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DfT night flight proposals might cut noise misery for thousands under Heathrow flight paths

The DfT has launched its consultation on the new night flight regime.  The intention is partly to examine what could be done to make life easier for residents near Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted – while not unduly affecting the airlines. Heathrow has a much larger noise problem than the other two airports, due to the number of flights, the geography of their flight paths, and the sheer numbers overflown. There is also the problem that the planes that come in at night – some 16 per night between 11.30pm and 6am are from long haul destinations, and are larger, heavier and noisier planes than those for short haul European destinations. There are also around 60 flights per night at Heathrow between 6 – 7am. The consultation proposes a range of measures to cut the noise nuisance, such as requiring aircraft to have a steeper angle of descent into the airport than the current 3 degrees. Another proposal is to reduce the proportion of flights landing from the east from the current 70%, which could lead to an estimated 110,000 people experiencing less noise as a result, thought another 15,000 people would face more disruption.


Proposals could cut misery for people under Heathrow flight path

People living under the Heathrow flight path can look forward to less nocturnal noise under proposals put forward by the Government.

Government consults on easing night noise misery at Heathrow 

By , Transport Editor (Telegraph)

23 Jan 2013

A consultation published by the Department for Transport is designed to ease the plight of those whose sleep is disturbed especially by early morning flights into the airport.

The Government is examining what can be done to make life easier for residents near Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

It is Heathrow which causes the biggest problems, because of the number of flights over densely populated central and west London during the early morning.

Currently around 17 flights arrive at Heathrow between 11.30pm and 6am and another 60 over the following hour.

Campaigners have called for a complete ban on night flights, which the Government has yet to accept.

But earlier this week it proposed an array of measures which it believes could make a difference including requiring aircraft to have a steeper angle of descent into the airport than the current three degrees.

“Though a number of technical and practical issues would first need to be addressed before a steeper angle can be introduced, the noise benefits of steeper approaches would be potentially significant.”

Another option proposed in the consultation would be to reduce the proportion of flights landing from the east from the current 70 per cent.

This would lead to an estimated 110,000 people experiencing less noise as a result, thought another 15,000 people would face more disruption.

Trials have already started of a respite scheme, in which people living in certain parts of London at the start of the descent are spared noise for a week at a time with air traffic controllers diverting planes onto alternative routes.

According to the DfT many of the benefits will come from the next generation of aircraft, which will be quieter than those operating currently.

With aircraft normally having a 25 year lifespan many of the first generation of Boeing 747s – or jumbo jets – are expected to retire over the next decade.

Already the Airbus A380, the biggest commercial aircraft in the skies, generates considerably less noise than the Boeing 747s it could replace.

Unveiling its proposals the Government, which has been under pressure from the airline industry to allow more night flights, admitted that sleep deprivation carried an economic cost and is seeking views on how this could be calculated.

John Stewart, Chair of HACAN, which represents residents under the Heathrow flight paths, said: “We are very clear that we want a ban on night flights before 6 o’clock and a progressive reduction between 6am and 7am.

“Many people under the Heathrow flight paths don’t need an alarm clock; the first plane wakes them at 4.30am.”

He added: “However, we do welcome the fact that the Government is prepared to look at noise mitigation measures such as steeper approaches and guaranteed respite periods.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/aviation/9822139/Proposals-could-cut-misery-for-people-under-Heathrow-flight-path.html

 

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One comment below the article says:

The consultation does mention that the A380 powered with Trent engines is anomalously louder than it should be for its noise classification and the CAA is working with Rolls Royce to understand this.

Close to the airport the A380 may be quieter than the 747 , but over several suburban areas a little further away this variant of the A380 is no quieter than the noisy 747s it is meant to replace. I wouldn’t want them throughout the night !

 

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See also

DfT announces start of 3 month consultation on night flight regime at Heathrow, Gatwick & Stansted

Date added: January 22, 2013

The government has begun a 3 month consultation into night flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports. It is calling for views and evidence on “the effectiveness of the current regime, the costs and benefits of future options and airlines’ fleet replacement plans”. The consultation closes on 22nd April 2013. Transport Minister Simon Burns says: “This consultation includes a review of current evidence on the costs of night flights, particularly noise, and the benefits of these flights. It sets out our thinking on how we would expect to appraise the policy options for the next night flights regime.” The government will publish the 2nd consultation later this year. It will include specific proposals for the new regime, such as the number of permitted night flights. The proposals in the 2nd consultation will be informed by the evidence received from this 1st stage consultation. The Dft says it aims to strike “a fair balance between the interests of those affected by the noise disturbance and those of the airports, passengers and the UK economy.”

Click here to view full story…

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see also

Heathrow residents disappointed there is still no night flight ban in the Dft consultation

Date added: January 22, 2013

Commenting on the publication today of the DfT’s consultation into a new night flight regime at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, HACAN (the Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise) said is was disappointed that the Government has still not committed itself to a night flight ban. However, they have welcomed the fact that the Government is prepared to look at measures which could mitigate the noise. These include increasing the angle of descent on approach; guaranteed respite periods; changing the existing scheduling or operating bans which affect the noisiest aircraft types. John Stewart, Chair of HACAN, which represents residents under the Heathrow flight paths, said: “We are very clear that we want a ban on night flights before 6 o’clock and a progressive reduction between 6am and 7am. Many people under the Heathrow flight paths don’t need an alarm clock; the first plane wakes them at 4.30 am.”

Click here to view full story…

 

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Night flights could approach from west to reduce noise

Joe Murphy and Nicholas Cecil (Evening Standard)

22 January 2013

Night flights at Heathrow could be changed so that people in the less populated area west of the airport suffer more noise.

The plan was floated in a government paper on the future of controls at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. It will consider the economic benefits of more flights after 11pm and in the early morning. Options for reducing noise include:

Directing aircraft landing at Heathrow at night to approach from the west rather than over the city. It would mean nearly 110,000 people in west London would suffer less noise, while 15,000 living west of the airport would suffer more.

Allowing aircraft to land at a steeper angle so that fewer homes are affected by low-flying jets.

Telling pilots to land farther along main runways, sparing some homes from noise.

Night flights currently alternate between westerly and easterly approaches to Heathrow, with 16 between 11.30pm and 6am, and about 60 between 6am and 7am.

Transport minister Simon Burns said proposals this year would try to strike “a fair balance” between the interests of those disturbed by the noise and of the airports, passengers and the economy. Local residents welcomed the noise reduction ideas but were disappointed there was no ban on extra night flights.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/night-flights-could-approach-from-west-to-reduce-noise-8461841.html

 

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Operational freedoms trial at Heathrow to end a month early, on 28th February

Operational Freedom trials at Heathrow started in November 2011 and ended in February 2012. The second phase of the trial started in July 2012 and due to go on until the end of March 2013.  In November 2012, BAA announced that two parts of the trails would  not take place (Phase 2, Operational Freedoms 2 and 3 – about delaying flights from 4.30 to 5.00am in exchange for more flights from 5.30am to 6am; and re-directing departing aircraft from their route sooner after take-off). Simon Burns has now announced that the trials will end a month early, on 28 February 2013. Some specific tests scheduled for March will be brought forward into February, which will accommodate the space left behind by the early morning arrivals freedom being inoperable during the trial period. Simon Burns says: “The revised end date will enable the overall analysis of the trial to begin sooner and support the government’s objective, as announced in the Autumn Statement, to bring forward the consultation and final decisions by ministers on whether an operational freedoms regime of some form should be adopted on a more permanent basis at Heathrow.”  


Early completion to operational freedoms trial at Heathrow

Department for Transport
Delivered on: 24 January 2013
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Policy:
Making sure UK airports and airlines are safe, secure and competitive while reducing their impacts on the environment and communities
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Minister: The Rt Hon Simon Burns MP

Today I am announcing that the government’s trial of operational freedoms at Heathrow Airport will be ending a month earlier than scheduled, on 28 February 2013.

As the availability of the freedoms was staggered during phase 2, the early completion to the trial will be achieved by bringing forward specific tests scheduled for the final month of the trial into February, which will accommodate the space left behind by the early morning arrivals freedom being inoperable during the trial period.

I have sought advice from the UK’s aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which is overseeing the trial and has confirmed that the rescheduling of these tests will not affect the quality of the evidence obtained. The revised end date will enable the overall analysis of the trial to begin sooner and support the government’s objective, as announced in the Autumn Statement, to bring forward the consultation and final decisions by ministers on whether an operational freedoms regime of some form should be adopted on a more permanent basis at Heathrow. I will make a further announcement on this in due course.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/early-completion-to-operational-freedoms-trial-at-heathrow

 

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Information about Phase 1 of the Operational Freedom trials is at http://www.heathrowairport.com/noise/noise-in-your-area/operational-freedoms-trial/phase-1
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BAA Heathrow Operational Freedoms Trials

November 2011 to March 2012 and during the Olympics. Then extended to March 2013

People living under Heathrow flight paths faced increased noise after the introduction of new runway rules. BAA has trialled a scheme allowing the use of both runways simultaneously from July to Sept 2012. Currently, those living under the flight path have a respite from noise when the runways alternate at 3pm.

Under the trial, which will also run from November 2012 to February 2013, the threshold for triggering emergency dual use of the runways will be lowered.  Residents could face increased noise from losing some of their respite periods.   More details …..

On 1st November 2012, BAA  (now called Heathrow Airport) announced that two parts of the trails will not take place (Phase 2, Operational Freedoms 2 and 3 – about delaying flights from 4.30 to 5.00am in exchange for more flights from 5.30am to 6am; and re-directing departing aircraft from their route sooner after take-off).  More details ….

Easterly arrivals map  and   Westerly arrivals map

 

Read more »

Heathrow air pollution in relation to 2013 being the “Year of Air”

 The European Commission has announced that 2013 is the ‘Year of Air’ with key European air pollution legislation up for review.  The review represents a tremendous opportunity to improve public health by tightening air quality standards. Clean Air in London (CAL) believes that key outcomes from the ‘Year of Air’ must include continuity and the further tightening of health and legal protections. Increasing ‘flexibility’ in air pollution laws would weaken existing health and legal protections and is therefore unacceptable.  There is a consultation by the EC,  on options for the revision of the EU Thematic Strategy on air pollution and related policies, with the closing date on 4 March 2013. Heathrow is a major contributor to air pollution in West London, both from the airport itself and associated road traffic. Information from Hillingdon Council showed a clear correlation between the number of air transport movements and the levels of NOx.

 



Information from the Clean Air in London website:

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What is the ‘Year of Air’ in 2013?

The European Commission has announced that 2013 is the ‘Year of Air’ with key European air pollution legislation up for review.  The review represents a tremendous opportunity to improve public health by tightening air quality standards.  Commissioner Potočnik made speeches about the ‘Year of Air’ on 22 March 201124 September 2012 and 8 January 2013.

The Commission has a webpage with details of the EU Review of Air Policy.  So does the European Environment Agency.

Attempts are already being made by the UK authorities to weaken existing air pollution laws during the ‘Year of Air’.

For example, the UK Government has stated ‘Working in partnership with other Member States, we will also use the European Commission review of air quality legislation, expected in 2013, to seek…amendments to the Air Quality Directive which reduce the infraction risk faced by most Member States, especially in relation to nitrogen dioxide provisions’.

Similarly, the Mayor founded a group of 12 European cities and regions that signed a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ on 10 November 2011 that emphasised The revised [Air Quality] Directive shall include a degree of flexibility that allows the specific characteristics of our Regions to be taken into account’. 

Given the Mayor promised Jenny Jones (Assembly Member) on 19 December 2012 that he will ‘oppose any watering down of the current European limit values for reducing air pollution…’ it seems likely that he hopes to achieve ‘flexibility’ through: delays to the legal deadlines; and/or ‘Partnership implementation agreements negotiated between the Commission and Member States in infringement, where further legal action would be suspended subject to proper implementation of agreed transparent and binding programmes to address air pollution’ (or similar) (which is being considered in the Commission’s consultation which closes on 4 March).

Clean Air in London (CAL) believes that key outcomes from the ‘Year of Air’ must include continuity and the further tightening of health and legal protections.

Increasing ‘flexibility’ in air pollution laws would weaken existing health and legal protections and is therefore unacceptable.  CAL is publishing key events planned for the ‘Year of Air’ on its Facebook events page.

Please respond by 4 March 2013 to Commission’s consultation on options for the revision of the EU Thematic Strategy on air pollution and related policies.

There is a briefing page and consultations for four groups:

a shorter version for the public;

and three longer versions for experts and practitioners: citizens; organisations; and public authorities.

Please write also to your elected representatives in the European and UK Parliaments.

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Hillingdon Council has produced a lot of information on the local air pollution they suffer.

Heathrow Airport – Air Pollution

Heathrow Airport (including the M4 and surrounding areas)

http://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/media/pdf/h/3/HeathrowAirportv2.pdf

There is much of interest, but one section states:

 

Heathrow Airport (including the M4 and surrounding areas)

The problems of air pollution in the Heathrow area have been recognised for a number of years and in a number of key national documents, including the National Air Quality Strategy, the Air Transport White Paper, and the Mayor’s Air Quality Strategy. Given the problems that already exist it is of considerable concern that Heathrow has not yet reached its authorised capacity (480,000 air transport movements and a terminal capacity of 80mppa). Reaching this capacity will bring increased pollutant emissions from the increased flights, increased on-airport emissions, and increases from extra road transport accessing the airport.

The following sections provide new information that has emerged in the last year concerning the future of Heathrow and data concerning pollution levels, traffic flows and Air Traffic Movements (ATMs).

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Heathrow’s contribution to emissions across the Borough

Activities at Heathrow (from aircraft emissions and operations at the airport), make up over half of the total emissions across the Borough. The contribution of Heathrow and the road network together makes up over 80% of the Borough’s emissions, with much of the traffic being on roads that are not the responsibility of the Borough Council.

Quantifying the impact of the airport on air quality in different parts of the Borough has always been a controversial subject with regards to what element of the source mix is contributing at each location.

[The table] … shows that airport emissions contribute significantly to NOx levels in the southern half of the Borough but not the north. Emissions from traffic on major roads are significant wherever such roads exist. Contributions from background (sources outside the Borough) and ‘other’ (which includes traffic on minor roads) are also significant, but not dominant, throughout the AQMA. (Air Quality Management Area).

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Air traffic movements and NO2

Concentrations of NO2 at the LHR2 monitoring station inside the airport fell in 2009 compared to previous years. There is, however, a question of whether the decline is a result of measures taken under the Action Plans introduced by Hillingdon, neighbouring local authorities and BAA, or whether it is a consequence of a reduction in flights linked to the economic downturn.

Figure 2 shows that there is almost a perfect correlation between ATMs and air quality at the LHR2 monitoring station on the airport since 2005 in other words, more than 99% of the variability in NO2 levels appears to be explained by variation in ATMs). Going back further, however, for example considering the 2004/5 data shown in red in the graph, the relationship breaks down – it would be interesting to know if there were any changes at the airport at this time that could explain this shift. However, the correlation for the following years is sufficiently good that it is worth noting for future reference as it may be useful in providing direct insight on the level of change in airport activities needed to bring about a change in concentrations that is significant in the context of the Action Plan.

Heathrow air pollution

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With Heathrow, in particular, any changes to operational practices especially those that may also lead to increases in the number of flights on the existing 2 runways, may lead to unacceptable consequences for local air quality, for noise levels and for impacts on public transport capacity and congestion of the surrounding road network.

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How bad is air pollution in London?

• London has the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution of any capital city in Europe.  Concentrations of dangerous airborne particles (PM10) also breach legal limits in several parts of the city particularly near waste management sites.

• Government estimates that some 440,439 Londoners were exposed to unlawful levels of NO2 in 2011 at background locations alone i.e. away from busy roads.

• London’s residents are not the only ones affected by poor air quality.  Every day hundreds of thousands of people commute into the polluted heart of London.  NO2 concentrations are well over twice legal limits and World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines near many London roadside monitoring sites.  NO2 limits are also breached at a larger number of city centre ‘background’ sites away from busy roads.

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What are the health impacts of air pollution in London?

• Air pollution comprises particles and gases.  The particles are categorised by their maximum diameter in microns e.g. PM2.5 and PM10.  In practice, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a toxic gas, is the only molecule within the gas category with relevant WHO guidelines and legal limits.

• Poor air quality has a significant impact on the health of London residents.  The Mayor published a study in 2010 estimating 4,267 premature deaths in London in 2008 attributable to long term exposure to fine particles (PM2.5).  These occur mostly as heart attacks and strokes.  The Department of Health estimates 6.3% to 9.0% of all deaths in London in 2010 were attributable to long-term exposure to man-made PM2.5 alone.

• Children, the elderly and people with existing respiratory illness suffer disproportionately from the effects of air pollution.  Over 1,100 schools in London are within 150 metres of the city’s busiest and most polluted roads (i.e. those that carry over 10,000 vehicles a day).  Traffic pollution from such roads may be responsible for 15-30% of all new cases of asthma in children and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in adults of 65 years of age and older.

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Are there air pollution standards that London should be meeting?

• Legally binding, health based limit values have been set for several air pollutants by the European Union since 1999.  London is failing to meet these for PM10 and NO2.

• For PM10 London was required to meet limit values by 2005 but obtained unlawfully a time extension in 2011 to comply that year.  That time extension has now expired but London has continued to exceed PM10 limits known as ‘Bad Air Days’ particularly near waste management sites e.g. Neasden Lane in Brent.

• NO2 limits were required to be met by 2010.  The Government has admitted they are not expected to be met in London before 2025 and has been caught seeking to weaken NO2 laws.

• The Commission is expected to commence infraction action against the UK early in 2013.

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What are the authorities doing to reduce air pollution in London?

The Mayor of London’s Air Quality Strategy is not ‘fit for purpose’.  The Mayor has also used Pollution Suppressor vehicles to reduce air pollution near air quality monitoring stations most-used to report legal breaches and warn the public of smog episodes.  The Mayor has also been caught lobbying to weaken international air pollution laws.

Diesel engine exhaust, recently classified by the World Health Organisation as carcinogenic to humans, is a particular problem in London which has: some 8,500 diesel buses; over 20,000 diesel taxis; and a low emission zone that is two steps and two years behind the equivalent in Berlin.  A ground breaking study by Policy Exchange found that diesel vehicles are responsible for 95% of NO2 and 91% of PM2.5 exhaust emissions respectively from road transport in London.

The Government has not published a press release warning of smog since April 2011 when it made headline news.  The Mayor also refuses to issue public warnings of smog even though Murad Qureshi AM discovered that hundreds of additional people in London have been admitted to hospital during smog episodes in the last five years alone.

http://cleanairinlondon.org/news/quick-guide-to-air-pollution/

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Supporting guides, links and contacts

Health:  ‘Invisible’ air pollution: the biggest public health failing or ‘cover-up’ for decades

Legal:    UK is cheating on air quality laws and misleading the European Commission

Sources:   London has the highest levels of NO2 of any capital city in Europe

Solutions:   Manifesto for the Mayoral and London Assembly elections in 2012

there is a lot more detail at

http://cleanairinlondon.org/news/quick-guide-to-air-pollution/

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Below is a map, from the website of  Heathrow Airwatch showing the air quality monitoring sites around Heathrow.

http://www.heathrowairwatch.org.uk/monitoring_information.php?action=aun

Heathrow area air quality monitors

 

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 The contribution of transport to air quality – TERM 2012.pdf [8.9 MB]

 ”The contribution of transport to air quality”

by the European Environment Agency, in 2012

The section dealing with air pollution from aviation states that:

 

5.3   Air pollution around airports

The main sources of air pollution around airports are aircraft, stationary sources and other mobile sources. Aircraft emissions are mainly associated with fuel combusted in the engines and auxiliary power units (APU), as well as tyre and brake wear.

In terms of local air quality, emissions during the landing take-off (LTO) cycle are important, as they include emissions produced during idle, taxi to and from terminal gates, take-off and climb‑out, and approach to the airport.

Emissions from stationary sources are largely associated with power generation (including heating/cooling units).   Other mobile sources include ground support
equipment (e.g. mobile generators, tugs, baggage handling equipment, fuel trucks/loaders), airside vehicles (service vehicles, tankers, catering trucks) and other traffic that facilitate access to the airport (e.g. buses, taxis, trucks, passenger cars, rail). The main pollutants of concern around airports are NOX, PM (including ultrafine particles — see Box 5.4) and VOCs.

Several studies have evaluated the air quality around airports in Europe, the results of which gave rise to concerns. For example, high NO2 concentration levels are often measured at London’s Heathrow airport.

During 2011, the annual average limit value was exceeded at one monitoring site within the airport boundary and two sites within a 2 km distance of the airport (GLA, 2012).

The contribution to NOX concentrations from Heathrow airport activities has been assessed based on measurement data close to the airport. The results show that aircraft NOX sources can be detected at least 2.6 km from the airport, even though the
airport contribution at that distance is very small. [compared to the NOx from road traffic].

Approximately 27 % of the annual mean NOX and NO2 concentrations at the airfield boundary could be attributed to airport operations, with less than 15 % at background locations 2–3 km downwind of the airport (Carslaw et al., 2006).

Modelling undertaken at Heathrow Airport on emissions data from April 2008 to March 2009 confirms the above by estimating relatively high (about 30 %) airport‑related NOX
concentrations within the airport boundary, decreasing considerably with distance (11–19 % at about half a kilometre away) (HAL, 2011).

Another example is Zurich Airport, where monitoring data in 2008 were above the limit values for NO2, PM10 and O3 in the centre of the airport and at other locations dominated by road traffic.

Dispersion modelling and sensitivity analysis were also undertaken in 2008 to assess the contribution from activities at Zurich Airport to ambient air quality, particularly on NO2. The results show that airport activities significantly impact the air quality at the airport perimeter (> 25 %) for NO2.

The airport contribution to NO2 concentrations decreases rapidly with distance and becomes less than 10 % within one kilometre from the airport boundary (Flughafen Zürich, 2009). Additional conclusions from this study that are applicable to other airports
are outlined below:

• the significance of airports in the context of local air quality is not only determined by the
total emissions in the airport area but also the different heights at which emissions occur;

ground-based airport activities, typically from road vehicles, contribute more towards high concentrations within the airport boundaries and along the access roads where exposure is greatest compared to aircraft. Aircraft emissions are dispersed over a larger area, but generally result in lower concentrations;

• the distribution of NOX concentration is more dependent on meteorological conditions than on a variation in emissions.

The air quality impacts from the closure of national airspaces and the suspension of air traffic due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland in 2010 were assessed at, and around, 14 airports across Europe.

The closure of airspace also affected other airport operations, such as transport to and from the airport. During the airspace closure, lower NO2 concentrations were observed, showing a correlation with the reduction in air traffic. However, the study considered this correlation weak in view of wider observations, based on one month’s monitored data.

The study concluded that the major disruption and reduction of flight activity did not significantly reduce air quality concentrations of NO2; nonetheless, the very local effects resulting from the emissions changes were noted (i.e. monitoring stations at or close to the airport showed lower NO2 concentrations). Meteorological conditions such as
wind speed showed a more significant influence on measured concentrations (ACI, 2010).

 

 

6.3 Effects of aviation emissions on air quality

Emissions from the aviation sector contribute very little to EU‑27 total emissions. International and national aviation (including both the LTO (landing and take off) and
cruise cycle) was responsible for around 4 % of NOX emissions, and less than 1 % of SO2 emissions, VOC emissions, PM emissions and CO emissions in EU Member States in 2010 (TERM 03).

Emissions of CO and VOC from aviation are generally low, when compared with emissions from other transport modes. NOX emissions are relatively high when
compared to other pollutants, even though the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has established aircraft engine emission standards for NOX and has gradually made these more stringent over time.

Nevertheless aviation continues to be a growth sector and it is important to have appropriate policies in place to control pollution (see Box 6.5).  When compared to other transport modes, a key difference for aviation is that aircraft emissions occur at different altitudes as emissions are released during the whole flying cycle. Activities below 3 000 feet (i.e. about 915 m) are commonly referred to as the LTO cycle, comprising taxi-out, take-off, climb out, landing approach and taxi-in.

Activities that take place at altitudes above 3 000 feet include the climb out, cruise and descent.

The effect of aircraft emissions on local air quality around airports has been discussed in Section 5.3.   It should be noted that emissions above 3 000 feet are typically not considered when undertaking local air quality assessments for airports. However, it
has been estimated that NOX and SO2 emissions in the non-LTO phases are dominant and constitute over 90 % of the total aircraft emissions in Europe, whilst for CO and non-methane VOCs emissions were estimated to be about 40 % of total emissions.

Global non-LTO NOX emissions have a small but still significant impact on surface air quality in Europe; more specifically they contribute 1 % to average annual secondary inorganic aerosol, NO2 and O3 concentrations.

The contribution of LTO emissions from aviation is generally an order of magnitude smaller; thus considered to be of little significance for European air quality at a regional scale.

However, specifically for NO2 concentrations in the vicinity of airports, European non-LTO and LTO NOX emissions have been estimated to contribute 1 % to 2 % to surface concentrations (Tarrasón et al., 2004) though at some large airports such as Heathrow
the combined contribution of emissions from aircraft and other airport operations make a larger contribution to surface concentrations of NO2 (Carslaw et al., 2006) (see Section 5.3).

 

Box 6.5 Key policies for controlling emissions from the aviation sector

Pollutant emissions from aircraft are regulated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) through its Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP). Emission standards for engines are currently in place for smoke, unburned hydrocarbons (HCs), CO and NOX during the LTO cycle. For the latter, since its first introduction in the 1980s, the NOX standard has been reduced by 50 %. An aircraft CO2 emissions standard is expected to be established by 2013 (ICAO, 2010). A PM certification standard is expected to be established by 2016.

The EU ETS Directive (2003/87/EC) and its subsequent amendments established an emission trading system that sets a limit on the total amount of certain GHGs emitted by the sectors covered. Aviation is one of these sectors, so airlines receive tradeable emission allowances for a certain level of CO2 emissions and after a year need to
surrender a number of allowances equal to actual emissions. This measure may reduce fuel consumption, which could reduce air pollution; however, more fuel-efficient engines tend to operate with a higher pressure ratio and emit more NOX.

Furthermore, the low carbon sustainable fuels target for the sector (EC, 2011a) may also
reduce emissions of the air quality pollutants SO2 and PM due to their lower sulphur content (SWAFEA, 2011).

In addition, the deployment of the modern air traffic management infrastructure, the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) project by 2020 is expected to achieve 10 % of fuel savings, leading to a 10 % reduction of CO2 emissions per flight (Eurocontrol, 2010).

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Box 5.4 Ultrafine particles at airports

Ultrafine particles are particles with a diameter of less than 100 nanometres. There are no regulations specifically targeting these particles, although these are thought to be particularly harmful to human health.

Various studies have noted that aircraft contribute considerably to ultrafine particle pollution, as do road vehicles and ships. (US EPA, 2010; Paulsen, 2009).  More recently in 2010–2011, a study focusing on air pollution at Danish airports conducted stationary measurements of ambient air quality at and around Copenhagen Airport.

With regards to ultrafine particles, the study found that the average 24 hour concentration within the airport boundaries at one site was two to three times higher than on city streets with heavy traffic, while ultrafine particle concentrations within the airport boundaries at two other sites were only 20–30 % below those in streets with heavy traffic.

This shows that concentration levels varied significantly within the airport boundaries. It is interesting to note that the two stations that showed lower concentrations are the official monitoring stations used in accordance with the environmental approval, while the one with the highest concentration was an additional one, placed in the airport yard close to employees loading and handling aircraft.

During the main working hours, concentrations within the airport boundaries were higher than those on city streets with heavy traffic. This was the case for two stations for which monitoring data were available (The Danish Ecocouncil, 2012).

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Carslaw, D., 2005, ‘Evidence of an increasing NO2/
NOX emissions ratio from road traffic emissions’,
Atmospheric Environment, 39 (26), 4 793–4 802.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/

S1352231005005443) accessed 3 August 2012.

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Carslaw, D. and Beevers, S. D., 2005, ‘Estimations
of road vehicle primary NO2 exhaust emission
fractions using monitoring data in London’,
Atmospheric Environment, 39 (1) 167–177, (http://
www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/
S1352231004008775) accessed 3 August 2012.

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Carslaw, D., Beevers, S., Ropkins, K. and Bell, M.,
2006, ‘Detecting and quantifying aircraft and other
on-airport contributions to ambient nitrogen oxides
in the vicinity of a large international airport’,
Atmospheric Environment, (40) 5 424–5 434,
( http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/
S1352231006004250 ) accessed 3 August 2012.

.
Carslaw D., Beevers, S., Westmoreland E., Williams,
M., Tate, J., Murrells, T., Stedman, J., Li, Y., Grice,
S., Kent A, and Tsagatakis, I., 2011, Trends in NOX
and NO2 emissions and ambient measurements in the
UK, Department for Environment, Food and Rural
Affairs, London, (http://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/reports/
cat05/1108251149_110718_AQ0724_Final_report.pdf) accessed 3 August 2012.

 

 The contribution of transport to air quality – TERM 2012.pdf [8.9 MB]

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see also

EC stance on air pollution in London could affect ability of Heathrow to expand

November 17, 2012    Government plans to delay air pollution improvements in 12 areas of the UK areas were refused by the European Commission in June. The UK may now face fines if it fails to improve air quality quickly. The worst offender is London, where it is estimated that there over 4,000 ‘excess deaths’ per year from air pollution. This could have implications for Heathrow expansion. Air pollution is recognised by the government as the 2nd-biggest public health threat, after smoking. A judgement will be made at a later date on government plans to delay meeting NO2 standards in major cities until 2020 – or in the case of London, 2025. The EC decision addresses the shorter term, whereas a 3rd runway at Heathrow could not be operation for about 10 years. However, the tough stance by the EC suggests that any plan for Heathrow expansion, which increased air pollution and prevented limits being met, would face legal action.    Click here to view full story…

 

and

Is air pollution the biggest obstacle to a third runway at Heathrow?

September 7, 2012    Alan Andrews, from Client Earth (a group of environmental lawyers) writes that though Cameron’s reshuffle might have removed a couple of high profile political obstacles to a third runway, it has not dealt with the more difficult obstacle: EU air quality limits. EU law sets legally binding limits on levels of harmful pollution in our air. These limits, which are based on WHO guidelines, govern a number of pollutants which are damaging to human health. The limits for NO2 are currently being broken in towns and cities throughout the UK. But they are worst in London – which is thought to have the worst levels of NO2 of any EU capital. Where limits are breached, EU law requires that an action plan be drawn up which achieves compliance in the “shortest time possible.” The Government’s plan for London shows that limits won’t be achieved until 2025. Alan explains how this means expanding Heathrow would be subject to legal challenge and EU opposition.    Click here to view full story…

Read more »

Heathrow residents disappointed there is still no night flight ban in the DfT consultation

Commenting on the publication today of the DfT’s consultation into a new night flight regime at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, HACAN (the Heathrow Association for the Control of  Aircraft Noise) said is was disappointed that the Government has still not committed itself to a night flight ban.  However, they have welcomed the fact that the Government is prepared to look at measures which could mitigate the noise. These include increasing the angle of descent on approach; guaranteed respite periods; changing the existing scheduling or operating bans which affect the noisiest aircraft types. John Stewart, Chair of HACAN, which represents residents under the Heathrow flight paths, said: “We are very clear that we want a ban on night flights before 6 o’clock and a progressive reduction between 6am and 7am. Many people under the Heathrow flight paths don’t need an alarm clock; the first plane wakes them at 4.30 am.”

 


Still no Night Flight Ban

22.1.2013 (HACAN press release)

Residents expressed disappointment that the Government has still not committed itself to a night flight ban in its consultation on a new night flight regime at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick, released earlier today. However, they have welcomed the fact that the Government is prepared to look at measures which could mitigate the noise. These include increasing the angle of descent on approach; guaranteed respite periods; changing the existing scheduling or operating bans which affect the noisiest aircraft types.

This consultation is the first part of a two-stage consultation process into replacing the current night flight regime at the UK’s three designated airports which runs out in October 2014. The first stage of the consultation closes on 22nd April. The second part will contain more detailed proposals.

John Stewart, Chair of HACAN, which represents residents under the Heathrow flight paths, said: “We are very clear that we want a ban on night flights before 6 o’clock and a progressive reduction between 6am and 7am. Many people under the Heathrow flight paths don’t need an alarm clock; the first plane wakes them at 4.30 am.”

Stewart added: “However, we do welcome the fact that the Government is prepared to look at noise mitigation measures such as steeper approaches and guaranteed respite periods.”

Currently there are 16 flights permitted at Heathrow between 11.30pm and 6am and around 60 between 6am and 7am each day.

 

(1). Link to the consultation: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/66837/consultation-document.pdf

 

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See also

 

DfT announces start of 3 month consultation on night flight regime at Heathrow, Gatwick & Stansted

Date added: January 22, 2013

The government has begun a 3 month consultation into night flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports. It is calling for views and evidence on “the effectiveness of the current regime, the costs and benefits of future options and airlines’ fleet replacement plans”. The consultation closes on 22nd April 2013. Transport Minister Simon Burns says: “This consultation includes a review of current evidence on the costs of night flights, particularly noise, and the benefits of these flights. It sets out our thinking on how we would expect to appraise the policy options for the next night flights regime.” The government will publish the 2nd consultation later this year. It will include specific proposals for the new regime, such as the number of permitted night flights. The proposals in the 2nd consultation will be informed by the evidence received from this 1st stage consultation. The Dft says it aims to strike “a fair balance between the interests of those affected by the noise disturbance and those of the airports, passengers and the UK economy.”

Click here to view full story…

 

Read more »

DfT announces start of 3 month consultation on night flight regime at Heathrow, Gatwick & Stansted

The government has begun a 3 month consultation into night flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports. It is calling for views and evidence on “the effectiveness of the current regime, the costs and benefits of future options and airlines’ fleet replacement plans”. The consultation closes on 22nd April 2013. Transport Minister Simon Burns says: “This consultation includes a review of current evidence on the costs of night flights, particularly noise, and the benefits of these flights. It sets out our thinking on how we would expect to appraise the policy options for the next night flights regime.” The government will  publish the 2nd consultation later this year. It will include specific proposals for the new regime, such as the number of permitted night flights. The proposals in the 2nd consultation will be informed by the evidence received from this 1st stage consultation. The Dft says it aims to strike “a fair balance between the interests of those affected by the noise disturbance and those of the airports, passengers and the UK economy.”

 


 


 

Statement by Simon Burns, Minister of State for Transport:

The first of 2 night noise consultations is announced today.

On 26 March 2012 the government announced that it would extend the existing restrictions on night flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports for a period of 2 years until October 2014. This extension will ensure a new night flying regime can take account of the aviation policy framework which the government has committed to have in place by the spring.

Today I have published the first of 2 consultations which will inform the development of the next night noise regime. This first consultation seeks views and evidence on a range of issues including the effectiveness of the current regime, the costs and benefits of future options and airlines’ fleet replacement plans. Additionally this consultation includes a review of current evidence on the costs of night flights, particularly noise, and the benefits of these flights. It sets out our thinking on how we would expect to appraise the policy options for the next night flights regime and seeks views on our approach.

We will publish the second consultation later this year and this will include specific proposals for the new regime, such as the number of permitted night flights. These proposals, which will be informed by the evidence we receive from this first stage consultation, will need to strike a fair balance between the interests of those affected by the noise disturbance and those of the airports, passengers and the UK economy.


 

Consultation and associated documents at 

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/night-flights-consultation

This initial consultation seeks views on night flying restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

As a first step to setting the next night flights regime, we are using this consultation to gather evidence to inform both our development of options for the next regime and the work of the Airports Commission.

This is an open call for evidence and we want to gather evidence now to help us assess the relative feasibility of different options.

Night flying restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports, written statement by the Minister of State for Transport, 22 January 2013

ERCD Report 1208, ‘Aircraft noise, sleep disturbance and health effects: a review’

ERCD Report 1209, ‘Proposed methodology for estimating the cost of sleep disturbance from aircraft noise’

Documents

Night flying restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted consultation document

We are seeking views on night flying restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

PDF, 1.05MB, 94 pages

Supporting documents

Night flying restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted consultation annexes

PDF, 13.9MB, 64 pages

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Contact the DfT by 22 April 2013

Respond online or

Write to the DfT:

email   night.noise@dft.gsi.gov.uk

post

Department for Transport,

Great Minster House (1/26),

33 Horseferry Road,

London,

SW1P 4DR

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see also

Heathrow residents disappointed there is still no night flight ban in the Dft consultation

Date added: January 22, 2013

Commenting on the publication today of the DfT’s consultation into a new night flight regime at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, HACAN (the Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise) said is was disappointed that the Government has still not committed itself to a night flight ban. However, they have welcomed the fact that the Government is prepared to look at measures which could mitigate the noise. These include increasing the angle of descent on approach; guaranteed respite periods; changing the existing scheduling or operating bans which affect the noisiest aircraft types. John Stewart, Chair of HACAN, which represents residents under the Heathrow flight paths, said: “We are very clear that we want a ban on night flights before 6 o’clock and a progressive reduction between 6am and 7am. Many people under the Heathrow flight paths don’t need an alarm clock; the first plane wakes them at 4.30 am.”

Click here to view full story…

 

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See also, from the HACAN website:

Economic costs of sleep deprivation to be included in night flights review

In a Lord’s debate (28/5/12) the Government announced it would consider the economic loss due to sleep loss when it reviews night flights later this year. This will be the first time this has been done.  The issue was first raised in a CE Delft Report published by HACAN. Welcome move.

More details of the announcement 

Read the HACAN report

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Read more »

Manchester Council to cut share in MAG from 55% to 35.5% and 9 other councils cut theirs from 45% to 29%

The Manchester Evening News looked at the recent purchase of Stansted airport, by MAG, and assessed what this means for Manchester taxpayer, Manchester airport and the region. 10 councils currently own MAG and they have not had to pay anything towards the deal. The cash has been raised through a combination of MAG selling a 35.5% stake in itself to IFM and agreeing a new debt package with its banks. The deal will see Manchester Council reduce its stake in MAG from 55% to 35.5%. The other 9 councils, which currently have a 5% stake each, will share equally the remaining 29% of MAG. After buying Stansted, MAG will control nearly 19% of the UK aviation market, and this may strengthen its bargaining power when negotiating with airlines. The 10 councils hope to get a larger annual dividend now. In 2012, £20m was paid out, of which £11m went to Manchester and £1m each to the other 9 councils. MAG hopes to increase profits at Stansted, which is operating now at 47% of capacity, by increasing income from shops, restaurants and bars.

MAG will now be 35.5% owned by IFM and 29% owned by the councils, retaining 35.5% itself.


Manchester Airport buys Stansted – but what does it mean for you? We find out

by Adam Jupp

January 20, 2013 (Manchester Evening News)

Manchester Airports Group has struck a £1.5bn deal to buy Stansted Airport.

Supporters of the deal, reported in Saturday’s MEN, claim it could bring more money to Greater Manchester’s ten councils, which currently own MAG.

Here, MEN head of business Adam Jupp examines what it means for taxpayers, the airport and the region as a whole:

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1) If Manchester Airports Group is owned by the 10 Greater Manchester councils, how can it afford to spend so much on another airport at a time when there are huge cuts to public services?

The councils have not had to pay anything towards the deal, which is set to be finalised at the end of February. The cash has been raised through a combination of MAG selling a 35.5 % stake in itself to an Australian company called Industry Funds Management and agreeing a new debt package with its banks*. The deal will see Manchester council reduce its stake in MAG from 55% to 35.5%. The other nine town halls, which currently have a 5% stake each, will share equally the remaining 29%.

*AirportWatch comment: If they paid £1.5bn and only got an injection of £1bn then “agreeing a new debt package with its banks” disguises a £0.5bn loan of some sort. This could be ameliorated somewhat if the £1.5bn is paid by instalments – but even then that £0.5bn has to be found somewhere.

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2) Will Manchester Airport itself benefit?

As a result of this deal, MAG will control nearly 19% of the UK aviation market, owning Manchester, Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth. That is likely to strengthen its bargaining power when negotiating with airlines. As a result, the deal could help airport bosses in their quest to bring new routes to Manchester.

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3) Why was Stansted so attractive to MAG?

Stansted has seen its passenger numbers fall by around a quarter over the past five years and that is why MAG thinks it has huge growth potential. It believes it can improve the airport’s retail areas, increasing the amount of money brought in by its shops, restaurants and bars. After investing heavily in Manchester’s terminals, retail revenues have risen steadily year-on-year – they grew from £69.4m in 2011 to £74.6m in 2012. MAG will also be looking to make the most of its airline relationships to bring passengers numbers back to what they were five years ago. Ryanair currently accounts 70% of all flights out of Stansted but the airport is only at 47% capacity. MAG will be looking to encourage other carriers like Jet2.com, Flybe and easyJet, many of which have a strong presence at Manchester, to launch new routes from the Essex gateway.

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4) Could it lead to greater profits, which could then be distributed to the 10 Greater Manchester town halls?

The councils have reduced their stakes in MAG but have agreed to the deal in the hope it will boost the dividend they receive each year. The dividend is based on MAG’s annual earnings and in 2012, £20m was paid out, of which £11m went to Manchester and £1m each to the other nine. Buying Stansted will automatically add around £80m to MAG’s profits, which the group will hope to increase through the measures mentioned above.

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5) Is £1.5bn value for money?

When weighing up whether a deal represents value-for-money, analysts tend to look at the purchase price as a multiple of a company’s underlying profits. The £1.5bn price tag was 15.6 times Stansted’s 2012 earnings. When looking at other airport deals, Newcastle sold a 49% stake in itself for a reported £150m, which was 16.1 times its profits, while Edinburgh Airport was sold for £807m – 16.7 times its earnings. On that basis, the Stansted deal has been viewed as a good one from MAG’s perspective by some industry commentators.

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6) What are the risks associated with a purchase of this magnitude, particularly during the current recession?

There is, of course, a risk that MAG’s plans for Stansted won’t come off.  However, it has a proven track record of not only managing an airport of a similar scale – Manchester – but improving its performance, even during a  recession. In the last six months alone, Ryanair and easyJet have added routes from Manchester, while United Airlines started daily flights to Washington and American Airlines started using bigger aircraft for its New York and Chicago services. Earlier this month, it revealed revenues, profits and passenger numbers in the six months to the end of September were all up on last year.

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7) Who were Manchester’s rivals for the Stansted deal?

Various parties have been reported as being interested in Stansted during the sale process. By last week, there were just three left in the race, with MAG up against Malaysia Airports, which lodged a joint bid with YTL, the company that owns utilities firms Wessex Water, and Australian investment bank Macquarie.

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8) Will any people currently employed at Manchester Airport be transferred to Essex?

It is too early to say but it is unlikely large numbers of workers will be asked to transfer to Stansted. MAG has said it has “a detailed integration plan in place to ensure a seamless transition of ownership and operations at Stansted.”

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9) As MAG is owned by the people, why were the people not consulted?

The proposals were first put the the Association of Greater Manchester Councils, then secured approval from each town hall individually, where they were voted on by publicly-elected councillors.

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10) And finally, with all the cutbacks taking place, which we hear about on a daily basis, why didn’t our town hall leaders consider selling their stake in MAG?

Selling their shareholdings in MAG would have netted a one-off windfall for the councils. However, it is hoped by not only retaining their stakes, but backing the expansion of the group, the amount they pocket year-on-year through their dividends will grow.

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http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/1598581_manchester-airport-buys-stansted—but-what-does-it-mean-for-you-we-find-out

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Comment from an AirportWatch member:

If MAG cannot make a profit out of Stansted, at least enough to pay the interest MAG may have to raise more money, possibly from the local authorities, but more likely from IFM or a new investor. It is unlikely that the local authorities will put up any new money; I do not suppose they have it for a start. The worst case is that they lose all the investment they have in MAG.

When they talk about the debt package, I imagine that the debt for the whole of MAG will have been re-negotiated, not just the extra £500m. MAG will be a standalone entity and the debt will not be the responsibility of the shareholders, unless they have given a specific guarantee or provided security to the banks, which I feel sure they would not have done.

Read more »

MAG have no plans for a 2nd Stansted runway but want more airlines other than Ryanair

The Times reports that Stansted’s new owners, Manchester Airports Group, do not have any plans to build a second runway.  MAG take up ownership at the end of February.  Industry Funds Management helped MAG buy the airport, by taking a 35.5% stake. It told the Times that it now wants to attract other airlines, as Ryanair has around  70% of flights at Stansted.  Even perhaps some full service airlines. Stansted no longer even makes full use of its one runway, with the number of passengers falling from almost 24 million in 2007 to some 17.4 million in 2012, due to easyJet taking many of its flights to  Gatwick instead, and the closure of some small low cost airlines.  IFM said the airport is only working at about 47% capacity. Charlie Cornish, MAG’s chief executive, indicated the company had little appetite for competing with Heathrow. He called Stansted “the London airport for Europe”.


 

Second runway ‘not needed’ at Stansted

Ryanair accounts for two in three flights at Stansted

by Robert Lea (Times)
22.1.2013
The Times reports that Stansted’s new owners, Manchester Airports Group, do not have any plans to build a second runway.  MAG take up ownership at the end of February.

Industry Funds Management helped MAG buy the airport, by taking a 35.5% stake. It told the Times that it now wants to attract other airlines, as Ryanair has around  70% of flights at Stansted.  Even perhaps some full service airlines. Stansted is likely to considered by the Davies Commission this year, when it looks at UK hub airport capacity, and Boris has been vocal in his support for Stansted to become a massive hub with 4 runways.

Stansted no longer even makes full use of its one runway, with the number of passengers falling from almost 24 million in 2007 to some 17.4 million in 2012, due to easyJet taking many of its flights to  Gatwick instead, and the closure of some small low cost airlines.  IFM said the airport is only working at about 47% capacity.

Recently Charlie Cornish, the CEO of Manchester Airports Group, said his company had little appetite for competing with Heathrow. He called Stansted “the London airport for Europe”.

Times article at

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/industries/transport/article3664167.ece

 

Read more »

Snow problems at Heathrow being used as opportunity to lobby for another runway

Around 2 inches of snow at Heathrow has caused many cancellations and delays to flights. Meanwhile, three inches of snow at Gatwick has not caused any significant disturbance. And Gatwick only has one runway. Heathrow claims that poor visibility conditions mean more separation distance has to be allowed for planes, and thus imply that they could do better with more runways. It seems the snow is being used as an opportunity to stress how difficult it is for the airport to operate at over 98% of capacity. However, much of the problem appears to be internal organisation within Heathrow, rather than any lack of runway space. Heathrow Airport has spent £36m on its Winter Resilience Programme since 2010 and now has 130 snow-clearing vehicles and equipment. But this does not appear to have been very effective. Gatwick spent £8 million  on “snow kit”, the airport’s snow-clearing capacity is now on a par with icy Oslo, and say its snow-clearing equipment now comprises 98 vehicles, up from the 47 it had in 2011. Gatwick said the 50 cancellations it had made were all due to disruption at other airports. So don’t be taken in by Heathrow using this as “proof” it needs to expand.

Some examples of articles in the Mail, implying that the snow means airport expansion is necessary.

Heathrow’s snow horror: blame flaky politicians

By PETER MCKAY (Daily Mail)

20 January 2013

Everyone in Britain talks constantly about the weather, observed an American visitor, who added: ‘But no one does anything about it.’ Good joke, but no one’s laughing.

How can a smattering of snow cause the cancellation of hundreds of  flights and the temporary homelessness of thousands when, in countries with winters more harsh than  our own, aviation continues without difficulty?

No one can explain it. Each year, we greet snow as if it was falling for the first time. Good lord, what is that cold, wet, slippery white stuff?

Ongoing delays: Heathrow claims poor visibility as well as snow-clearing on the two runways slows down arrivals and departures

Sometimes, we blame forecasters for not warning us. At other times, snow-clearance equipment is blamed. Mostly it’s just hopeless excuses. As a nation we mulishly refuse to take seriously inconveniences to the travelling public.

This year, Heathrow officials from the management company and the airlines have at least got their story straight, instead of falling out  among themselves as they’ve done in the past.

Their spiel goes like this: The airport is working at about 98 per cent of its capacity. Poor visibility as well as snow-clearing on the two runways slows down arrivals and departures. Safety is paramount. So some flights must be cancelled. We apologise to passengers for any inconvenience.

On Friday, 440 flights were cancelled. A further 111 were abandoned on Saturday.

How can a smattering of snow cause the cancellation of hundreds of flights and the temporary homelessness of thousands?

Perhaps I missed it, but I heard no explanation from them as to why it was necessary to hold some passengers for seven hours on a plane which didn’t take off — then return them to the terminal to sleep on the floor, or to organise hotels for themselves.

Personally, I felt lucky. The Virgin Atlantic 747 on which I was a passenger took only seven hours 20 minutes to fly 4,400 miles from Miami, averaging more than ten miles a minute. But we were held in a stack (flying in circles) over Heathrow because snow had begun to fall.

Although we didn’t catch sight of the ground until the runway hove into view through the snow flurries, our landing was smooth, the baggage came up quickly and we were clear of the airport in under an hour.

We were luckier than a passenger headed for Las Vegas, who told Radio 4 his flight was cancelled after waiting on the tarmac for six hours. Everyone on the plane was then taken off but the passengers were not able to reclaim their baggage.

Having spent Friday night in a nearby hotel, he returned to the airport on Saturday morning only to be told that he couldn’t have his bag until Sunday. Is this acceptable? Surely not.

Yesterday, flights were coming and going normally from Gatwick, but Heathrow cancelled 20 per cent of its traffic. Again it was stressed that the snow meant more time was needed between flights, which, because they were working at ‘near capacity’, meant cancellations.

No one is saying as much, but the message is clear enough — Heathrow needs another runway. Are aviation officials dragging their heels during this spell of bad weather in order to force the public to come to the same conclusion, pushing the Government to change its policy?

I doubt they are that cynical. But expanding Heathrow is a political question. The Labour government agreed to a third runway, but the Tory opposition — to please constituents in West London — came out against any more development of Heathrow. Now they’re stuck  with that decision, at least until the 2015 election.

Would a third runway solve the long-running public grievance that is Heathrow Airport? Maybe not. A third runway might also be working at near capacity before long. We need expansion of all London airports, but which politician in a position to move this subject on will risk his or her career saying so?

Those who travel regularly and have experienced the full horror of cancelled flights, imprisonment on stalled planes, irretrievable luggage and sleeping on terminal floors, can and do rage against the collective failure of aviation officialdom to do anything much more than wring  their hands.

Confusion: Critics said Heathrow bosses had failed to learn lessons from December 2010, when a snowstorm left the airport paralysed for days

But for every individual who rages, there might be ten or more who don’t care, who think too much fuss is made by those who fly regularly. Indeed, many are positively scornful of travellers’ trauma.

My old Scottish grannie was one  of them. She would say after  hearing of some calamity at sea, or in the air: ‘Aye, well they’d no business being there.’

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2265564/Heathrow-s-snow-horror-blame-flaky-politicians.html

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Some comments from AirportWatch members:

“I suspect that they occasionally do a deliberately bad job so that they can create a semi-crisis and then use that as additional leverage to get another runway. As you say, showing they are incapable of organising a piss-up in a brewery should not allow them to extend the brewery so they can fail even bigger in future!”

“Passengers have complained to Sky News about how they have been left hanging about the airport all weekend without any information. Simon Calder also appeared on Sky blaming the airport’s problems on “congestion”. This prompted Eamon Holmes to ask him if Heathrow could operate better with three runways.No doubt we will be hearing this one again as we did in similar circumstances two years.as you imply this basket doesn’t need more eggs!”

“It would be interesting to see members of the press investigate things like the progress of the Major Disruption Recovery Development Group which the CAA threw to AOA/BATA and might not have been picked up :
http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?catid=2107&pagetype=90&pageid=12086 ”

“My impression is that Heathrow did a reasonable job in getting the snow cleared – but BA did not have the people in place with sufficient grip of reality to prioritise crew rosters/ stands/ de-icing.  Accordingly the stands were clogged up, incoming flights couldn’t
discharge passengers or were turned back to their originating airports mid-flight (tweets from both Bradford and Lyon both had this last night) and planes waited three hours to be deiced and the flights were then cancelled. It certainly doesn’t look like a basket in which you would want to place even more eggs.”

“The Begg Report from the 2010 events could do to be dusted down :
http://www.baa.com/static/BAA_Airports/Downloads/PDF/BeggReport220311_BAA.pdf ”

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Gatwick spent £8 million on snow preparedness in 2010

 

and

Gatwick Airport ready for snow, promises operations manager

 

IT MAY have been a wet Christmas rather than a white one but Gatwick Airport is ready for whatever weather might be thrown at us.

Gatwick chiefs say that, following an £8 million spending spree on “snow kit”, the airport’s snow-clearing capacity is now on a par with icy Oslo. The airport’s snow-clearing equipment now comprises 98 vehicles, up from the 47 it had two winters ago.

  1. Gatwick Airport ready for snow, promises operations manager

    Gatwick Airport ready for snow, promises operations manager

Andy Crabb, Gatwick’s airfield operations manager, explained that the airport is now prepared for the worst. He said: “We have snow ploughs, brushes, cutters, blowers and deicing vehicles, as well as tractors.

“We have 18 ‘sweeper blowers’ for the runway and taxiways, and six large runway anti-icing vehicles, and we can store up to 600,000 litres of anti-icing agent – twice as much as we had in 2010.”

He added: “All £8 million worth of kit has arrived, been tested and is ready for use.”

During bad weather a team of 66 work 12-hour shifts to provide 24-hour cover to keep the runway clear, with a further 120 staff available to be drafted in should the need arise.

It is no easy job clearing snow if it does fall as there is 1.8 million square feet of runway.

As well as machinery to clear the air strip, the airport has 4,000 blankets, 600 mattresses, 8,000 bottles of water, 600 folding beds, 20 snow shovels and 10 travel cots in case passengers become stranded by adverse weather.

Mr Crabb said: “From training extra staff volunteers to drive our snow fleet and help passengers in our terminals, to providing real-time updates during snow, we are as prepared as possible for the winter months.”

http://www.thisissussex.co.uk/Gatwick-Airport-ready-snow-promises-operations/story-17815462-detail/story.html

 

 


 

 

and

The chaos is set to continue: Heathrow to cancel 10% of flights today because of low visibility

  • Around 155 – one in ten – will be cancelled at the airport today
  • Stranded passengers have already been forced to sleep on terminal floors after severe weather saw hundreds of flights cancelled over the weekend
  • Travellers vented their frustration about the cancellations

By JONATHAN PETRE and AMANDA WILLIAMS (Mail)

21 January 2013

Travel chaos will continue at Heathrow today after the airport announced plans to cancel ten per cent of flights – around 155

The airport, which typically handles 1,300 flights a day, said it was planning the cancellations because of low visibility, which means more space has to be left between aircraft.

It comes after thousands of air passengers faced misery yesterday after around 260 flights were cancelled at the airport, even though the snow was just 2cm thick.

British Airways, Air France, Aer Lingus, Lufthansa and TAP Portugal flights have been affected.

A statement from the airport said: ‘Following a joint decision by Heathrow, airlines and air traffic control, the flight schedule at Heathrow today will be reduced in order to minimise the expected disruption caused by low visibility.

‘Latest forecasts show a high probability of low visibility conditions. This will reduce the capacity of the airport and without action would cause significant disruption to passengers and flights.

The flight schedule for 21st January will be reduced by 10 per cent and details of which flights will be cancelled will be announced by airlines when they have finalised their schedules.’

It added that it is possible that weather conditions at other European airports will increase the number of cancellations, and urged passengers due to travel tomorrow to check the status of their flight with their airline before travelling to the airport.’

The Heathrow Connect and Heathrow Express train services were also hit by major delays to and from the airport.

BA has already apologised to customers and said it was doing ‘everything it could’ to help those whose flights have been disrupted by the weather.

It has also been claimed airport hotels hiked up their prices to take advantage of those stuck because of the bad weather.

Passengers said some hotel rooms were being offered for £600.

The Sofitel at Terminal 5 was offering rooms at £288, even for those who just wanted somewhere to rest for a couple of hours. Hotel workers said room rates had been put up by about £50 because of the weather.

Angry travellers took to Twitter to vent their frustration with the situation.

Paul Romanuk said: ‘Still massive delays and cancellations due to snow. It hasn’t snowed for two days. Who runs Heathrow, the FA?’

‘The Scandinavians r much more prepared. When do we Brits ever get anything right?’, said Twitter user Jey L, while Kalyan Das said: ‘Bizarre situation, only 4cm snow closes the 2nd busiest airport in northern hemisphere, despite of forecast, rubbish!’

Ben Jones was also unimpressed, tweeting: ‘Heathrow spent £37 million on being better prepared for the snow. Today 1 in 5 flights cancelled. Money well spent then!!’

More than 100 Heathrow flights – 67 of them departures – were grounded yesterday after 440 were cancelled on Friday because of the weather.

Stranded passengers expressed fury after having to sleep on terminal floors.

Some frustrated passengers said they had been held on a plane for six hours waiting to take off, before being told their flight had been cancelled and that they had to disembark.

They then had to endure long queues for free hotel vouchers, find their own accommodation or face a night on the floor.

But rival Gatwick, just 24 miles away, kept its runway open and said the 50 cancellations it had made were all due to disruption at other airports.

It said it had boosted its snow-clearing capabilities by studying methods used at Scandinavian airports such as Oslo.

The Met Office said Gatwick had faced about three inches of snow on Friday afternoon, compared with two at Heathrow.

Heathrow is owned by LHR Airports Ltd, known as BAA until October last year. Gatwick is owned and managed by Global Infrastructure Partners.

Critics said Heathrow’s bosses had failed to learn lessons from a period of severe disruption in December 2010, when the airport was paralysed for days by a snowstorm.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2265562/The-chaos-set-continue-Heathrow-announces-plans-cancel-10-flights-tomorrow-low-visibility.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490


 

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Stansted to be sold for £1.5bn to Manchester Airports Group

Manchester Airports Group has won the bidding process to buy Stansted, at £1.5 billion – higher than commentators though the price would be, when bidding closed two days ago. MAG will now own Stansted, Manchester, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports.  Heathrow Airport Holdings, will retain only 4 UK airports compared with its original 7 – Heathrow, Glasgow, Southampton and Aberdeen. The sale is expected to close by the end of February. MAG also includes the commercial property company, MAG Developments, which has a £350m portfolio across its existing 3 airports and is leading the £650m Enterprise Zone development, Airport City, at Manchester. MAG also runs businesses in car parking, airport security, fire-fighting, engineering, advertising and motor transport. As part of the transaction, Australian infrastructure investment group Industry Funds Management (IFM) will become an investor in MAG, invest new equity and take a 35.5% stake in the enlarged group. Gatwick sold for £1.51 billion and Edinburgh sold for £807 million.

 


Stansted to be sold for £1.5bn to Manchester Airports Group

Deal announced late on Friday means company formerly known as BAA will only be responsible for four airports

Press Association

Friday 18 January 2013 (Guardian)  21.59 GMT
The company formerly known as BAA is to sell Stansted airport to Manchester Airports Group for £1.5bn.
The deal, announced late on Friday, will mean that BAA – now known as Heathrow Airport Holdings – will be responsible for just four UK airports compared with its original seven.
The remaining airports are Heathrow, Southampton, Aberdeen and Glasgow.
…….. and it continues ….
The sale is expected to close by the end of February 2013.
Manchester Airports Group (MAG) owns and operates Manchester, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports.
MAG also includes the commercial property company, MAG Developments, which has a £350m portfolio across the three airports and is leading the £650m Enterprise Zone development, Airport City, at Manchester.
MAG also runs businesses in car parking, airport security, firefighting, engineering, advertising and motor transport.
The group’s three airports and property business contribute about £3.2bn to the UK.
MAG had been one of the bidders for Gatwick when BAA put it up for sale while the CC inquiry was going on but it lost out to American private equity group Global Infrastructure Partners, which now also runs Edinburgh.
Stansted in Essex is London’s third busiest airport after Heathrow and Gatwick and is the UK’s fourth busiest airport.
It handles about 17.5 million passengers and more than 131,000 flights a year.
A popular airport for no-frills airlines, Stansted is home to 14 airlines serving more than 150 destinations in 32 countries. It employs more than 10,000 people.
Stansted’s pre-tax profits in 2011 amounted to £86.6m and are estimated to be £94.2m in 2012.
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Reuters also says
“As part of the transaction, Australian infrastructure investment group Industry Funds Management (IFM) will become an investor in MAG, invest new equity and take a 35.5 percent stake in the enlarged group, MAG said.”
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/01/18/uk-britain-stansted-idUKBRE90H1A820130118
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The Times says
” …Manchester said that the purchase price represented a multiple of 15.6 times last year’s earnings, which “compares favourably with similar airport transactions in the UK and reflects Stansted’s significant growth potential”. “
and

“Manchester airports said that it had detailed a integration plan in place to ensure a seamless transition of ownership and operations at Stansted, which will maintain business as usual for passengers and customers.

…in the 12 months to March last year MAG’s passenger numbers rose by a total of 6.7% and revenues by 8.6%. Underlying operating profit was up by 26%.

Industry Funds Management has investments in 9 airports across Australia, including 5 state capital city hubs. In Britain it already has significant investments in Anglian Water, the 4th-largest water and sewerage company in England and Wales, and Arqiva, the broadcast and wireless communications infrastructure company.”

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/industries/construction-property/article3662211.ece

 

More on IFM Infrastructure Funds at http://www.industryfundsmanagement.eu/ifm-infrastructure-funds/infrastructure-funds/#global-infrastructure-fund

This is what they invest in in Europe http://www.industryfundsmanagement.eu/ifm-infrastructure-funds/asset-portfolio/asset-portfolio-europe/ They seem to only have 4 things, 2 of them in the UK. They recently got out of Wales & West Utilities.

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By contrast, in April 2012  Edinburgh Airport was sold to Global Infrastructure Partners for £807m   Details

and

in October 2009 Gatwick Airport was sold to an entity controlled by Global Infrastructure Partners for £1.51 billion.  Details

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Update from Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) on 22nd January:

Second runway threat may lessen under new owner

Stop Stansted Expansion is assessing the likely implications for expansion at Stansted Airport following its acquisition by Manchester Airports Group (MAG). The group, in conjunction with Australia’s Industry Funds Management, beat two other suitors with a £1.5 billion bid for the airport. MAG owns East Midlands and Bournemouth airports as well as Manchester.

Welcoming the announcement, SSE Chairman Peter Sanders commented: “Our hope is that we can build a constructive relationship with Stansted’s new owners based on maximising the benefits of the airport and minimising its adverse impacts”.

In a preliminary assessment of the likely prospects for Stansted under new owners, Brian Ross SSE’s economics adviser, said: “We think it unlikely that MAG will pursue the idea of a second runway. They got their fingers burnt 15 years ago when they built a second runway at Manchester which, as it turned out, they didn’t need.”

Manchester is similar in size to Stansted and recently pushed the Essex airport into fourth place in the UK’s airports league table based on passenger numbers.

Brian Ross told the Times, “Charlie Cornish [MAG’s chief executive] recently said he wanted to return Stansted to its 2007 peak [24 million passengers a year] within ten years and that is something we can work with them constructively on. That seems to be a realistic ambition and could be sustainable.”

Mr Cornish said MAG would use its expertise to ensure that Stansted “can fulfil its potential as a high-quality alternative London access point for global air travellers.  Stansted has scope to benefit from significant volume growth over the short, medium and long term.”

and

“More flights to interesting places” – Simon Calder

Of the four London airports, Stansted is furthest from the centre and furthest from key road and rail arteries, says Simon Calder, the Independent’s travel editor, in an article discussing the implications of Stansted’s new ownership. “It’s only a little bit unfair to describe it as an airport people use because they have to,” he said. “Manchester Airports Group will be seeking to change all that.”  He predicted that passengers would notice “more flights to more interesting places – and a wider range of airlines”. It was unhealthy for Stansted to be so dependent on Ryanair. Long-haul airlines at Stansted had come and gone but if it could find the right airline that needed a fast track to London, “Heathrow and Gatwick will take notice”. Initially, new owners would try to grab short-haul routes from Gatwick and Luton, he said.

www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/simon-calders-qa-manchester-airport-buys-stansted-8458342.html

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See also

 

Manchester Council to cut share in MAG from 55% to 35.5% and 9 other councils cut theirs from 45% to 29%

Date added: January 22, 2013

The Manchester Evening News looked at the recent purchase of Stansted airport, by MAG, and assessed what this means for Manchester taxpayer, Manchester airport and the region. 10 councils currently own MAG and they have not had to pay anything towards the deal. The cash has been raised through a combination of MAG selling a 35.5% stake in itself to IFM and agreeing a new debt package with its banks. The deal will see Manchester Council reduce its stake in MAG from 55% to 35.5%. The other 9 councils, which currently have a 5% stake each, will share equally the remaining 29% of MAG. After buying Stansted, MAG will control nearly 19% of the UK aviation market, and this may strengthen its bargaining power when negotiating with airlines. The 10 councils hope to get a larger annual dividend now. In 2012, £20m was paid out, of which £11m went to Manchester and £1m each to the other 9 councils. MAG hopes to increase profits at Stansted, which is operating now at 47% of capacity, by increasing income from shops, restaurants and bars.

Click here to view full story…

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Which has more passengers now? MAG? Heathrow Airport Holdings? GIP?

Very approximately, from CAA data at showing numbers of passengers

81 million passengers or so at Heathrow’s 4 airports in 2011 (Heathrow, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Southampton)

41 million or so at the MAG 4 airports in 2011 (Stansted, Manchester, East Midlands, Bournemouth)

46 million or so at the GIP’s 3 airports in 2011 (Gatwick, Edinburgh, London City)

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2  days earlier on 16th January 2013:

3 bids submitted for Stansted with sale decision possible soon

Bids for Stansted are now in, and there have been three.  Each bid is for around £1 billion or more. Stansted is now the UK’s 4th largest airport, by passenger numbers, after Manchester, and has mainly leisure and holiday flights, with Ryanair predominant.  It was the 3rd largest till last year.  The final bidders are:  Australia’s Macquarie. Malaysia Airports Holdings and Manchester Airports Group (MAG) with its Australian partner IFM.  The decision on which has won may be know by next week.  Stansted was not seen as easy to sell because Ryanair accounts for about 70% of the airport’s traffic. The airline’s combative approach to pricing is expected to drag down the deal’s value well below other recently sold airports such as Gatwick and Edinburgh. ”It’s a miracle they got three bids”, said one of the bidders. “The Ryanair risk is not for the fainthearted”. MAG is seen as the front-runner, and may be best at dealing with Ryanair from experience at its other UK airports.

Stansted airport attracts three $1.6 billion bids

By Anjuli Davies and Sophie Sassard

Jan 16, 2013 (Reuters)

London’s Stansted airport has attracted three final bids each worth about  £1 billion, three sources close to the matter said.

A deal would give its new owner access to Britain’s fourth largest airport, which flew 17.4 million passengers last year.

A predominantly leisure and holiday airport 50 km north east of London, it was put up for sale in August after Ferrovial-controlled BAA (FER.MC) was forced by Britain’s competition regulator to sell off assets and loosen its grip on the UK market.

Australia’s Macquarie (MQG.AX), Malaysia Airports Holdings (MAHB.KL) and Manchester Airports Group (MAG) with its Australian partner IFM are the final bidders, the people said.

“We are hopeful we’ll have a deal next week”, said one of the people who didn’t want to be named because the talks are private.

Private equity firm TPG and New Zealand investment manager Morrison & Co were previously interested in Stansted but did not submit bids.

Stansted was not seen as an easy deal to sell because low-cost Irish carrier Ryanair (RYA.I) accounts for about 70 percent of the airport’s traffic. The airline’s combative approach to pricing is expected to drag down the deal’s value well below other recently sold airports such as Gatwick and Edinburgh.

“It’s a miracle they got three bids”, said one of the people.

“It’s indicative of how difficult it is to invest in quality assets at the moment…. The ryanair risk is not for the fainthearted”.

MAG is seen as the frontrunner, given its sector expertise and financial firepower due to its partnership with IFM, which took a 35 percent stake the operator earlier this year.

Macquarie, which owns Sydney’s airport, also has expertise in buying airports, and Malaysia Airports has the financial firepower, a sector banker said.

“It’s all down to who will put the highest bid”, the banker said.

This banker did not expect Stansted to fetch similar multiples to Edinburgh Airport and Portugal‘s ANA, which were recently sold 16 times and 15 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA).

However, some analysts say Stansted could fetch up to £1.3 billion.

RBC Capital analyst Olivia Peters says Stansted could be sold for 95% of its regulated asset base (RAB) – around 1.28 billion pounds, or around 14.2 times its annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA).

Stansted’s owner Heathrow Airport Holdings, Macquarie and MAG declined to comment while Malaysia Airports could not be reached outside of office hours.

(Reporting by Anjuli Davies and Sophie Sassard; Editing by Steve Slater and Louise Heavens)

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/01/16/uk-stansted-sale-idUKBRE90F0TS20130116

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The Financial Times says:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9c3fd72c-600e-11e2-b657-00144feab49a.html#axzz2I9QsF1VC

January 16, 2013

The MAG consortium has been seen as a leading contender. MAG owns Manchester, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports. Under the terms of their partnership deal, Industry Funds Management will buy 35% of MAG’s equity and get half its voting rights if the pair win Stansted.

MAG might be better positioned than others to negotiate with Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s chief executive, given its extensive dealings with the low-cost airline at its airports.

Regulated airports such as Stansted, which analysts say could fetch about £1bn, are a rare prize and appeal to investors looking for safe, inflation-pegged returns.

 

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Blog by John Stewart on Heathrow: “It’s the Politics, Stupid”

In a new  blog, John Stewart writes that it will be the politics – not economics, noise or climate change – that will determine where, if anywhere, new runways will be built.  Many politicians now understand this. Willie Walsh of BA understands it. But it appears that those still backing a 3rd – even a 4th – runway at Heathrow have not fully understood the extent of the political opposition. Across London almost three quarters of a million Londoners are affected by aircraft noise already. The extent of the opposition there would be, on noise grounds alone, if another runway affected hundreds of thousands more Londoners, would be immense.  That coalition that fought the 3rd runway plans is merely dormant, and it would come back – more confident than before with even more opposition.  It has provided inspiration to campaigners across Europe – from Munich to Siena – who are now seeing off their runway proposals.  The reality is that this opposition would make another Heathrow runway politically undeliverable.

‘It’s the Politics, Stupid’

Posted on 

 

 Blog by John Stewart:  17th January 2013

Boris gets it. The London Assembly gets it. Former transport minister Steve Norris gets it. Some business people get it.  I think Heathrow Airport– BAA as was – gets it.  Maria Eagle, Labour’s shadow transport minister, gets it. Willie Walsh certainly gets it.

However, I came away from giving evidence to the London Assembly’s first-rate transport committee this week pretty sure that some of the people backing a third or even fourth runway at Heathrow don’t get it.

It is simple:  it will be politics – not economics, noise or climate change – that will determine where, if anywhere, new runways will be built.  I don’t mean that the decision will necessarily be narrowly party political; simply that it will based on a political assessment of how deliverable any proposal for a new runway actually is.

“It will be politics – not economics, noise or climate change – that will determine where, if anywhere, new runways will be built”.

Steve Norris has consistently argued that a third runway at Heathrow is politically undeliverable.  British Airways chief Willie Walsh has come to the same conclusion.  He is now planning his business on the basis that a third runway will not be built.  He is buying up Heathrow slots from other airlines and consolidating his Madrid base through his link up with Iberian airlines.

I think they are right.  The last Labour Government tried and failed to expand Heathrow.  It lost out to a vibrant, rainbow coalition of local residents, local authorities, MPs and peers from across the political spectrum, trade unionists and business people as well as large sections of the environmental movement including direct action activists –http://www.hacan.org.uk/resources/reports/how.the.heathrow.campaign.was.won.pdf.

That coalition is merely dormant.  It would come back.  It would come back more confident than before.  It now knows how to defeat a runway. Moreover, it knows it has provided inspiration to campaigners across Europe – from Munich to Siena – to see off their runway proposals.  This is the political reality that would face any party that tried to expand Heathrow.  Politicians are realists.  Not one would want to risk losing another 10 year battle, achieved nothing in the process.

“The vibrant campaign which saw off expansion at Heathrow last time round is likely to frighten off politicians from backing a 3rd runway.  That is the political reality.” 

And then there are the voters.  725,000 of them live under the Heathrow flight paths, according to EU statistics.  That, incredibly, is 28% of all the people disturbed by aircraft noise right across Europe.  That’s more people than live in Glasgow or Manchester.  A third runway, according to Department of Transport figures, would add at least another 150,000.

It is difficult to assess to what extent those organisations – think-tanks, businesses, trade unions – which back a third or fourth runway have thought through the political barriers to Heathrow expansion.  I suspect they instinctively feel that the Coalition’s decision to scrap a third runway and mixed-mode (more planes on the existing runways) was a one-off, an aberration, something David Cameron repents of in private.  George Osborne, they claim, is on their side.  The tide, they feel, is turning in their favour.  It is only a matter of time, they believe, before Sipson is flattened and normal service has been resumed.

That, I think, is to misunderstand the history of protest.  I was involved in the campaigns against road building in London in the late 1980s and early 1990s; road building plans that would have flattened dozens of communities.  The scale of the protests killed off major new roads as a solution to London’s traffic problems.  Equally, the national ‘anti-roads’ protests in the 1990s changed the course of UK transport policy.

The anti-expansion campaign at Heathrow over the last decade or so is likely to be equally significant.  It will frighten off any political party from supporting further expansion of the airport.  Boris knows his former constituents in Henley would be up in arms.  Maria Eagle, backed by her leader Ed Miliband, has made an astute political decision to oppose expansion. Heathrow Airport knows it has the fight of its life on its hands to get a new runway.  That is the political reality.  If George Osborne – or Ed Balls – doesn’t get it, they are in for a very noisy wake-up call.

http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=80

 

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….and there are links to John’s previous HACAN blogs

So, why don’t you move?                                                                                         http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=75

 

BA chief Willie Walsh comes out against a third runway                      http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=71

 

Justine Greening would have approved                                                        http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=65

 

Is air pollution the biggest obstacle to a third runway at Heathrow?  http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=59

 

The Head of Justine Greening on a Platter                                                                http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=55

 

Why I’m backing Justine….and Maria                                                                 http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=51

and more

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