With the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health reporting that air pollution is responsible for 8% of all deaths in the UK (50,000 annually, and an increase of 25% on previous estimates), the poor air quality surrounding Heathrow has again been cast into focus. Importantly, it is not just the existence of pollutants, but the proximity of their source to populations that damages health. Heathrow, which sits within the UK’s most densely populated residential region, not only has the highest level of aircraft emissions. It is close to the M3, M4 and M25 (motorways, much of whose traffic services the airport), and regularly fails to meet Air Quality legal limits for NO2. Meanwhile there is growing evidence that London exceeds WHO recommended limits for Particulate Matter, thought to be responsible for 45% of air pollution related deaths. Studies have identified higher risks of stroke, respiratory and cardiovascular disease (for both hospital admissions and mortality) in areas close to Heathrow. Paul McGuinness, Chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition said: “This report highlights yet again one of the many reasons why expanding Heathrow can’t happen. Its proximity to people. There could be no worse place to concentrate yet more pollution.”
Lancet Commission prompts critical Heathrow air pollution question
20.10.2017 (No 3rd Runway Coalition)
With the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health (1) reporting that pollution is responsible for 8% of all deaths in the UK (50,000 annually, and an increase of 25% on previous estimates), the poor air quality surrounding Heathrow has again been cast into focus.
Clean Air Zones are one of the remedies recommended by the Lancet Commission, for it is not just the existence of pollutants, but the proximity of their source to populations that damages health (2).
Heathrow, which sits within the UK’s most densely populated residential region, not only has the highest level of aircraft emissions. It is sandwiched between the M3 and M4, and hemmed in by the M25 (motorways, much of whose traffic services the airport), and regularly fails to meet Air Quality legal limits for NO2 (3). Meanwhile there is growing evidence that London exceeds WHO recommended limits for Particulate Matter, thought to be responsible for 45% of air pollution related deaths (4))
Studies have already identified that the risks of stroke, heart and cardiovascular disease (for both hospital admissions and mortality) and asthma are 20% higher in areas close to Heathrow (5).
Paul McGuinness, Chair, No 3rd Runway Coalition said:
“Not only is Heathrow already a target-breaching dangerous air zone, but it lies bang smack at the heart of Britain’s most densely populated residential region. It won’t just be air traffic that increases by 50%; vehicular traffic around the airport will also increase, with heavy lorries carrying freight down already heavily congested roads and, as Heathrow recognises with its £200 million provision for extra parking, the extra passenger journeys to the airport. This report highlights yet again one of the many reasons why expanding Heathrow can’t happen. Its proximity to people. There could be no worse place to concentrate yet more pollution.”
— Ends —
Notes for editors:
(1) and (2) http://www.thelancet.com/commissions/pollution-and-health (published 19.10.17)
(5) Study of 3.6 million people in 12 closest boroughs – (BMJ Oct. 2013)
The risks of stroke, heart and cardiovascular disease, for both hospital admissions and mortality are 20% higher in areas close to Heathrow. In Hillingdon, there is an unusually high per capita incidence of coronary heart disease, pulmonary disease and asthma. Medical staff interfacing with these patients attribute these clusters to Heathrow.
For more information: Rob Barnstone, 07806947050, Robert.email@example.com
Pollution is killing millions of people a year and the world is reaching ‘crisis point’, experts warn
The Government must act immediately to stop millions of people dying, say researchers
By Andrew Griffin @_andrew_griffin (Independent)
Globally, nine million people died in 2015 as a result of air pollution AFPPollution is killing 50,000 people a year in the UK, according to a damning new report, which lays bare the toxic danger posed by contaminated air and water.
The problem is responsible for more deaths in Britain than almost all of its Western European neighbours, the study says, and suggests a higher death toll in the UK from pollution than had been feared.
Experts had previously estimated that 40,000 people were dying in the UK from air pollution, which itself had led to calls for immediate action from the Government. The new findings, from a two-year project involving more than 40 international researchers, show the world’s air quality is reaching “crisis point” and must be dealt with urgently.
inRead invented by Teads10 photographs to show to anyone who doesn’t believe in climate change10show allGlobally, nine million people died in 2015 as a result of air pollution. Many of those deaths occur in the developing world – but even among rich countries, a huge number of people are dying as a result of unclean air and other pollution.
The new research shows that people are in the grip of a “profound and pervasive threat” that is damaging human health and well-being, according to the scientists behind it. Not enough is done to halt one of the biggest killers of people in the world, they said.
The obvious solutions are available to governments in the UK and across the world, said campaigners. But they are failing to confront the challenge and further deaths will come, they warned.
The UK has repeatedly suggested that it will work on a new clean air act, but has been criticised for delaying many of the most important measures to tackle pollution. A tax on diesel fuel, for instance, would help bring cleaner air, the campaigners said.
Others urged the Government to work quickly to establish clean air zones and encourage people to use more environmentally friendly forms of transport.
Air pollution from vehicles and factories is the most fatal of all the deadly pollution, killing 6.5 million people a year. But hazards are found in water and elsewhere, the researchers found, including pollution of water supplies that lead to infectious diseases.
Most pollution victims around the world died as a result of non-communicable conditions such as heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), said researchers. But others still die from unsafe water that transmits other deadly illnesses, a problem that is linked to 1.8 million deaths.
Many of the pollution-related deaths around the world come from quickly growing countries, whose populations suffer as building construction and new cars damage the environment. In the most severely affected countries, including India, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Madagascar, and Kenya, up to a quarter of all deaths were caused by pollution.
But pollution was found to be hurting that economic development, causing damage equivalent to 1.3 per cent of Gross Domestic Product in low-income countries. Diseases from pollution took up an estimated 1.7 per cent of healthcare spending in high-income countries such as the UK and 7 per cent in middle-income countries.
“This report reveals the consequences air pollution can have when left unchecked. Air pollution is reaching crisis point worldwide, and the UK is fairing worse than many countries in Western Europe and the US,” said Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation.
“A contributing factor could be our dependence on diesel vehicles, notorious for pumping out a higher amount of poisonous particles and gases. These hit hardest people with a lung condition, children and the elderly.
“The Government should act immediately by using the Budget to amend the tax system to stop incentivising diesel vehicles, and finally commit to a new clean air act.”
Among countries in Western Europe, only Belgium is worse than the UK for the number of deaths caused by pollution. Some 8.39 per cent of deaths in the UK came from pollution, far worse than other countries like the US, where more than 155,000 people died who made up just 5.74 per cent of the deaths.
The researchers behind the study said they hoped it served as a wake up call for politicians and other authorities.
The findings came as part of the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, which looked at deaths in 2015. That project is looking to pull together information from the Global Burden of Disease study, a huge inquiry into the leading causes of death and illness worldwide, to come up with the findings published in The Lancet journal.
Professor Philip Landrigan, from the Icahn School of Medicine in New York City, who co-led the investigation, said: “Pollution is much more than an environmental challenge – it is a profound and pervasive threat that affects many aspects of human health and well-being.
“It deserves the full attention of international leaders, civil society, health professionals, and people around the world. Despite its far-reaching effects on health, the economy and the environment, pollution has been neglected in the international assistance and the global health agendas, and some control strategies have been deeply underfunded.
“Our goal is to raise global awareness of the importance of pollution, and mobilise the political will needed to tackle it, by providing the most in-depth estimates of pollution and health available.”
The British Heart Foundation warned that the effects of pollution were not simply focused on poor countries, but also the poorest within those countries. Illness and death from unclean air and water disproportionately affects the poor, said its chief executive.
“These figures are a stark reminder of the deadly toll air pollution is having worldwide,” said Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, said.
“Globally, we know an estimated 80 per cent of premature deaths from air pollution are caused by heart disease and stroke.
“In the UK, poor air quality disproportionately affects some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable members of our communities, including the young, elderly and those with existing cardiovascular conditions.
And the problem is being exacerbated by a government that is failing to do its bit to clean up the affected air and water, according to campaign group ClientEarth.
“There’s no doubt that air pollution is a worldwide public health problem. Here in the UK, there are illegal levels of air pollution across the country, harming people’s health on a daily basis,” said Andrea Lee, Healthy Air Campaigner for ClientEarth.
“Despite this, the UK government has persistently failed to take effective action to bring it to within legal levels. We need a national network of clean air zones to take the dirtiest vehicles out of the most polluted parts of our towns and cities and help for people to move to cleaner forms of transport. But ministers continue to dither and delay and we continue to breathe toxic air.”
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The Australian investment group which owns almost half of Newcastle Airport has bought another airport in the North, Leeds Bradford. AMP Capital, which took a 49% stake in Newcastle Airport in 2012 (51% is owned by 7 local authorities in Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham), has bought Leeds Bradford outright – after buying it from European investment group Bridgepoint. AMP Capital say the airport offers a “highly attractive investment and a great fit for its global infrastructure platform”. It is likely that a competition probe could take place on the deal, with one company potentially having a major stake in two Northern airports whose target markets have some crossover. Though theoretically serving a larger population area, Leeds Bradford is currently smaller than Newcastle Airport, with many people in Yorkshire choosing to fly instead from Manchester. Newcastle recorded 4.8m passengers in 2016 compared to Leeds Bradford’s 3.6m.
Newcastle Airport’s part owner buys Leeds Bradford Airport
Deal by Australian group AMP Capital raises possibility of competition probe
By Graeme Whitfield (Business Editor, Chronicle live)
18 OCT 2017
The Australian investment group which owns almost half of Newcastle Airport has bought another airport in the North.
AMP Capital, which took a 49% stake in Newcastle Airport in 2012, has become the outright owner of Leeds Bradford Airport after buying it from European investment group Bridgepoint Advisers and saying that it offers a “highly attractive investment and a great fit for AMP Capital’s global infrastructure platform”.
It is not known how the Leeds Bradford deal will affect Newcastle Airport, which is still 51% owned by the seven local authorities in Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham.
But it seems likely that a competition probe could take place on the deal, with one company potentially having a major stake in two Northern airports whose target markets have some crossover.
Former Newcastle Airport chief executive David Laws took over at Leeds Bradford in May, having worked for AMP in the interim period.
Though theoretically serving a larger population area, Leeds Bradford is currently smaller than Newcastle Airport, with many people in Yorkshire choosing to fly instead from Manchester. Newcastle recorded 4.8m passengers in 2016 compared to Leeds Bradford’s 3.6m.
Newcastle Airport is currently embarking on a £20m investment programme backed by AMP that will see a new immigration area being developed, along with extensions to the departure lounge and a new baggage system.
Simon Ellis, European head of origination at AMP Capital, said: “With its strong underlying fundamentals including freehold ownership with well-invested infrastructure, a diversified airline mix and its catchment area in an economic hub of the North of England, Leeds Bradford Airport is a highly attractive investment and a great fit for AMP Capital’s global infrastructure platform.
“We believe there is a clear opportunity for performance enhancement through tailoring and improving the customer experience and working collaboratively with our key partners including airlines, government and local businesses. In addition, the airport serves the Yorkshire and the Humber region, one of the fastest-growing regions in the UK with a population growth of 6% since 2001 and there is also potential for further route development.
“AMP Capital’s heritage in transportation infrastructure investment and our experience of owning airports means we are well placed to develop the exciting opportunities presented by this investment.”
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Stansted Airport has scaled-back its expansion plans, saying it will achieve is growth ambitions without seeking any increase in the number of flights it is allowed to handle. Stansted current has permission for 35 million passengers per year, while it currently has about 25 million. But the airport said in June that it ‘urgently’ needs the cap to be raised to 44.5 million. Stansted is now saying it wants the cap raised to 43 million, not 44.5 million – and they can accommodate that growth by use of larger planes. They say they can get to 43 million passengers without increasing the noise “footprint” that is already authorised under the current capping arrangements. Stansted is hoping to get a lot of growth in passenger numbers, in the time before (if it ever happens) a 3rd Heathrow runway is built. Stansted hoped to get the growth to 44.5 million passengers, about 9 million more than now, through on a regular planning application – rather than having to go through the more rigorous National Infrastructure process, that would be needed for a 10 million passenger increase. Local campaign Stop Stansted Expansion said: “People shouldn’t be hoodwinked by Stansted Airport’s spin doctors. The new planning application would still mean an extra 1,800 flights a week compared to today’s levels.” There will now be more feedback sessions by Stansted during November, before a final planning application to Uttlesford Council early in 2018.
Stansted Airport lowers growth target following public consultation on expansion plans
17 October 2017 (EADS)
Stansted Airport has scaled-back its expansion plans with a pledge to achieve is growth ambitions without seeking any increase in the number of flights it is allowed to handle.
In a move designed to address concerns raised by local residents during a consultation, Stansted says it will now apply for its annual passenger cap to be raised from the current 35m passengers a year to 43m, rather than 44.5m as originally proposed.
The airport, part of Manchester Airports Group (MAG), says the new figure can be achieved without increasing either the number of aircraft movements or the size of the airport’s approved noise “footprint” already authorised under the current capping arrangements.
Passenger numbers at Stansted have already increased by nearly 10m over the past five years to a current annual total of more than 25.6m and MAG is seeking to raise the 35m cap in order to make fuller use of existing runway capacity at Stansted in the decade, or more, before an additional runway is built at Heathrow.
Ken O’Toole, chief executive at Stansted Airport, said: “The feedback we received from our neighbours during our extensive consultation was clear – that they support the ongoing growth and investment in the airport and welcome a further increase in destinations and choice.
“Local residents also told us that they were concerned about the proposal to increase the number of flights that the airport is permitted to operate each year. We’ve listened to those concerns and decided to adapt our proposals so growth can be met within the current cap on the number of aircraft movements.”
“That means the airport’s growth over the next 10 years to serve 43m passengers can be achieved without increasing the existing limits on aircraft movements and noise. We think that this is good news for local residents.”
He added: “This is an example of community consultation in action – we talked about our plans, we listened and we have amended our proposals accordingly. These plans provide a good balance between ensuring our future growth, support for the region’s economy and addressing concerns around local environmental impacts. With clarity over the airport’s ability to grow, airlines and business partners will have the confidence to continue to invest and grow at Stansted.”
However, a spokesman for the Stop Stansted Expansion group, said: “People shouldn’t be hoodwinked by Stansted Airport’s spin doctors. The new planning application would still mean an extra 1,800 flights a week compared to today’s levels.”
Stansted Airport says it has advised Uttlesford District Council of the change in its proposals and will now conduct further feedback sessions during November, ahead of submitting a final planning application early in 2018.
Stop Stansted Expansion warn people not to be hoodwinked by deceptive displays about airport’s growth plans
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has issued a warning to residents across the region not to be hoodwinked by Stansted Airport’s smoke-and-mirror exhibition and biased consultation survey on its further expansion plans. Both appear designed to trick people into thinking that further Stansted expansion in passenger number will be painless and sustainable. They make these claims, even before the environmental impacts have been assessed. The displays are deliberately misleading, and SSE says people should be very sceptical. Brian Ross, SSE’s deputy chairman, said the displays are all about spinning the positives and saying nothing about the negatives.” People attending the exhibitions need to ask searching questions, like explanations about the proposed increase in flight lights compared to today. And and passenger movements compared to the position today. This, say SSE, reveals a very different picture from the one being put forward by Stansted’s bosses who have been making the false claim that the extra passenger numbers will only lead to “approximately two extra flights an hour”. In reality the proposal would mean an extra 2,000 flights a week compared to today’s levels – 285 per day. That means an increase from on average of a plane every 2¼ minutes, to a plane every 85 seconds. Stansted current has permission for 35 million passengers per year, while it currently has about 25 million. But the airport says it ‘urgently’ needs the cap to be raised to 44.5 million. And see this link too.
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Stop Stansted Expansion brands airport expansion plans as premature and opportunistic
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has condemned Stansted Airport for insulting the intelligence of Uttlesford District Council (UDC) and the community at large by claiming that its latest expansion proposals will have “no significant adverse environmental effects”. SSE’s Chairman Peter Sanders has further stressed the need for the council not to be hoodwinked by the airport’s spurious claim and to ensure a comprehensive, honest and thorough assessment of all the environmental impacts that would result from major expansion. The statement comes following the airport’s formal notification of its intention to submit a planning application later this year to seek permission to grow to an annual throughput of 44.5 million passengers and 285,000 flights. This compares to last year’s throughput of 24 million passengers and 180,000 flights. If approved, this would mean an extra 20 million passengers and an extra 104,000 flights every year blighting the lives of thousands across the region. Stansted hasn’t even started to make use of its 2008 permission to grow from 25mppa to 35mppa. Even by its own projections, the airport doesn’t expect to reach 35mppa until 2024 although the credibility of its forecasts is questionable given its wildly inaccurate record on this front.
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Environmental lawyers, ClientEarth, are set to take the government back to court over what they say are ministers’ repeated failings to deal with the UK’s air pollution crisis. ClientEarth has already won two court battles against the government. It has has written a legal letter demanding that the environment secretary Michael Gove sets out a range of new measures to address UK air pollution. If the government fails to comply with this “letter before action”, ClientEarth will issue new proceedings and ministers are likely to face a third judicial review. The courts forced the government to produce its latest air quality plan in July but the document was widely criticised as inadequate by environmentalists and clean air campaigners. The government’s proposal had “simply passed the buck to local authorities who will have little option but to impose charges on diesel vehicles”. Better action by the government itself is needed, such as changes to the tax system to favour less polluting vehicles; a targeted diesel scrappage scheme and a “clean air fund” to help local authorities tackle pollution. In 2016 some 278 of the 391 local authorities (71%) missed their air quality targets, up from 258 in 2010 even though measures to reduce pollution are meant to be taken “in the shortest possible time”.
Environmental campaigners are set to take the government back to court over what they say are ministers’ repeated failings to deal with the UK’s air pollution crisis.
ClientEarth, which has already won two court battles against the government, has written a legal letter demanding that the environment secretary Michael Gove sets out a range of new measures to address air pollution which contributes to the deaths of 40,000 people across the UK each year.
If the government fails to comply with this “letter before action”, as it is known, ClientEarth will issue new proceedings and ministers are likely to face a third judicial review.
ClientEarth lawyer Alan Andrews, announcing the new legal proceedings, said the government’s proposal had “simply passed the buck to local authorities who will have little option but to impose charges on diesel vehicles”.
He added: “It is high time that the government kept up its end of the bargain and helped ordinary people and small businesses make the shift away from diesel towards cleaner forms of transport.”
The renewed legal pressure on the government comes as new figures show the number of local authority areas in the UK which are breaching their air quality targets reached a seven-year high in 2016.
Government statistics show a total of 278 of the 391 local authorities (71%) missed their air quality targets last year, up from 258 in 2010.
Andrews said the figures were rising despite the government being ordered by both the supreme court and high court to clean up the country’s illegal air pollution “in the shortest possible time”.
“These new figures show that this is a national problem that requires a national solution,” he said.
Client Earth first successfully challenged the government in 2015 when the supreme court ruled ministers must draw up plans to meet EU pollution rules by the end of that year. Eighteen months later, following a second judicial review, the high court judged these new proposals were illegally inadequate.
ClientEarth then challenged the government’s draft proposals that were released in May but this new legal action is likely to lead to the third judicial review of the government’s policy in the past five years.
In its legal letter, ClientEarth points out that under the government’s existing plans 45 local authorities are not being required to take action on air quality, despite being forecast to breach air pollution limits for years to come.
It criticised the government’s lack of progress on key national policies such as changes to the tax system to favour cleaner vehicles; a targeted diesel scrappage scheme and a “clean air fund” to help local authorities tackle pollution.
The letter also calls on the secretary of state to introduce specific measures and a “concrete timetable” to address these failings. The government has until Friday to respond.
The prospect of legal action comes amid growing concern about the scale of the UK’s air pollution crisis. Earlier this month it emerged that as well as illegal levels of diesel pollution, every person in the capital is breathing air that exceeds global guidelines for dangerous tiny toxic particles known as PM2.5.
Last month the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights related to toxic waste said the UK government was “flouting” its duty to protect the lives and health of its citizens from illegal and dangerous levels of air pollution.
And a new study published on Tuesday found that people are increasingly feeling the impact of toxic air. The survey by London councils revealed that almost half of those surveyed felt their health had been adversely effected, 40% said it had an impact on where they chose to live and a quarter said it was a factor in which school they wanted their children to go to.
Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said the findings were further evidence that air pollution was taking its toll on people’s day-to-day lives.
“Air pollution effects everyone, hitting the most vulnerable the hardest, including the elderly, children and people with lung conditions. We need strong national policies to support local authorities.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Food and Rural Affairs said the government had “put in place a £3bn plan to improve air quality and reduce harmful emissions”.
“We will also end the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2040, and next year we will publish a comprehensive clean air strategy which will set out further steps to tackle air pollution.”
Client Earth taking UK government back to court for 3rd time over inadequate air pollution plans
Environmental lawyers who have defeated ministers twice, on UK air pollution improvements, are going back to court to try to remove ‘major flaws’ from government’s air quality plans. Environmental lawyers, Client Earth, are taking the government to the high court for a 3rd time. They have inflicted two humiliating defeats on the government over previous plans, which the court ruled did not meet legal requirements. ClientEarth had requested improvements to the latest plan (published on 5th May) from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) but were refused, prompting the new court action. James Thornton, chief executive of Client Earth, said: “The law requires the final plan to bring air pollution down to legal levels in the shortest time possible. These flaws seriously jeopardise that timetable. These are plans for more plans, what we need are plans for action.” Client Earth says the most effective way to reduce NO2 pollution is by discouraging polluting vehicles from entering cities and towns. However, the DEFRA consultation states that charging zones should only be the option of last resort, after measures such as removing speed bumps and encouraging cycling have been tried. However, those measures would have insufficient effect. Government is reluctant to penalise drivers of diesel vehicles, who bought them in good faith.
ClientEarth takes government back to court over the inadequate plan it produced in December
Environmental lawyers, ClientEarth, have launched a new legal challenge against the UK government due to its repeated failure to tackle illegal air pollution. In this latest round of legal action, ClientEarth has lodged papers at the High Court in London seeking judicial review and will serve papers on government lawyers shortly. As well as the UK Environment Secretary who is named as the defendant, Scottish and Welsh ministers, the Mayor of London and the DfT will also be served with papers as interested parties in the case. ClientEarth believes the government is in breach of a Supreme Court order to clean up air quality. The Supreme Court ordered DEFRA to produce new air quality plans to bring air pollution down to legal levels in the “shortest possible time”. But the plans the government came up with, released on 17 December 2015, wouldn’t bring the UK within legal air pollution limits until 2025. The original, legally binding deadline passed in 2010. The papers lodged with the High Court ask judges to strike down those plans, order new ones and intervene to make sure the government acts. ClientEarth said: “As the government can’t be trusted to deal with toxic air pollution, we are asking the court to supervise it and make sure it is taking action.” ClientEarth are launching a fundraising campaign to help fund this work. #NO2DIRTYAIR
DEFRA produces plan to improve air quality – Client Earth regards it as inadequate
A ruling by the Supreme Court in April 2015 required the government to produce a comprehensive plan to meet air pollution limits by December. The government has now produced this. The intention is that it has to include low emission zones, congestion charging and other economic incentives. It is thought that due to the failure to meet European limits of harmful NOx gases, which are mostly caused by diesel traffic, there are up to 9,500 premature deaths each year in London alone. Under the government’s plan, “Clean Air Zones” will be introduced – by 2020 – in areas of Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton where pollution is most serious. However, though vehicles like old buses, taxis, coaches and lorries have to pay a charge to enter these zones – private passenger cars will not be charged. Also newer vehicles that meet the latest emission standards will not need to pay. Client Earth, the lawyers who brought the legal case against the UK government, for breaching the EU’s Air Quality Directive, said the plan falls far short of the action necessary to comply with the Supreme Court ruling, and they will make a legal challenge to force the government to take faster action to achieve legal pollution limits. “As soon as possible,” or by 2020, is not soon enough.
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Supreme Court hears ClientEarth case on getting faster UK action to comply with legal NO2 limits
The Supreme Court in the UK heard ClientEarth’s case against the UK Government over its failure to meet legal limits for air pollution, for the final time on 16th April. This is the culmination of a 4-year battle in the UK and EU courts. The UK has been in breach of EU NO2 limit values in 16 areas. The Supreme Court case follows the 2014 ruling by the ECJ which held that the UK must have a plan to achieve air quality standards in the ‘shortest time possible’. The UK Government’s current plans will not meet legal limits for NO2 until after 2030 – almost a quarter of a century after the original deadline. ClientEarth is calling on the Supreme Court to order the Government to produce a new plan to rapidly deliver cuts to NO2 emissions in towns and cities across the UK. The plan will need to target pollution from diesel vehicles, which are the main source of NO2 pollution. That is particularly the case around Heathrow. ClientEarth wants Defra to produce the plan within 3 months. Defra’s lawyers suggested the plan might be produced before the end of 2015, but there is no indication when all areas would be compliant. As one of the five Supreme Court justices, Lord Carnwath, commented: “Here we are 4 years on without any idea when the Secretary of State thinks it will achieve compliance.” Judgment will probably be given one to three months after the hearing.
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Willie Walsh, the boss of British Airways’ parent company, IAG, has again lambasted Heathrow’s expansion plans as a “ridiculous glory project”. He said the £17.6bn plan to build the 3rd runway (just £200 million for the runway itself – not counting the M25 problem) could lead to a “completely unjustified” increase in airport charges, which airlines would have to charge to passengers, denting demand etc. IAG (which owns Iberia and Aer Lingus) have over 50% of Heathrow landing slots. IAG wants a 3rd runway, though it would increase its competition, but they want a cheap no-frills scheme – and have backed the £7 billion cheaper scheme promoted by Surinder Arora. The Heathrow scheme requires the demolition of the BA HQ at Waterside in Harmondsworth and IAG could end up effectively paying its own compensation through increased charges levied by Heathrow. Willie Walsh also said IAG’s new long-haul, low-cost brand Level might one day fly from Heathrow. At present, the subsidiary operates just two aircraft from its base in Barcelona. He hopes it will have 30 planes by 2022, and fly to destinations currently off the BA route map, like secondary cities in China.
HEATHROW THIRD RUNWAY A ‘RIDICULOUS GLORY PROJECT’, SAYS BRITISH AIRWAYS BOSS
Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA parent company IAG, demanded lower costs
By SIMON CALDER (TRAVEL CORRESPONDENT – the Independent)
The boss of British Airways’ parent company has lambasted Heathrow’s expansion plans as a “ridiculous glory project”.
Willie Walsh, chief executive of IAG, said the £17.6bn plan to add a third runway at Heathrow could lead to a “completely unjustified” increase in airport charges, which would have to be passed on to passengers. His firm also owns Iberia and Aer Lingus, and has more than half the slots at Europe’s busiest airport.
Mr Walsh was speaking at the ACTE-CAPA Global Summit at the Sofitel at Terminal 5, BA’s Heathrow base. He said the runway itself would cost only £200m, with the rest of the budget going on other facilities.
The IAG boss championed an alternative scheme by the businessman Surinder Arora, owner of the Sofitel and extensive property around the airport, which he said could save £7bn on the official Heathrow plans.
He also claimed that if British Airways’ HQ at Waterside in Harmondsworth were to be demolished to make way for the third runway, the airline could end up paying its own compensation through increased charges levied by Heathrow.
A Heathrow spokesperson said: “Expanding Heathrow is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to solve Britain’s aviation capacity crisis – with more competition and choice for passengers, improved resilience at the nation’s hub airport and double the cargo capacity for Britain’s exporters.
“It’s critical we get this right, and that is why we are pleased the Civil Aviation Authority has recognised the progress we and our airline partners have made on delivering Heathrow expansion affordably, so that airport charges can be kept close to current levels.”
The boss of Southend airport has weighed in on the expansion debate, demanding lower taxes for smaller airports to take pressure off Heathrow and Gatwick.
Glyn Jones, chief executive of Stobart Aviation, which owns Southend airport, said: “With serious doubts that there will ever be a third runway at Heathrow, the Government needs to address the airport capacity issue now.
“The good news is that there is lots of spare capacity in smaller airports up and down the country, that with a bit of support could be freed up to help.
“Unless we act, our two biggest airports are just going to get fuller and fuller with delays and customer service getting worse and worse.”
The Government is expected to give the go-ahead to the highly controversial expansion of Heathrow in spring 2018.
The IAG chief executive also said that the long-haul, low-cost brand Level might one day fly from Heathrow. At present, the subsidiary operates just two aircraft from its base in Barcelona.
Mr Walsh said it could expand to 30 aircraft by 2022, and fly to destinations currently off the BA route map, like secondary cities in China. But he said the UK’s strict visa rules for Chinese visitors needed urgent reform.
“You can’t do business with the world if you make it difficult for the world to get here.”
Willie Walsh and IAG: Work out cost of crossing M25 before Heathrow runway plan
Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG, says pushing through Heathrow’s 3rd runway should be suspended until there are proper plans of how the airport is going to bridge the M25. The section of the M25 that the runway would have to go over is about the busiest stretch of motorway in the UK, and it is unclear if there would be some sort of bridge (a cheaper option, about 8 metres above the road surface), or a proper tunnel (more expensive for Heathrow). IAG, and British Airways, are concerned the extra cost would mean higher charges by Heathrow, so higher ticket prices. Heathrow says landing charges would remain as close to flat “as possible” but Walsh fears they could double and they raised their concerns in their submission to the inquiry by the Commons Transport Committee, into the draft NPS. There are a few airports globally that have some sort of bridge, with planes taxiing above the road, clearly visible to traffic. None over such a wide, busy section of motorway. In October, when the bridge idea was first suggested (the Airports Commission always presumed a tunnel) papers from Highways England showed it described the scheme as “high risk”, warning of a “a substantial risk of excessive customer frustration about what might be prolonged period of disruption”. IAG is also deeply opposed to Heathrow ending night flights between 11pm and 5.30am, as that risks flights going instead to airports like Frankfurt, losing IAG money.
Willie Walsh reiterates that he will fight Heathrow runway, due to cost; content with 3 hub system for IAG instead
Willie Walsh has reiterated his determination not to pay the exorbitant costs of a new Heathrow runway (and that’s without the costs that the taxpayer would have to pick up for surface access improvements – which could be £20 billion). He said the current proposal to build a 3rd Heathrow runway is “indefensible” from a cost point of view and he will fight it. BA holds over 50% of Heathrow’s slots. Walsh said he was worried about the current Heathrow proposal because there was now “desperation by the airport to get a third runway and they are willing to do anything to get it.” He commented: “So the airport is incentivised to spend money while I am incentivised to save money.” Because the coalition government blocked a 3rd runway in 2010, in January 2011 BA and Iberia were merged to form IAG. Then IAG bought UK airline BMI, to get hold of its Heathrow slots, gaining an extra 42 pairs. That ensured IAG had enough Heathrow slots to secure its ability to compete from its hub base. Since then Walsh has made his plans to use a 3 hub strategy – with Madrid and Dublin as its two others, not depending so much on Heathrow. IAG also owns Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus. Dublin will be adding a new runway – probably by 2020.
Airport hotel tycoon, Surinder Arora, wants Heathrow runway built soon – but a bit cheaper
A wealthy hotel tycoon, Surinder Arora, has submitted plans for a 3rd Heathrow. He has been a long time backer of a runway, and says his plan would be £5 billion cheaper than what Heathrow is offering (costing £17.5 billion). He has put his proposal to the government’s public consultation on Heathrow (the NPS consultation actually closed on 25th May.) Heathrow has been trying to find ways to make their runway + terminal scheme cheaper, as the airlines are not keen on paying the higher charges that would be needed. Ticket prices would rise. (ie. lower airline profit). The Arora Group’s proposals include altering the design of terminal buildings and taxiways, and reducing the amount of land to be built on. They know the alterations to roads, including the M25 and the junction of the M25 and the M4, are massive problems and “threaten deliverability” of the runway project. They therefore want to “shift the runway”. Where to? All this shows how very uncertain the runway plan has become, and the immense doubts – especially on money. Heathrow said they would welcome views on various options “in the public consultation later this year.” The plans must first be assessed by the Commons transport committee, be amended by the DfT and then voted on in Parliament …. it is not a quick process.
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In his new book, The Climate Majority, Leo Barasi looks at the problem the UK has with its carbon targets and its desire to fly more and more. There is no doubt about the fact that to meet its climate targets the UK must restrict flying – but the government is going backwards on this, and the public are becoming less worried about aviation’s environmental cost. A 3rd Heathrow runway, with ever more longer haul flights, might produce around 9 million tonnes of CO2 each year, which is about 8% of all the emissions the UK can release in 2050 if it is to meet the Climate Change Act. The government is well aware of, but trying to ignore and conceal, the fact that the Heathrow runway can only be built and used if aviation growth at other UK airports is restricted – or we fail to meet the UK carbon target. The Airports Commission was well aware of the problem, and suggested the entirely implausible solution would be to hugely raise the cost of flying a few decades ahead, to cut passenger numbers. The current consultation by the DfT is focused almost entirely on planning for huge aviation expansion, prioritising consumers over the climate. Ironically, while an ever larger percentage of the population realises climate change is real, and caused by humanity, fewer are prepared to reduce their own flying at all. Just 21% say they would be willing to fly less to reduce the impact of climate change.
UK Government’s new aviation strategy is a plan for climate chaos
By LEO BARASI (Open Democracy UK)
11 October 2017
To meet its climate targets the UK must restrict flying – but the government is going backwards and the public are becoming less worried about aviation’s environmental cost.
Arguments about a new Heathrow runway may have receded to a distant rumble, but it’s an increasingly important question, with the government now planning to drop rules intended to make a new runway compatible with climate limits.
In the effort to limit climate change, a new Heathrow runway is a big deal. It would produce around 9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, which is about 8% of all the emissions the UK can release in 2050 if it is to meet the Climate Change Act. Even if more efficient planes could cut that slightly, it’s a vast amount for one strip of tarmac.
Even so, debate about the new runway is just part of a bigger argument. It’s nearly inevitable that meeting the UK’s climate targets would only be possible with restrictions on flying, regardless of what happens at Heathrow. But the government has quietly proposed a new aviation strategy that suggests it isn’t prepared to do that.
Suspension of disbelief
It’s mathematically possible for the UK to build a third runway at Heathrow and still meet its emissions target – but you have to suspend your disbelief to imagine it actually happening and the government now appears to have given up on the fantasy.
When the Airports Commission recommended expanding Heathrow, it knew it had to say something about climate change. So it came up with an answer that ticked the climate box, but which was hard to take seriously. Its cunning plan was for Heathrow to expand and then for every other UK airport to be prevented from doing the same. Even that wasn’t enough – to meet its climate limits, the UK would still have to leave some of its airport capacity unused. The Commission’s idea for how to do that was an implausible plan to ramp up ticket prices by eye-watering amounts, with the aim of discouraging poorer people from flying.
These were never realistic suggestions and, in its proposed new strategy, the government has given up the pretence that they would happen. Instead, it has set out a plan where “consumers are the focus of the sector and… their expectations continue to be met”. Since the government expects demand “to increase significantly between now and 2050”, its prioritisation of consumers over the climate means it is planning for more airport capacity “beyond the additional runway” – whipping away the justification of Heathrow expansion before the bulldozers are even warmed up.
This is a plan for the UK to miss its climate targets. It would mean aviation expanding well beyond what the government’s climate advisors say is possible within emissions limits. The result would be other sectors having to cut their emissions more than they are already due to, something the advisors say may not be possible. The only hope may be electric planes, but these still seem far off – if they are possible at all – for anything other than the smallest of aircraft.
Alarmingly, the government might well get away with this inconsistency – because its position is what most people want. A new survey has shown there is little public appetite for restrictions on flying for the sake of the climate.
The poll, part of the respected British Social Attitudes survey, found the UK public are intensely relaxed about the climate costs of flying. Only 35% disagree that people should be allowed to travel by plane as much as they like, even if it harms the environment. That’s a fall from a peak of 49% saying the same in 2008. And, when it comes to their own travel, just 21% say they would be willing to fly less to reduce the impact of climate change.
It’s striking that the survey also found that the highest-ever proportion now understand climate change is real and caused by human activities. So the lack of worries about the impact of flying don’t seem to be a result of doubts about the reality of the problem.
Instead, the survey reflects the fact that most people realise climate change is a threat, but haven’t had to confront what it will take to deal with the problem. This isn’t a surprise when many climate campaigners have focused on the easy and uplifting emission-cutting changes, like the switch to renewable power and efficient appliances, that make our air cleaner or reduce household bills.
Confronting the problem
Those uplifting changes are still necessary and it’s right to inspire people with evidence of how cutting emissions can make their lives better, but we can’t keep putting off the unwelcome conversations. The longer we do so, the harder it will be to win support for the difficult measures that will be needed.
As I argue in my book, The Climate Majority, flying isn’t the only one of these unwelcome issues, but it may be the first that countries like the UK will have to confront. Decisions that the government makes in the next few years could leave the UK with expensive infrastructure that could put the climate target out of reach.
The new aviation strategy reflects the obvious – but previously denied – fact that a new Heathrow runway would make it much harder to limit emissions. Yet public opinion is moving away from being willing to deal with the problem, just when wide support is most needed.
It’s possible that a new runway at Heathrow will be stopped by local protests that have little to do with climate change. But, whatever happens with that strip of tarmac, the UK’s climate target will be in trouble unless more people realise their desire to stop global warming is in conflict with the government’s plans – and the popular wish – for ever more flights.
The Climate Majority: Apathy and Action in an Age of Nationalism (New Internationalist) is now available.
Climate change: Ministers should be ‘sued’ by “Plan B” over insufficient 2050 CO2 targets
Prof Sir David King, the government’s former chief scientist, has said Ministers should tighten the UK’s official climate change target – or face the courts. He supports a legal case forcing Ministers to shrink UK CO2 emissions to zero by 2050 – and says the current government goal – an 80% emissions cut by 2050 – is too weak to protect the climate. Ministers have failed to enshrine a 100% cut by 2050 within the Climate Change Act, though it knows what needs to be done. A small group, called “Plan B”(run by former government lawyer Tim Crosland) is taking preliminary legal action against the government. The basis of their case is that the UK is obliged under the Act to tighten CO2 targets if the science shows it is needed. Professor King is backing this legal action. Mr Crosland has written to the Business Secretary (at BEIS) Mr Clark and says if there is no satisfactory reply after 14 days, he will take the case to the High Court for judicial review. The case would be argued in court by Jonathan Crow, a former senior Treasury lawyer. Targets do not on their own reduce emissions, but efforts are needed to ensure Climate Change Act fulfils its purpose. Meeting the CO2 target is made much harder, as the government apparently intends to ignore CCC advice on aviation carbon, allowing it to grow – seriously threatening the 2050 target and the chances of achieving it.
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Offsets can play limited role in reducing aviation CO2 – but there’s poor understanding of their limitations
With the growth in air travel demand forecast to outstrip fuel efficiency improvements, the only hope for the aviation industry’s CO2 emissions goals is if they could be achieved through the purchase of carbon offsets. However, says a new study, there is considerable misunderstanding about offsetting and the difference between scientific and policy perspectives. Offsets are merely a way to cancel out aviation carbon, by nominally assisting other sectors to make actual reductions in carbon emissions. Offsets are just a way of concealing the problem, and giving the impression that aviation is not just adding to global carbon emissions. The study says offsets do not “make emissions ‘go away’ in some miraculous manner” and there is a low level of understanding about the limitations of offsets in reducing global CO2. For example, the influence on the global climate system of additional atmospheric CO2 from the combustion of fossil fuels is not neutralised by offsets in the land sector. As it does not reduce atmospheric concentrations of CO2, carbon offsetting should be seen as a second or even third best option behind technological advances or demand reduction efforts to make the necessary deep cuts in aviation emissions over the long term.
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Blog by Cait Hewitt (AEF): Is global aviation climate policy heading in the right direction?
Cait Hewitt, Deputy Director of the Aviation Environment Federation looks at aviation emissions and whether we’re on course to tackle them. Nobody knows yet whether the ICAO agreement to implement a Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) beginning in 2020 will be at all effective in limiting aviation CO2 emissions. It depends on the unsatisfactory process of “offsetting” emissions from planes, using real CO2 cuts made by other sectors. At present, CORSIA is far less ambitious than the 2015 Paris Agreement. Cait asks: “…does carbon offsetting offer an effective response to the global climate challenge, as its advocates argue, or is it merely a way of putting off difficult decisions?” The UK’s statutory advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, has advised that market based measures should be seen as only a short to medium term solution for tackling aviation emissions, arguing that the sector should be preparing for deep cuts in its own emissions. Analysis suggests that achieving the Paris Agreement will require our economies to be zero emissions by 2070. However the UK government plans a huge expansion of the aviation sector, with Heathrow’s claimed economic benefits calculated over 60 years. The does not seem compatible with zero carbon by 2070. Cait: “We have yet to have a public or political conversation about what that could mean for the role of flying in our economies and our lives.”
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EU study shows most carbon offsets do not work – aviation sector plans depend on them
Carbon offsets are not working, according to a study by the European Commission. The concept of carbon offsets is to allow polluters to pay others to reduce their CO2 emissions, so they can continue to pollute. This is usually considered the cheapest (“most cost effective”) way to make token gesture carbon cuts. The EC research found that 85% of the offset projects used by the EU under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) failed to reduce CO2 emissions. EU member states decided not to allow the use of offsets to meet European climate goals after 2021. The global market-based measure adopted last October by ICAO relies exclusively on offsetting in its attempt at “carbon neutral growth” for aviation from 2020. Yet Europe is now endorsing the approach at ICAO to address international aviation emissions using the same approach that this report so thoroughly discredits. The problem with offsets is that they are often not making the CO2 cuts suggested, or that the cuts would have happened anyway. To make matters worse, the ICAO agreement so far fails to include important safeguards which would exclude the worst types of offsets eg. forestry credits, or ensuring adequate transparency about the offsets used. With CDM offsets trading for as little as €0.50 a tonne, offsetting will not cut CO2 – nor will it incentivise greater aircraft efficiency.
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UK government must not use international climate deal as a “smokescreen” with which to force through Heathrow runway
WWF is urging the next UK Government to come up with a credible climate plan for aviation – not just offsetting. They say the UK should not merely depend on the ICAO deal (very weak) as a “smokescreen” to pave the way for adding a 3rd Heathrow runway. The proposed new runway would make Heathrow the UK’s largest single source of greenhouse gases and increase emissions 15% over the limit for aviation advised by the Government’s independent expert advisers, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). The UK government hopes the ICAO deal for a global offsetting scheme agreed in Montreal last October – called CORSIA – would allow it to ignore aviation CO2. But the new WWF report Grounded explains ten problems with this approach. These include a weak target well short of the ambition of the Paris climate agreement and ignoring the non-CO2 pollution from planes, which probably almost doubles their overall global warming impact. The ICAO CORSIA scheme is no panacea for limiting the climate change impacts of airports expansion. The CO2 emissions from use of a new runway cannot just be offset. Instead government Ministers need to come up with a credible plan for limiting UK aviation emissions before making any decisions on allowing an extra (intensively used) runway (largely used for long haul flights). Otherwise, with no plan to deal with the huge increase in greenhouse gas emissions poses a very real threat to the UK’s legally binding climate change commitments.
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Air Berlin has revealed all flights will be grounded by the 28th October. Air Berlin has been in financial crisis for months, culminating in forced insolvency mid-August. It was bailed out by a £137 million loan from the German government, which has kept planes flying until now. Air Berlin’s crisis began when Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, which holds a 29% stake in Air Berlin, finally withdrew its funding as the airline kept losing money. Lufthansa and easyJet are in talks with Air Berlin to buy up parts of the company. Customers who booked Air Berlin flights prior to August 15 will not get their money back from the airline. Monarch ceased trading earlier this month, less than two months after Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy, and in May, Italian airline Alitalia also became insolvent. The demise of 3 major European airlines recently has prompted concerns about the future of the aviation industry. Competition between airlines has become every more intense, and more failures of European airlines are likely. While easyJet, Ryanair and Norwegian may be able to continue, some ‘mid-market’ carriers with relatively high cost bases being continually squeezed to a point of failure. All this could spell the end of the ultra-low fares people have become accustomed to.
Major airline cancels ALL flights after October leaving passengers out of pocket
AIR BERLIN has cancelled all flights beyond the end of the month as it prepares to shut down.
By CLAUDIA CUSKELLY (Express)
Oct 11, 2017
Air Berlin has revealed all flights will be grounded by the end of the monthAir Berlin has been in the throes of financial crisis for months, culminating in forced insolvency mid-August.
The airline was bailed out by a £137 million loan from the German government, which has kept planes flying until now.
But after months of uncertainty, the European airline has now revealed all flights will be grounded by the end of the month.
In a letter to employees this week, Air Berlin announced preparations to stop all services by October 28 “at the latest”.
Continuing to fly “according to the current state of things, will no longer be possible”, the correspondence revealed.
Air Berlin’s crisis began when Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, which holds a 29 percent stake in the German company, finally lost patience with the loss-making company and withdrew its funding.
Etihad said it was “extremely disappointing” in lieu of multiple cash injections to keep the company afloat, including £227 million as recently as April.
Lufthansa and easyJet are in talks with Air Berlin to buy up parts of the company.
As negotiations continue, many customers with flights booked beyond October 28 are facing cancellations.
Those customers who booked after August 15 when Air Berlin filed for insolvency will be entitled to full refunds or rebooking on an alternative flight.
Air Berlin news: The airline is one of three major European carriers to collapse this yearAccording to EU legislation, passengers will also be compensated for additional expenses incurred as a result of the cancellations.
But those customers who booked Air Berlin flights prior to August 15 will not get their money back from the airline.
It’s a similar situation faced by Monarch passengers who had flights cancelled as a result of the UK airline’s collapse.
Monarch ceased trading earlier this month, less than two months after Air Berlin filed bankruptcy.
Just a few months prior in May, Italian airline Alitalia also became insolvent.
The demise of three major European airlines in one year has prompted concerns about the future of the aviation industry.
The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) has called for an investigation into the BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton said: “There is a lot of understandable anger which, on the basis of recent reports, does seem to have some justification.
“There are hundreds of thousands of Monarch customers who want to know what happened and why they were still being sold flights on October 1 when the company Board had already decided it was going into administration.”
Thousands to be refused refunds as Europe’s 10th biggest airline ceases trading
Air Berlin will cease to operate flights by the end of October
By Annabel Fenwick Elliott, travel writer (Telegraph)
10 OCTOBER 2017
After months of uncertainty Air Berlin has announced it will be ending all flights in a matter of the weeks.
The bankrupt airline – Germany’s second largest and Europe’s 10th biggest overall – says it’s preparing to stop all services by October 28 “at the latest”.
In a letter to its employees on Monday, the airline said that flights under the airline code AB “according to the current state of things, will no longer be possible.”
Flights operated by its subsidiaries; Niki, an Austrian budget airline, and LG Walter, a German regional airline, will continue.
Air Berlin is currently in talks with Lufthansa (German’s biggest carrier) and UK-based Easyjet about selling parts of its business. The company said in the letter that “in a few days we’ll know more” about this.
Aviation expert John Strickland told the Telegraph: “This has been expected for some time. It’s now a question of how much capacity will be picked up by Lufthansa and most probably easyJet, and how many jobs this will protect.”
Where did it all go wrong?
Air Berlin declared bankruptcy in August following years of losses and the decision of its biggest shareholder, Etihad, to cease bankrolling it.
Etihad said in August that this was “extremely disappointing”, especially as it had provided extensive support to Air Berlin over the last six years, notably with a €250m (£227m) cash injection in April this year, but to no avail.
Air Berlin’s Italian rival Alitalia, also part-owned by Etihad, also filed for bankruptcy this year, with both airlines struggling to fight off competition from low-cost operators such as easyJet and Ryanair.
Air Berlin has also been dogged by delays and cancellations over the past months, which have resulted in it paying millions of euros in compensation to passengers.
In September, nearly 200 pilots called in sick at short notice in a move which forced more than 110 flights to be cancelled in a single day.
All this in turn has hit passenger numbers hard, causing them to fall by 24 per cent year-on-year in July from 3.22m to 2.44m.
Shortly after Etihad withdrew its financial support for Air Berlin, The European Commission approved a €150m loan to allow for the “orderly wind-down” of the airline.
It follows the high-profile collapse of Monarch earlier this month in what amounted to the biggest UK airline failure in history.
More than 110,000 of its passengers were stranded abroad following the sudden announcement, while a further 750,000 people have paid for flights they will not be able to take.
What is going on in the aviation industry?
Competition between airlines has reached fever pitch – and more failures could be on the cards.
John Grant, an aviation analyst, told the Telegraph: “The competitive environment has become increasingly challenging for many airlines, with many established legacy airlines launching low-cost long-haul services and the continual growth in services from airlines such as easyJet, Ryanair and Norwegian. This has resulted in many ‘mid-market’ carriers with relatively high cost bases being continually squeezed to a point of failure.
“There are perhaps too many airlines in Europe today relative to the size of the market, with too many struggling to keep market share. In the United States, five major airlines provide some 80 per cent plus of scheduled capacity and that may be where the European market will head over time.”
According to Telegraph consumer expert Nick Trend, all this could spell the end of the ultra-low fares we’ve become accustomed to.
He wrote yesterday: “We are certainly entering a new phase in the story of no-frills flying, one where fewer airlines are likely to dominate the market and fares may rise.”
The recent fall of several carriers is a sharp reminder that airlines are fragile constructs. They work on thin margins and are thus highly vulnerable to failure – anything from shifts in the economy to a sudden decline in the demand for certain destinations due to terrorism fears, as we saw with Monarch.
The last decade has seen the collapse of Zoom, XL Airways and Silverjet (all 2008), FlyGlobespan (2009) and Spanair (2012).
Globally, more than 250 have failed since 2007.
Every airline failure in the last decade, world wide (there are 255 in total – see website for the full list
These are the most recent 20:
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London is Europe’s busiest city for private aviation, and Southend airport (some 65 km east of London) has become the latest airport to tap into the market. It has announced that the “Stobart Jet Centre” will open in November. Stobart – the owners of Southend airport – hope it will cater for 5,000 private flights per year by 2022, and will be open 24/7 for 364 days a year. That means plane noise on any night for nearby residents, but Stobart see the possibility of flying any time of the night as a big draw for London’s private jet users. [That is, if they can be bothered to travel all the way out to Southend …] And it will be cheap. Stobart says it is “…confident that London Southend Airport will become a refreshing, hassle-free alternative to London’s current, crowded private aviation terminals…. The airport is 42 miles from the heart of London’s West End, while chauffeur transfers are under an hour by road to central London. There are also helicopter transfers to and from Canary Wharf or Battersea Heliport.” London Southend said that with no slot restrictions, it will be able to offer faster departure routes outside of London airspace, reducing flight times. There are restrictions on night flights at Southend, to protect residents from night noise. But these apply to commercial flights, not private jets.
A new private jet centre open 24/7 is coming to London next month
By Rebecca Smith (City AM)
A new private jet centre is opening in the capital next month.
London is Europe’s busiest city for private aviation, and London Southend has become the latest airport to tap into the market, announcing today that the Stobart Jet Centre is opening in November.
The centre is expected to cater for 5,000 private flights per year by 2022, and will be open 24/7 for 364 days a year.
The airport’s owner Stobart Aviation, part of the Stobart Group, said the flexible hours should prove a big draw for the capital’s private jet users.
Stephen Grimes, managing director, Stobart Jet Centre, said:
Convenience, speed and comfort are absolutely vital to the business and private aviation market. This has been at the heart of our thinking in developing our new terminal.
The Stobart Jet Centre will offer guests and pilots a smooth, premium experience because we can offer 24-hour availability and departure routes outside London’s crowded airspace.
We are confident that London Southend Airport will become a refreshing, hassle-free alternative to London’s current, crowded private aviation terminals.
The airport is 42 miles from the heart of London’s West End, while chauffeur transfers are under an hour by road to central London. There are also helicopter transfers to and from Canary Wharf or Battersea Heliport.
London Southend said that with no slot restrictions, it will be able to offer faster departure routes outside of London airspace, reducing flight times.
The airport is also hoping to prove competitive when it comes to landing, parking and handling prices. To park a Boeing business jet at the airport for 24 hours will cost £1,000, which London Southend says is seven times cheaper than some other London airports.
Yesterday, the airport announced expansion plans had nudged closer to taking off after it submitted an application for permission to extend its terminal building to Rochford District Council.
Southend Council’s website says, on night flights:
New controls have been put in place, which impose much more stringent controls on flights, and especially night time movements. Compliance is monitored by the Airport Consultative Committee and the Council and an Airport Monitoring Working Party has been established to review the position.
The new controls include the following important restrictions:
- The number of possible night flights per month has been reduced from more than 900 to 120
- The night period has been increased from 6 hours to 7.5 hours
- Strict noise controls have been introduced on aircraft operating from the airport
- Night time passenger flights are generally prohibited
- There is now a runway preference scheme to restrict the number of take offs and landings over the south west, Leigh-on-Sea area.
The new controls are set out in two planning agreements (s.106 agreements) which can be accessed on the Public Access pages of this website under application reference 09/01960/FULM. The controls are replicated in leases which can be obtained from the Land Registry.
Night Flight Controls (2300hrs – 0630hrs)
Night Flight Quota of 120 ATMs per month2
No aircraft with Quota Count (“QC”) of more than 1.0 (EPNDB 92.9) or any helicopters allowed to take off or land in the night period1 & 2
No Passenger Flights3 to take off or land between 2300 and 0630 unless they are Delayed or Diverted, provided that up to 90 Passenger Flights per month may be scheduled to land during the shoulder period of 2300 and 2330hrs4
If the number of ATMs at night exceed 120 there are provisions for compensatory adjustments in the Night Flight Quota for the following Quota Month.
London Southend is flying high as business travellers push private jet usage up 25%
By Courtney Goldsmith (City AM)
Stobart Group has invested more than £140m into the business airport (Source: London Southend Airport)
Business travel is taking off this year as London Southend Airport reported private jet usage was up 25 per cent year on year between March and August.
Compared to London’s other business jet airports, the Stobart-owned business has the advantages of its convenience and special offerings, said the airport’s head of business aviation Hannah Lo Bao.
London Southend is located 35 miles from central London, about a 55-minute car journey, and its position outside the city’s congested airspace means quicker journeys.
Read more: Southend Airport could take off with 50 airlines circling
The airport also boasts short aircraft taxi times, private helicopter transfers to London Battersea heliport and no slot restrictions.
“London Southend Airport is the smart and time efficient choice for business aviation, and we have capacity available,” Lo Bao said.
Stobart Group has invested more than £140m into the airport since it was acquired in 2008. A train station has been built just by the airport’s new terminal providing eight trains an hour to London, and a Holiday Inn has been built on-site.
In October, Stobart Group announced strong interim results for the six months to 31 August, with revenue rising 13 per cent to £65.3m.
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Chancellor Philip Hammond has become the first Cabinet minister to admit leaving the EU without an agreement could ground all flights from the UK to Europe. Giving evidence to MPs on the Commons Treasury Committee, the Chancellor said that was “theoretically possible” and a failure to reach agreement with the EU would halt air traffic between Britain and the 27 member states on March 29, 2019. However, he did not believe that would happen, and a deal on air travel would be struct regardless as it would be in the mutual interest of both sides. It would be necessary to make decisions so there is no interim period with no deal. He said: “What I am not proposing to do is allocate funds to departments in advance of the need to spend it.” All flights within the EU for the last 25 years have been governed by the “EU Internal Market for Aviation” – known as “open skies”. This allows any EU airline to fly between any two EU airports, subject to slots being available, and has worked since 1992. When the UK leaves the EU, there are no WTO rules to fall back on, and the UK would need to negotiate an entirely new treaty with the EU for any flights. All flights from the UK to the US are governed by the Air Transport Agreement between the EU and USA, and this would also need to be re-negotiated.
BREXIT: PHILIP HAMMOND BECOMES FIRST CABINET MINISTER TO ADMIT ‘NO DEAL’ COULD GROUND ALL FLIGHTS
By Simon Calder (Independent, Travel Correspondent)
Chancellor concedes it is ‘theoretically possible’ that air traffic between Britain and 27 member states could end on 29 March 2019; travel industry boss says ‘The public will be in uproar’
Philip Hammond has become the first Cabinet minister to admit crashing out of the EU without an agreement could ground all flights from the UK to Europe.
Giving evidence to MPs on the Commons Treasury Committee, the Chancellor said the eventuality was “theoretically possible” that a failure to reach agreement with the bloc would halt air traffic between Britain and the 27 member states on March 29, 2019.
But Mr Hammond insisted he did not think “anybody seriously believes that it where we will get to”, saying an air travel deal would be struck regardless.
He said “mutual interest” would ensure an arrangement would be put in place to prevent such an impasse.
“There will be points where it will be necessary to make go to no-go decisions around future programmes to be ready on day one,” he said.
“I am clear we have to be prepared for a no deal scenario unless and until we have clear evidence that is not where we will end up.
“What I am not proposing to do is allocate funds to departments in advance of the need to spend it. We should look at each area for the last point when spending can.”
It came as Mr Hammond refused to budget for a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario, just days after Prime Minister Theresa May announced emergency plans to avoid border meltdown for businesses and travellers.
All flights within the EU for the last 25 years have been governed by the governed by the “EU Internal Market for Aviation” – more crisply known as “open skies”.
It allows any EU airline to fly between any two EU airports, subject to slots being available.
Since 1992, open skies has allowed the development of low-cost airlines, starting in the UK and Ireland with easyJet and Ryanair. In a quarter-century, the number of passengers flying within Europe each year has almost tripled to nearly one billion annually.
Once the UK leaves the EU, there are no World Trade Organisation rules to fall back on. The UK would need to negotiate an entirely new treaty with the EU for any flights to take off.
Similarly, all flights from the UK to the US are governed by the Air Transport Agreement between the EU and Washington DC.
Another treaty will be needed, and it is unclear what will happen to the dozens of flights on Norwegian to the US from Gatwick, Edinburgh and Belfast.
A large majority of the holidays sold by tour operators and travel agents involve flying people to the EU, and inbound passengers from Europe are the most numerous inbound tourists to Britain.
Mark Tanzer, chief executive of Abta, the travel association, told The Independent the grounding of flights is a “theoretical and technical possibility”, but said: “I’m very confident that through the negotiations another structure will be put in place before that ever happens.”
“Clearly there are benefits on both sides to be able to fly to and from the UK.”
Paul Carter, chief executive of Hotelplan — which includes tour operators such as Inghams, Explore and Inntravel — said: “This is a negotiating tactic between our Government and Brussels, and the public will be in uproar if this doesn’t go through. So I don’t think it will happen.”
UK-based airlines told to move headquarters to Europe after Brexit or lose intra-European routes
The EU has warned airlines including easyJet and Ryanair that they will need to relocate their headquarters or sell off shares to European nationals, if they want to continue flying routes within continental Europe after Brexit. Executives at major airlines have been reminded during recent private meetings with EU officials that to continue to operate on routes between European airports, they must have a significant base on EU territory and that a majority of their capital shares must be EU-owned. This will mean they will need to act to restructure, with economic consequences for the UK, including a likely loss of jobs. Theresa May is due to trigger Article 50 next week. If the EU takes a tough line, it may result in the UK reciprocating with its own rules, which would leave EU-owned airlines facing equivalent choices. Some might establish their own British subsidiaries, as the demand for air travel in the UK is high and there is money to be made. EasyJet flies many routes within Europe (not from UK) and that is part of its business model. Ryanair is based in Ireland, but has some UK shareholders it will have to replace with Europeans. BA does not fly intra- European flights, and IAG is based in Spain. IAG is likely to need to disinvest shareholders in order to be majority EU-owned, and allow its other EU-registered carriers to continue to operate across Europe. The overall impacts on the UK will not be known for some time.
easyJet, IAG and Ryanair woes over the UK Brexit vote and hit to their businesses
Shares in easyJet have lost value since the Brexit vote, and the airline said its profits would be hit by Britain’s decision to leave the EU. There would be continuing economic and consumer uncertainty, partly about the membership of UK airlines in the single European aviation market. easyJet expected its profits to be £28 million lower than earlier expected, in the third quarter of 2016, and revenue in the second half of 2016 would be lower. Revenue per seat might be 8.6% down in the third quarter of 2016. easyJet said the weaker £ against the € and the $ would make foreign trips more expensive for Brits, and the low cost airlines would have to cut fares in order to attract them. That means cutting airline profits. Carolyn McCall, easyJet CEO, is urging the European Commission to prioritise British airlines remaining part of the EU aviation area “given its importance to trade and consumers”. (ie. given its importance to airline profits). The value of IAG shares fell on the Brexit result, and they issued a profit warning, as the economic slowdown likely in the UK would reduce air travel demand. Ryanair’s share priced also fell. It says it will not deploy new aircraft on routes to and from the UK next year, following the Brexit vote, and will instead focus on the European Union. At present, UK passengers are about 40% of Ryanair’s total. They expect the period of “considerable uncertainty” to last for many months.
Lord Adonis: Hard Brexit could halt Heathrow runway plans, as investors won’t risk the money in UK
National Infrastructure Commission chairman, Lord Adonis, says UK must maintain ties with EU to save key projects such as Heathrow 3rd runway and HS2. He said a hard Brexit would spell the end for the 3rd Heathrow runway. Heathrow airport was keen, before the referendum in 2016, for the UK to remain in the EU. While Heathrow, since the referendum, has argued that Brexit makes its 3rd runway ever more important, Andrew Adonis said private investment in infrastructure would be off the table unless Britain could maintain ties with the EU. He said that a host of major projects including HS2, Crossrail 2 and HS3 rail links between northern cities, as well as universal broadband and mobile services, would be under threat but particularly those that rely on private funding. “These decisions on Brexit have a crucial bearing on infrastructure. Business will not invest for the long term if they think Britain is going down the tube. It’s as simple as that.” And “If we were to go for a hard Brexit which severs Britain’s trading ties with the continent I think we could be heading for a calamity as a country.” The cost of the expansion at Heathrow would be about £17.5 billion (with Heathrow only paying about £1 billion towards surface access). They are trying to find cost savings. The money needs to come from its range of foreign investors, the biggest two of which are a Spanish Ferrovial (25%) consortium and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund (20%).
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The Commons health committee has warned toxic air could contribute towards dementia and even diabetes, as well as lung and cardiovascular effects. A new Inquiry by 4 parliamentary select committees, in to UK air pollution, has been started. Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, chair of the health committee, said: “There is an increasing amount of evidence showing the impact of nitrogen dioxide and invisible particulates on human health. Many people are aware of their impact on our lungs and hearts, but new evidence suggests that they could also contribute to diseases as disparate as dementia and diabetes.” The 4 committees launched a similar Inquiry in March, ending on 12th May. However, the General Election was called, and finally committees were re-constituted in September, with different membership. The Chair of the Transport Committee was Louise Ellman, and is now Lilian Greenwood. She commented that “Real change is possible if Government leads from the front to co-ordinate an effective response to one of the biggest issues of our time.” The mechanism by which PM2.5 particles could increase dementia may be through a critical Alzheimer’s risk gene, APOE4, interacts with air particles to accelerate brain ageing but the science is unclear. The mechanisms by which diabetes risk is raised are also unclear.
Britain’s toxic air ‘could cause dementia and diabetes’
By SAFEEYAH KAZI (Evening Standard)
The Commons health committee warned toxic air could contribute towards dementia and even diabetes
The alarm was raised over these potential health risks as four Commons committees re-launched a “super inquiry” into improving air quality across London and UK. New Inquiry.
Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, chair of the health committee, said: “There is an increasing amount of evidence showing the impact of nitrogen dioxide and invisible particulates on human health.
“Many people are aware of their impact on our lungs and hearts, but new evidence suggests that they could also contribute to diseases as disparate as dementia and diabetes.”
After the Government’s plans to cut nitrogen dioxide air pollution were deemed inadequate by the High Court, an inquiry was launched by four Commons committees in March into toxic air – but this was postponed by the general election.
Relaunching it today, Lilian Greenwood MP, chair of the transport select committee, said: “Real change is possible if Government leads from the front to co-ordinate an effective response to one of the biggest issues of our time.”
The “super inquiry” will explore whether the Government’s latest anti-pollution plans go far enough to deliver the maximum environmental and health benefits, as well as looking at how effectively departments work together across Whitehall to tackle the problem.
Neil Parish MP, chair of the environment food and rural affairs committee, expressed a “cause for concern” as London and other major cities are unable to meet legal pollution limits.
He added: “Our joint inquiry allows MPs to hold to account ministers from key departments on how effectively the Government is joining up work to clean up the UK’s air.”
The Government’s plan includes proposals for ‘clean air zones’ and an end to the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.
Mary Creagh MP, chair of the environmental audit committee, said: “Ministers will now face unprecedented scrutiny in Parliament to ensure they are doing everything necessary to protect people from filthy air.”
There is some information about what the mechanism by which particulate air pollution, from PM2.5, could increase the risk of Alzehimer dementia
Air pollution exposure may increase risk of dementia
For the link with Diabetes, see
Air Pollution as a Risk Factor for Type 2 Diabetes
Heathrow hopes to overcome its immense problem of air pollution, for a 3rd runway, by increasing the uptake of electric vehicles. However, these do not remove the pollution caused by PM 2.5 particles:
London’s air pollution from PM2.5 is widespread and bad – electric vehicles don’t solve the problem
New research shows just how bad air pollution by PM2.5 is across London. The latest updated London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory, shows that every area in the capital exceeds WHO limits PM2.5, which are particularly bad for health as they penetrate deep into the lungs. The particles have serious health implications – especially for children – with both short- and long-term exposure increasing the likelihood of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Young people exposed to these pollutants are more likely to grow up with reduced lung function and develop asthma. However, the main sources of PM2.5 emissions in London are from tyre and brake wear, construction and wood burning. A recent European commission research paper found about half of all particulate matter comes from tyres and brakes. Cutting the number of diesel vehicles helps reduce NO2 levels, but even converting to electric does not solve the problem of the particles from tyres and brakes. Heathrow hopes getting more vehicles on the road network near the airport might reduce air pollution enough to get its runway – but that will not solve its PM2.5 problem.
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