Tel: 020 7248 2227 RSS FeedRSS feed

New 7 year deal between Gatwick and Norwegian, that includes airline’s backing for 2nd runway

Gatwick airport has struck a deal with European low fares airline Norwegian, which includes getting their active support for the airport’s plans to get a 2nd runway. This comes weeks after the CAA agreed that Gatwick can make bespoke commercial arrangements with its airlines. Norwegian is to start low-cost transatlantic services to 3 US airports, using Boeing 787 Dreamliners next summer in addition to an increased European network. It is expected that there will be 3 flights per week to New York after July 2014, and 2 flights per week each to Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale. These may cost as little as £150 one way. The number of destinations served by Norwegian from Gatwick will rise to 33 in 2014 with 6 aircraft based there. This will make Norwegian one of the top 4 airlines at Gatwick during 2014. Low fares to the USA is expected to draw in more passengers. The airline’s CEO said: “Norwegian is very supportive of Gatwick’s runway expansion plan which would mean that the airport could offer even better operating facilities in the future.”
.

 

Landmark deal between Gatwick and Norwegian

28 November 2013  (Travel Weekly)

A “landmark” seven-year commercial deal has been struck between Gatwick and European low fares carrier Norwegian to support the airlines’s expansion plans from the airport – including backing for a second runway.

The agreement comes just weeks after the Civil Aviation Authority proposed to endorse Gatwick’s approach to creating bespoke commercial arrangements between its airlines and the airport.

Norwegian is to start low-cost transatlantic services to New York, Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale using Boeing 787 Dreamliners next summer in addition to an increased European network.

The number of destinations served by the airline from Gatwick will rise to 33 in 2014 with six aircraft based at the airport. This will see Norwegian become one of the top four airlines at the airport next year.

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate described the deal as a “landmark” in Gatwick’s history.

“Four years after the end of the BAA monopoly at Gatwick, this deal marks the start of a new era for passengers bringing more competition to the aviation market,” he said.

“It will mean that passengers travelling with Norwegian will experience even more choice, lower fares and higher customer standards. So this is great news for passengers and UK businesses travelling to Europe and North America.

“This partnership deal also shows the shared vision and commitment both Norwegian and Gatwick have for London and the southeast which is the largest, most exciting and vibrant travel market in the world.

“That commitment extends to Norwegian’s support for Gatwick’s need to build an additional runway by the mid-2020s.”

The airline’s chief executive Bjørn Kjos said: “As one of the fastest growing airlines at the airport, Norwegian will continue offering our passengers at Gatwick an increasing route network and a high quality product at reasonable fares.

“We are particularly excited about the potential to serve long-haul routes, and we have already announced the first three routes from London Gatwick to the US.

“Norwegian is very supportive of Gatwick’s runway expansion plan which would mean that the airport could offer even better operating facilities in the future.”

http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2013/11/28/46180/landmark-deal-between-gatwick-and-norwegian.html

.

.


.

Earlier:

 

Budget airline to start flights from Gatwick to New York next summer

Scandinavian carrier Norwegian launches £149 transatlantic service which Gatwick calls an industry game-changer
  • , transport correspondent (Guardian)
  •  

The promise of low-cost air travel from Britain to the US that died with Laker Airways in the 1980s has been revived with Scandinavian carrier Norwegian starting budget services from Gatwick airport to New York next summer.

Gatwick claimed it was a “game-changing” development in the lucrative transatlantic market. A one-way ticket from London to the Big Apple will start at £149. Norwegian’s services will use the new Boeing Dreamliner which, despite its teething problems with incinerating batteries, is highly valued by airlines for its fuel savings.

Norwegian’s low-cost services will have a degree more comfort than the model pioneered by Ryanair. US-bound passengers will have seat-back entertainment included in their ticket price but will have to pay a further £30 for an extra package that includes meals, a baggage allowance and reserved seating.

Alongside the three services a week to New York starting in July, the airline will start twice-weekly flights to Fort Lauderdale in Florida and to Los Angeles, also for under £200.

The venture recalls the pioneering efforts of the doomed Laker Airways, which briefly blew open the transatlantic aviation market with its low-fares model before going bust in 1982. So far its no-frills emulators have resisted moving into long-haul. Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary has frequently expressed interest but claimed that the economics currently rule out longer low-cost flights.

However, Norwegian’s chief executive, Bjørn Kjos, said that his airline was uniquely placed to succeed through the combination of having already operated a no-frills short-haul model and acquiring the Dreamliner, which should cut fuel bills by at least 20%. Kjos said: “There’s great demand for high-quality flights at a low fare between the UK and the US, particularly to and from London Gatwick, where no other airline currently offers these routes.”

Both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have dropped New York flights from Gatwick after deeming them economically unviable, although the airlines fly to other US leisure destinations from the Sussex airport.

Gatwick, though, believes that the “hub-busting” Boeing 787, a plane that can reach distant destinations despite being smaller than the A380 superjumbo, can transform its role in the long-haul market.

The airport’s chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said: “This is one of the most exciting route developments since Gatwick’s change of ownership four years ago and shows the benefits to passengers of Gatwick competing with Heathrow on routes, price and service.

“Norwegian’s decision to re-establish London Gatwick’s links to strategic destinations in North America gives passengers, once again, real choice about how to get there and, importantly, provide options for affordable travel to popular business and leisure destinations.”

Wingate said it was a “significant industry game-changer” that should shape the thinking of Sir Howard Davies’s airports commission, which is considering where to build extra runways in south-east England. He said: “It points to a future in which more and more long-haul routes will be served by Gatwick.”

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/17/budget-airline-flights-gatwick-new-york-norwegian

.

.

.

.

.

Read more »

Many regional airports doing badly – falling numbers of passengers and falling profits

Many of UK’s regional airports are not doing well – with the sale for only £1 of Prestwick, and the sale of Manston for little more recently.  Over the past 5 years, with the recession, many have seen falling passenger numbers. Paul Kehoe, CEO of Birmingham airport, is quoted as saying nationalising airports (Prestwick and Cardiff) is not the answer. “If you’re nationalising (airports) – then something’s not working. Governments shouldn’t have to interfere.”  A venture capitalist specialising in turnarounds says there are too many airports, and very few UK airports are profitable.  Many of them therefore need to close. While airlines fight for customers, competitively cutting fares, the airports fear this passes the economic pain onto them.  The proliferation of regional airports means that many have overlapping catchment areas, intensifying the scrabble for a limited pool of travellers. Airports have to keep their aeronautical charges low in order to keep airlines, and make little or no profit.  Many regional airports were bought for high prices, and there was undue optimism about their growth – which has not materialised. However, some regional airports within reach of London may be used to increase the south east’s airport capacity.
.

 

Regional airports grounded by drop in prices and traffic

By Jane Wild  (Financial Times)

27.11.2013

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8871a7fc-5680-11e3-8cca-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2m4DbP8XY

When Holyrood completed its takeover of Glasgow Prestwick at the weekend – the second UK airport to be nationalised this year – it highlighted the plight of many regional airports.

Prestwick’s sale by infrastructure investment firm Infratil for just £1 to the Scottish government after a commercial buyer could not be found hammered home how tough conditions are in the airport industry.

But the government’s intervention also illustrated the value of airports to the local economy. Airports typically support thousands of jobs and generate hundreds of millions of pounds of economic activity for their region. As with Prestwick, for many it is a case of airports being too big to fail, and industry experts say others are likely to follow it into government ownership.

Downward trajectory

Number of airport passengers in the 5 years 2008 to 2013 (approx)  - taking each year as the 12 months September to September.

Belfast Internat: – 23.7% 2008 5.3 million 2013 4.0 million.

Belfast City: – 3.3% 2008 2.6 m 2013 2.5 m

Prestwick – 53.3% 2008 2.5m 2013 1.1m

   Aberdeen + 1.6% 2008 3.3m 2013 3.4m

Liverpool – 22.6% 2008 5.4 m 2013 4.2m

    Leeds Bradford + 11.1% 2008 2.9m 2013 3.2m

Manchester – 4.8% 2008 21.5m 2013 20.5m

East Midlands – 25.8% 2008 5.7 m 2013 4.2m

Stansted – 22.9% 2008 22.9 m 2013 17.7m

    London City + 2.4% 2008 3.2 m 2013 3.3 m

    Gatwick – no change 2008 35.1m 2013 35.1m

Southampton – 13.1% 2008 2.0m 2013 1.7m

    Heathrow + 6.5% 2008 67.5m 2013 71.9m

Cardiff – 48.7% 2008 2.0m 2013 1.0m

.

“As in any market-driven economy, there will be some that turn out to be uncompetitive. There will only be relatively few who can rely on rescues from local governments and cash-strapped councils.”

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8871a7fc-5680-11e3-8cca-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2m4DbP8XY

Read more »

Gatwick boss Stewart Wingate says: “It’s between me and Heathrow” for a new runway

Stewart Wingate, the CEO of Gatwick, has said the growing number of new routes and rising passenger traffic at Gatwick are proof the airport is the best place for an extra runway. This comes in the run-up to the anticipated interim report by the Airports Commission, due in mid December, short-listing possible sites for a new runway. Stewart Wingate has said  he will resign if Gatwick is not on the short-list, which it is bound to be. He said: “What I’m offering is a mixture of carriers with low costs, low environmental impact [?] that nobody else can offer.” There are a growing number of long  haul routes from Gatwick, and Gatwick firmly believes that the hub model that suits Heathrow is not necessary for UK aviation. Much of Gatwick’s travel is low cost holiday flights to Europe, which Heathrow does little of. The recent CAA air passenger survey showed that in 2012 Gatwick  had 17.5% of its passengers on business trips (12.6% international) with the remaining 82.5% travelling for leisure purposes. The number of passengers using Gatwick in the first 6 months of 2013 was 2.6% up on 2012.

.

 
In 2012 the number of flights at Gatwick was  240,456 which was -1.7% lower than in 2011. Gatwick had about  34,220,400 passengers in 2012 which was +1.7% more than in 2011.

Gatwick boss: It’s between me and Heathrow

Stewart       Wingate wants a runway

by Marion Dakers
November 27, 2013  (City AM)

GATWICK’S boss yesterday pointed to a growing number of new routes and rising passenger traffic as proof the airport is the best place for an extra runway in the south east of England.

Stewart Wingate is “highly confident” that Gatwick will be on the aviation commission’s shortlist for new capacity next month, repeating yesterday his pledge to resign if the south London airport fails to make the cut.

“I think it’s time people nailed their colours to the mast. What I’m offering is a mixture of carriers with low costs, low environmental impact that nobody else can offer,” he told City A.M.

The airport launched EasyJet’s flights to Moscow in March, while Norwegian plans to base routes to several American cities there next year. Gatwick wants to build a second runway.

“Heathrow were saying last week that we need a hub to get to the US; nothing could be further from the truth,” said Wingate.

Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport by passenger traffic, is lobbying for permission to build a third runway. It claims customers are best served by hub connections at a single site.

Wingate, who thinks Sir Howard Davies’ panel should narrow its shortlist to Gatwick and Heathrow, reckons the west London option will end up costing customers more.

“They can’t serve that low cost market in Europe and people need to start asking Colin Matthews and Heathrow how they intend to serve low cost European markets.

“And Sir Howard Davies, are you going to encumber the next generation with higher fees and higher environmental impact when it’s not necessary?”

His comments came as the airport posted a 10.7 per cent jump in half-year [6 months March to September] turnover to £360.6m, while cost pruning efforts pushed earnings up 14.4 per cent to £196.7m.

Gatwick took 20.8m passengers through its doors in the [6 months March to September] period, up 4.4% on the same time a year ago.

http://www.cityam.com/article/1385516461/gatwick-boss-it-s-between-me-and-heathrow

.

.

GATWICK terminal passengers (CAA data)

http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/80/airport_data/2012Annual/Table_10_3_Terminal_Pax_2002_2012.pdf

(thousands)

2002      29 518
2003      29 893
2004      31 392
2005      32 693
2006      34 080
2007      35 165
2008      34 162
2009      32 361
2010      31 342
2011      33 644
2012      34 219


 

.

Gatwick airport’s website says:

Since 2011, Gatwick attracted new routes to Indonesia, Turkey, Vietnam, China and Russia. We continue to provide connections to closer destinations with new routes to Germany and Iceland recently announced and we have seen growth from some of our established carriers including easyJet and Norwegian Air Shuttle. Gatwick’s improving connections should help to maintain London’s role as a major hub.

  • Gatwick serves more destinations than any other UK Airport (source: OAG data).
  • Around 45 airlines use Gatwick serving approximately 200 destinations. [further up the same page it says 185 destinations]
  • EasyJet is Gatwick’s largest customer; they fly 37% of the total number of passengers at the airport.
  • British Airways is the second largest carrier at Gatwick, accounting for 14% of passenger traffic.

Top ten international destinations 2012/13

  • Malaga
  • Dublin
  • Barcelona
  • Geneva
  • Amsterdam
  • Orlando
  • Faro
  • Dubai
  • Madrid
  • Palma de Mallorca

TOP THREE UK/CHANNEL ISLANDS DESTINATIONS

  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Jersey

and :

“In addition to the major long haul leisure operations of British Airways and Virgin, we are now seeing the emergence of long haul services to the Far East, with the arrival of Vietnam Airlines, Air China, Turkish Airlines, and Garuda Indonesia in May 2014. These complement the existing long haul services provided by, for example, Emirates.”

 

.


 

See also

CAA air passenger survey 2012 confirms low % of passengers on business, and high % of AB and C1 flying

Date added: November 6, 2013

The CAA Air Passenger Survey for 2012 has been published. It covered Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Exeter, Gatwick, Heathrow, London City, Luton, Manchester and Stansted Airports. (Each year it covers a slightly different selection). Over 210,000 departing passengers were questioned. Some of the interesting findings from the survey were: Heathrow had 37% connecting passengers; London City airport had the highest proportion on business, at 54% (down from 63% in 2010); Heathrow had 32.4% on business; Gatwick 17.5%; Manchester 23.9 %; Stansted 15%; Luton 16.1%; Birmingham 22.5%. The survey also looked at the socio-economic group of passengers. In the categories C2, D and E, Heathrow had 19.9%; London City airport 14.6%; Gatwick 26%; Stansted 29.3%; Manchester 43.4%; Luton 28.9%; Birmingham 33% and Bristol 35.3%. By contrast around 45% of the UK population are classed by polling organisations at C2,D+E. For the London airports, the AB group fly a disproportionate amount.

Click here to view full story…

Read more »

Thousands Heathrow of T5 high ceiling light bulbs to be replaced by high-wire artists – as no records kept of agreement on how to maintain them

Heathrow is calling in a team of high-wire artists to replace thousands of out-of-reach light bulbs at Terminal 5. The departure concourse has got progressively darker as bulb after bulb has failed, till now some 60% are blown. No bulbs have been replaced over 5 years, as no safe and effective means had been found of doing so. Now a specialist company using staff hanging off ropes will change all the bulbs for LEDs that should last at least 5 years, over some 4 months. It may cost several million pounds.  T5 has one of the world’s largest controlled-lighting system, with 120,000 light fittings and 2,600 sensors designed to switch off lights when no motion is detected. Heathrow Airport Holdings confirmed that it was taking responsibility for changing the bulbs. All minutes and information relating to discussion with the architects, RSHP, some 8 years ago about the maintenance of the lights had been lost. No record remains of what was agreed then. “No-one can remember how they were supposed to change light bulbs and the manufacturer’s instruction book/ facilities management manual has been lost………”  The architects said the number of bulbs to be changed is more like 1,000 rather than 120,000. 

.

 

 

Heathrow hires high-wire team to change tens of thousands of ‘out of reach’ light bulbs

High-lights: Thousands of bulbs at Terminal 5 need to be replaced Picture: Jeremy Selwyn
By SIMON FREEMAN  (Evening Standard)

25 November 2013

Heathrow Airport is calling in a team of high-wire artists to replace tens of thousands of out-of-reach light bulbs at Terminal 5.

The departures concourse of the futuristic terminal has grown steadily darker since it opened in 2008 as maintenance staff are unable to reach blown bulbs fitted in the high ceiling of the departures concourse.

News website Exaro obtained a copy of an e-mail sent to staff by a senior manager confirming none has been replaced in more than five years.

Vicki O’Brien, head of Heathrow customer service at British Airways, sent an email to staff to say that all the light bulbs are to be changed by high-wire artists.

The project to change the light bulbs will last nearly four months, according to her e-mail. Sources estimated that it will cost several millions pounds.

She wrote: “Since T5 was opened there have always been challenges for Heathrow with replacing blown light bulbs. Various things have been investigated in the past five years (eg gondolas and high-level cherry pickers), but for a number of reasons, none of these was practical or safe.

“The good news is that Heathrow has now identified a safe and robust way to replace all of the light bulbs, and this is high-level rope work carried out by a specialist company.”

The terminal houses the world’s largest controlled-lighting system, with 120,000 light fittings and 2,600 sensors designed to switch off lights when no motion is detected. The aim is to replace bulbs with LEDs (light-emitting diodes) that are expected to last at least five years.

One source said: “Five years on, and they have not been able to change a single light bulb. It is one of the few jobs that can be done without the use of a qualified electrician, and they are going to have to rely on a team from Cirque du Soleil.”

A Heathrow spokesman told Exaro: “The current lighting on the Terminal 5 concourse is being replaced with environmentally friendly LED bulbs that will last for up to five years. Contingency lighting has been used on the concourse while a viable and safe solution of replacing the lights was being agreed.”

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/heathrow-hires-highwire-team-to-change-tens-of-thousands-of-out-of-reach-light-bulbs-8961562.html

.


 

.

Heathrow seeks high-wire walkers to change light bulbs

Heathrow will require high-wire artists to change the light bulbs at Terminal Five which have not been replaced in more than five years

60% of the 120,000 light bulbs at Terminal Five have blown

By  (Telegraph)

25 Nov 2013

Heathrow will be hiring a team of high wire walkers to change the light bulbs that sit 120 feet-high along the ceiling of Terminal Five, after complaints from passengers.

The major bulb replacement task is expected to take nearly four months and cost several million pounds, according to an email sent to staff from Vicki O’Brien, head of Heathrow customer service at British Airways, the news website Exaro reports.

Sixty per cent of the 120,000 light bulbs at Terminal Five have blown yet not a single one has been changed since 2008, faced with “no viable way to replace them”, according to O’Brien.

Various ways of replacing them have been investigated, including gondolas and high-level cherry pickers, none of which were deemed “practical or safe”.

Following months of discussion, the airport has finally found a “safe and robust way to replace all of the light bulbs” using ‘Cirque du Soleil-style’ high-level rope work done by a specialist company.

The airport plans to re-lamp the entire ceiling of the departures concourse with environmentally-friendly LED (light emitting diodes) bulbs that will last up to five years, according to a spokesman for Heathrow.

“Contingency lighting has been used on the concourse while a viable and safe solution of replacing the lights was being agreed,” he said.

The airport is also planning to replace the terminal’s “task lights”, following complaints from staff saying the work lights are not bright enough for viewing documents on their desks.

Heathrow’s Terminal Five currently houses the world’s largest controlled-lighting system, featuring 2,600 sensors designed to automatically switch off when no motion is detected.

Terminal Five’s opening in 2008 was overshadowed by baggage check-in problems, with 34 flights cancelled.

Earlier this year, however, it was named best airport terminal building in the World Airport Awards, organised by Skytrax, an aviation research organisation.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/10472481/Heathrow-seeks-high-wire-walkers-to-change-light-bulbs.html

 

.


.

The architects deny any blame :

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) has rejected claims that it is to blame for an embarrassing maintenance furore at Heathrow’s Terminal 5

http://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/rshp-blames-t5-maintainance-team-for-lighting-fiasco/8656082.article?blocktitle=London&contentID=7920

“….However, the practice said the need for high-wire specialists to replace downlights was a maintenance issue and not a design flaw: ‘The airport were presented with a number of options, which were discussed with them and their maintenance team, and they chose this design.’

A RSHP spokesman said the practice had been in discussion with the airport’s ‘world class maintenance team’ for many years leading up to the terminal’s opening in 2008 and both sides had always been aware of the issue.

The airport’s owners, Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH) confirmed that it was taking responsibility for changing the bulbs but an HAH spokesman claimed all minutes and information relating to discussion with RSHP about the maintenance of the lights had been lost.

‘It was seven or eight years ago that this decision was made and there is no information as to what was agreed at that time,’ said the spokesman.

RSHP also strongly rejected claims in The Daily Mail that 120,000 downlighter bulbs would need to be changed at a height of 40m. ‘Their number is completely fabricated; it is nothing like that and more like under a 1,000 in the roof,’ said the spokesman.”

I guess rapid turnover of personnel means the loss of corporate memory ; no-one can remember how they were supposed to change light bulbs and the manufacturer’s instruction book/ facilities management manual has been lost………

 

 

Read more »

Unresolved issues on noise and NSIP status delay Luton Airport planning application

The planning application for expansion at Luton airport remains unresolved. There was due have been a meeting of the Luton Borough Council Development Control committee to specifically debate the matter on 21st November, but this was cancelled. Two crucial issues remain unresolved. The first is whether the project counts as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (in which case it must be referred to the Secretary of State); the second is an apparent ambiguity on noise levels. Legislation is clear in defining whether an airport expansion project counts as an NSIP: if the work would deliver capability to handle more than an extra 10 million passengers/ year. It appears that the plans would indeed result in the capability to deliver 10 million/year. There is current argument about which set of noise levels in 1999 should be used as the baseline level. Luton Borough Council has postponed the planning meeting and engaged a QC to review the NSIP issue. It may also be the Commissioner for Local Government might issue a holding direction preventing LBC from granting planning permission – even though the application can still go to the committee.
.

 

 

Best laid plans?

 

Two crucial issues lie unresolved at the heart of the process to determine the airport planning application. The first is whether the project counts as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (in which case it must be referred to the Secretary of State); the second is an apparent ambiguity relating to the noise levels applying to the airport.

Legislation is clear in defining whether an airport expansion project counts as an NSIP: if the work would deliver capability to handle more than an extra 10 million passengers per year then the project must be referred to the Secretary of State. In the case of Luton’s expansion project, and based on a capacity report by Leigh Fisher, the airport operators LLAOL argued in their planning application that capacity would not be increased by more than 10 million. Luton Borough Council (LBC) commissioned a report from Chris Smith Aviation Consultancy which appeared to support this view. However, detailed analysis of these reports by experts from the local campaign groups indicates that the development would indeed result in the capability to deliver 10 million extra passengers per year. Hence the application should be treated as an NSIP.

Regarding noise levels, LBC’s local plan LLA1 states that the airport may be developed provided that noise does not exceed 1999 levels. However, there is an  argument over precisely which 1999 levels were intended to act as the benchmark. On the one hand, the application appears to be working on the basis of 1999 levels which were predicted in 1997, whereas campaigners point out that the wording of the policy and planning inspector’s report would indicate that the actual 1999 levels should be used. These were substantially lower due to a change in the mix of the aircraft fleet before 1999. LBC commissioned a noise report from Cole Jarman which acknowledges that the 1999 levels are open to interpretation, but does not explore both options when applying its tests.

The current position is therefore that LBC is being requested to clarify the legal basis for its position on both the above issues, before a planning meeting is called. Largely as a result of assiduous correspondence by Cllr Richard Thake of Herts County Council, Letter_Cllr_Thake_19_11_13_(2)  LBC has postponed the planning meeting and engaged a QC to review the approach in relation to capacity assessment and the provisions of the Planning Act 2008. We also understand from Herts County that the Commissioner for Local Government has exercised his power to issue a holding direction preventing LBC from granting planning permission – even though the application can still go to committee.

At the same time, deficiencies have been identified in the issued planning documents, which need to be corrected. In particular the erroneous statement was made that no submission had been received from the key North Herts District Council in response to the planning application. Also, campaign groups which submitted detailed responses have also pointed out that these were not summarised in an open and democratic way in the planning document, and have requested this to be done.

Watch this space…

http://www.hale.uk.net/category/news/

 


see also

Planning Committee 21 Nov

 

Luton Borough Council has postponed its Development Control Committee which was due to be held on 21st November 2013 at 16:00 in the Council Chamber at Luton Town Hall.

A new date for the meeting has not been announced, but when reconvened the meeting will consider, on planning grounds, the proposals by Luton Airport’s operating company LLAOL for works including alterations to Airport Way, infill extensions and alterations to terminal buildings, extensions to existing mid and long term car parks, a new taxiway and extensions to the existing taxiway and aircraft parking aprons and stands, and a new multi-storey car park linked to the terminal building.

The effect of these works will be to increase the capacity of the airport, and the operator projects that the number of passengers carried per annum will increase from 10 million to 18 million by 2028, with a corresponding 58% increase in flights from 99,000 to 157,000 per year. It foresees a significant increase in flights during the early morning and late evening periods, with a projected doubling of flights between 10pm and midnight and early morning departures starting before 6am. It envisages an almost doubling of the number of dwellings within the ”aircraft noise footprint” day and night.

The “mitigations” proposed by the operators – including so-called caps on numbers of flights – have been shown by independent noise consultants to be likely to have little impact on controlling noise, and more stringent planning controls would be required.

Anyone concerned by these planning proposals, and who wishes to draw to the attention of the Development Control Committee the seriousness of the noise, traffic and pollution impacts of capacity expansion, and the need for stringent controls, may request a 5-minute slot to speak at the meeting.

To register to speak, contact the Development Control Committee Administrator on 01582 546032, or write to them at Luton Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ.

The papers relevant to the meeting can be downloaded from LBC’s website by clicking the following link: Planning meeting papers

.
.
.
.

Earlier:

Luton Airport planning application recommended for consent by Luton Borough Council for 21st November meeting (now postponed)

November 15, 2013

Luton Borough Council’s Development Control Committee will be discussing the application for expansion at Luton airport, at a special meeting on 21st November. The officer recommendation is that they approve the application, with various conditions. One of the conditions is that: “At no time shall the passenger throughput of the airport exceed 18 million passengers per annum unless express consent is obtained from the Local Planning Authority.” It also says: “Before any part of the development hereby permitted is commenced, a day to day noise control scheme shall be submitted to the Local Planning Authority which sets out the proposals for ensuring that individual aircraft noise impact from the Airport’s operation is reduced as far as is practicable in the light of development to facilitate 18 mppa.” ie. a degree of wishful thinking on noise controls. Local campaigners are arguing that the expansion is likely to increase the annual number of passengers by over 10 million. That would mean the application should be a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, which the Planning Act 2008 requires to be decided by the Planning Inspectorate, not the local council.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=18375

 

and more news stories about Luton airport at

 

 

Read more »

Qatar Airways new service between Edinburgh and Doha – and others – avoiding need for connecting flights

A new non-stop flight between Edinburgh Airport and Doha in Qatar is to be launched next year. It will be operated x5 per week by Qatar Airways, which serves more than 100 international destinations from Doha. The 787 Dreamliner aircraft will fly all year round on the route, providing connections to Australian hubs in Perth and Melbourne. It will be the Dreamliner’s first scheduled service from Scotland. Officials at Edinburgh Airport have long wanted to attract a major Middle Eastern carrier to allow them to compete with Glasgow, which provides a twice daily Emirates service to Dubai. There will also be a US Airways route linking Edinburgh with Philadelphia. Scotland’s Transport Minister Keith Brown hailed the move as “excellent news” for the aviation sector and said the new route was “yet more evidence of the strong bonds we are building with Qatar. The direct flights remove the need to use Heathrow for hub connections.  In 2014 Scotland has the Commonwealth Games, and the Ryder Cup and wants to get in more visitors to these, as well as other business and tourists.

.

 

 

20 November 2013 (BBC)

Qatar Airways to launch new service between Edinburgh and Doha

Qatar Airways
The Qatar Airways service will operate five days a week from Edinburgh Airport

Related BBC Stories

A new non-stop flight between Edinburgh Airport and Doha in Qatar is to be launched next year.

The service will be operated five days a week by Qatar Airways, which serves more than 100 international destinations from Doha.

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft will fly all year round on the route, which will provide connections to Australian hubs in Perth and Melbourne.

It will be the Dreamliner’s first scheduled service from Scotland.

Officials at Edinburgh Airport have long wanted to attract a major Middle Eastern carrier to allow them to compete with Glasgow International, which provides a twice daily Emirates service to Dubai.

On Monday it was revealed US Airways is to launch a route linking the capital with Philadelphia.

Richard Oliver, Qatar Airways country manager UK and Ireland, said: “We are pleased to be able to bring our five star service to Edinburgh and look forward to providing new options for Scottish travellers flying to the Middle East and beyond.

“Passengers will benefit from the state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner with Qatar Airways award-winning service.”

Scotland’s Transport Minister Keith Brown hailed the move as “excellent news” for the aviation sector and said the new route was “yet more evidence of the strong bonds we are building with Qatar.

“The Scottish government has worked hard to foster links with the Gulf States, promoting Scotland as a market leader in oil and gas and a great place to do business.

“Direct services make Scotland a more attractive destination for both tourists and businesses by removing the need for extra connecting flights. This not only helps the economy by boosting tourism, but also encourages overseas trade and investment.

“The eyes of the world will turn to Scotland in 2014 with a programme of events that includes the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup and a second Year of Homecoming and we are keen to share these exciting times with our friends around the world.”

‘Real advantage’

Gordon Dewar, Edinburgh Airport’s chief executive, said: “We’ve been promising our friends and partners across the city and the country a Middle Eastern route for a number of years now.

“I am ecstatic to be sharing this news today and would like to thank all for their patience and support.”

He said the announcement was the result of “real understanding and collaboration”.

“I hope that it can continue as I think that it gives our country a real advantage when talking to airlines and making the case for Scotland,” he said.

“We rebranded our airport for a reason. We wanted to reflect our ambition and raise our aspirations.

“We can now say with growing confidence that Edinburgh is where Scotland meets the world.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-25019495

.

and

Qatar Airways to fly to Edinburgh

By Graham Smith
20 Nov 2013 (Buying Business Travel)

Qatar Airways will begin a five-weekly direct service between Doha and Edinburgh from May.

The carrier will deploy a Boeing 787 Dreamliner in a two-cabin configuration, with 22 seats in business class and 232 in economy, on the new route.

Qatar will fly to Edinburgh on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from May 28,

Flight QR 027 will depart Doha at 08.00 and arrive in Edinburgh at 13.15 local time. Return service QR 028 will leave Edinburgh at 14.45 and land in Doha at 23.40 local time.

Edinburgh will be the Qatar’s third UK destination – it currently operates five flights daily to Heathrow and 10 per week to Manchester.

Scottish transport minister Keith Brown said: “This new direct service is excellent news for Scotland’s aviation sector and provides yet more evidence of the strong bonds we are building with Qatar.

“The Scottish government has worked hard to foster links with the Gulf states, promoting Scotland as a market leader in oil and gas and a great place to do business.”

Qatar’s Doha-Edinburgh route, when launched, is set to be the first scheduled Dreamliner service from a Scottish airport.

Charter carrier Thomson Airways flew the Dreamliner from Glasgow to Cancun and Orlando during the summer 2013 season.

US Airways announced earlier this week that it is launching a non-stop daily service between Philadelphia and Edinburgh next summer.

United is also introducing Edinburgh-Chicago services from May 2014.

edinburghairport.com

qatarairways.com

http://buyingbusinesstravel.com/news/2021687-qatar-airways-fly-edinburgh

.

.


 

.

and

18 November 2013

US Airways to offer new service between Edinburgh and Philadelphia

US Airways
US Airways is a major American airline, which has its headquarters in Arizona

A new non-stop flight between Edinburgh and Philadelphia is to be launched by a major airline next year.

The scheduled service will be operated daily by US Airways between May and October. It was welcomed by ministers and tourism chiefs.

They said it was a “timely vote of confidence in Scotland” as it prepares to host the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup in 2014.

A 176-seat dual-class Boeing 757 aircraft will be used on the route.

Gordon Dewar, Edinburgh Airport’s chief executive, said: “This is another great result for Edinburgh.

“Next summer will be a hugely exciting time with the Ryder Cup and Year of Homecoming to look forward to.”

He added: “We’re pleased to be working with US Airways and allowing more American passengers to experience all that Scotland has to offer.

“Scots will also have the chance to visit this amazing city and the added opportunity to travel onwards to destinations like Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Hawaii.

“This is not just an achievement for Edinburgh Airport but for the wider city and we’re delighted to be able to share our success with our partners.”

Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “This announcement will bolster Scotland’s economy by supporting tourism, trade and investment, and also helps to strengthen our enduring relationship with the United States.

“Improving direct routes overseas helps to reduce the need for travellers to make extra connecting flights via London or the continent, making Scotland even more attractive to tourists and businesses.

“We look forward to welcoming visitors from the United States to Scotland in 2014 as the eyes of the world focus on our exciting programme of events which includes the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and a second Year of Homecoming.”

The service will begin on 23 May and run until 1 October.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-24985909

.

.


 

.

12 September 2013 (BBC)

United Airlines to offer new service between Edinburgh and Chicago

The only non-stop flight linking Edinburgh with Chicago has been announced for next summer.

The route will be operated by United Airlines.

It will operate five times weekly from 23 May to 12 June, daily from 13 June to 2 September and four times weekly between 3 September and 6 October.

Flight times will be eight hours 35 minutes westbound and seven hours 45 minutes eastbound.

The Edinburgh-Chicago flight will depart Edinburgh at 10:25, arriving in Chicago at 13:00 the same day.

The return flight will depart Chicago at 18:00, arriving in Edinburgh at 07:45 the following day.

Home town

Bob Schumacher, United Airlines’ managing director sales for the UK and Ireland, said: “Having recently celebrated 15 years of operations in Scotland, we’re delighted to expand our schedule with seasonal non-stop service to Chicago, United’s home town.

“Next year’s Homecoming promotion and Ryder Cup at Gleneagles make it the ideal time to launch these flights, which will offer our customers an increased range of travel choices and opportunities.”

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “By improving direct routes overseas, we can help reduce the need for travellers to make extra connecting flights via London or the continent, support tourism, trade and investment and so further strengthen Scotland’s economy.

“The eyes of the world will be on Scotland in 2014 and, as we host international sporting stars at the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup and celebrate another Year of Homecoming, we hope to welcome visitors from across the world, not least from the United States with whom we share strong and enduring bonds.”

Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, said the new route was “a fantastic validation of Edinburgh and Scotland as a whole”.

He said: “We are delighted to have played our part in developing this route with the other agencies and government departments that make up Team Scotland.

“This collaborative approach works and we look forward to bringing many more international routes to Edinburgh in the coming months.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-24066552

.

.


 

.

and

3 July 2013 (BBC)

New non-stop flight route links Edinburgh with Toronto

The only non-stop flight linking Edinburgh with Canada has been launched.

The route between the Scottish capital and Toronto is being operated by Air Canada rouge.

The airline will operate three flights a week and the new route will add to the £83m spend which Canadian tourists already generate for the Scottish economy.

It has been welcomed by VisitScotland Chairman, Mike Cantlay.

As the first flight from Canada arrived in Scotland, he said: “The launch of this new direct route is an amazing moment for Edinburgh in what has been a long and important relationship between Canada and Scotland. With this new direct route another part of the network jigsaw is complete.

“Canadians have always had a strong affiliation with our country and, as we prepare to welcome the world with Homecoming, the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup in 2014, the timing of this new service is perfect.”

Air Canada rouge is the new budget leisure subsidiary from Air Canada and operates a fleet of Boeing 767-300ER and Airbus 319 aircraft.

Michael Friisdahl, president and chief executive officer of Air Canada rouge, said: “We are excited to launch this new route between Toronto and Edinburgh, which marks one of our first three flights from Canada to Europe.”

Trade links

Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Air Canada to Edinburgh Airport and we are sure they’ll have a very successful summer. This new direct service from Toronto to Edinburgh is yet another example of how we listen to our customers and work hard to ensure they have the best choice of routes possible.

Toronto's skylineThe new route links Edinburgh with Canada’s largest city, Toronto

“Edinburgh Airport is where Scotland meets the world and it’s hugely exciting to now offer a direct service to Canada which I’m sure our Canadian and Scottish passengers will take full advantage of. Toronto is an important international hub for us and this new route will allow us to establish and maintain crucial trade links for both economies.”

VisitScotland markets Scotland extensively to Canadians and has operated sales missions to Toronto and Montreal. A recent competition saw 4,500 Canadians entering to win a dream trip to Scotland.

In September, VisitScotland will be taking part in Destination Britain North America in Las Vegas. Organised by VisitBritain, the event will see VisitScotland staff meeting with Canadian and American tour operators, promoting exciting Scottish events such as the Year of Natural Scotland, Homecoming 2014, the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

Tourism is of crucial importance to the Scotland. The industry employs 270,000 people in 20,000 businesses and contributes £11 billion annually to the economy. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.

Canada is one of Scotland’s largest international visitor markets, with more than 100,000 visits made in 2011.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-23169109

.

.

.

 

.

 

Read more »

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

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

 

 

SSE takes battle with Airports Commission to High Court over Stansted ‘bias’

Written by COURT REPORTER (Herts and Essex Observer)

22.11.2013

 
STOP Stansted Expansion today (Friday, November 22) launched a High Court bid to force the Airports Commission to revise its work on the future of aviation expansion in the UK.The campaigners went to London to ask Mrs Justice Patterson to order Sir Howard Davies’ team to re-determine its so-called “sift criteria” for assessing growth options.SSE claims that original determination in May this year was infected by apparent bias because a then member of the panel worked for the owners of Stansted.

The claim centres on the role that Geoff Muirhead, former chief executive of the Manchester Airports Group (MAG), played in the panel which considered the sift criteria. Those findings will ultimately guide the commission in its final decision on where any new runways in the UK should be built.

Although Mr Muirhead retired as chief executive in October 2010, and MAG only bought Stansted after he was appointed to the commission in November 2012, the group says he was still working as an ambassador for £75,000 a year when he sat on the panel. And, although he resigned from the commission in September, Paul Stinchcombe QC argued today that this was too late to save the sift criteria proceedings.

He continued: “Mr Muirhead had tainted and was continuing to taint the activities and decisions of the commission by reason of apparent bias.”

He claimed that, despite the group bringing this to the attention of the commission and the Secretary of State for Transport, for almost eight months they “resolutely refused to take any action” and allowed Mr Muirhead to remain on the five-man commission.

He said that the sift criteria “set the direction of travel” for the commission and appeared “very strongly to favour the expansion of Stansted”. This he added, would be to the potential considerable advantage of MAG.

MAG has submitted two proposals to the commission – a two runway option and a four runway hub airport which he said “would make Stansted the largest airport in the world”.

Since Mr Muirhead stood down in September, in the wake of pre-action letters from the group, Mr Stinchcombe said that the commission and the Secretary of State have refused to comply with requests from the group to look afresh at the sift criteria.

He continued: “They did so notwithstanding that the replies to the pre-application protocol letters confirmed, for the first time, that Mr Muirhead had participated in their determination; and notwithstanding that we now know that, when the commission determined the sift criteria, Mr Muirhead was aware, or ought to have been aware, of proposals for the significant expansion of Stansted.”

The challenge is being brought by Peter Sanders, pictured, and Brian Ross, SSE’s chairman and economics advisor respectivly.

Mr Stinchcombe explained: “One of the main difficulties associated with expanding Stansted beyond its existing runway is that this would have very serious landscape and cultural heritage impacts, far more so than in respect of the expansion of any other airport location.”

The commission maintains that Mr Muirhead’s resignation preceded any evaluation by it of the proposal for the expansion of Stansted and that a fair-minded and informed observer with knowledge of the circumstances would not have concerns that there was a real possibility of bias.

It says that the claim is far too late to challenge consideration of the sift criteria in May and that the contention that consideration was infected by apparent bias is “fundamentally flawed”. It says that in the pre-action correspondence, the group had sought Mr Muirhead’s resignation and therefore its main objective had been achieved.

The judge is to reserve her decision in order to give it in writing at a later date.

http://www.hertsandessexobserver.co.uk/News/Uttlesford/SSE-takes-battle-with-Airports-Commission-to-High-Court-over-Stansted-bias-20131122124203.htm

.

There was much debate between the legal teams on the concept of what the “fair minded individual” would think, whether any bias might have an “operational effect”, and of the precautionary principle.

.


 

.

see also

 

Stop Stansted Expansion in Airports Commission High Court ruling call

22.11.2013 (BBC)

Geoff Muirhead was a former chief executive at Manchester Airports Group, owners of Stansted Airport
Geoff Muirhead was a former chief executive at Manchester Airports Group

Criteria underpinning decisions over new runways are “infected by apparent bias”, a campaign group claims.

The Airports Commission was set up in 2012 to examine runway capacity and future “connectivity needs”.

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) claims a former commissioner had a conflict of interest and says the High Court should delay any publication of options.

The Department for Transport denies claims of bias and said “decisions taken to date are robust”.

At the High Court in London, Mrs Justice Patterson said she will make a decision on the matter in writing at a later date.

The campaign group’s claims centre on the role of Geoff Muirhead, who is a former former chief executive of Manchester Airports Group (MAG), the owners of Stansted since February.

In September, he stepped down as one of the five commissioners appointed by the Commission after SSE warned Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin they would take legal action if he stayed.

SSE claims he retired as MAG’s chief executive after 22 years with the group but was then immediately reappointed as “a highly paid ambassador to MAG, a role he continued to fulfil even after he was appointed to the Airports Commission”.

Stop Stansted Expansion campaign
Stop Stansted Expansion wants publication of any option shortlists delayed

‘Acted properly’

Brian Ross, SSE’s economics adviser, said: “With proposals on the table from MAG to make Stansted the world’s busiest airport with four runways handling up to 160 million passengers a year, there is far too much at stake to allow the issue of apparent bias to go unchallenged.

“For almost a year, Mr Muirhead was allowed to play a pivotal role on the commission as its only commissioner with first hand knowledge and experience of the aviation industry.”

Mr Ross said it was not enough simply to remove Mr Muirhead from the Commission.

SSE wants the High Court to order the commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, “to re-visit certain key decisions made by the Commission during the time that Mr Muirhead was involved”.

The Department for Transport maintain that Mr Muirhead “acted properly” at the commission but stood down to “avoid any perception of a potential conflict of interest”.

A DfT spokesman said: “Both the department and Sir Howard agree that there is no evidence whatsoever of bias and the Airports Commission is content that decisions taken to date are robust.”

An Airports Commission spokesman rejected SSE’s claims and described its processes to date as “appropriate and robust”.

The spokesman said its selection criteria “were informed by public consultation and incorporate a wide range of environmental, economic and social factors – including local environmental issues such as impacts on landscape and the built heritage.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-25050344

.

.


 

.

Earlier:

 

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

October 15, 2013

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

 

.

and

.

 

Stop Stansted Expansion calls time on Airports Commission and DfT with High Court challenge on 14th October

October 13, 2013

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has called time on the Airports Commission and the Secretary of State for Transport and on 14th October will file a Judicial Review application to ensure fairness in determining the way forward on the issue of aviation capacity. Specifically, SSE will be asking the High Court to order the Commission to re-determine the ‘sift criteria’ (in effect the selection criteria) for assessing airport expansion options and to delay the publication of any shortlist of options until the sift criteria have been re-determined. SSE’s legal challenge is on the grounds of apparent bias and concerns the role played by Mr Geoff Muirhead, one of five commissioners appointed to the Airports Commission last year. Mr Muirhead resigned from the Airports Commission three weeks ago, after an initial intervention by SSE’s lawyers. Details will be available from 12 noon on 14th October. Brian Ross, from SSE, said: “With proposals on the table from MAG to make Stansted the world’s busiest airport with four runways handling up to 160 million passengers a year, there is far too much at stake to allow the issue of apparent bias to go unchallenged.”

Click here to view full story…

 

Read more »

European Commission approves state aid for the construction of French airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes

There are plans for a new airport for Nantes, in western France, to be built some 12 miles to the north of the town, at Notre Dame des Landes. The new airport has been fiercely opposed. The proponents of the new airport claim the existing one is now full, with over 3.5 million passengers, and planes over-fly Nantes. The European Commission has decided that it is suitable to give a public subsidy of €150 million to the company to develop the new airport, Société Aéroports du Grand Ouest. The EC says this is compatible with the EU rules on State aid, and they say it will help improve regional connectivity and links with the rest of the EU, without unduly distorting competition in the internal market. This appears to be a very bad decision on the use of public money. The Commission seems to have believed everything it has been told by the authorities who want to build the airport. There is, in reality, no congestion at the existing airport and the economic benefits were hotly challenged in a report by CE Delft, commissioned by the local campaign. It is also worrying that the Commission is agreeing to State Aid for an airport in what is generally quite a wealthy area.
.

 

State aid: Commission approves aid for the construction of French airport Notre-Dame-des-Landes

Brussels.

20.11.2013 (Europa)

The European Commission considers that the public subsidy granted by France to Société Aéroports du Grand Ouest, a company situated in Nantes in western France, for the construction of the Notre-Dame-des-Landes Airport, is compatible with the EU rules on State aid. The project will help improve regional connectivity without unduly distorting competition in the internal market.

The Aéroport du Grand Ouest project will relocate Nantes Atlantique Airport, situated near the city of Nantes, to the site of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, a little over 20 km to the north of Nantes. The main aim of the project is to meet regional development requirements and to resolve the congestion problem at the existing airport. Following the tender procedure, the contract for implementing the project was awarded to Société Aéroports du Grand Ouest, a subsidiary of the Vinci group.

The French authorities notified a subsidy of EUR €150 million to the Commission in July 2013. The Commission assessed the measure in the light of the EU guidelines for State aid in the aviation sector, adopted in 2005. The investigation carried out by the Commission showed that the infrastructure project helped achieve an objective of common interest by tackling the congestion of the existing infrastructure. Furthermore, the French authorities presented a business plan for the project, which showed that the public subsidy was necessary to implement the project and in proportion to the objective pursued.

The assessment of the measure in question in accordance with State aid legislation is without prejudice to the procedure currently under way to ensure that the project complies with European environmental law.

nantes airport

Current airport some 3 miles south west of Nantes. Proposed site of new airport at Notre Dame des Landes, some 12 miles north west.

Background

Nantes Atlantique Airport is located some ten kilometres from the city of Nantes. Over the last five years its passenger traffic has risen by 40%, reaching a total of 3 631 693 passengers in 2012, compared with the airport’s estimated annual capacity of 3 500 000 passengers. The nearest airports (Rennes, Angers, Vannes) are mainly national in scope and/or do not allow for the development of aeronautical infrastructure.

Certain regions are hampered by poor accessibility from the rest of the European Union, and the major hubs are facing increasing levels of congestion. Regional airports play an important role in ensuring the accessibility of Europe’s regions. Against this backdrop, the Commission’s aim is to establish more equitable conditions of competition in the aviation sector, while at the same time allowing regional authorities to meet accessibility and transport needs. The application of State aid rules to the aviation sector is part of the Commission’s efforts to improve the competitiveness and growth potential of the European Union air transport sector. The European Commission has launched a procedure to revise the current rules (seeIP/13/644).

Today’s decision concerns one of around 60 on-going cases in the aviation sector relating to the financing of airport infrastructure and operations and airport/airline agreements.

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.37125 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website, once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

New publications of State aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News.

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-1125_en.htm

Nantes area map airports

Map showing location of airports in the area from http://www.mapsofworld.com/international-airports/europe/france.html

.

.


.

Earlier:

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

18.9.2013Under the European Commission, state aid is granted to various sectors of the economy. However, a key issue is the impact it has on distorting the market, and giving an unfair advantage to those companies or organisations receiving it. Airports and airlines are one sector that receives large amounts of state aid through the EC. The Commission’s DG Competition is tasked with overseeing state aid. There have been earlier sets of guidelines on state aid to airports and airlines, but there is a current consultation – due to end on 25th September (which may be extended). The exact amount of state aid given to the aviation sector is somewhat shady, but is at least €3 billion, for those subsidies that are fully notified.There have been widely publicised cases, such as that of Ryanair at Charleroi airport. Transport & Environment have produced an easy-to-read briefing on the state aid situation, and people are urged to respond to the consultation. The state aid gives the aviation industry unmerited subsidy, and helps to encourage very high carbon travel.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=17424

.

and

.

Economist: Proposed EU rules on state aid aim to stem the flow of money from taxpayers’ pockets to Ryanair

18.10.2013Article in the Economist gives a useful set of insights into airport subsidies at small airports across Europe, which are now due to be reduced after consultation. The Economist says Europe has over 450 airports, mostly small and loss-making. About 85% are publicly owned. Local politicians’ enthusiastic sponsorship of airports, to boost regional economies, has in turn contributed to the rapid growth of low-cost airlines, since the airports have used their subsidies to offer cheap landing fees and other sweeteners to persuade the cheap carriers to fly there.  Ryanair is the sole or dominant carrier at many of the airports under investigation, and has been getting effective subsidies of as much as €11 per passenger. There may be as much as €3 billion of taxpayers’ money given in EU-approved aid to small airports each year, and more that is not sanctioned.  EU laws ban state aid if it seriously distorts markets and though there have been many investigations into this, none has yet reached a conclusion. Some smaller airports will find it hard to pay Ryanair and other budget airlines enough to keep them flying there. With tighter rules, some of the 80-odd European airports with under 1m passengers will be at risk of closing.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=18014

.

.

and

Bankrupt Alitalia to get € millions of state aid from Italy’s state postal service

10.10.2013

The near-bankrupt Italian airline Alitalia is to receive an emergency capital injection from Italy’s state-owned post office. Italy’s government did not say how much Poste Italiane SpA, the Italian postal service, would be investing – but it might be up to €100 million.  The Italian government hope the link between  Poste Italiane and Alitalia would lead to a synergy of logistics, in passengers and cargo.  Italy’s civil aviation authority had warned just hours earlier that the airline risked being grounded if new financing was not found urgently. Alitalia needs some €455 million to stay afloat. The Italian government justified what amounted to state intervention saying Alitalia was considered a national asset.   It filed for bankruptcy in August, as high staff costs, industrial relations issues and surging oil prices further dented its finances. It is being suggested that Alitalia might be able to merge with Air France-KLM to help get it out of its financial problems. Alitalia went bankrupt in 2008, and was re-launched in 2009.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=17904

.

 

 

Read more »

“Let Britain Fly” taken to task for exaggerating and wrongly claiming London’s economy is being damaged by any lack of runway capacity

In a blog, John Stewart pours some cold water on the infant “Let Britain Fly” campaign launched today.  Its proud parent, London First, surrounded by a glittering array of big names from the business world, overdid the hyperbole.  Baroness Jo Valentine, chief executive of London First, said that it was not acceptable for politicians “to dither” over new runways “and let our economy wither.”   She even went on to ask somewhat over-dramatically, “Do we really want to become an also-ran in the global race?” Baroness Valentine must know this is exaggeration, even scaremongering. Whatever the pros and cons of expansion in the longer term, the facts are clear: there is no rush for a decision to be taken.  The DfT has said that there is enough spare runway capacity in London and the South East until nearly 2030.  And survey after survey shows that London remains the top city for business in Europe because of its unparalleled air connections to the rest of the world.  Let Britain Fly – and London First – will lose credibility if they continue to exaggerate the urgency of the need for expansion. Giving the impression that London’s economy is in crisis because of a lack of runways is simply not true.
.

 

19/11/2013

Hype and exaggeration mark the birth of Let Britain Fly

Blog on Let Britain Fly, By John Stewart

Let Britain Fly had a difficult birth today.  Its proud parent, London First, surrounded by a glittering array of big names from the business world, overdid the hyperbole.  Baroness Jo Valentine, chief executive of London First, said that it was not acceptable for politicians “to dither” over new runways “and let our economy wither.”   She even went on to ask somewhat over-dramatically, “Do we really want to become an also-ran in the global race?”

Baroness Valentine must know this is exaggeration, even scaremongering.  Whatever the pros and cons of expansion in the longer term, the facts are clear: there is no rush for a decision to be taken.  The Department for Transport has said that there is enough spare runway capacity in London and the South East until nearly 2030.  And survey after survey shows that London remains the top city for business in Europe because of its unparalleled air connections to the rest of the world.

The annual, and influential, survey, carried out by global property consultants Cushman & Wakefield, The European Cities Monitor rates London the top city in which to do business in Europe.  In 2011, it found London topped the league for the 22nd year out of 22.Cushman & Wakefield commented: “London is still ranked – by some distance from its closest competitors – as the leading city in which to do business. Paris and Frankfurt remain in second and third place respectively.”  The survey found London owes its position to its excellent links to the rest of the world. It has the best external transport, best internal transport and top telecommunications.  The 2012 survey produced the same result.

Despite the alleged “dithering” more passengers fly in and out of London than any other city in the world.  Paris, its nearest European competitor, is in 5th place.

There is a genuine debate to be had about future airport capacity but Let Britain Fly – and its parent body London First – will lose credibility if it continues to exaggerate the urgency of the need for expansion.

London First and its backers also face another challenge. It is easy for London to make general calls for airport expansion without exploring its impacts on local communities.

We hear the obligatory words that the needs of local residents must not be overlooked.   But it has never publically faced up to the question: is there any occasion when the environmental and social impacts of expansion at any particular airport are so unacceptable that expansion should be ruled out, whatever the economic benefits?  It needs to do so if it is to engage fully in the debate.

Let Britain Fly will have a gilded childhood.  £500,000 is going to be spent over the next two years.  But its parent body and supporters need to get over the excitement of its birth, calm down and stop giving the impression that London’s economy is in crisis because of a lack of runways.  It is simply not true.

.


.

Campaign – ‘Let Britain Fly’ – launched by London First, calls for urgent action to increase airport capacity

Date added: November 20, 2013

On 10th October, business lobby group London First announced it would be launching a new campaign called “Let Britain Fly”. It has now had its blast of publicity, with a splurge of media coverage. The campaign will cost £250,000 and London First is seeking £25,000 each from businesses, trade unions and London boroughs to fund it. They have got a number of Britain’s large companies, including Aberdeen Asset Management, Land Securities, Lloyds Banking Group, Next, Associated British Foods, WPP and many others to sign up. They want a new runway built somewhere, complaing the UK has not built a new one in the south east for 70 years. They want politicians of all parties to agree on the principle that airport capacity must be expanded in the South East “to ensure Britain remains competitive”. They want there to be no delays in getting a new runway built. The campaign stems from the questionable belief that airport capacity constraints threaten “to hamper the UK’s success as a global business centre and at the same time the ability to forge a lasting economic recovery”.

Click here to view full story…

 

.


.

Business leaders demand action on airport expansion

Virgin founder, Sir Richard Branson, believes that delays mean ‘airlines, the public and the economy are all suffering’
19 November 2013
 

Business leaders and senior backbenchers have lambasted politicians past and present for failing to expand airport capacity in South East England.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin empire, said: “While MPs from all parties kick airport capacity around like a political football, airlines, the public and the economy are all suffering.

“The UK can’t afford any more wasted opportunities. It must make sure that any solution is just that – a solution to the UK’s chronic capacity shortage, not an expensive, politically expedient white elephant.

Louise Ellman, chair of the Transport Select Committee, told The Independent: “Over past years, governments have failed to actually take a decision. They might have said what they thought should happen, but it’s never actually gone ahead. Time is now running out. If we don’t do something about expanding our hub capacity, our rivals will continue to expand to our detriment.”

The criticisms were made at the launch of a pro-expansion campaign funded by UK industry, called “Let Britain Fly”. More than 100 business leaders are demanding that the next government acts on the recommendations of the Airport Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies.

Interim proposals are due in December, with the full Davies Commission report expected shortly after the 2015 general election. Sir Howard has already indicated that his commission will favour at least one additional runway, but no political party has agreed to be bound by his recommendations.

John Allan, chairman of Dixons Retail, said “For too long, this issue has been placed in the ‘too difficult’ box. We can’t afford to be gifted amateurs in the world economy – we’ve got to become more professional. We need to come together on this issue and forge a cross-party agreement.”

Graham Brady MP, chairman of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee, said: “I meet business people in all parts of the north of England who are ‘muddling through’ by hubbing at airports on the Continent. I’d rather they were changing planes in London rather than in then Holland or Germany or Paris.”

But anti-expansion campaigners accused the new campaign of lacking focus. John Stewart of HACAN Clear Skies, which opposes a third runway at Heathrow, said: “It is too easy simply to make general calls for airport expansion without exploring its impacts on local communities. Let Britain Fly needs to do this if it is to become a serious player in the debate.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/business-leaders-demand-action-on-airport-expansion-8950427.html

.

.

 

 

 

Read more »

Campaign – ‘Let Britain Fly’ – launched by London First, calls for urgent action to increase airport capacity

On 10th October, business lobby group London First announced it would be launching a new campaign called “Let  Britain Fly”.  It has now had its blast of publicity, with a splurge of media coverage. The campaign will cost £250,000 and London First is seeking £25,000 each from businesses, trade unions and London boroughs to fund it. They have  got a number of Britain’s large companies, including Aberdeen Asset Management, Land Securities, Lloyds Banking Group, Next, Associated British Foods, WPP and many others to sign up. They want a new runway built somewhere, complaing the UK has not built a new one in the south east for 70 years. They want politicians of all parties to agree on the principle that airport capacity must be expanded in the South East “to ensure Britain remains competitive”. They want there to be no delays in getting a new runway built. The campaign stems from the questionable belief that airport capacity constraints threaten “to hamper the UK’s success as a global business centre and at the same time the ability to forge a lasting economic recovery”.
.

 

Expand Britain’s airports, top businesses urge

Leading British companies back a new campaign – ‘Let Britain Fly’ – calling for urgent action to increase airport capacity

Anti-austerity strikes cause flight cancellations

More than 100 businesses are backing a new campaign urging action on airport capacity. 
By , Leisure and Transport Correspondent (Telegraph)

19 Nov 2013

More than 100 of Britain’s leading companies, including Aberdeen Asset Management, Land Securities, Lloyds Banking Group and WPP on Tuesday joined forces to call for an end to almost 70 years of inertia over airport capacity in Britain.

A new campaign urging politicians to secure Britain’s future as a global business centre has attracted support from some of the biggest names in the City, including Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP, Rupert Soames of Aggreko, George Weston of Associated British Foods and Next chief executive Lord Wolfson.

The “Let Britain Fly” campaign will mark a significant development in the debate over new runways in the South East, which has so far been dominated by airports, airlines and business lobby groups.

While the campaign will stop short of backing a single solution, members hope politicians from across the spectrum will agree on the principle that airport capacity must be expanded in the South East to ensure Britain remains competitive.

A government-appointed commission examining where new runways should be built will not deliver its final recommendations until 2015, but it is understood business leaders are keen to avoid further delays which could be caused by a lack of political consensus.

In an article for The Telegraph ahead of today’s campaign launch, Sir Martin says capacity constraints threaten “to hamper the UK’s success as a global business centre and at the same time the ability to forge a lasting economic recovery”.

He adds: “We live in a world where connectivity is key – not only in digital but also in physical terms. This means we urgently need MPs to put our long-term national interest ahead of short-term politics”.

The campaign comes as Sir Howard Davies, chairman of the Airports Commission, prepares to publish a shortlist next month of the potential sites where extra runways, or even a brand new airport, could be built.

Britain has not opened a new full-length runway since the Second World War.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/10458373/Expand-Britains-airports-top-businesses-urge.html

.

The list of their signatories is at http://letbritainfly.com/our-signatories/


.

19/11/2013

Hype and exaggeration mark the birth of Let Britain Fly

Blog on Let Britain Fly, By John Stewart

 

Let Britain Fly had a difficult birth today.  Its proud parent, London First, surrounded by a glittering array of big names from the business world, overdid the hyperbole.  Baroness Jo Valentine, chief executive of London First, said that it was not acceptable for politicians “to dither” over new runways “and let our economy wither.”   She even went on to ask somewhat over-dramatically, “Do we really want to become an also-ran in the global race?”

Baroness Valentine must know this is exaggeration, even scaremongering.  Whatever the pros and cons of expansion in the longer term, the facts are clear: there is no rush for a decision to be taken.  The Department for Transport has said that there is enough spare runway capacity in London and the South East until nearly 2030.  And survey after survey shows that London remains the top city for business in Europe because of its unparalleled air connections to the rest of the world.

The annual, and influential, survey, carried out by global property consultants Cushman & Wakefield, The European Cities Monitor rates London the top city in which to do business in Europe.  In 2011, it found London topped the league for the 22nd year out of 22. Cushman & Wakefield commented: “London is still ranked – by some distance from its closest competitors – as the leading city in which to do business. Paris and Frankfurt remain in second and third place respectively.”  The survey found London owes its position to its excellent links to the rest of the world. It has the best external transport, best internal transport and top telecommunications.  The 2012 survey produced the same result.

Despite the alleged “dithering” more passengers fly in and out of London than any other city in the world.  Paris, its nearest European competitor, is in 5th place.

There is a genuine debate to be had about future airport capacity but Let Britain Fly – and his parent body London First – will lose credibility if it continues to exaggerate the urgency of the need for expansion.

London First and its backers also face another challenge. It is easy for London to make general calls for airport expansion without exploring its impacts on local communities.  We hear the obligatory words that the needs of local residents must not be overlooked.   But it has never publically faced up to the question: is there any occasion when the environmental and social impacts of expansion at any particular airport are so unacceptable that expansion should be ruled out, whatever the economic benefits?  It needs to do so if it is to engage fully in the debate.

Let Britain Fly will have a gilded childhood.  £500,000 is going to be spent over the next two years.  But its parent body and supporters need to get over the excitement of its birth, calm down and stop giving the impression that London’s economy is in crisis because of a lack of runways.  It is simply not true.

.


.

The “Let Britain Fly” campaign wrote to hundreds/thousands of people today to say:

http://letbritainfly.com

The Let Britain Fly founding statement has been signed by over 100 business leaders from Britain’s top companies, along with organisations including the British Chambers of Commerce, British Hospitality Association, Federation of Small Businesses, Institute of Directors, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and London First – you can view the full list and the statement on the website: http://letbritainfly.com

Let Britain Fly has successfully renewed the debate on how we secure Britain’s aviation future. It has received coverage in the FT, The Telegraph, BBC News online and ITV News, whilst figures including Sir Richard Branson, Sir Rod Eddington, Sir George Iacobescu and Sir Martin Sorrell have all written articles of support. Finally, the campaign has tonight been endorsed by a leader comment in the Evening Standard.

Whilst we are pleased with the coverage today, the launch of Let Britain Fly is merely the start of a programme of activity. Throughout this Parliament, in the run-up to the 2015 General Election and beyond, we will work hard to keep this issue at the top of the political agenda and maintain the pressure on our politicians to act in the national interest and take swift action to modernise our airports’ infrastructure.

With this in mind we hope you will join and support us in the coming months and years.

Gavin Hayes

Campaign Director, Let Britain Fly

c/o London First
3 Whitcomb Street, London WC2H 7HA
D: 020 7665 1435 T: 020 7665 1500 F: 020 7665 1537
gavin@letbritainfly.com  www.letbritainfly.com
Twitter: @LetBritainFly

 

.


.

Director, Gavin Hayes.

He has an interesting background. He joined London First on the 29th July as their Aviation Campaigns Director. He joined from a job as General Secretary of Compass, a left/green pressure group within the Labour Party. He’s a member of the Labour Party. He was formerly with an organisation called Policy Review Intelligence which seems to have been critical of the banking crises. Looking at his tweets on twitter, he is clearly a man of the left. Does all this mean, I wonder, if the main target of the London First campaign is Labour?

.


 

.

Earlier

London First getting businesses to fund campaign “Let Britain Fly” to press for airport expansion

10.10.2013London businesses are to fund a major campaign for airport expansion after Sir Howard Davies said the Airports Commission provisionally is backing new runways in the South-East. Business group London First will put pressure on the main political parties to heed the Commissions’s recommendations when published after the 2015 election. The “Let Britain Fly” campaign will cost £250,000 and London First is seeking £25,000 each from businesses, trade unions and London boroughs. The cash will be used to fund academic studies and advertising. The lobby group insists it will not campaign in favour of one particular airport. It believes extra flights can be put on at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick  in the next five years regardless of the outcome of a decision on runways. The City of London Corporation is set to contribute to the campaign, with Canary Wharf Group, Sir Robert McAlpine, the Berkeley Group, John Lewis and Segro also committed. “London First” is an aggressively pro-growth lobby organisation, whose stated mission is to “make London the best city in the world in which to do business.”http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=2653..


 

.

Their “founding statement” says:

Founding statement

Access to high quality international air travel is vital to attract new business to Britain and for the success of the wider economy. Yet unless action is taken in the near future to modernise our airport infrastructure our capital city could face an air capacity crunch. London Heathrow has been full for over a decade, whilst all of the capital’s airports, including Gatwick and Stansted are forecast to be full by the mid-2020s.Historically as a country we have always forged strong global connections and been at the forefront of harnessing the dynamism of new economies. For the last three centuries or more Britain has been home to the busiest port or airport, infrastructure that has played a strategic role in making us the economic power we are today.Now more than ever Britain’s economic competitiveness demands greater international connectivity. While trade patterns are dominated by traditional partners, global economic growth is increasingly being driven by emerging markets. Easy access to developing and developed markets is a key to boosting growth and creating jobs. Yet our capital city is already at a competitive disadvantage with fewer weekly flights than its European rivals to seven of the eight growth economies identified by the IMF. Over 20 emerging market destinations are served by daily flights from other European cities but not from London. Britain is quickly falling behind.If our economy is to flourish in the future it is vital we continue to be one of the best connected countries in the world. This is why we believe Britain remaining Europe’s most important aviation hub is of strategic national importance. If our politicians fail to act there is a real risk that our economy will lose its competitive edge. Aviation policy should form part of a wider transport and infrastructure plan which reconciles different economic priorities across Britain, with modernised aviation and transport infrastructure contributing to economic growth in all parts of the country.Whilst we support the Airports Commission in coming up with a sensible aviation policy, we have concerns that unless its solutions win cross-party support, the growing economic cost of deferring a strategy to deliver new runways – which is costing our economy billions in trade and investment every year – will not be halted.Our ask of politicians

Before the next general election we urge the three main party leaders to immediately acknowledge the need for more air capacity, commit to finding a cross-party solution to modernise our airport infrastructure; and in their manifestos commit to be guided by what the Airports Commission recommends for the long-term; pledging to maintain, protect and enhance Britain’s status as a global aviation hub.

It’s time to Let Britain Fly.

http://letbritainfly.com/founding-statement/

.


.

Media coverage of the launch on 19th November of “Let Britain Fly”

Read more »