Tel: 020 7248 2227 RSS FeedRSS feed

Supreme Court rules UK Government is breaking air pollution laws

The UK Supreme Court has ruled that the government has failed to meet European air pollution limits. Britain will therefore face European fines and may have to drastically reduce the use of heavy goods vehicles and cars in some of the UK’s major cities. Much of the problem is from diesel vehicles. The Supreme Court said  “The way is open for immediate enforcement action at national and European level.”  The government had been challenged by ClientEarth (lawyers who work on environmental issues) because of air quality concerns in 15 cities and regions across the UK, including London ( where one area that is very bad is around the Heathrow area), Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow. The low air quality is already having a marked effect on health, and ClientEarth felt the only way to get the UK government to act on the matter was legal action.  The UK has so far made repeated attempts to get the air quality limits weakened or delayed. The European Court of Justice will have to clear up some legal issues, so the UK government may be able to play for time and delay doing anything for a year or so. The infringement action to be taken has not yet been  decided.  This will have an impact on Heathrow expansion plans.

.

 

UK failing legal duty on air pollution – Supreme Court

May 01, 2013 (rt.com)

The UK Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the government has failed to meet European pollution limits. Britain will face European fines and may have to drastically reduce vehicle use in cities.

The Wednesday ruling by five judges means that the government will face stiff EU fines and will probably have to limit the use of heavy goods vehicles and cars in some of the UK’s major cities, the Guardian reported.

“The way is open for immediate enforcement action at national and European level,” the Supreme Court confirmed.

The government was challenged by ClientEarth whose case concerns 15 cities and regions across the UK, including London, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow.

The decision delighted air pollution campaigners. However, the European Court of Justice will have to clear up some legal issues, so the UK government may be able to play for time and delay doing anything for a year or so.

Joe Henon, a spokesman for the EU environment commissioner Janez Potocnik, said that the UK was already in breach of air pollution law but that they had not yet decided what infringement action would be taken.

Alan Andrews, a lawyer from ClientEarth who worked on the case, told RT that air pollution in the UK is having a “devastating effect on human health” and that they brought the case against the government because “we felt legal action was the only answer”.

“Today’s decision will put additional pressure on the government. I wouldn’t be surprised that in the next couple of months we see some new announcements from the government but the real game changes will be the European Court’s judgment, which will determine when the UK needs to achieve compliance,” said Andrews.

Andrews explained that the UK needs specific policies aimed at reducing pollution from diesels vehicles in towns and cities.

“The government’s plans are plans to do nothing, the only real policy they have is trying to weaken the limits. We need a national system of low emission zones” said Andrews.

The UK government declined to comment on this specific case but the Department for Environment Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) said, “Air quality has improved significantly in recent decades and almost all of the UK meets EU air quality limits for all pollutants.”

But Stephen Joseph, chief executive from the Campaign for Better Transport said the decision will force the government to bring in alternative forms of transport to the car in cities.

“In practice this should mean investing in alternatives to cars and diesel vans and trucks, especially in towns and cities. It should call into question government plans for major new roads,” he told the Guardian.

Air pollution causes 29,000 premature deaths a year in the UK and is linked to heart and respiratory diseases, according to figures obtained from ClientEarth.

“The UK has worse air pollution than many equivalent countries in the EU. Some of the air pollution recordings from some of the busiest roads in London are 3-4 times higher than the legal limit and among the highest of any capital city in Europe,” said Andrews

“The longer they leave this, the more difficult it’s going to get, the more expensive it’s going to get and the more people are going to die.”

http://rt.com/news/uk-fail-air-pollution-692/

.


.

Supreme Court rules UK Government is breaking air pollution laws

1 May 2013 (Client Earth)

The Supreme Court has declared that the Government is failing in its legal duty to protect people from the harmful effects of air pollution. This landmark decision in ClientEarth’s case is a departure from the judgments of the lower courts and paves the way for the European Commission to take legal action against the UK.

Air pollution causes 29,000 early deaths a year in the UK – more than obesity and alcohol combined. Air pollution causes heart attacks, strokes, respiratory disease and children living near busy roads have been shown to grow up with underdeveloped lungs.

ClientEarth’s case concerns 16 cities and regions (including London, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow) which government plans show will suffer from illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide, a toxic gas – until as late as 2020 or 2025.

The Supreme Court confirmed that because the Government is in breach of the EU Air Quality Directive “the way is open to immediate enforcement action at national or European level”. However, before deciding whether to take further action to enforce the law, it has referred a number of legal questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

James Thornton, ClientEarth CEO, said: “This historic ruling marks a turning point in the fight for clean air and will pile the pressure on Owen Paterson. Faced with court action on two fronts, he must now come up with an ambitious plan to protect people from carcinogenic diesel fumes. Until now, his only policy has been lobbying in Europe to try and weaken air pollution laws.”

“The Supreme Court recognised that this case has broader implications for EU environmental law: The Government can’t flout environmental law with impunity. If the Government breaks the law, citizens can demand justice and the courts must act.”

—-

Notes to editors:

- Pollution from road traffic, and particularly diesel fumes, is the most significant cause of poor air quality. The two pollutants of most concern are microscopic airborne particles, known as ‘PM10’, and nitrogen dioxide.

- 2013 has been declared the “Year of Air” by the EU, which is overhauling all its air pollution laws. The World Health Organisation is calling for stricter standards to protect health after finding that the current limits are inadequate.

- The UK Government is lobbying to weaken air quality laws: Defra’s Red Tape Challenge Implementation Plan states its intention to ‘use the EC review of air quality legislation to seek amendments to the Air Quality Directive which reduce the infraction risk faced by most MSs, especially in relation to nitrogen dioxide provisions’.

- Defra’s plans project that compliance with nitrogen dioxide limits will not be achieved until as late as 2025 in Greater London and 2020 in the following: West Midlands Urban Area, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Teeside, The Potteries, Kingston Upon Hull, Southampton, Glasgow, Eastern England, South East England, East Midlands, North West & Merseyside, Yorkshire & Humberside, West Midlands and North East England.

- Obesity and alcohol are each estimated to be responsible for 9,000 premature deaths per year. See table 2.1 in this recent report.

- The World Health Organisation has classified diesel exhaust fumes as carcinogenic for humans, based on evidence that exposure is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer.

- ClientEarth leads the Healthy Air Campaign, a coalition of health, environment and transport groups working to tackle the public health threat caused by air pollution. The campaign calls for a strong public voice to oppose the UK Government’s regressive stance on air quality.

http://www.clientearth.org/201305012170/news/press-releases/supreme-court-rules-uk-government-is-breaking-air-pollution-laws-2170

,

http://www.clientearth.org/health-environment/clean-air/

.


 

.

 See also

 

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

November 17, 2012

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

 


 

.

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

September 7, 2012

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

 

 

 

 

Read more »

CAA proposals to limit airport charges at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted over next 5 years

Proposals by the CAA on changes to the regulatory regime for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted are the most significant reform of airport regulation since the 1987. Heathrow is likely to be prevented from raising its charges to airlines as much as it had hoped.  The CAA plans could mean cheaper air fares from Heathrow, though the airport had wanted to be allowed to raise charges by 5.9% per year in real terms between 2014 and 2019  - to pay back to shareholders. The CAA wants a rise only in line with inflation, at the most.  The CAA will be consulting on its proposals and make its final decision in October. Heathrow’s charges are higher than those of Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Hong Kong, because airlines like to fly there and there is little spare capacity – hence the market would allow the cost to rise. In the past, the CAA allowed Heathrow to rise its charges, to pay for infrastructure like T5. The CAA is now considering removing caps on aeronautical charges at Gatwick and Stansted from next year. They would then be able to agree aeronautical charges with the airlines, but the CAA would retain the right to intervene if it regards the agreements as unacceptable.  The civil aviation act in 2012 gave the CAA  new powers over airport regulation.

.

 

London airfare rises to be limited over the next five years

Take off: charges to airlines for using Heathrow, Gatwick and Stanstead are to be changed
Staff/Agencies (Evening Standard)

30 April 2013

London’s air travellers received a welcome lift today after aviation regulators proposed changes that would limit the amount ticket prices could rise.

The proposals from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will mean airlines will be charged far less for using Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports from 2014-19 than they were for the 2009-14 period.

This will, in turn, limit the fare rises that would be imposed on passengers at these airports.

The CAA proposals, to be finalised next year, also provide cheer for the airlines which have been arguing against what they see as excessive charges.

Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted are the only airports regulated by the CAA, which can cap the amount airport bosses can impose on airlines in take-off and landing fees.

For 2014-19, the CAA has proposed that airline charges at Heathrow should be capped at the RPI rate of inflation minus 1.3%.

This is far less than the figure of RPI plus 7.5% for Heathrow for 2009-14.

It is also far less than the 2014-19 charge figure proposed by Heathrow bosses, which would have seen charges increase at the west London airport from the equivalent of £19.33 per passenger for 2012/13 to as much as £27.30 for 2018/19.

For Gatwick, where bosses had pressed for complete deregulation, the CAA today proposed a much more flexible system but still underpinned by a licence from the CAA.

The CAA said this new approach would require effective airport-airline collaboration, and that so far “the airport has not yet made acceptable proposals along these lines”.

If nothing can be sorted out, the CAA said charges for 2014-19 at Gatwick would be capped at RPI plus 1% which is lower than the RPI plus 2% regime that has been in place at the West Sussex airport for 2009-14.

At Stansted, where Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary has long complained about the level of charges, the CAA’s regulation will take the form of monitoring charges and service quality.

The CAA said this would ensure passengers at the Essex airport were protected while minimising the regulatory burden on airport and airlines.

But the CAA said it might impose more detailed regulation “unless prices at Stansted reduce over time”.

http://www.standard.co.uk/business/business-news/london-airfare-rises-to-be-limited-over-the-next-five-years-8596729.html

.


 

.

Passenger fare rises to be limited as airlines see regulatory charge fall

Heathrow bosses had proposed a rise in airline charges. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Heathrow bosses had proposed a rise in airline charges. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

April 30, 2013 (London 24)

Airlines are to be charged less for using London’s airports than they have in previous years, it was announced today, limiting the fare rises passengers will face.

The charges imposed on airlines from 2014-2019 will be less than for the 2009-2014 period. The Civil Aviation Authority has proposed that, over coming years, charges at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports should be capped at the RPI rate of inflation minus 1.3 per cent – which is far less than the previous rate of RPI plus 7.5 per cent.

The proposals from the CAA, which regulates London’s three largest airports, will provide cheer for the airlines, which have been arguing against what they see as excessive charges.

The charges suggested are far less than the 2014-19 charge figure proposed by Heathrow bosses, which would have see charges increase at the west London airport from the equivalent of £19.33 per passenger for 2012/13 to as much as £27.30 for 2018/19.

For Gatwick, where bosses had pressed for complete deregulation, the CAA today proposed a much more flexible system but still underpinned by a licence from the CAA.

The CAA said this new approach would require effective airport-airline collaboration, and that so far “the airport has not yet made acceptable proposals along these lines”.

If nothing can be sorted out, the CAA said charges for 2014-19 at Gatwick would be capped at RPI plus 1 per cent which is lower than the RPI plus 2 per cent regime that has been in place at the West Sussex airport for 2009-14.

At Stansted, where Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary has long complained about the level of charges, the CAA’s regulation will take the form of monitoring charges and service quality.

The CAA said this would ensure passengers at the Essex airport were protected while minimising the regulatory burden on airport and airlines.

But the CAA said it might impose more detailed regulation “unless prices at Stansted reduce over time”.

CAA chief executive Andrew Haines said: “Protecting consumers and improving their experience is the core focus of our regulatory decision-making.

“Few passengers flying from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted fail to notice their differences, so it should be no surprise that our regulatory approach also differs at each airport.

“The proposals we publish today reflect their individual circumstances, ensure passengers are protected when they travel, and allow for continuing improvements in service and competition.”

.

.

EASYJET STATEMENT ON CAA Q6 PRICE PROPOSALS

30.4.2013  (EasyJet)

easyJet welcomes the CAA’s announcement that it views Gatwick as a monopoly airport.
Continued regulation of Gatwick will protect the interests of all passengers who use the airport.

easyJet’s preference is always to engage constructively with airports to reach commercial agreements which are in both parties interests – and the interests of passengers – and so agrees in principle with the CAA’s new approach to regulation at Gatwick.

However, despite easyJet’s efforts to achieve such an agreement with Gatwick we were unable to reach a mutually agreeable commercial deal.

This reflects the market power which Gatwick wields and shows the need for continued regulation.

easyJet is disappointed with the proposed charges of RPI +1% which appears to be driven by capital expenditure that doesn’t provide value for money for passengers and an unreasonably high cost of capital.

easyJet will respond to the CAA asking for it to reduce the proposed charges.

http://corporate.easyjet.com/media/latest-news/news-year-2013/30-04-2013-en.aspx?sc_lang=en

.


.

Ryanair supremo launches huge broadside over Stansted charges

JOHN MULLIGAN – 30 APRIL 2013 (Belfast Telegraph)

RYANAIR boss Michael O’Leary has again lashed out at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), claiming it’s been “sitting on its hands” while charges climb at Stansted, the airline’s biggest base.

Mr O’Leary was incensed earlier this year when the former owners of Stansted secured approval for a 6% increase in landing charges just days before the airport was sold for £1.5bn to Manchester Airports Group (MAG).

He has just written a fresh complaint to the CAA. Stansted was sold by Heathrow Airport Group, formerly BAA, which is majority controlled by Spanish construction group Ferrovial.

It was forced to sell Stansted after a ruling by the UK’s Competition Commission.

The watchdog ordered the sale of Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airport in order to boost competition.

Ryanair is Stansted’s biggest customer, accounting for about 70% of its business.

While Mr O’Leary initially welcomed the sale of Stansted, he was later angered when it emerged the price hike had been approved prior to a sale.

That increase was pushed through despite traffic at Stansted being in decline.

Mr O’Leary accused it of being a “sweetener” to encourage Manchester Airports to buy Stansted and urged the CAA to investigate.

But Iain Osborne, the CAA’s group director of regulatory policy and a former Northern Ireland Utility Regulator, refused to initiate such a probe. He told Ryanair that the price increase was in line with the permitted price cap and that there was “no reason” for the CAA “to question the airport’s motives”.

“It is inconceivable that any regulator, charged with protecting the reasonable interests of airport users, would not investigate why Ferrovial, on the week before they handed over Stansted to MAG, imposed a 6% price increase … which will clearly be of no benefit to Ferrovial,” Mr O’Leary said in a letter to the CAA this month.

Ryanair has scaled back its presence at Stansted due to the increased charges.

Passenger numbers at Stansted have fallen from about 24m in 2007 to 17.5m in 2012.

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/business-news/ryanair-supremo-launches-huge-broadside-over-stansted-charges-29230209.html

.


.

April 27, 2013 (Financial Times)

Heathrow faces order from regulator to cut charges to airlines

By Andrew Parker

……The Civil Aviation Authority’s proposals for Heathrow could potentially produce lower air fares and contrast starkly with plans for lighter touch regulation at Gatwick and Stansted airports…….  Stansted will be offered the freedom to strike deals with airlines relating to aeronautical charges at the airport, with the CAA having the right to intervene if it regards the agreements as unacceptable. ……   Similar arrangements could be put in place at Gatwick if it can reach agreements with airlines but should this prove impossible, the CAA is expected to say it would still cap the airport’s charges.
.

Full FT article at

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/db92797e-ae52-11e2-bdfd-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2RqGLgY1x

.

.

.


 

.

See earlier:

 

Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted face regulatory shake-up by CAA and pricing changes

Date added: April 21, 2013

The CAA has the responsibility of setting the maximum level of airport charges, every 5 years, for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted -the 3 “designated” airports. On 30th April the CAA is expected to announce its initial plans. It will make a final decision in January 2014. The landing charges generally rise a bit faster than the rate of inflation and the RPI (retail price index) and charges are passed on to passengers, increasing air fares. Since the last 5 yearly review, the three airports now each has a different owner, whereas before all three were BAA owned. The CAA is not expected to allow Heathrow to increase its landing charges of 5.9% a year above inflation – which it has requested – and which have enraged the airlines. Gatwick airport has been campaigning to be permitted to strike commercial deals with major customers such as easyJet, which it says would reduce its fares. Gatwick already has different landing charges in summer and winter. The CAA’s announcement is expected to trigger intense lobbying by airports and airlines over the regime for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

Click here to view full story…

 


Gatwick Airport wants freedom from regulation on prices by the CAA

14.2.2013

With Heathrow and Stansted, Gatwick is one of only 3 UK airports that is subject to a price regime set by the CAA. It is arguing that should be allowed to negotiate landing charges directly with airlines, rather than being regulated, through entering into individual commercial agreements with airlines. Gatwick says such deals, which would be struck under a legally-binding framework, could incentivise airlines to offer more routes.  Gatwick says even for airlines that didn’t strike commercial agreements, charges would still be lower, increasing by 1.3% above the RPI over the next 7 years. By comparison, under continued regulation, charges would increase 3.3% above RPI over 5 years – which would mean landing charges rising from £8.80 per passenger in 2014, to £11.45 by 2018/19. But Virgin Atlantic is not keen on the idea, and nor is easyJet.  Virgin says “The CAA must continue to regulate to ensure that Gatwick delivers services our passengers need at a price which is good value for money.”   http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=576

 

.

and

.

 

Heathrow Airport produces its 5 year business plan with large rise in landing charges to pay for £3 billion investment

12.2.2013

Heathrow Airport has  produced its business plan for Q6 (which is the 6th period of 5 years, from April 2014 -2019). It plans to spend some £3 billion on infrastructure, like work on Terminal 2.  As Heathrow and the CAA over-estimated the number of passengers using Heathrow over the past 3  years, their income  has been lower. Therefore Heathrow plans to raise its landing charges per passenger, by as much as 30 -40% by 2019 – much more than inflation.  It said its prices “inevitably” had to rise in order to ensure a “fair return” to its investors. The CAA will publish its final decision on whether it has approved Heathrow’s proposals in January 2014.  Launching the investment plans,  Colin Matthews said the airport envisaged passenger numbers increasing from just under 70m now to around 72.6m by 2018-19.  Heathrow’s 5-year plan is separate from any decision on whether a 3rd runway is built.  Maximum airport charges allowed by the CAA are calculated using a complex formula taking into account the total value of Heathrow’s assets, return on capital invested and forecast number of passengers.  http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=592,


.

.

.

.

.

.

 

Read more »

Huge rally against Heathrow expansion – if allowed it would face opposition on a truly massive scale

Over a thousand people attended a rally in Barnes, against the possible expansion of Heathrow. The rally was organised by Zac Goldsmith, and attended by Mayor of London Boris Johnson. Boris said he thought the Conservatives “would be utterly nuts to go into the next election with the possibility of a Heathrow third runway on the table.”  [However, unfortunately Boris thinks the alternatives offered by Gatwick, Stansted and two sites in the Thames Estuary should be concentrated on.  Worryingly, he seems to favour expansion at Stansted, and have little concern about aviation's carbon emissions].   Boris told the rally that a 3rd runway at Heathrow was “just too difficult to deliver – 15 years at least it would take to bring about. “Above all you would be inflicting noise pollution not just on west London but on huge parts of London that don’t even know they are going to be affected. That is not the right way forward for the greatest city on earth.” Zac said the opponents of a 3rd runway will continue to make clear their opposition to further expansion, and he wants “ministers to be left in no doubt that if they give expansion a green light, they will face a campaign on a truly massive scale.”

.

 

John Stewart’s blog on how expansion at Heathrow would be politically toxic below


 

27 April 2013

Heathrow expansion protesters hold Barnes rally

Mayor Boris Johnson speaks at the rally
The mayor said the runway would give rise to ‘flying fleets of fortissimo flatulence’

Hundreds [about two thousand in fact]  of people have gathered to demonstrate against the possible expansion of Heathrow Airport.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Zac Goldsmith MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston have spoken at the rally in Barnes, south-west London.

Last September, the government launched a review of how the UK might expand its airport capacity in the South East.

One long-standing option has been to add a third runway at Heathrow.

‘Massive scale’

Crowds building in Barnes ahead of anti-expansion rally
Residents gathered to show their opposition

Heathrow is one of the world’s busiest airports, handling more than 69 million passengers a year.

Mr Johnson said the expansion of Heathrow would be a “giant step backwards for London”, giving rise to “great flying fleets of fortissimo flatulence”.

He told BBC London the alternatives offered by Gatwick, Stansted and two sites in the Thames Estuary should be concentrated on, and the idea of Heathrow expansion “closed down”.

He said Prime Minister David Cameron was keeping his cards close to his chest.

He added: “I think my party, the Conservatives, would be utterly nuts to go into the next election with the possibility of a Heathrow third runway on the table.”

Conservative MPs Mr Goldsmith and Justine Greening, MP for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields. also spoke to protesters.

Sean McKee, director of policy at London Chamber of Commerce, said London is a “global city in an island economy”.

He said there was a race between European capitals to see who could connect and trade with Asia, Africa and South America, and Heathrow provided the best opportunity.

Mr McKee said: “I think it’s quite simplistic for those local politicians in west London to claim that everybody inside their boundary opposes Heathrow expansion.

“Overwhelmingly, our members say they want to continue flying from Heathrow because it gives them the connections they need.”

‘Health issue’

But one resident, who has lived in Kew for 10 years, told BBC London the noise from flights already affects people’s health.

“With an extra runway the respite we get either in the morning or the afternoon could disappear,” he said.

“Night flights are the biggest bane of my life. The 04:30 flight comes in, wakes us up and we’re all up for the day so there’s a health issue here as much as anything else.”

A commission chaired by ex-Financial Services Authority boss Sir Howard Davies, is to consider a number of options to expand capacity, including a new airport to the east of London.

The commission will report after 2015.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Transport said: “Previous attempts to tackle the question of airport capacity have failed, often due to a lack of consensus on the evidence.

“Our approach is to build a strong political consensus so we can plan for the future. A rushed decision is not an option.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-22321175

.


.

Mega Rally re-enforces view Heathrow expansion would be politically toxic

Blog by John Stewart

 27th April 2013

Today’s impressive rally against Heathrow expansion, organized by Zac Goldsmith MP, demonstrated the formidable forces that are massing once again to prevent expansion of the airport.  It will have given Heathrow Airport and their allies who want a third runway considerable pause for thought.  In the space of 40 minutes 15 leading politicians from right across the political spectrum lined up to speak.  They included the Mayor of London and two cabinet ministers, Justine Greening and Ed Davey.  And many more politicians wanted to speak but had to be turned away.

Airport expansion – like every major decision – will be a political one.  And the politics are moving away from Heathrow.  Politicians of all parties are putting Heathrow expansion in the “too difficult” box.  The Liberal Democrats are firmly opposed.  The Labour Party, under Ed Miliband and shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle, has made it clear it no longer supports expansion.  There is a powerful lobby within the Conservative Party which is urging the Party to rule out expansion for good.  The London Assembly and the Mayor are united in their opposition to it.

Look around the cabinet table:  the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Business Secretary Vince Cable, Home Secretary Theresa May, the Secretaries of State for the Environment, International Development andNorthern Ireland, Ed Davey, Justine Greening and Theresa Villiers and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond are all known opponents.

This is a far cry from the opposition being confined to local authorities, local residents and environmental groups.  Heathrow has become a London-wide, indeed a national issue, a national issue where politicians know there are votes and seats to be won and lost, where they are so aware of what happened to the last Labour Government’s attempt to expand Heathrow.

Astute people within the aviation industry like Willie Walsh, in charge of British Airways, have made their view clear that the tide has turned against Heathrow expansion.  Today’s rally re-enforced that message.

http://www.hacan.org.uk/news/latest.php

.


.

Also article in the Evening Standard  and ITV video clips 

.


.

Hundreds turn out for anti-Heathrow expansion rally

Boris Johnson speaks at a rally in Barnes against the expansion of Heathrow Airport. Picture: Veredorexport/Twitter

Boris Johnson speaks at a rally in Barnes against the expansion of Heathrow Airport. Picture: Veredorexport/Twitter

by Sarah Shaffi  ( London 24)

April 27, 2013
Hundreds of people turned out for a rally today against proposals to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

The crowd at the anti-Heathrow expansion demonstration in Barnes. Picture: Nate Sibley/Twitter

The crowd at the anti-Heathrow expansion demonstration in Barnes. Picture: Nate Sibley/Twitter

The rally was organised by Conservative MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston Zac Goldsmith, and among those who attended this morning’s event in Barn Elms playing field in Barnes was Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

The Mayor has previously accused David Cameron of kicking the matter “into the long grass” by delaying an independent report on the future of aviation until after the next election.

He favours a new “Boris island” airport in the Thames Estuary or possible expansion at Stansted.

Mr Johnson urged the government to resist the “great Moloch of aviation capacity” and rule out a third runway at Heathrow before the next election. He said it would be “totally nuts” for the Conservatives to go to the polls without having buried the idea.

The Mayor told the gathered crowd: “It is just too difficult to deliver – 15 years at least it would take to bring about.

“Above all you would be inflicting noise pollution not just on west London but on huge parts of London that don’t even know they are going to be affected.

“That is not the right way forward for the greatest city on earth.”

Twitter user Veredorexport posted a picture of Mr Johnson at the rally and wrote: “Thank you @MayorofLondon and @ZacGoldsmith for standing up for the people of SW London!”

Nate Sibley, who helped Mr Goldsmith organise the rally, posted a picture of the crowd gathered at the rally, and wrote on Twitter: “Epic crowd at @zacgoldsmith and @mayoroflondon rally against Heathrow expansion!”

Former transport secretary Justine Greening made her first speech on Heathrow since she was moved to international development in September’s Cabinet reshuffle amid speculation that it was due to her stance on the issue.

Business Secretary Vince Cable, who has previously stated that expansion “will not happen”, was also at the rally.

Speaking about the event Mr Goldsmith said: “This rally is an opportunity for everyone living under the Heathrow flight path to come together and make clear their opposition to further expansion.

“We have done so in previous campaigns, and we will keep doing it until this government gets the message.

“I want ministers to be left in no doubt that if they give expansion a green light, they will face a campaign on a truly massive scale.”

http://www.london24.com/news/transport/hundreds_turn_out_for_anti_heathrow_expansion_rally_1_2170782

 

.


 

.

 

 

Saturday 27th April – Heathrow ‘Mega Rally’ organised by Zac Goldsmith

At the Barn Elms Playing Fields, Queen Elizabeth Walk, London, SW13 9SA between 09:30 and 10:30 

Zac Goldsmith MP joined by the Mayor of London, the former Transport Secretary Justine Greening, and other local MPs from all parties, and Council Leaders at a ‘mega rally’ to demonstrate the strength of feeling against possible expansion at Heathrow Airport, and to promote the Council’s referendum on the third runway.   After a series of short speeches Boris cast the first ‘vote’ in a giant ballot box constructed by pupils and teachers at Richmond Park Academy.

This was an opportunity for everyone living under the Heathrow flight path to come together and make clear their opposition to further expansion. It demonstrated to Ministers that if they give expansion a green light, they will face a campaign against it, on a truly massive scale.

MPs addressing the rally include former Transport Secretary of State Justine Greening (Putney), Vince Cable (Twickenham), Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith), John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington), Mary McLeod (Brentford and Isleworth), Angie Bray(Ealing Central and Acton), and Viendra Sharma (Ealing Southall).

.

.

.

.

.

 

Read more »

Lydd airport: will it find enough passenger demand, or is its business plan nonsensical?

Gwyn Topham, in the Guardian, speculates on whether the government granting planning permission to Lydd airport is an indication to their thinking on airport expansion in general. The decision came relatively soon after publication of the aviation policy framework in March which reiterated the idea of growth elsewhere to take pressure off London’s main airports.  And it may be connected to Osborne’s budget talking up infrastructure and its impact on the economy.  Approval has been given for up to 500,000 passengers a year, though Lydd will struggle to get anywhere near that.  They hope to eventually be able to use the railway track that carries nuclear waste from Dungeness to link passengers to Ashford’s high-speed train – a 37-minute journey to London, albeit expensive.  Though Lydd would like to get easyJet, as Southend has, but it is more likely to expand the executive jet service.  And they hope when Gatwick is full and wants more A380, it will kick out the smaller planes, which will then find Lydd useful. That will take a while … and currently the lack of demand makes the Lydd business plan nonsensical.

.

 

Lydd airport awaiting clearance for expansion takeoff

Kent airfield’s expansion ambitions are test case for future of UK flight network

by , transport correspondent *(Guardian)

25.4.2013 Lydd airport in Kent, also known as London Ashford

Lydd airport in Kent. Local opponents question how many jobs an expansion will create. Photograph: Jeff Gilbert/Alamy

If only all airports could be this peaceful. Beside the soon-to-be-expanded runway of Lydd’s optimistically named London Ashford airport the clearest sound is birdsong. Sheep graze by the car park in front of the terminal building. In a couple of hours on an April weekday, only one small craft troubles the control tower: a light plane from nearby Shoreham on a training flight.

Gazing across the wildlife reserve to the nuclear power station on the Dungeness headland three miles away, an observer might not immediately see Lydd as an answer to British aviation’s big question: if, how, and where the south-east of England will develop the airport capacity that the industry and its allies in business and politics say the UK desperately needs.

But Lydd’s management believes it can be a part of the solution – and that the government’s decision to let it expand should be seen in the context of the wider debate. The location has echoes of the Thames estuary airport plan espoused by the London mayor, Boris Johnson – both remote, peaceful corners of Kent, where birds thrive but a number of people struggle for work. Both are close enough to the high-speed rail line for hopeful talk of quick connections to the capital from those who see tranquil backwaters ripe for economic regeneration.

But while architects and politicians project megahubs on Medway, Lydd would take a year to match the traffic of a few days at Heathrow.

The ambition here, once the runway extension that will allow fully loaded holiday jets to take off is completed after 2016, is to be a new Southend. That is, London Southend, another revived airfield harking back to a black-and-white heyday. Lydd was a jetsetters’ choice when film stars would Channel-hop by driving on to a Bristol Freighter plane: photos outside the terminal’s Biggles Bar show Diana Dors beside an open-topped car and a surprisingly dapper Duke of Edinburgh, even for 58 years ago.

Approval has been given for up to 500,000 passengers a year; executive manager Hani Mutlaq doesn’t want to stoke local antagonism by discussing plans beyond that. But the airport owns land giving scope to expand further. An adjacent railway track that carries nuclear waste from Dungeness could, he says, one day link passengers to Ashford’s high-speed train – a 37-minute journey to London, albeit with single fares even higher than the notoriously expensive Heathrow Express.

Drawing in the likes of easyJet, as Southend has, would be a coup, but the clearest plan is to expand the executive jet service. Right now, even the Saudi who owns Lydd – Sheikh Fahad Al-Athel, of the Al-Yamamah arms deal fame – can’t land his private jet, flying in from Jeddah via Luton instead.

With only a trickle of commercial passengers, the airport loses around £1.5m a year. But Mutlaq, an engaging Jordanian who landed in New Romney to propel, in various roles, his boss’s nine-year-long expansion bid, thinks there is a brighter future: “Heathrow’s out of capacity, Gatwick is running out, Stansted will too. At a certain point, Heathrow and Gatwick will say, guys, I need an [Airbus] A380 or a [Boeing] 747 in that slot – and start kicking people out.”

Those giant A380s are steadily coming in: three of British Airways’ dozen on order – the first to be based at Heathrow – will be operational this summer. Bigger planes will indeed play a part in the hub airport’s bottom line, to squeeze more passengers into the finite number of slots.

Ninety pilots are being trained to fly the A380 in a £10m simulator beside BA’s Grade II-listed Heathrow hangars – recently modified to allow the giant aircraft’s tailfin through the doors. BA’s Richard Frewer, who helped design the simulator, performs a virtual takeoff and landing at LA and Hong Kong; conversation is easy over the engines. The noise level is true to life, he says, and very different from other planes, where headphones are needed in the cockpit.. “Once you’ve pulled the flaps and the landing gear in, it’s very quiet. Disturbingly so.”

That quiet engine may prove as important for capacity as the hundreds of extra seats. Last week Hounslow council launched a public consultation to ensure its residents’ experience under the flightpath is heard loud and clear by the Davies commission, which will shape London’s airport development. Waiting for the roar of an incoming plane to clear the infants’ school where he was speaking, deputy council leader Colin Ellar said: “That noise you hear now I suffer every day, and it wakes me up at 4.30am.” Hounslow is relatively supportive of Heathrow, the borough’s chief employer: neighbouring Richmond’s forthcoming referendum is expected to starkly reject any possible expansion.

Even if many Tory MPs now rue the coalition’s decision to scrap Heathrow’s third runway – and the transport ministers squarely opposed to Heathrow expansion, Justine Greening and Theresa Villiers, have been shuffled on – the politics of bringing more planes over London remain toxic.

The aviation policy framework published in March reiterated the idea of growth elsewhere to take pressure off London’s main airports. Lydd’s management points to its planning sign-off coming in the wake of that statement and George Osborne’s budget talking up infrastructure: its £25m investment could mean jobs in a region where employers such as Pfizer have shut down.

But opponents question how many jobs will come. Louise Barton, a former City analyst now leading the Lydd Airport Action Group, says the lack of demand makes the business plan nonsensical: “Commercially, it’s a complete joke.” Campaigners believe the proximity of Dungeness B nuclear plant is a serious safety issue; others fear for the fragile protected habitat.Barton cheerfully admits to being “the biggest nimby” but says the area has plenty of airport options, from Gatwick to nearby Manston, another minor Kent airport that now connects to Schiphol’s KLM network. And while she believes Lydd’s expansion isn’t currently viable, she says a long view is needed. “Airports lead to urbanisation: you’d have new roads, housing and industrial estates if it ever takes off. You can’t stop the economic imperative of an airport.”That argument, if slightly rephrased, is one that backers of airports from Heathrow right through to Lydd would not dispute, but aggressively promote: that aviation is a driver of economic growth. The argument Britain will need to resolve is if the noise and pollution is a price worth paying – and who will pay it.http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/apr/25/lydd-airport-expansion-takeoff?CMP=twt_gu

 

Read more »

Standard reports that Shadow Transport Secretary, Maria Eagle, is “warming towards” a Gatwick runway

The Labour Party shifted last year from its post-election position of being against a 3rd runway at Heathrow to being “sceptical” about it.  Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle has publicly ruled out a new Heathrow runway, and also a Thames estuary airport. However, the Evening Standard reports that Ms Eagle is now understood (how is not explained) to see a new Gatwick runway as a stronger contender than a new runway at  Stansted, if the Airports Commission concludes that the South-East needs extra aviation capacity.   Gatwick is opening new routes, including to the Far East, as it seeks to become a rival to Heathrow while Stansted still has spare capacity. While at the end of last year Labour was pressing for the Commission to report earlier than 2015, it now says it will await the conclusions before drawing up its new policy. That is current Labour policy. Supporting expansion at Gatwick, or Stansted, has not been agreed by the shadow cabinet.

 


Labour warms to Gatwick expansion

New routes: Gatwick is seeking to become serious rival to Heathrow

 by Nicholas Cecil  (Evening Standard)

24 April 2013

Labour was moving towards backing a second runway at Gatwick before a review was set up into Britain’s airport needs, the Standard reveals today.

Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle has already publicly ruled out a third runway at Heathrow, doing a U-turn on Gordon Brown’s firm support for expanding the airport.

She has also rejected Boris Johnson’s idea of an airport in the Thames Estuary, largely on cost grounds, branding it an “unworkable fantasy”. A second runway at Gatwick cannot be built before 2019 under a planning agreement.

Ms Eagle, though, is understood to have seen such a development at the Sussex airport as a stronger contender than expanding Stansted, if the South-East needed extra aviation capacity.

Gatwick is opening new routes, including to the Far East, as it seeks to become a rival to Heathrow while Stansted still has spare capacity.

The shadow cabinet minister is adamant that the Davies Commission into the UK’s airport capacity should not be pre-empted. While Labour wanted Sir Howard Davies, the former head of the London School of Economics leading the review, to publish its final report before the 2015 election, it will await its conclusions before drawing up its new policy. Supporting expansion at Gatwick, or Stansted, had also not been agreed by the shadow cabinet.

However, both party leader Ed Miliband and Ms Eagle remain “sceptical” about another runway at Heathrow.Labour, like the Conservatives, is divided over the future of the west London airport.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/labour-warms-to-gatwick-expansion-8585741.html

 

.


.

Labour party position – to wait for more information. 

.

Earlier

When the Crawley News asked each council member individually for their views last week, we received a call from Peter Lamb, head of the council’s Labour group, saying he was concerned posing the question now could cause division in his group.

And councillor Lamb has subsequently admitted e-mailing Labour councillors reminding them of the party position – that they would all wait for more information – despite admitting some of those councillors have opposing views.

All the Labour councillors bar one – Bill Ward – declined to express a firm opinion either way.

Peter Barclay, joint vice-chairman of Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, said he felt the Labour councillors had been gagged.

He said: “I know a couple of the Labour councillors and they are against the runway. These councillors should be allowed to exercise their independence. One hopes they would reflect the views of their constituents and speak their own mind, rather than toe the party line.

“This is a local issue. They shouldn’t be swayed by party politics. Speaking your mind is one of the bastions of British democracy. They shouldn’t be frightened to express their views, and I’m quite surprised.

“Our view, of course, is that one [runway] is enough.”

Gatwick Diamond Business’ Keith Pordum is for a second runway, and said this was an important issue that needed people to speak up now.

He said: “We want jobs here. If they don’t come from Gatwick, then where will they come from? Gatwick Airport is the economic heartbeat of the region. I expect the proposals for a second runway to be supported – and we need people to speak up now.”

Labour group leader Peter Lamb denied “whipping” his councillors into toeing the party line – but did accept an email had gone out after the News had got in touch “reminding” his group of the party position – and that although they hadn’t spoken up publicly, some of the Labour group were against a second runway.

He said: “There are one or two members who feel that way [that the runway should not be built].

“We are going to wait until there is some evidence.

“We’re not going to set out a position on the most significant decision for the town until we know the details – that would be irresponsible.”

Denying he had told people how to respond to our survey, he added he had sent an email and “reminded people what had been agreed” at an earlier meeting in November where the issue had been discussed.

http://www.thisissussex.co.uk/Crawley-Labour-members-told-toe-party-line/story-18342560-detail/story.html#axzz2RQNpTJln

.


.

Earlier:

Labour joins call to fast-track airports review – to get Davies to report before 2015 election

23 October 2012 (Evening Standard)

Labour has joined  Boris in demanding that a review into London’s airports be completed before the next election. Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle has warned that delaying the report of the independent commission to be headed by Sir Howard Davies until after 2015 risked “kicking the issue into the long grass.” Maria Eagle said  “There will therefore be no possibility of cross-party talks in advance of the election to establish whether consensus can be reached to support Sir Howard’s recommendations — and no opportunity to make the manifesto commitments that mean these are significantly more likely to become a reality.”  Labour has shifted its post-election position from being against a 3rd runway at Heathrow to being “sceptical” about  it.  Ms Eagle also said (at the AOA conference) that the delay in the review would make it harder to form a policy on the proposed high-speed rail route.

Read more »

Adobe earth houses in school playground give pupils refuge from Heathrow noise

Pupils at the Hounslow Heath Infant school ( children aged 3 –  7) just under a Heathrow flight path, have very loud and intrusive aircraft noise from the planes flying some 180 metres approx overhead. The problem is so bad that BAA (as it was) paid for the construction of some adobe structures in the playground, so the children can spend at least part of their time outdoors in places where they can hear each other speak. At some times of day, there is aircraft noise for 25 seconds out of every 90 seconds. Classes of up to 30 children can be seated inside the main dome, and inside the noise is reduced by some 17 decibels. Outdoor learning is valued by teachers and is also a statutory part of the national curriculum. The headteacher said the adobe structures are important as refuges because  “When kids are playing they are also developing their language skills, and in the playground again they’re being interrupted.” Schools should not be located under flight paths where planes are low.

.

 

Earth houses give pupils refuge from Heathrow noise

Superadobe domes first used for Gulf war refugees rise up at Hounslow schools coping with lessons under flight path

bv , transport correspondent

Hounslow School

Pupils of Hounslow Heath infants school play around the adobe huts designed to help minimise the noise of aircraft landing at Heathrow airport. Photograph: Frantzesco Kangaris for the Guardian

Buildings originally designed for earthquake and emergency zones in Asia and Africa are now being erected in London playgrounds to shield schoolchildren from the noise of aircraft landing at Heathrow.

Four “superadobe” domes have gone up at a primary school in Hounslow, under the flight path for Heathrow’s southern runway, and two other schools in the area plan to build similar structures. Constructed from coiled bags of earth with white plaster walls, the domes reduce the roar from incoming aeroplanes by 17 decibels for pupils inside.

The domes’ builder, Julian Faulkner, said he had constructed about 70 homes and shelters using the same materials and techniques more common in Africa and Asia, predominantly in Nepal’s earthquake-prone Kathmandu valley.

Planes pass 180 metres (600ft) overhead at Hounslow Heath infant school on their way to land at Heathrow. Faulkner said he was shocked by the sight of children clasping their hands over their ears in the playground. He said the buildings helped to mitigate the planes’ impact, “both of the noise and psychologically”. Classes of up to 30 can be seated inside the main dome, which has a diameter of 5.2 metres, with space for more in a sunken amphitheatre outside.

Another Hounslow primary nearby and a school in neighbouring Slough have commissioned their own adobes from Faulkner’s firm, Small Earth.

The superadobe design was an invention of the Iranian architect Nader Khalili, originally with a view to lunar settlements but first employed in a refugee crisis after the 1990-91 Gulf war, before answering the needs of west London’s noise-afflicted schoolchildren. The buildings can withstand tremors with a magnitude of up to 5.7. Their domes are also immune to the damage occasionally wrought on local homes’ tiled roofs by vortices from incoming jets.

The headteacher, Kathryn Harper-Quinn, estimates that when outside, teachers are rendered inaudible to pupils for 25 seconds in every 90. “I’ve been very concerned about the effects of the noise on the children’s learning,” she said.

In the huts, she added, “you can still hear the planes but you can also hear your own voice”. She said that as outdoor learning was both valued by teachers and a statutory part of the curriculum, staff had developed strategies to deal with aircraft noise, including the use of whistles to alert children who could not hear when teachers were speaking.

She said it was also important that the adobe structures were a refuge for children outside lesson times. “When kids are playing they are also developing their language skills, and in the playground again they’re being interrupted.”

Within the main building of the school, which teaches 520 infants aged between three and seven, special soundproofing measures are in place which diminish, but do not eliminate, aircraft noise.

Hounslow council has launched a public consultation on the effects of aircraft, sending 100,000 questionnaires to its residents, to form its submission to the Davies commission on airport capacity in south-east England. The commission will report in 2015 on the need for new runways, but may also propose measures later this year to permit more flights at Heathrow.

The council has decided against a simple yes-no referendum on Heathrow expansion, as favoured in neighbouring boroughs, as it recognises that the airport is a key local employer and most residents’ views are nuanced. However, it has backed calls from the London assembly member Murad Qureshi for a total ban on night flights.

It also wants to see improved noise mitigation measures. Under a current scheme, Heathrow pays for the installation of double glazing in the bedrooms of houses within a designated “noise contour”, where aircraft noise regularly exceeds 63 decibels. The airport has also funded the soundproofing of certain public buildings, although the council argues that the money is inadequate for both soundproofing and ventilation.

In many schools, that means summer brings a choice of stifling heat or noise in some classrooms. Hounslow Heath has had ventilation installed and Heathrow also eventually chipped in around £10,000 for the adobe shelters. However, Harper-Quinn said: “For the government to consider a third runway is very irresponsible. It will subject even more communities to the unacceptable levels of noise we suffer.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/apr/22/prefabs-heathrow-noise-pupils


 

.

one of the comments under the  article:

The article refers to children’s learning – not actual damage to their hearing.

Just to provide a context, normal conversation is equivalent to a level of 60 decibels (not loud enough to cause damage) and we are told here that if aircraft noise regularly exceeds 63 decibels then there is a scheme whereby Heathrow will pay for the installation of double glazing in bedrooms. The noise level needs to be about 85 decibels before damage occurs (new safety regulations in the UK necessitate the wearing of hearing protection above 85 decibels).

However there is some evidence here to suggest that the children are being exposed to higher levels than that of, say, a normal conversation (60 decibels). I think that it would be a good idea if someone actually measured the noise levels in their playground over a period of time – just to be sure that this problem is not only hindering the learning process but actually causing long term damage to their hearing.

 

.


.

Also

Fear that ‘Heathrow noise reduces pupil learning by third’ – as Hounslow opens its Heathrow consultation

15.4.2013

The head teacher of an infant and nursery school directly under a Heathrow flight path, close to the airport in Hounslow, has been speaking of the impact of the planes on the learning of children at her school. Kathryn Harper-Quinn, who runs Hounslow Heath Infant & Nursery School said a recent study had highlighted the dramatic impact planes thundering 600-feet overhead have on children’s learning. Asked to recall factual details from an outdoor lesson, she said, a class of 7-year-olds could remember about a third less than those hearing the same lesson in a specially built noise-insulated hut. When the study was repeated with a fictional story, there was no noticeable difference in performance – a result Ms Harper-Quinn put down to pupils being able to fill in the gaps more easily.  Speaking at the official launch of Hounslow Council’s consultation on Heathrow, she claimed a 3rd runway would blight thousands more children’s education. The consultation questionnaire contains 11 questions, and the deadline for responses is  May 16th.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=2363

.
.

Heathrow noise ‘hinders pupils’ reading progress’ – would only worsen with more runways and fights

March 28, 2013       Children living under the Heathrow flight path are suffering two-month lags in their reading development as a result of aircraft noise. Hounslow council says pupils in the borough have to put up with “continual disruption”, and warned the problem will worsen if the airport expands to three or more runways. Around 40 schools are directly under the Heathrow flight paths with planes landing every 90 seconds or so much of the day. The council cites an international study by London University into aircraft noise which found it led to a “significant impairment” in reading development, as well as affecting long-term memory and motivation. As well as a 2-month delay in reading, the children’s education is suffering from the continual disruption from low-flying jets. If schools don’t have triple glazing the interruptions to lessons can be relentless. One school near the airport has had shelters installed in the playground so children can escape the noise. A 2010 ECRD study suggested that chronic aircraft noise has a deleterious effect on memory, sustained attention, reading comprehension and reading ability.   Click here to view full story…

 

.

.

See earlier:

The Soundscape Project for children around Heathrow to experience peace and quiet

October 2011

A new project to give children the outdoor sensory experience they are missing
in school settings where incessant aviation noise prevails.
… Thousands of children endure their school days under Heathrow flight paths,
often subjected to very high levels of noise from planes overhead.

… Finding appropriate settings which are not affected by air traffic has been Soundscape’s
first priority.

… 33,000 children in one neighbouring borough, alone, have diminished use of
their school grounds owing to overflying.( London Borough of Hounslow head of
children’s services 2009)

… Hearing the sounds of birdsong, grasshoppers, water flowing, or wind rustling in trees is a rare experience when the natural sounds are drowned by NOISE POLLUTION.

Soundscape wants the children to have the right to be heard, and to hear sounds of nature in a quiet setting

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=4624

 

Read more »

Stop Stansted Expansion says majority of night flights are unnecessary and should be phased out

SSE has called for night flights to be progressively phased out at Stansted in order to reduce sleep disturbance for local communities.  This is part of SSE’s submission to the Government’s current consultation on night flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.  Because of its quiet, rural location, aircraft noise – especially at night – is more intrusive than in noisier, urban areas with higher background noise levels. The adverse economic impacts of night noise have been consistently underestimated. An independent study by consultants CE Delft last year showed that the cost to business of a ban on night flights at Heathrow would be outweighed by savings made through the reduced costs of sleep disturbance and stress caused by night flight noise. SSE believes this would also be the case at Stansted where the vast majority of night flights are not business related and do not need to operate during the night. Stansted is currently allowed 12,000 flights a year between 11.30pm and 6.00am – on average, 33 per night. This is more than twice as many as allowed at Heathrow even though Heathrow.  The actual number of night flights at Stansted last year was just over 8,000. SSE wants the new cap to be well below this figure.


 

MAJORITY OF NIGHT FLIGHTS UNNECESSARY, SAYS CAMPAIGN GROUP

23.4.2013 (Stop Stansted Expansion)

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has called for night flights to be progressively phased out at Stansted Airport so as to reduce sleep disturbance for local communities.

The call for an end to night flights is part of a 10,000 word submission sent by the campaign group to the Government highlighting the particular disturbance caused by night flights at Stansted because of its rural location where background noise levels are generally very low.

The Government is currently re-assessing the need for night flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports with a view to introducing new rules and restrictions from October next year.

An independent study carried out last year showed that the cost to business of a ban on night flights at Heathrow would be outweighed by savings made through the reduced costs of sleep disturbance and stress caused by night flight noise. SSE believes this would also be the case at Stansted where the vast majority of night flights are not business related and do not need to operate during the night. A progressive phasing out of night flights would also bring economic benefits.

SSE’s submission also highlights the medical evidence showing that sleep disturbance may well have an effect on cardiovascular health in relation to such conditions as ischaemic heart disease and hypertension.

Another study cited by SSE highlights the adverse impact of night flights on the education of children, showing that sleep disturbance can seriously harm a child’s performance at school.

Martin Peachey, SSE’s noise adviser, commented: “The health issues associated with night flights are well known but there is also an economic downside to night flights. Many of those whose sleep is disturbed by noisy aircraft at night do vitally important jobs for the UK economy and society. The adverse economic impacts have been consistently underestimated and it’s time for the Government to set down a firm timetable for phasing out night flights.”

As part of the Government’s re-assessment of night flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, a two-stage consultation is underway. The first stage ended on 22 April and the second stage will take place later this year.

· SSE’s submission to the night flights consultation can be viewed online at: http://www.stopstanstedexpansion.com/night_flights.html 

· Stansted is currently allowed 12,000 flights a year between 11.30pm and 6.00am – on average, 33 per night. This is more than twice as many as allowed at Heathrow even though Heathrow is four times bigger than Stansted, in terms of flights and passenger numbers. The actual number of night flights at Stansted last year was just over 8,000. SSE wants the new cap to be well below this figure.

· The economic assessment of a Heathrow night flights ban (by CE Delft), referred to above, can be found here.

· SSE’s submission also argues that those living in the vicinity of Stansted and under its flight paths should have the right to an uninterrupted night’s sleep, which should mean a full 8 hours and not just the 6½ hours covered by the current restrictions on night flights.

· The submission also calls for an immediate ban on aircraft using reverse thrust at night except in emergencies.

 

SSE Campaign Office

www.stopstanstedexpansion.com 

“Our Community – Our Responsibility”

See SSE’s latest Campaign Update at http://www.stopstanstedexpansion.com/update.html


.

Government Consultation on night flights

The government night flights consultation, for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, which was published in January 2013 and ended on 22nd April 2013, is at                      http://tinyurl.com/night-flights-consultation 

.


 

.

The full SSE response to the consultation is at http://www.stopstanstedexpansion.com/documents/SSE_Response_to_DfT-Night_Flying_Restrictions_Final_website_version.pdf    (23 pages)

.


.

SSE Response to DfT Consultation – Night Flying Restrictions (April 2013)

The Night Flying Restrictions

Under Section 78 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982, the Government sets noise controls at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports. With regard to night noise, the controls include restrictions on the permitted number of flights and the noisiness of the aircraft. The controls are enacted in a statutory instrument known as the “Night Flying Restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports” (‘NFRs’), and these are normally reviewed every five or six years. The current rules came into effect in October 2006 and were intended to run for six years but were extended for a further two years, until October 2014. A summary of the current Night Flying Restrictions can be found here.

.
The NFRs are administered by the Department for Transport (‘DfT’) who, in January 2013, began a two-stage consultation process to seek views from the aviation industry and local communities to help it decide on the NFRs that should apply with effect from October 2014. The documents for the first stage of this consultationcan be found here. The second stage of the consultation is expected to begin towards the end of 2013.

.
How limits are set

Night flights are regulated by the Government in two main ways:
1) A limit on the number of flights allowed between 11.30 pm and 6.00 am;
2) An annual noise quota which relates partly to the number of flights and partly to the noisiness of each plane, i.e. the noisier the plane, the fewer planes are allowed, and vice versa.

In addition there are restrictions on the use of the very noisiest aircraft types at night.

.
Our three main concerns

1) Stansted is presently allowed 12,000 night flights a year, more than twice as many as presently allowed at Heathrow (5,800 p.a.) and far more than either needed or justified. The 12,000 cap was set in 2006 at a time Stansted was still expanding rapidly and it was anticipated that more night flights would be needed. Stansted handled 8,283 night flights in 2012, well below the cap. We believe the Stansted cap should be reduced to 7,500 night flights p.a. from October 2014 and by 500 flights in each subsequent year to bring it down to 5,500 annual night flights by the end of the next 5-year control period (October 2019). In the longer term there should be a total ban on night flights, except in emergencies.

2) When setting limits on the number night flights to be permitted, the DfT defines ‘night’ as the 6½-hour period from 11.30pm to 6.00am, whereas the normal definition of night is the 8-hour period from 11.00pm to 7.00am. This means there are no restrictions on the number of aircraft that can take-off and land during the two ‘shoulder’ periods, from 11.00pm to 11.30pm and from 6.00am to 7.00am, the very times when most people are trying to get to sleep or before they wake up. This is a particular problem at Stansted because Ryanair and Easyjet seek to use their aircraft for as many hours as possible each day, with the result that these early morning and late evening ‘shoulder’ periods at Stansted are subject to very intensive use. We believe that ‘night’ should mean night, i.e. the full 8 hours.

3) Aircraft are presently allowed to use reverse thrust when landing at Stansted at night. This is extremely noisy at the best of times and, in the case of Stansted, with its rural setting and low ambient levels of noise at night, the use of reverse thrust causes major disturbance. We believe there should be an immediate ban on aircraft using reverse thrust at night except in emergencies.

 

.


 

.

See also the response to the night flights consultation from the London Assembly

Night-Flights-Response-from GLA April 2013 

.


.

See also a briefing from HACAN on the effects of night noise from aircraft on the health of those whose sleep is disturbed.

Night Flights Briefing Health – Jan 2013 – HACAN

 

.


.

See earlier:

London Assembly says Heathrow night flights ‘disturb sleep and should stop’

Date added: April 12, 2013

London Assembly Health & Environment Committee has submitted its response to the government consultation on night flights. The Committee, chaired by Murad Qureshi, says they would wish to see night flights stopped altogether, or reduced to an absolute minimum. At the margins “quieter” aircraft cut the disturbance for residents at the edges of the noise footprint so their introduction is of benefit. But modern ‘quieter’ aircraft are still loud enough to wake people & do so regularly after 4.30am, so their number should be reduced. The Committee says Heathrow should adopt a 59 dB Lden threshold for determining areas eligible for insulation, not the current 69 dB Leq or proposed 63 dB Lden. If night flights do continue, an easterly preference at night would help achieve more of a 50/50 split between directions, as at present more come into land from the east over London. Some night flights are because planes are delayed etc so the Committee suggests a reduction in Heathrow daytime number of ATMs would help, so flights do not have to be accommodated at night. They want Heathrow to work towards WHO guidelines; the objective should be to reduce the area within Heathrow’s 40dB night noise contour.

Click here to view full story…

.

Possibility of more night flights to Heathrow over Windsor rather than West London

Date added: March 11, 2013

Plans drawn up by the DfT could see hundreds of night flights diverted away from the homes of 110,000 residents of the west London areas like Richmond, Kew and Hounslow, over the Windsor area. There could be an extra 1,500 – 1,700 night flights per year over Windsor, starting at 4am. About 90% of the flights at night are between 4.30am and 6.00am, waking people up and making it difficult to many to get back to sleep. The local MP for Windsor, Adam Afriyie, is concerned on the negative impact the change would have on the quality of life of his constituents. The Queen often spends weekends at Windsor, and also many weeks during the year. Under existing rules Heathrow is allowed 5,256 incoming scheduled night flights a year, so Londoners have to put up with around 16 planes overhead every night. Due to the wind direction, about 72% of the time they come from the east over London. The DfT is now considering ordering pilots to approach from the west unless a tailwind of five knots or more makes this impractical. This is part of the current night flights consultation, which closes on 22nd April.

Click here to view full story…

.

Heathrow night flights are “inhumane” and the airport is urged to stop them

Date added: March 7, 2013

There is pressure on the management of Heathrow to justify the use of night flights. This has been discussed at the London Assembly’s environment committee. There are some 15 flights that land at Heathrow between 11.30pm and 6am every day and which activists say have an impact on 100,000 West Londoners. For many people the first plane coming in at 4.30am is their alarm clock. As well as campaigners against Heathrow’s expansion, senior local council executives say the flights are “inhuman” and there is an economic cost to sleep deprivation. Colin Ellar, deputy leader of Hounslow Council, said “even a quiet airplane is very noisy. It will wake you up when it’s still dark, you might get back to sleep, you might not.” “I’d say it’s the equivalent of a lorry coming and revving its engine just outside your bedroom window several times a night,” Heathrow say night flights boost the economy by £340m a year and by 6,600 jobs (evidence for that?)

Click here to view full story…

 

Sleep deprivation causes adverse effects on health due to disruption of gene activity

Date added: March 5, 2013

Sleep scientists at the University of Surrey have found that sleep deprivation affects hundreds of genes involved with inflammation, immunity and cells’ response to stress. This might help explain why some people who do not get enough sleep have an increased risk for obesity, heart disease and cognitive impairment. Researchers took whole-blood RNA samples from 26 participants after they had spent a week sleeping 8.5 hours a night, and the same participants after a week of sleeping for just 5.7 hours. That amount of sleep is not unusual for many people, and an estimate from the USA is that perhaps 30% of American adults sleep for under 6 hours. (The study did not look at sleep disturbance, as is the case for aircraft noise). The study found genes related to circadian rhythms, metabolism, inflammation, immune response and stress were all affected by the experiment. Some were more active, and some less, during sleep deprivation. Other studies have found lack of sleep increases the risk of obesity and type II diabetes. It can affect blood sugar levels, and hormones that control appetite. There are also effects on hypertension, elevated risk of stroke and of heart disease.

Click here to view full story…

.

Bed protest. Hertfordshire & Bedfordshire residents call for a cut in Luton airport night flights

Date added: February 19, 2013

A group of protestors arrived at Luton Borough Council on 15th February to deliver a bed signed by people who are fed up with night noise from Luton Airport. The BANN (Beds Against Night Noise) protest was given good media coverage and made the point that it’s not only Hertfordshire which suffers noise and disturbance – plenty of residents in Bedfordshire are also woken up by late night arrivals, cargo planes and early morning departures. One of the protesters said the PR spin in Luton airport’s Master Plan claimed they would ”consult” the public, and they were taking noise seriously by adding 6 new noise mitigations. However, those so-called mitigations would only affect a fraction of 1% of the total flights – and Luton plans to double night flights between 10pm and midnight and start the morning departure rush at 5am, which is utterly unacceptable. Local people are now demanding that there is legislation to control night flights at Luton in the same way as at other London airports. There is currently a petition to significantly reduce night flights at Luton, not increase them.

Click here to view full story…

.

Luton airport planning application would increase night flights (11pm to 7am) by 50%

Date added: January 29, 2013

Local campaign group HALE (Hertfordshire Against Luton Expansion) says that Luton Airport’s expansion plans are based on projections to increase flights at night by 50%. This is based on information in the airport’s planning application which shows that the number of take-offs and landings between 11pm and 7am is projected to rise to 52 by 2028, compared to 34 in 2011. HALE points out that this is just the average figure – during the summer peak there could be as many as 80 flights each night. There is a public consultation on the application until 18th February. HALE is urging people to respond to this planning application by demanding that Luton Borough Council forces its Airport to reduce, not increase, night flights; to monitor and fine night arrivals as well as night departures; and to install a noise monitor on the approach to runway 08 for the purpose.

Click here to view full story…

 

 

Read more »

Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted face regulatory shake-up by CAA and pricing changes

The CAA has the responsibility of setting the maximum level of airport charges, every 5 years, for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted -the 3 “designated” airports.  On 30th April the CAA is expected to announce its  initial plans. It will make a final decision in January 2014. The landing charges generally rise a bit faster than the rate of inflation and the RPI (retail price index) and charges are passed on to passengers, increasing air fares. Since the last 5 yearly review, the three airports now each has a different owner, whereas before all three were BAA owned. The CAA is not expected to allow Heathrow to increase its landing charges of 5.9% a year above inflation  - which it has requested – and which have enraged the airlines. Gatwick airport has been campaigning to be permitted to strike commercial deals with major customers such as easyJet, which it says would reduce its fares. Gatwick already has different landing charges in summer and winter. The CAA’s announcement is expected to trigger intense lobbying by airports and airlines over the regime for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. 

.

 

Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted face regulatory shake-up

London’s top three airports are facing the biggest regulatory shake-up for a quarter of a century, with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) poised to introduce different pricing regimes at each of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

By , Business Editor (Telegraph)

17 Apr 2013

In a radical departure, the CAA is looking to replace the outmoded regulatory formula at Stansted and give Gatwick more freedom to strike commercial deals. The regulator is also expected to force Heathrow to cut planned hikes to landing charges of 5.9pc a year above inflation that have enraged the airlines.

The regulatory changes could unleash lower fares, though the CAA is mindful of the need to encourage airport investment.

The CAA will unveil its initial thoughts on April 30 for maximum landing charges per passenger at Britain’s three regulated airports for the next five-year period starting in April next year.

This sixth regulatory period marks a crucial split with the past, however, because it is the first time that all three airports are in different hands following the forced break-up of the BAA monopoly.

BAA, which is now renamed Heathrow, sold Gatwick to Global Infrastructure Partners for £1.5bn in 2009, while in January it offloaded Stansted to Manchester Airports Group for a similar sum.

Changes of ownership have coincided with a new licensing regime for UK regulated airports that has, sources say, allowed the CAA to abandon its previous “one-size-fits-all regulation”.

An added complication is the review by the Davies Commission into UK hub airport capacity, where any “game-changing” decision in 2015 would force the CAA to revisit its pricing proposals.

At Stansted, the CAA is considering exempting the airport from the industry-wide pricing formula based on a “regulated asset base” (RAB) – the regulator’s proxy for an airport’s value – which rises in line with investment in new facilities, such as terminals and runways.

Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, which is responsible for 70pc of Stansted’s traffic, has long complained that RAB-based regulation encourages “gold-plating”. He argues that the current regime gives airport operators an incentive to build “Taj Mahal” facilities on the basis that the more they spend the more the regulator lets them charge per passenger.

He is also livid that Stansted’s £1.3bn RAB is inflated by £156m of costs associated with the abortive plans to build a second runway at the airport.

The CAA would acknowledge Stansted’s facilities do not reflect its low-fare customer base but is balking at calls from Mr O’Leary to cut the airport’s RAB to between £700m and £800m and base charges on that.

Instead it is looking at alternative formulas. These include benchmarking charges against those at similar European airports or removing price caps altogether and simply monitoring any above-inflation rises. The CAA would then intervene to settle disputes.

The latter approach, similar to the one used in Australia, could pave the way for Ryanair to strike a long-term deal with Stansted’s new owners over the charges.

Freedom to strike similar deals could also underpin the new model for Gatwick, which wants to be removed from the CAA’s pricing regime.

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate has claimed that charges would be lower if it was free to strike commercial deals with major customers such as easyJet. One industry source said: “The CAA is likely to call for them to prove it, while remaining as a regulatory backstop. It’s not going to turn down a 10-year deal that’s in everyone’s interests.”

Only at capacity-constrained Heathrow is the current top-down, RAB-based formula likely to remain.

Heathrow has infuriated airlines with plans to raise charges per passenger from £21.96 to £27.30 over the next five-year period, which it claims are necessary to support a £3bn investment programme – less than £11bn invested over the past decade that included building Terminal 5.

It says its proposals “strike the right balance between continuing to invest for passengers and keeping charges at a level that is affordable for airlines”.

But the carriers are up in arms. The CAA is expected to force Heathrow to cut its proposed price hikes, though by how much is unclear.

The CAA’s April 30 announcement is expected to trigger intense lobbying by airports and airlines over the regime for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. It will make its final decision in January.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/10001768/Heathrow-Gatwick-and-Stansted-face-regulatory-shake-up.html

.


 

.

 

CAA set to shake up airport regulation

By Phil Davies    (Travel Weekly)

18 April 2013

Different pricing policies are expected to be introduced for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted in the biggest regulatory shake up in a quarter of a century.

The Civil Aviation Authority is looking to replace the outmoded regulatory formula at Stansted and give Gatwick more freedom to strike commercial deals, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The regulator is also expected to force Heathrow to cut planned hikes to landing charges of 5.9% a year above inflation that have enraged the airlines. (see link)

The regulatory changes could result in lower fares, but the CAA is mindful of the need to encourage airport investment.

The authority is due to give its initial thoughts on April 30 for maximum landing charges per passenger at the UK’s three regulated airports for the next five-year period starting in April next year.

This is the first time that all three airports are under different ownership following the forced break-up of BAA.

BAA, which is now renamed Heathrow, sold Gatwick to Global Infrastructure Partners for £1.5 billion in 2009, while in January it offloaded Stansted to Manchester Airports Group for a similar sum.

Changes of ownership have coincided with a new licensing regime for UK-regulated airports that has allowed the CAA to abandon its previous “one-size-fits-all regulation,” the newspaper quotes sourcs as saying.

An added complication is the review by the Davies Commission into UK hub airport capacity, where any “game-changing” decision in 2015 would force the CAA to review its pricing proposals.

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate has claimed that charges would be lower if it was free to strike commercial deals with major customers such as easyJet.

The CAA’s announcement is expected to trigger intense lobbying by airports and airlines over the regime for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. It will make a final decision in January.

http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2013/04/18/43772/caa+set+to+shake+up+airport+regulation.html

.


 

.

The designation of airports

2.7. The highest level of economic regulation applies at those airports that have been designated by the Secretary of State. In 1986, the Secretary of State designated Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Manchester airports. Manchester airport was subsequently de-designated from 1 April 2009. No new airports have been designated since 1986. At the designated airports, the CAA must set maximum limits on airport charges for successive periods of five years.   link

.


 

.

Gatwick chiefs: Heathrow hub would raise cost of flights

19 April 2013 (Evening Standard)

Holidaymakers would see the cost of flying from the South-East rise if Heathrow is allowed to become a super-hub airport, Gatwick chiefs warned today.

In a submission to the Davies Commission, Gatwick warned that letting the west London airport expand to three or four runways would lead to a “premium” charged on flights. The Sussex airport argued there was evidence that airlines at dominant hubs were able to exploit their market position.

Stewart Wingate, chief executive of Gatwick Airport, said: “A mega-hub airport would be yesterday’s solution to tomorrow’s problem.”

Gatwick highlighted the benefits of competition with figures showing that a return flight to Moscow on easyJet in mid-May from the Sussex airport would cost £145, compared with £354 on BA from Heathrow. But Heathrow rejected Gatwick’s core argument, saying hub airports used transfer passengers to support long-haul routes which otherwise would not be viable.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/gatwick-chiefs-heathrow-hub-would-raise-cost-of-flights-8580228.html

 

.


.

Stop ‘ridiculous’ Heathrow price hikes, says Walsh

The chief executive of International Airlines Group, the owner of British Airways, has hit out at proposals to increase landing charges at Heathrow by 6% above the rate of inflation.

Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG

Willie Walsh said British Airways would have little flexibility but to move flights to Gatwick if the increases were agreed at Heathrow. Photo: Heathcliff O’Malley
 

By  (Telegraph)

20 Apr 2013

Willie Walsh said that the proposals by Heathrow Airport Holdings would be damaging for passengers and would only serve the interests of shareholders in the airport.

Heathrow is 37% owned by the Spanish infrastructure investor Ferrovial. Other investors include the sovereign wealth funds of China, Qatar and Singapore. The Chinese Investment Corporation, for example, owns 10%.

Heathrow submitted the application for the increase in landing charges as part of the regulatory review currently being undertaken by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

“The last regulatory review awarded Heathrow ridiculous price increases – RPI +7.5% per annum at a time when the airline industry was going through significant change and cost reduction and cost control,” Mr Walsh said.

“This time round we are looking to the CAA to stand up and fulfil their obligations.”

Heathrow has argued that it needs the increase despite completing the bulk of its major investment plan in new terminals.

Officials say that new baggage facilities and piers for the A380 super-jumbo plane mean that there will still need to be high levels of expenditure during the next five-year review period, which starts in April.

But Mr Walsh dismissed the arguments, saying that the airport could operate much more efficiently.

He called on Dame Deirdre Hutton, the chairman of the CAA, to stand up for passengers and said that Heathrow should be facing a real-terms cut in landing charges.

Mr Walsh argued that the last review had favoured investors.

“It was very much a carrot approach to provide incentives to the airports to spend money. In effect this was a licence to print money because the more the airport invested the higher the returns.

“Dame Deirdre Hutton has to ensure that the interests of the consumer are at the heart of what they do and clearly allowing increases way in excess of the rate of inflation cannot be seen to be in the interests of the consumer.

“The spotlight is firmly on her and the board.”

IAG has made a submission to the CAA review that argues Heathrow is a monopoly service provider that can lower its cost of capital, become more efficient and still invest in the airport.

He said British Airways would have little flexibility but to move flights to Gatwick if the increases were agreed at Heathrow.

As The Daily Telegraph revealed last week, the CAA may apply different rules to Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. Gatwick could be given the chance to strike commercial deals directly with airlines, a move that could put Heathrow at a disadvantage as the far larger airport will be obliged to stick to CAA-agreed charges.

Mr Walsh said that if the CAA agreed to new charges it would be another hurdle in the way of Heathrow becoming an airport that provided value for money.

He said that the last round of CAA-agreed charges had meant Heathrow had become one of the most expensive hub airports in the world.

“It is a headwind against the UK economy,” Mr Walsh said. “It is the UK’s only hub airport, connecting us to critical growth markets.

“And the UK needs to work out how we move from a period of austerity to a period of growth.

“We have to be conscious about the UK’s uncompetitive position globally. The UK is becoming very uncompetitive in terms of access and I think we are suffering.

“The shareholders of Heathrow have benefited significantly over the last few years and the consumers haven’t.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/10008066/Stop-ridiculous-Heathrow-price-hikes-says-Walsh.html#disqus_thread

. . . . .

Some of the comments below the article:

  • British Airways would have little flexibility but to move flights to Gatwick if the increases were agreed at Heathrow.”

    Go on then Willie, why don’t you?
    Surrender some Heathrow slots.

    . . . . .

  •  Hi ‘Willie’ . Here’s how a market works. Lets say there is something that a lot of people want and there is not much of it. Like landing slots at Heathrow. What you do is, increase the price . That way, we get the best possible fit of demand and supply. Get it?
    . . . . .
  •  Or as the letter writer to the Economist put it :

    SIR – Demand exceeds supply when prices inaccurately reflect economic
    value. An alternative solution to adding capacity at Heathrow or
    building new airports is to increase take-off and landing fees.
    Travellers who value flying through Heathrow would be willing to pay
    more to avoid congestion and travel delays, and those with less urgent
    needs would find alternative routes. I wonder why The Economist advocates central planning when economics provides simpler, market-clearing solutions.

    Peter Lenk. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

    . . . . .

.


.

London Gatwick calls on Airports Commission to drive greater choice for passengers through competition

19 April 2013

London Gatwick Airport has outlined the case for competition to be allowed to deliver increased connectivity for London and the UK with the rest of the world.

Gatwick said that the Airports Commission should not accept Heathrow’s argument that a traditional “hub” airport is the only way to retain the UK’s existing links to the world in the airport’s response to the Airports Commission’s connectivity and economy paper submitted today.

According to Gatwick’s submission, the UK already has excellent air connectivity and London serves more destinations than any other European city. Having recently announced new direct links to Moscow and Jakarta, Gatwick now serves half of the world’s fastest growing economies.

Gatwick’s view is that the Commission should recommend making the most of existing capacity in the short to medium term, and not be swayed by demands for an expanded or new “hub” airport in order to improve connections with emerging markets. IATA figures show that the majority (93 per cent) of journeys using London airports are for passengers that either begin their journey from our airports or fly to them as a final destination. As a result, at only 7 per cent of journeys, the importance of ‘transfer’ passengers is exaggerated.

Gatwick believes the cost of air travel should be a vital consideration in the Commission’s research. Connectivity is not just about availability, but also affordability. Gatwick’s vision for the future of UK aviation capacity is one where true competition between the UK’s major airports will drive greater connectivity and greater passenger choice, convenience and cheaper fares.

Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick Airport said: “It is true we will need additional capacity in the future. Without it, connectivity will be severely affected and the passenger experience will be impacted by unacceptable delays and rising prices.

“However, relentless suggestions that traditional “hubs” are the answer is misleading. Evidence shows that the London market is predominantly an Origins & Destinations market which means that most passengers begin or end their journey in London. A mega-hub airport therefore would be yesterday’s solution to tomorrow’s problem.

“We must not be blindly led to believe that because some of our European competitors serve more marginal routes to emerging markets, that we are falling behind them or that this is happening because Heathrow is full. If real competition is allowed to flourish, as it has at Gatwick, new routes will be created where there is market demand. For example, already this year Gatwick has added a route to Indonesia, demonstrating that competition is capable of delivering the connectivity needed by London and the UK. easyJet has also added a route to Moscow providing lower fares than the competing routes from Heathrow, again showing that competition is the answer ”

To view London Gatwick’s full report, click here.

http://www.mediacentre.gatwickairport.com/

 

 

.


.

Earlier:

Gatwick Airport wants freedom from regulation on prices by the CAA

14.2.2013

With Heathrow and Stansted, Gatwick is one of only 3 UK airports that is subject to a price regime set by the CAA. It is arguing that should be allowed to negotiate landing charges directly with airlines, rather than being regulated, through entering into individual commercial agreements with airlines. Gatwick says such deals, which would be struck under a legally-binding framework, could incentivise airlines to offer more routes.  Gatwick says even for airlines that didn’t strike commercial agreements, charges would still be lower, increasing by 1.3% above the RPI over the next 7 years. By comparison, under continued regulation, charges would increase 3.3% above RPI over 5 years – which would mean landing charges rising from £8.80 per passenger in 2014, to £11.45 by 2018/19. But Virgin Atlantic is not keen on the idea, and nor is easyJet.  Virgin says “The CAA must continue to regulate to ensure that Gatwick delivers services our passengers need at a price which is good value for money.”   http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=576

 

.

and

.

 

Heathrow Airport produces its 5 year business plan with large rise in landing charges to pay for £3 billion investment

12.2.2013

Heathrow Airport has  produced its business plan for Q6 (which is the 6th period of 5 years, from April 2014 -2019). It plans to spend some £3 billion on infrastructure, like work on Terminal 2.  As Heathrow and the CAA over-estimated the number of passengers using Heathrow over the past 3  years, their income  has been lower. Therefore Heathrow plans to raise its landing charges per passenger, by as much as 30 -40% by 2019 – much more than inflation.  It said its prices “inevitably” had to rise in order to ensure a “fair return” to its investors. The CAA will publish its final decision on whether it has approved Heathrow’s proposals in January 2014.  Launching the investment plans,  Colin Matthews said the airport envisaged passenger numbers increasing from just under 70m now to around 72.6m by 2018-19.  Heathrow’s 5-year plan is separate from any decision on whether a 3rd runway is built.  Maximum airport charges allowed by the CAA are calculated using a complex formula taking into account the total value of Heathrow’s assets, return on capital invested and forecast number of passengers.  http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=592,


.

Investigation under Section 41 of the Airports Act 1986 of the structure of airport charges levied by Gatwick Airport Limited -
CAA decision
17 JANUARY 2013http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/5/S41GatwickFlybeDecision.pdf.


 

.

 

Price caps   (from the Norton Rose website)

In essence, the price cap limits the ability of designated airports to pass on costs to their customers by way of airport charges. The cap operates as a maximum price (typically expressed as maximum average revenue yield per passenger), and it is not a guarantee that the airport will be able to charge at that level. So a designated airport could price below its cap where it wishes to or is forced to do so by commercial pressures. For instance, if the airport has excess capacity, it could reduce prices as a strategy to stimulate demand or as a necessary response to airlines threatening to switch their flights to another airport because they consider pricing at the level of the cap to be too high.

The five-yearly regulatory process for determining price controls is a significant exercise. The CAA is required to make a reference to the UK Competition Commission for this body to consider what the maximum amounts of airport charges should be and whether the airport operator has pursued any course of conduct operating against the public interest, either in relation to its charges or operational activities. The Competition Commission’s investigation generally lasts six months; in practice, the reference needs to be made about a year before the CAA makes its final determination. The costs of any Competition Commission investigation are generally met by the airport(s) concerned.

The CAA will then consider the Competition Commission’s recommendations (the CAA must have regard to the Competition Commission’s conclusions but is not bound by them), together with any other evidence and the need to fulfil its statutory duties as set out above, before issuing its final determination.

Although not subject to regulation, in recent years expected income from unregulated activities has been taken into account in setting the level of airport charges, such that the airport operations as a whole, including services to airlines and commercial activities (eg, retail and car parking), would make no more than a reasonable rate of return. Under this “singletill” approach (as opposed to the “dual-till” approach where income from unregulated activities would not be taken into account), the profits from such activities, in particular some of the highly profitable commercial activities have in effect been used to reduce the level of airport charges to airlines.

As with other UK regulated utility sectors, price caps for designated airports have to date generally been set on an RPI+/-X basis, based on an allowed return on the Regulatory Asset Base (RAB) – although there was a move away from this in the case of Stansted in the most recent price control determination. The price cap is thus set so as to allow a reasonable return on the RAB, comprising new and existing assets – in particular, to allow new investment to earn the cost of capital necessary for such investment to be made – after allowing for depreciation, an appropriate level of operating costs and income other than airport charges.

The price cap has been typically expressed as a maximum allowable yield per passenger, adjusting for RPI year-on-year within the five-year period. Changes in costs and revenues and in assumed traffic volumes are addressed going forward when price controls are re-set for the following five-year period. Generally, there is no retrospective adjustment for shortfalls in income or for additional costs (except in relation to the cost of certain specified additional security requirements).

Airport operators typically recover their allowable revenues through three types of airport fees and traffic charges: passenger fees, based on the number of passengers on board departing aircraft; landing charges, calculated in accordance with the take off weight of the aircraft and adjusted, where applicable, in accordance with each aircraft’s noise-rating and emissions, and the time of day; and aircraft parking charges, based on the duration of the ground stay and aircraft weight.

link

Read more »

In its submission to the Airports Commission SSE rebuffs claims that the UK faces an airport capacity crisis

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has rebuffed claims that the UK is facing an airport capacity crisis which is damaging the UK economy. Contrary to aviation industry pleading for more runways, SSE says there simply isn’t the demand for more business flights or more routes to emerging markets. The SSE comments appear in their  submission to the Airports Commission discussion paper on ‘Aviation Connectivity and the Economy’.  SSE  makes it clear that it is the corporate interests of the UK aviation lobby rather than concern for UK Plc that is driving calls for additional runways, highlighting specific examples to back this up.  Heathrow, for example, flew more people to Miami last year than to the whole of mainland China, and more people to Nice than to either Beijing or Shanghai.  SSE also reminds those caught up in the whirl of aviation industry spin that London continues to be independently ranked as the best city in Europe for doing business and as the city with the best transport links with other cities and internationally. Their submission is well worth reading.

 


 

20.4.2013 (Stop Stansted Expansion)

Aviation crisis rebuffed

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has rebuffed claims that the UK is facing an airport capacity crisis which is damaging the UK economy.

Contrary to aviation industry pleading for more runways, SSE says there simply isn’t the demand for more business flights or more routes to emerging markets.

The campaign group’s comments appear in its submission to the Airports Commission discussion paper on ‘Aviation Connectivity and the Economy’. 

The response makes clear that it is the corporate interests of the UK aviation lobby rather than concern for UK Plc that is driving calls for additional runways, highlighting specific examples to back this up.  Heathrow, for example, flew more people to Miami last year than to the whole of mainland China, and more people to Nice than to either Beijing or Shanghai.  Meanwhile, Gatwick flew almost 50 times as many people to Spain last year as to the four BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – combined.

As far as Stansted is concerned, operators provide flights every day of the week to Alicante but none at all to any of Europe’s main business centres such as Paris, Zurich and Frankfurt.

SSE also reminds those caught up in the whirl of aviation industry spin that London continues to be independently ranked as the best city in Europe for doing business and as the city with the best transport links with other cities and internationally.  In recent years, London has stretched its lead over Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, in direct contradiction to some of the claims made by the airlines and airport operators.  London’s airports also serve more passengers than any other world city and more destinations than any other European city.

Commenting on its response document, SSE’s economics adviser, Brian Ross, said:  “We are clearly demonstrating that the UK has neither an airport capacity crisis nor a connectivity crisis.  If there was demand for another 100 flights a day to China, there would be ample capacity to accommodate that straightaway.  In fact, the overall demand for business flights is declining:  overseas business trips by UK residents have fallen by a fifth since 2000.”

“The UK has more commercial runways than either Germany, France, Spain or Italy,” he added.  “We even have more runway capacity than Japan – also an island trading nation – which has double our population and twice our GDP.”

The Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, has been tasked by the Government to examine options for maintaining the UK’s status as a global aviation hub.    It will produce an interim report towards the end of this year and its final recommendations by the mid-2015.

=======

·  SSE’s submission to the Airports Commission on ‘Aviation Connectivity and the Economy’ can be found at SSE Submission to Airports Commission – Aviation Connectivity and the Economy (April 2013) ·  (12 pages).  Reference sources for all of the factual points made above are provided within SSE’s submission.


 

SSE’s two earlier submissions can also be found at 

 

SSE Submission to Airports Commission – Criteria for Assessing Options (March 2013)

SSE Submission to Airports Commission – Aviation Demand Forecasting (March 2013)

 

Airports Commission Website

The Commission’s discussion paper on Connectivity and the Economy is at                                                  Discussion Paper 02 aviation connectivity and the economy

 

www.stopstanstedexpansion.com 

 


 

.

The submission by GACC  (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) to the Airports Commission discussion paper on Aviation Connectivity and the Economy is at 

Connectivity Response from GACC March 2013 (6 pages) also very worth reading.

.


 

 Below are a few extracts from the SSE response:

As the Commission’s discussion paper points out, London’s airports serve more passengers than any other world city and more destinations than any other European city. Thus, the UK has neither a capacity crisis nor a connectivity crisis.

* * * * *

…. Also, when considering the UK’s air connectivity, it is vital to consider the interests of all of the regions of the UK. Indeed, we would submit that the need for – and the potential benefits of – improved air connectivity and economic growth is far greater in the UK’s regions than in London and the South East.

* * * * *

Connectivity analysis is a relatively recent analytical tool. There is no mention of the word ‘connectivity’ in the 2003 ‘Future of Air Transport’ White Paper (‘ATWP’), nor in the consultation documents which preceded it, and nor – so far as we can see – in any of the 68 studies which underpinned it. We also note that the concept of connectivity analysis has been promoted largely by the aviation industry, its consultants and others working to promote its interests.

* * * * *

As matters stand, the market does not appear to have any great appetite for more flights to the BRIC countries. In 2012, Heathrow flew more passengers to Miami than to all of mainland China and more passengers to Nice than to either Beijing or Shanghai, and Gatwick flew almost 50 times as many passengers to Spain as to all four BRIC countries combined.

* * * * *

It is also worth noting that when Virgin Atlantic recently acquired 12 pairs of ex-BMI slots at Heathrow, it decided to use all of these for domestic UK feeder services into Heathrow. The importance of feeder services to the success of a hub-and-spoke model is well understood but it is surprising that not even one of these pairs was allocated to China. It was not long beforehand that Virgin’s CEO was arguing vehemently that the UK needed more air services to China if we were to avoid falling further behind our European competitors and damaging the UK’s economic prospects.

* * * * *

It is interesting to look also at what the 2011 Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) survey report had to say about transport links:

‘Companies were asked which are the top three cities in terms of transport links with other cities and internationally. The top five cities again remain static, although the gap between London, the top ranked location and second placed Paris has widened further. London was the only city in the top five to see its score improve, with perceptions of Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Brussels all weakening over the year.’ 7 [our emphasis]

This assessment by European businesses is very different from the picture painted by the aviation industry, namely, that London’s competitive position is being eroded as a consequence of a lack of air connectivity and that Heathrow is losing out to Paris, Frankfurt and Schiphol.

* * * * *

The Commission’s ‘Connectivity’ discussion paper repeatedly emphasises the importance of good air connectivity to the business sector. The reality however is that the amount of business travel by air has been declining for a long time:

 Business travel accounted for 32% of air travel in 1995, 24% in 2000 and 20% in 2011;
 Overseas business trips by UK residents have fallen by a fifth since 2000 and only one in eight overseas trips by UK residents in 2011 was for business purposes;
 Stansted catered for just 2.8m business passengers in 2011, less than a sixth of all its passengers and its lowest number of business passengers for ten years.

The Commission’s ‘Connectivity’ discussion paper also points out that the UK’s trade with the BRIC nations has increased five-fold over the past two decades. Over the same 20-year period, the volume of air passenger traffic between the UK and the BRIC nations has increased rather less dramatically, from 1.7% of total air passenger traffic to 2.7%. Whilst it is important to ensure that the UK continues to be well connected to the world’s fastest growing economies, it is also important to have a proper sense of perspective.

* * * * *

We would submit that where an air connection is established to meet demand for outbound leisure flights, which is predominantly the case in the UK, then it is GDP growth which is driving the increase in connectivity, not connectivity which is driving GDP growth. On the other hand, where an air connection is established primarily to serve the needs of business – either passengers or freight – or to facilitate inbound tourism, then the improved connectivity should help to bring about improvements in labour productivity which will lead to GDP growth.

* * * * *

Finally, it may be useful to consider connectivity in a pan-European, Single Market context and not simply a UK context and to look upon the main EU hub airports not so much as as the UK’s competitors (the traditional DfT view) but as potential partners. There may, for example, be scope to develop complementary networks of air connections at the EU’s main airports, in much the same way as airlines form global alliances to build on one another’s market strengths. Such an approach might help the EU aviation sector to compete with the emerging ‘superconnector’ airlines and airports of the Gulf states. However, whilst governments may have a role to play in facilitating this type of pan-European cooperation, the determination of where airlines should fly to and from must ultimately be a commercial, not a political, determination.

* * * * *

 

.

.

.

 

Read more »

Heathrow award for top airport for shopping for 3rd year. Net Retail Income per passenger £6.21 in 2012 (£5.64 in 2010)

For the third year, Heathrow got the award (within the airports industry) for the top airport for shopping. Heathrow has over 52,000 square metres of retail space and more than 340 retail and catering outlets. Heathrow overtook Dubai International to win the title of “World’s Best Airport for Shopping” for 2012. Heathrow has the highest retail sales of any airport in the world ahead of Incheon airport in South Korea.  Figures from the Moodie Report in February 2013 said that Net Retail Income per passenger at Heathrow was £6.21 (up 4.4% on 2011, partly due to the Olympics) in 2012 and £5.95 in 2011, while it was £5.64 in 2010. (By comparison the Net Retail Income at Stansted in 2012 was £4.27 per passenger).  At Heathrow in 2012 the gross retail income increased +5.7% to £460.1 million 

.

 


Source: ©The Moodie Report on 2012 is at http://www.moodiereport.com/document.php?c_id=6&doc_id=34203

and

the Moodie Report on 2011 is at                              http://www.moodiereport.com/document.php?c_id=36&doc_id=30085

 


Some more recent information too:

[Airport shops do not help the economy of host community]

2011 Heathrow, NRI (Net Retail Income) per passenger increased +5.3% to £5.95 (2010: £5.64). And now for Jan-Sept 2013 the NRI was £6.18

Heathrow turnover Jan-Sept 2013 was £1,836 million. Of that car parking £66m. Duty & tax-free £91m. Total retail £358. Aeornautical £1,130m

In 1st 9 months of 2013 Heathrow total Net Retail Income (NRI) grew +6.3% to £339 million (2012: £319m), from traffic growth + more NRI /pax

In the first 9 months of 2013 Net Retail Income/ passenger at Heathrow was £6.18, which was 2.6% up on £6.02 for the 1st 9 months of 2012

Data from  http://www.moodiereport.com/document.php?doc_id=37108

Heathrow Airport posts healthy retail growth in first nine months 21/10/13

and
http://www.moodiereport.com/document.php?c_id=36&doc_id=30085 Strong retail performance buoys BAA’s London airports in 2011 23.2.2012

.


 

Healthy growth in net retail income per passenger buoys Heathrow in 2012

18/02/13

Source: ©The Moodie Report

By Dermot Davitt

The key figure of net retail income per passenger climbed by +4.4% in the year to £5.82. This figure rose ahead of inflation, noted Heathrow (SP).

Overall retail income (including F&B, bureau de change and other services) climbed by +4.5% to £541.7 million.

Heathrow’s retail income increased +5.7% to £460.1 million and NRI per passenger increased +4.4% to £6.21. The underlying growth in Heathrow’s net retail income per passenger was slightly higher (around +5.5%) after adjusting for one-off benefits and Olympic-related income.

Heathrow’s duty and tax-free and airside specialist shops continued to see increases in the average spend
of passengers purchasing items in the in-terminal retail facilities. This was driven by factors including an increased proportion of higher spending non-EU passengers, refurbishment of Terminal 3’s airside shops and enhancements to World Duty Free’s stores in Terminals 3 and 4. In airside specialist shops, trading was buoyant in the luxury and fashion segments, the company said.

 

The performance of retail by category in 2012

A strong performance in bureaux de change at Heathrow was due primarily to improvements in contract terms with business partners. Catering income grew well ahead of passenger growth due to rebalancing of the portfolio towards premium outlets, enhanced contractual terms and a general focus on speed and quality of service. Finally in advertising, income growth was due to Olympic-related sales.

Stansted’s retail income decreased -1.9% to £81.6 million, outperforming the -3.2% decline in its passenger traffic. NRI per passenger increased +2.8% to £4.27. Catering, landside shops and bookshops and other retail income increased year-on-year although this was more than offset by declines elsewhere, particularly in car parking and duty and tax-free.

How the key income areas break down for 2012

Group-wide, passenger numbers were flat at 87.4 million. Group revenues rose by +8.1% to £2.46 billion, with adjusted EBITDA up by +11.6% to £1.26 billion. The group recorded a pre-tax loss of £32.8 million, a sharp improvement on last year’s £255.8 million.

The company noted that investment at Heathrow surged by +30% last year to £1.1 billion as Heathrow T2 nears completion.

Colin Matthews, Chief Executive Officer of Heathrow, said: “2012 was an historic year for Heathrow. We gave a warm welcome and a smooth journey to thousands of Olympic and Paralympic athletes, and greeted a record 70 million passengers over the twelve months.

“We also achieved record customer satisfaction levels, with three quarters of people saying they had a ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ experience at Heathrow. Our capital investment programme continued, with over a billion pounds spent on improving the airport, mainly on the new Terminal 2 which opens next year. We also completed our refinancing programme, successfully issuing another £3 billion of bonds to put us on a stable, long term financial footing.”

http://www.moodiereport.com/document.php?c_id=6&doc_id=34203

.


 

.

Heathrow among top ten airports in the world – and top for shopping

WC TV Feed

Heathrow Airport makes it into the top ten.

London’s Heathrow Airport has been named among the top ten world airports at the World Airport Awards 2013.

Heathrow came tenth overall in the awards, organised by aviation research organisation Skytrax, but was credited with the best airport shopping in the world while the new Terminal 5 took the world’s best airport terminal title.

Singapore’s Changi Airport was voted as the world’s top airport at the annual ceremony, based on the votes of 12 million travellers from 108 countries worldwide. Amsterdam’s Schiphol was named as the best in Europe.

It is the first time that Heathrow has made it into the top ten, but the third year running they have taken the top shopping prize.

Heathrow Commercial Director Fidel Lopez said: “We’re delighted that our passengers have recognised Heathrow once again at the prestigious World Airport Awards for a fourth year in a row for our shopping and for a second time for Terminal 5.

“Next year will see the opening of Terminal 2 which will allow even more of our passengers to enjoy an experience similar that offered by Terminal 5 today.

“Later this year we will also begin to announce a range of exciting brands set to open in Terminal 2 as part of our work to remain on the cutting edge of retail trends.”

http://shows.stv.tv/scottish-passport/top-tips/221836-heathrow-among-top-ten-airports-in-the-world/

.


 

.

Airline customers name London Heathrow Airport as the world’s Best Airport for Airport Shopping

Mr John Holland-Kaye, Commercial Director, Heathrow Airport receives award for the Best Airport Shopping

Date?? 2013??
London Heathrow Airport wins award for the world’s Best Airport Shopping at 2012 World Airport Awards

London Heathrow Airport has the World’s Best Airport Shopping according to the 2012 World Airport Awards which were held at Passenger Terminal EXPO in Vienna. The award was decided by international passengers during a worldwide, 10-month survey.

“We congratulate Heathrow on winning the Best Airport Shopping Award for the second consecutive year. Heathrow has clearly not rested on its laurels after its previous success, and during 2011 the development of both Terminal 3 and Terminal 4 airside shopping areas has enhanced what was already an excellent shopping experience.” said Edward Plaisted of SKYTRAX.

John Holland-Kaye, Commercial Director of London Heathrow Airport said, “We are thrilled that Heathrow has been rewarded for a third time at the prestigious World Airport Awards. Terminal 5 is a great showcase of our vision of Heathrow’s future and the level of passenger experience we are working to deliver right across our airport. Together with a shopping experience which responds to our customer’s demands, we are proud that our work towards becoming Europe’s hub of choice is being recognised by the most important judge, our passengers.”

There was success for Hong Kong International Airport who finished in 2nd place, with Dubai International Airport completing the top 3. Incheon International Airport achieved 4th place with the newly renovated Sydney Airport completing the top 5.

http://www.worldairportawards.com/awards_2012/shopping.htm

 

World’s Best Airport Shopping.
2012 Winner Results

1 London Heathrow Airport

2 Dubai International Airport

3 Singapore Changi Airport

4 Hong Kong International Airport

5 Incheon International Airport

 

.


 

.

Hub airport wins at World Airport Awards

20 April, 2012  (Heathrow Airport)

 
Terminal 5 departure lounge - airside

Heathrow has been named as the world’s Best Airport for Shopping’ for a third time at the World Airport Awards.

Heathrow has been named as the world’s Best Airport for Shopping’ for a third time at this year’s World Airport Awards, held yesterday (Thursday 19th April) at the Passenger Terminal EXPO 2012 in Vienna.

The awards were a double success for the UK’s hub airport as Terminal 5 was also named the world’s Best Airport Terminal following votes by airport passengers from across the globe.

The Skytrax 2011/12 World Airport Survey is the world’s leading independent study of airport passenger satisfaction and is widely regarded as the quality benchmark for the world airport industry, assessing customer service and facilities across 388 airports in 2012. The World Airport Awards are independent of any airport control or input and are therefore an impartial benchmark of airport excellence and quality.

Heathrow has over 52,000 square metres of retail space and more than 340 retail and catering outlets in total offering a wide range of premium brands and high street favourites including Paul Smith, Mulberry, Harrods, Ralph Lauren and Kurt Geiger. 2011 saw openings by Miu Miu and Spanish chain Zara – which opened its first ever UK airport store in Terminal 3. Pop-ups from Jack Wills and Ted Baker followed in Terminal 5 in late 2011/early 2012.

2011 was a record breaking year for Heathrow retailers who enjoyed an 8.8 per cent growth in gross turnover led by a boom in luxury spending from passengers using the UK’s only hub airport to connect from emerging markets.

Heathrow has the highest retail sales of any airport in the world ahead of Incheon airport in South Korea. Gross retail sales at Heathrow increased again in 2011 to £1.7bn/USD $2.6bn (2010: £1.5bn/USD $2.4bn), while Net Retail Income per passenger increased by 5.3 per cent to £4.35 (2010: £4.13).

Says John Holland-Kaye, commercial director at Heathrow: “We are thrilled that Heathrow has been rewarded for a third time at the prestigious World Airport Awards. Terminal 5 is a great showcase of our vision of Heathrow’s future and the level of passenger experience we are working to deliver right across our airport.

“Together with a shopping experience which responds to our customer’s demands, we are proud that our work towards becoming Europe’s hub of choice is being recognised by the most important judge, our passengers.”

http://mediacentre.heathrowairport.com/Press-releases/Hub-airport-wins-at-World-Airport-Awards-125.aspx

.


.

See also

 

How much profit do airports make from their retail activities, rather than flying?

13.2.2013Heathrow got 21.3% of its income from retail in 2010, compared to 53% from aeronautical. On average each Heathrow passenger spent about £5.70 (maybe £5.90) at the airport, with women spending more than men (!). BAA data say frequent fliers spend more than infrequent fliers. In the year 2010/2011 Gatwick airport made £115.6m from retail, and another £51.7m  from car parking, with an average of £5.80 spent on retail per passenger. Stansted retail spending per passenger is about £4.00 to £4.20.  In the year 2010/2011 Heathrow made about £380 million per year on retail, Gatwick about £115, and Stansted net retail income fell from £79.8m in 2010 to £73.9m.  Manchester made about £70 million on retail, with about £3 per passenger.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=1045 

 

Read more »