redevelopment of the airport station – the Gatwick Gateway. Baroness Kramer said: “Gatwick makes a vital contribution to the UK economy and we must make sure facilities are upgraded for the benefit of passengers. That is why we have committed a further £50 million [taxpayer money - see below] towards the complete redevelopment of the station.” Stewart Wingate said the improved station “will allow us to compete even more for passengers and airlines wanting to come to London and the South-east region.”
New £53 million platform opened at Gatwick Airport Station
3rd February 2014 (Redhill, Reigate & Horley Life)
Gatwick’s long-awaited “crucial” new £53 million platform has been opened. Transport Minister Baroness Kramer formally opened Platform 7 and its associated facilities this morning, signalling the first step in a “major redevelopment” of the lynch-pin airport station.
Rail chiefs hope the new platform will improve services for passengers going to the airport, and will unblock a bottleneck on the Brighton main line.
The ceremony marked the culmination of more than £80 million of investment in the line over the New Year.
It also marked a triumph over adversity for rail operator Network Rail, whose workers battled through the recent storms and floods to finish the major project on time and on budget, as well as renewing signalling equipment at London Victoria, and replacing rails at Stoats Nest Junction, near Purley.
Baroness Kramer said: “Gatwick makes a vital contribution to the UK economy and we must make sure facilities are upgraded for the benefit of passengers. “That is why we have committed a further £50 million towards the complete redevelopment of the station.”
She added: “ I am delighted to open this new platform and thank staff for their work during horrendous weather.”
Tim Robinson, Network Rail’s route managing director for Sussex, said: “Managing growth is a challenge, but a good one to have. “Gatwick Airport is significant not just as an important station for passengers, but an important part of the UK’s infrastructure. “We recognise that and this £53 million investment is crucial to keep trains flowing and improve the experience of passengers from all stations in the region.” More than a third of Gatwick Airport’s 35 million passengers a year arrive by train, and that figure is expected to rise, along with demand along the railway in Sussex. Growth on the line is currently hitting 7% per year and is expected to go up by 22% by 2020.
Chris Burchell, managing director of Southern, which provides services in south London, between central London and the South coast, through East and West Sussex, Surrey and parts of Kent and Hampshire, said: “Running around 2,300 train services per day over some of Britain’s most congested track is always a challenge. “This major investment will improve the flexibility and reliability of the network in this critical section of the Brighton Mainline. “ He said: “As a result, passengers should see an improved travelling experience to accompany our other efforts to drive up service quality on our trains and stations.”
Gatwick Airport Station, which is operated by Southern and also served by First Capital Connect, is directly linked to 129 stations, and a further 700 can be reached with just one change.
Stewart Wingate, London Gatwick chief executive, said: “London Gatwick is already the best connected UK airport by rail and this upgrade will benefit the broad range of people that the airport station attracts, from tourists to the business traveller.”
He said: “ It will allow us to compete even more for passengers and airlines wanting to come to London and the South-east region.”
He added: “This is the first step in our vision for a further major redevelopment of the airport station – the Gatwick Gateway. “We recognised that with over 14 million people arriving or departing by rail, that an investment had to be made to improve the passenger experience in and around the airport.”
First Capital Connect managing director David Statham, said: “The Brighton Main Line is one of the busiest routes in the UK and the new platform at Gatwick is fantastic news for passengers. “This part of the line can be frustrating, particularly during disruption, and this work should mean fewer delays.”
The new station platform is the latest in a long line of developments and improvements at Gatwick, the UK’s second largest airport and the busiest single-runway airport in the world.
Its current owners, Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), the majority shareholder of a group of international investment funds, unveiled a £1 billion programme of improvements designed to transform the passenger experience at Gatwick in 2010. Since then, Gatwick has scored a string of airport firsts and innovations, including the opening of Jamie Oliver’s first airport restaurant and a Harrods branch, has won a number of key international routes, and has had millions of pounds worth of improvements already spent on it.
3 February 2014 (Gatwick airport press release)
London Gatwick has today opened Platform 7 at its Gatwick Airport rail station, as a £53m joint project with Network Rail is completed. Transport Minister Baroness Kramer was on site to officially open the platform that will deliver greater reliability for airport passengers and commuters.
This exciting project was made possible thanks to a joint campaign between Gatwick Airport, local business groups and airlines who backed the delivery of this new platform and helped secure the investment needed.
The new platform and section of rail line will allow for fast trains from both London Bridge and London Victoria to travel through the station more quickly, with Gatwick contributing £7.5m to the project to ensure the upgrade could take place.
Passengers and commuters can already travel between Gatwick and London Victoria in 30 minutes, Gatwick and London Bridge in 28 minutes and be in the financial district of Canary Wharf in under 45 minutes. Signalling upgrades will allow for more reliable travelling times in preparation for service improvements associated with the Thameslink Programme upgrade, which increases the number of trains and range of destinations from Gatwick from 2018.
The project also incorporates wider benefits that will allow for a better passenger experience throughout the airport. The station concourse itself has seen a major refurbishment with new flooring providing an open and light space.
Stewart Wingate, London Gatwick Chief Executive, said: “London Gatwick is already the best connected UK airport by rail and this upgrade will benefit the broad range of people that the airport station attracts, from tourists to the business traveller. It will allow us to compete even more for passengers and airlines wanting to come to London and the South East region.
“This is the first step in our vision for a further major redevelopment of the airport station – the Gatwick Gateway. We recognised that with over 14 million people arriving or departing by rail that an investment had to be made to improve the passenger experience in and around the airport.”
Baroness Kramer, Transport Minister, said: “Gatwick makes a vital contribution to the UK economy and we must make sure facilities are upgraded for the benefit of passengers. That is why we have committed a further £50 million towards the complete redevelopment of the station. I am delighted to open this new platform and thank staff for their work during horrendous weather.”
The project is part of a wider planned redevelopment of the airport station that was boosted by the Government announcing that it will contribute £50m of funding to kick-start the redevelopment – The Gatwick Gateway.
Today’s opening is also the beginning of a rail improvement programme that will see on-going upgrades over the next four to five years at Gatwick Airport station.
The Thameslink programme will provide an additional 50% capacity by 2018 following the introduction of new longer trains and infrastructure improvement that will deliver direct links from Gatwick to Peterborough and Cambridge.
Public funding for station upgrading:
London Gatwick welcomes Government funding for the redevelopment of Gatwick Rail Station
4 December 2013
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 [platform opened on 3.2.2014] 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.”
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