Ryanair will trial offering some flight transfers this summer, as it moves another step closer to mainstream airline practices. For years, Ryanair has been a strictly point-to-point airline, even actively warning prospective passengers against trying to make connections between two of its flights at major hubs, such as Stansted. It was bothered by luggage problems or delays, costing the airline money. But it will soon be testing a transfer service at Stansted and Barcelona’s El Prat airports. The trial “will allow customers to connect onto Ryanair flights without having to go back through security.” Ryanair said that if the trial is successful, it would “consider rolling it out elsewhere across its network.” Ryanair is also tentatively looking at plans to supply short-haul feeder passengers to other long-haul carriers. In September, it said it might consider providing connecting flights for long-haul airlines including Lufthansa and Air France-KLM within the next 5 – 10 years. This could boost Ryanair by expanding its network and growing (even more) passenger numbers. It may be that the flag carrier airlines will want low-cost airlines to feed in passengers from secondary bases across Europe.
Ireland-based low-cost carrier (LCC) Ryanair will trial flight transfers this summer as it moves another step closer to mainstream airline practices.
For years, Ryanair has been a strictly point-to-point carrier, going so far in years past as to actively warn prospective passengers against trying to make connections between two of its flights at major hubs, such as London Stansted.
As part of its move toward legacy airline standards in the area of customer relations, however, the airline has said it will test a transfer service at London Stansted and Barcelona’s El Prat airports this summer.
Stansted is Ryanair’s largest hub outside its Dublin home; it makes up more than 70% of the 20-million passenger throughput at the airport, some 30 miles northeast of the UK capital.
The trial “will allow customers to connect onto Ryanair flights without having to go back through security,” the airline said in a statement. A spokesman told ATW that the duration of the trial was not yet settled “as details are being finalized, but it’s for the summer months.”
The carrier has always fought shy of allowing transfer flights, concerned at the additional risk of ensuring baggage is transferred and the problems that arise if an incoming flight is delayed.
The airline added that, if the trial is successful, it would “consider rolling it out elsewhere across its network.”
Ryanair is also tentatively looking at plans to supply short-haul feeder passengers to other long-haul carriers.
The budget airline says it is in talks with a number of major carriers, including British Airways, on providing connecting flights to smaller airportsBy Bloomberg
17 Sep 2015Ryanair will provide connecting flights for long-haul airlines including Lufthansa and Air France-KLM within the next 10 years, as Europe’s biggest discount carrier targets tie-ups to expand its network and boost passenger numbers.“The low-fare airlines will be doing most of the feed for the flag carriers,” Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary told Bloomberg in an interview.
While network carriers will continue to service their main hubs, they will turn to low-cost operators to deliver passengers to secondary bases across Europe, Mr O’Leary said, adding: “It’s not going to happen tomorrow, but in five or 10 years time.”
Ryanair is in talks with British Airways owner IAG, Virgin Atlantic, Norwegian Air Shuttle, and Portugal’s TAP about providing feeder traffic in a move that would mark a major shift from its previous strategy.
The Dublin-based carrier has previously eschewed ties to other carriers, suggesting they’d be incompatible with the quick turnaround times central to the low-cost model.
However, the company is now looking to appeal to a broader customer base by sprucing up its service, adding frequencies and targeting primary airports.
“Lufthansa will continue to serve their main Frankfurt and Munich hubs from the 10 or 20 most important European Union cities,” Mr O’Leary said. “But they will say look, we’re losing money serving the next 20 or 30 European cities – why don’t we do a deal with one of the low-cost carriers?”
Ryanair has previously said co-operation with long-haul airlines could begin on some routes as early as the coming winter timetable.
Long-haul partners would be responsible for baggage transfer and dealing with missed connections.
While European airlines have enjoyed lower oil prices, which have boosted returns from strong summer traffic, the industry is likely to struggle as soon as the value of crude starts to rise, Mr O’Leary said.
“Everybody will look good for the next year or two because lower oil prices will make all airlines profitable,” he said.
“There are going to be very significant changes when in two or three years oil goes back up again to $100 or $150 a barrel. That’s when the next crisis for the industry will be.”
In March, the airline had to clarify its stance on whether it was planning transatlantic flights for as little as €10, saying that it had not approved any such decision.
“Even if we wanted to start flying tomorrow, there are no long-haul aircraft available, all the Eastern carriers have mopped up all available capacity for lease the next four five years,” said finance director Neil Sorohan at the time.
Just a few weeks ago Ryanair hiked its full-year profit guidance by a quarter following record late summer bookings, a strong pound and cheap fuel.
Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative MP for Tonbridge & Malling, obtained a Westminster Hall debate on 20th April, on the effect of aircraft noise on local communities. Many MPs spoke, representing the interests and concerns of their constituents at a variety of airports. The Aviation Minister spoke at the end of the debate, though did not manage to answer some of the questions asked. Below are some extracts of the debate – there is also a full transcript. Some of the issues raised were: that the CAA should take account of noise impact many miles out from airports, not only close to them; the serious breakdown in trust of the industry by members of the public due to dishonesty and dissembling; the health problems caused by plane noise; the impact where there is only low ambient noise; changes that will be inevitable if the UK meets its aim of being part of the Single European Sky by 2030; how to find a balance between dispersing routes between a number of corridors or concentrating on a number of routes; fair compensation for those negatively affected; and when the DfT will put out its consultation on future airspace. Tom Tugendhat concluded: If I am honest, I am little disappointed that we have not yet had a better answer on what the words “significantly affected” mean, and that we have not had …. a promise that the CAA and NATS will take into account the communities on the ground.”
Below are some (rather randomly chosen) excerpts that may be of interest:
I will begin by setting out what I hope to achieve. I thank the Minister, who has been incredibly helpful on the question of aviation noise, but today I would like him to do a few things. First, I would like him to clarify the position of Her Majesty’s Government on the term “significantly affected.” That vague term has caused difficulty for airports and agencies in designing flightpaths that cause the least disturbance. Secondly, I would like the outdated Environmental Protection Act 1990 to be refreshed so that aircraft noise is regulated in the same way as other disturbances, taking into account ambient noise so that the relative difference, as well as the absolute decibel level, is taken into consideration.
, I ask the Minister to demand that the Civil Aviation Authority takes noise disturbance into account and includes communities not just 10 nautical miles but 18 nautical miles from airports so that due consideration is given to local communities that are affected, not just those that neighbour the airport, when planning airspace.
Indeed, the World Health Organisation recommends that such noise levels at school playgrounds should not exceed 55 dB. In my area, and in the area around Gatwick, 15 schools are already exposed to such levels, and nine are overflown more than 20 times a day.
The Civil Aviation Authority’s aircraft noise contour model—a model with which you are no doubt incredibly familiar, Mr Howarth—measures only average noise for the 10 noisiest seconds. This is perhaps not always recognised, but it is a secret that I am willing to share with the House: aircraft move. That means that the average is significantly below the peak level, which is counted only 2.5 km from the rolling point of the aircraft.
When a road is planned or a railway is considered, all those affected have a voice. It seems that communities are only ignored when it comes to overhead infrastructure.
This is an area where we could and indeed should change things. That is why I ask for clarity from the Government on what reducing the numbers who are “significantly affected” means. Does it mean sharing the burden so that many are affected but not significantly, or does it mean placing the burden on the narrowest shoulders so that the fewest people are affected, but those who are affected will be severely impacted and their lives transformed? That guidance should be given to our planners. It would be given if they were planners on the ground, and it should be given to planners in the air.
No agency is responsible for long-term reduction in noise, and I hope the Government now recognise the need to task the CAA and NATS to take on that role, because although aircraft have become quieter and airports are beginning to behave themselves a little, it seems to me that this is an opportunity for the Government to step in and take the lead.
If they had been able to admit early on that there had indeed been a change, that NATS had indeed changed the approach and that Gatwick was indeed trying different things, we could at least have had a conversation. However, when they did it overnight in 2013 and then denied that they had done so, the breakdown in trust was such that even though Gatwick is now leading with the Redeborn and Lake review, which I will come on to, and, I would argue, leading best practice on how an airport should communicate with its neighbours, it will be a good number of years before many of us will have confidence that Gatwick can be a good neighbour. I am saddened to hear that there are other airports in this country that have behaved similarly.
Sadly, if we keep getting the dishonesty—or at least the dissembling—that we have seen, we will not have the level of trust required to build a better community.
One thing to note is that the whole review and the changes that we expect to result from it will have been a massive waste of time if Gatwick is allowed to expand with a second runway. We will go from 270,000 flights a year to 560,000, with an increase from 325 to around 850 flights a day over Wealden, which means more noise. The areas of outstanding natural beauty that we are all proud of will be even more compromised. The value of our houses will plummet, and, more importantly, the quality of our lives will be further disrupted by noise pollution.
The proposed changes to arrival routes at Gatwick are very welcome and we will do all we can to make them a reality as quickly as possible. At the same time, we must not lose sight of the bigger picture and the appalling consequences that expansion at Gatwick would have for our constituents because of aircraft noise.
Friends of the Earth, for example, contends that it is misleading to talk about the noise energy emitted by planes being reduced, which is what Heathrow says will happen. According to Heathrow, fewer people will be affected by noise when the third runway is built, when 250,000 additional flights are going over west London and there will be an increase in activity of just under 50%. I do not know anybody who actually believes that apart from the people who spin for Heathrow, but, as Friends of the Earth says, even if there is a decrease in noise energy emitted by planes, that is only loosely linked to human perception of noise, and a 50% reduction in noise energy is only just detectable by the human ear.
….. I particularly want to hear from the Minister about the review of night flights. The existing regulations end in 2017, so when are we going to have a consultation?
….. Tom Tugendhat
….. We have heard comments from Belfast and will no doubt hear comments from Scotland. We should work together to create a level playing field of understanding, so that the planning for another runway in Perthshire or in Penzance is the same as it would be for Gatwick or Heathrow. At least we would then have some common understanding of the impact on the community beneath, and decisions could be taken in a fair and equitable manner and not just on the basis of who shouts loudest and longest.
I hope the Minister will take on board what my hon. Friend Dr Lee said, because there is no trust in the information that communities are being given and in the action the airports are taking to alleviate such a serious medical issue. I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend Nusrat Ghani. I, too, have to wear earplugs, which I did not have to do a few years ago. Things have changed and we are being woken up at 4 in the morning. There is noise late at night and at all kinds of hours. There is no mitigation for night flights—none is possible.
We know that there is a direct correlation between noise pollution and cardiovascular events. We also know from the World Health Organisation that seven categories of medical problems are associated with noise pollution, so it is a very serious problem. As I said in an intervention on the hon. Member for Hammersmith, ambient noise does not make people less sensitive to noise. Ambient noise is a problem in itself; it provides no mitigation.
The LAeq measurement is an average; it does not take night flights into account. The other decibel measurement, Lden, is an average over 24 hours. The medical problem relates to when the noise happens, its peak and its irregularity, so the existing measurements are not meaningful for the communities that are disrupted by aircraft noise.
I notice that my local community group, Teddington Action Group, has reported that there is now a serious problem with planes flying at lower angles over longer distances, earlier in the morning and later at night. It is a serious trend. I am grateful to the action group for working out, with the publicly available data, that Heathrow is only just meeting its legal requirements, which are not adequate anyway.
I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Tonbridge and Malling that noise should be considered a statutory nuisance. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 should be changed to reflect that.
I absolutely condemn what is going on right now, and I also condemn the dissembling. Change is needed, because no mitigation is possible for the levels of noise pollution that are affecting my idyll of Twickenham.
I agree with the hon. Member for Tonbridge and Malling about the need for a public debate about flight routes and approach methods, but in my constituency the planes are on their final approach, so their routes cannot be varied. Steeper glide paths might actually increase the noise levels for those closest to the airport as the planes throttle back.
My constituents look forward to the promised quieter planes, to full alternation, to decent insulation and to a ban on night flights so they can have some semblance of normal life and can sleep through the night more often and wake up fresher the next day. They do not want the 46% increase in flights that a third runway would mean.
As the Davies commission pointed out,
“Knowing that aviation noise will be limited to certain times of the day is very important to many people.”
That is something on which I have common cause with Andy Slaughter and my hon. Friend Dr Mathias. With that in mind, I am horrified that Gatwick’s post-expansion proposal is to operate both runways for take-offs and landings throughout the day, offering no period for respite—not even during the night. Night flights are incentivised by Gatwick’s charging structure. That is a nightmarish vision of the future.
I am disappointed that night flights, which hon. Members have already spoken about, were excluded from the Gatwick review. Like the hon. Member for Hammersmith, I look to the Minister for reassurance that the consultation on night flights will be forthcoming this year.
Noise from aircraft operations is a real source of tension between airports, authorities, airlines and local communities. It is not only the annoyance or disruption, important though such things are, but the genuine public health concerns about ongoing exposure to aircraft noise. A report published in January this year by the Aviation Environment Federation drew on evidence accumulated over the past 20 years to highlight noise exposure and the way in which it can impact on someone’s quality of life. Some studies go further and draw links to the possibility of many serious long-term health problems, to which many hon. Members referred: my hon. Friend Andy Slaughter and the hon. Members for Twickenham (Dr Mathias) and for Wealden (Nusrat Ghani). All that shows that we need more research to understand in more detail the many variables at play.
(Labour’s 4 tests)
We have been clear about the four criteria against which we will assess a decision, whenever the Government announce it:
how it addresses airport capacity;
how that works in relation to carbon obligations;
local noise and other environmental impacts;
and how the rest of the UK, not simply the south-east, will be affected.
My worry about noise is that all written questions that other Members and I have tabled on the issue seem to receive a stock response from the Government—that they are conducting an ongoing review of their airspace and noise policies. That is fine, but we need to know what it involves. Are the Government in touch with the World Health Organisation to take account of health guidance, and what is their current thinking about the Davies commission’s recommendation on a ban on night flights?
The Government have commissioned Ipsos MORI research on public attitudes to aviation noise. If that is to inform the public debate, it needs to be published. My question to the Minister, again, is when it will be published.
I also want to ask the Minister about airspace redesign, a theme that has come up several times in the debate. Future approaches to the best use of airspace, bearing in mind changes and advances in technology, should inform issues of where to put new runways, and how they should be used. However, even without any airport expansion, the UK needs to modernise its outdated airspace management, in line with the EU single European sky programme. The benefits of doing that are obviously big, but the question is how we are to find a balance between dispersing routes between a number of corridors or concentrating on a number of routes. Either option has pros and cons for communities, and those that are negatively affected must be fairly compensated.
In appearances before the Transport Committee in February the Secretary of State and Department for Transport officials promised to publish a consultation on future airspace “soon”. What they would not say was whether the delay—and possibly further delays—in looking at expansion would lead to further delay in looking at airspace management. How soon is soon? What timetable is the Minister working on?
Does the Minister know what proportion of aircraft at each UK airport have not yet had such [presumably meaning stopping the A320 “whine”] devices installed? If he does not know, when will he find out, and what will he do to put such measures in place?
He may have seen that the question was raised in the other place earlier in the week about when the independent aviation noise authority recommended by the Airports Commission would be set up. The reply from the Government was, “We are not going to do anything until the decision has been made.” That is a lacklustre approach.
We have a strong aviation sector here in the United Kingdom, and we should be proud of it, but we want to ensure that it does all it can to reduce the effect of noise on communities. I know that airports and other stakeholders, such as airlines, the CAA and NATS, all realise the importance of tackling noise if the industry is to continue to grow.
(Master of understatement and example of evasive language typically used by the DfT and the aviation industry):
“As my hon. Friend mentioned, a recent change to the joining point for aircraft approaching Gatwick from the east has created concerns for some residents.”
… the Government believe that it is usually better to concentrate aircraft over as few routes as possible in order to minimise the number of people affected. That has been Government policy for many years and works well for many airports across the country.
Our current policy makes it clear, however, that there may be instances in which multiple routes, such as those that can offer respite for communities, can be better. The Government believe that those decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis, with local communities informing the process where possible.
For aircraft arriving in the UK, there are no set routes leading to the final approach. That is because arriving aircraft approach UK airspace in a random pattern and then have to be sequenced for safe operation by air traffic controllers.
My hon. Friend the Member for Tonbridge and Malling and my hon. Friend Jeremy Quin both referred to the lack of a night flight ban at Gatwick. The Government recognise the impact of noise disturbance at night and, for that reason, set night flight restrictions at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick. The current restrictions end in October 2017, and we will consult on future arrangements later this year to ensure that the cost and benefits of night flights continue to be balanced.
Performance-based navigation can vastly improve the accuracy with which aircraft can fly a designated route, and airspace systemisation will mean that they follow a more predictable route, reducing the need for interference from air traffic controllers. That will not only make air travel safer but reduce emissions and journey times. It will also offer the chance to reduce noise for communities around airports by allowing routes that can accurately avoid built-up areas and maximising the rate at which aircraft can climb or descend. For those benefits to be realised, however, we need to ensure that when those essential changes take place, they work for communities as much as possible.
(This paragraph is just waffle with no real content):
My officials are constantly reviewing Government policies on airspace and aviation noise. One thing I have asked them to consider is whether we can ensure that communities are informed and, when appropriate, consulted when such changes are to be made. They have also been working to deliver the right policies by engaging with all stakeholders, including representatives of local communities. I know that they have found that engagement valuable in ensuring that communities’ interests are represented, and we will continue that dialogue when refining our policies.
….. Tom Tugendhat summing up:
If I am honest, I am little disappointed that we have not yet had a better answer on what the words “significantly affected” mean, and that we have not had what I hoped we would have—a promise that the Civil Aviation Authority and NATS will take into account the communities on the ground when they are looking at the future airspace strategy. I think that is absolutely essential for all communities across our country.
It is about the rights of citizens in our great country to be treated fairly and with justice when some of the planning decisions that are most important to them are taken. Were a motorway to be bulldozed through their back garden or a railway to be bulldozed under their land, they would have a right to be consulted. When the same is done in the air—when a motorway is put over their homes, their lives are disrupted, their sleep is interrupted and their children fail to get to school on time because they are tired—they get no say. That is surely wrong. I welcome the Minister beginning to answer that, and I know that this is a fight we will take forward.
That this House
has considered the effect of aircraft noise on local communities.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned an advert from “Back Heathrow” claiming that most local people back Heathrow expansion. “Back Heathrow” is a lobby group, funded through Heathrow with the aim of pushing for the 3rd runway. Back Heathrow ran a regional press ad headlined “Rallying for the runway” with the line “Don’t believe the hype. Most people living in communities near Heathrow Airport support its expansion.” They claimed from polls there was 60% support. The ASA says the claim was misleading, and the 60% figure had only been massaged up from 50% to that level by omitting the 15% who did not express an opinion. The ASA considered most consumers were likely to understand it to mean that a clear majority of those surveyed in the poll (the original sample) were in support of expansion. They ruled that removing the 15% was “not a suitable methodology by which to draw such a conclusion, and was misleading. The ad must not appear again in its current form, and “Back Heathrow” must not repeat these claims ” unless it held robust substantiation for them.” This is a blow to “Back Heathrow,” the strategy of which has been to try to convince decision-makers that a majority of local people back a 3rd runway. That claim looks flimsy.
Advertising Standards Authority bans Back Heathrow advert over its claim most local people back Heathrow expansion
20.4.2016 (Hacan press release)
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned an advert from Back Heathrow claiming that most local people back expansion at the airport.
The lobby group, which was set up to push for a third runway and which receives funding from Heathrow Airport, was criticised for failing to provide polling data to back up its claim. Back Heathrow ran a regional press ad headlined “Rallying for the runway” which included the line “Don’t believe the hype. Most people living in communities near Heathrow Airport support its expansion.”
The Advertising Standards Authority received five complaints that said the claim that the group had widespread local support was misleading.
Back Heathrow said in a footnote to the ad that the latest independent polling showed 60% of local residents had “expressed an opinion in support of expansion”. The ASA found that to get to the statement of 60% in support, the Back Heathrow campaign had excluded 15% of those surveyed on the grounds they had not expressed any opinion, creating their own analysis of just for/against.
“Given that a significant number of respondents, who had expressed an opinion albeit a neutral one, had been excluded from the sample, we considered that this was not a suitable methodology by which to draw such a conclusion,” ruled the ASA. “We considered that the evidence held back by Back Heathrow demonstrated that only 50% of all those polled were in support of expansion.”
The ASA said that therefore Back Heathrow did not substantiate its claim that “most” people living in communities near Heathrow airports supported its expansion. “Consequently, the ad breached the [advertising] code,” the ASA ruled. “We told Back Heathrow not to repeat the claims … unless it held robust substantiation for them.”
John Stewart, chair of HACAN, the campaign group which opposes Heathrow expansion, said: “This ruling is a real blow to Back Heathrow as a cornerstone of its strategy has been to try to convince decision-makers that a majority of local people back a third runway. These claims are now starting to unravel.”
For further information: John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650
Heathrow ad lands in trouble for holding back polling data
Advertising Standards Authority bans campaign group’s advert that said most communities support expansion after finding it had held back polling data
By Mark Sweney @marksweney (Guardian)
20 April 2016
A group pushing for a third runway at Heathrow has had an ad claiming the support of most local residents banned after the advertising watchdog found it had held back polling data.
Back Heathrow ran a regional press ad headlined “Rallying for the runway” which ran with the line “Don’t believe the hype. Most people living in communities near Heathrow Airport support its expansion.”
The Advertising Standards Authority received five complaints that said the claim that the group had widespread local support was misleading.
Back Heathrow said that in light of another ASA ruling against a similar campaign it had run, which was banned, the group had made sure the survey of residents had come from constituencies the watchdog deemed “local to Heathrow”.
Within the 12 constituencies polled, 50% supported the expansion compared to 33% who did not.
Back Heathrow also said that it added a footnote to the ad which stated that the latest independent polling showed 60% of local residents had “expressed an opinion in support of expansion”.
The ASA found that to get to the statement of 60% in support, the Back Heathrow campaign had excluded 15% of those surveyed on the grounds they had not expressed any opinion, creating their own analysis of just for/against.
“Given that a significant number of respondents, who had expressed an opinion albeit a neutral one, had been excluded from the sample, we considered that this was not a suitable methodology by which to draw such a conclusion,” ruled the ASA. “We considered that the evidence held back by Back Heathrow demonstrated that only 50% of all those polled were in support of expansion.”
The ASA said that therefore Back Heathrow did not substantiate its claim that “most” people living in communities near Heathrow airport supported its expansion.
“Consequently, the ad breached the [advertising] code,” the ASA ruled. “We told Back Heathrow not to repeat the claims … unless it held robust substantiation for them.”
Groups such as Back Heathrow say they represent local residents who support a third runway at the site, however anti-expansion campaigners and Gatwick, which is competing to get its own new runway, have claimed the groups are a front for the airport’s own campaigns.
The battle between Heathrow and Gatwick over where to build a new runway to meet rocketing demand in and around London has become politically toxic with many residents and local politicians near both sites opposed to expansion. The government has repeatedly put off making a decision, and now says an answer won’t be given until this summer at the earliest.
20..4.2016 (TAG – Teddington Action Group press release)
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld complaints made by members of Teddington Action Group about a Back Heathrow advert claiming that “Most people living in communities near Heathrow Airport support its expansion”.
The decision follows a similar ruling by the ASA in September 2015 banning a pro-expansion advert from Heathrow Airport Ltd which claimed “Those around us are behind us”. In both cases, the ASA concluded that the claims could not be substantiated and were misleading.
Back Heathrow, which claims itself to be “a group of residents, businesses and community groups”, is in fact a lobby group, set up and funded by Heathrow Airport so as to give the impression of widespread local support for an extra runway. It is actually run by communications professionals, and headed by industry insider, Rob Gray, who previously worked for the Aviation Foundation to promote the interests of aviation to the UK.
In its ruling, the ASA found that Back Heathrow had excluded 15% of respondents who had responded to a poll as “neither in support nor against”, so as to increase the percentage of residents they could claim supported expansion. The ASA concluded that this was not a suitable methodology from which to draw the conclusion that “most people living in communities near Heathrow Airport support its expansion”.
Paul McGuinness, spokesman for Teddington Action Group said:
“We were expecting this ruling by the ASA, which again highlights the underhand tactics to which Heathrow Airport will readily resort, in their bid for a third runway. It was simply a question of “here they go again”. Back Heathrow itself, right from the start, has sought to mislead the public by claiming to represent communities when it is funded by Heathrow Airport. Heathrow is situated amongst some of the UK’s most densely populated residential areas, and excepting the vocal few who have a direct vested interest in the airport, the majority oppose the additional noise and air pollution that a third runway would bring”.
For further information, contact Paul McGuinness on 07958 589894.
Teddington Action Group is a genuine community group representing residents living in Teddington and the surrounding areas including Twickenham, Strawberry Hill and Hampton Hill.teddingtonactiongroup.com
Barley Mow Centre
10 Barley Mow Passge
20 April 2016
Holidays and travel
Number of complaints:
A regional press ad for Back Heathrow, a group in support of proposed Heathrow airport expansion, which appeared on 12 and 16 October 2015, was headlined “Rallying for the runway”. Further text stated “Don’t believe the hype. Most people living in communities near Heathrow Airport support its expansion. Find out more [website address]. The ad included a footnote which stated “The latest independent polling shows 60% of local residents, expressing an opinion support expansion. The research, the first since the Airports Commission made a unanimous recommendation that Heathrow should expand, highlights a strong level of support in the constituencies surveyed. The polling organisation Populus interviewed 12,004 residents from Spelthorne, Richmond Park, Brentford & Isleworth, Feltham & Heston, Windsor, Ealing North, Ealing Southall, Uxbridge & South Ruislip, Slough, Hayes & Harlington, Beaconsfield”.
Five complainants challenged whether the claim “Most people living in communities near Heathrow Airport support its expansion” was misleading and could be substantiated.
Back Heathrow referred to a previous ASA ruling about another Heathrow pro-expansion ad which made the claim “Those around us are behind us” together with a footnote that stated “Populus interviewed at least 1000 adult residents (18+) in ten constituencies local to Heathrow airport …”. The ASA had noted that the advertiser had identified the ten constituencies described in the ad as “local to Heathrow airport” as those: who were most impacted by Heathrow airport in terms of noise; were most vocal about its operations, or who had MPs strongly opposed to expansion.
However, the ASA concluded that in the absence of any qualification to make clear the basis on which those ten constituencies had been selected, that particular ad created the impression that the constituencies were those which were closest in terms of proximity to the airport. Because the advertiser did not hold evidence to show that individuals living in the ten constituencies closest to Heathrow Airport, in terms of proximity, were in favour of expansion, the ASA concluded that claim did not comply with the Code.
Back Heathrow said that in light of that ruling, they had ensured that their survey included those constituencies which the ASA considered to be “local to Heathrow”. As such, they were satisfied that their claim “most people living in communities near Heathrow” was compliant with the Code.
Back Heathrow said the claim “Most people living in communities near Heathrow Airport support its expansion” was supported by a poll commissioned by Heathrow Airport and conducted by Populus between 29 July and 20 August 2015. Populus had polled a total of 12,004 residents in 12 constituencies, including those identified in the footnote of the ad. However, they said that the name of one constituency, Twickenham, had been omitted from the ad’s footnote in error. Notwithstanding its omission from the ad, they confirmed residents in that constituency had been polled and their views had been taken into account.
Back Heathrow believed the term “most” could be interpreted to mean either a plurality (i.e. with at least one more than any other alternative) or a majority (i.e. more than 50%). They noted that the poll showed that of the residents within the 12 constituencies polled, 50% supported the expansion of Heathrow compared to 33% who did not. They also noted that had they relied on the 10 constituencies identified in the previous case as being “local to Heathrow”, their survey showed that 53% of residents were pro-expansion which they believed was a majority, and therefore, justified their use of “most”.
Back Heathrow said further that the statement in the footnote “The latest independent polling shows 60% of local residents, expressing an opinion support expansion” made clear that the 60% figure was based only on those polled who expressed an opinion, which they deemed to be either in support of or opposition to expansion. That particular figure excluded those who had expressed no specific opinion, responding as “neither in support nor against.” To support the statement, they calculated the percentage of those in support of expansion from the residents in each of the constituencies who had expressed a positive opinion and calculated the average percentage in favour of expansion. They believed that methodology showed that 60% of polled residents, who had expressed an opinion either way, had expressed support for expansion. Similarly, they said that had they applied the same calculations to the constituencies that the ASA had previously identified as “local to Heathrow”, the survey showed that 64% of residents were pro-expansion.
The ASA noted that headline claim stated “Most people living in communities near Heathrow Airport support its expansion”, which we considered most consumers were likely to understand to mean that a clear majority of those surveyed in the poll (the original sample) were in support of expansion.
That claim was accompanied by a footnote which identified clearly the constituencies that had been polled, which included, but was not limited to, the constituencies in closest proximity to Heathrow. We considered that footnote clarified the headline claim and therefore, it was likely to lead consumers to understand that those were the constituencies polled and the ones which Back Heathrow had identified as “communities living near Heathrow Airport”. While the name of one constituency had been omitted from the ad in error, we understood that nevertheless, its responses had been included in the poll and any subsequent conclusions drawn from the raw data.
The footnote stated “The latest independent polling shows 60% of local residents, expressing an opinion support expansion”. We therefore considered consumers were likely to interpret the claim “most people” in that context and therefore, they would understand it to mean that “most” referred to that 60%. However, we understood from Back Heathrow that the 60% figure referred only to those residents who had expressed an opinion either in support of or against expansion (for/against sample). Although we acknowledged that some residents expressed a neutral opinion (neither for nor against expansion), we considered nevertheless that they had still expressed an opinion. Because of that and in the absence of further clarification as to which residents had been regarded as “expressing an opinion”, we considered the statement “… 60% of local residents, expressing an opinion support expansion…” was unlikely to be clear to readers. We considered they were likely to interpret it as referring to all respondents except those who said “don’t know”, rather than referring only to those who expressed a clear preference one way or the other.
We assessed the data in the poll provided. We noted that it did not report any data from the for/against sample selected by Back Heathrow and upon which they relied to support the 60% figure stated in the footnote. Rather, it reported only the results of the original sample which showed that 50% of all residents polled expressed a pro-expansion opinion. To support the 60% statement, Back Heathrow had excluded 15% of the original sample on the grounds that they had not expressed an opinion in support of or in opposition to expansion and created a new sample group which consisted of only “pro” and “against” responses. They had then calculated the average of the total of all “pro” responses from that sample group to conclude that “… 60% of those expressing an opinion support expansion”. Given that a significant number of respondents, who had expressed an opinion albeit a neutral one, had been excluded from the sample, we considered that this was not a suitable methodology by which to draw such a conclusion.
We considered the evidence held by Back Heathrow demonstrated only that 50% of all those polled were in support of expansion. Therefore, we concluded it did not substantiate their claim that “most people living in communities near Heathrow Airport support its expansion” which was likely to be understood in the context of the statement “… 60% of local residents expressing an opinion support expansion”. Consequently, the ad breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1(Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Back Heathrow not to repeat the claims “Most people living in communities near Heathrow Airport support its expansion” and “The latest independent polling shows 60% of local residents, expressing an opinion support expansion” unless it held robust substantiation for them.
Advertising Standards Authority finds Heathrow advert about increased trade breaches their code and is ‘misleading’
In October 2014 about 13 people send in official complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority, on claims being made by Heathrow in its adverts. The ASA looked at 7 different complaints, and considered that 6 passed their standards. However, on the claim by Heathrow in its ads headed:”Expand Heathrow and its’s the economy that takes off” the statement “Direct flights to long-haul destinations build twenty times more trade with them than indirect flights” was found to breach the ASA code. The ASA say the claim was not adequately substantiated and that the ad therefore breached the Code, both by being misleading and by not having proper substantiation. The ASA say the advert “must not appear again in its current form.” They have told Heathrow “to ensure that they held robust substantiation for absolute claims made in their future advertising.” The ASA ruling also says the claim was presented as objective facts rather than an educated assumption and that Heathrow’s own report “One Hub or None”itself cautioned that direct flights would not automatically lead to more trade and that multiple factors could influence the amount of bilateral trade.
Heathrow Airport has been told by the ASA that its adverts claiming that “Those living around us are behind us”. Eight people had challenged whether the adverts were misleading and if they could be substantiated. The ASA concluded that the claim exaggerated the level of support for expansion, had not been substantiated and was misleading. They noted that the claims “Those living around us are behind us” and “Locals support it” were not qualified. The ASA considered that most readers would interpret the claims to mean that a clear majority of those living in close proximity to Heathrow Airport supported expansion. The evidence provided, however, showed that only 50% of those surveyed from ten constituencies close to the airport supported expansion. The ASA say the ads must not appear in their current form again. They told Heathrow Airport Ltd to ensure they held sufficient evidence to substantiate their objective marketing claims in future, and to ensure their claims were adequately qualified, without contradiction. John Stewart, chair of HACAN, said: “This judgement is not good news for Heathrow. It undermines a key plank of their campaign that they have strong local support for a third runway.” The ASA ruled against other Heathrow ads in February 2015.
And another set of adverts was considered by the ASA,but they did not rule against them:
Does Heathrow advert implying a small girl needs a 3rd runway, for her future, meet Advertising Standards?
Update: 10th December 2014
The ASA now say:
“….the investigation had been delayed due to some new points being raised by additional complainants. Since then another couple of issues have been added to the investigation, meaning that we have had to again engage in further discussion with the advertiser.
“However, we have now received Heathrow’s response on all points, including the newest ones. We are currently in the process of drawing up the documents for the next stage of the case, and hope that we may be able to send these out [to those who submitted complaints] by the end of the month.”
…. and they say “… the issues around advertising claims of this nature are complex and our investigation will necessarily take some time” …. and they are working to address the concerns of the many people who complained as promptly as they are able.
The Heathrow advert
Earlier this week, Heathrow put out full page advertisements for their 3rd runway. This is part of an on-going, and expensive media campaign. However, they may have mis-judged the tone of this one. It features a small girl, aged about 5, with her hand up – and the text makes out that her future well being will depend upon ….. guess what?? …. a new Heathrow runway. The advert says the 3rd runway will deliver “… at least£100 billion of economic benefits [no timescale given] the length and breadth of the country. …. So, even if our little girl never leaves home, she’ll still feel the benefit.” People may have been inspired to write to the Advertising Standards Authority, to complain about this rather dubious text, with unsubstantiated claims, making use of a small child, to try to make a PR point. One such letter to the ASA has been copied to AirportWatch, in which the writer clearly puts the case that what this child needs is a stable climate for her future, not accelerating carbon emissions. The writer believes the advert to be misleading, and asks the ASA to have it withdrawn. There is now an Avaaz petition to the ASA on this ad.
It has been well known for several years that Gatwick airport uses a range of (legal) techniques and schemes to minimise its tax payments in the UK. Now a research paper – one of a series that local campaign GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) is producing – sets out much of the detail of how Gatwick does it. The paper shows how Gatwick earns revenues of over £630 million per year, and yet pays no corporation tax. While public attention – and anger – have concentrated on Google and Starbucks, Gatwick is playing the same game. It pays no tax by complicated arrangements that include a combination of tax allowances for capital investment and deductibility of interest on debt, aided by a tangled web of inter-related company ownership in tax havens such as Luxembourg, Guernsey and the Cayman Islands. This complexity is not available to small companies. GACC says its new study is not easy reading for the layman but will be of considerable interest to investors who may be asked to fund a new runway, and to the DfT, which is at present trying to work on the new SE runway issue. Currently EU Finance Ministers will meet in Amsterdam on Friday 22 April to toughen company tax rules. That could cast doubt on the financial viability of a 2nd runway if some of the tax deals are tightened by by the EU and the G20.
Tax talks threat to Gatwick runway
(GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)
The EU Finance Ministers’ meeting in Amsterdam on Friday 22 April to toughen company tax rules could put a spoke in Gatwick’s second runway plans.
A new research study published today by GACC shows how Gatwick Airport Ltd earns revenues of over £630 million a year, and yet pays no corporation tax. Public attention has concentrated on Google and Starbucks, but the new study shows that Gatwick is in the same game.
Written by Ian Harris, a retired City corporate bond analyst, the study reveals that Gatwick achieves nil tax by a combination of tax allowances for capital investment and deductibility of interest on debt, aided by a tangled web of inter-related company ownership in tax havens such as Luxembourg, Guernsey and the Cayman Islands. ‘I would emphasise,’ says Ian, ‘that all of this is entirely legitimate and within UK tax laws. But it is an arrangement that would not come within the scope of the average small UK business.’
The new study is not easy reading for the layman but will be of considerable interest to investors who may be asked to fund a new runway, and to the Department for Transport which is at present trying to work out whether to recommend a new runway at Heathrow or at Gatwick. ‘It would be unfortunate,’ says Ian, ‘if this mechanism was to continue to deprive the UK exchequer of a significant amount of tax revenue at a time when Gatwick hopes the government will grant it permission to build a second runway.’
Ian adds: ‘It is beyond dispute that Gatwick, earning revenues in excess of £630 million each year, and growing, pays zero corporation tax despite being extremely profitable. Yet whilst the business has recycled considerable amounts of cash into modernising airport facilities in recent years, the shareholders have still enjoyed good cash returns through both dividends and repayments of tax-efficient “debt” capital.’
Doubt is cast on the financial viability of a second runway if the Luxemburg structure and benefits cease to be feasible, owing to ongoing EU and G20 pressure on so-called tax deals.
 Google etc are non-UK businesses which transfer their UK profits to lower-rate countries by paying above the odds for imported goods, patents, licences or management fees; the sort of structure GIP/GAL uses is a buy-out structure put in place for non-UK owners of a UK business. The similarity is that they both artificially reduce UK profits using a multi-national structure.
At the meeting on 22nd April, “The European Commission will be invited to give a policy reaction, i.e. an overview of the initiatives on the fight against money laundering, tax evasion and tax avoidance. Ministers and Central Bank Governors will be invited to exchange views.”
Margaret Hodge: Gatwick runway appeal ‘is hypocritical when it avoids corporation tax’
October 15, 2014
Gatwick has been accused of “hypocrisy” for avoiding corporation tax while campaigning to build a new runway, allegedly for the benefit of the UK economy. Margaret Hodge, head of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, said the airport should pay its “fair share” if it wants its runway campaign to be credible. She also criticised Heathrow which has not paid corporation tax for several years. But she particularly criticised Gatwick. Its Guernsey-based parent company Ivy Mid Co LP has invested in a £437 million “Eurobond” which charges the airport 12% interest, thus avoiding tax. Gatwick says this sort of bond is often used by other infrastructure companies. Companies in the UK should pay 21% corporation tax on profits, but by spending £1 billion on upgrading the airport, Gatwick has made no profit recently. Despite pre-tax loses in recent years, it has paid dividends to its overseas shareholders of £436 million. Heathrow has also avoided profits by investing in new buildings etc. Mrs Hodge said the companies “made a fortune” from their UK activities, which relied on public services, adding: “For them to pretend they are only in it for the benefit of the UK economy is a touch hypocritical.”
Gatwick Airport paid no Corporation Tax in three years
25.6.2013Gatwick Airport has a £1.2 billion capital investment programme to improve its infrastructure and facilities. But it paid no corporation tax for three consecutive years despite making £638m in profit before tax. Gatwick tried to defend this position, saying: “Whilst year on year we have lessened our financial losses we have yet to make a profit after tax. As a result the airport has not paid corporation tax …Our current £1.2bn capital investment programme and existing asset base, together with the associated debt structure, result in depreciation and interest costs which reduce our operating profits to a loss before tax.” In the 2012/13 year, Gatwick Airport made £227.1m profit before tax, a 2.5% increase, as it benefited from flights to new destinations in China, Russia, Indonesia, and Turkey. Despite this, it reported a net financial loss of £29.1m, citing asset depreciation and £226.7m of capital investment in the year. Corporation tax is only levied on a company’s net profit. In the UK the corporation tax rate is 23%. Under UK tax law, corporations can claim tax allowances on certain purchases or investments made on business assets. Campaign group UK Uncut estimates that clever accounting rules and complex tax avoidance schemes cost Britain £12bn annually. Details at http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=23002...
David Burrowes, the MP for Enfield Southgate, has called for high-powered drone owners to be forced to sign a register after British Airways flight BA727 from Geneva was struck by a device as it came in to land at Heathrow on 17th, probably in the Richmond area. Mr Burrowes, who sits on the Home Affairs Select Committee, said the gadgets can no longer be treated as an “innocent leisure pursuit” because of the security risks and potential for mass casualties. He also suggested looking at introducing licences for some of the more sophisticated models in order to aid police and investigators. There have been numerous incidents of near misses in the past year or so, with Heathrow having the UK’s largest number. Tens of thousands of drones, which can cost between £25 and £20,000 with the high-end ones being able to reach 6,000 feet, have been bought across Britain in the last few years and can be used without a licence or having to register with the CAA. Mr Burrowes said “at the very least there should be a register for the owner of drones.” Owners of those that are capable of rising to several thousand feet should be “willing to accept a basic registration system.” Currently the police do not have records of drone ownership. The CAA has a code for the use of drones.
Heathrow plane pose risk of causing mass casualties
By David Churchill (Evening Standard)
18 April 2016
A London MP has called for high-powered drone owners to be forced to sign a register after a British Airways flight was struck by a device as it came in to land at Heathrow Airport.
David Burrowes, who sits on the Home Affairs Select Committee, said the gadgets can no longer be treated as an “innocent leisure pursuit” because of the security risks and potential for mass casualties.
He also suggested looking at introducing licences for some of the more sophisticated models in order to aid police and investigators.
He was speaking after a BA flight from Geneva in Switzerland was yesterday struck by what is believed to be a drone as it came in to land at Heathrow following a string of near misses in recent months.
The pilot of flight BA727 reported being hit at about 12.50pm [earlier, as it landed at about 12.35pm] as the Airbus A320 approached Terminal Five with 132 passengers and five crew on board.
Tens of thousands of drones, which can cost between £25 and £20,000 with the high-end ones being able to reach 6,000 feet, have been bought across Britain in the last few years and can be used without a licence or having to register with the Civil Aviation Authority.
Mr Burrowes, also MP for Enfield Southgate, told the Standard: “You can’t just treat drones as an innocent leisure pursuit, it’s something that does and can cause serious security risks and potentially life-threatening risks.
“I think at the very least there should be a register for the owner of drones.
“I think if you’re going to be buying these high-powered drones, which are different from the toy drones which can’t go above trees because they have special powers to be able to go up into the skies, if you’re willing to buy that type of sophisticated drone you should be willing to accept a basic registration system.
“One of the problems for police is they haven’t got much chance of enforcing things if they don’t know who owns these drones and so they need help to do this.”
He said the Heathrow incident was “appalling”, adding: “The prospect of drones colliding with planes is very serious. We can’t just ignore it.”
Scotland Yard has launched an investigation after the pilot reported that the plane was hit by what he believed was a drone. No arrests have been made.
A force spokesman added: “The flight landed at Heathrow Terminal Five safely. It transpired that an object, believed to be a drone, had struck the front of the aircraft.”
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) “drone code” says the unmanned craft should not be flown above 400 feet and kept away from planes, helicopters, airports and airfields. Those with cameras fitted should also be kept 50m from people, vehicles, buildings and other structures.
A BA spokesman said: “Our aircraft landed safely, was fully examined by our engineers and it was cleared to operate its next flight.”
‘Drone’ hits British Airways plane approaching Heathrow, with no damage caused
April 18, 2016
The British Airways flight BA727 from Geneva was hit by a drone as it approached Heathrow (in the Richmond area) at about 12:50pm on Sunday 17th. The plane was an Airbus A320, with 132 passengers and five crew on board. After landing safely, the pilot reported an object – believed to be a drone – had struck the front of the plane. It did not do serious damage, and a BA spokesman said the plane “was fully examined by our engineers and it was cleared to operate its next flight.” This is thought to be the first time a drone has actually hit a plane, with many previous incidents of near misses. BA is giving the police “every assistance with their investigation” and the Metropolitan Police are asking the public to help if they have information. The CAA said it is illegal to fly drones near airports, and the penalties include imprisonment. In March, BALPA called for research by the DfT and the CAA into what would happen if a drone hit an airliner, after 23 near-misses around UK airports between 11th April and 4th October 2015. The effect could be serious if a drone smashed into the cockpit windscreen, or if it crashed into an engine. Unlike with bird strikes, the drones carry lithium batteries – there is concern these could cause a serious engine fire.
Moves to tighten rules on drones have been promised by the government after theLabour party and pilots’ unions called for urgent action, including a possible register of drone users and “geo-fencing” of airports, after a British Airways plane was struck on its descent into Heathrow.
Sunday’s incident is believed to be the first such collision between a passenger plane and a drone, after a series of near misses that led pilots to warn that a strike could be disastrous. The Air Accidents Investigations Branch said it would launch an inquiry.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said it would hold a public consultation before a strategy is published later this year. Labour has accused ministers of dragging their feet after aviation authorities confirmed a number of potentially serious incidents in 2015, including 23 near misses between aircraft and drones in six months investigated by the UK Airprox Board.
A DfT spokesperson said: “The government is leading efforts with international bodies to develop a stringent regulatory framework focusing on safety and a working group is looking at the issue.”
However, Labour said the working group had been in existence since 2013. The shadow aviation minister, Richard Burden, said: “Yesterday’s drone collision with a plane sadly comes as no surprise and we should be thankful that the pilot was able to land the plane safely. For months we have seen a rising number of near misses and Labour has consistently urged the government to wake up to the problem.
“We know drones pose a very real threat to public safety and we should learn the lessons from places like the US which have been quick to introduce a registration process.”
He added: “We need action but we are still yet to see even a consultation on the options. This now must happen as soon as possible.”
The Metropolitan police were contacted by the pilot and are investigating the incident. However, in most incidents confirmed by the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) Airprox Board, the operator of the drone has not been traced by police, although flying drones in the vicinity of airports is against the law.
Breaching drone rules would generally be summary offences with penalties decided by a court, but a more serious offence of recklessly endangering an aircraft carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
A CAA spokesperson said: “Drone users have to understand that when taking to the skies they are potentially flying close to one of the busiest areas of airspace in the world – a complex system that brings together all manner of aircraft including passenger aeroplanes, military jets, helicopters, gliders and light aircraft.”
The pilots union Balpa has been calling for a register of users, after a series of incidents at major airports around the country including Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester in the last year. Steve Landells, Balpa’s flight safety specialist, said: “Frankly it was only a matter of time before we had a drone strike, given the huge numbers being flown around by amateurs who don’t understand the risks and the rules.”
He added: “Much more education of drone users and enforcement of the rules is needed to ensure our skies remain safe from this threat.”
Other industry experts joined the call for tighter rules. James Stamp, the global head of aviation at KPMG, said: “People who fly drones in controlled airspace are potentially putting lives in danger, and should be subject to the strongest possible sanctions available under the law. A number of practical steps should be taken, including requiring drones to be registered, tougher penalties for irresponsible behaviour, and technology-based solutions that will prevent the drones entering restricted airspace in the first place.”
Earlier this year the Oxford Research Group thinktank highlighted the risk of civilian drones being used by terrorist or criminal groups, and suggested “geo-fencing”, where manufacturers would be required to install the GPS coordinates of no-fly zones in drones to prevent them functioning in those areas.
The rules on drones
The Civil Aviation Authority sets the regulations for the use of drones, or “small unmanned aircraft” weighing 20kg or less. The drone user must:
Ensure its operation does not endanger anyone or anything.
Maintain direct, unaided visual contact with the drone to monitor its flight path (normally keeping it within 500 metres horizontally and 150 metres vertically).
Not allow any article to be dropped from the drone to endanger persons or property.
Not fly a drone above 150 metres or in the vicinity of airports without air traffic control approval.
Not fly it within 150 metres of any congested area, or crowd of people, without CAA permission.
The AAIB investigation was closed at the end of April, for lack of evidence. It is thought this may not have been a hit by a drone. Link 28.4.2016 Guardian
A British Airways flight from Geneva was possibly hit by a drone as it approached Heathrow (in the Richmond area) at about 12:50pm on Sunday 17th. The plane was an Airbus A320, with 132 passengers and five crew on board. After landing safely, the pilot reported an object – believed to be a drone – had struck the front of the plane. It did not do serious damage, and a BA spokesman said the plane “was fully examined by our engineers and it was cleared to operate its next flight.” This is thought to be the first time a drone has actually hit a plane, with many previous incidents of near misses. BA is giving the police “every assistance with their investigation” and the Metropolitan Police are asking the public to help if they have information. The CAA said it is illegal to fly drones near airports, and the penalties include imprisonment. In March, BALPA called for research by the DfT and the CAA into what would happen if a drone hit an airliner, after 23 near-misses around UK airports between 11th April and 4th October 2015. The effect could be serious if a drone smashed into the cockpit windscreen, or if it crashed into an engine. Unlike with bird strikes, the drones carry lithium batteries – there is concern these could cause a serious engine fire.
Metropolitan police appeal following incident with aircraft
18.4.2016 (Metropolitan Police website)
Police are appealing for information after a plane on its descent into Heathrow Airport was struck by an object believed to be a drone.
On Sunday 17 April, a pilot on an inbound BA flight into Heathrow Airport from Geneva reported to police that an object believed to have been a drone had struck the front of the aircraft. It was flying at approximately 1,700 ft at the time of the incident shortly before the aircraft landed at 12:38hrs.
The flight landed at Heathrow Terminal 5 safely and was inspected by BA engineers. There was no damage found to the aircraft.
Officers believe that the incident occurred over the Richmond area, in proximity of Richmond Park, South West London. Local officers searched a wide area for suspects and/or debris but nothing has so far been found.
Aviation Policing are working with partners from British Airways (BA), Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to investigate this incident, which is being treated as an endangerment of an aircraft under Article 137 Air Navigation Order 2009.
Aviation Policing would ask for anyone who was in the area of Richmond Park or any surrounding open spaces on that day between 12:00hrs and 1300hrs who may have information to contact police or Crimestoppers.
We would also ask anyone to contact police if they find identifiable parts of drone in the Richmond area.
Anyone who can assist the inestigation is asked to contact Aviation Policing on 020 3276 1460; or alternatively Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
There have been no arrests and enquiries continue.
Chief Superintendent Martin Hendy, head of Metropolitan Police Service’s Aviation Policing Command, said:
“Thankfully the aircraft landed safely but the incident highlights the very real dangers of reckless, negligent and some times malicious use of drones. We continue to work with the Civil Aviation Authority and other partners to tackle this issue and ensure that enthusiasts who fly drones understand the dangers and the law.
“One of the challenges is to ensure people realise what is legitimate and what is illegal. The message is do not fly them anywhere near airports or flight paths, or over crowded places such as football and other stadiums. The potential is there for a major incident.”
[AirportWatch comment: The affected plane was probably BA727, from Geneva, (GVA) which landed at about 12.31pm, after taking the usual S shaped course, coming from the east, heading west over Purley, turning north around Epsom, heading east around Thornton Heath, turning north almost over Dulwich and joining the approach path around Battersea and then towards Richmond. See the plane’s route on Webtrak http://webtrak5.bksv.com/lhr4 12.18pm to 12.31pm.]
‘Drone’ hits British Airways plane approaching Heathrow Airport
A plane approaching Heathrow Airport is believed to have hit a drone before it landed safely, the Metropolitan Police has said.
The British Airways flight from Geneva was hit as it approached the London airport at about 12:50 BST with 132 passengers and five crew on board.
After landing, the pilot reported an object – believed to be a drone – had struck the front of the Airbus A320.
Aviation police based at Heathrow have launched an investigation. Police said no arrests have been made.
If confirmed, it is believed to be the first incident of its kind in the UK.
A British Airways spokesman said: “Our aircraft landed safely, was fully examined by our engineers and it was cleared to operate its next flight.”
The airline will give the police “every assistance with their investigation”, the spokesman added.
A Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) spokesman said it was “totally unacceptable” to fly drones close to airports, and anyone flouting the rules can face “severe penalties, including imprisonment”.
Steve Landells, from the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), said it had been “only a matter of time before we had a drone strike”. He called for greater enforcement of existing rules.
BALPA wants DfT and CAA to fund drone strike research – fears of cockpit hit or engine fire
March 2, 2016
Pilots’ union British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) are calling for research into what would happen if a drone hit an airliner, after 23 near-misses around UK airports between 11th April and 4th October 2015. In one incident a drone passed within 25m (82ft) of a Boeing 777 near Heathrow. Twelve of the incidents were classed as “A” rated, the most serious rating, by the independent Airprox board, meaning there was “a serious risk of collision”. Other incidents given the most serious rating include a drone coming within 20m (66ft) of a Embraer 170 jet on its approach to London City Airport above the Houses of Parliament on 13th September. Also a Boeing 737 had a near miss with a drone shortly after take-off from Stansted. BALPA wants the DfT and the CAA to back research into the possible consequences of a collision with a passenger jet. The effect could be serious if a drone smashed into the cockpit windscreen, or if it crashed into an engine. Unlike with bird strikes, the drones carry lithium batteries – there is concern these could cause a serious engine fire. The consequences of a drone hitting a plane would depend on a number of factors such as the size and speed of the drone and the location of the collision.
Drone over Heathrow was ‘wingspan away’ from collision with jet
UK Airprox Board reports two more high-risk near misses involving passenger planes, one at Heathrow and the other at Manchester airport
By Gwyn Topham, Transport correspondent (Guardian)
Two more near-misses between drones and passenger planes at UK airports have been reported by aviation authorities, including one a “wingspan away” from a jet landing at Heathrow.
Pilots have called for a clampdown on drone use after a spate of incidents. Among the latest six to be investigated and verified by the UK Airprox Board, which monitors the threat of midair collisions, three were in the most serious bracket of risk, one involving a small light aircraft and two involving larger passenger planes.
The closest calls came in late September as an Airbus A319, which typically carry up to 180 passengers, landed at Heathrow, and two days later as a turboprop commuter plane, believed to be a LoganAir flight to Scotland, left Manchester airport.
The pilot at Heathrow reported a drone helicopter hovering close to his flight path, and was unable to take evasive action as the drone passed less than 30 metres away from his A319. Police were called but the operator of the drone could not be traced.
The Manchester plane had taken off and reached an altitude of 3,000ft when a pilot saw a red and white drone pass less than 15 metres above the port propeller. Although the aircraft was undamaged, investigators concluded that “separation had been reduced to the bare minimum and chance had played a major part in events”.
Pilots fear that more near-misses occur than they witness, and say the trend is extremely worrying. The Balpa union has called for a registration system for drone users and more research into the possible effects of an impact.
A Balpa spokesperson said: “Once again we see these near misses happening at altitudes where manned aircraft frequently operate and also on approach to airports where there is absolutely no reason for a drone to be. We need to catch the people that are doing this before we see a collision and loss of life.
“Due to the small size of drones it is often the case that pilots see them so late that it is impossible to take avoiding action. The responsibility is on drone operators to keep them away from commercial traffic, and crucially, away from airports.”
A Heathrow spokesperson said: “The unauthorised use of unmanned aerial vehicles in proximity to an airfield is both irresponsible and illegal. Heathrow’s top priority is the safety of our passengers and colleagues. The CAA recently published revised guidelines on the use of UAVs and we will continue to work with them and other partners to ensure that any violation of airspace rules is fully prosecuted.”
Willie Walsh, the chief executive of IAG, which as the owner of airlines including British Airways is the biggest operator at Heathrow, said drones were “one of the inherent challenges we face with developing technology, and we need to keep the situation under review”.
Last month the board revealed details of seven recent incidents involving drones, four of which were classified as high-risk.
Near miss with airliner should spur review of drones, says Labour
Labour calls for urgent review of rules after UK Airprox Board reveals plane came within 20 metres of drone above Houses of Parliament
By Rowena Mason and agencies (Guardian)
The near collision of a drone and a passenger plane over the Houses of Parliament should be a wake-up call for the government to speed up its review of unmanned aerial vehicles, Labour has said.
Richard Burden, a shadow transport minister, said the near-miss over central London and other recent cases should be a “spur to action” after delays in the government’s promised consultation on regulating drones.
Luton plans to replace its much-maligned bus transfer service, from the station to the airport, and instead build a light rail link, costing £200 million. The 1.3 mile rail link could cut the journey time from London St Pancras to the Luton airport terminal to less than 30 minutes, which is faster than the time to Gatwick. It would connect to the terminal from within the Luton Airport Parkway railway station, one level above the platforms. A normal rail link has not been possible due to the steepness of the climb uphill to the terminal. The automated light rail service will be funded by Luton Borough Council, which owns the airport freehold and owns the necessary land. The role of the council will be controversial and the scheme will need to be scrutinised for conflict of interest. The airport is spending a further £110 million on redeveloping its terminals and layout to expand capacity from 9 million to 18 million passengers per year by 2020. EasyJet, the biggest airline using Luton, said the redevelopment was a key factor in its pledge to double the size of its operations there over the next decade. A planning application would be made in autumn for work to begin in 2017. The DfT is also working to enable travel between London and Luton by Oyster card or contactless payment by 2018.
Luton airport to replace bus transfers with £200m light rail link
Link between airport and local train station set to make transfers to London faster than those from Gatwick to capital
By Gwyn Topham, Transport correspondent (Guardian)
Friday 15 April 2016
Luton airport plans to park its much-maligned bus transfer service once and for all and build a £200m light rail link to the nearest railway station.
The fast-track service would make journey times between the capital and Luton airport faster than for those flying via Gatwick, the airport claimed.
The 24-hour, automated light-rail link would replace the buses currently used to transfer travellers between the station and the terminal, making the fastest complete journey from Luton airport to London St Pancras less than 30 minutes.
The 1.3-mile link will be funded by Luton borough council, which owns the airport freehold. While the station is almost adjacent to the airport perimeter, it is around 40 metres downhill from it, making a fixed rail link difficult to build.
Luton airport is spending a further £110m on redeveloping its terminals and layout to expand capacity to 18 million passengers a year by 2020.
The chief executive, Nick Barton, said: “We’re delighted Luton borough council is making the investment. It’s perfect for us: we’ve been on a journey but there’s always been that fundamental gap between the terminal and the very good train service – served by a bus, which just isn’t good enough.”
The rail link would connect to the terminal from within the railway station, one level above the platforms.
Barton said: “It’s raising the game and raising our standard. When you get to Luton Airport Parkway you will think that you’re actually at the terminal.”
EasyJet, the biggest carrier at the airport, welcomed the news, saying the redevelopment was a key factor in its pledge to double the size of its operations there over the next decade.
A planning application would be made in autumn for work to begin in 2017.
While Barton cautioned that it would need to “be scrutinised more closely than a normal application” because of any perceived conflict in the council’s ownership of the airport, which is let as a long-term concession, all of the land required is already owned by the council.
He said Luton was working closely with the Department for Transport to remove barriers to rail travel to the airport, including tackling any ticketing confusion, and allowing passengers to travel between the airport and London using Oyster card or contactless payment by 2018.
Luton would also benefit from the upgrade of Thameslink trains, as well as being served by St Pancras, Barton said.
“The whole train story is just transforming and this is the next big – but very big step – to making that journey superb.”
The news is likely to prompt further chagrin at the rival Stansted airport, where hopes of a fast rail connection to central London have been dampened by Network Rail concluding that upgrades would only shave 2-5 minutes from the current 45-53 minute train journey.
Passenger numbers grew 17% to 12.3 million in 2015 at Luton, which indirectly employs more than 8,600 staff. The airport serves 123 destinations, mainly operated by low-cost and charter airlines.
Luton Airport’s £200m light rail link proposals could see it vying with Gatwick for passengers
15.4.2016 (Business Daily)
New proposals for a £200m light rail link from Luton Airport Parkway train station to London Luton Airport could significantly cut journey times to the airport from central London.
The plans, which have been put together by Luton Borough Council, would see the introduction of driverless trains to ferry air passengers from the train station, replacing the current shuttle service which takes 15 minutes.
Running 24 hours a day, the proposed 1.4 mile rail link would also connect with the airport’s parking facilities and, if approved, could cut journey times from London St Pancras to below 30 minutes according to the airport.
This would make journey times quicker from the middle of the capital than the comparable journey to Gatwick.
The proposals have been designed by developers Arup and are pencilled in for a 2020 completion date, pending planning approval which is due to be submitted in the Autumn.
Nick Barton, chief executive, said: “We’re delighted Luton borough council is making the investment. It’s perfect for us: we’ve been on a journey but there’s always been that fundamental gap between the terminal and the very good train service – served by a bus, which just isn’t good enough.“
“It’s raising the game and raising our standard. When you get to Luton Airport Parkway you will think that you’re actually at the terminal.“
The airport is currently carrying out a £110 million redevelopment of its main terminal and is looking to introduce Oyster ticketing to Luton Airport Parkway by 2018.
“1% inspiration and 99% perspiration – the secret to great campaigning” – according to John Stewart, who has been awarded the Long-Term Achievement Award by the Sheila McKechnie Foundation. John has been an environmental campaigner for over 30 years. In the 1980s and the 1990s he was centrally involved n the campaign against road building. He chaired and organised an umbrella group of campaigners across the UK, fighting a huge expansion plan for motorways and trunk roads. Then in the 1990s John became involved in campaigning against the aviation industry. He became Chair of HACAN in 2000, and after 2003 chaired a diverse coalition of campaigners which successfully defeated plans for a 3rd Heathrow runway in 2010. John chaired the AirportWatch network until 2014. He has also been Chair of the Campaign for Better Transport, and the UK Noise Association, as well as being on the steering group of the Campaign Against Climate Change. He has written a number of publications, including “Why Noise Matters”, in 2011. In 2008 John was voted Britain’s most effective environmental campaigner, by the Independent on Sunday. He is leading campaigns against the current Heathrow 3rd runway threat, and against unacceptable levels of aircraft noise.
The Sheila McKechnie Foundation (SMK) was established in 2005 to help develop a new generation of campaigners who are tackling the root causes of injustice. Set up in memory of Dame Sheila McKechnie, SMK is entirely dedicated to helping campaigners create positive and lasting social change.
SMK runs programmes for individuals and groups providing support, advice and a place to share information on key areas of effective campaigning: from strategy, tactics, and targets to evaluating successful campaigns.
The Independent on Sunday has come out with its list of the top 100 environmentalists in the UK. It is a quirky list–many of the names are little known to people in Britain, let alone the rest of the world. They have been chosen for the impact they have made, many on local issues, rather than for their great fame. The top environmentalist is John Stewart, a man who has been working quietly for years on transportation issues and now spearheads the campaign against airport runway expansion at Heathrow Airport, outside London.
The IoS Green List: Britain’s top 100 environmentalists
Sunday, 12 October 2008
“Britain’s most successful transport campaigner has come top of the first comprehensive list of the country’s most effective greens, compiled by The Independent on Sunday.”
“The little-known John Stewart, who leads the onslaught against a third runway at Heathrow, soundly beats far more high-profile figures – from Jonathon Porritt to Zac Goldsmith, from Sir David Attenborough to Prince Charles – to take the honour. He does so in the wake of an important breakthrough for his campaign – the announcement by the Conservative Party that it plans to scrap the runway in favour of high-speed rail links that would supplant short-haul flights.”
[Sadly the IoS no longer has this story on its website].
Earthshakers: the top 100 green campaigners of all time
London City Airport has strengthened its comms team with the appointment of the Department for Transport’s Andrew Scott as PR Manager, “as the airport develops plans for expansion and prepares to mark its 30th anniversary in 2017.” Andrew Scott joins City Airport’s four-strong comms team and will be responsible for campaigns “which promote the airport’s time saving and convenience proposition to customers.” His role will also include oversight of the UK and 6 key European markets, which are supported by PR agency Grayling. Scott was a press officer at the DfT for 9 -10 months since July 2015, before that a media officer at the Museum of London, and before that at WPP (a huge advertising and PR company). Barclaycard’s Kimberley Hayden has also joined City Airport’s comms team as internal comms executive, and will be “responsible for employee engagement, including production of Airport Life magazine, 500 free copies of which are circulated internally each month.” The head of comms has been Charlotte Beeching, since December 2014. The airport now has new owners – Canadian pension funds – and is hoping to be allowed expansion “which would enable up to 6.5 million passengers by 2025.”
London City Airport enhances comms team
April 12, 2016
by Richard O’Donnell (Gorkana)
London City Airport has strengthened its comms team with the appointment of the Department for Transport’s Andrew Scott as PR Manager, as the airport develops plans for expansion and prepares to mark its 30th anniversary in 2017.
Scott joins City Airport’s four-strong comms team and will be responsible for campaigns which promote the airport’s time saving and convenience proposition to customers.
His role will also include oversight of the UK and six key European markets, which are supported by PR agency Grayling.
Scott was previously a press officer at the Department for Transport and, before that, a media officer at the Museum of London.
Alongside his appointment, Barclaycard’s Kimberley Hayden has also joined City Airport’s comms team as internal comms executive.
Hayden, a former copywriter at Barclaycard, will be responsible for employee engagement, including production of Airport Life magazine, 500 free copies of which are circulated internally each month.
The enhanced comms team comes as the airport develops further plans for expansion, prepares to mark its 30th anniversary in 2017, and adds to its 48 destinations. This summer the airport will begin new routes to Berlin, Bergerac and Alicante.
Charlotte Beeching, head of comms at City Airport, said: “With record growth, new ownership, millions being invested and major expansion plans in the pipeline, we have an important story to tell. By strengthening the comms team, we will ensure that story is heard loud and clear, to support the future growth of the business.”
The airport is also awaiting the outcome of a public inquiry into its proposed City Airport Development Programme (CADP), which was blocked by the Mayor of London in March 2015.
If approved, the airport plans to add seven new aircraft stands, a parallel taxiway and terminal extensions, which would enable up to 6.5 million passengers by 2025 and open up new routes to the US, Middle East, and Central and Eastern Europe.
See also – on the issue of “revolving door” between government and the aviation industry:
Revolving door revolves again: Vickie Sheriff (used to work at 10 Downing Street) to be Heathrow head of comms
September 23, 2015
There have for a long time been concerns about the “revolving door”, by which people switch between working high up in the aviation industry, and working high up in Government. The concern is that they may bring too much influence, from their earlier employer. Now it is announced that Vickie Sheriff it to become head of communications for Heathrow airport. Earlier she had worked for the Prime Minister, in 2013, with a dual role as official deputy spokesperson for the Prime Minister and head of news at Number 10. She went to the DfT and then Diageo in 2014. Heathrow’s director of PR, Simon Baugh, left earlier this year to work at the Department for Transport to take the role of head of communications. This is the job that was previously held by Vickie Sheriff. (Simon Baugh was not actually meant to be advising ministers on the new runway issue till 1st September, when he had been at the DfT for 6 months). Heathrow also appointed a new consumer PR agency in the summer. There have been several other high profile examples of the “revolving door” in the past, including Tom Kelly in 2009, who had worked for Tony Blair and then went to BAA as head of comms.
London City Airport hires Grayling to target European market
May 29, 2012
by John Owens (PR Week)
London City Airport is set to launch a major comms effort aimed at the European market, amid ambitious growth plans.
The airport has brought in Grayling to help promote its services in Germany, Spain and Ireland, as it seeks to expand from three to eight million passengers a year. The appointment follows a competitive pitch process.
The agency has been handed a retained corporate brief to enhance the airport’s reputation with potential corporate clients.
Grayling’s work takes place against a backdrop of concerns over the need for increased air travel capacity in London. There have been fears around access during the Olympics, following passport control problems at Heathrow.
London City Airport corporate comms director Jeremy Probert said the brief followed a new commercial strategy drawn up to accelerate growth.
‘Part of our commercial strategy is to add new routes and attract airlines – this brief supports that. By enhancing London City Airport’s reputation abroad and communicating the benefits of flying into the airport, we aim to increase passenger numbers, leading to increased frequency, larger aircraft and new airlines.’
He added: ‘It’s now reached the point where outside assistance is needed – specifically outside assistance with a knowledge of the markets in which our key end-of-route targets are located – to support and enhance the work of the in-house comms team and the sales team.’
Ursula Colgan, director of international client services at Grayling, said that the work would emphasise the airport’s convenient proximity to the capital. She explained that the brief would involve teams working in the three countries, with London acting as a hub for the work.
A £4m roster review by BAA, the owner of Heathrow and Stansted airports, is currently under way, in which agencies have been asked to pay around £1,000 to be considered for the work.
PR Manager, London City Airport. March 2016 – Present (2 months)
Press Officer, Department for Transport (DfT), July 2015 – Present (10 months)
Senior Account Executive, Burson-Marsteller. October 2010 – August 2012 (1 year 11 months) “My role was as a senior account executive in be more…, the consumer brand marketing arm of Burson-Marsteller, the global public relations firm part of WPP.” (sic) https://uk.linkedin.com/in/andrew-scott-7b673b2a
Heathrow may face more competition for hub traffic from Dublin, if there is a 2nd runway in 2020 – and airlines prefer using Dublin rather than Heathrow. This might mean Heathrow being partly sidelined. In May 2015 Aer Lingus, the Irish flag carrier, was bought by IAG (International Airlines Group) – which owns British Airways. As part of IAG’s takeover there was the benefit of new routes and more long-haul flights from Dublin, where Aer Lingus is one of the two main airline customers, along with Ryanair. Willie Walsh, IAG’s CEO, said in 2015 that owning Aer Lingus would allow IAG “to develop our network using Dublin as a hub between the UK, continental Europe and North America, generating additional financial value for our shareholders”. Willie Walsh believed that buying Aer Lingus was a wise move, as it was “inevitable” that Dublin would get a 2nd runway in the next few years. IAG believes that it can expand the group’s flights via Dublin or Madrid – especially if there is no new runway at Heathrow. It could have the impact of removing business from Heathrow – British Airways is the largest airline there with around 50% of the slots.
Heathrow faces competition from Dublin
By Vincent Boland in Dublin (Financial Times)
London Heathrow is to face more competition in the battle among Europe’s hub airports after Dublin said it would build a second runway by 2020.
As the UK government continues to postpone a decision on whether to build a third runway at Heathrow, the announcement on Thursday by the Dublin Airport Authority will fuel the debate over whether London’s hub risks being further sidelined by the delay as rival airports move ahead with expansion plans.
The announcement comes a year after Aer Lingus, the Irish flag carrier, was bought by International Airlines Group. IAG owns British Airways, and as part of its takeover proposal it promised new routes and more long-haul flights from Dublin, where Aer Lingus is one of the two main airline customers, along with Ryanair.
The significance of a second runway at Dublin is that it gives Willie Walsh even more of an alternative to a 3rd runway at Heathrow. After the Dublin runway plans were dropped in 2010, Walsh set in train his alternative: link up with Madrid and the new routes that offered (particularly to South America, the one continent not well served by Heathrow); buying Heathrow slots of other airlines (which he could convert to long-haul should the market be there) and expanding his base in Dublin.
IAG given clearance by Irish government to buy its 25% shares in Aer Lingus takeover
May 27, 2015
International Airlines Group (IAG), the owner of British Airways, is set to take over Aer Lingus in a deal that values the airline at €1.4bn after the Irish government agreed to sell them its 25% stake. The Dublin government’s agreement to sell their stake was critical for the deal to progress. Donohue said: “IAG has provided additional information and certain commitments in relation to its proposal.” IAG has further extended guarantees about routes to Ireland from Heathrow, from five to seven years, although they remain some way short of the decade-long commitment Dublin had sought. The guarantees also are dependent on airport charges being limited to inflation. The government has secured important guarantees on the maintenance of Aer Lingus’ iconic brand, and its head office staying in Ireland. There are also some assurances over protecting existing Irish jobs at Aer Lingus, which wants to continue to use Irish crew bases. Ryanair still owns 29% of Aer Lingus shares. About 46% is owned by Aer Lingus. The 24 landing slots Aer Lingus controls at Heathrow are among the most lucrative for BA. The Heathrow-Dublin link is one of the busiest in Europe, and highly profitable.
Dublin Airport may buy 40 homes, already badly affected by noise, in bid to step up 2nd runway plans
April 9, 2016
Dublin airport was given consent for a 2nd runway in 2007, but due to the recession it was not started. There are now plans to start work in 2017, for completion in 2020, though as much has changed in the years since 2007 on the aviation market, questions are asked about whether the original consent should still be valid. Due to the inevitably increased noise from the 2nd runway, it is likely that around 40 houses (mainly in the St Margaret’s area 2-3km from the airport) would be bought by the airport, and negotiations are planned. Triple glazed window insulation will probably also be suggested for hundreds of other properties including schools. A spokeswoman for the St Margaret’s Concerned Residents Group said the affected 30 home owners in her association are devastated but have no choice. The airport has assessed the level of noise necessitating house purchase based on 90 days of the airport’s busiest months from June to September. Residents, some of whom have been in the area for three generations, fear that a 2nd runway, with increasing frequency, growth in long haul services and more larger aircraft Dublin would compound the noise problem. The 40 homes are those affected now. (There would be a whole lot more with a 2nd runway).
Heathrow rules out IAG using Dublin as a third runway
By Joel Lewin and Peggy Hollinger in London (Financial Times)
Heathrow has dismissed suggestions that Dublin could act as a so-called third runway for International Airlines Group, a key argument in IAG’s contentious €1.4bn bid for Aer Lingus.
Advisers to the UK-based airline group have argued that it can expand Aer Lingus by redirecting some transatlantic passengers through Dublin airport, which would free up capacity at London’s congested hub for other routes.
But such arrangements would not relieve the pressure on Heathrow, said John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of the UK’s largest airport, which is campaigning to build a third runway.
“Dublin is a great airport, but if you look at what London needs — more long-haul connections to growing global markets, more export capacity — there is only one solution. To expand Heathrow. Dublin won’t do it, Gatwick won’t do it.”
British Airways, IAG’s flagship airline, is the largest carrier at Heathrow, which is operating at near full capacity on its two runways.
Aer Lingus is based at Dublin airport, which has one runway and, unlike Heathrow, some spare capacity. Gatwick, the UK’s second-largest airport, also has one runway, but wants permission to expand because it is busy at peak periods.
Work to build Dublin 2nd runway could start in 2017 for completion in 2020
April 8, 2016
Dublin airport is to press ahead with building a 2nd main runway, resurrecting plans that were approved in August 2007 but then put on hold when Ireland was plunged into financial crisis after 2008. The 2 mile runway will be cost about €320 million (£258m) with work starting in 2017. It may be ready by 2020, to meet rising demand. Passenger numbers at Dublin are now back up to where they were before the recession, and although the airport is not yet at full capacity, it is congested at peak hours. There were around 25 million passengers in 2015. Passenger numbers are expected to rise further. Dublin to London is one of the world’s busiest international air routes, while the facility to pre-clear US immigration in Ireland has made Dublin popular with transatlantic travellers. Ireland cut is small charge of €3 on air tickets in 2013, while Northern Ireland continued to charge £13 in APD. Many people therefore travelled from Northern Ireland to Dublin, to save money. Ryanair has over 40% of the flights at Dublin backs the runway, as does IAG. Willie Walsh has said he might consider using Dublin more if Heathrow got a 3rd runway, and raised charges sharply. There are some conditions restricting night flights very slightly, (65 per night 11pm to 7am) with the 2nd runway.