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Heathrow campaigners furious over leak that Sir Howard Davies is backing 2 new runways at Heathrow

Heathrow campaigners have reacted with anger and disbelief to the leaked news that the Airports Commission Interim Report, which is due to be published on 17th December, favours 2 more runways at Heathrow.  From the leaks, the Commission is expected to go for a 3rd runway at Heathrow followed by a 4th Heathrow runway or a second runway at Gatwick. The draft of the report, presented to Chancellor George Osborne, ruled out new runways at Stansted or an Estuary Airport. It is thought, however, that Tuesday’s report may formally retain more options in an attempt to give it some balance. This news will cause fury across whole swathes of London and the Home Counties. with the Airports Commission’s work over the next two years in selecting from its “short list” seen as a “busted flush” with its decision already taken. John Stewart, Chair of HACAN – which represents residents under the Heathrow flight paths, said: “It is astonishing that Davies has put so much faith in an option he must know is politically the hardest to deliver. The one good thing is that he will force political parties to come out for or against a 3rd runway before the 2015 General Election.”  Another Heathrow runway means thousands of people stand to lose their homes. They are not going to stand by and let that happen. The campaign against a 3rd runway starts today.
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Campaigners furious Davies favours two new runways at Heathrow

11.12.2013

“The campaign against the third runway at Heathrow has kicked off today”

Campaigners have reacted with anger and disbelief to the news, leaked today (1), that the Airports Commission Interim Report, to be published on 17th December, favours two more runways at Heathrow.

The Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, is expected to go for a third runway at Heathrow followed by a fourth Heathrow runway or a second runway at Gatwick. The draft of the report, presented to Chancellor George Osborne, ruled out new runways at Stansted or an Estuary Airport. It is thought, however, that Tuesday’s report may formally retain more options in an attempt to give it some balance.

John Stewart, who chairs HACAN, which represents residents under the Heathrow flight paths, said, “Davies has put Heathrow front and centre of his thinking. There will be fury across whole swathes of London and the Home Counties. The campaign against a third runway starts today with Davies seen as a busted flush.”

Stewart added, “It is astonishing that Davies has put so much faith in an option he must know is politically the hardest to deliver. The one good thing is that he will force political parties to come out for or against a 3rd runway before the 2015 General Election.”

Geraldine Nicholson, who chaired NoTRAG, (The No Third Runway Action Group), said, “This means that thousands of people stand to lose their homes. If Howard Davies thinks they are going to stand by and let that happen, he is sorely mistaken.”

(1). http://gu.com/p/3y52k/tw  (copied below)   (sources subsequently confirmed to HACAN that the Guardian article is broadly correct)

www.hacan.org.uk 

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The leak:

It is understood that Sir Howard Davies went to see George Osborne with a draft of his Interim Report. It was suggesting a 3rd runway at Heathrow, followed by (if the demand is there and Sir Howard suspects it will be) a 4th runway at Heathrow or a 2nd runway at Gatwick.  There were no other options.  But it is known that Gatwick Airport have said repeatedly – and correctly – that a second runway at Gatwick is only viable if no more runways are built at Heathrow. A new Heathrow runway reduces their demand.

George Osborne is known to favour a 3rd runway at Heathrow, but it is understood he was surprised Davies had seemed to have made such a big decision at this early stage in the process.

The Commission’s Interim Report (to be released around 7am on Tuesday 17th December, probably without advance copies going to the press, public or politicians) may include some other options, in order to look more balanced. But it appears Sir Howard Davies’s thinking is clear in choosing Heathrow for another runway.

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Heathrow 3rd runway being pushed ahead by government, says Goldsmith

10.12.2013Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith – on Twitter – has claimed the government was trying to push through a 3rd runway at Heathrow by hiding behind initial recommendations made by the independent Airports Commission,chaired by Sir Howard Davies, whose interim report is due out next week. Zac has accused George Osborne of “yearning for a China-style government”, saying on Twitter: “Osborne has spent public money on a review whose only purpose is to make a 3rd runway decision look like it was reached independently.”  This comes after “sources close to the inquiry,” which will recommend where a new runway for London should be built, claimed Davies would set out 3 options for extra airport capacity in the south-east in the interim report – which is due to be revealed on the morning of 17th December. The 3 are thought to be:  1). A 3rd Heathrow runway. 2). A 3rd and 4th runway at Heathrow. 3). Another runway at both Heathrow and Gatwick. The Guardian says if the initial speculation is correct and Heathrow is the main focus, this is a potential source of embarrassment for the government. The Guardian adds that: “ One source said Davies had been asked by No 10 to broaden the shortlist to avert any outcry about Heathrow. But this could not be verified.”
. Zac Goldsmith’s tweets on 10th December evening:

@ZacGoldsmith

  • Much as Osborne might yearn for a China-style Government, we have a democracy and a 3rd & 4th runway simply cannot be pushed through.

  • Osborne has spent public money on a review whose only purpose is to make a 3rd runway decision look like it was reached independently #Brave


    Sources confirm to HACAN Guardian story broadly correct.  Davies only considering 2nd Gatwick runway as fall-back to 4th at Heathrow. 

Heathrow third runway being pushed ahead by government, says Goldsmith

George Osborne hiding behind Davies commission, says MP, after claims that report options all involve Heathrow expansion
  • , Transport correspondent (Guardian)
  • 10 December 2013 21.27 GMT

Planes at Heathrow

Airplanes at London’s Heathrow airport Photograph: Felipe Trueba/EPA

A Conservative MP has claimed the government was trying to push through a third runway at Heathrow by hiding behind initial recommendations made by the independent airports commission led by Sir Howard Davies, whose interim report is due out next week.

Zac Goldsmith, the MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston, accused George Osborne of “yearning for a China-style government”, saying on Twitter: “Osborne has spent public money on a review whose only purpose is to make a 3rd runway decision look like it was reached independently.”

His outburst came after sources close to the inquiry, which will recommend where a new runway for London should be built, claimed Davies would set out three options for extra airport capacity in the south-east in the interim report: a third Heathrow runway, a four-runway Heathrow, and another runway at both Heathrow and Gatwick.

The Davies commission is due to issue its interim report on December 17 giving a shortlist of optio for long-term airport expansion in the south-east and evaluating whether expansion at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted or the Thames estuary scheme favoured by Boris Johnson should continue to be considered.

If the initial speculation is correct it would mean all options would start with Heathrow expansion – a potential source of embarrassment for the government, which wanted to defer such a toxic political question until after the next general election, when the Davies committee is due to reach its final conclusion.

However, in a brief conversation after the Heathrow speculation surfaced, Davies said it was “untrue” that all options he would recommend would involve a Heathrow runway and said he did “not recognise” in the commission process anything of Goldsmith’s criticisms.

One source said Davies had been asked by No 10 to broaden the shortlist to avert any outcry about Heathrow. But this could not be verified.

Davies has already indicated he would like to narrow the options as much as possible within the constraints of his remit, which was in effect to produce a recommendation for where a new runway should be built in a final report to be delivered after the 2015 general election.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/dec/10/heathrow-third-runway-george-osborne-zac-goldsmith?CMP=twt_gu

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Heathrow 3rd runway being pushed ahead by government, says Goldsmith

Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith – on Twitter – has claimed the government was trying to push through a 3rd runway at Heathrow by hiding behind initial recommendations made by the independent Airports Commission,chaired by Sir Howard Davies, whose interim report is due out next week. Zac has accused George Osborne of “yearning for a China-style government”, saying on Twitter: “Osborne has spent public money on a review whose only purpose is to make a 3rd runway decision look like it was reached independently.”  This comes after “sources close to the inquiry,” which will recommend where a new runway for London should be built, claimed Davies would set out 3 options for extra airport capacity in the south-east in the interim report – which is due to be revealed on the morning of 17th December. The 3 are thought to be:  1). A 3rd Heathrow runway. 2). A 3rd and 4th runway at Heathrow. 3). Another runway at both Heathrow and Gatwick. The Guardian says if the initial speculation is correct and Heathrow is the main focus, this is a potential source of embarrassment for the government. The Guardian adds that: ” One source said Davies had been asked by No 10 to broaden the shortlist to avert any outcry about Heathrow. But this could not be verified.”
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Zac Goldsmith’s tweets on 10th December evening:

@ZacGoldsmith

  • Much as Osborne might yearn for a China-style Government, we have a democracy and a 3rd & 4th runway simply cannot be pushed through.

  • Osborne has spent public money on a review whose only purpose is to make a 3rd runway decision look like it was reached independently #Brave


    Sources confirm to HACAN Guardian story broadly correct.  Davies only considering 2nd Gatwick runway as fall-back to 4th at Heathrow. 

Heathrow third runway being pushed ahead by government, says Goldsmith

George Osborne hiding behind Davies commission, says MP, after claims that report options all involve Heathrow expansion
  • , Transport correspondent (Guardian)
  • 10 December 2013 21.27 GMT

Planes at Heathrow

Airplanes at London’s Heathrow airport Photograph: Felipe Trueba/EPA

A Conservative MP has claimed the government was trying to push through a third runway at Heathrow by hiding behind initial recommendations made by the independent airports commission led by Sir Howard Davies, whose interim report is due out next week.

Zac Goldsmith, the MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston, accused George Osborne of “yearning for a China-style government”, saying on Twitter: “Osborne has spent public money on a review whose only purpose is to make a 3rd runway decision look like it was reached independently.”

His outburst came after sources close to the inquiry, which will recommend where a new runway for London should be built, claimed Davies would set out three options for extra airport capacity in the south-east in the interim report: a third Heathrow runway, a four-runway Heathrow, and another runway at both Heathrow and Gatwick.

The Davies commission is due to issue its interim report on December 17 giving a shortlist of optio for long-term airport expansion in the south-east and evaluating whether expansion at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted or the Thames estuary scheme favoured by Boris Johnson should continue to be considered.

If the initial speculation is correct it would mean all options would start with Heathrow expansion – a potential source of embarrassment for the government, which wanted to defer such a toxic political question until after the next general election, when the Davies committee is due to reach its final conclusion.

However, in a brief conversation after the Heathrow speculation surfaced, Davies said it was “untrue” that all options he would recommend would involve a Heathrow runway and said he did “not recognise” in the commission process anything of Goldsmith’s criticisms.

One source said Davies had been asked by No 10 to broaden the shortlist to avert any outcry about Heathrow. But this could not be verified.

Davies has already indicated he would like to narrow the options as much as possible within the constraints of his remit, which was in effect to produce a recommendation for where a new runway should be built in a final report to be delivered after the 2015 general election.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/dec/10/heathrow-third-runway-george-osborne-zac-goldsmith?CMP=twt_gu

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In Toronto expansion of lakeside Billy Bishop airport is strenuously opposed by thousands whose lives it would adversely affect

Pearson airport is the main airport for Toronto. It has several long runways, can take large jets, and had around 35 million passengers in the past year. By contrast, Billy Bishop waterfront airport is tiny, lying along the lake edge close to central Toronto. Its one runway, by the water, is only about 1,200 metres and it had 2 million passengers last year. There are plans to greatly expand Billy Bishop airport, with the runway extended by 200 metres at both ends, to take jets rather than the current turboprops. There are plans for greatly increased numbers of passengers. There has been very vocal opposition from the local group, NoJetsTO, who fear having this enlarged airport will have highly negative impacts on the city, creating noise, air pollution, water pollution, disruption to leisure activities that take place on the lake, traffic congestion, interference with childrens’ learning in school, and lowering the quality of life of many living in the area. They say the large jets should stay at Pearson airport, which is well equipped to deal with them. Now the airport’s plans, by Porter Airlines, will not be considered by the city until February. Toronto city’s executive committee voted to defer debate of the controversial proposal till February 4 or to a specially called meeting. 
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Location of Billy Bishop airport

Map showing location of Billy Bishop airport

 

A bit of background on Billy Bishop airport, Toronto 

Pearson airport has several long runways of over 3,000 metres, and between September 2012 and September 2013 it had over 35.6 million passengers, and over 435,000 aircraft movements.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto_Pearson_International_Airport

By contrast, Billy Bishop’s main runway is about 1,200 metres long, and in 2012 it had 2 million passengers and some 114,000 aircraft movements. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Bishop_Toronto_City_Airport


 

Billy Bishop airport is located on the Toronto Islands, south-west of Downtown Toronto. The airport has one main east-west runway, two shorter runways, and a seaplane base, Billy Bishop Toronto City Water Aerodrome. The airport is used for regional airline service and for general aviation, including medical emergency flights (due to its proximity to downtown hospitals), small charter flights, and private aviation. Under its operating agreement, jet aircraft are banned from the airport, with the exception of MEDEVAC flights.

The airport is operated by the Toronto Port Authority (TPA), a Government Business Enterprise incorporated by letters patent issued under authority of the Canada Marine Act. The airport is classified as an airport of entry by Nav Canada and is staffed by the Canada Border Services Agency. The airport’s hours of operation are 6:45 am to 11:00 pm, except for MEDEVAC flights.  Passenger traffic increased 46% from 2009 to 2010.

In April 2013, Porter announced a conditional purchase of 12 Bombardier CS100 passenger jets, with an option to purchase 18 more. Porter president Robert Deluce announced that the airline would seek an extension of the main runway by 336 m, 168 metres (551 ft) at either end, to accommodate the longer landing and takeoff requirements of the aircraft. The airline would also seek an exemption for the CS100 aircraft from the jet ban at the airport imposed in the 1983 Tripartite Agreement of the airport. The changes would require the agreement of the Government of Canada, the Toronto Port Authority and the City of Toronto. The TPA announced that it would await the direction of Toronto City Council on the potential expansion.A new community group “NoJetsTO” was formed to collect opposition to the plan to allow jets at the airport. The City of Toronto started consultations in September 2013, both online and at “town hall” sessions, to produce a report from staff for presentation to Council. As consultations began, Porter increased its request to 200 metre extensions at each end of the runway. The Toronto Port Authority notified the City of Toronto that it was seeking an extension to the tripartite agreement beyond 2033 as a condition of the runway extension plan.

The staff report was released to the public on November 28, 2013 and staff recommended putting off consideration of the plan until 2015, due to incomplete information and the various unresolved issues, including the CS100 noise information, Transport Canada regulations, and Toronto Port Authority requirements. The report also noted that the airport does not have a “Master Plan” unlike other airports, and staff suggested is essential for consideration to extend the tripartite agreement. The plan is to be discussed by the City Council executive committee and full Council in December 2013. The board of Waterfront Toronto endorsed the report, stating “serious transportation, road congestion, and community impact issues created by the airport’s current operations” be addressed before any new plans are considered.

… and there is a lot more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Bishop_Toronto_City_Airport

 


 

Island airport expansion dreams are city’s nightmare: Hume

Porter Airlines may be a city asset, but one that pales in comparison to the waterfrontA plane comes in to land at Billy Bishop Airport on Toronto Island. Porter Airline's wish to use jets would require runway extensions, a move that is running into opposition.

A plane comes in to land at Billy Bishop Airport on Toronto Island. Porter Airline’s wish to use jets would require runway extensions, a move that is running into opposition. By COLIN MCCONNELL / TORONTO STAR 

By:  Urban Issues
4.12.2013

When the board of Waterfront Toronto endorsed a city report that recommends against approving the expansion of Billy Bishop Airport until 2015, it introduced a note of sanity into the madness now unfolding at the foot of Bathurst St.

Though Porter Airlines founder Robert Deluce would have us believe that his delusions of jet-fuelled grandeur are compatible with waterfront revitalization, they are anything but.

Indeed, his arguments, which are full of half-truths and unquestioned assumptions, are transparently self-serving and wholly inconsistent with the interests of Toronto.

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly may support expansion, but he will live to regret that. In truth, Deluce’s intentions would spell disaster, not just for the waterfront, but the larger city.

To begin with, allowing jets to operate at the Island Airport would be incredibly dangerous; there simply isn’t enough space for jets to take off and land safely and besides, there’s a bird sanctuary just east. Anyone who remembers the Miracle on the Hudson in 2009 knows the impact a bird strike can have.

Worse still, Billy Bishop, unlike other airports, doesn’t have a usable north/south runway. The main east/west landing strip works under most, but not all, conditions. Lengthening the north/south runway to accommodate headwinds would mean taking over parkland.

Even if Deluce’s revamped airport meets minimal safety requirements, the margin of error is disturbingly small. Billy Bishop’s main runway is less than 4,000 feet (1,200 metres), maybe 5,200 after expansion. The CSeries jetliners need a minimum of 4,000 feet to take off and 4,400 to land. However, at their maximum weight, they need 4,800 to take off, and 4,400 to land.

Interestingly, the jet’s manufacturer, Bombardier, operates a 7,000-foot runway at Downsview. And if a crash were to occur at Billy Bishop, could the airport respond quickly and effectively?

But for Kelly, blithely unconcerned about safety, the issue is economic; he sees the Island Airport as a financial asset whose value we have yet to fully exploit. Deluce likes to say that the economic impact of his airline is $1.5 billion annually. That number, highly suspect, pales in comparison to many billions a revitalized waterfront will add to the city.

In other words, Kelly’s argument is a good reason for not expanding Billy Bishop. But Deluce has never relied on rational thought to make his case. While the Waterfront Toronto board was meeting Monday afternoon, he was busy lobbying the deputy mayor in his city hall office.

“How did we get in this position?” asked former Toronto chief planner and WT director Gary Wright at the same meeting. “Some things just intuitively don’t make sense. Are there better things to spend scarce public money on than Billy Bishop?”

Another WT director, former city councillor Joe Pantalone, said approving Deluce’s request would be like “jumping off a cliff.” Such a decision, he insisted, “would be foolhardy.”

Ross McGregor, also a director, was “tempted to reject outright the proposed expansion.”

But the loudest applause went to board member and Ryerson University president Sheldon Levy. “I’d like to hear from the children,” he said in reference to pupils at The Waterfront School, located a stone’s throw from the airport. “They should be part of this.”

Already those kids are breathing some of the most polluted air in the city and dodging traffic to get to and from classes. Some Deluce supporters have even suggested the school be torn down to make way for airport parking.

If ever there was a case of putting planes before people, this is it. To accede to Deluce and his monomaniacal demands would cost the city billions. It’s simply not worth the price.

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/12/04/island_airport_expansion_dreams_are_citys_nightmare_hume.html

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Toronto committee delays debate on controversial island airport expansion plans

by ELIZABETH CHURCH AND KALEIGH ROGERS

(The Toronto Globe and Mail)

Porter Airlines expansion plans for Toronto’s Island airport will not be considered by the city until the new year.

The city’s executive committee voted to defer debate of the controversial proposal to bring jets to the waterfront airport until their next meeting on February 4 or to a special meeting to be called by the chair.

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, chairing the meeting for the first time since he was given most of the Mayor’s powers by council, put forward the motion saying the extra time would allow for more information to be gathered.

Only two members of the committee voted against the delay – Mayor Rob Ford and Councillor Peter Milczyn.

Mr. Ford, who was relegated to a seat between councillors Peter Leon and Frank Di Giorgio, said waiting a month to have the debate would not change anything. “You are either for or against it,” he said.

Mr. Milczyn argued that enough time had been spent on the issue, saying the report should be shelved.

The decision to defer the debate was the first major move by Mr. Kelly in his new role as the de facto leader of council. As he entered the committee room before the vote, Mr. Kelly pledged to keep focused on the city’s business in spite of the new bombshell allegations involving Mr. Ford and his involvement with hard drugs and gangs.

“The mayor is no longer at the centre of affairs here at the city so I see this as a personal issue and not a political one,” he said. “The government of the City of Toronto goes on unaffected.”

After the vote, Porter Airlines CEO Robert Deluce said he was still encouraged by the support he’s gotten from councillors. He said if the executive wants a little more time to bring all the parties to the table and find solutions to the lingering questions outlined by city staff – among them noise, traffic and health impacts – he supports the decision.

“I think the step that was taken today is an important one and the proper one to take,” Mr. Deluce said. “There certainly are solutions to any of the items that have been identified by city staff and they’re not anywhere near as big as what would be indicated by some of the opponents.”

As he spoke, a group of citizens opposed to the expansion who had attended the meeting watched, sometimes shouting out jeers at Mr. Deluce.

Councillor Adam Vaughan, an opponent of the expansion who represents the downtown ward that includes the airport, said despite the delay, the answer when executive committee brings the report to council will still be “no.”

“There is no will because there is no way to make this situation work,” he told reporters outside of the meeting.

“This project has never about whether or not the jets are quiet enough – we don’t know, they’ve only been tested once – it has always been about whether or not you can fit an airport the size of Ottawa International Airport on the waterfront without a massive, and I mean a massive, half-billion plus investment.”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/debate-on-island-airport-expansion-delayed-until-february/article15780691/

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4.12.2013
Deputy Mayor proposes to defer decision on Billy Bishop Airport expansion

Porter Airlines seeking to extend runways, fly jets out of island

 

By  David Nickle (City Centre Mirror)

Toronto’s Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly will move to defer considering Porter Airline’s request to expand the Billy Bishop Airport for as long as a month, to buy time to deal with the myriad of issues raised about the proposal in a staff report.

Kelly announced his intentions Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 4, in advance of Thursday’s meeting of Toronto’s executive committee.

“At the meeting tomorrow of the executive committee I shall be moving to defer consideration of the report to either the first executive committee meeting in the new year or a meeting called by the chair,” said Kelly, who will himself be chairing Thursday’s meeting, the first since Mayor Rob Ford was stripped of his powers by Toronto Council.

The question of what to do with the Island airport was to have been a major debate at the committee.

Last week, city staff came out with a report cautioning against proceeding with a plan to extend the runways and allowing the airport to accommodate jet aircraft.

The report indicated there are too many unanswered questions.

Noise testing on the new jets Porter is proposing to fly won’t be finished until May, and the Toronto Port Authority — which operates the airport — has not presented a long-term plan for the airport. As well, it’s unclear who would pay for the $300 million in transportation infrastructure that would be necessary land-side to support an expanded airport.

Staff have recommended deferring the matter until the spring of 2015, when hopefully some of those matters can be clarified.

But Porter’s Bob Deluce has been lobbying councillors hard to go ahead with the plan now — arguing that expanding the regional airline to allow for longer hauls is essential to the airport’s survival.

Kelly, who supports the Porter plan, had been trying to convince councillors to support a conditional approval of the plan, but on Wednesday he said that he was making “a lateral maneuver” for fear that council might kill the plan altogether if it went through.

“You want to bring as many people as possible along with you,” said Kelly.

“You want, to the degree that you can, build a consensus among the people that are your supporters…. I think that this is an important initiative for the City of Toronto, and I don’t want to miss the opportunity of growing one of our most important assets. I don’t want to risk its defeat.”

Kelly met for the first time with Mayor Rob Ford since council transferred most of the mayor’s powers to the deputy mayor, and the two discussed Kelly’s plan.

The mayor was not supportive.

“Porter Airlines are a reputable company, they proved they can do it,” Ford said. “Let’s get on with it. I’m going to move a motion to go ahead with it and you’re either on side or not on side.”

Ford said he has been getting calls urging support for the airport expansion, and said a month-long delay wouldn’t resolve anything.

“Let these quiet jets get in here and let this man get direct flights down to Houston instead of stopping over in Chicago like I had to,” he said.

Ford said he trusted Deluce not to leave the city holding the bag on infrastructure requirements.

“Mr. Deluce is a proven businessman,” said Ford. “I don’t think he’s going to stick us with a bill of hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Reporters caught up with Deluce as he was between meetings at Toronto City Hall. He offered no comment on the matter, but said he would do so Thursday following the meeting.

http://www.insidetoronto.com/news-story/4254380-deputy-mayor-proposes-to-defer-decision-on-billy-bishop-airport-expansion/

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No Jets T.O. – Save Toronto’s Waterfront

About Us

What We Want

NoJetsTO is a coalition of concerned citizens dedicated to preserving Toronto’s mixed-use waterfront and a boutique Island Airport. Representing residents across Toronto, the non-partisan organization NoJetsTO opposes the expansion of the Island Airport through jet aircraft and extended runways. NoJetsTO’s goal is to preserve the current state of the Island Airport by protecting the Tripartite Agreement that governs it.

To reiterate, we are NOT opposed to the status quo at the Island Airport.  We are opposed to turning the Island Airport into a Pearson-on-the-Lake.

http://www.nojetsto.ca/about-us/

Issues

Toronto’s cherished waterfront is at risk. Porter-owner Robert Deluce wants jets on our waterfront to maximize his profits. He is only a City Council vote away from making it happen – if we don’t stop him.

Jets belong at Pearson – not our waterfront. But Porter wants to turn the boutique Island Airport into a Pearson-by-the-Lake with jets, extended runways and almost twice as many passengers.

Here’s why it’s a terrible idea:

Porter’s dangerous jet plans are more or less openly supported by the Toronto Port Authority (TPA) that operates the Island Airport. To learn the truth about the TPA’s bogus ad campaign, click here.

Jets Belong at Pearson Airport. Period.

Flickr_Photo_Boeing_737_before_Take-Off_2013-11-02It’s great that Porter wants to grow – but don’t put jets on Toronto’s cherished waterfront. If Porter wants to play in the big leagues, they should go to the big leagues airport – Pearson.

Pearson has plenty of capacity to grow. And with the new rail link opening in spring 2015, a 25-minute train to the airport will leave Union Station every 15 minutes.

Toronto’s Island Airport as a boutique, regional airport is fine. What we don’t need is a Pearson-by-the-Lake.

Jets on Our Waterfront = More Pollution, More Gridlock, Less Fun

Monika_MacMillian_Photo_Harbourfront_2013-10-22Toronto’s waterfront is our biggest asset – stretching from Mimico to the Scarborough Bluffs. And jets will wreck it. The Harbourfront alone attracts 17 million visitors every year. It’s our front yard and fun getaway.

Revitalizing our waterfront has created 40,000 jobs and $3.2 billion in economic benefits; another $4 billion are projected.

The plan to double passenger numbers at the Island Airport will lead to 1.4 million additional cars in downtown, making gridlock even worse.

Expanding the runway will mean less Lake Ontario to enjoy. It will impact tour boats, sailboats, kayaks and even ferries.

Air pollution will affect neighbourhoods from Etobicoke to Scarborough. Property prices and tourism will take a hit. For our waterfront, jets will mean more pollution, more gridlock – and less fun. Read more.

Putting Our Health at Risk

CD_Photo_Face_Masks_2013-11-04Jets are bad for your health – study after study shows that. Less fuel efficient than the turboprops, they burn more fuel less cleanly. No wonder – the Bombardier CS100 is twice as heavy as the current Q400 turboprop plane.

Jet pollutants are linked to increased rates of cancer, asthma and bronchitis as well as other cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Some jet pollutants are linked to developmental problems in children, tripling the odds of having mental delays at age 3.

Numerous Toronto physicians are speaking out against the jet plans – because they know how dangerous they will be for our health and especially the health of our children.

With flight paths from Mimico to the Scarborough Bluffs, many Torontonians will be affected by the pollution. Read more.

Creating Safety and Environmental Hazards

Flickr_Photo_Nesting_Cormorants_Close-Up_Medium_2013-09-10Jets on Toronto Island will be a safety hazard – with bird strikes just waiting to happen from hundreds of thousands of birds from the surrounding green spaces

Fuel gets to the Island Airport by truck – put on ferries. Four times every day. This is set to double with jets. That’s the equivalent of two Lac-Mégantic-sized tanker cars.
Without a treatment system at the Island Airport, toxic de-icing fluids and fuel spills can get into the City’s sewer system – and ultimately end up in the lake. Read more about the impact on Lake Ontario here.

Dredging_Today_Photo_Lakefill_2013-10-04The jets will need longer runways. That means paving the lake – at least 4 football fields long.
Another risk: jet blasts – winds up to 190 km/h generated on and before takeoff. That’s powerful enough to knock over boats.Read more about safety risks here.

Bottom line: with damage to bird sanctuaries and protected green spaces to the equation, jets on our waterfront are a reckless proposition. And let’s not forget how harmful carbon emissions are for the climate.

Wasting Our Taxpayer Dollars

Metrolinx_Photo_Station_UP_Express_2013-09-24We are revitalizing Toronto’s waterfront with $1.4 billion of our tax dollars – plus $2.6 billion in private sector investments. Why would we want to throw this away? We are also spending almost $500 million in tax money for the Union-Pearson Express.

Porter plans to double passengers to 4 million per year, turning Queens Quay into an airport road –

Waterfront_Toronto_Graphic_Simcoe_Slip_2013-10-05

while we are currently spending almost $200 million to turn into a world-class boulevard. The City is thinking about new traffic lanes, parking lots – even an underground streetcar station and moving sidewalks! Who will pay for all that?

There are even proposals to tear down a school, a community centre and the Canada Malting heritage site to make way for a parking garage. Read more.

http://www.nojetsto.ca/issues/

 

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Mayor’s adviser admits ‘Boris airport’ may be dumped by Airports Commission

Boris Johnson’s aviation adviser, Daniel Moylan, has admitted that proposals for a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary are “at risk” of being ditched by Sir Howard Davies when he publishes a shortlist of options for additional runway capacity in the South East on 17th DecemberThe mayor has also put forward suggestions to transform Stansted (an area he does not represent in any way) “out of all recognition” into a new four-runway hub and advocated closing Heathrow and transforming it into a new London borough with up to 80,000 new homes. This week a jobs report from three councils in the Heathrow area, Hounslow, Slough and Ealing, will spell out the dangers of shutting Heathrow. The airport claims that the 76,600 people it directly employs would be made redundant overnight if Heathrow was to be replaced by a massive estuary airport, but the 3 councils’ report is likely to put the figure far higher. The councils say the closure of Heathrow would have a huge impact on thousands of families.” Curiously and inconsistently, Boris is not bothered about the harm his Stansted plans would inflict on people there, but Mr Moylan talks about Heathrow expansion inflicting misery on a million people, or developing Gatwick into a four-runway hub airport.
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Mayor’s adviser admits ‘Boris airport’ may be dumped

Boris Johnson’s adviser concedes that if Davies Commission rules any options out, the Mayor’s proposed island airport is “most at risk”

7 Dec 2013

Boris Johnson’s aviation adviser has admitted that proposals for a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary are “at risk” of being ditched by Sir Howard Davies when he publishes a shortlist of options for additional runway capacity in the South East.

Daniel Moylan has conceded that the Mayor of London’s plans to build a new hub airport on the Isle of Grain in north Kent, or on an artificial island in the outer Thames Estuary, are vulnerable if Sir Howard, the chairman of the Government’s airports commission, decides to limit the number of options for further investigation.

The commission is expected to publish a short list of proposals on where and how to build new runway capacity in the South East on December 17.

Commissioners received 58 proposals in response to a consultation and Sir Howard has pledged to whittle down the options to just a “handful” before he delivers his recommendations after the general election in 2015.

Many of the proposals are not deemed serious contenders, such as designs for a futuristic “drive-through” airport. But Sir Howard is also under pressure to rule out some of the more realistic options, which include a new hub in the Thames Estuary, a third runway at Heathrow, expansion at Stansted and a second airstrip at Gatwick.

Mr Moylan, the mayor’s chief adviser on aviation, has conceded that if Sir Howard decides to reject some of the leading proposals, a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary is most likely to be dismissed. “I think the option that is most at risk, being frank, is a new airport in the estuary,” he told a group of airport representatives last month.

“If something is going to be ruled out, I think Davies is likely to rule that out rather than anything else,” he said at the event organised by Insight Public Affairs.

Sir Howard may, however, appease advocates of a new hub airport to replace Heathrow by shortlisting Stansted, Mr Moylan said.

The mayor has also put forward suggestions to transform Stansted “out of all recognition” into a new four-runway hub and advocated closing Heathrow and transforming it into a new London borough with up to 80,000 new homes.

Stansted’s owner, Manchester Airports Group, has said that “developing capacity at a number of airports is likely to be best for passengers”.

This week a jobs report from three councils in the Heathrow area, Hounslow, Slough and Ealing, will spell out the dangers of shutting Heathrow. The airport claims that the 76,600 people it directly employs would be made redundant overnight under Mr Johnson’s plan.

The council report is likely to put the figure far higher, with one aviation source saying the findings were “devastating”.

A source close to the three councils said: “This report is the first comprehensive analysis of Heathrow’s economic impact. It reveals that the loss of jobs in the area has been hugely underestimated. This report throws down the gauntlet to policymakers. It shows that their decisions will have a huge impact on thousands of families.”

Mr Moylan told The Telegraph that Mr Johnson remains convinced it is “absolutely necessary” that both Stansted and the Isle of Grain should feature on the commission’s short list.

“If the estuary proposals are eliminated then it is incumbent on the Airports Commission and ministers to come clean with Londoners and the public about whether they can really contemplate inflicting the misery of an expanded Heathrow on a million people or developing Gatwick into a four-runway hub airport.

“Trying to shoehorn a major airport into a site half the size of Paris Charles de Gaulle would hamstring Britain in the global race and pretending that we may not need a hub airport, but could instead carry on spreading our runways around the South East, would fly in the face of all the evidence from our competitors overseas.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/10503292/Boris-airport-may-be-dumped.html

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Telegraph article discussing some of the issues for the Airports Commission’s interim statement, due on 17th December

The Airports Commission will make its interim announcement on 17th December, on short term measures, and its short-list of runway options for the long term. The Telegraph writes about this with great enthusiasm at the prospect of aviation capacity equivalent to the size of Gatwick today being added to the south east, (mainly to accommodate more leisure air travel). Some of the points they make are that, predictably, the Airport Operators Association (AOA), say after 2015 any Prime Minister “who rejects the findings of that commission in 2015 would look very weak.” Heathrow expansion would need at least £4 – 6 billion of public funding for the road and rail links. It appears that MAG is lukewarm on the idea of a mega-hub at Stansted. Even Boris’ own advisers fear the tide may have turned against any of the Thames Estuary options, which have been fiercely attacked by critics for the associated costs. Stewart Wingate of Gatwick fears the commission could simply choose to drop the  most whacky options, and just ask for more work to be done on the most ones – Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and an airport in the Thames Estuary. It is not yet clear if the commission will shortlist a location or a specific option there (they don’t yet have enough detail on them to choose). Several groups, including Heathrow hedged their bets by submitting more than one option, which met the various “sift” criteria in different ways.
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The UK hasn’t had a new runway in 60 years – that could soon change

In nine days’ time (17th December), one man hopes to end half a century of government inertia over how to expand London’s airport capacity

747 Airport Heathrow Jet Plane Runway Take off Uk

Heathrow handled a record 70m people last year, compared with 63,000 in 1946 Photo: Alamy

7 Dec 2013

When a select group of ministers, reporters and paying passengers boarded a converted Lancaster bomber at Heathrow Airport on January 1, 1946, they knew they were part of a historic event in British aviation. What they didn’t realise was just quite how significant it would prove to be.

A large crowd gathered in front of the Avro Lancastrian, codenamed “Star Light”, to hear Britain’s then civil aviation minister, Lord Winster, say a few words before the plane took off for Buenos Aires.

But as they settled into the 13-seater British South American Airways aircraft, they could not have imagined that they would be taking off from what would turn out to be the last full-length runway to be built in the South East.

More than six decades after their aircraft lifted off the Tarmac for the first commercial flight from Heathrow Airport, the aviation industry has changed beyond all recognition.

Heathrow handled a record 70m people last year, compared with 63,000 in 1946, when passengers waited in floral-patterned armchairs in former military marquees on the side of the airfield.

London’s six airports – Gatwick, Heathrow, London City, Luton, Stansted and Southend – collectively saw 135m passengers pass through their doors last year, while across the UK 221m passengers took commercial flights in 2012.

That demand will only gain altitude over the next 40 years, according to forecasts.

The Department for Transport, for instance, estimates UK airports will need to cope with 445m passengers by 2050.

But while the industry has taken great leaps forward in demand and technology, one crucial debate has remained stuck in the hangar since that day in 1946: where to build new runway capacity to cope with the extra demand.

The lack of progress hasn’t been achieved without a good deal of effort.

Since 1963, when a government committee shortlisted 18 possible sites for a major new airport in the South East, no fewer than 12 policy documents, commissions or White Papers have been produced to solve the thorny issue of where to build new runways in the London area.

These included the 1971 Roskill Commission, which recommended Cublington in Oxfordshire as the site for a new airport, and the 2003 Future of Air Transport White Paper, which supported a third runway at Heathrow and a second at Stansted.

All of the plans got precisely nowhere.

Groups such as the Aviation Foundation, a coalition of airlines and airports, point out that while Britain has been crippled by indecision over the past 50 years, rival economies in Europe have forged ahead with expansion.

Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam has five main runways, while Frankfurt and Paris Charles de Gaulle each have four. Heathrow, Britain’s largest airport, has two.

“Airport policy in the UK has been a case study in political short-termism. Successive governments have failed to take action and as a result our hub airport is full, limiting the number of vital connections to growing economies around the world,” says Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors (IoD).

But in nine days’ time, one man hopes to take a major step towards ending 50 years of inertia.

City grandee Sir Howard Davies, the former chairman of the Financial Services Authority, will publish the first report from the Airports Commission, a body set up by the Government last year to supposedly lay the tortuous runway debate to rest.

Although the commission will not report its final recommendations until after the general election in 2015, giving rise to accusations that the Coalition has kicked the problem into the long grass, Sir Howard has pledged to publish a shortlist of options in his interim report, expected on December 17.

This time, businesses and airlines are hoping the commission’s work will stick.

“I think a Prime Minister of the day who rejects the findings of that commission in 2015 would look very weak,” says Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association (AOA), the trade body for Britain’s airports.

Since it was set up last November, the commission has published five discussion papers designed to address the most contentious aspects of the debate – from how future demand forecasts are drawn up, to connectivity with foreign economies and jet noise suffered by communities.

The commission received 58 proposals on how to solve Britain’s looming aviation capacity crunch – a figure Sir Howard has next month promised to slim down to “just a handful”. Some of the proposals will be easier to rule out than others.

Among the suggestions received was a £12.6bn magnetic levitation train alongside the M25, which could link the five biggest London airports in just 24 minutes. Poor odds are also likely to be offered on plans for a new four-runway airport near Abingdon in Oxfordshire – close to the Prime Minister’s constituency in Witney – making the cut. Another scheme included a “drive-through airport”.

Flights of fancy aside, the bigger players have spent more than £1m on developing their proposals, indicating the high stakes at play.

Heathrow has submitted three possible locations for a third runway, varying in cost between £14bn and £18bn.

The airport has so far refused to back one single option, but has highlighted that two of its proposals, one to the south west of its current site and the other to the north west, would cause less disruption to local communities than a third, cheaper site, to the north, over the village of Sipson in Hillingdon.

The south-west option would involve building a 3,500-metre runway over the village of Stanwell Moor in Surrey at a cost of £18bn and would increase Heathrow’s capacity to 130m, up from 80m at present. It would require the demolition of 850 properties but could not be delivered until 2029, three years later than a proposed site to the north west, over Longford and Harmondsworth in Middlesex, involving the loss of 950 homes and two listed buildings.

The airport insists most of the funding for a third runway would come from the private sector, although it has raised the prospect of a £4bn to £6bn public subsidy to build and improve surface transport links.

Heathrow’s main rival, Gatwick, insists it could increase capacity in the South East for a fraction of the cost of expanding Heathrow.

Gatwick argues it could build a second runway for between £5bn and £9bn on land that has been safeguarded for that purpose since 2003. It has suggested three possible layouts for a second runway, but believes the airport’s capacity would be able to grow to between 60m and 90m, compared with the 34.2m passengers handled last year.

Britain’s connections to fast-growing economies abroad could also be improved by building a second runway at Stansted at a later date, Gatwick says. Heathrow would remain open under the plans submitted by Gatwick, but would not be allowed to expand – an approach it has described as creating a “constellation” of two-runway airports.

Manchester Airports Group (MAG), the owner of Stansted, has hedged its bets by pointing out to the commission that the Essex airport could double the number of flights it handles without any significant new investment in infrastructure.

Should the commission decide that the UK would best be served by a bigger hub airport, Stansted could be expanded to four runways with capacity for 140m to 160m passengers a year, MAG says. However, observers in the debate suggest MAG is lukewarm on the idea of a mega-hub at Stansted.

“At Stansted, to be blunt, we have plenty of spare capacity. The airport is barely half full,” Tim Hawkins, MAG’s corporate affairs director, said last month.

When the commission kicked off its investigation late last year, aviation analysts believed the debate would develop into a bitter dogfight between Heathrow and London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson, who has proposed three possible locations for a new hub airport.

The mayor argues that only a hub will deliver the connections that the UK will need to remain competitive in future – an argument that is also promoted by Heathrow, but bitterly contested by Gatwick.

Johnson believes a new four-runway airport on the Isle of Grain in north Kent – in the inner Thames Estuary – would strike the best balance between improving the UK’s connectivity and reducing the effect of aviation on local communities. He has also proposed – seemingly as a fall-back position – transforming Stansted “out of all recognition”.

A hub airport on an artificial island in the Thames Estuary off the Kent coast – a scheme dubbed “Boris Island” when the Mayor first backed it – also remains on the table. If allowed, Johnson would shut Heathrow and turn it into a new London borough, accommodating 80,000 homes and more than 40,000 jobs, the Mayor’s office claims.

However, even the Mayor’s own advisers fear the tide may have turned against any of the Thames Estuary options, which have been fiercely attacked by critics for the costs associated with the scheme. Transport for London said a new hub airport, which would not see the first planes take to the air until 2029, would require £4bn to £5bn a year of net government spending in the nine years between 2019 and 2028.

Daniel Moylan, the Mayor’s aviation aide, recently conceded that the option “most at risk” of being cut from Sir Howard’s shortlist is a new airport in the Thames Estuary. He believes that Stansted could be left on the table to appease those who believe London needs a larger hub airport, but that it should not be located at Heathrow.

“I think the option that is most at risk, being frank, is a new airport in the Estuary,” Moylan said at an event organised by Insight Public Affairs. “If something is going to be ruled out, I think Davies is likely to rule that out rather than anything else.”

Others believe this month’s shortlist could be less refined. Stewart Wingate, the chief executive of Gatwick airport, fears the commission could simply choose to drop the left-field options, such as a drive-through airport, and ask for more work to be done on possible expansion at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and an airport in the Thames Estuary.

He is urging the commission to narrow down the options to just two runners – Gatwick and Heathrow – to reduce uncertainty for local communities who will face up to two years of “blight” before the preferred option is named in 2015.

“I think people need to know where they stand,” Wingate said. “At the earliest opportunity, Sir Howard should narrow that shortlist – the sooner you can actually see the real options the better.”

Another uncertainty preying on the minds of airport bosses and campaign groups is whether the commission will shortlist a location or a specific option.

In May, the commission published a list of “sift criteria” – factors against which proposals would be judged. These included the economy, environment, cost and people, although the commission did not clarify how it would prioritise the various criteria.

Several groups, including Heathrow and Transport for London, hedged their bets by submitting more than one option, which met the various criteria in different ways. For example, while Heathrow’s north-west option is cheaper, at £17bn, it would involve the demolition of 950 local homes, as opposed to 850 under the south-west scheme.

Aside from the official proposals submitted by the airports themselves, other parties have suggested how to transform certain sites. Heathrow Hub, a project backed by the City banker Ian Hannam, believes it is possible to extend the airport’s two existing runways and split them into four independent air strips.

Should the commission merely shortlist locations, some stakeholders are concerned there could be another lengthy process to whittle down the various proposals for each site.

But lawyers suggest it could be difficult for the commission to choose one specific option at each location due to the difference in detail between the various submissions.

“Are they going to shortlist options or are they going to list locations?” one source asked. “Originally we were expecting options, but it’s difficult to compare apples with pears. How do you compare options which vary in detail?”

Questions also arise over who would be forced to pay for a detailed business case and sustainability assessment to be carried out for an option that had not been proposed by the site’s owner – a task that would cost several millions of pounds.

Some organisations have privately expressed concerns that the consultation has effectively turned into a tendering process.

“That’s a very different thing. If you are going to ask people to tender for something, you have got to tell them what the something is that you want. How many passengers is it meant to cater for? What is the funding envelope?” said another official.

The commission has already seen off one legal challenge, from Stop Stansted Expansion, which raised concerns over the influence that could have been exerted by a former commissioner, Geoff Muirhead, over the shortlist. Mr Muirhead stepped down from the commission in September, after it emerged that he was still being paid £150,000 a year by Stansted’s owner, MAG, when he was appointed to help Sir Howard.

Further legal challenges are inevitable, according to some, although lawyers suggest that the way the commission has structured its work has been specifically designed to fend off a judicial review following the Department for Transport’s recent court battles over the HS2 project.

While the department could potentially face another challenge in court, businesses point out that the biggest battle will be played out in the corridors of Westminster.

With the commission’s final report not due until after the next election, there are no guarantees the next government will agree to fund the recommendations.

Businesses have already started lobbying the political parties to ensure that Sir Howard’s final decision will not join the graveyard of failed aviation policy papers and investigations that have piled up over the past 50 years.

More than 100 of Britain’s leading companies, including Aberdeen Asset Management, Land Securities, Lloyds Banking Group and WPP, last month launched a campaign, Let Britain Fly, [strange allusion to Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake"] urging the political parties to make specific manifesto commitments following the Airports Commission’s first report.

“We would like all of the political parties to commit to acting on the findings of the commission now, whatever those findings may be,” the AOA’s Caplan said.

It may be 60 years since the last full-length runway was built in the south-east of England, but it looks like being a few years yet before Britain decides whether it wants to build another one.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/10501891/The-UK-hasnt-had-a-new-runway-in-60-years-that-could-soon-change.html

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Thousands delayed after flights delayed and many cancelled due to NATS air traffic control technical problems at Swanwick

Thousands of passengers were left stranded on Saturday after hundreds of flights were grounded at airports following a technical fault at the country’s main air traffic control centre. The problem at Swanwick led to delays to flight across southern England, Ireland and Europe, with Heathrow, Stansted, Gatwick, Luton, and ot others badly affected. Problems began when the control centre’s computer systems failed to automatically switch from night to day operations, forcing flight controllers to carry out the procedure manually.  Only a few airspace sectors are needed at night, with more in use from early morning, when the increasing number requires a larger number of controllers handling them. The problem was with the telephone system, causing NATS difficulty reconfiguring the sectors. The fault took much of the day to fix, and there were large numbers of flight delays and cancellations, with stories of those affected and inconvenienced.  The Swanwick centre opened in January 2002 at a cost of £623 million. NATS said their system is not simply internal telephones, it is the system that controllers use to speak to other ATC agencies both in the UK and Europe and is the biggest system of its kind in Europe. (And there are plans perhaps to add another runway in the southeast, adding the equivalent of another Gatwick to the system?)
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Thousands delayed after flights grounded at UK airports

Serious computer glitches at the country’s main air traffic control centre left hundreds of passengers stranded at some of the UK’s major airports

 

By , and Edward Malnick  (Telegraph)

7 Dec 2013

 [NATS had no further information on their website http://www.nats.aero/ ]

Thousands of passengers were left stranded on Saturday after hundreds of flights were grounded at airports following a technical fault at the country’s main air traffic control centre.

The problem at Swanwick air traffic control centre led to delays to flight across southern England, Ireland and Europe, with Heathrow, Stansted, Gatwick, Luton, Southampton, London City and Dublin airports reporting flight delays.

Manchester Airport was also caught up in the chaos and flights south from Edinburgh were also affected.

The fault might not be fixed until 6pm, according to reports on Saturday afternoon.

From FlightRadar24  http://www.flightradar24.com

Problems began when the control centre’s computer systems failed to automatically switch from night to day operations, forcing flight controllers to carry out the procedure manually.

The Swanwick centre, which opened in January 2002 at a cost of £623 million, reduces its operations at night when only a handful of the average 5,000 flights the centre handles every 24 hours are in the air.

Only a few airspace sectors are needed at night, with more sectors becoming operational as traffic builds up in the early morning. As these sectors grow, so does the number of controllers handling them.

But on Saturday morning problems with the telephone system led to Nats having difficulty reconfiguring the sectors.

A Nats spokesman said: “Due to a technical problem at Swanwick we are currently experiencing some difficulty switching from night-time to daytime operation. At night, when it’s quiet, we can combine sectors of airspace.

“When it gets busy in the daytime, we split the sectors out again. The voice communications system is configured to enable this to happen.

“We experienced a technical problem in the early hours of this morning, which means that it hasn’t been possible to reconfigure the voice communications system to split out the sectors for the busier daytime traffic in some areas of the UK enroute airspace.

“Engineers are working to rectify the problem as soon as possible, but this is resulting in some delays. Safety has not been compromised at any time, and we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience being caused to passengers.”

Stansted Airport warned that all of its departing flights were subject to delays of between 30 minutes and two hours.

Gatwick Airport said 20 per cent of its departures had been delayed, with passengers warned they could wait for “a couple of hours”.

At Heathrow planes were departing every five minutes instead of every 90 seconds and more than 40 flights were were cancelled between 2pm and 5pm on Saturday afternoon.

Sergio Coelho, 26, an entrepreneur from California, was among passengers told their 10.50am flight to Casablanca from Gatwick had been cancelled.

Instead they would be driven on a shuttle bus to Heathrow to take an evening flight.

“None of us were told it was cancelled until we got here and there is no one at the check-in desk to talk to us,” he said.

“Most of the people on this flight will miss all of their connecting flights.”

Mr Coelho said he had intended to take a train to travel 60 miles from Casablanca to Rabat, Morocco’s capital, where he was due to stay with friends, but feared the delay would mean he was too late to make the journey.

“I’m probably going to be stranded now in a country I have never been to,” he said.

Redouane Jamil, 50, a designer who was meant to be on the same flight, said: “Air Maroc here didn’t seem to know what was going on. I needed to be there on time because I’ve got meetings over there.

“I had booked a car to pick me up and I’m going to have to phone to either cancel it or get them to pick me up later so I can get home.”

Daisy McAndrew, another passenger, said she had been caught in the “unholy mess” at Gatwick as she tried to fly to Barcelona for work.

“As ever, staff have been fantastic but they know nothing other than the fact it is going to be a very, very long delay – very frustrating,” Ms McAndrew said.

“And also, it’s embarrassing, isn’t it? When you look around a lot of people on my plane are not British, they are flying British Airways, they are probably trying to get back to Spain and they will inevitably be thinking this is something that could have possibly been prevented.

“It doesn’t show our air traffic control system or our travel system in a good light.

“I have never heard of an example where every single plane is grounded – it’s quite eerie when I look out of the window to see the tarmac in Gatwick, normally so busy, and also the sky above Gatwick which is normally busy – completely static, there’s nothing moving.”

Eugene and Joan O’Sullivan, both 74, from Worlingworth, Suffolk, flew from Lima to Madrid for a connecting flight to Gatwick, only to be delayed for two hours in the Spanish capital.

Arriving at Gatwick shortly before midday, Mrs O’Sullivan said: “We heard various stories – they first told us we would be delayed for half an hour and then it was another 40 minutes. We were eventually stuck there for two hours.”

Mr O’Sullivan added: “Are we pleased? No.”

Helena Lucas, the Paralympic sailor, wrote on Twitter: “Lots of angry people at Heathrow! Customer services is crowded with unhappy people! My flight looks on time fingers crossed!”

Ryanair warned of “significant flight delays and possible cancellations” and said it had been advised of an equipment failure within UK air traffic control.

Flights at Cardiff Airport were also experiencing delays, with a flight to Paris delayed with no estimated time of arrival.

A flight to Malaga has been delayed from 9.10 to an estimated take-off at 10.55, with one to Amsterdam delayed from 10.25 to an estimated time of 11.10.

A spokesman for Cardiff Airport said: “Both (departures and arrivals) have been delayed because of the knock-on effect of the late arrivals of the service. We are currently looking at an estimated 1hour 40 minutes delay.”

EasyJet warned passengers to expect delays throughout the day, possibly spilling over into Sunday.

In a statement the airline added: “We’re doing everything we can to ensure that our passengers are well taken care of while our flights await clearance to depart, by keeping them up to date with the latest information and providing them with free refreshments on board.”

The delays added to the disruption to transport links following the storms which hit Britain on Thursday night, causing flooding in Scotland, north Wales and the east coast.

The Association of British Travel Agents said: “Customers due to travel today should liaise with their airline to establish if there are any changes to their flight arrangements. Furthermore, customers should be prepared for potential delays and are advised to carry essential items such as medication in their hand luggage.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/10502466/Thousands-delayed-after-flights-grounded-at-UK-airports.html

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The software failure happened when the 23 controllers working overnight were due to hand over to the 125 on the day shift at around 06:00 GMT.


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Stansted: Flights Resuming After NATS Glitch

8th December 2013, (Heart)

Picture by Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Airline passengers at Stansted may face further delays today, after a major air traffic control glitch caused major disruption at airports across the UK and Ireland.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled or delayed yesterday after problems with a telephone system at the National Air Traffic Service (Nats) centre in Swanwick, Hampshire.

Thousands of people endured hours of frustration as flights were affected across the country, including the major airports of Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick.

The problem was resolved at about 7.30pm yesterday, Nats said, and while the disruption is likely to have a knock-on effect today, the three main London airports predicted a largely trouble-free day.

A statement from Stansted Airport reads: “Due to an ongoing air traffic control issue affecting airspace in southern England, flights to and from Stansted Airport are currently subject to delay and possible cancellation.  

For more information, and to check the status of their flight, passengers are advised to check their airline website before setting off to the airport.

To speak to a member of our Customer Contact Centre call 08714 777 747.”

A spokesman for London Heathrow said last night: “There are no planned flight schedule changes for Sunday.

We still advise passengers to check with airlines prior to travelling though.”

Gatwick said that operations had returned to normal and it was “not anticipating significant disruptions” today.

The problem occurred when the 23 controllers on a night shift at Swanwick handed over to the 125 controllers on the day shift at about 6am.

Nats’ night-time operating system, which combines sectors of airspace for when it is less busy, did not properly switch over to the daytime system, causing a communication problem with the centre’s internal telephones. 

They stressed that safety was not at risk at any time.

Heathrow was the worst affected, with 228 cancellations – 112 in arrivals, and 116 departures, with most being short-haul flights.

A spokesman for the airport said the cancellations represented 15% of their usual daily total of 1,300 flights going in and out of the airport. 

Frustrated passengers were left in long queues to rebook flights, while others reported having to wait for hours to speak to airline representatives.

The glitch affected flights across Europe, with 1,300 flights, nearly 8% of all traffic in Europe, “severely delayed”, according to Eurocontrol, the European organisation for air navigation safety. 

A spokesman for Nats said last night: “As of 7.30pm we had handled 3,250 flights today – around 90% of the traffic handled last Saturday (3,613 flights).”

In a statement yesterday, Nats apologised for the disruption, saying: “The reduction in capacity has had a disproportionate effect on southern England because it is extremely complex and busy airspace and we sincerely regret inconvenience to our airline customers and their passengers.

To be clear, this is a very complex and sophisticated system with more than a million lines of software.

This is not simply internal telephones, it is the system that controllers use to speak to other ATC agencies both in the UK and Europe and is the biggest system of its kind in Europe. 

This has been a major challenge for our engineering team and for the manufacturer, who has worked closely with us to ensure this complex problem was resolved as quickly as possible while maintaining a safe service.”

http://www.heart.co.uk/cambridge/news/local/stansted-flights-resuming-after-nats-glitch/

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Lydd airport and its wishful thinking: “Lydd Airport to ease UK congestion” !

Lydd airport is getting into the act, in the run up to the interim announcement by the Airports Commission, which is likely to be on 17th December. Lydd is a tiny airport, built in a very remote location on Romney Marsh, close to Dungeness nuclear power station.  The airport has hopes that it will become a “a modern regional airport” and “will help to meet growing demand for airport capacity in the South East, and help ease congestion in the skies.” The first phase of its expansion – the construction of a 294m runway extension, plus a 150m starter extension – is due to start in 2014, allowing the airport to handle 737-type jets. A new terminal building is planned once passenger numbers begin to improve. Approval for the development was won after an eight-year battle for planning permission. It is still being opposed on legal grounds, due to nuclear safety concerns. While the expansion will cost £25 million, the airport owner has already spent £30 million on modernising in the past 10 years. Lydd is currently working on more than 60 pre-commencement conditions, which are expected to be complete in early 2014, at which point the runway contract extension will be put out to tender.
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5 December 2013 (Airport World)

Lydd Airport to ease UK congestion

by Caroline Cook
Lydd       Airport to ease UK congestion

The development of Lydd Airport in Kent, UK, into a modern regional airport will help to meet growing demand for airport capacity in the South East, and help ease congestion in the skies, it says.

Also known as London Ashford Airport, Lydd has underlined its credentials ahead of the Airports Commission’s upcoming interim report.

Lydd location

[Here is a reminder of where Lydd is.  Realistically, though it was admirably suited for quick, short flights across the Channel for a day trip to the French coast, it is not well located to deal with large numbers of air passengers.  AW comment ].   Map 

The airport on Romney Marsh celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2014 and has plans to build its passenger figures up.

Lydd used to be one of the busiest airports in the UK, handling 223,000 passengers in 1958 – 37,000 more than Gatwick.

The first phase of its expansion – the construction of a 294m runway extension, plus a 150m starter extension – is due to commence in 2014, allowing the airport to handle 737-type jets.

A new terminal building is planned once passenger numbers begin to improve.

Approval for the development was won after an eight-year battle for planning permission.

While the expansion will cost £25 million, the airport owner, Lydd Holdings, has already spent £30 million in the past 10 years, modernising facilities and upgrading equipment.

Executive manager, Hani Mutlaq, said: “We have called on the Commission to recognise the important role that smaller regional airports like Lydd can play in helping to meet the need for greater runway capacity.

“While building extra runways at places like Gatwick will be hugely expensive and take many years, making full use of smaller modern airports like us makes a lot of sense.”

Lydd Airport has easy access to the M20 motorway and is located 14 miles from Ashford, which has a high-speed rail link to London St Pancras Station.

European rail connections are available at Ashford via the Eurostar.

Lydd is currently working on more than 60 pre-commencement conditions, which are expected to be complete in early 2014, at which point the runway contract extension will be put out to tender.

http://www.airport-world.com/component/k2/item/3418-lydd-airport-to-ease-uk-congestion

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See more about Lydd airport at 

and news at 

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

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

Surface access recommendations featured in National Infrastructure Plan

4.12.2013 (Airports Commission website)

National Infrastructure Plan 2013

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

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

Welcoming this move, Sir Howard Davies said:

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

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

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

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

The letter is

Surface access letter

PDF, 358KB, 10 pages


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The letter says:

In our interim report we will explore some operational changes which will allow the
nation to make better use of existing airport capacity in the short term. We will also
produce a shortlist of options for additional runway capacity in the longer term, which
we will examine in more detail in the second phase of our work. All of those longer
term options will inevitably take a substantial period of time to plan and build, even if
political consensus in support of our recommendations can be secured. We therefore
face a period, probably of a decade or more, before any significant new
infrastructure can be brought on line to alleviate the capacity constraints facing the
sector.

In the interim there is a strong case for attaching a greater strategic priority to
transport investments which improve surface access to our airports. Surface
transport improvements can encourage more use of airports which currently have
spare capacity, improve the passenger experience, and make airports more
attractive to airlines. Clearly, the needs of other users of the transport network must
be considered, and we have taken them into account in reaching our
recommendations, which in many cases would deliver substantial and wider positive impacts and benefits. However, for the foreseeable future, some greater weight should be placed on the needs of existing airports and their users when taking decisions on transport investment.

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It sets out specific recommendations for  Gatwick, Stansted, Heathrow, Manchester, and Other Airports. 

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On Heathrow specifically, the letter says (in its Annexe):

Heathrow

Heathrow airport is already operating close to its capacity limit and that its ability to open routes to new markets is constrained by that lack of spare capacity. In addition, there are works already in progress, notably Crossrail and Westem Rail Access, which will bring huge improvements to the quality of Heathrow’s surface access.

However, we remain concerned that the proportion of users (particularly workforce) accessing Heathrow using private cars remains high, with consequent implications for air quality around the airport. We therefore think that there is a case for plugging the remaining gaps in the airport’s rail access, which are primarily to the south.

This problem has been recognised before and a proposed remedy was sought through the Airtrack scheme. This would have provided a rail link into the airport from Guildford, Reading and London Waterloo.

However, the scheme was cancelled due to concems over its cost (£673m) and its impact
upon local transport networks, particularly level crossings in a number of towns along the route (some of which would only have been open for a few minutes in each hour). Since then, a separate proposal (Airtrack Lite) has been put forward which attempts to alleviate some of these issues.

We think there is a case to look again at rail access to Heathrow from the South. This may involve revisiting the Airtrack proposal or developing fresh ideas.

Accordingly, in respect of Heathrow, we recommend:

Recommendation 10:

Recognising the importance of encouraging modal shift towards more environmentally sustainable forms of transport at Heathrow, not only for supporting future expansion plans but also for optimising the airport’s operations within its current capacity constraints, the
Government should work with Network Rail to undertake a detailed study to find the best option for enhancing rail access into Heathrow from the south. Initial indications are that up to roughly 15% of Heathrow’s passengers in the London and South East region could benefit from improved Southern Access.

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Our understanding is that this study would require some time to do its work, although its budget would likely be less than £1 m. Its eventual recommendations may have a cost of several £100ms, but a full study will bring a better understanding of the costs and benefits of the options in this area.

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

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An AirportWatch member commented:  “And what would air quality be like with the extra 20 million vehicle journeys per year that a third runway would bring?”

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See also

 

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

Date added: December 5, 2013

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

Click here to view full story…

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

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

Gatwick rail link funding approved

By Andrew Parker (FT)

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

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

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

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

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

 


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Airports Commission welcomes surface transport improvements

Surface access recommendations featured in National Infrastructure Plan

4.12.2013 (Airports Commission website)

National Infrastructure Plan 2013

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

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

Welcoming this move, Sir Howard Davies said:

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

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

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

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

The letter is

Surface access letter

PDF, 358KB, 10 pages


 

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

Annex

 Recommendations on short term surface transport measures 

Gatwick

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Recommendation 1:

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

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Recommendation 2:

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

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Recommendation 3:

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

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Recommendation 4:

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

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Recommendation 5:

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

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

This is reflected in our recommendations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 December 2013 (Gatwick Airport press release)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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see also

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

Date added: December 5, 2013

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

Click here to view full story…

 

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Stansted launches consultation with leading businesses to help attract long-haul carriers

While in 2012 over 92% of Stansted’s passengers were travelling to or from the EU, and only a bit of 7% were to other countries, the airport’s management say they are keen to develop more long haul routes. They are calling on more than 300 businesses from across the East of England to work together to help attract direct long-haul services to the airport.The aim is to demonstrate to airlines that don’t currently use the airport that there is demand for more long haul business destinations from Stansted (apart from the huge majority of leisure trips – which are about 85% of Stansted’s passengers). The study will focus on companies that use long-haul air links but which currently have to travel from other London airports. Stansted says more than 46 million journeys are made each year by people living within Stansted’s catchment area, but only 12m of those flights are actually from the airport itself. Of the remaining 34 million flights, around 6 million involving flying long-haul to and from the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Australasia, and 4.6 m passengers take flights to and from North America. Andrew Harrison, MD of Stansted wants to “make long-haul destinations a reality from Stansted.”
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STANSTED 2012

Total terminal passengers – 16,255,600
Total EU – 15,097,106
Other – 1,158,498
% of total that erre to the EU – 92.3%   (CAA data)

Recent CAA Air Passenger Survey showed Stansted  had only 15% business passengers, and 85% leisure.  (CAA Air Passenger Survey 2013)


 

Stansted: Airport launches consultation with leading businesses to help attract long-haul carriers

Andrew Harrison. managing director at Stansted Airport.

Andrew Harrison. managing director at Stansted Airport.

December 4, 2013  (EADT)

Stansted Airport is calling on businesses from across the East of England to work together to help attract direct long-haul services to the airport.

The airport plans to contact more than 300 of the region’s top companies to develop a detailed picture of their travel requirements which will provide a base of evidence to show airlines the strong demand for business travel within the region and the opportunities that exist to serve these routes from Stansted.

The study will focus on companies that use long-haul air links but which currently have to travel from other London airports.

More than 46 million journeys are made each year by people living within Stansted’s catchment but only 12m of those flights are actually from the airport itself. Of the remaining 34 million flights, around 6 million involving flying long-haul to and from the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Australasia, and 4.6 m passengers take flights to and from North America. [CAA data show which airports there were flights to, from Stansted, in 2012. There were virtually none, other than a handful of charter flights to a few destinations, outside Europe, Israel and North Africa.  Link to CAA data ].

Andrew Harrison, Stansted’s managing director, said: “Businesses tell us again and again that they want Stansted to offer a network of long-haul routes that will connect them with their key customers and markets.

“Stansted serves an economic region that is strong and growing, reflecting the competitiveness of the businesses located here. We need to demonstrate this strength of demand to airlines who are not currently serving Stansted.

“When airlines assess the market for a new route, specific information about the potential customer base is extremely valuable. Stansted should be towards the top of many airlines’ lists for new services and we want to make sure they have detailed information on their potential customers to help them make that decision.

“This study will pinpoint the opportunities for airlines to serve long-haul demand directly from the areas closest to Stansted. Armed with this information, we can work with airlines to bring these services here.

“So we’re calling on businesses in the region to work with us to share information about where they fly to because, together with our £80m investment programme to transform the terminal, this really will make the difference in bringing long-haul services to Stansted.”

Greg Clark, chairman of the London Stansted Cambridge Consortium, said: “The London-Stansted-Cambridge corridor is poised for unprecedented growth over the next decade.

“The mix of highly clustered growth sectors such as life sciences, hi-tech and clean energy desperately need international connectivity to key markets in North America and Asia in order to flourish and compete with global rivals. I urge businesses in the Corridor and the wider region to speak up and help the new team at Stansted Airport build a strong business case to make long-haul destinations a reality from Stansted.”

http://www.eadt.co.uk/business/stansted_airport_launches_consultation_with_leading_businesses_to_help_attract_long_haul_carriers_1_3068681

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