IATA (International Air Transport Association) says carriers are ‘cautiously optimistic’ about 2019 as it predicts the global airline industry will net US$35.5 billion throughout the year. This forecast comes before the final result for 2018 is know, but is expected to be $32.3 billion. Overall airline industry revenues in 2019 are expected to reach $885 billion, which is 7.7% higher than in 2018. IATA believes demand growth for passenger traffic will be 6% (about 4.59 billion, compared to 4.34 billion this year) and for growth for air cargo will be 3.7%. Due to lower fuel costs (predicted at $65 per barrel) – due to increased output from the US, the industry expects profits, even if there is slightly slower world economic growth. In Europe profits may drop fractionally in 2019, with net profit expected at $7.4 billion in 2019 compared to $7.5 billion in 2018, due to “intense competition” between airlines. There were profit reductions in 2018 in Europe due to air traffic control strikes, and not enough air traffic controllers. Average fares are expected to be $324 (at current currency rates, before surcharges and tax), which IATA says is 61% below 1998 levels – when adjusted for inflation. IATA’s CEO De Juniac said: “Air travel has never been such a good deal for consumers.” No concerns about the carbon emissions.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says carriers are ‘cautiously optimistic’ about 2019 as it predicts the global airline industry will net US$35.5 billion throughout the year.
IATA’s forecast comes in ahead of the expected $32.3 billion for 2018, though this year’s total is below the $33.8 billion predicted in June.
Overall industry revenues are expected to reach $885 billion, 7.7 per cent more than is expected in 2018.
Although IATA believes demand growth for both passenger traffic (+6 per cent) and cargo (+3.7 per cent) will slow, global passenger numbers could hit 4.59 billion in 2019 (up nearly 6 per cent from this year’s 4.34 billion).
This is all good news for the airline industry, which has been watching the rising oil costs squeeze profitability. IATA says lower oil costs (predicted at $65 per barrel) driven by increased output from the US and solid, but slower, economic growth will ‘extend the run of profits’.
Europe is the only region where profits are expected to drop slightly in 2019, with net profit predicted at $7.4 billion (down from $7.5 billion in 2018). IATA believes “intense competition” is keeping yields low, while regulatory costs are high. The region also lost $2 billion this year due to a 61 per cent increase in delay minutes caused by air traffic control staff shortages and strikes.
IATA also says “high levels of hedging” in Europe will mean the positive impact of lower oil prices will be delayed for airlines operating in the region.
Average fares are expected to be $324 (at current currency rates, before surcharges and tax), which IATA says is 61 per cent below 1998 levels when adjusted for inflation.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, commented: “We had expected that rising costs would weaken profitability in 2019, but the sharp fall in oil prices and solid GDP growth projections have provided a buffer. So we are cautiously optimistic that the run of solid value creation for investors will continue for at least another year. But there are downside risks as the economic and political environments remain volatile.”
This year has been a difficult one for the industry, with overhead costs spelling the demise of Primera Air one year to the day after the collapse of Monarch. Just two weeks later, Cypriot carrier Cobalt ceased operations after failing to secure further investment.
Icelandic low-cost carrier Wow Air was rumoured to be counting its days after it agreed to cancel an acquisition deal with Icelandair, but investor Indigo Partners swooped in at the last minute to purchase the airline.
De Juniac concluded: “Air travel has never been such a good deal for consumers. Not only are fares staying low, the options for travellers are expanding. Some 1,300 new direct links between cities were opened in 2018. And 250 million more journeys by air occurred in 2018 than 2017.”
A range of environmental organisations in Switzerland have joined forces to appeal to their parliament to introduce an air ticket tax. Two climate protection “angels” took this demand for effective climate protection to the Federal Parliament, as the National Council is now dealing with the air ticket tax as part of Swiss CO2 law revision. Air traffic is already responsible for over 18% of Switzerland’s man-made climate impact – and forecasts show it continuing to grow. Unless something concrete is done, aviation will become the biggest driver of Switzerland’s climate impact until 2030. Despite the high GHG emissions, international aviation is exempt from kerosene tax, value added tax and CO2 tax. Aviation is now heavily subsidised, resulting in very low fares, further accelerating demand growth. Therefore, it is high time for Switzerland to introduce the flight ticket tax, to reduce the impact on the global climate. Surveys confirm that the level of acceptance of a flight ticket tax is high and a majority supports the revenue from an air ticket tax being invested in climate protection projects in Switzerland. Without cutting its aviation CO2 emissions, Switzerland cannot meet its Paris commitments for 2 or 1.5C temperature rise.
Climate protection needs a flight ticket!
Monday, December 10, 2018
Campaign train instead of flight – Flight ticket tax
By Daniel Costantino
Two climate protection angels with their request, outside the Parliament
The Transport and Environmental Organizations UmverkehR, the VCS Transport Club Switzerland, WWF Switzerland, the Swiss Energy Foundation (SES), the Air Transport Environment and Health Coalition, Alliance Sud and the Climate Alliance (with over 70 organizations) have joined forces appeals to parliament to introduce an air ticket tax.
Two climate protection angels have taken this demand for effective climate protection in front of the Federal Parliament. Today, the National Council is dealing with the air ticket tax as part of the CO2 law revision.
Air traffic is already responsible for over 18% of Switzerland’s man-made climate effect – and forecasts continue to point upwards. Unless something concrete is done, aviation will become the biggest driver of Switzerland’s climate effect until 2030.
Despite the high greenhouse gas emissions, international aviation is exempt from kerosene tax, value added tax and CO2 tax. Aviation is now heavily subsidised, resulting in very low fares and further accelerating demand growth. Therefore, it is high time for Switzerland to introduce the flight ticket tax in order to establish a minimum of cost accuracy and to reduce the negative effects of aviation on the climate.
Parliament has the opportunity to take a first step in the right direction with the introduction of an air ticket tax in the context of the revision of the CO2 Law. A similar levy already exists in many European countries such as England and in all neighbouring countries.
In Switzerland, a CO2 tax on heating oil has long been accepted as a control measure. Surveys of the research institute gfs-zurich on behalf of the SES confirm that the acceptance of a flight ticket tax in the population is high. A majority supports the revenue from an air ticket tax to invest in climate protection projects in Switzerland.
If Switzerland wants to achieve the Paris climate targets, it must adapt its transport and climate policy. The Paris climate goals want to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and below1.5 degrees Celsius warming compared to pre-industrial times. Without reducing air traffic emissions, this goal cannot be achieved.
The organizations umverkehR, VCS Switzerland, WWF Switzerland, the Swiss Energy Foundation, the coalition KLUG, Alliance Sud and the Climate Alliance (with more than 70 organizations) are demanding that Parliament now take responsibility. If Switzerland wants to implement an effective climate protection policy, it must introduce an air ticket tax.
For further information:
Daniel Costantino, Head of Campaign umverkehR, firstname.lastname@example.org , 079 647 83 48
Yves Chatton, Campaign Manager VCS, email@example.com , 031 328 58 64
Airlines are failing to take up the most efficient planes in sufficient numbers to make a significant dent in their carbon dioxide emissions, a new study by Atmosfair has found. The most efficient new aircraft models, such as the Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A350-900 and A320neo, can achieve substantial CO2 savings over older models, but no airlines have invested sufficiently in the new types to reach the top levels of energy efficiency, according to the 2018 ranking by the German NGO. In it no airlines received an A for efficiency, and only 2 airlines were ranked in efficiency class B. Atmosfair also found that only 10% of airlines worldwide were succeeding in keeping their greenhouse gas emissions constant (let alone not reducing them) while flight numbers grew. Carbon emissions from airlines grew by about 5% last year, while the number of kilometres flown increased by 6%. The results show that the efficiency improvements of the vast majority of airlines worldwide is not sufficient to keep within the 2C or 1.5C target of the Paris agreement. The sector needs new and radical measures to limit their carbon emissions, and CO2-neutral fuels – if they were possible [which is probably unlikely]. British Airways was placed at 74th, with an efficiency rating of D.
Airlines are failing to take up the most efficient planes in sufficient numbers to make a significant dent in their carbon dioxide emissions, a new study has found.
The most efficient new aircraft models, such as the Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A350-900 and A320neo, can achieve substantial carbon savings over older models, but no airlines have invested sufficiently in the new types to reach the top levels of energy efficiency, according to a ranking by Atmosfair, a German NGO.
In the annual Atmosfair Airline Index for 2018, published on Saturday, no airlines received an A for efficiency, and only two airlines were ranked in efficiency class B.
TUI Airways, the British holiday airline, came top of the rankings for the second year running, reaching just under 80% of the possible optimum level of carbon emissions. TUI Fly, the company’s German counterpart, came in fourth.
Atmosfair also found that only one in 10 airlines worldwide were succeeding in keeping their greenhouse gas emissions constant while achieving economic growth. Among these were Thai Airways, Finnair, American Airlines and All Nippon Airlines.
Dietrich Brockhagen, executive director of Atmosfair, said: “Our results show that the efficiency improvements of the vast majority of airlines worldwide is not sufficient [to keep within the] 2C or 1.5C target [of the Paris agreement]. We need new, synthetic and CO2-neutral fuels and other more radical measures to curb CO2 emissions in the sector.”
British Airways was placed at 74th, with an efficiency rating of D, behind companies such as Aeroflot and Aeromexico. It fell behind many of Europe’s other flag carriers, including Alitalia, Lufthansa, Air France, KLM and Iberia.
British Airways said: “We are committed to reducing our carbon emissions and have improved efficiency by more than 10% since 2008. We are well on course to deliver a 25% improvement in carbon emissions reduction by 2025. British Airways is the first airline in Europe to invest in building a plant to generate renewable jet fuel from household waste, and last week we kicked off a research project with some of the UK’s leading universities to find a way to power a long-haul aircraft with 300 customers on board with zero emissions.”
The company also pointed to a commitment by its parent group IAG to invest $400m (£313.6m) on alternative sustainable fuel development over the next 20 years.
Branson co-founded the Carbon War Room, which since 2009 has operated as a non-profit organisation aimed at speeding up the adoption of cleaner, low-emissions technology by businesses.
Virgin took issue with the report methodology, saying it misrepresented the airline. A spokeswoman added: “We have undertaken a massive renewal programme to replace our entire fleet over a 10 year period, switching from four-engine aircraft to much more efficient two-engine aircraft. As a result we have reduced our aircraft carbon emissions by 23.7% since 2007. Our carbon emissions will continue to reduce as we take delivery of more new aircraft over the next three years.”
Carbon emissions from airlines grew by about 5% last year, while the number of kilometres flown increased by 6%, according to Atmosfair, showing that much more needs to be done to ensure aviation does not take up an unsustainable amount of the world’s remaining “carbon budget”. Biofuels are being given trials as an alternative to fossil fuels for aviation, but these carry their own difficulties, not least the threat of deforestation. Virgin recently used recycled waste to fuel a flight, a potentially more environmentally sound alternative.
“You cannot beat physics, therefore long-haul flights will not be feasible with heavy batteries and electric engines,” said Brockhagen. “But you can produce carbon neutral kerosene synthetically, using carbon extracted from the air, water and green electricity. This is ready technologically, but 10 times more expensive per gallon than fossil kerosene. Who will invest the billions to scale this technology up? If airlines grouped together they could do it, but this would require an international spirit of cooperation over competition, so far rarely seen in the industry.”
There are also ways for airlines to reduce their emissions without resorting to new fuels and planes, through adjusting their pilots’ flying practices and small tweaks to planes. Some airlines look to offset their emissions through carbon reductions elsewhere.
A spokesman for Airlines UK, which represents the industry, said: “UK airlines are making enormous efforts to reduce their carbon emissions, and are committed to a global target to cut CO2 emissions from all flights by 50% of their 2005 levels by 2050, through technology, operational efficiency improvements and the use of sustainable biofuels.
“On top of this, in 2016 the International Civil Aviation Organization adopted the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation to address CO2 emissions from international aviation – a global first for any sector.”
The Aviation Environment Federation have produced a series of discussion papers, on environmental aspects of aviation policy that need to be properly dealt with in the government’s forthcoming new “Aviation Strategy” consultation, and then an Aviation White Paper in 2019. There are papers on noise and carbon emissions, and now one on air pollution. The AEF says the UK needs clarity on how airport expansion can be achieved keeping to air pollution commitments. We need better information on pollution that comes from planes, outside the “landing and take off cycle”, which only covers planes up to 3,000 feet altitude. We also need better mapping of where the air pollution is, around airports, showing legal limit values and WHO maximum levels for pollutants. There should be clarity on how air pollutants will increase, if the number of flights at an airport increase, and how this affects the “National Emissions Ceiling Directive” (NECD) limit values. AEF says a lot more clarity is needed, on whether it is true most of the air pollution around airports comes from road vehicles (associated with the airport or not) and how much is from planes themselves. There has been no national review of airport air pollution since 2003, for airports other than Heathrow.
AEF releases air quality recommendations ahead of aviation strategy consultation
Dec 6th 2018 (The Aviation Environment Federation website – AEF)
In the last of our series of discussion papers on the key environmental questions we want to see addressed by the new Aviation Strategy, AEF sets out the air quality challenges posed by UK aviation. As the UK prepares its post-Brexit Environment Act, we consider the gap between currently legislated limit values for air pollution and the evidence on health impacts, what this could mean for aviation, and how both information and regulation should be improved.
The UK Aviation Strategy is due out for consultation by the end of this year, with a White Paper planned for next summer. The air quality policy should, we argue:
Clarify how airport planning decisions will help deliver air quality commitments,
Close the current information gaps with respect to air pollution from aviation, by
Setting out the evidence base in relation to aircraft air pollution outside the landing and take-off cycle,
Providing (a) updated mapping of air pollution levels around UK airports with respect to legal limit values and WHO recommended maximum levels for pollutant concentrations; and (b) an assessment of how any increase in aircraft emissions or airport-related emissions affects National Emissions Ceilings Directive (NECD)limit values, and
Setting out what approach individuals concerned about air pollution near their airport should take, and
Ensure the UK supports the setting of effective technology standards by assessing whether the current international standards are tough enough.
AEF has previously published discussion papers onnoise and on climate change, by way of input to the draft strategy. Our latest paper can be viewed here.
Air pollution travels over long distances, affects human health, degrades buildings and other man-made structures and adversely affects the natural environment through acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone. The European Community agreed to set emission ceilings through the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD) to protect its citizens, its man-made structures and its diverse environments. The revised NECD (2016/2284/EU), which entered into force on 31 December 2016, sets new emission reduction commitments for each Member State for the total emissions of NOx, SOx, NMVOC, NH3 and PM2.5 in 2020 and 2030. The new Directive repeals and replaces Directive 2001/81/EC to ensure that the emission ceilings for 2010 set in that Directive shall continue to apply until 2020. Member States have to report their emission inventories annually to the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission in order to monitor progress and verify compliance. The reporting requirement is closely aligned with those for the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP), which include a common scope of reporting of pollutant inventories and similar reporting timeframe. Under the revised NECD, each Member State is required to publish by April 2019 a National Air Pollution Control Programme, setting out the measures it will put in place to reduce emissions to meet the 2020 and 2030 emission reduction commitments.
Transport & Environment (T&E) have produced a report on how to decarbonise (ie. zero carbon) European transport by 2050. It has many suggestions on aviation. A few quotes from the report: “By driving out the use of fossil kerosene fuel in aviation through carbon pricing and requiring aircraft to switch to synthetic fuels, and advanced biofuels to a very limited extent, the climate impact of flying can be reduced dramatically. Zero emission electrofuels and very low carbon advanced sustainable biofuels can be produced today and deployed immediately using existing engines and infrastructure.” … “While synfuels can solve aviation’s CO2 problem, the non-CO2 problem will require additional measures to be mitigated.” … “In Europe [aviation] emissions have doubled since 1990, and globally they could, without action, double or treble by 2050.” … “Aviation is at risk of having its emissions locked in due to the growth in passenger numbers and aircraft fleet, consuming the limited carbon budget to remain within the 1.5°C and 2°C targets of the Paris Agreement.” … “By 2030, advanced biofuels are expected to contribute only 3.5% of all transport fuels (including cars, trucks, aviation) and their growth beyond this date is likely to be constrained due to land availability and competing industries.” … “ICAO, with its weak target of net 2020 emissions and reliance on offsetting instead of cutting emissions, is only capable of delivering a global minimum effort. Much more ambitious action” is needed.
How to decarbonise European transport by 2050
November 27, 2018
from Transport & Environment (T&E)
Transport is Europe’s biggest climate problem accounting for 27% of its GHG emissions in 2017. Transport pollution is causing the illness and premature deaths of hundreds of thousands of Europeans. Meanwhile the EU spends over 200 billion a year importing oil to power its transport fleet. A shift in spending from imported oil to domestically produced technology and energy would not only have major economic benefits but would also help eliminate transport pollution and carbon dioxide emissions.
This report summarises a series of studies by Transport & Environment. (T&E analysed pathways for decarbonisation in the road freight, aviation, shipping and car sectors.) It demonstrates that transport can and must be decarbonised by 2050 at the very latest, not only to limit global warming but also to ensure Europe’s competitiveness, its energy sovereignty and the health and well-being of its 500 million citizens.
The goal of this paper is to describe how transport can be decarbonised, and the implications for other sectors, particularly electricity production. The paper covers all transport modes: cars, vans, land freight (trucks and trains), ships and airplanes. In the case of aviation and shipping, we looked into how to reduce and then decarbonise the equivalent of energy sold to those modes in Europe, i.e. departing flights and voyages.
By driving out the use of fossil kerosene fuel in aviation through carbon pricing and requiring aircraft to switch to synthetic fuels, and advanced biofuels to a very limited extent, the climate impact of flying can be reduced dramatically. Zero emission electrofuels and very low carbon advanced sustainable biofuels can be produced today and deployed immediately using existing engines and infrastructure. Electrofuels are produced by combining hydrogen with carbon dioxide, but to do this sustainably the hydrogen must be produced using renewable electricity and the CO2 captured directly from the air. Estimates on the additional cost of synthetic kerosene vary with some studies claiming cost parity in 2050 but this would require very cheap electricity. In our report we assumed synthetic kerosene will remain more expensive and tickets become around 23% more expensive. While synfuels can solve aviation’s CO2 problem, the non-CO2 problem will require additional measures to be mitigated.
Figure 3 below (Page 9) summarises the share of emissions per mode. Aviation and navigation represent the emissions associated with fuel sold in the EU including use for international trips. In the context of this report, international trips refer to flights and voyages between two different countries, either within the EU or outside the EU. Only domestic navigation and aviation refer to trips within the same member state. It is an important consideration, because some pieces of analysis tend to exclude international aviation (at least extra-EU flights) and international navigation.
Figure 3: EU GHG transport shares in 2016
Domestic aviation.1.28% International aviation 12.12%
Aviation is already a major and growing emitter. In Europe its emissions have doubled since 1990, and globally they could, without action, double or treble by 2050. Such emissions growth needs to be reversed and brought to zero by 2050 if we are to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Aviation is at risk of having its emissions locked in due to the growth in passenger numbers and aircraft fleet, consuming the limited carbon budget to remain within the 1.5°C and 2°C targets of that Agreement.
By 2030, advanced biofuels are expected to contribute only 3.5% of all transport fuels (including cars, trucks, aviation) and their growth beyond this date is likely to be constrained due to land availability and competing industries.
To produce sufficient synthetic fuels to power all passenger cars in 2050 in the baseline scenario would require clean electricity production equivalent to 68% of the size of the current EU electricity production, due to the inefficiency of both the production process and ICEs, as explained in a section below. This does not take into account the other sectors, such as aviation, might actually depend on synthetic fuels to decarbonise. Similarly, the gas industry equally cannot produce sufficient biomethane sustainably from wastes and residues to power a European car fleet, while it should be prioritised in sectors currently using fossil gas, and fossil gas is not an option if cars are to be decarbonised.
In energy terms, bunkers are the energy consumption of ships and aircraft. While domestic flights are covered by national targets, often times emissions from international flights and voyages are excluded. The Kyoto Protocol requested states to work through the UN’s aviation and shipping agencies, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO), to develop measures to limit emissions from the sector.
The Paris Agreement has upended this approach, as it requires parties to develop economy-wide targets and therefore include international aviation and shipping. Furthermore the Paris Agreement requires complete decarbonisation of all sectors of all economies.ICAO, with its weak target of net 2020 emissions and reliance on offsetting instead of cutting emissions, is only capable of delivering a global minimum effort.Much more ambitious action at national and regional level, of the sort proposed below, is required.
In shipping, countries are currently attempting to regulate maritime emissions through the IMO with the EU’s 2023 deadline looming large. Currently, the IMO has a target of reducing emissions by at least 50% by 2050, which is far from decarbonisation in explicit terms. Experience, notably with aviation at ICAO, shows that international agreements tend to fall short of the required stringency in order to exact necessary behavioural, technological and economic changes in the industry. Therefore, it is likely, possibly imperative that complementary and supplementary regional actions will have to be taken to put the maritime industry on a sustainable decarbonisation pathway.
While uncertainties exist, we do know that the sector will have a substantial fuel demand well into the 2030s, 2040s and beyond, the period when our economy needs to increasingly decarbonise. T&E’s decarbonisation report put forward measures to limit that fuel requirement, but ultimately the remaining and substantial fuel demand will need to have its carbon content eliminated. The process of cutting and then decarbonising that fuel demand was the focus of that study. The report found that the expected technology and operations improvements will not mitigate the expected fuel demand and emissions growth from aviation. Generating incremental efficiency improvements from current aircraft designs is becoming ever more costly and difficult. Further operational improvements remain possible but do not achieve decarbonisation and require the right policies to be in place. To significantly reduce the expected fossil fuel demand and ultimately eliminate it from the sector would require further measures. Carbon pricing needs to play a central role in bringing forward further reductions in fuel demand. Exempt from kerosene taxation and with most European aviation emissions excluded from the EU ETS, there is much that needs to be done.
The report showed that introducing fiscal measures that, combined, represent a carbon price equivalent to €150 per tonne can moderate demand growth from the sector through incentivising a combination of design and operational efficiency improvements and modal shift. Other measures highlighted by the report include stricter fuel efficiency standards and incentives to speed up fleet renewal. Our report found that, combined, these measures could cut fuel demand by some 12 Mtoe, or 16.9% in 2050 compared to a business as usual scenario. However that still leaves substantial and increased fuel demand in 2050. The report examined how the carbon footprint of the remaining fuel demand could be cut and where possible eliminated with today’s technology this can only be achieved through the use of sustainable alternative fuels. It demonstrated that this is no easy task, highlighting the issues faced in Europe to date in reducing the carbon intensity of fuels used for road transport.
To decarbonise aviation, new types of alternative fuels need to be brought forward. Our report focused on synthetic fuels, namely electrofuels (known as synthetic kerosene or power-to-liquid), which will be needed to close the gap. Electrofuels are produced through combining hydrogen with carbon from CO2. With the hydrogen produced using additional renewable electricity and with the correct source of CO2 (air capture), such fuels can be close to near zero emissions and carbon circular. Strict safeguards are needed to ensure synthetic kerosene would be produced only from zero emission electricity.
If produced at scale, electrofuels are likely to cost between three and six times more than untaxed jet fuel. At a cost of €2,100 per tonne electrofuel uptake will increase ticket prices by 59%, resulting in a 28% reduction in projected passenger demand compared to a business-as-usual scenario. However, compared to the ticket price of €150 per tonne the ticket price increase would only be 23%. The report found that introducing a progressively more stringent low carbon fuel standard (GHG target) on aviation fuel suppliers will leave all operators flying within or from Europe needing to purchase such fuels. These rising fuel costs will increase operating costs which will inevitably be passed onto consumers, causing a fall in demand for jet fuel compared to forecasts and reducing the volume of alternative fuels that will be required to replace kerosene.
A further note of caution in the report was that while the use of such fuels can put aviation on a pathway to decarbonisation, getting to zero emissions, the generally accepted term for decarbonisation, will be difficult because producing alternative fuels which, on a life cycle basis, are 100% carbon free is very challenging. Advanced biofuels could play a role in substituting fossil fuel demand in aviation. However, strict sustainability safeguards are needed to ensure advanced biofuels offer genuine emission savings – these are not yet in place. If fuels with poor environmental and climate credentials would be excluded, the potential supply of advanced biofuels would be very limited. Our report finds that they could play a role – meeting up to 11% of the remaining 2050 fuel demand in our scenario – but alone won’t be available in the quantities needed. This is partly because non-transport sectors will also have a claim to biomass feedstocks, reducing availability.
The report did not rule out the role that radical new aircraft designs could play in significantly reducing aviation emissions, for example hydrogen or electric aircraft. However such aircraft are not expected to be in operation in significant numbers until the 2040s, and will find it especially challenging to replace conventional aircraft for long-haul flights. What is less speculative is that significant liquid fuel demand will exist right through to 2050, and for that reason, the report focuses heavily on how such fuels can be decarbonised. Should hydrogen aircraft technology develop more rapidly this would not be at odds with significant investment in synthetic fuels as hydrogen is a key input for electrofuels.
Aside from decarbonising aviation fuels, the warming from aviation’s non-CO2 effects at altitude is considerable and is a challenge that is barely being touched. While the report discussed these effects and identified possible mitigation approaches, there remains a lack of policy focus and investment in scientific research on this topic. This failure to act means we are unable to propose a suite of mitigation measures nor estimate their effects. What is clear is that the European Commission must meet its obligations under the EU ETS Directive to foster further research and, resulting from that, come forward with proposals on measures by the start of 2020. Finally, the report does not recommend offsetting as this is a solution that is incompatible with the decarbonisation logic of the Paris Agreement. The report outlined what action should look like: aggressively cutting fuel demand, moderating the expected growth in air travel, decarbonising the remaining fuel, and addressing the sector’s non-CO2 effects.
Global aviation and global shipping are two sectors with immense carbon emissions, not properly controlled by any one country. Shipping currently accounts for about 2-3% of global CO2 emissions, and if the sector does not cut fuel burned, this could to 20% of global emissions by 2050. Now the world’s largest container shipping company has “pledged” to cut net CO2 emissions to zero by 2050. It is challenging an industry that is one of the main transporters of global trade and one of the biggest carbon emitters to come up with radical solutions in the next decade. It hopes to make new ships “carbon free” by 2030. The CEO of Maersk, Mr Toft, said: “We will have to abandon fossil fuels. We will have to find a different type of fuel or a different way to power our assets.” But what is suggested is perhaps biofuels, hydrogen, electricity, wind or solar power. It would be a catastrophe for the natural world if shipping also tries to get hold of biofuels (as well as electricity generation, and aviation) with forests and natural habitats for wildlife devastated. Maersk is aiming to meet its target without buying carbon offsets. Mr Toft said: “If you buy offsets, you are basically delaying the pain. What you are doing is buying yourself an excuse and hoping that the money you pay goes to good uses, but you are not tackling the issue at its core.”
Maersk pledges to cut carbon emissions to zero by 2050
World’s largest container shipping group throws down challenge to industry
Container ships currently use bunker fuel, a residue from crude oil that is cheaper but dirtier than petrol and diesel
Richard Milne, Nordic Correspondent (FT)
The world’s largest container shipping company has pledged to cut net carbon emissions to zero by 2050, challenging an industry that is both one of the main transporters of global trade and one of the biggest polluters to come up with radical solutions in the next decade.
AP Moller Maersk, the Danish group that transports nearly one in five seaborne containers, said it needed its entire supply chain from engine makers and shipbuilders to new technology providers to come up with carbon-free ships by 2030 to meet the goal.
“We will have to abandon fossil fuels. We will have to find a different type of fuel or a different way to power our assets. This is not just another cost-cutting exercise. It’s far from that. It’s an existential exercise, where we as a company need to set ourselves apart,” Soren Toft, Maersk’s chief operating officer, told the Financial Times.
Maersk’s target, although distant, is one of the most ambitious from a global industrial group promising to end carbon emissions altogether. Container ships carry about 80 per cent of global trade and currently use bunker fuel, a residue from crude oil that is cheaper but dirtier than petrol and diesel, which means they contribute about 3 per cent of the world’s emissions.
Maersk is not pushing one technology — ideas such as biofuels, hydrogen, electricity or even wind or solar power have been mooted — but is stressing the urgency as most vessels have a life of 20-25 years, meaning that viable solutions need to be found soon.
“To reach the target by 2050, in the next 10 years we need some big breakthroughs,” Mr Toft said.
Maersk is aiming to meet its target without buying carbon offsets. “If you buy offsets, you are basically delaying the pain. What you are doing is buying yourself an excuse and hoping that the money you pay goes to good uses, but you are not tackling the issue at its core,” Mr Toft said.
Some comments from campaigners / experts working in this field:
EU28 could hardly resolve biofuels sustainability criteria for road biofuels and had to settle for a blunt tool to cap the mandate. How could 190 IMO countries agree on a sustainability criteria with food-based bio-feedstock producers (Argentina, Brazil, US, Indonesia, Malaysia, Liberia, etc.) calling the policy shots?
There is also a concern that Maersk has done this as a media stunt to recover the image after being accused in national and international media of dragging their feet on immediate GHG reduction measures. So this needs to be looked at very sceptically.
it’s important to understand that from the perspective of the atmosphere, fuels that reduce emissions over the lifecycle of the fuel are….offsets.
That is, if what’s coming out of the smokestack of the ship is CO2, just as if the ship were burning fossil fuel, then the reductions the ship is counting in terms of its goal of zero carbon are reductions that are happening in the countries where the ship’s fuel is being produced.
Those are…offsets. That is why it’s so important to ensure corresponding adjustments for transfers of those from the fuel-producing countries to the world of international shipping. Otherwise the accounting for them is one-way, like the current CDM.
The overall Maersk announcement is certainly something to celebrate – but important to be able to answer questions about where the fuels come from, what their lifecycle emissions are (and other sustainability aspects) and how they are accounted for, to know how much to celebrate.
Carbon emissions from global shipping to be halved by 2050, says IMO
‘The world’s shipping industry has now, for the first time, defined its commitment to tackle climate change’
Announcement calls for greenhouse gas emissions to be slashed by ‘at least’ 50 per cent – meaning cuts could go much further
Announcement calls for greenhouse gas emissions to be slashed by ‘at least’ 50 per cent – meaning cuts could go much further ( Reuters )
Carbon emissions from the global shipping industry will be cut by at least half by 2050 under a major new international agreement.
Representatives from over 170 countries have spent two weeks at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in London debating ways to clean up the sector.
Despite opposition from nations including Brazil, Saudi Arabia and the US, the states came to a final agreement on Friday, signalling to industry that a switch away from fossil fuels is fast approaching.
Ultimately the goal is for shipping’s greenhouse gas emission to be reduced to zero by the middle of the century, with most newly built ships running without fossil fuels by the 2030s.
“Like Apollo 11 returning to Earth we knew we needed to land and we did,” said Sveinung Oftedal, chair of greenhouse gas negotiations at the IMO.
Pollution from ships is a major concern, but one that has been largely overlooked in recent years.
One estimate by the International Council on Clean Transportation found that if treated as a country, international shipping would be the sixth largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world – roughly the same as Germany.
Shipping currently accounts for 2 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions, and if the sector is not cleaned up experts predict this figure could rise to a fifth of emissions by 2050.
Despite its major role in polluting the planet, shipping was not accounted for in the Paris agreement on climate change.
Mounting pressure has grown on the IMO to come up with a solution to this problem, as it was tasked with limiting and reducing emissions from shipping under the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.
“The International Maritime Organisation’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gases by 50 to 100 per cent in 2050 is major progress,” said Dr Tristan Smith, a shipping expert at University College London.
“The world’s shipping industry has now, for the first time, defined its commitment to tackle climate change, bringing it closer in-line with the Paris agreement.”
The UK government was supportive of the more ambitious end of the targets proposed, pushing for global shipping to abandon fossil fuels entirely within three decades.
However, there has been pushback from nations that fear rapid changes to the shipping sector will damage their economies.
The new announcement calls for greenhouse gas emissions to be slashed by “at least” 50 per cent – wording that is meant to imply anywhere between 50 and 100 per cent.
This is intended to appease Pacific Island states delegations. The London talks have had particular significance for Pacific islanders, whose countries are imminently threatened by rising sea levels.
At the outset of the meeting, Marshall Islands environment minister David Paul laid out his concerns about the threats facing his country.
“The next days in IMO will determine whether Marshallese children born today will have the chance of a secure and prosperous life or will have to leave the land of their ancestors and set sail across the oceans to an uncertain future,” he said.
“This is scientific fact.”
The Marshall Islands – a tiny group of atolls in Micronesia – are home to around 70,000 people, and experts predict under future climate scenarios it is likely they will all have to be evacuated as the sea levels rise.
In a joint statement released before Friday’s announcement, Mr Paul and former UN chief negotiator on climate change, Christiana Figueres, said the strategy represented “significant compromises by countries – not least by vulnerable island nations which had been pushing for something far more ambitious”.
“To get to this point has been hard – very hard,” they said.
The new targets are expected to have a significant impact on the shipping industry.
“A 50 per cent reduction in outright greenhouse gas emissions means most new ships built in the 2030s will have to be zero emission,” said Dr Faig Abbasov, shipping policy expert with the Brussels-based NGO Transport and Environment.
However, an intervention early in the talks by the International Chamber of Shipping – the leading industry association – made it clear they would support reductions in carbon emissions from the sector.
Commentators noted that support from industry reduced the credibility of nations arguing that proposed reduction targets were unrealistic.
“The 2050 goal is achievable. We have in the pipeline some new builds that will use fuel cells,” said Olof Widen, senior advisor at the Finnish Shipowner’s Association.
“When we have a critical mass of these solutions, then we will have a very rapid development.”
Two Swedish mums have persuaded 10,000 people to commit to not taking any flights in 2019. Their social media initiative, No-fly 2019 (Flygfritt 2019), is aiming for 100,000 pledges, and has been asking participants to post their reasons for signing up. Maja Rosen and her neighbour Lotta Hammar say they started the campaign to show politicians what needs to be done to halt climate change. Direct emissions from aviation account for about 3% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions, according to the European Commission. And, it says, if global aviation was a country, it would rank in the top 10 emitters. See the video from Maja and Lotta. Sweden has had, since April, a tax of about $7 for short haul flights and about $48 on long haul flights, with the intention of cutting carbon emissions.
The two Swedish mums who want people to give up flying for a year
Two Swedish mums have persuaded 10,000 people to commit to not taking any flights in 2019.
Their social media initiative, No-fly 2019 (Flygfritt 2019), is aiming for 100,000 pledges, and has been asking participants to post their reasons for signing up.
Maja Rosen and her neighbour Lotta Hammar say they started the campaign to show politicians what needs to be done to halt climate change.
Direct emissions from aviation account for about 3% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions, according to the European Commission. And, it says, if global aviation was a country, it would rank in the top 10 emitters.
The concept of “flying shame” is growing in Sweden – shame if you fly too much – due to the CO2 emissions
November 25, 2018
Many Northern Europeans have “flying shame” because of the climate: they stay on the ground while traveling. Rail travel is becoming increasingly popular. Some people in Sweden are cutting down on flying, and believe the carbon emissions are a matter of shame. The word for it is “flugsham” or “flygskam” and this is becoming a common concept, akin to ‘flying less” in English. A celebrity athlete is well know for only travelling to sporting events if he can get there by train. The Swedes are among the frequent flyers. They fly 7 times more than average global citizens. While Sweden’s total CO2 emissions have fallen by 24% since 1990, air traffic grew by 61% in that time. A prominent writer in a popular newspaper denounced the “idiotic lifestyle” of frequent flying as the “most expensive suicide in world history”. Researchers and artists responded: “Flying is no longer an alternative for them”. People realise that we cannot go on with expanding aviation. A Facebook page on travelling by long-distance rail, rather than flying, had 30,000 followers in a few months. As well as the hashtag #flyingless there is the Swedish counterpart in #jagstannarpåmarken: “I’ll stay on the ground”.
Sweden should face down industry myths about the impact of an air travel tax, and impose it
April 22, 2017
There is a great interest in Sweden on which decisions will be taken regarding aviation tax. For European airlines, resistance to air taxes is a top priority. Andrew Murphy, Manager at Aviation at Transport & Environment (T&E) believes Sweden must resist industry pressure and intimidation, and not cut the taxes. In every country, in Europe the airline industry lobbies in the same way: say the tax threaten job losses, say it’ll destroy the economy, and threaten to shut down routes if governments don’t drop attempts to tax. The UK’s air passenger duty (APD), first introduced in 1994, has withstood all onslaughts while its airline sector has thrived. Now it’s Sweden’s turn to be subject to this economic scaremongering. For airlines, low taxes mean slightly cheaper tickets, so more passengers and more money for the industry. And more CO2 of course. industry arguments have very little basis in reality, and are rarely backed up with any credible evidence. In the UK a tax of £13 per return flight for an adult really is not enough to stop anyone travelling to Europe. Nor will a tax of £7 – 37 in Sweden. The industry likes to make out that the tax is wicked and damaging, and everyone deserves a tax break at the expense of all the others who don’t fly. The industry already pays no VAT, no fuel duty and only the most minimal charges for carbon under the EU ETS.
Sweden is making flying more expensive as of today –
3rd April 2018
As of today, the Swedish government’s proposed aviation tax is coming into effect. It will impose added emissions fees on airlines flying to or from Sweden, amounting to 60 SEK ($7) per domestic and EU flights and up to 400 SEK ($48) on longer routes.
The tax is seen by the Social Democrat and Green Party-run coalition government as a a means to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The government is counting on 450 000–600 000 fewer airline passengers per year in Sweden as a result of the tax, which it says should lead to about 2 percent less emissions.
The tax proposal has raised fierce resistance from the aviation industry and local airlines in particular.
Following the decision of the Chairman of Uttlesford Planning Committee, Councillor Alan Mills, to use his (additional) casting vote in favour of the airport planning application, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) health adviser, Professor Jangu Banatvala, wrote to him to ask whether he had reviewed the latest important WHO Noise Guidelines, published on 10th October, prior to voting. The disturbing reply from Councillor Mills suggests that he was not aware of the WHO Guidelines and he believed the planning application was for 174,000 flights, rather than 274,000. He did not appear to have understood that the application was for an increase in flights, by about 25,000 per year, despite claiming to have read a third of the documents. Five councillors voted in favour of the Stansted application, but SSE has found that at least some of them had either not read, or had not understood, even the most basic information about the application. SSE said this is entirely unsatisfactory. It confirms that this application should be dealt with at a higher level than a small district council, with limited resources to deal with such a significant application with such widespread implications. SSE’s lawyers are now working on the detailed legal submissions to the Secretary of State on why he must now ‘call in’ the application for national determination.
COUNCIL PLANNING CHAIRMAN DIDN’T EVEN KNOW WHAT HE WAS VOTING FOR!
Stop Stansted Expansion press release
Following the decision of the Chairman of Uttlesford Planning Committee, Councillor Alan Mills, to use his (additional) casting vote in favour of the airport planning application, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) health adviser, Professor Jangu Banatvala, wrote to him to ask whether he had reviewed the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) Noise Guidelines, published on 10th October, prior to voting.
The new WHO guidelines are of enormous significance because they show that aviation noise can be harmful to community health at far lower decibel levels than previously recommended. These tough new WHO guideline levels reflect the strength of the latest evidence relating to environmental harms of aviation noise annoyance and sleep disturbance.
The disturbing reply from Councillor Mills, shown in full below [Note 1], suggests that he believed the planning application was for 174,000 flights, rather than 274,000. This fundamental mistake could be just a careless typographical error, except for the fact that his reply contained two other startling admissions:
He claimed to have read 4,500 pages of the planning application documents (about a third of the total) and yet he believed that it meant no extra flights. However, even a cursory look at the planning documents shows that, with an annual cap of 35 million passengers, Stansted would be limited to 248,820 flights but raising the cap to 43 million passengers results in 274,000 flights. Approving the application therefore means an extra 25,180 flights a year – about 70 extra flights per day.
Councillor Mills said he was unaware of the new WHO Noise Guidelines butProfessor Banatvala had – in person – presented the latest Noise Guidelines to Councillor Mills and his colleagues on the Planning Committee just a week earlier. The new guidelines were also highlighted in SSE’s evidence to UDC, whose planning officers knew very well just how important they were. Officers had written to MAG on 22nd December 2017 making clear that the effect of the new WHO Noise Guidelines would need to be assessed before the planning application could be decided:
“In the event that the World Health Organisation (“WHO”)’s new evidence on the impacts of aviation noise is published before a determination to grant planning permission, the environmental statement assessment must incorporate this evidence (for example, by way of supplementary assessment).” [emphasis added]
Despite the words “must incorporate” the Council’s officers and the Planning Committee completely disregarded the new WHO Noise Guidelines.
At the special Planning Committee meeting on 14 November to consider the airport planning application five councillors voted against and five voted in favour, including the Chairman. [Note 2]. The Chairman’s casting vote (i.e. he was allowed two votes) carried the day. Of the four other councillors who voted in favour:
One did not ask a single question all day;
Another who voted in favour asked just one question, which was to request a ‘comfort break’;
The remaining two councillors who voted in favour each just asked the simplest of questions about noise impacts, the answers to which would have been obvious even by skim reading the officers’ summary report. It was clear that they had either not read, or had not understood, even the most basic information about the nature and effect of the planning application.
SSE Deputy Chairman Brian Ross commented “For almost 18 months SSE has consistently argued that this airport application had to be dealt with nationally because of its scale and complexity. It was completely unfair to place the responsibility on local councillors and has now left some of them exposed to ridicule.”
Brian Ross continued: “It took a five-month Public Inquiry to consider the evidence in the case of the last comparable Stansted Airport planning application. On this occasion Uttlesford Planning Committee did the entire job in one sitting. That might appear to reflect a remarkable improvement in efficiency. In truth, it reflects the naïve and superficial nature of the Uttlesford approval process.”
The audio recording of the Planning Committee meeting on 14 November has now been converted by SSE into a written transcript which will be sent to the Secretary of State for Housing, Local Government and Communities as supporting evidence of the superficial and uninformed nature of the Uttlesford Planning Committee process and of apparent pre-determination.
SSE has already sent a holding submission to the Secretary of State highlighting deficiencies in the UDC process and asking for the planning application to be ‘called in’ – i.e. taken out of UDC’s hands and dealt with at national level. SSE’s barristers are now working on the detailed legal submissions to the Secretary of State underpinning the reasons why he must now ‘call in’ the application for national determination.
NOTE 1 – E-mail from Councillor Mills to Professor Banatvala dated 21 November 2018:
“Dear Mr Banatvala
Thank you for your correspondence on this matter and for matters of clarity I feel that an important issue should be clarified that has been continually misrepresented in this debate.
MAG had an existing permission for 174,000 flights from 2008. This application was not about increased flights, only passenger numbers/throughput in the airport.
Having read over 4500 pages of documentation I have to confess the October updated WHO report did not feature in the officers’ reports and I will endeavour to ensure that I am as current as possible on trends and policy.
Cllr Alan Mills”
NOTE 2 – The votes cast by individual members of Uttlesford Planning Committee on 14 November to approve the Stansted Airport planning application were as follows:
Paul Fairhurst – Residents for Uttlesford, Saffron Walden Shire.
Richard Freeman – Residents for Uttlesford, Saffron Walden Castle.
Anthony Gerard – Residents for Uttlesford, Newport.
Mark Lemon – Conservative (formerly Independent), Hatfield Heath.
Janice Loughlin – Liberal Democrat, Stort Valley
Councillors in favour
Robert Chambers – Conservative, Littlebury, Chesterford and Wendon Lofts.
Eric Hicks – Conservative, Great Dunmow South and Barnston.
Alan Mills (Chairman) – Conservative, Felsted and Stebbing.
Howard Ryles – Conservative, Takeley
Lesley Wells – Conservative, Broad Oak and the Hallingburys.
Uttlesford DC approves Stansted expansion plan, only by Chairman’s casting vote – but plans may now be “called in”
November 15, 2018
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has expressed dismay and disappointment that the vote on 14th November)by Uttlesford District Council (UDC) Planning Committee granted approval for Stansted’s planning application to grow – to an annual throughput of 43 million passengers per annum (from the 35 million cap now). If this approval is allowed to stand, it would mean that Stansted could increase its flights by 44% and its passenger throughput by 66% compared, to last year’s levels. The Planning Committee, comprising ten elected Uttlesford councillors, split right down the middle with 5 in favour of the application (including the Planning Committee Chairman) and 5 against. Where there is a split vote, the Council rulebook gives the Chairman an additional (casting) vote – so he gets 2 votes. Both BBC and ITV regional news teams filmed the session, which was attended by many local people. UDC cannot issue a decision notice until the Sec of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (James Brokenshire) has considered whether the application should be called in. This should have been done already, as the planned expansion is very near the threshold necessary – of an increase by 10 million annual passengers. SSE will now submit further representations to the Secretary of State asking him (again) to call in the application. They are currently also legally challenging the decision.
In a blog, from the Chairman of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, Paul McGuinness, he says that serious concerns remain about how Heathrow might fund its hoped-for 3rd runway. The CAA has written to the DfT asking for clarity, as it does not have adequate or detailed information from Heathrow. As Nils Pratley highlighted in the Guardian “in most industries, a rebuke from the regulator would be met with an immediate promise to do better. Heathrow’s response, however, amounted to a shrug of the shoulders”. In Heathrow’s “Scoping Report” to the Planning Inspectorate in May they said, buried deep within the highly technical documents, that it seeks ‘early release of capacity’ that would be created by a 3rd runway. In short, Heathrow are trying to secure an additional 25,000 flights each year, (68 per day) above the current cap of 480,000, years before the 3rd runway opens. The current cap was a key condition of the T5 planning permission. Heathrow wants the income from these extra flights to help pay for the runway. Nobody knows who would be affected, or what noise, pollution, congestion etc impacts there would be. There has been no assessment. Read the full blog.
Still no clarity on Heathrow finances
16th November 2018
Blog by Paul McGuinness, Chair, No Third Runway Coalition
Last week the CAA took the exceptional step of publicising a letter it had sent to the DfT regarding their concerns about Heathrow’s plans for financing the third runway. Essentially, the CCA is complaining that Heathrow has still not provided adequate or detailed information.
As Nils Pratley highlighted in the Guardian “in most industries, a rebuke from the regulator would be met with an immediate promise to do better. Heathrow’s response, however, amounted to a shrug of the shoulders. (They) didn’t even attempt to explain why it has not satisfied the CAA’s long-standing and reasonable requests.”
For those communities impacted by operations at Heathrow, such a complaint and lack of response is not a revelation: it simply confirms the ongoing, arduous reality of seeking to engage with this arrogant corporate behemoth. Indeed, Heathrow’s response has entirely ignored the issues raised – and merely offered their generic holding statement that they are proceeding with the planning process.
In May, Heathrow submitted their initial Scoping Report for expansion to the Planning Inspectorate. This sets out their initial thinking on the multitude of issues associated with their aspirations; yet it does not go into specific detail.
Buried deep within the highly technical documents is a line that seeks ‘early release of capacity’ that would be created by a third runway. In short, Heathrow are trying to secure an additional 25,000 flights each year before the third runway opens.
This means that they are effectively trying to force the lifting of the 480,000 Air Traffic Movement (ATM) and thus break a key condition of the T5 planning permission. Essentially, Heathrow is seeking these extra 25,000 flights a year in order to raise the money to pay for the third runway.
There has been no assessment undertaken on the impact on local communities of an additional 25,000 flights – 68 every day – in terms of noise, air pollution or congestion on public transport and local road networks. None whatsoever.
Was this always a part of their strategy – despite it was never being discussed in the run up to the Parliamentary vote on the Airports National Policy Statement?
Or is it a tactic to seek to deliver on the condition that a third runway does not result in significant increases in landing charges?
After all, steep rises in landing charges over the past decade has been a Heathow financing technique – deployed by Heathrow to pay for the T2 refurbishment without having to put its hand into its shareholders pockets.
But whichever game they are playing, the inescapable fact is that Heathrow’s ability to finance the 3rd Runway is yet again being called into question. And its inability to produce a transparent set of answers on the issue – even when implored repeatedly to do so, by the CAA – may speak to the truth, more than any of the platitudinous assurances that Heathrow has uttered in the public domain.
The communities that we represent are already sceptical and concerned. Sceptical about the favourable, special protections that have long been offered to Heathrow. And concerned about the manner in which taxpayers are being asked to underwrite the construction risks of Heathrow’s expansion plans.
Might Heathrow only be able to afford its 3rd runway scheme, by being allowed another 25,000 annual flights well before runway was ready?
November 6, 2018
The Times’ Chief Business Commentator, Alistair Osborne, has written on the deeply unclear finances of a possible Heathrow 3rd runway. Alistair suggests, one way the airport could try and get in some extra cash, early in the building programme (when no airlines can use the new runway yet) is increasing the current numbers of flights and passengers. Heathrow loves to say it is full, but it is not. Each year the number of passengers creeps up – there is spare terminal capacity. But if instead of the current cap of 480,000 annual flights, Heathrow could get consent for an extra 25,000 (ie. to 505,000), it could add perhaps 6-7 million more passengers, up from the current 78 million or so. That could bring in much needed income, to help fund the vast project – including what to do with the M25. But adding 25 million more annual flights means about 65 more per day. Heathrow hopes to appease the ire of badly impacted local residents, by saying they would start flying at 5.30am rather than the 4.30am start now. But there would then be plane after plane after plane then, when people are still trying to sleep. And the airlines don’t like the idea, as it upsets their lucrative long haul schedules, and causes less resilience if there are delays, at the peak periods.
Heathrow regulator, the CAA, demands answers urgently on airport’s 3rd runway plan
November 5, 2018
The CEO, Richard Moriarty, of aviation watchdog body, the CAA, have written to the Department for Transport (DfT) asking that they should “decisively and urgently” address major concerns about the funding for the 3rd runway scheme – at least £14 billion, and doubtless more with cost over-runs and things not going to plan. They say Heathrow must “provide assurance that its revised timetable is realistic” and would “ensure timely delivery” of the expansion. The CAA threatens enforcement action against Heathrow to force it to provide clear evidence about how it would finance the scheme, while avoiding pushing up costs for airlines and passengers. The CAA says the project had been hit by a further delay, with a public consultation on detailed plans for the new runway now scheduled for June rather than in the first three months of next year. Heathrow is already the most expensive airport in the world, with landing charges of over £20 per ticket, and that is likely to rise – regardless of flimsy Heathrow assurances. Mr Moriarty said there is a “lack of high quality and comprehensive information” about how Heathrow would keep costs down, while being commercially viable, and these concerns had “not been adequately addressed, despite repeated requests”.
The CAA decided to grant the airspace to TAG Farnborough on 11th July. After taking legal advice, Lasham Gliding Society decided to fight this decision and instructed its lawyers to draw up a claim for leave for a Judicial Review in the High Court. Lasham Gliding Society is strongly opposed to the CAA’s decision. It considers that the decision to introduce new controlled airspace has not been justified by the CAA, because it will create a choke point, it does not represent an efficient use of the airspace, and it does not properly or reasonably balance the needs of all users. Lasham Gliding Society says: “The consequence of the implementation of this large volume of controlled airspace, at the request of a small airfield which has around 28,000 annual (non-public) movements, will be to displace many times more transiting flights and to cause significant congestion of general aviation movements outside the controlled airspace.” The application for the JR was lodged on 10th October. The CAA has produced its reply, and the judge will decide if it can proceed. The cost will be at least £100,000 and Lasham hopes it will be of relevance to other general aviation airfields.
Update on the TAG Farnborough airspace situation
The CAA decided to grant the airspace to TAG Farnborough on 11th July. After taking legal advice, Lasham Gliding Society decided to fight this decision and instructed its lawyers to draw up a claim for leave for a Judicial Review in the High Court.
This was lodged on 10th October*. The CAA has produced its reply and matters are now being set up for a judge to review Lasham’s claim almost immediately. You are well aware from previous information circulated about the significant drawbacks to this decision to all parties concerned.
For its own part, Lasham believes that if the CAA’s decision is not challenged, it would result in airspace that is both unsafe and inefficient and a precedent may be set for the way that all future decisions about lower airspace are made. Local communities also need to note where aircraft noise will increase from more concentrated lower flying aircraft over areas of Hampshire and the South of England.
The Society has the capability to bring a case of this size against a government agency like the CAA. However its campaign will benefit the whole general aviation community as well as residents under some of the proposed flight-paths. Considerable sums of money are involved and Lasham Gliding Society launched an appeal to raise at least £100,000 towards the cost of fighting the case. So far £39,367 has been raised.
If you would like to contribute to fighting this, either click on www.lashamgliding.com/pages/airspace-campaignto read more, including the terms and conditions, or send a cheque to Lasham Gliding Society made out to “Lasham Gliding Society Special Reserve Fund”.
The campaign is grateful to the Parish Councils for their warm support and to local friends and people who have already contributed so generously.
* “Flyer” Magazine article on 3,000 page submission to the CAA:
Lasham applies for Judicial Review of CAA Farnborough decision
Lasham Gliding Society has applied for a Judicial Review of the CAA decision to approve the TAG Farnborough Airport airspace proposal.
John McCullagh, treasurer of the Lasham Gliding Society, said, “Having received the final documents for its proposed application for a Judicial Review of the CAA decision on the TAG ACP from the Airspace Team on Monday, the [Lasham] Committee of Management met Tuesday morning and approved filing our application with the Court.
“The Airspace Team and our lawyers have completed a herculean task in compiling 183 pages of statements, plus supporting documents, which have been filed with the Court.
“The CoM wishes to thank them on behalf of all our members. The CAA now have 21 days from the date of service of proceedings to acknowledge service.”
Lasham Gliding Society is strongly opposed to the CAA’s decision. It considers that the decision to introduce new controlled airspace has not been justified by the CAA.
It will create a choke point
It does not represent an efficient use of the airspace
It does not properly or reasonably balance the needs of all users.
“The consequence of the implementation of this large volume of controlled airspace, at the request of a small airfield which has around 28,000 annual (non-public) movements, will be to displace many times more transiting flights and to cause significant congestion of general aviation movements outside the controlled airspace,” said the Society.
“Lasham Gliding Society, the world’s biggest gliding club with around twice the number of annual movements of Farnborough Airport, will be in this bottleneck. This gives rise to obvious safety risks for gliders and other aircraft.”
Donations to the Lasham Gliding Society fund to pay for the review are welcome here.