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Letter to Guardian from Heathrow critics & supporters asking for aircraft noise ombudsman

The noise from planes using Heathrow airport is a huge issue, affecting hundreds of thousands of people. Noise at other airports is equally a serious problem for those affected. Over decades, local communities have had little reason to trust the airports and the authorities (a recent example being the  unannounced flight path trial over Warnham, from Gatwick).  Aircraft noise is considered to be an unfortunate side effect of the alleged benefits of a growing aviation sector, with those affected being necessary “collateral damage” of this industry. The Airports Commission, in its interim report in December, recommended the setting up of an independent noise authority which would be able to deal with noise issues. Now a letter, supporting the establishment of an Ombudsman, has been sent to the Guardian, signed by a long list of notable people, including many opponents of a 3rd Heathrow runway. The letter hopes the Ombudsman may establish more “trust and confidence.” However, no amount of liaison, consultation etc will actually make the amount of noise diminish, which is what most people who suffer from aircraft noise actually want.  There are fears that the new body will be “long grass into which difficult issues could be consigned.”


 

 

Heathrow critics and supporters unite to call for airport noise ombudsman

Letter to Guardian calling for regulator is signed by opponents of expansion as well as advocates of growth at London airpor
By , political editor

Aircraft landing at Heathrow airport

An ombudsman could be responsible for advising on how best to compensate those experiencing noise, the best means of monitoring noise, and where possible to reduce or mitigate it. Photograph: Alamy

Noise levels at Heathrow and other airports should be regulated by an independent ombudsman, according to an unlikely alliance of critics and supporters of the airport’s expansion.

The coming together of the two sides over the most contentious issue facing the west London airport in particular is also seen as a breakthrough in the political row over its future. The fresh initiative is spelt out in a letter to the Guardian, whose signatories include Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative MP for Richmond Park and a fervent opponent of expansion. Other signatories include Tim Yeo, the chairman of the energy and climate change select committee, the Green MP Caroline Lucas, and the directors of the Back Heathrow and Let Britain Fly campaigns, which support expansion.

Advocates of the initiative believe it could break the logjam of mistrust between residents and the airline industry. The business group London First advocated the appointment of an aircraft noise ombudsman in the autumn, and has been slowly building support from interested parties including the London assembly, Virgin Atlantic and the Stop Stansted Expansion campaign.

The letter to Guardian argues an independent ombudsman could have “a fundamental role in further establishing trust and confidence, thus bringing about a fair and reasonable balance between increasing demand for flights and noise control”.

The idea, requiring primary legislation, was strongly supported in principle by the interim report of the Davies commission into airport expansion, to which the government is due to respond in the next few weeks. The purpose of the ombudsman would be to work collaboratively with all interested parties to report on noise in an open, transparent and intelligible manner, and “to deal with noise limitation problems fairly and sustainably”.

The body would have to report to parliament, and its precise terms of reference and enforcement powers would be critical to the body being useful and generally supported. Some argue that its powers should be limited to naming and shaming airlines that fail to follow its advice. Currently the only legislation affecting aircraft noise covers night flights, while the Civil Aviation Authority, funded by airlines and airports, monitors aircraft noise at Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted. Heathrow has a noise team to handle complaints but the reasons for its decisions are largely opaque.

In a joint statement given to the Guardian, the airline industry and environmental campaigners said: “For most, who do not live near to a major airport, air travel is exclusively defined in terms of the considerable economic or social benefits which it brings; their experience of aircraft noise is an ambient sound somewhere up in the sky. On the other hand, for those who live near major airports, aircraft noise can be an imposition. The time has come to adopt a fresh approach, to restore trust and give them the confidence that their legitimate grievances are being addressed.

The initiative comes as London First, Let Britain Fly and Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (Hacan) come together on Tuesday to hold their joint conference on aircraft noise. Gavin Hayes, the director of Let Britain Fly, a campaign group funded by the airline industry, said: “It’s vitally important to do everything possible to enhance the quality of life of all of those who live around Britain’s airports. There is a golden opportunity to ensure that aircraft noise is managed more effectively, progressively reducing it and the number of people it affects.”

John Stewart, chair of Hacan, welcomed the initiative as “the first time that organisations from all points of the spectrum in the debate on aircraft noise have co-operated in this way to find solutions. That debate has for many years been challenging, complex and, regrettably, fraught. We believe that the time has come for a fresh start to efforts to break the deadlock.”

There are currently disputes over the basics of aircraft noise with opponents of Heathrow claiming the Davies commission is basing its plans on an out-of-date survey that suggests communities do not become annoyed by overhead flights if they are below a 57 decibel benchmark, a finding based on a contested survey conducted in 1982.

An ombudsman could be responsible for advising on how best to compensate those experiencing noise, the best means of monitoring noise, and where possible to reduce or mitigate it. The ombudsman would also publish airlines’ noise performance, disseminate noise mitigation best practice and mediate in disputes between airlines and residents. It would also advise on the noise consequences of proposed changes to flight patterns, and in some version be given powers to fine airlines that fail to follow advice.

A similar body has existed in Australia since 2010, and in France since 2009. The French authority has powers to impose fines on airlines and lists all such fines, and the reasons for them on its website.

Other signatories to the Guardian letter include Dr Julian Huppert, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge, Stephen Joseph chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham and a possible Labour candidate for the London mayoralty, Caroline Lucas, the Green MP, Philippa Roe, the Conservative leader of Westminster city council, Valerie Shawcross , Labour London assembly member for Lambeth and Southwark, Henry Smith, the Conservative MP for Crawley, and John Stewart, chairman of Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/10/heathrow-critics-supporters-independent-ombudsman-airport-noise

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Some of the comments below the article:

jeffgazzard

10 March 2014 

Patrick Wintour is completely correct to label this alliance “unlikely” – noise annoyance from increasing flights grows as the numbers of take offs and landings rise to meet “predict and provide” forecasts. Noise reductions per aircraft on take off are not matched when the same aircraft land over resident’s heads, day and night. The Australian and French committees do not either control or reduce aircraft noise or annoyance let alone the worrying detrimental health impacts of noise around airports which increasingly cause premature deaths, admittedly in low but growing numbers, according to WHO investigations. Ombudsmen and other bodies simply fit and impose an airport’s existing and planned noise on local communities come what may – just ask those living around Sydney or Charles de Gaulle airports. Follow up article please Mr. Wintour?

Jeff Gazzard
Board Member
Aviation Environment Federation
LONDON

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haribol  reply to jeffgazzard

The failure of Ombudsmen in other areas of Public Life does not bode well.

Better to have direct lobbying and pressure on MP’s and cut out the middleman.

Otherwise every question/complaint/policy etc etc would be bounced as “refer to ombudsman”.

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haribol

The body would have to report to parliament,

Ah Yes ! Report back to Parliament.

Would be great were Parliamentarians able to provide the requisite critical aanalytical skills to actually make it a worthwhile exercise.

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Liofa73

Perhaps the ombudsman could take a look at noise from military aircraft around Norfolk this winter/spring. The dogfighting training they’ve been doing most days for the last few months over this part of the world was fun to watch on the first day, but it’s getting a little bit much…


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This is the letter:

Let’s have an ombudsman to open our ears to aircraft noise control

Aircraft flies low over houses

An aircraft noise ombudsman would protect the welfare of people who live near airports. Photograph: Tim Ockenden/PA

Air travel, and the aircraft noise that accompanies it, have become an integral part of modern life, but perceptions of aircraft noise vary greatly, mainly depending on where it is experienced.

For most people, who do not live near to a major airport, air travel is exclusively defined in terms of the considerable economic or social benefits that it brings. On the other hand, for those who live near major airports, aircraft noise can be an imposition. The time has come to adopt a fresh approach, to restore trust and give people the confidence that their legitimate grievances are being addressed.

We believe that the establishment of an independent aircraft noise ombudsman, set up at arm’s length from government and the industry, could play a fundamental role in further establishing trust and confidence, thus bringing about a fair and reasonable balance between increasing demand for flights and noise control.

Building on the common ground and goodwill built up among the interested parties, the ombudsman would collaborate with all of them to report on noise in an open, transparent and intelligible manner, and to deal with noise limitation problems fairly and sustainably.

We therefore call on the government and politicians of all colours to work collaboratively with all stakeholders on designing, and thereafter the early establishment of, an independent aircraft noise ombudsman to further enhance and protect the welfare of people living near airports.

 

Stephen Alambritis leader, Merton council
David Amess MP Con, Southend West
Tony Arbour AM Richmond, Kingston and Hounslow
Jennette Arnold AM Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest
Bob Blackman MP Harrow East
Mark Boleat chair, policy and resources committeeCity of London Corporation
David Brazier cabinet member for transport and environment, Kent county council
Robert Buckland MP Con, South Swindon
Sir Steve Bullock Mayor of Lewisham
Muhammed Butt Leader, Brent council
Jim Cunningham MP Lab, Coventry South
Tom Copley AM London-wide
Brenda Dean Lab, House of Lords
Andrew Dismore AMBarnet and Camden
Jim Dobbin MP Lab, Heywood and Middleton
Len Duvall AM leader of Labour group, Greenwich and Lewisham
Roger Evans AM deputy chairman of the London Assembly, Havering and Redbridge
Stephen Fry chief executive, Hounslow Chamber of Commerce
Zac Goldsmith MP Con, Richmond Park
Robert Gray director, Back Heathrow
Rt Hon Sir Alan Haselhurst MP Con, Saffron Walden
Gavin Hayes director, Let Britain Fly
Dr Julian Huppert MP Lib Dem, Cambridge
Darren Johnson AM chair of the London Assembly
Jenny Jones AM leader, Green Group at the London Assembly
Stephen Joseph chief executive, Campaign for Better Transport
David Lammy MP Lab, Tottenham
Mike Langan chair, Hillingdon Chamber of Commerce
Lisa Lavia managing director, Noise Abatement Society
Caroline Lucas MP Green, Brighton Pavilion
Caroline Nokes MP Con, Romsey and Southampton North
Steve O’Connell AM Croydon and Sutton
Lib Peck leader, Lambeth council
Roger Reed deputy leader, South Buckinghamshire district council
Philippa Roe leader, Westminster city council
Ben Rogersdirector, Centre for London
Andrew Rosindell MP Con, Romford
Sir Bob Russell MP Lib Dem, Colchester
Dr Onkar Sahota AM Ealing and Hillingdon
Valerie Shawcross AM Lambeth and Southwark
Henry Smith MP Con, Crawley
Nicholas Soames MP Con, Mid Sussex
John Stewart chair, Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise
Jeremy Taylor chief executive, Gatwick Diamond Business
Baroness Valentine chief executive, London First
Joan Walley MP Lab Stoke-on-Trent North
Tim Yeo MP Con, South Suffolk
Professor Xin Zhang professor of aircraft engineering, University of Southampton

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/10/ombudsman-aircraft-noise-control

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 By contrast:

Concerns about the effectiveness of a new aviation noise authority – and the public’s trust in it

March 4, 2014

In its interim report published on 17th December 2013, the Airports Commission recommended to government “… the establishment of an Independent Noise Authority to provide expert and impartial advice about the noise impacts of aviation and to facilitate the delivery of future improvements to airspace operations.” GACC – the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign – has responded to this suggestion with a lot of caveats. GACC would welcome the authority if its main purpose is to reduce aircraft noise, but not if its main purpose is to persuade local residents to relax their opposition to a new runway at Gatwick. Residents want the noise to be reduced, not ‘mitigating’, and not ‘reducing the number of people affected’ if that means merely making noise worse for fewer people. . There have been years of unsatisfactory complaints mechanisms on aircraft noise, and also of broken assurances from the aviation industry. “A single point for complaints, an aircraft noise ombudsman with power to order improvement or compensation, would be welcome. But we do not see this in the recommendations of the Commission’s Interim Report.” There are fears that the new body will be “long grass into which difficult issues could be consigned.” A body designed to smooth the path of a new runway, whether at Gatwick or elsewhere would be vigorously opposed.

Click here to view full story…

 

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Read more »

The cost of a new Gatwick runway – £50 extra per return flight

A new research study  - ‘Who would pay for a new runway’  -  examines who would pay for a new runway at Gatwick or at Heathrow. It concludes that a new runway at Gatwick would mean an increase in airport charges (landing fees, aircraft parking charges etc) per passenger from £8 at present to £33.60 – an increase of £25, or £50 per return flight.  At Heathrow the increase would be from £19 per passenger to £31.  The calculations are based on the estimate made by the Airports Commission that a new Gatwick runway would cost £10 – £13 billion. The local Gatwick campaign, GACC, say Gatwick often claim that a new runway at Gatwick would be cheaper than one at Heathrow.  But they don’t mention that the cost would need to be borne by roughly half as many passengers at Gatwick as at Heathrow.  In the past the cost of new infrastructure was met by the Government, or spread among BAA’s airports.  But now all the airports are privately owned by separate companies.  The cost of a Gatwick runway would have to be met only by the passengers using Gatwick.  £50 extra on a return flight might well cause price sensitive passengers and airlines to choose to use Stansted instead.
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The cost of a new Gatwick runway - £50 extra per return flight

10.3.2014 (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) 

A research study published today - ‘Who would pay for a new runway’   -  by the Aviation Environment Federation examines who would pay for a new runway at Gatwick or at Heathrow.

It concludes that a new runway at Gatwick would mean an increase in airport charges (landing fees, aircraft parking charges etc) per passenger from £8 at present to £33.60 – an increase of £25, or £50 per return flight. 

At Heathrow the increase would be from £19 per passenger to £31.  The calculations are based on the estimate made by the Airports Commission that a new Gatwick runway would cost £10 – £13 billion.  [This figure comes from the Airports Commission Interim report .  December 2013.  Paragraph 6.75 ]

The study is written by former Treasury adviser Brendon Sewill, who is chairman of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, with help from Brian Ross, economic adviser to SSE, the Stansted environmental group.

Brendon Sewill said:  ‘Gatwick Airport often claim that a new runway at Gatwick would be cheaper than one at Heathrow.  But what they do not mention is that the cost would need to be borne by roughly half as many passengers.’

In the past the cost of new infrastructure was met by the Government, or spread among the passengers at all the main UK airports.  But now all the airports are privately owned by separate companies.  Politicians will not want to pay for a new runway out of public funds, and indeed any subsidy would be contrary to EU rules.  That means that the cost of a new runway at Gatwick would have to be met only by the passengers using Gatwick.

‘£50 extra on a return flight,’ Sewill added, ‘might well cause passengers and airlines to choose to use Stansted instead.’

http://www.gacc.org.uk/latest-news.php

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Airports Commission interim report says:

“6.75

The costs of expansion at Gatwick, while substantial (estimated to be between
£10-13 billion over the period to 2030, once the costs of surface access
improvements are taken into account, and with allowances for risk and optimism
bias), are lower than those of expansion at Heathrow and significantly lower than
those of any new hub airport.”

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 See also:

A new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick would mean big increases in passenger fees – New report

March 10, 2014

Who pays

The Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) has submitted a new report to the Airports Commission which casts doubt on the feasibility of building a new runway at either Gatwick or Heathrow. So far there has been little realistic discussion about who will actually pay for the proposed runways. The new study,Who Would Pay for a New Runway” by Brendon Sewill, shows that a new runway at Heathrow would be likely to mean an increase in landing fees and other airport charges from £19 per passenger now, up to £31. At Gatwick there would be a larger increase, up from £8 now to £33.60. The study points out that with all the London airports separately owned, unlike in the days of BAA, the cost will have to fall only on the passengers using that airport. If an expensive runway (and terminal) is built, the options are either that the passengers pay for it – or that it has to have public subsidy. A report for the Airports Commission, by KPMG, concluded that a new Heathrow runway would need a subsidy of around £11 billion, and a new Gatwick runway a subsidy of nearly £18 billion. However, the Government is reluctant to commit public funds, and new EU guidelines ruling out subsidies to major airports. That leaves landing charges – will passengers put up with that, or vote with their feet by using cheaper airports?

  Click here to view full story…

 

 

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Gatwick offers to pay households for noise of 2nd runway – dismissed by opponents as a “very small bribe”

Gatwick airport is on a PR and charm offensive to try to get support for a 2nd runway. This has been somewhat upset over the past two weeks by the impact on the village of Warnham of an unannounced flight path trial.  Now Gatwick airport  may have been rushed into making the offer of £1,000 per year to “all households most affected” by noise from a 2nd runway. The airport says would be equivalent to Band A Council Tax (currently £1000). Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate said the cash would help negate some of the impact.  The airport estimate that 4,100 households would qualify for the money by 2040, using the discredited 57 decibel contour. In reality, the 57dB contour does not accurately reflect the areas where noise is annoying or causes disturbance – even the 54dB contour, as used in Europe, is an inaccurate measure. Many thousands more people – perhaps 48,000 – would need to be compensated if the 54dB contour was used. The £1,000 is a derisory figure, not even slightly compensating for loss of house value, or for loss of local amenity and quality of life.  This is a very small bribe.
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Gatwick airport offers a very small bribe!

10.3.2014 (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) press release

Gatwick Airport has offered an annual payment of £1,000 to about 4,000 houses most seriously affected by noise from a new runway.

Brendon Sewill, chairman of GACC, described this as ‘a very small bribe’.

-  On the measurement of noise favoured by the EU, the number of people affected by noise from a new runway, would be 48,000 (compared to 10,000 at present);[1]

-  £1,000 would be tiny compared to the loss of house values;

- The payment would not be made until after the new runway were built;

- It would do nothing to compensate anyone affected by the new flight paths currently being planned; (see below)

-  The payment would be small compared to the deterioration in the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of people – the urbanisation caused by 40,000 new houses, loss of countryside, pressure on schools, hospitals, road and rail.[3]


[1]   This figure for the 54 Lden contour is given in the GAL submission to the Airports Commission 19 July 2013, Table 8 page 31, and includes  the 5,000 houses under construction in the Crawley NE sector.

http://www.gatwickairport.com/PublicationFiles/business_and_community/all_public_publications/transforming_gatwick/Gatwick_Airport_Proposals_for_additional_longterm_runway_capacity19Jul2013.pdf

[2]   See www.gacc.org.uk/latest-news

[3]   The figure of 40,000 new houses is given in a report by consultants commissioned by West Sussex County Council and the Gatwick Diamond business association.

GACC  press release.

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Gatwick airport’s press release:

Gatwick to pay ‘second runway Council Tax’ for local communities

10 March 2014 (Gatwick airport)

All households most affected by noise from a second runway at Gatwick would receive annual compensation equivalent to Band A Council Tax (currently £1000) if and when the runway becomes operational, Gatwick Airport announced today.

This represents the next stage of Gatwick’s industry leading approach to noise management at the airport (Minimise, Mitigate, Compensate). It underlines the importance that the airport attaches to addressing environmental issues and acting as a responsible neighbour.

Commenting on the proposal Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick Airport, said: “Expansion at Gatwick would, without doubt, deliver many upsides for our local community in terms of jobs and investment. But we must also recognise the negative noise impacts on local people from more flights. Gatwick’s location obviously means that comparatively fewer people would be affected by a new runway. However, I believe we must do more to help those that would be affected.

“How we best compensate communities affected by major infrastructure projects is an issue facing a growing number of sectors – from aviation to energy. Our proposal would see the people most affected by expansion at Gatwick receiving monetary compensation.

“Under the scheme, we are pledging £1,000 towards Council Tax for qualifying households in the local area, if and when a second runway became operational. Our current estimate is that as many as 4,100 households (i) could qualify for this scheme and so this would provide a real and positive benefit to a significant number of people.

“Environmental issues are at the centre of the debate about runway capacity in the South East and noise reduction, mitigation and compensation are therefore at the heart of our expansion plans. This scheme will be a cornerstone of our planned package of measures for local residents.”

Gatwick’s location to the south of London means the potential impact on people is at a much lower level than at Heathrow. According to the Civil Aviation Authority, 3,650 people living in 1,600 homes around Gatwick are affected by aircraft noise today (ii). At Heathrow, on the same basis, almost 240,000 people living in 100,000 homes (iii) are impacted by aircraft noise – more than the total number of people impacted by all other major Western European airports combined.

Gatwick has long recognised that people who live near airports have concerns about noise and takes its obligations to the environment seriously. The airport is at the forefront of industry noise management initiatives, and its ongoing noise reduction scheme has already set new standards in protecting local communities against noise pollution. For example:

• Last year Gatwick became the first – and so far the only – UK airport to trial, and get permission to implement, Precision Navigation which allows aircraft to fly on much narrower flight paths rather than in wide swaths enabling aircraft to fly over areas with the least amount of people living under its flight path.

• Gatwick has also recently become the first UK airport to fully consult on modernising its airspace, which it believes could potentially reduce noise annoyance for over 65% of households currently affected, and

• Earlier this year Gatwick announced plans to roll-out one of the largest and most innovative noise mitigation schemes of any airport in the UK and across the rest of Europe, offering hundreds more local homes up to £3,000 towards double glazing and loft insulation. Over 40% more homes will be protected from noise than were covered with the old scheme.

Addressing the impact of noise on local communities will be a critical issue in winning local support and for the Airports Commission’s assessment of its short listed options. How scheme promoters address noise reduction, mitigation and compensation will be a primary focus of public debate on the benefits and impacts of a new runway being built in London and the South East.

Notes to Editors

 

(i) Gatwick Airport Limited modelling of the 2040 57 dB(A) Leq noise contour by the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) Environment Research and Consultancy Division (ERCD).  [Link to this document is not given].
(ii) https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/244530/lgw-2012.pdf 
(iii) https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/244529/lhr-2012.pdf

 

Details of the proposed Council Tax Scheme

  • £1,000 per annum payment (indexed at CPI) to Council Tax payers resident at the time of runway opening, whose homes are within the airport’s two runway 57 dB(A) Leq noise contour.
  • This contour is the UK Government’s measure for the onset of noise annoyance. The scheme will use actual measured contours produced annually by the CAA, providing an independent benchmark, and will be updated every 5 years to reflect changes in noise performance.
  • Recognising the increased intensity and frequency of noise with a second runway, the scheme will be open to residents already within the single runway 57 dB(A) Leq noise contour.
  • We estimate that by 2040 there could be 4,100 eligible homes within the two runway contour (i).
  • Just under 100,000 households sit within Heathrow’s 57 dB(A) Leq noise contour today. (iii)
  • The scheme will not be open to residents who move into the noise boundary contour after Gatwick applies for planning permission, which would follow the Airports Commission support and Government approval.
  • The scheme will only be applicable to the existing housing stock today, and not to any new housing which might be built in the intervening period.
  • We will consult locally on this scheme if Gatwick is chosen for runway expansion by the Airports Commission, and the Government takes that recommendation forward.
  • The scheme would be in addition to any statutory compensation and blight scheme(s) we would implement if Gatwick is taken forward for runway development by the next Government.

 

About Gatwick’s new noise insulation scheme

Gatwick’s noise insulation scheme goes further than any other airport in the UK and Europe. It has reduced the noise threshold for the scheme, with the boundary line drawn flexibly to ensure entire roads and communities are included. The boundary has also been extended along the flight paths by 15km to both the east and west of the airport. This will mean that over 40% more homes are now eligible than under the old scheme.

For more information please click here.

About the London Airspace Consultation

Between 15 October 2013 and 21 January 2014, Gatwick and NATS – the UK’s leading provider of air traffic services – asked people living across Sussex, Surrey, Kent, Essex, Suffolk and Hampshire to have their say on the positioning of new flight paths in their local area.

This information will be used to help establish new routes which offer the most benefit with the least possible impact, with a particular focus on reducing the impact of aircraft noise.

Airspace above the south of England is some of the busiest in the world. This consultation is the first stage in a wider programme of proposed changes to deliver the UK’s Future Airspace Strategy (FAS), which will be legally required to come into effect in 2020.

For more information please click here.

https://www.mediacentre.gatwickairport.com/News/Gatwick-to-pay-second-runway-Council-Tax-for-local-communities-8ca.aspx

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Gatwick promises £1,000 second runway compensation

10 March 2014 (BBC)

CGI of second Gatwick runway
The proposed second runway at Gatwick is being considered by the Airports Commission
 

Thousands of households affected by noise from a possible second runway at Gatwick would be given £1,000 a year in compensation if it is built, the airport’s boss has said.

CEO Stewart Wingate said the cash, equivalent to Band A council tax, would help negate some of the impact.

It is estimated that 4,100 households would qualify for the money.

A second Gatwick runway is one of the options currently being considered by the Airports Commission.

Other options include another runway at Heathrow and an airport in the Thames Estuary.

Mr Wingate said: “How we best compensate communities affected by major infrastructure projects is an issue facing a growing number of sectors – from aviation to energy.

“Our proposal would see the people most affected by expansion at Gatwick receiving monetary compensation.”

Gatwick claims to be the UK’s second largest airport and the busiest single-runway airport in the world.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-26512998

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More on the upset caused by the unannounced flight path trial:

Villages up in arms as new Gatwick flight path shatters their peace and quiet

March 9, 2014

The Sunday Times has featured the story of the misery and upset being caused over villages in Sussex by a new trial flight path from Gatwick. The village of Warnham is particularly affected. It is a quiet village, but now has planes taking off from Gatwick thundering overhead. Some of the affected residents are the mother-in-law of Boris Johnson, who said who say the noise is so loud that it sets off baby monitors and drowns out the sound of local church bells. Also Caroline Lucas, whose family owns the 215-acre Warnham Park, with a large herd of red deer, said: “How long will future generations stay here? That’s the question you have to ask.” The 6 month trial, of which there was no notice given to local residents, is of a new departure route for planes mainly bound for southern Europe, which are now turning south earlier than they normally do. The airport says the trial is to find out if a new aircraft navigation system will allow air traffic controllers to reduce the interval between flights taking off from two minutes to one, potentially allowing more flights to take off at peak times. ie. make Gatwick even busier than now.

Click here to view full story…

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recent meeting of the Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee (GATCOM) said, discussing whether residents should be warned of the trial in advance.                             GATCOM minutes of 30th January 2014:

“It was felt that parish councils in particular should be advised of trial to enable them to respond to their constituents if problems arose. Mr. Denton would consider this but emphasised the need to obtain genuine feedback from those affected. If people were aware of the trial it was possible that they would be more alert to changes and feel obliged to comment.”     ie. don’t warn them, because they might complain.

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Francis Maude: Noise misery foreshadows Gatwick second runway

March 8, 2014

Francis Maude, MP for Horsham, has received a great number of letters and emails from distressed residents in Warnham and Rusper, in recent weeks, about the new flight path trial over them. They are saying they are being plagued by a constant stream of noisy aircraft taking off from Gatwick towards the west starting at 6am. Many people have complained directly to Gatwick Airport, the CAA and NATS – but have yet to be satisfied on a number of points. Most residents were not aware of any minimal consultation about the changes before they started. Francis Maude is asking for much more detail about the trials. These include on what criteria will the trial be assessed? Why does it need to continue for six months? and How is it being monitored? He says the misery currently being experienced by local residents foreshadows what would be a permanent feature of life in the area if a 2nd Gatwick runway were to be built. The amount of opposition to this trial suggests it is not being successful. Francis Maude says: “I have made my opposition to a second Gatwick runway many times in public and private, and am happy to reiterate this now.”

Click here to view full story…

 

GACC calls for flight path trial to stop due to anger and outrage in the village of Warnham

March 5, 2014

The Argus: Angry Warnham residents

A new flight path for take-offs from Gatwick airport has caused outrage in the parish of Warnham, near Horsham. Designed as a 6-month trial to enable more aircraft to take-off from the Gatwick runway it has already caused a wave of protest. A member of the GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign), Sally Pavey, who lives in Warnham, says: ‘The tranquillity of our 14th century, conservation village has been lost and we seem powerless to do anything about it. Everyone is up in arms as we are woken at 6.00 am with an aircraft overhead every few minutes. Living in Warnham has turned into a nightmare!’ GACC has called for the trial to be stopped. The new route is causing an unacceptable degree of upset and maximum anger. It is just a small foretaste of what is to come if a new runway were to be built. “With a new runway the new flight paths would bring anger and misery to perhaps 30 or more towns and villages. And that would be permanent, not just for 6 months. Warnham is a wake-up call for why we should all oppose a new runway.’

Click here to view full story…

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Gatwick hopes that by giving another 1,000 homes double-glazing it will defuse opposition to a 2nd runway

Date added: February 3, 2014

Gatwick airport continues to spend a lot of money in attempting to get backing for its 2nd runway and soften up opposition. It has now set up a new scheme – starting on 1st April – to give people overflown more double glazing and house insulation, to attempt to cut some of the noise. That, of course, does not work when the windows are open, or when people are outside – in a garden, or elsewhere. Gatwick says it is expanding its noise insulation scheme, to cover over 1,000 more homes across Surrey, Sussex and Kent. People will be able to apply for up to £3,000 towards double glazing for their windows and doors as well as loft insulation; ie the scheme could cost Gatwick some £3 million in total. They are now taking the 60 Leq contour, rather than the 66 Leq contour, as in the past – hence increasing the catchment area. They are also extending the area covered by 15km to both west and east of the airport. Stewart Wingate said “We understand that the public’s tolerance to noise is much lower than it was”… Gatwick is pushing hard to compare the noise problem it causes with the much larger noise problem caused by Heathrow, where flight paths go over many more densely populated areas. They ignore the issue of the low level of background noise around Gatwick, compared to background noise in a city or large town.

Click here to view full story…

 


 

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More to get Gatwick Airport noise grants

3 February 2014 (BBC)

Aircraft taking off at Gatwick Airport
The airport said it was aware the public’s tolerance to noise was lower than it used to be

Owners of more than 1,000 homes in Kent, Sussex and Surrey are eligible to claim noise insulation grants, Gatwick Airport has announced.

The grants of up to £3,000, now available to more than 40% more homes, will go towards double glazing as well as loft insulation.

The boundary for the scheme has been extended by about 10 miles (15km) to the east and west of the airport.

Noise level boundaries have also been lowered for those qualifying.

Platform opened

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick’s chief executive, said: “We understand that the public’s tolerance to noise is much lower than it was, which is why we are now extending our noise insulation scheme.”

The extended noise insulation programme will begin on 1 April.

The airport has also unveiled a £53m new platform and concourse which will allow fast trains from London Bridge and Victoria to travel through its railway station more quickly.

Platform 7, which will open to passengers next week, was funded by the airport and Network Rail.

It was officially opened by transport minister Baroness Kramer.

Signalling has also been upgraded at the station in preparation for improvements to the Thameslink service from 2018.

Mr Wingate said it was an important part of a push for a second runway at Gatwick.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-26016757

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Comment from an AirportWatch member:

Neither GAL nor the Government have sorted out compensation for the problem of noise and overflight for the existing runway yet.   These have got  worse due to the creeping changes from 1999 to now. They need to sort out the existing problems, compensate those already suffering from plane noise  from Gatwick, before thinking about their second runway.

The offer from Gatwick, with no press release or proper announcement, looks like a panicked reaction by the airport to the trouble they have caused in the Warnham area.

 

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Analysis by NATS for Airports Commission shows a 4th Heathrow runway would cut flight path capacity elsewhere

An article in the Times says a submission by NATS, the air traffic control service to the Airports Commission warns of the problems that would be caused if a 4th (not only a 3rd) runway was built.  The Airports Commission said in its interim report, that it considers another new runway might be “needed” by 2050, if the first new runway capacity has been filled by then.  Even one new runway is marginal, at best, for carbon emissions. [A 2nd new runway cannot be built and used, keeping within UK carbon targets]. There are fears that if Heathrow was allowed a 3rd runway, it would effectively become a Trojan Horse for a 4th runway – Heathrow airport has said that from 2030 a decision would have to be taken on a 4th. The effect on flight paths would mean fewer planes could use the other London airports. The Times says a 4th runway at Heathrow would reduce the combined capacity of Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Birmingham, City and Southend airports by 9%. It would cut capacity relative to a 3-runway Heathrow by 18%  due to the disruption to flight paths to the other main airports.
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Fourth runway at Heathrow ‘would block flight paths to other airports’

  • Those against Heathrow expansion said the analysis was a ‘game-changer’ in the debate – Toby Melville/Reuters
By Philip Pank, Transport Correspondent (the Times)
March 10th 2014
Full article at
Extracts:
Those against Heathrow expansion said that the analysis, seen byThe Times, was a “game-changer” in the debate over airport expansion as it undermined the long-term case for doubling the size of the country’s biggest airport.
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Sir Howard Davies, head of the commission, said that a third runway could be built by 2030 but it would be full by 2050.  [Airports Commission interim report, December 2013    This says on Page 12: "The Commission’s forecasts also indicate that there is likely to be a demand case for a second additional runway in operation by 2050 or, in some scenarios, earlier." ]
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The Nats report, submitted to the commission last November,  [the report can be found at  Long term options: consultancy reports  The NATS report is at  NATS Advice on airspace November 2013 ] concluded that construction of a fourth runway would cut the maximum possible number of flights into the main airports to 1,550,000 from 1,680,000. Flights at Gatwick, Stansted and Luton would be reduced by 50%. London City would see a 25% reduction.  [See tables copied below - Page 41 of the NATS report].
3rd and 4th Heathrow runway info from NATS
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In its submission, Heathrow said that a third runway would meet the demand for air travel to 2040 but that from 2030 a decision would have to be taken on a fourth.  [The Heathrow submission to the Airports Commission in summer 2013  which is at  http://www.heathrowairport.com/static/HeathrowAboutUs/Downloads/PDF/long-term-hub-capacity-options_LHR.pdf   said:  "Heathrow regards any longer term forecasts to 2050 to be too uncertain to be a reliable planning tool at this stage. The uncertainty over long run demand makes adding a third runway at Heathrow an attractive option, as a fourth runway could be added in the longer term if it was ever required."   See also story below from 2008] 
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The Nats analysis highlights ….. potential limitations of a new hub in the Thames Estuary. It could increase total airport capacity by just 6%, because of the closure of Heathrow, City and Southend airports. However, if runways were tilted to run northeast-southwest, the airport would increase total capacity by 24%.
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Going back to 2008, Colin Matthew’s predecessor, Stephen Nelson refused to rule out the possibility of a 4th Heathrow runway :

Further Heathrow expansion ‘not ruled out’; could want forth runway and seventh terminal

23.01.08  (UK Airport News Info)

The chief executive of Heathrow Airport operator BAA told the London Assembly yesterday that he could not rule out the need for more ‘capacity’ at the worlds busiest international hub, beyond its current expansion proposals. The comments raised the fears that a fourth runway and a seventh terminal could eventually wanted at Heathrow.

The assembly’s environment committee met to consider the environmental impact of a proposed plan to add a third runway and a sixth terminal at Heathrow. This plans would require the village of Sipson to be bulldozed and 50 communities and towns could suffer increased noise. They will have an impact on the London boroughs of Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham and the boroughs of Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead, Spelthorne and South Bucks District Council.

Local councils, campaigners and industry leaders attended the meeting, where the chief executive of BAA, Stephen Nelson, said that unlike his predecessor, who ruled out a further expansion in 1994 when plans for Terminal 5 were discussed, he would not commit to anything.

Mr Nelson was asked whether he was saying that there could be a fourth runway and seventh terminal. He replied: ‘It would be inappropriate for me to speculate on whether there would be a further case for expansion beyond 2030.’ He said he did not want to give ‘hostages to fortune’ by saying that the third runway would be the last big expansion. However, he told the environment committee that the proposed sixth terminal and third runway were the extent of the company’s current plans.

Current growth trends suggest that the third runway will be full long before 2030 and Heathrow will once again face losing market share to airports on the Continent. Schiphol, near Amsterdam, has five runways and Paris Charles de Gaulle has four.

John Stewart, founder and chairman of the Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (Hacan), said: ‘After making so many false promises in the past, BAA has decided to be honest about the fact that it is keeping its options open for further expansion. We fear that they will first lengthen the third runway and then build a fourth.’

The London Assembly committee is expected to send its recommendations on the current proposals to the government on February 26, ahead of the deadline for comments on the plans the next day.

http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heathrow-airport-news-230108.htm

 

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A new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick would mean big increases in passenger fees – New report

The Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) has submitted a new report to the Airports Commission. It casts doubt on the feasibility of building a new runway at either Gatwick or Heathrow.  So far there has been little realistic discussion about who will actually pay for the proposed runways.  The new study, “Who Would Pay for a New Runway” by Brendon Sewill, shows that a new runway at Heathrow would be likely to mean an increase in landing fees and other airport charges from £19 per passenger now, up to £31.  At Gatwick there would be a larger increase, up from £8 now to £33.60.   The study points out that with all the London airports separately owned, unlike in the days of BAA, the cost will have to fall only on the passengers using that airport.  If an expensive runway (and terminal) is built, the options are either that the passengers pay for it – or that it has to have public subsidy. A report for the Airports Commission, by KPMG, concluded that a new Heathrow runway would need a subsidy of around £11 billion, and a new Gatwick runway a subsidy of nearly £18 billion. However, the Government is reluctant to commit public funds, and new EU guidelines ruling out subsidies to major airports.  That leaves landing charges – will passengers put up with that, or vote with their feet by using cheaper airports? 
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A new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick would mean big increases in passenger fees

MONDAY 10TH MARCH (Aviation Environment Federation)

Who pays

The Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) is today (10 March) submitting a new report to the Airports Commission which casts doubt on the feasibility of building a new runway at either Gatwick or Heathrow.

The new study, “Who Would Pay for a New Runway by Brendon Sewill, and published by the AEF3, shows that a new runway at Heathrow would be likely to mean an increase in landing fees and other airport charges from £19 per passenger to £31.  At Gatwick there would be a whacking increase from £8 to £33.60.

Sewill said:  “There has been unending discussion of where a new runway should be built. But it seems that no one has stopped to ask who will pay?”

The study points out that the situation today, with each of the main airports separately owned, differs from that in the past, in that the cost of any new runway would fall only on the passengers using that airport.

The choice is simple: a new runway will require the passenger to pay through increased charges or the increase will need to be offset by a public subsidy. A report by KPMG concluded that a new Heathrow runway would need a subsidy of around £11 billion, and a new Gatwick runway a subsidy of nearly £18 billion.  But with the Government reluctant to commit public funds, and new EU guidelines ruling out subsidies to major airports, the most likely answer would be a substantial increase in ticket prices which would drive airlines to use other airports.

So, as the study concludes, “If the punters won’t pay, the runway won’t fly”.

Tim Johnson, Director of AEF which published the report, commented: “The high environmental price of a new runway is well known but to this day the aviation industry has argued that the economic benefits would far outweigh it. This report shows that it won’t just be the environment that pays but also either the passenger or the tax payer. A new question arises: Who will actually benefit?”

 Link to the report:

 http://www.aef.org.uk/uploads/Who_would_pay_for_a_new_runway_1_2_3.pdf

 

The report’s author, Brendon Sewill, has a degree in Economics from Cambridge.  He has been an adviser in the Treasury and to the British Bankers Association (in the days when banks were respectable).  He has also been a member of the National Trust Council.  Since 1990 he has been chairman of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACChttp://www.gacc.org.uk/.

The AEF is the Aviation Environment Federation – a national organisation working to ensure the aviation industry takes full account of its environmental and social impacts.

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The cost of a new Gatwick runway – £50 extra per return flight

March 10, 2014

A new research study – ‘Who would pay for a new runway’ – examines who would pay for a new runway at Gatwick or at Heathrow. It concludes that a new runway at Gatwick would mean an increase in airport charges (landing fees, aircraft parking charges etc) per passenger from £8 at present to £33.60 – an increase of £25, or £50 per return flight. At Heathrow the increase would be from £19 per passenger to £31. The calculations are based on the estimate made by the Airports Commission that a new Gatwick runway would cost £10 – £13 billion. The local Gatwick campaign, GACC, say Gatwick often claim that a new runway at Gatwick would be cheaper than one at Heathrow. But they don’t mention that the cost would need to be borne by roughly half as many passengers at Gatwick as at Heathrow. In the past the cost of new infrastructure was met by the Government, or spread among BAA’s airports. But now all the airports are privately owned by separate companies. The cost of a Gatwick runway would have to be met only by the passengers using Gatwick. £50 extra on a return flight might well cause price sensitive passengers and airlines to choose to use Stansted instead.

Click here to view full story…

 


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 One section of the report is copied below:

 

Don’t forget the competitors

Because Heathrow exercises an hypnotic or magnetic attraction for airlines, an increase in charges from just under £20 to just over £30 per head would probably not prevent the new runway from soon reaching full capacity.

At Gatwick, however, the situation would be very different. An increase from £8 to £27 per head would come as an unpleasant shock for both airlines and passengers.

Stansted and Luton will have plenty of spare slots throughout the 2020s and 2030s. Both airports could offer much more attractive rates – at present at Stansted, as at Gatwick, they average about £8 per passenger.  A number of airlines would be tempted to move to Stansted, or at least operate new routes from Stansted. Certainly many of the new airlines which the Commission expect to be using Gatwick would be likely to choose Stansted instead.

Therefore the assumption by the Airport Commission that by 2030 Gatwick will be operating at 70% of the capacity of its two runways – that is 56 million passengers a
year – may well be too high.

The reason why the Commission’s logic is flawed is that they have relied on Department for Transport forecasts which, developed in the era before airports started competing with each other, do not take market forces into account. All airports are assumed to have similar operating costs, and the need to charge passengers the cost of building a new runway is not taken into account.

Gatwick is expected to reach full capacity on its existing runway sometime between 2020 and 2025, handling around 40 million passengers.    GAL (Gatwick Airport Ltd) say that they
hope to open the new runway perhaps as early as 2025. Taking into account intense competition from Stansted and Luton, it seems unlikely that the number of passengers in 2030 would be more than 45 million.

Simple arithmetic shows that if the cost of a new runway shared between 56 million
passengers would be £27 per passenger, then the cost shared between 45 million
would work out at £33.60.

Thus, if a new runway were to be built, every passenger passing through Gatwick in future would have to pay something like £33.60, instead of £8 at present.

On a return trip the cost would be around £67, instead of £16.

For a family of four going on holiday the cost would be £269, instead of £64.

These results are not plucked out of the air; they are based on the figures provided by the Airports Commission – with the only difference that they take into account the likely competition from Stansted and Luton.

easyJet gets heebie-jeebies

In case anyone might still be tempted to think that these figures are an exaggeration, it is good to find that they are lower than the estimate made by easyJet, Gatwick’s largest airline. In October 2013 Carolyn McCall, Chief Executive of easyJet, said:

‘Our greatest concern is [that] the CAA has handed GAL a licence to print
money and has significantly enhanced the value of the future sale of GAL by
private infrastructure fund GIP. Using GAL’s own figures passengers could be
paying £28 more per flight for years in advance of the opening of a new £9
billion runway without any real oversight by the CAA.’

£28 more, i.e. on top of the present charges of £8 per passenger. And what is giving Ms McCall the heebie-jeebies is not only the prospect of a four-fold increase in airport charges but also the thought that GAL is to be allowed to put up the price before they build the new
runway.

No wonder easyJet has not been jumping up and down with enthusiasm.

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Villages up in arms as new Gatwick flight path shatters their peace and quiet

The Sunday Times has featured the story of the misery and upset being caused over villages in Sussex by a new trial flight path from Gatwick. The village of Warnham is particularly affected.  It is a quiet village, but now has planes taking off from Gatwick thundering overhead. Some of the affected residents are the mother-in-law of Boris Johnson, who said who say the noise is so loud that it sets off baby monitors and drowns out the sound of local church bells. Also Caroline Lucas, whose family owns the 215-acre Warnham Park, with a large herd of red deer, said: “How long will future generations stay here? That’s the question you have to ask.”  The 6 month  trial, of which there was no notice given to local residents, is of a new departure route for planes mainly bound for southern Europe, which are now turning south earlier than they normally do.  The airport says the trial is to find out if a new aircraft navigation system will allow air traffic controllers to reduce the interval between flights taking off from two minutes to one, potentially allowing more flights to take off at peak times.  ie. make Gatwick even busier than now.

 

A recent meeting of the Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee (GATCOM) said, discussing whether residents should be warned of the trial in advance 30th January 2014:

“It was felt that parish councils in particular should be advised of trial to enable them to respond to their constituents if problems arose. Mr. Denton would consider this but emphasised the need to obtain genuine feedback from those affected. If people were aware of the trial it was possible that they would be more alert to changes and feel obliged to comment.”  

ie. don’t warn them, because they might complain.
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Centuries of calm ruined as Gatwick planes take left turn

Mark Hookham, Transport Correspondent (Sunday Times)

 Published: 9 March 2014

Full article at

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/National/article1384955.ece

  • Sally Pavey says residents suffer noise from aircraft from 6am every day
  • Sally Pavey says residents suffer noise from aircraft from 6am every day (Andrew Hasson 

Some extracts:

Several pilots who live in Warnham are supplying an action group formed last week with detailed information about the new route.

One admitted that he recently flew over the village but made sure his aircraft was at 5,000ft to minimise the disruption to his family and neighbours below. He said some pilots flew over the village at below 3,000ft.

A spokesman for Gatwick, which handles up to 55 flights an hour, said: “This trial departure route could reduce the impact of aircraft noise and overflight by potentially up to 70%.”   [This is a fairly typical remark from the industry, made while manifestly increasing the noise for many people.  Disingenuous.  Not the sort of comment that encourages anyone living near an airport to believe what the airport tells them, or have any faith in their reassurances.  AirportWatch comment]. 

NATS said the new navigation system would enable aircraft “to climb more quickly, descend later and follow routes with pinpoint accuracy”.
@markhookham

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/National/article1384955.ece

The Argus: Angry Warnham residents

Illustration of course of trial flight path over Warnham, north west of Horsham


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See also a blog by HACAN in October 2013:

NATS Airspace Plans: ‘probably the most far-reaching aviation announcement of the year’. Yes, really!

15/10/13

by John Stewart

Today’s announcement by National Air Traffic Control (NATS) that it proposes to reconfigure airspace could be more significant that any plans for a new runway.  ‘Airspace’ and ‘flight paths’ sound like a technical turn-off but, in my view, this is the most important and far-reaching aviation announcement of the year.(http://www.wscountytimes.co.uk/news/local/could-new-respite-routes-reduce-noise-for-people-living-under-gatwick-flight-paths-1-5584748#.Ul1Ccxa6zS4.twitter …)

Why?  It could be airport expansion by the backdoor in a big way as it might result in a 20% increase in the number of flights which can use existing runways.  And, if done badly, could generate the sort of huge popular protests that have taken place inFrankfurt since flight paths were changed to accommodate the new runway in 2011.

Let me explain.  NAT’s proposals are part of the Single European Sky Agreement, known as SESAR.  SESAR aims to create much more coordination between the air traffic control systems of individual European countries.  These would increase efficiency and potentially cut CO2 emissions.

So far, so good.  But, according to the NATS report published today on the Gatwick airspace, it would enable a plane to land at Gatwick every minute.  Currently the gap between aircraft needs to be 90 seconds.  Without the hint of a second runway, this could increase capacity of the airport by around 20%. (This first consultation just covers Gatwick and London City, but NATS will in due course produce proposals for the whole country).

But there is more.  NATS has said it will be revising all the take-off and landing routes.  That could mean some areas become free of planes while others are under a flight path for the first time.  And that’s where the protest will start.  People are more disturbed by planes when they’ve never had them before.  And they feel cheated because they can reasonably argue they never expected to be under a flight path.  It is this situation which has seen up to 5,000 people occupy the terminal inFrankfurt every Monday night ever since the fourth runway opened in 2011.

Potential noise ghettos

However, it could even be worse than this.  Increasingly, NATS has the computer technology to guide planes much more precisely.  This is why they are talking about having stacks in the sea and then guiding aircraft to the airport in one or two continuous paths.  That will relieve many people who currently get aircraft but it could turn the new areas into noise ghettos.

 Respite periods

NATS is aware of this and is talking about providing respite periods by varying the approach paths to airports (and the take-off routes).  That would be welcome but it still potentially leaves many communities experiencing a lot of aircraft noise for the first time.

NATS is also talking about quieter planes and steeper descent paths.  All very but I’m not sure they will be enough to stem the torrent of protest new flight paths will unleash.

A few years back NATS were badly hurt when they tried to vary flight paths aroundLutonand Stansted.  They backed off.  This time they are trying to still the protests about consulting on the concept of airspace changes first, long before publishing the new flight paths.

As I have said, they are starting with Gatwick and London City but hope to cover the whole county by 2020, including Heathrow where, according to the European Commission, over 725,000 people leave under the flight paths.

The explosion waiting to happen could relegate the fight over a new runway in London and the South East to second place.  And, nationwide, the streamlined system could significantly increase the number of planes using our airports.

The EU is giving NATS little choice but to try and introduce these changes.  But they are playing for very high stakes.  Get it wrong and they could be an explosion of protest across the UK.       

http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=146

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Comment from an AirportWatch member on Gatwick’s failure to give prior warning to residents of the trial:

The Gatwick Consultative C’tee minutes for the 30th Jan meeting are at

http://www.ukaccs.info/gatwick/acc300114.pdf

This seems to give more evidence of “don’t tell them about it in case they are alerted to complain” !!

It reports :

UNCONFIRMED MINUTES – TO BE CONFIRMED AT THE NEXT MEETING OF
GATCOM ON THURSDAY 10 APRIL 2014

[GATCOM is the Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee http://www.gatcom.org.uk/ ]

TIME SEPARATION DEPARTURES TRIAL – ADNID ROUTE

160. Mr. Taylor, NATS and Mr. Denton, GAL presented a departure routes time separation trial that would commence on 10 February 2014 for a period of six months (copy of presentation slides attached to the signed minutes). The operational trial would involve the creation of a new, but temporary, departure route (west of the BOGNA route) which would pass over farmland to the west of Billingshurst. The temporary route had been designed to avoid populated areas.

161. It was explained that the purpose of the trial was to gather data to help develop national standards for improved efficiency for runway use and establish whether it was operationally feasible to improve time separation between flights off Gatwick’s runway using P-RNAV technology. The trial route would also involve a reduction in the currently required angle of divergence between adjacent routes – from 45 degrees to 20 degrees.

162. Members asked whether local communities would be informed of the temporary change. It was felt that parish councils in particular should be advised of trial to enable them to respond to their constituents if problems arose. Mr. Denton would consider this but emphasised the need to obtain genuine feedback from those affected. If people were aware of the trial it was possible that they would be more alert to changes and feel obliged to comment. GATCOM looked forward to receiving the results of the trial.  [AirportWatch emphasis].

Page 8 of GATCOM minutes of 30th January 2014

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The CAA guidance for temporary flight path trials states:
 
“Consultation arrangements for temporary airspace arrangements and operational airspace trials

9.10 Due to the short term nature of temporary airspace changes and airspace trials, it will usually not be necessary or appropriate for the airspace change sponsor to consult on their proposals or to undertake the airspace change approval process. However, the likely impact of the proposed change on the environment should be considered by the sponsor prior to implementation and this information used to help the CAA to determine whether a proportionate consultation is required.”
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As CAA is a public body, it should be quite possible under Environmental Information Regs to ask them for the information supplied to them by the sponsor of the trials on “the likely impact of the proposed change on the environment”  and information/documents/emails supplied and received by them relating to this and the proportionate consultation that was carried out before the CAA approved the trials being implemented.

NATS, not being a public body, is under no such duty to supply information.

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Recently:

GACC calls for flight path trial to stop due to anger and outrage in the village of Warnham

The Argus: Angry Warnham residents

March 5, 2014

A new flight path for take-offs from Gatwick airport has caused outrage in the parish of Warnham, near Horsham. Designed as a 6-month trial to enable more aircraft to take-off from the Gatwick runway it has already caused a wave of protest. A member of the GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign), Sally Pavey, who lives in Warnham, says: ‘The tranquillity of our 14th century, conservation village has been lost and we seem powerless to do anything about it. Everyone is up in arms as we are woken at 6.00 am with an aircraft overhead every few minutes. Living in Warnham has turned into a nightmare!’ GACC has called for the trial to be stopped. The new route is causing an unacceptable degree of upset and maximum anger. It is just a small foretaste of what is to come if a new runway were to be built. “With a new runway the new flight paths would bring anger and misery to perhaps 30 or more towns and villages. And that would be permanent, not just for 6 months. Warnham is a wake-up call for why we should all oppose a new runway.’          Click here to view full story…

 


 

See also

Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign speaks up for the village of Warnham, suffering from an unannounced flight path trial

March 4, 2014

A new flight path has been introduced for aircraft taking off from Gatwick to the west, then turning left around Horsham. It passes directly over the village of Warnham and is apparently a trial designed in order to get more aircraft off the Gatwick runway. GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) considers it intolerable that new misery and a decline in house values should be caused just to create extra profit for the owners of Gatwick. Normally there are 3 take off routes to the west, which are contained within compulsory Noise Preferential Route (NPR) corridors. The new route route departs from the NPR, particularly over Warnham, where it has caused consternation. The trial is a technical one not intended to measure the social impact and they did not announce it in advance so as not to provoke complaints that might not have emerged otherwise. The airport says because it is a trial it was not necessary to consult, as would be a legal requirement if the new route were to be permanent. GACC say there is no national need for this route change – Stansted airport is operating at less than half its capacity. People fear that this new route is a small fore-taste of the widespread misery and protest that would be created across Surrey and Sussex by a new runway.

Click here to view full story…

 


 

New Gatwick flightpath trials are ‘destroying’ village life at Warnham, West Sussex

February 27, 2014

Residents in Warnham, about 10 km south west of Gatwick, and complaining strenuously about low-flying aircraft going over their homes from 6am each day. They feel the character of their village, let alone its tranquillity, are being destroyed. This is part of a trial for a new new flightpath which started on February 17th and will continue for 6 months. The trial is being run by NATS in conjunction with Gatwick airport, but people in Warnham complain that they were not notified or consulted in advance of the trial. The planes pass over the village at approximately 2,000ft and villagers say they can be as frequent as every 5 minutes at some times of day. The noise is loud enough to have raised concerns about its impact on vulnerable residents, in particular the elderly and disabled. The Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) claims that rural residents suffer more from noise pollution than urban residents. The noise is more intrusive as there is little background noise. GACC is concerned that the trial of the new flightpath over Warnham is designed solely to get more aircraft off the Gatwick runway. “It is intolerable that new misery and decline in house values should be caused just to create extra profit.”                                   Click here to view full story…

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Concerns about the effectiveness of a new aviation noise authority – and the public’s trust in it

March 4, 2014

In its interim report published on 17th December 2013, the Airports Commission recommended to government “… the establishment of an Independent Noise Authority to provide expert and impartial advice about the noise impacts of aviation and to facilitate the delivery of future improvements to airspace operations.” GACC – the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign – has responded to this suggestion with a lot of caveats. GACC would welcome the authority if its main purpose is to reduce aircraft noise, but not if its main purpose is to persuade local residents to relax their opposition to a new runway at Gatwick. Residents want the noise to be reduced, not ‘mitigating’, and not ‘reducing the number of people affected’ if that means merely making noise worse for fewer people. . There have been years of unsatisfactory complaints mechanisms on aircraft noise, and also of broken assurances from the aviation industry. “A single point for complaints, an aircraft noise ombudsman with power to order improvement or compensation, would be welcome. But we do not see this in the recommendations of the Commission’s Interim Report.” There are fears that the new body will be “long grass into which difficult issues could be consigned.” A body designed to smooth the path of a new runway, whether at Gatwick or elsewhere would be vigorously opposed.

Click here to view full story…

 

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Francis Maude: Noise misery foreshadows Gatwick second runway

Francis Maude, MP for Horsham, has received a great number of letters and emails from distressed residents in Warnham and Rusper, in recent weeks, about the new flight path trial over them. They are saying they are being plagued by a constant stream of noisy aircraft taking off from Gatwick towards the west starting at 6am.  Many people have complained directly to Gatwick Airport, the CAA and NATS  - but have yet to be satisfied on a number of points. Most residents were not aware of any minimal consultation about the changes before they started.  Francis Maude is asking for much more detail about the trials. These include on what criteria will the trial be assessed? Why does it need to continue for six months? and How is it being monitored?  He says the misery currently being experienced by local residents foreshadows what would be a permanent feature of life in the area if a 2nd Gatwick runway were to be built.  The amount of opposition to this trial suggests it is not being successful.  Francis Maude says: “I have made my opposition to a second Gatwick runway many times in public and private, and am happy to reiterate this now.”
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Horsham MP Francis Maude: Noise misery foreshadows second runway

 8.3.2014  (West Sussex County Times)

Photo: Rt Hon Francis Maude MP commented on the new flight path trial over the historic parish of Warnham, West Sussex, "Even these last few weeks, with the weather keeping people indoors and off season traffic levels, the noise from the flight path trial has been unacceptable for local residents.  When high holiday season is on us, with the warm weather enticing people outside, the effects are likely to be intolerable. So I'm urging NATS and Gatwick to call time on this trial now.  We've had the trial. It's failed."</p>
<p>'It was good to meet so many people of Warnham this morning as well as a number of others from other parishes that have also been affected.  People are starting to realise the threat of a second runway and are starting to ask serious questions about the implications that expanding Gatwick would have on them all,’ said Chairman of GACC Brendon Sewill.  'They should be aware that their Horsham councillors will be debating the subject shortly and need to tell them that new flight paths from a new runway (which could affect much of the Horsham District) are unacceptable.'

Francis Maude out meeting the furious residents of  Warnham

Over the last two weeks I have received a great number of letters and emails from distressed residents in Warnham and Rusper, who tell me that they are being plagued by a constant stream of noisy aircraft taking off from Gatwick towards the west starting at 6am.

Many of them have complained directly to Gatwick Airport, the CAA and NATS but have yet to be satisfied on a number of points.

There has to be some consultation before a trial flight path change can be commenced. This was apparently carried out, although most local residents were completely unaware of the trial before the noise began. However there are several outstanding questions to which I am urgently seeking answers:

Exactly what is being trialled?

Why is any change needed?

On what criteria will the trial be assessed?

Why does it need to continue for six months?

How is it being monitored?

Some local residents are writing to me from addresses which should not be directly under the flight paths as advised by the customer relations department at Gatwick, which suggests that pilots are not adhering to the specified trial route. Anyone who suspects that planes are deviating from the prescribed route should immediately report it to Gatwick, using the email address noise.line@gatwickairport.com

The fears of local residents, many of whom bought their houses specifically for their peacefulsurroundings having researched the Gatwick routes in advance, are that this is simply a prelude to making a more concerted case for a second runway at Gatwick. I have no idea whether this is true.

But there is no doubt at all that the misery currently being experienced by local residents foreshadows what would be a permanent feature of life in the area if a second runway were to be built to the south of the existing one. I have made my opposition to a second Gatwick runway many times in public and private, and am happy to reiterate this now.

The demands it would make on our stretched infrastructure would be, in my view, unsupportable given the amount of development already in the pipeline which is being carefully planned to grow the community in a sustainable way.

Given the strength of the reaction to this trial, which suggests that it is not proving successful, I hope that it will not be necessary for the experiment to last for the full six months. I am in the meantime making urgent enquiries at the highest levels of all the agencies involved and will be visiting Warnham on Sunday to support residents and experience the issue for myself.

http://www.wscountytimes.co.uk/news/columnists/francis-maude-noise-misery-foreshadows-second-runway-1-5919207

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Francis Maude’s website says:

 

No to second runway

The Horsham Parliamentary constituency benefits enormously from its close proximity to Gatwick Airport.  Many people work at Gatwick and commute from it – it’s a key part of the regional and local economy.

A regular visitor to Gatwick, Francis is keen for it to flourish - but only as a single runway airport.

A legal agreement preventing a second runway is due to expire in 2019 and Francis has long campaigned against future plans being developed.  He is a supporter of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign and chairs a group of local authorities and MPs who are all against a second runway.

Adding another runway would increase Gatwick’s capacity from 45m to 80m passengers a year and would require a new town the size of Crawley to be built in the area.  There would be many environmental implications, already struggling local infrastructure would be further challenged and many more local residents would suffer from noise pollution.

When, in December 2009, BAA sold Gatwick to Global Infrastructure Partners, Francis was quick to point out to the new Board that the local community did not want an additional runway and that the airport could expand without one.

The Board later ruled out a second runway and Francis spoke out about how pleased he was that the campaign had met with early success.

In Dec 2013 The news from the Airports Commission led by Sir Howard Davies announcing that Gatwick has been short-listed by the Government as a potential 2nd runway option is disappointing for those of us concerned about a second runway at Gatwick.

Building a second runway would have huge environmental impacts with noise pollution the greatest, and this is seen to be the biggest single concern about its feasibility although the commission report does describe significant improvements in aircraft fuel efficiency and noise footprint. The second concern is the need for much improved local infrastructure and for many more houses to be built in an area where local councils are already struggling to meet the targets, the paradox being that the provision of these houses would ensure that many more families would be subject to the noise pollution.

The Commission report suggests that Gatwick, London City and Luton are all forecast to become full by 2030 across a range of scenarios regardless of whether or not there is an additional runway, and by 2050 the carbon capped forecast is predicted to have risen still further to more than 95% of available capacity. The good news is that work of the Commission is not yet done, and has so far only confirmed this need for increased runway capacity somewhere in the south. It has shortlisted two options for new runways at Heathrow and one at Gatwick, and more work is to be done on the option of creating an entirely new hub airport in the Thames estuary.

It is inevitable that when the decision is made there will be as many people frustrated and disappointed as will be excited at the prospect of growth in the local economy.

I will continue with other West Sussex MPS to ensure that the voice of local people is heard throughout the decision making process

 http://www.francismaude.com/content/no-second-runway

 

 

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Earlier:

GACC calls for flight path trial to stop due to anger and outrage in the village of Warnham

March 5, 2014

The Argus: Angry Warnham residents

A new flight path for take-offs from Gatwick airport has caused outrage in the parish of Warnham, near Horsham. Designed as a 6-month trial to enable more aircraft to take-off from the Gatwick runway it has already caused a wave of protest. A member of the GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign), Sally Pavey, who lives in Warnham, says: ‘The tranquillity of our 14th century, conservation village has been lost and we seem powerless to do anything about it. Everyone is up in arms as we are woken at 6.00 am with an aircraft overhead every few minutes. Living in Warnham has turned into a nightmare!’ GACC has called for the trial to be stopped. The new route is causing an unacceptable degree of upset and maximum anger. It is just a small foretaste of what is to come if a new runway were to be built. “With a new runway the new flight paths would bring anger and misery to perhaps 30 or more towns and villages. And that would be permanent, not just for 6 months. Warnham is a wake-up call for why we should all oppose a new runway.’          Click here to view full story…

 

Concerns about the effectiveness of a new aviation noise authority – and the public’s trust in it

March 4, 2014

In its interim report published on 17th December 2013, the Airports Commission recommended to government “… the establishment of an Independent Noise Authority to provide expert and impartial advice about the noise impacts of aviation and to facilitate the delivery of future improvements to airspace operations.” GACC – the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign – has responded to this suggestion with a lot of caveats. GACC would welcome the authority if its main purpose is to reduce aircraft noise, but not if its main purpose is to persuade local residents to relax their opposition to a new runway at Gatwick. Residents want the noise to be reduced, not ‘mitigating’, and not ‘reducing the number of people affected’ if that means merely making noise worse for fewer people. . There have been years of unsatisfactory complaints mechanisms on aircraft noise, and also of broken assurances from the aviation industry. “A single point for complaints, an aircraft noise ombudsman with power to order improvement or compensation, would be welcome. But we do not see this in the recommendations of the Commission’s Interim Report.” There are fears that the new body will be “long grass into which difficult issues could be consigned.” A body designed to smooth the path of a new runway, whether at Gatwick or elsewhere would be vigorously opposed.

Click here to view full story…

 

Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign speaks up for the village of Warnham, suffering from an unannounced flight path trial

March 4, 2014

A new flight path has been introduced for aircraft taking off from Gatwick to the west, then turning left around Horsham. It passes directly over the village of Warnham and is apparently a trial designed in order to get more aircraft off the Gatwick runway. GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) considers it intolerable that new misery and a decline in house values should be caused just to create extra profit for the owners of Gatwick. Normally there are 3 take off routes to the west, which are contained within compulsory Noise Preferential Route (NPR) corridors. The new route route departs from the NPR, particularly over Warnham, where it has caused consternation. The trial is a technical one not intended to measure the social impact and they did not announce it in advance so as not to provoke complaints that might not have emerged otherwise. The airport says because it is a trial it was not necessary to consult, as would be a legal requirement if the new route were to be permanent. GACC say there is no national need for this route change – Stansted airport is operating at less than half its capacity. People fear that this new route is a small fore-taste of the widespread misery and protest that would be created across Surrey and Sussex by a new runway.

Click here to view full story…

 

New Gatwick flightpath trials are ‘destroying’ village life at Warnham, West Sussex

February 27, 2014

Residents in Warnham, about 10 km south west of Gatwick, and complaining strenuously about low-flying aircraft going over their homes from 6am each day. They feel the character of their village, let alone its tranquillity, are being destroyed. This is part of a trial for a new new flightpath which started on February 17th and will continue for 6 months. The trial is being run by NATS in conjunction with Gatwick airport, but people in Warnham complain that they were not notified or consulted in advance of the trial. The planes pass over the village at approximately 2,000ft and villagers say they can be as frequent as every 5 minutes at some times of day. The noise is loud enough to have raised concerns about its impact on vulnerable residents, in particular the elderly and disabled. The Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) claims that rural residents suffer more from noise pollution than urban residents. The noise is more intrusive as there is little background noise. GACC is concerned that the trial of the new flightpath over Warnham is designed solely to get more aircraft off the Gatwick runway. “It is intolerable that new misery and decline in house values should be caused just to create extra profit.”     Click here to view full story…

 

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Stobart Group sells stake in its truck brand to focus on biomass energy and Southend Airport

Stobart Group is to sell a controlling interest in its trucking business to the Isle of Man investment firm DBAY in a £280million deal.  Stobart  Group will sell a majority stake in Eddie Stobart Logistics to focus on biomass energy and expanding Southend Airport.  Stobart will get £195.6million in cash from DBAY, as well as a 49% stake in the new company. William Stobart will head the new business and will own 6% of it. Markets gave the deal the thumbs down, sending shares down 7.75p to 141.75p. The sale includes a complex arrangement under which DBAY can use the Eddie Stobart brand for 4 years without paying. Then it can either buy the brand for use only in transport and logistics for £15million, pay £50million to use the brand however it wishes, or can pay £3million a year to license it.  Stobart believes the trucking business has little room for growth and is selling it to focus on fast-growing Southend Airport and get into biomass generation. It believes the airport can increase passengers from 1 million a year to 5 million without much more investment.
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Stobart Group sells stake in its iconic truck brand to focus on biomass energy and Southend Airport

By ROB DAVIES  (This is Money)

6 March 2014

Motorway stalwart Stobart Group is to sell a controlling interest in its iconic trucking business to the Isle of Man investment firm DBAY in a £280million deal.

The group, whose green lorries are a familiar sight on Britain’s roads, said it would sell a majority stake in Eddie Stobart Logistics to focus on biomass energy and expanding Southend Airport.

Stobart will get £195.6million in cash from DBAY, as well as a 49 per cent stake in the new company, with the buyer taking on £41million of debt. 

Chief operating officer William Stobart, son of founder Eddie, is leaving to head up the new business and will own 6 per cent of it. Markets gave the deal the thumbs down, sending shares down 7.75p to 141.75p.

The sale includes a complex arrangement under which DBAY can use the Eddie Stobart brand for four years without paying. 

After that, it can either buy the brand for use only in transport and logistics for £15million, pay £50million to use the brand however it wishes, or can pay £3million a year to license it.

Stobart believes the trucking business has little room for growth and is selling it to focus on fast-growing Southend Airport and get into biomass generation.

At present, Stobart sources and delivers biomass, but it is planning a joint venture with an unnamed partner to invest in biomass power plants.

It also believes Southend Airport is ripe for growth, with capacity to increase passenger numbers from 1million a year to 5million without much more investment.

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-2575149/Stobart-Group-sells-stake-truck-brand-280m-deal.html

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CAA aviation statistics

Terminal Passengers at Southend airport:   

Number of passengers (thousands)

UK Airport Statistics: 2012 – annual  (Table 10.3)  Terminal Passengers  2002 – 2012

2013      969,941   (up 57.2% on 2012)
2012      616,974 (up 1353.8% on 2011)
2011       42,000 ( up 1084 % on 2010)  
2010        4,000   (down – 9% on 2009)  link to 2010 data
2009       3,948  (down – 91% on 2008)
2008     44,075  (down 10.6% on 2007)
2007     49,000  (up 63% on 2006)
2006     30,000  (up 489% on 2005) **
2005       5,000
2000       3,000
1996       4,000
**   This increase was because of Fordair flights to and from Koln being moved
from Stansted.   The more recent decline reflects the fact that this company no
longer operates and Ford uses commercial  flights to ferry its personnel between
its UK and German locations.

 

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Air Transport Movements

Number of ATMs (thousands)
 CAA ATM statistics 1998 – 2008

UK Airport Statistics: 2012 – annual  (Table 4.2) ATMs 2002 – 2012

2013      9,476  (up 30.4% on 2012)
2012      7,268  (up + 477.3% on 2011)
2011      1,259  ( no change on 2010)

2010      –     link to 2010 data

2009        75  (down – 91.4% on 2008)
2008      869  (down 1% on 2007)
2007      878  (up 56% on 2006)
2006      562
2005      118
2000       874  (CAA figures)
1996      334
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Some recent news stories about Southend airport:

London Southend Airport opens new £10m extension

13.2.2014 (BBC)

The extension  is due to open to passengers, with a bigger departure lounge, more check-in desks, revamped baggage reclaim facilities, a new arrivals area and five more plane stands have been built.  The airport said the larger terminal would “ensure high levels of service” as passenger numbers grow. The airport claims: “the project could eventually create about 300 jobs due to more planes being based in Southend.”  The first phase of the extension, housing the arrivals areas, opened in June last year.   Retail and catering facilities are also due to be expanded in the future. The airport was bought by Stobart Group in 2008 and spent £100m on its revamp before it opened in February 2012. In 2013 the airport handled nearly a million travellers, but has said it hoped to increase passenger numbers to two million a year by 2020.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-26171915

Also

Southend Airport’s new £10m extension unveiled

30.1.2014   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-25964362

 

Building a vast new airport on the Isle of Grain would close Southend Airport

January 15, 2014

If a large new airport is built on the Isle of Grain, Kent, as London Mayor Boris Johnson has suggested, a clash of air space would mean Southend Airport – and City Airport in London – would probably need to close, the Airports Commission has warned in its Interim Statement. They said this could reduce the options available to low cost airlines and reduce the overall gains to airport capacity over the London area overall. They said that, in particular, it would be very challenging to manage the airspace with the 3 airports. Due to last-minute lobbying by the Mayor and Daniel Moylan, the Commission agreed to look at the £112 billion Isle of Grain scheme, put forward by Wembley Stadium designer Lord Norman Foster in more detail,in the first half of 2014, before deciding whether it should be included in the final short-list consultation starting in October. Southend airport has been emphasising how much money they have already invested in the airport. Nigel Holdcroft, leader of Southend Council, said: “The development of a major airport on the Isle of Grain would have adverse economic and environmental effects on Southend.”      Click here to view full story…

 

easyJet drops flights to Newquay and Edinburgh from Southend

1.1.2014       easyJet has scrapped flights to Edinburgh and Newquay from Southend. It is also scaling back its trips to Jersey and will now only operate 4 a week. This comes after a decision by easyJet in August to scrap flights to Belfast, on January 5.  The company would not reveal the reasons why but said they will “focus the flying schedule there on the routes with the greatest demand.” The airport said  “This summer they added an additional aircraft to the base and have consistently expanded the number of destinations on offer from Southend. We look forward to continuing and growing this relationship.” Flights to Edinburgh have been running since May, and the last will be in June.  ”About 5% of our passengers flying in and out of Southend in 2013 used the Edinburgh services.” The Newquay route was launched in June 2013 and carried almost 8,000 passengers in the summer.  In October, easyJet’s UK commercial manager, Hugh Aitken, said in an extra flight would be added in August 2014.  Easyjet runs 25 flights to Edinburgh from other London airports.   It has also recently started flying from Southend to Tenerife.  Click here to view full story …..

 

EasyJet to fly Newquay to Southend 4 times per week in summer, after it ends Gatwick to Newquay route

October 8, 2013     EasyJet is to increase its weekly flights between Southend to Newquay from 3 to 4 over the summer period only. This comes after EasyJet recently announced it would not continue its flights from Gatwick to Newquay. Almost 8,000 passengers flew from Southend to Newquay this summer by EasyJet. EasyJet – which took over the Gatwick route from Flybe – said there is not enough demand to run a year-round service between Newquay and Southend, and these route from Gatwick was not financially viable for them. A Cornwall MP said the loss of the link to Gatwick would be a “blow to businesses across Cornwall”. EasyJet said : “Following Flybe’s decision to cease operating from London Gatwick to Newquay, Easyjet carefully and thoroughly examined the commercial viability of offering year-round services on the route. Unfortunately, after much consideration, all of the evidence clearly shows that there is insufficient demand to sustain a service using an A319 aircraft with 156 seats.”     Click here to view full story…

 

Centre for private jets at Southend wants to grow from 4 to 20 business jets per day

October 1, 2013    .Southend Airport is hoping to increase the numbers of private jets it handles, and increase the number from some 3 – 4 per day at present, to more like 20 per day. Biggin Hill is its main local rival for business jets. In 2012, Biggin Hill dealt with 5,335 during the year, while Southend had 1,163. Stobart Air’s executive handling facility at London Southend Airport celebrated its first anniversary this July. In comparison, in 2012 London City airport had 264 business flights (the rest are commercial), Luton had 15,055 and Farnborough had 21,986 – so way ahead of the others. Southend claims that although it is further outside London than Biggin Hill, passengers arriving at Southend can travel into the City in little more than hour, are that they are more reasonably priced than some of their competitors. The airport says one major advantage of their executive handling facility is that it is open 24 hours a day with onsite Customs and Immigration services also available permanently. ie. night flight noise for Southend and Rochford residents nearby.    .Click here to view full story…

 

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More news about Southend airport at 

Southend Airport News

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British Airways Heathrow flight suffered ‘engine surge’ on take-off so returned for emergency landing

A British Airways plane was forced to turn back shortly after taking off at Heathrow Airport after an “engine surge” in the air.  A witness said flames were “spitting out of the engine” as the aircraft took off at 20.54 GMT on Thursday 6th March.  British Airways said flight BA0364 to Lyon, France, touched down safely, and the aircraft would be “thoroughly checked over by engineers”.  The southern runway was closed for about 16 minutes.  A local resident who saw it said: “I was in the petrol station opposite the airport, which is when I heard the bang, so I turned around and the plane had flames spitting out of the engine with a spluttering noise as it was still taking off. I then watched it continue to climb and the engine was still emitting flames intermittently.”  BA said  ”A flight experienced what’s known as an ‘engine surge’ as it took off from Heathrow” So the  plane limped back into Heathrow. Webtrak shows it circling over Cobham etc for some 25 minutes before joining the northern runway approach path at around Brixton and landing at about 21.37 – so it flew for miles over densely populated areas of London. The last incident of a plane having to make an emergency landing, and flying across London with a burning engine, was in May 2013, when the engine cowls had not been closed properly.

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The track of the plane is visible on Webtrak http://webtrak.bksv.com/lhr  Which shows flights after a 24 hour delay.

It took off at 20.54 and then circled in the stack over Leaterhead, Cobham, Esher, Dorking etc till setting off to land at about 21.24pm, joining the approach to the northern runway about over Brixton, and landing at about 21.37.

BA 364  LYS – LHR  Type 319


 

British Airways Heathrow flight grounded by ‘engine surge’

7 March 2014  (BBC)

A plane was forced to turn back shortly after taking off at Heathrow Airport after an “engine surge” in the air.

A witness said flames were “spitting out of the engine” as the aircraft took off at about 21:00 GMT on Thursday.

British Airways said flight BA0364 to Lyon, France, touched down safely, adding that the aircraft would be “thoroughly checked over by engineers”.

A spokesman said: “The safety of our customers, crew and aircraft is of the utmost importance.”

The southern runway was closed for about 16 minutes, an airport spokeswoman said.

Tom Puttick, who works near Heathrow, said: “I was in the petrol station opposite the airport, which is when I heard the bang, so I turned around and the airplane had flames spitting out of the engine with a spluttering noise as it was still taking off.

‘Engine shut down’

“I then watched it continue to climb and the engine was still emitting flames intermittently.

“Lots of blue lights then emerged on the airport while the plane, I guess, turned around to make an emergency landing but I couldn’t see it after the aircraft turned out of sight.”

In a statement, British Airways said: “A flight experienced what’s known as an ‘engine surge’ as it took off from Heathrow, but it has now returned and touched down safely.

“We train our pilots to the very highest standards including how to respond to these type of events, and the engine was immediately shut down.”

The airline said passengers on the flight would be given hotel accommodation overnight and rebooked to fly on Friday.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-26478011

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BA 0364 take off 20.54

BA 0364 takes off at 20.54 and immediately shown in red as a plane landing (not a plane in green, as a take off)

BA 0364 circling over Cobham etc 21.13

BA 0364 circles over Cobham etc at 21.13 – and for around 25 minutes

BA0364 over Croydon on way to landing 21.28

BA 0364 over Croydon on its way to join the approach path for the northern runway

 

BA0364 over Brixton 21.37

BA 0364 joining the Heathrow northern runway approach path around Brixton at 21.31  from where it flew  to the airport on the usual flight path.  Landed at about 21.37

The track of the plane is visible on Webtrak http://webtrak.bksv.com/lhr  Which shows flights after a 24 hour delay.

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Less than a year earlier:

 

Heathrow emergency landing of BA plane with engine on fire: Engine cowls had been left unlatched

31.5.2013

Air accident investigators say the doors on both engines of the BA flight that made an emergency landing at Heathrow last week had been left unlatched. This was due to human error.  Air accident experts said the coverings – the fan cowl doors – broke off and punctured the right engine’s fuel pipe, damaging the aircraft’s systems. The engine was extensively damaged.  The jet flew back to Heathrow, on one engine, with smoke trailing from the other, right across heavily populated London.  It landed safely.  The findings were made in an interim report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), which is examining the cause of the emergency  It will make its final report in a couple of months. The fan cowl doors on both engines were left unlatched during maintenance and this was not identified prior to aircraft departure. BA confirmed that 2 different engineers would normally check whether a plane’s engine covers had been shut before take-off. David Learmount, former pilot: “This is a bit of an accident waiting to happen because it is so difficult to see”. Airbus said there had, in the past, been 32 reported incidents of fan cowl doors not being shut – details of some at the link below. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=3770

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Prestwick Airport reveals spiralling losses – almost £10 million in 2013

The full scale of Prestwick Airport’s financial problems are revealed in the latest accounts, which show a pre-tax loss of almost £10 million in its final full year of private ownership. Its financial problems have escalated with a pre-tax loss of £9.77m in the 12 months to March 31, 2013.  The airport made a £2.3m pre-tax loss in the year to March 2012.  Last March its owners, Infratil, put the airport up for sale, but as no buyer could be found, the  Scottish Government stepped in and bought Prestwick for a £1 on November 22 2013. Prestwick had a 20% fall in the number of passengers in July 2012 compared to the same month in 2011 – the busiest time of the year with the school holidays. The airport’s accounts state that Prestwick  is only a going concern if its owner is willing to continue funding deficits. Such an undertaking has been made by Transport Scotland on behalf of Scottish ministers ie. public subsidy. Only Ryanair is operating scheduled flights, and a significant percentage of the airport’s aviation revenue is derived from freight and other aircraft activity.
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Prestwick Airport reveals spiralling losses

By Helen McArdle (Herald Scotland)
6 March 2014

THE full scale of Prestwick Airport’s financial woes have been laid bare as the latest accounts reveal a pre-tax loss of almost £10 million in its final full year of private ownership.

Company accounts show that the Ayrshire airport made a pre-tax loss of £9.77m in the 12 months to March 31, 2013. The figures reveal the escalation of Prestwick Airport’s financial problems, coming on the back of a £2.3m pre-tax loss in the year to March 2012.

Weeks before the end of the 2012/13 financial year its then owners, New Zealand-based owner Infratil, had put the airport up for sale on the open market.

At the time the owners said they were concerned about dwindling passenger numbers, particularly during the school holidays. They had suffered a 20% fall in the number of people passing through the airport in July 2012 compared to the same month in 2011.

Infratil failed to find a private buyer for the site and faced being closed down altogether before the Scottish Government stepped in and snapped it up for a £1 on November 22.

With fixed assets valued at only £4m, Prestwick Airport had net liabilities of £16m at the end of the 2012/13 financial year.

The company accounts state that Prestwick Airport is only a going concern if its owner is willing to continue funding deficits.

They state that such an undertaking has been made by Transport Scotland on behalf of Scottish ministers.

The Scottish Government is seeking ways to turn around the airport’s fortunes, seeking new airlines that could use it.

At present, Ryanair is the only operator flying scheduled flights in and out of Prestwick.

A significant percentage of the airport’s aviation revenue is derived from freight and other aircraft activity.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/transport/prestwick-airport-reveals-spiralling-losses.23613366

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Passenger, ATM and freight statistics for Prestwick in recent years

Terminal Passengers

Number of passengers (thousands)

UK Airport Statistics: 2012 – annual  (Table 10.3)  Terminal Passengers  2002 – 2012

2013    1,144,568  (up + 7.3% on 2012)
2012    1,066,917  (down – 17.6% on 2011)
2011    1,295,512  (down – 22%  on 2010)
2010    1,660,000  (down – 9% on 2009)  link to 2010 data
2009   1,817,274  (down – 27.4% compared to 2008)
2008    2,414  (thousand)
2007    2,421
2006    2,395
2005    2,405
2000       905
1997       567

Air Transport Movements

Number of ATMs (thousands)

UK Airport Statistics: 2012 – annual  (Table 4.2) ATMs 2002 – 2012

2013     8,606  (up 5.6% on 2012)

2012     8,152  (down – 14.8% on 2011)

2011     10,000 (down – 24%  on 2010)

2010     13,000 (down -15% on 2009)   link to 2010 data
2009    15,478  (down – 29.8% compared to 2008)
2008     20 (approx – thousands):
2007     20
2006     19
2005     21
2000     11
1997     10

Air Freight

Freight tonnage  

UK Airport Statistics: 2012 – annual  (Table 13.2) Freight 2002 – 2012

2013      ?
2012     10,314 (down – 13% on 2011)
2011     11,846 ( down – 3%  on 2010)
2010    12,163  (down – 9% on 2009)    link to 2010 data
2009    13,385  (down 41% on 2008)
2008     22,966  (down -27% on 2007)
2007    31,517
2006    28,537
2005    29,199
2000    41,450
1997    33,874

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Recent news stories about Prestwick airport:

Prestwick Airport to be sold to Scottish Government for £1 – and other failing regional airports look to business parks and housing

12.11.2013

Infratil, which currently owns Prestwick Airport, has said the airport is expected to be sold to the Scottish Government for £1.  The sale is due to be completed by Wednesday, 20 November. Infratil said the airport’s value had been “fully impaired” – effectively written off – after Prestwick and sister airport Manston in Kent were collectively valued at £11 million in March.  Infratil bought Prestwick from Stagecoach in 2001 for £33m.  Manston is being sold to Stagecoach founder Ann Gloag for an expected £400,000. Scottish Ministers are taking over Prestwick airport, which is losing £7m a year, to avert its closure and safeguard 1,400 jobs, including 300 at the airport. Infratil described its investment in the airports to have been “unsuccessful for Infratil” and that while such regional airports looked like a good investment 5 years ago, they now are not as  they are reliant on “robust air traffic growth driving demand.” Other failing airports are looking to  create business parks on their land, and housing – to try and make money out of them.                                 http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=18387 

Glasgow Prestwick Airport may be given to the Scottish Government for nothing

October 11, 2013       The owners of Glasgow Prestwick, New Zealand company Infratil, have suggested they may give away the airport for nothing. The Scottish government has announced it is negotiating to buy the unprofitable airport, and hopes to conclude detailed negotiations with the company by 20 November. Scottish government said it was the “only realistic alternative to closure”. In a statement on its website, the company said it did not expect any transaction “to give rise to material proceeds”. Prestwick was put up for sale last March after heavy annual losses. Several investors expressed interest but no offers were made. Infratil has also been trying to sell its other unprofitable UK airport, Manston. In May 2013, Infratil announced that it had written down the value of both airports to £11m. Infratil has agreed to ensure the airport is kept fully open and operational during the negotiation process. In 2012 Prestwick had around 1 million passengers, compared to 2.4 million at its peak in 2005.      Click here to view full story…

 

Ryanair’s new routes help lift the gloom at Prestwick

5.12.2012    Prestwick  - currently up for sale – has welcomed the extra Ryanair flights, which will launch next year. As Ryanair announced the services to 2 Polish airports, it said a move to Glasgow International Airport had been ruled out. The airline also unveiled six new routes from Edinburgh. Tom Wilson, chief executive of Prestwick’s owners, Infratil Airports Europe, said it would help reassure potential investors about the future of the airport.  Ryanair is planning to increase the frequency of its existing services at both Edinburgh and Prestwick and reverse two years of decline in which passenger numbers have fallen by 18%. Prestwick will see new routes to Rzeszow and Warsaw Modlin, taking the total to 27 routes and increasing the number of weekly flights from 86 to 95.  Click here to view full story …..

Price of Prestwick and Manston slashed to just over one fifth the price Infratil paid for them in 2003 and 2005

November 10, 2012    The value of Prestwick Airport has fallen to under a quarter of its level 2 years ago as owner Infratil struggles to find a buyer. The New Zealand-based company yesterday put the value of Prestwick and Manston Airport in Kent at £10.5 million. They had been valued at £32m earlier this year. Infratil bought it for £33.4m in 2003. A valuation carried out at the end of the financial year in March 2011 said the airports were worth £44m. Both airports were put on the market in January when Infratil said they were under-performing. It had been hoped a sale would be completed by early next year but no buyer is forthcoming. Passenger numbers at Prestwick have dropped to just under 1.1 million a year – less than half the level of 3 years ago – as Ryanair, which provides the bulk of passenger flights, has relocated many services to Edinburgh. The lack of investment has left Prestwick looking tired and off-putting to potential buyers.   Click here to view full story…

 

MP raises Prestwick Airport investment fears

September 25, 2012  Local MP, Brian Donohue, has complained that a lack of investment in Prestwick Airport by its New Zealand-based owner Infratil is damaging prospects of a sale and jeopardising its future. Upkeep at the airport had suffered following Infratil’s decision to put it on the market in March 2012 – and there is no progress yet on selling it. Numbers of passengers and freight at Prestwick have fallen markedly in recent years. Infratil said: “The reality is that when a business is for sale, the current shareholder is unlikely to spend any more than they need to.” Passengers were down 47% in 2011 compared to the peak in 2007, and freight was 71% down in 2011 compared to its peak in 2000.    Click here to view full story…

 

Passenger downturn prompts slump in Prestwick airport’s valuation

May 17, 2012    Passenger numbers at Prestwick in 2011 half the level of 2007. There were 1.2 million passengers in 2011. This fall in passengers has greatly reduced the price of the airport, which Infratil is trying to sell. Financial figures put the value of Prestwick and Kent Manston airports at £33 million ($64.7 million), down from £44m a year ago. Prestwick and Manston contributed an after-tax loss of $37.4 million (£17.9 million) in the year. Both airports were put on the market in March after Infratil said they were not performing. A buyer has yet to be identified for Prestwick. One reason for the slump of passenger numbers to the lowest level in a decade is the decision by Ryanair to focus growth at Edinburgh airport. Aviation analysts have questioned whether Prestwick would be able to recover from the decline that began late in 2008. It has long been reliant almost entirely on services offered by Ryanair.     Click here to view full story…

 

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