The Manchester Airports Group (MAG) owns Manchester Airport, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports, and now Stansted. MAG is owned by the 10 councils of Greater Manchester. Manchester City Council owns 35.5%, and 9 authorities, the Metropolitan Boroughs of Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, together with Salford City Council, collectively own 29%. Australian investment fund Industry Funds Management owns 35.5%. MAG has made a greatly enlarged dividend to its shareholders, through buying Stansted and the large investment from IFM. MAG has agreed to increase its dividend from £20m in 2012 to £72m, which includes an additional one-off dividend of £30m. From this £48m will be shared between Greater Manchester’s 10 local authorities, with Manchester getting some £26 million of it and the remaining 9 sharing some £22 million, in proportion to their shares. In contrast the dividend has been £20m for the past 4 years. Manchester Airport has been in public ownership since 1938, and public money has been invested in it. The councils benefiting say they do not spend the money on specific projects, but subtract it from the total amount they must save after government cuts. It may be used partly to invest in the local economy, to raise skills and create jobs.
The M.E.N. can reveal the dividend paid to the cash-strapped councils as a result of their stakes in the airport’s parent company has more than doubled.
Greater Manchester’s 10 town halls were today given a £48m boost thanks to the flying fortunes of Manchester Airport.
The M.E.N. can reveal the dividend paid to the cash-strapped councils as a result of their stakes in the airport’s parent company has more than doubled.
Manchester Airports Group today released its annual report for the 12 months to the end of March, in which it reveals details of the bumper windfall.
The huge hike is linked to MAG’s £1.47bn swoop for Stansted Airport, which also saw an Australian investor buy a 35 per cent shareholding in the group for £900m.
As a result of those two deals – and MAG renegotiating £1.2bn-worth of debt with its lenders – it has agreed to increase its dividend from £20m in 2012 to a whopping £72m this time around.
And the bulk of that – £48m – will be shared between Greater Manchester’s 10 local authorities, with Manchester getting 35 per cent of it and the remaining nine sharing 30 per cent.
The remainder goes to Industry Funds Management, the company that invested in MAG to help pay for its Stansted deal.
This £72m dividend is made up of an increase to the normal payment, which has risen from £20m in 2012 to £42m, and special one-off bonus of £30m.
In 2002, the dividend was just £5m and has been £20m for the past four years.
Chief financial officer Neil Thompson said: “Two years ago, we set ourselves some tough targets to grow the business against a tough economic backdrop.
“The last year in particular has been a transformational one, in which we have seen strong passenger growth, improved commercial performance and have completed the deals to welcome on board a new investor, buy Stansted and carry out a refinancing.
“That is why we are delighted to announce that, as a result of that performance, we are doubling the dividend and paying an additional one-off dividend of £30m.”
The announcement comes as MAG revealed 24.5m passengers passed through its airports – Manchester, East Midlands, Bournemouth and now Stansted – during the year covered by the annual report.
That was up 500,000 on the year before and is set to rise even more over the next year.
Since January, Manchester Airport itself has handled more than 20m passengers and is hopeful of growing that to close to 25m in the next two or three years.The group also posted a 10.3 per cent increase in its turnover, up from £373.2m in 2012 to £411.5m this year.
Its underlying profits grew 9.2 per cent from £131m to £143m. Stripping out the one month contribution Stansted made to MAG’s financial figures, revenues stood at £393.1m and profits were £137.9m.
And it was Manchester Airport that made by far the biggest contribution to the group’s soaring fortunes.
Its revenues rose 9.1 per cent from £282m to £307.8m, with its profits increasing 6.1 per cent from £126.9 to £134.6m.
Across the group, £185.8m was received from airlines that pay for landing slots. That rose from £169.6m in 2012, with airport chiefs having encouraged airlines to launch new routes, such as the easyJet service to Moscow and United Airlines’ Washington DC flight.
And Mr Thompson said MAG was working hard to secure a direct flight to China, as well as pursuing opportunities in places like Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and other parts of the States, such as Miami, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
MAG raked in £56.4m in car parking charges, up from £52m, with 2,900 new spaces added at Manchester alone. Retail revenues grew from £74.6m to £75.1m, with new shops including The Lonely Planet and Zoodle opening in Manchester’s terminals during the year.
The annual report also reveals MAG’s executive team – chief executive Charlie Cornish, Mr Thompson and commercial director Ken O’Toole – shared salaries and bonuses worth £1.65m, which was up from £795,000 in 2012.
Mr Cornish received £694,000, which includes his basic salary, bonuses, car allowances and other benefits. His 2012 package was £480,000.
How taxpayers’ cash aided airport lift-off
The taxpayers of Manchester have been in business with the airport since its birth in 1938, when it opened thanks to funding from the city council.
It has remained in public ownership ever since.
The M56 motorway was built to serve the airport in 1972, a new rail station opened in 1993 and a second runway was completed in 1997.
In 2000, the group bought East Midlands and Bournemouth airports for £241m. Manchester Airports Group (MAG) was formed in 2001, following the acquisition of East Midlands Airport, to own and operate Manchester Airport and the other smaller acquisitions.
MAG is owned by the 10 councils of Greater Manchester and Australian investment fund Industry Funds Management.
Of the 10 councils, Manchester council holds the largest stake, at 35.5 per cent. The remaining nine councils hold a total of 29 per cent. Industry Funds Management own a 35.5 per cent stake in MAG.
The group bought London Stansted Airport this year.
Windfall will help us create jobs and ease cuts misery, say
Manchester’s cash-strapped councils are celebrating the windfall to come courtesy of the city’s flourishing airport.
Most councils do not spend the money on specific projects – instead subtracting it from the total amount they must save after government cuts.
But Bolton bosses say they will invest it in the local economy, specifically teaching skills and job creation.
Lord Peter Smith, chairman of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, which governs economic development over the 10 authorities, said the money helps to reduce service and council job cuts across the region. He said: “We are pleased that Manchester and our new acquisition Stansted are doing well, so it’s good news for the local authorities and good news for hard-pressed local communities who can have the money to help support much needed local services.
“We’ll put our money into the general pot and makes sure we use it wisely to reduce the affect of the cuts over time.
“It will be available for us next year and it will mitigate the impact of cuts. Whatever figure the government is throwing at us next year, this income will help to reduce the number of services that have to be cut and so the impact on jobs.”
He said the profits show that the councils’ decision to invest in the airport – and to acquire Stansted – was a wise one.
He added: “It was a good investment all those years ago to build the airport at Ringway and for us to support it over the years. It also shows what a wise investment we made last year in acquiring Stansted. Some people said it wasn’t but now local people are benefiting from the acquisition.” Coun Cliff Morris, leader of Bolton council, said: “We are pleased that we will be receiving this dividend from our stake in the airport.
“One of the council’s key priorities is driving economic prosperity and regenerating the town centre and local economy. We will therefore be investing this money into supporting the local economy, raising skills and creating new jobs.”
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester council, said: “Although this significantly increased dividend from Manchester Airports Group is a one-off windfall, it is excellent news for the council taxpayers of Manchester, and Greater Manchester, and vindicates the Group’s investment strategy, including the acquisition of Stansted. As well as generating jobs and attracting investment, a strong Manchester Airports Group makes a substantial and ongoing contribution to council income which helps protect our residents against the impact of future spending reductions.
“We would hope and expect that it will deliver even greater benefits in the years ahead.”
Of the ten metropolitan boroughs of Greater Manchester, Manchester City Council holds the largest stake, at 35.5%. The remaining nine councils hold a total of 29%.
Industry Funds Management own a 35.5% stake in MAG. The Group has its registered office at Manchester Town Hall. MAG operates on a commercial basis at arms length from its public owners who only take a dividend from profits. This was £20 million in 2010 while MAG retained £80 million from the £100 million profit. The Group are focused on delivering the £659 million Manchester Airport City.
Planning permission for the Airport City development was confirmed on 17 January 2013 and construction work is due to begin in February 2013. On 18 January 2013, it was announced that MAG would purchase Stansted Airport from Heathrow Airport Holdings for £1.5bn. Industry Funds Management purchased a 35.5% stake in MAG to help fund the takeover. The sale was completed on 28 February 2013.
Manchester Airports Group is majority owned by the ten local authorities of Greater Manchester, with Manchester City Council owning 35.5%. The remaining nine authorities, the Metropolitan Boroughs of Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, together with Salford City Council, collectively own 29%. In 2012, it was decided that rules on shareholding would be changed to allow external, private investors to purchase stakes in order to provide extra capital for future investment and takeovers of airports. Manchester City Council would retain a controlling stake over the organisation. To raise funds for the purchase of Stansted Airport, Industry Funds Management purchased a 35.5% share in the group.
The axe falls: Fury as town hall backs £80 million cuts
Shouts of ‘Shame on you’ in the council chamber as budget passed. Angry protestors say the city is being decimated. Manchester City Council.
Lord Gus O’Donnell, the former Cabinet Secretary, has been announced as the new chair of the economics consultancy, Frontier Economics. He will work one day a week, starting towards the end of this year. His role will involve seeking to change government policies on the behalf of Frontier’s corporate clients, which include Heathrow airport. Frontier has been advising Heathrow on its plans for a 3rd runway and expansion. Frontier Economics produced a report for Heathrow, backing its case as the key hub airport for the UK and its expansion, in September 2011. The Frontier report claimed that London would become only Europe’s 3rd busiest airport (behind Paris and Frankfurt) unless the Government freed up more capacity and enabled more direct flights to emerging markets. The Times comments on how Sir Gus is not the first senior civil servant who has been able to get a very well paid and influential job in consultancy because of their experience in Government, and their contacts there.
Gus O’Donnell is the new chair of consultancy Frontline Economics Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA
Lord Gus O’Donnell has been announced as the new chair of an economics consultancy.
The former cabinet secretary will take up the one-day-a-week role at Frontier Economics in late 2013, when his predecessor Baroness Sarah Hogg retires after 14 years.
According to the Financial Times (£), O’Donnell’s new role will involve seeking to change policies on the behalf of Frontier’s corporate clients. Most recently, the consultancy has advised Heathrow airport on its proposal for a third runway.
O’Donnell first joined Frontier as a senior adviser in October 2012. His non-executive colleagues on the board will include fellow former cabinet secretary and chief secretary to the Treasury Lord Andrew Turnbull and George Adams, CEO of the Kingfisher trade division.
On his appointment, O’Donnell praised the business for its role in applying economics to “tough public and private sector issues” and said its internal culture was “second to none”.
Hogg, who has chaired Frontier since its creation in 1999, said she was confident that the company – which has reported steady growth even through the economic downturn – had been left in good hands.
O’Donnell has a background in economic policy, having held roles at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, as well as being head of the Government Economic Service. He retired from the civil service in 2011 and was made a life peer in early 2012.
“This report demonstrates that Heathrow is a highly successful hub airport, but it could offer far more than it does at present, with the UK missing out as a result. The gap between what Heathrow is able to deliver and what it could deliver is growing, with important consequences for the UK economy. The Government has ruled out an increase in airport capacity in London and the South East, but for the foreseeable future, Heathrow is the only airport in the UK that has the scale and capability as a global hub. Some have suggested building a new hub airport in the South East, but estimates suggest that that may take as long as 25 years to build at a cost of £40 billion. By then it may be too late. This report demonstrates the importance of a hub in providing the connectivity to global markets upon which growth and recovery depends. Safeguarding and strengthening that connectivity means promoting and protecting the comparative advantage Britain enjoys from having a hub airport. And in the near term, Heathrow is the only airport that can perform that function. Heathrow’s position as the leading international hub airport in Europe gives the UK direct choice of access to the global markets upon which strong economic growth depends. If the UK is not to lose out and fall behind its international competitors, it needs an aviation policy and strategy that recognises this.”
Wikipedia says of Sir Gus O’Donnell:
Augustine Thomas O’Donnell, Baron O’Donnell, GCB (born 1 October 1952), is a former British senior civil servant and economist, who between 2005 and 2011 (under three Prime Ministers) served as the Cabinet Secretary, the highest official in the British Civil Service.
O’Donnell announced after the 2010 General Election that he would step down within that Parliament, and did so at the end of the year 2011. His post was then split into three positions: he was succeeded as Cabinet Secretary by Sir Jeremy Heywood, as Head of the Home Civil Service by Sir Bob Kerslake (in a part-time role), and as Permanent Secretary in the Cabinet Office by Ian Watmore. Whilst Cabinet Secretary, O’Donnell was regularly referred to within the Civil Service, and subsequently in the popular press, as GOD; this was mainly because of his initials. In 2012, O’Donnell joined Frontier Economics as a Senior Advisor.
Former Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell has been accused of ‘cashing in’ by accepting the job of chairman of Frontier Economics, which has been working on Heathrow Airport’s third runway bid
Former Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell has been accused of ‘cashing in’ on his Government connections by accepting a top role with a private consultancy.
Critics say there is a conflict of interest in his new job as chairman of Frontier Economics, which has been working on Heathrow Airport’s third runway bid.
The leading financial consultancy lobbies ministers on behalf of its high-profile clients, mainly blue chip companies.
Lord O’Donnell, who received a peerage when his reign as Britain’s top civil servant ended, takes over from former Downing Street policy advisor Sarah Hogg, who is stepping down after 14 years at the company.
It comes at a crucial time for the controversial third runway bid, for which the firm has highlighted the potential economic benefits.
A report published by Frontier this month says the UK could miss out on £14billion of trade in the next decade without it.
Steve Reed, a Labour member of the House of Commons public administrations select committee, said: ‘There are far too many cases of civil servants taking well-paid jobs in the private sector so they can cash in on their contacts in government.’
During his time as Cabinet Secretary, between 2005 and 2011, Lord O’Donnell presided over a large increase in the number of consultants employed by Whitehall departments.
He joined Frontier in 2012 as a senior advisor and was promoted yesterday to chairman.
A spokesman for Frontier said he had not been involved in its work with Heathrow, and said: ‘Gus acts in full accordance with the Civil Service rules and his primary focus is to work with the team at Frontier to build the company into an even stronger European economics advisory business.’
Lord O’Donnell, an economist, said he was looking forward to his new role, saying: ‘Not only is Frontier at the forefront of applying economics to tough public and private sector issues, it has an internal culture that is second to none.’
Non-executive board members include Lord Turnbull, Lord O’Donnell’s predecessor as Cabinet Secretary.
People who fail to turn up for flights cost airlines dearly, especially if their luggage has to be removed from the plane. So Heathrow is rolling out a new system of smart boarding cards that it believes will improve the punctuality of nearly half of flights. And so enable the airport to deal with more flights, with no new runway. Boarding passes already include a bar code in which the passenger’s flight details are embedded, including the gate and terminal. Instead of being read by airport staff, the pass is scanned by an automatic gate and can be used to tell airlines if, for example, a passenger has entered the departure lounge. In a week of trials at Terminals 1 and 3, Virgin Atlantic and Little Red found that 44% of the 35,000 departing passengers were in danger of arriving at the gate late. Offloading luggage because owners have failed to turn up can lead to planes losing their take-off slots, leading to delays which, according to industry estimates, cost £67 for each minute the plane is on the Tarmac or stuck on the stand. “Should the information show passengers are in danger of not reaching the gate in time, a message on a screen warns them to hurry up and not dawdle at the duty-free shops.”
Heathrow to track customers through airport to cut cost of delays
Passengers at Heathrow are being tracked through the airport to reduce delays to planes and help save airlines millions of pounds.
Heathrow is rolling out a new system of smart boarding cards that it believes will put an end to the last-minute frantic search for lost passengers and could improve the punctuality of nearly half of flights. Photo: Alamy
People who fail to turn up for flights cost airlines dearly, especially if their luggage has to be removed from the plane.
But Heathrow is rolling out a new system of smart boarding cards that it believes will put an end to the last-minute frantic search for lost passengers and could improve the punctuality of nearly half of flights.
Boarding passes already include a bar code in which the passenger’s flight details are embedded, including the gate and terminal. Instead of being read by airport staff, the pass is scanned by an automatic gate and can be used to tell airlines if, for example, a passenger has entered the departure lounge.
If the passenger turns up less than 30 minutes before departure — the cut-off time set by airlines to reach the gate — the traveller is sent back to the check-in desk.
The smart boarding pass is also able to redirect a passenger to the correct terminal where necessary.
In just one week of trials at Terminals 1 and 3, Virgin Atlantic and Little Red — Virgin’s domestic arm — found that 44pc of the 35,000 departing passengers were in danger of arriving at the gate late. About 700 were told to hurry up, and another 10 were instructed to go back to check-in because they had not allowed enough time to clear security.
Offloading luggage because owners have failed to turn up can lead to planes losing their take-off slots, leading to delays which, according to industry estimates, cost £67 for each minute the plane is on the Tarmac or stuck on the stand. Once a slot is lost, the aircraft has to go to the back of a queue, and a 20-minute delay is not uncommon. The smart passes are aimed at reducing these hold-ups.
According to the airport’s own calculations, late-running passengers are responsible for 50,000 minutes of delays a year at Terminals 1, 3 and 4, creating a bill of £3.5m.
Should the information show passengers are in danger of not reaching the gate in time, a message on a screen warns them to hurry up and not dawdle at the duty-free shops.
During a recent West Sussex County Council debate on a motion to support ‘in principle’ a second runway at Gatwick it was pointed out that the plans would lead to a huge amount of housing built across swathes of the Horsham district, creating a ‘mega-city’. Councillor Bill Acraman (Con, Worth Forest) predicted a mega city in the north of Sussex equal to the size of Brighton, stretching across the north of the Horsham district, sprawling from Broadfield in Crawley to Forest Row. He said that the A264 and A272 would probably need to be brought up to motorway standard [doubtless at public expense], and asked whether the infrastructure improvements needed would ‘magically appear’. “You can tear up the Neighbourhood Plans,” Mr Acraman said. The county council approved the motion by 42 votes to 10 with 12 abstaining last Friday, days before Gatwick made its submission to the Airports Commission public. Another councillor said if Heathrow got a new runway “and we do not have one at Gatwick I think the economy of this county will be seriously threatened.” The Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC), which is campaigning against the environmental impact of a second runway, remains firmly opposed to Gatwick’s plans.
Gatwick second runway could bring ‘mega-city the size of Brighton’ to north Sussex
Sir Terry Farrell’s London – image of a two-runway Gatwick (photo by Jason Hawkes)
28.7.2013 (West Sussex Gazette)
Proposals for a second runway at Gatwick Airport could lead to a huge amount of housing built across swathes of the Horsham district, creating a ‘mega-city’, according to one county councillor.
During last week’s West Sussex County Council debate on a motion to support ‘in principle’ a second runway at Gatwick Bill Acraman (Con, Worth Forest) predicted a mega city in the north of Sussex equal to the size of Brighton, stretching across the north of the Horsham district, sprawling from Broadfield in Crawley to Forest Row.
He said that the A264 and A272 would probably need to be brought up to motorway standard, and asked whether the infrastructure improvements needed would ‘magically appear’.
“You can tear up the Neighbourhood Plans,” Mr Acraman said.
The county council approved the motion by 42 votes to 10 with 12 abstaining last Friday, days before Gatwick made its submission to the Airports Commission public on Tuesday.
During the same debate Morwen Millson (LDem, Horsham Riverside) added: “It’s basically if we have a new runway at Heathrow and we do not have one at Gatwick I think the economy of this county will be seriously threatened.”
She thought that under that scenario the area would lose most of its high-quality jobs.
Stewart Wingate, chief executive of Gatwick Airport, said: “London is the best connected city in the world today because the UK’s aviation industry is one of the most competitive and innovative.
“Our proposal to the Airports Commission builds on this foundation and would ensure that the UK has an airports policy which offers the additional capacity that Britain needs, improves the resilience of the airports system and, above all, can be delivered.
“Our evidence shows clearly that an additional runway at Gatwick would best serve the needs of all passengers, and give certainty to airlines, communities and businesses. It would deliver the connectivity the UK needs with lower environmental impacts, whilst spreading the economicbenefits.
“A two-runway Gatwick, as part of a constellation of three major airports surrounding London, will also provide flexibility in an industry where the only constant is change.”
The Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC), which is campaigning against the environmental impact of a second runway, remains firmly opposed to Gatwick’s plans.
Brendon Sewill, chairman of GACC, said: “When people begin to realise what is likely to hit them, there will be a tidal wave of public resistance.”
Reacting to Gatwick’s submission Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “The county council has voted to support expansion of Gatwick, in principle, because of the huge potentialeconomic benefits for West Sussex.
“However, we want to work with Gatwick, residents and partners to ensure that any development will take into account the environmental concerns that people rightly have, and include all of the essential infrastructure that a development of this scale would require. We are pleased that Gatwick has agreed to work with us on these issues.”
Francis Maude, Conservative MP for Horsham, said: “I have always supported the expansion of Gatwick as a single runway airport, just like West Sussex County Council but not a second runway.
“So I’m surprised and disappointed at what seems to be a sudden volte-face by the county. Of course we’re right to be concerned for economic development and jobs; but local residents will need a lot of persuading that these benefits will not exert an unacceptable environmental price.”
Nicholas Soames, MP for Mid Sussex, told the House of Commons last week that the county council’s announcement would put further pressure on housing in Mid Sussex with an ‘almost unsupportable torrent of applications’.
Readers took to the County Times’ website to comment on latest proposals. CJ700 said: “I will never travel by aircraft again following this. Expansion is not always progress. This country is destroying any reason for people to want to visit the UK. So short sighted. I am not so sure I am proud to be British anymore.”
Others criticised the county council’s move to support a second runway. Ifield Chris added: “Personally i feel rather aghast that a councillor from far far away is calling for WSCC to support a planned second runway at Gatwick that will not affect him or his constituents one bit.
“I for one am against any expansion, the area around Ifield cannot support this additional noise, roads and disruption for many years. It’s not just a runway, Gatwick will need a new terminal, major roads will have to be re-routed, additional housing for workers, we cant cope with that at the moment.”
Gatwick publishes its 3 options for a southern 2nd runway enabling up to 87 mppa. Strongly opposed by GACC
July 23, 2013 Gatwick Airport has announced its preferred location for a 2nd runway and submitted its plans to the Airports Commission. There are 3 slightly different plans, all for a runway to the south of the existing runway – close, medium or wide spaced. The close runway could not work independently of the existing runway, while the others (at least 750 metres south) could. With the wide spaced runway, over 1,035 metres south, Gatwick could have 95 movements per hour, enabling it to have some 87 million passengers per year (compared to 66 mppa for the close option, and 82 mppa for the medium). Gatwick has managed to get support from the local business lobbies in the area for its plans, and some local council support. Gatwick’s CEO, Stewart Wingate said a 2nd Gatwick runway would cost between £5bn and £9bn and could be open by 2025. Gatwick is selling its plans to the Airports Commission on how many fewer people would be affected by noise than at Heathrow, and that it would be cheaper than some other options. Gatwick wants London to have a “constellation” system, with 3 airports each with two runways, at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.
Gatwick 2nd runway plans – to increase airport to larger than Heathrow is now – opposed by GACC
Date added: July 23, 2013
GACC, the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, are deeply opposed to the plans for a new Gatwick runway because they wish to protect the towns, villages and countryside of Surrey, Sussex and west Kent from the impact of an airport which would be bigger than Heathrow today. The plans show Gatwick growing from 34 million passengers today to around 90 million. According to Brendon Sewill, chairman of GACC: “When people begin to realise what is likely to hit them, there will be a tidal wave of public resistance.” The plans make it clear that GAL’s preferred option is the wide-spaced runway – only a few hundred yards (or less?) from the residential area of Crawley. But amazingly little detail is given. No airport boundary is shown. No indication of where a new terminal (which would need to be bigger than T5) would located. The GAL submission rules out a close parallel runway because ‘the capacity benefit is relatively small’. And rules out a middle width option because there would be no room for a new terminal. There are huge environmental costs of trying to build a full-scale new runway as shown in the plans, with double the air pollution, double or more the CO2 emissions and double the road traffic.
Campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion SSE have highlighted the problem of a conflict of interest concerning Geoff Muirhead, who is a member of the government-appointed Airports Commission. Mr Muirhead retired as chief executive of MAG in 2010, and he represented MAG in an “ambassadorial role” until January 2013, several months after he was appointed to the Airports Commission. MAG bought Stansted from BAA in February 2013. Earlier this month MAG published options on where to build a second runway at Stansted and potentially even expand it into a four-runway hub. SSE are calling for Mr Muirhead’s resignation. SSE has written to Sir Howard Davies, chairman of the Commission and Patrick McLoughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport, warning it will mount a legal challenge if Mr Muirhead refuses to step down. The group claims in the letter, seen by The Sunday Telegraph, that there is an issue of “apparent bias”. The letter (26th July) says: “In the circumstances we consider it unacceptable for Mr Muirhead to continue to serve on the Airports Commission and the longer he continues to serve, the more the process risks being tainted.” SSE will start taking legal advice within 14 days if they receive no satisfactory commitment on the matter.
Campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion has also threatened to take legal action if Geoff Muirhead, the former chief executive of Manchester Airports Group (MAG), refuses to step down from the government-appointed commission. [More information on Mr Muirhead below ].
The campaigners have highlighted that Mr Muirhead, who retired as chief executive of MAG in 2010, continued to work for the airports group, which now owns Stansted, until earlier this year.
Mr Muirhead represented MAG in an “ambassadorial role” until January of this year, several months after he was appointed to the Airports Commission, which was set up by the Government to take an impartial look at where to build extra runways in the South East of England.
MAG bought Stansted from BAA, now Heathrow Airport Holdings, for £1.5bn in February. Earlier this month it published options on where to build a second runway at Stansted and potentially even expand it into a four-runway hub.
Stop Stansted Expansion has written to Sir Howard Davies, chairman of the Airports Commission and Patrick McLoughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport, warning it will mount a legal challenge if Mr Muirhead refuses to step down.
The group claims in the letter, seen by The Sunday Telegraph, that there is an issue of “apparent bias”.
“In the circumstances we consider it unacceptable for Mr Muirhead to continue to serve on the Airports Commission and the longer he continues to serve, the more the process risks being tainted,” the letter, dated July 26, reads.
“Mr Muirhead is bound to have significant influence within the Commission since he is its only member with first-hand knowledge and experience of the aviation industry,” the letter continues. “As its chief executive, he led MAG’s expansion policy and the construction of a second runway and terminal at Manchester Airport.
“In light of MAG’s submission to the Commission on July 19, we regard it as imperative that Mr Muirhead steps down from the Commission forthwith.
“Failing this, and in the absence of any satisfactory commitment from you within 14 days, we will take further legal advice with a view to initiating legal proceedings to challenge Mr Muirhead’s role on the commission.”
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “We are satisfied there is no conflict of interest. Geoff Muirhead’s expertise in airports is the very reason he was appointed.”
According to MAG’s accounts for 2010/11, the year when Mr Muirhead retired from its board, he was paid £82,000 “for consultancy services provided in his role as ambassador to the group”.
Manchester Airports Group chief executive Geoff Muirhead (aged 60) stepped down in 2009 after 22 years with the company, it was announced today. He spent a total of 22 years with MAG, joining in 1988 as business development director. Mr Muirhead was promoted to CEO in 1992 and took on the role of CEO in 2001 when the group was formed.
During his time as chief executive he has overseen the construction of Manchester Airport’s Terminal Two and the 2nd runway, and the acquisitions of airports in Bournemouth, Humberside and East Midlands which have made MAG the 2nd biggest airports operator in the UK.
Mr Muirhead’s remuneration package in 2008 totalled £512,000 including a bonus for the group’s strong performance in 2007-8. He is the son of a butcher from the north east, left school at 16 with one o-level and began his working life as an apprentice draughtsman at British Steel Corporation. He was awarded a CBE in 2004 and was the CBI’s business executive of the year in 2001. Link
He was awarded the CBE in the Queens New Year’s honours list in 2004, adding to his significant other personal achievements, which include honorary doctorates from Manchester Metropolitan University, Teesside University and the University of Salford and a former CBE Business Executive of the Year.
Additionally, Geoff holds fellowships with the Institute of Civil Engineers, Chartered Institute of Transport, Royal Society of Arts and Royal Aeronautical Society.
Geoff is also Deputy Chairman of the North West Business Leadership Team and Non-Executive Chairman of Ask Developments. Link
He is Chairman of the Northern Economic Futures Commission which was established in July 2011 and is made up of business, academic and public sector figures,
In April 2012 link ”Geoff Muirhead, chairman of the Northern Economic Futures Commission, said: “The North-South divide has existed for too long and it’s having a negative effect on the national economy which is desperate for growth. Our Commission is convinced that we can unlock potential for vital growth in the North of England if government creates a more level playing field. ”So-called ‘spatially blind’ policy-making has simply favoured short-term returns in London and the South East. The North doesn’t need more hand-outs but a long-term economic strategy which recognises the differences between places and the need for more local approaches to skills, innovation and infrastructure.” ”
Geoff Muirhead is the new chair of the Atlantic Gateway board. In addition to his chairmanship of Atlantic Gateway, Geoff is also a member of the North West Regional Leaders Board, chair of the IPPR Commission reviewing the future economic prospects for the north of England, non-executive chairman of Ask Developments and a governor atManchester Metropolitan University. link Peel Group.
“We should provide a much better service so that people don’t have to
go to the south-east,” he says. “There’s enough in the south-east
anyway. My task is to stop people from here going down there. That
must be right in every respect – economically, and environmentally -
musn’t it?” His big bugbear is the concentration of wealth and power
in the south. Briefly the smile fades. “To say there isn’t a north-
south divide is to ignore reality,” he says. “There is an imbalance in
the economy which is dangerous. If we continue the way we are, we
should just all give up and live down there. That would be horrendous.
The country could not sustain that.
“Something has got to give. This preoccupation with only the south-
east as a motor is not a model that works elsewhere, even in France,
which is more centralised than we are but where there is major
activity outside Paris. And look at Germany and its prosperous
regions. The UK needs more prosperous regions and cities and policy
needs to be very much changed to recognise that.”
The terms of reference and membership of the Commission were announced in November 2012
Airports Commission under Sir Howard Davies. Membership and terms of reference announced.
The government has today announced the full membership and terms of reference of the Airports Commission, to be chaired by Sir Howard Davies, and to “identify and recommend to Government options for maintaining the UK’s status as a global aviation hub.” The government says it has identified individuals with a range of skills, backgrounds and experience to sit on the committee. The Commission also intends to appoint a panel of expert advisors. Members are: Sir John Armitt, former Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority; Professor Ricky Burdett (LSE); Vivienne Cox (was at BP Alternative Energy); Professor Dame Julia King (a member of the CCC); Geoff Muirhead CBE (former CEO of Manchester Airports Group). The terms of reference are that “The Commission will examine the scale and timing of any requirement for additional capacity to maintain the UK’s position as Europe’s most important aviation hub; and it will identify and evaluate how any need for additional capacity should be met in the short, medium and long term.” And it “should engage openly with interested parties and members of the public,” etcDetails about each of the Committee members belowhttp://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=3497DfT press release at:http://www.dft.gov.uk/news/statements/mcloughlin-20121102a
SSE say, in their recent newsletter:
It is profoundly disappointing that Stansted’s new owners, the Manchester Airports Group have jumped on the bandwagon and asked for Stansted to be favourably considered either for one extra runway or as the location for the UK’s future hub airport, to replace Heathrow and be capable of handling a throughput of 160 million passengers a year. By way of comparison, Stansted handled 17.5 million passengers last year, Heathrow 70.0 million, and the world’s busiest airport – Atlanta, USA – handled 95.5 million.
We will of course be doing everything possible over the next few months to convince the Airports Commission to reject the idea of any new runways at Stansted. It is currently operating at only half its permitted capacity and so a second runway – never mind a four-runway hub more than double the size of Heathrow today – is completely unnecessary on business grounds and it would be completely unacceptable on environmental grounds. Even looking 15 years down the line and beyond, there is no logical case for Stansted to be one of the short-listed options.
As we all know, however, these matters are not always determined on a logical basis. Politics and other extraneous factors can often be more influential and, in this regard, we already have one major area of concern. One of Sir Howard Davies’s team of five commissioners, Geoff Muirhead, is the former chief executive of Manchester Airports Group (MAG). He is the only member of the Airports Commission with first hand knowledge and experience of the aviation industry and he spent 24 years with MAG during which time he led the Group’s expansion policy and the construction of a second runway and terminal at Manchester Airport.
As soon as we learned of Mr Muirhead’s appointment, on 2 November 2012, we raised the issue directly with him of a potential conflict of interest in the event that MAG succeeded in acquiring Stansted. His response was that he had retired from MAG two years earlier and so there was no conflict of interest. However, it transpired that was not the full story because he continued to be employed by MAG as an ‘ambassador’ at a salary of some £82,000 a year until January of this year, i.e. he was simultaneously a member of the Airports Commission whilst representing the interests of MAG. He also benefits from a very substantial MAG pension.
Up until now we have been pursuing this matter quietly, behind the scenes, with Sir Howard Davies and the Secretary of State for Transport. We have written four times and we had hoped that by now Mr Muirhead would have voluntarily stood down from the Commission so as to avoid bringing into question the Commission’s independence and impartiality. We have also taken legal advice on the matter, in the light of which we are surprised as well as disappointed that Mr Muirhead continues to serve as a member of the Airports Commission.
Now that MAG is directly lobbying the Airports Commission for major expansion at Stansted, we believe there is far too much at stake to allow the position of its former chief executive on the Airports Commission to go unchallenged. We therefore intend to give the Secretary of State and Sir Howard Davies one last opportunity to deal with the matter, failing which we intend to mount a legal challenge. We believe that we have a duty to the community we represent to ensure that the issues are examined – and seen to be examined – entirely impartially and independently
HACAN East, the organisation which represents residents under the London City and Heathrow flight paths, is concerned that that City Airport’s expansion plans, to be announced soon, will result in more noise across East and South-East London. The airport is proposing to undertake a lot of work on its runway and taxiways to allow bigger planes to use the airport. It is also proposing to expand the terminal, build a hotel and create more parking. HACAN East chair, John Stewart, said, “City Airport claims that the new planes will be quieter than the large aircraft currently using the airport. But residents need a caste-iron guarantee that the planes will actually be quieter. People need assurances after 25 years of broken promises by the airport. It opened by telling residents that the airport would only use ‘whispering’ jets.” London City’s expansion plans now go to Newham Council, the planning authority for the airport, for approval.
“With an increasing focus on East London and the Thames Gateway, especially following the success of the London 2012 Olympic Games, the role of London City Airport as gateway to the area, a key regenerator and major employer will be strengthened further. Furthermore, the airport sees the potential for the creation of over 2,500 additional on-site jobs by 2030 (with more off-site), with a continued focus on the business travel market.
“In 2012/13, the Airport Master Plan is being refreshed to include the elements of the City Airport Development Programme (CADP) – a plan for development of the airport’s infrastructure to meet the demands of increased passenger numbers and larger, next-generation aircraft”
London City Airport has submitted a planning application to make infrastructure changes
A residents group wants a guarantee that planes will be quieter after London City Airport submitted plans to build a larger terminal building and a new taxiway.
The airport, which was opened by the Queen in 1987, launched a public consultation last year on its plans for major improvements for the next 30 years.
These are part of the City Airport Development Programme and include a larger terminal building, new hard aircraft stands and a new taxiway. At its heart are larger aircraft due to fly from the airport that need larger stands and a taxiway to get to the runway and make full use of it.
A spokeswoman for the airport said: “The larger aircraft refers to the next generation of aircraft expected to come into circulation in the next few years. The manufacturer’s data states that the aircraft will be quieter and more fuel efficient than the existing aircraft operating out of LCY.
“The airport is closely monitored by Newham Council and this includes strict noise controls. New aircraft are subject to noise trials to ensure they meet the criteria before they are permitted to operate from the airport.
HACAN East, the organisation which represents residents under the London City and Heathrow flight paths, is concerned that City Airport’s expansion plans will result in more noise across East and South-East London.
The airport is proposing to undertake a lot of work on its runway and taxiways to allow bigger planes to use the airport. It is also proposing to expand the terminal, build a hotel and create more parking.
HACAN East chair, John Stewart, said, “City Airport claims that the new planes will be quieter than the large aircraft currently using the airport. But residents need a caste-iron guarantee that the planes will actually be quieter”
A spokesman for Newham Council confirmed that an application had been received and that plannining officers were validating it.
HACAN East, the organisation which represents residents under the London City and Heathrow flight paths, is concerned that that City Airport’s expansion plans, to be announced today, will result in more noise across East and South-East London.
The airport is proposing to undertake a lot of work on its runway and taxiways to allow bigger planes to use the airport. It is also proposing to expand the terminal, build a hotel and create more parking.
HACAN East chair, John Stewart, said, “City Airport claims that the new planes will be quieter than the large aircraft currently using the airport. But residents need a caste-iron guarantee that the planes will actually be quieter”
Stewart added, “People need assurances after 25 years of broken promises by the airport. It opened by telling residents that the airport would only use ‘whispering’ jets.”
London City’s expansion plans now go to Newham Council, the planning authority for the airport, for approval.
Newcastle Airport published a master plan in 1994, and another in 2003. That predicted by 2030 it might have 9 million passengers. There is now another draft master plan, out for consultation until 31st October, which anticipates perhaps 8.5 million passengers by 2030 (DfT forecasts around 6.3 million). They want to grow passenger numbers from the 4.4 million by 2030 and increase aircraft movements from 62,200 to up to 87,500 – making it one of the top 10 biggest airports in the UK. There are the usual predictions of more jobs (they say the airport now “supports” (vague term) 7,800 jobs across the region and by 2030 this will rise to 10,000. The airport hopes to develop 2 business parks on land south of the runway – one to extend existing aviation-related activities such as freight, and a new site for offices. They say these have the potential to deliver “thousands more” jobs. The airport says it contributed £646m to the regional economy in 2012, and by 2030 it is estimated that this figure will “more than double.” In 2005 some 22% of passengers were on business; by the 2009 CAA air passenger survey, it was only 20% on business. ie. 80% of passengers are leisure, contributing to taking their holiday money out of the UK. There is no longer any plan for a runway extension.
Welcome to Newcastle Airport’s masterplan for 2030. We have published two earlier masterplan documents, in 1994 and 2003. This third masterplan is currently in its draft stage, and outlines possible development requirements up to 2030 so that our neighbours and other stakeholders understand how the airport might change. Using the links on this page you can view or download the full masterplan document and the masterplan summary leaflet.
You can also find out how to let us know your views in the public consultation, which runs until 31st October 2013.
Newcastle International Airport has been serving the people of the North East for more than 75 years. In 2012 we helped enable 4.4 million passengers fly to destinations all over the world. With a catchment area stretching from the Scottish Borders to Cumbria and North Yorkshire, Newcastle International is among the largest regional airports in the UK. The masterplan outlines the airport’s development up to 2030 and the economic and social impact it has in the North East. Currently the airport supports 7,800 jobs across the region and by 2030 this will rise to 10,000. The airport delivered £646 million to the regional economy in 2012, and by 2030 it is estimated that this figure will grow substantially to up to £1.3 billion.
Newcastle Airport – only 20% of passengers are on business in 2009 survey
In 2005 Heathrow had 35.1% business passengers; Gatwick had 17.4% business; Stansted had 18.4% business; Manchester 19.4%; Luton 19.6%; Edinburgh 43.3% ; Glasgow 30.3%; and in 2005 Newcastle had 22% business passengers. ie. 78% leisure, with people on holiday or visiting friends and family, most taking their spending money out of the UK.
Newcastle International Airport plans to create more than 2000 jobs by 2030
NEWCASTLE International Airport will create more than 2,000 jobs and double passenger numbers by 2030 if a bold masterplan gets the go ahead. Buoyed by a flurry of positive economic indicators, including today’s 0.6 per cent GDP hike, airport chiefs have laid out their vision to make Newcastle International an even more important asset to the regional economy. They want to grow passenger numbers from 4.4 million to up to 8.5 million by 2030 and increase aircraft movements from 62,200 to up to 87,500 – making it one of the top 10 biggest airports in the UK.
The announcement marks the beginning of a major consultation process as the airport gathers the views of local residents and interested parties on the impact of future developments.
The masterplan shows how possible development requirements might look, including extensions to the terminal, additional aircraft and car parking and improved access, alongside the creation of a new business park facilities.
It also outlines the airport’s major economic impact and its important role in supporting jobs and exports. Currently the airport supports 7,800 jobs across the region and by 2030 this will rise to up to 10,000.
The development of two business parks on land south of the runway – one to extend existing aviation-related activities such as freight, and a new site for offices – have the potential to deliver thousands more, bosses said. The airport contributed £646m to the regional economy in 2012, and by 2030 it is estimated that this figure will more than double.
Dave Laws, the airport’s chief executive, said: “Our aim is to be the UK’s most welcoming airport. As part of this aim we want to provide an improved airport, to encourage new routes and attract new customers. “To do this we need to develop additional infrastructure, such as improvements to the terminal, better car parking and access, and the development of the southside, which will help diversify the airport business and secure new income sources.
“We want to help our neighbours and the wider North-East region understand how the airport will grow in the future. We also want to demonstrate that we have carefully considered the local impacts our plans could have, including on the community, the environment and local roads.
“We’ve launched a consultation process in order to hear everyone’s view on our plans, and once all the responses have been reviewed we will consider whether any changes need to be made.”
James Ramsbotham, chief executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: ““With such outstanding performance in export markets, connectivity by air is of crucial importance to regional business.
“The North East Chamber of Commerce strongly supports the efforts of the airport to grow passenger and freight volumes, and deliver new routes.
“This new masterplan is a bold vision for how the airport could look in 2030, and what the scale of the benefits of this investment could be to the North East economy could be.
“The team at the airport have set out the facilities and infrastructure required to deliver growth, and how they will manage the local impacts. It is now for the region to get behind this ambitious plan.”
As part of the masterplan consultation, the airport is organising a series of public meetings and roadshow events. More information about public meetings and contact information for the consultation process can be found at at www.newcastleairport.com/masterplan
Ambitious plans for an extensive development around Newcastle Airport are revealed today by airport bosses
Airport bosses today reveal ambitious growth plans which could see more than 2,000 new jobs created over the next decade. Helping to drive the management’s proposals for Newcastle International Airport is the hope that the facility’s worth to the regional economy can be more than doubled to £1.3bn by 2030. While advances in aircraft technology mean runway expansion is now no longer needed, the plans will still see extensive development around the site, with the potential for the terminal to be increased, more car parking space and further work to turn nearby land into office and factory space. Passenger numbers are expected to rise from more than four million in 2012 to eight and a half million journeys by 2030, with around 87,000 aircraft arriving and departing by then. Airport bosses say that advances in plane construction should mean that noise levels never rise above those experienced in 1993, even as the hub attracts large aircraft. Although the changes are set for existing airport land, ongoing green belt changes planned by Newcastle City Council could see some additional expansion by the airport after 2030. A consultation about to start on the masterplan will see airport bosses admit that it has to take account of a controversial bypass city council chiefs say will be needed for new green belt housing. If plans go ahead for a road linking the A1 to the A69, cutting through countryside to the west of the city, that would create the potential for new business parks to be developed in space on either side of the road as it passes through the airport site. But, with this development only a possibility after 2030, airport bosses say they are fully focused on growing the business. Airport chief executive Dave Laws said: “Our aim is to be the UK’s most welcoming airport. “As part of this aim, we want to provide an improved airport, to encourage new routes and attract new customers. “To do this we need to develop additional infrastructure, such as improvements to the terminal, better car parking and access, and the development of the southside, which will help diversify the airport business and secure new income sources. “We want to help our neighbours and the wider North East region understand how the airport will grow in the future. “We also want to demonstrate that we have carefully considered the local impacts our plans could have, including on the community, the environment and local roads. “We’ve launched a consultation process in order to hear everyone’s view on our plans. “And once all the responses have been reviewed, we will consider whether any changes need to be made.” Much of that growth will be focused on the 80-acre Southside Development, which already has planning permission for some sections. Work over two sites south of the runway will include hangar space for aircraft maintenance and a business park with office space. The airport itself could also see a second pier added for departing and arriving aircraft. The airport’s majority shareholders are the seven North East councils, including Newcastle, which is currently looking at ways of using a new supercouncil to lobby for direct regular flights to the US from Tyneside. South Tyneside Council leader Iain Malcolm, head of the LA7 council shareholder group, said: “I very much welcome the publication of this masterplan. “It is important that there is a clear plan for the future expansion of the airport in place. “A growing airport with a wider range of global connections will be crucially important to the future economic wellbeing of the region.” Australian investment firm AMP Capital, the airport’s new minority shareholder, has also backed the plans. Head of asset management David Rees said: “This is very much in keeping with its role as a key strategic asset for the North East and will help ensure that the very significant economic benefits it brings can be further grown in the future.”
The airport’s website says: “Our Masterplan sets out the development that may be required to accommodate the future growth of Newcastle Airport up to 2016. It also explains how we intend to manage these planned developments while minimising any adverse impact on the local environment and local communities.
The plan accounts for a projected growth in passenger numbers to a maximum of 9.5 million by 2016, although we expect the actual figure to be somewhat lower. Provision is made in the plan for developments to the following areas of the airport:
Terminal building and pier
Runway and taxiway corridors
Car parks and landside ancilliary activites
Airside ancilliary actvities
The Masterplan also includes a detailed assessment of the economic and environmental impacts of development. A full environmental appraisal outlines the impact of developments on noise, air quality, water quality, biodiversity, land use, heritage, agriculture, landscape and recreation.
Key details of 2003 Master Plan:
For Newcastle International, the forecasts indicate a predicted growth in passenger numbers from 3 million in 2000 to between 5.7 million and 6.3 million passengers by 2020, depending on the scenario. By 2030, numbers are expected to have grown to between 5.8 million and 9 million passengers.
Newcastle International believes that all of the national forecasting scenarios significantly underplay the extent of growth at Newcastle, perhaps by as much as a third.
The forecasts predict that, by 2016, passenger throughput at Newcastle could be as high as 9.5 million, compared to 3.4 million in 2002.
Air traffic movements are expected to rise from around 70,000 per year in 2006 to 90,000 by 2016.
A short runway extension of 345 metres, taking the runway length to 2,600 metres, is possible. Another option is for a longer extension, of 745 metres, taking the runway length to 3,000 metres.
Consultation was 2001 or 2002?
Newcastle International published its first Masterplan in 1994/5 with an indication of how the Airport would expand until 2006. The publication of a revised Masterplan in 2003 updated this vision and extended its timescale to 2016 and beyond.
Dubai’s Emirates Airline is interested in getting into the competitive transatlantic market, and offer flights from Dubai to the US via the UK. This market is currently dominated by BA, Virgin Atlantic, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines. Emirates will need to get regulatory approval first. Emirates believes there is strong unmet demand for flights from the north of England to the USA and last year carried 800,000 passengers on its routes in and out of its hubs in the north of England: Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester and Birmingham. There are growing numbers of Emirates passengers and services from these northern UK airports. In October, Emirates will launch flights from Dubai to New York via Milan. Their UK vice president said they are asking the Airports Commission to look at making all the regional airports completely open skies, so anyone can fly anywhere. If they use the northern airports, there is less pressure on the south east airports, and less rationale for building another runway. “Heathrow sits in the south of England, but Manchester has a bigger catchment area in terms of a two-hour drive.” If Emirates goes through with the plan BA and Virgin will be the big losers.
Emirates has UK-US rights, and might fly them with A380s
JULY 25, 2013 (Crikey.com.au)
Way back in the 80s and 90s, when the freshly hatched Emirates airlines tended to get patronised by the airline establishment, a set of traffic treaties were negotiated or extended between HMG and the UAE in which British Airways was secured ‘beyond rights’ through Dubai to other cities in Asia and even Australia in return for reciprocal yet conditional rights to major as well as secondary cities in Great Britain.
It was rather like the you-can-fly-anywhere-but-Sydney deals Australia was happy to negotiate with starry eyed Middle East and Asia carriers in order to pander to demands for more international flights by the likes of Perth or Cairns tourism lobbyists while ensuring that the airlines Australians were comfortable with, such as Alitalia, Lufthansa, KLM and of course, world beating Qantas, had ex-colonial outposts to land at for refueling and the odd rich expatriate or diplomatic travel account customer to pick up or set down.
The evolution of those rights into something far more generous in line with the reality of growing trade ties with the Middle East, saw the interests of the Trade Department in Canberra rapidly overtake and sideline the protests from Qantas about ‘unfetted’ access to upstarts like Emirates and Gulf (which was to fail in this market) while the likes of European legacies took fright and fled the scene.
Back in the UK, no-one in Whitehall ever imagined, until it was too late, that the trinket of beyond rights to toy Middle East carriers to cities on the far side of the Atlantic mattered a damn, compared to the access of UK carriers to mysterious and exotic parts to the east of the Gulf of Arabia.
But that day has arrived. Emirates thrived beyond the wildest expectations of the European and UK legacies, and Dubai became a major maritime and aviation hub, connecting the Indian sub continent as well as the Middle and Far East including Australia and New Zealand, to working class centres like Manchester and Birmingham with well appointed airliners which legacy bound British Airways insisted on trying to serve via Heathrow, or Gatwick, or for the truly wicked, both Heathrow and Gatwick via an awesomely miserable coach connection.
To be fair, the report does glide over more than a few bumps in the regulatory road to flights by A380s between Manchester and Miami or Birmingham and Boston, not to mention Manhattan. It will not be as easy as the report makes it sound, but as Emirates doing Milan-NYC has proved, such flights are far from impossible.
The UAE today has things that UK trade interests need, including rich customers, and the UK has things Emirates wouldn’t mind getting a slice of in return, such as those hopeless North Atlantic routings British Airways once thought could be left to the successors to Laker Airways, or maybe those funny chaps at Virgin Atlantic.
Meanwhile those who have wondered how Emirates could possibly employ the capacity of more than 100 A380s, more than 100 Boeing 777s, and some 70 forthcoming Airbus A350s, the answer is as hub busters (yet from the airline with the world’s first truly non-stop to almost anywhere hub) and as a means of leveraging international trade access to the Middle East and central Asia.
Dubai’s Emirates Airline has not ruled out entering the competitive transatlantic market, currently dominated by British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, and offer flights from Dubai to the US via the UK.
Emirates’ UK vice president Laurie Berryman said the Dubai carrier has seen “strong demand” and last year carried 800,000 passengers on its routes in and out of its hubs in the north of England.
“Glasgow is double daily and we upped the aircraft size. Newcastle went from an Airbus to a B777, so we are growing capacity there as well. Birmingham is twice daily, and one of the Manchester flights is an A380, with the other two being B777s,” Berryman was quoted as saying in an interview with trade publication Buying Business Travel.
Emirates in October will launch flights from Dubai to New York via Milan and Berryman hinted, if it could gain regulatory approval, it might not be long before the carrier enters the transatlantic market and offers flights from Dubai to the US via northern England.
“We do hold some rights out of the regions, so I would never say never. One of the things we are keen to say to the Davies Commission [UK Airports Commission], to relieve pressure on the south-east, is why don’t we make all the regional airports completely open skies, so anyone can fly anywhere. Heathrow sits in the south of England, but Manchester has a bigger catchment area in terms of a two-hour drive,” he said in the interview when questioned on the issue.
The transatlantic market is dominated by the likes of UK carriers British Airways and Virgin Atlantic and US players Delta Air Lines and American Airlines. Aviation analyst Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at StrategicAero Research, said there is still obvious demand in the market for Emirates to capitalise on.
“With Emirates carrying over 800,000 passengers out of just four UK regional hubs, it is evident that there is more than enough brisk demand to launch direct flights to the USA from cities that the likes of BA do not operate long haul services from and that too would raise the appeal of Emirates.
“Emirates could flood the North Atlantic with swathes of Airbus A380s and 777-300ERs out of places like Birmingham and Manchester, two cities which are bursting with pent up passenger demand, tempered only by the lack of long haul airlines operating there, particularly for Birmingham,” he said, adding that if the Dubai carrier goes through with the plan “British Airways and Virgin Atlantic will be the big losers.”
Manston airport has finally got some traffic, even if it is only the BA Airbus A380 doing several training flights per day. Plane spotters are getting very excited about the fact that several times per day they can see the A380 take off and land. It leaves Manston each morning at around 7am,goes to a mall airfield east of Paris, before taking off and landing again at Chateauroux airport some 80 miles south of Paris, and then coming back to Kent between 11.15 am and noon. And then the whole thing again starting at 2pm and getting back between 6.15m and 7pm. The training is due to last till September, when the first BA A380s enter service. Pilots are being trained, and also cabin crew. Anyone interested in tracking the A380 at Manston can do so via a number of apps, including flightradar 24. The flight number is BA380. Some activity at Manston at last. Tweet
The article below from the local press reads like an advertisement for BA and its new plane. Pure advertorial……
How you can see giant of skies as British Airways’ first Airbus A380 begins training flights over Kent
She is the length of two blue whales, as tall as five giraffes, weighs 589tons and is causing a huge amount of attention as she circles in the skies above Kent.
A distinctive, but unmistakable, roar of her four Rolls Royce engines is already drawing many people outdoors to look skyward.
They are treated to a spectacular view of the A380′s dark blue underbelly at relatively low heights following her local take-off and landing on two daily flights.
Plane-spotters can look out for the A380 – which costs £264million and is the world’s largest commercial passenger aircraft - leaving Manston every morning at around 7am, returning between 11.15am and noon.
She will then depart again at 2pm, getting back between 6.15pm and 7pm.
Her route over the Kent coast takes her across the English Channel to France.There the A380 lands at a small airfield east of Paris, before taking off and landing again at Chateau Roux airport north of the French city and coming back to Kent.
The comings and goings of this spectacular “monster” of a plane will continue until the end of July, including weekends. They are all the more awesome for being incongruously quiet despite her awesome specifications.
The A380 can carry 469 passengers over two decks with four cabins, is 238ft (72.7m) long, 79ft (24.1m) high and 261ft (79.8m) wide.
Each A380 has more than 310 miles of wiring. The plane is rated as producing a quarter of the noise level of the Boeing 747 when landing.
It also produces 10% fewer nitrogen oxide emissions and is 16% more fuel efficient than the aircraft it replaces.
The A380′s to-ing and fro-ing is also accounting for other phenomena: plane-spotters parked off road around Manston – binoculars and longlenses at the ready, and great Twitter activity.
The Kent international airport has been chosen by BA for training because of the accessible, capacious runway. It is 2,752m long and 61m wide.
The training programme has demanded six months of extensive planning.
Seventy five senior BA pilots, all captains, will be training at Manston. They are all extremely experienced with at least 10,000 hours flying time each, and drawn from other BA fleets at British airports.
Their conversion from BA’s existing fleet to the A380 has involved using a £10million state-of-the-art, high-tech static simulator at Heathrow.
It is owned uniquely in the UK by BA and uses large screens and computer graphics to give a virtual flying experience.
The Manston training is the final stage of pilot’s preparations before BA’s new fleet of A380s goes into service on longhaul flights in September.
BA cabin crew will also be training at Manston. Their focus will be on safety equipment and procedures, as they familiarise themselves with the cabin and the A380′s distinctive layout and equipment, with airborne time on the Manston flights too.
BA spokesman Amanda Allan said: “Because this is a much bigger aircraft than others in the fleet, it enables them to see and experience how it all physically works out. It is a really critical part of the preparation before we go into service, it takes huge planning.”
Taking off and landing practice is particularly important to meet the Civil Aviation Authority’s stringent requirements.
BA is the first UK carrier to take delivery of the double-decker.
Today the A380 is flying between Manston and France. In September the real business will start with A380 flights from Heathrow to LA and Hong Kong with return prices starting at £621 and £688 respectively for return tickets.
BA has ordered 12 British-engineered A380s to arrive by 2016.
Anyone interested in tracking the A380 at Manston can do so via a number of apps, including flightradar 24. The flight number is BA380.
The A280 is quiet in comparison to the usual freight crates we get over, but noisy enough to still cause a nuisance. It’s like comparing a kick in the groin to a punch on the face. You don’t want either, but you know which one you’d choose if you had to pick one.
Manston Airport Hosts new British Airways Aircraft for Training Flights
June 14, 2013 British Airways has chosen Manston as a base for its entry into service programme for the new Airbus A380 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.The A380 will be based at Manston this summer while the pilots undergo flying training and the cabin crew carry out familiarisation visits.
Charles Buchanan, Chief Executive of Manston Airport, said: “This contract is the culmination of months of hard work so we are thrilled that the UK’s leading airline has shown confidence in Manston’s capabilities. I am very proud that we will be playing our part in bringing such fantastic aircraft into service.”
Once the A380 training is complete, the airline’s new Boeing 787 Dreamliner will also make its way to Manston for part of its ‘entry into service’ programme.
Heathrow wants to put up its charges to airlines significantly. The CAA controls how much the airport can charge, and it has indicated that it will limit the rise in the amount Heathrow can charge to the rate of inflation plus 4.6% per year. However, Heathrow says its shareholders would not be willing to proceed with plans to invest £3bn in the airport over the next 5 years if the CAA imposes stricter controls on price rises. Colin Matthews, chief executive of Heathrow. said they would not proceed with capital spending of no more than £2bn if the CAA does not let them charge the amount they consider acceptable as a return for investors. There is a long term battle between Heathrow and the airlines, and Heathrow has some of the highest charges of any global airport. Heathrow has just reported a pre-tax profit of £186 million for the half year up to June 2013, though they made a loss of £51 million in the same period in 2012. This is largely due to the sale of Stansted. Heathrow’s passenger traffic rose 2.4% in the 6 months to June 2013, compared to 2012, to 34.4 million. Most of the growth was European traffic, which rose 4.9% to 14.3 million passengers.
Heathrow warned on Wednesday that its shareholders would not be willing to proceed with plans to invest £3bn in the airport over the next five years if the industry regulator sticks to a tough financial settlement for the hub.
Selling Stansted airport and hitting airlines with higher take-off and landing charges helped Heathrow Airport swing into profit in the first half of the year.
The world’s busiest international airport sold Stansted in February for £1.5 billion, under the orders of the Competition Commission. But even stripping out the impact of the sale, Heathrow managed to turn last year’s £70 million loss into a £44 million pre-tax profit for the six months to end of June.
Revenues at the airport operator formerly known as BAA rose 9.2% to £1.15 billion, mainly thanks to income from airline tariffs jumping 15.7% in the six months.
Heathrow’s two runways already operate at full capacity but the airport can squeeze in more passengers as airlines fly fuller, larger planes, and it did: passenger traffic rose 2.4% in the six months, to 34.4 million. Most of the growth was driven by European traffic, which rose 4.9% to 14.3 million passengers. British Airways’ acquisition of bmi saw it axe some of the carrier’s routes to Africa, which hit flier numbers to the continent, but traffic to the Middle East, North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific all rose.
Heathrow chief executive Colin Matthews. Pic: Bloomberg Finance Chief executive Colin Matthews said: “we want to continue that progress over the next five years, which is why we’ve submitted fresh plans to the Civil Aviation Authority for a further £3 billion of investment.” Those plans have faced controversy from airlines, however. As the CAA determines levies for the next five years, Heathrow wants aeronautical charges to rise by inflation plus 4.6% each year between April 2014 and 2019.
That’s lower than the 5.9% the airport put forward in February, but carriers including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic say it is too high. Heathrow has some of the highest aeronautical charges in the world; this year the CAA suggested they were cut in real terms.
But Matthews said: “Of course airlines want the lowest possible charges, and as part of their duty to shareholders we expect them to argue as much as they can. But we are a company, we need debt and equity from international sources and they have choices. If the rate of return is below market rate, they will go elsewhere.”
The demands of airlines and the industry regulator to cut Heathrow‘s costs and landing charges are “extreme”, and would inconvenience passengers, Britain’s biggest airport has warned.
The airport’s boss, Colin Matthews, gave the warning after pre-tax profits for the first half of 2013 rose to £186m, from a £51m loss in the same period last year.
Matthews said Heathrow was on a “positive” track. He said: “Record passenger service scores, together with strong passenger numbers, is an encouraging basis for our financial results.”
Aeronautical income, or landing charges, rose 15.7%, a figure announced a day after Heathrow submitted new proposals to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) with almost £200m of extra cost savings in negotiations over the level of charges for the next five years.
Matthews said current proposals from the CAA to limit charges to below-inflation rises offered shareholders less than the market rate of return and involved “cost efficiency demands which are extreme”.
He said it was “unsurprising” airlines were pushing even harder for landing fee reductions. Describing Heathrow’s own cost-saving plans as “bold”, he said: “We need to be in the realm of what’s deliverable and realistic. We think the demands of the CAA and the airlines are beyond bold.”
Airlines have suggested Heathrow outsource jobs and slash pensions. Matthews said: “We need to look at every line item of cost, and employment is an important element. That’s what the regulator and airlines are challenging. Every business needs to look at every line item. But we think the demands of the airlines are over the top.”
The Heathrow boss said that if Gatwick’s case were correct, “you’d expect to see Stansted full today – but it’s not: it’s half empty”. In reference to Gatwick’s demands for genuine competition between the airports, he added: “It’s a funny sort of competition that you get by preventing your competitor from growing. If they’re really interested in competition, they would say [to] let Heathrow build a third runway.”
Heathrow proposes cutting airline landing charge rise to 4.6% above RPI for 5 years
Date added: July 23, 2013
In February Heathrow announced it was intending to increase its airline landing charges, from the current level of £17 per passenger to perhaps up to £25. This caused very negative responses from airlines that use the airport. Now Heathrow has moved to appease airlines by offering to reduce the rise it is seeking to charge between 2014 and 2019. Heathrow has submitted a plan to the CAA seeking approval to raise tariffs by 4.6% above inflation, as measured by the retail prices index (RPI), for the 5 years from April 2014. That is 1.3% lower than their earlier offer of a rise of 5.9%. It means a rise of £1 per year, so a £5 rise by 2019.Gatwick has also agreed to scale back their planned fee increases. Earlier this year Willie Walsh called the airport “over-priced, over-rewarded and inefficient”. However, the investors, including Ferrovial and the sovereign wealth funds of Qatar, China and Singapore, who have spent more than £10 billion on the airport over the last decade, expect to see a good return on their investment ie. they want high fees to airlines.