The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations’ aviation agency, has approved the first-ever binding agreement to achieve CO2 emissions reductions from new aircraft. New efficiency standards will apply to all new commercial jets delivered after 2028, as well as existing jets produced from 2023. This might achieve a cut in CO2 of about 4% in cruise fuel consumption, compared to the level in 2015. This is a very low level of ambition. Environmental groups, specifically the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) said the proposed standards were a missed opportunity and would have little real effect in curbing emissions. The standard excludes aircraft that are already in use, and as most airlines have lifetimes of 20-30 years, it will take decades to cover the current fleet. ICCT says some of the top performing commercial aircraft were already achieving the standard – with room to spare. By 2020, 8 years before the proposed standards were even due to come into effect, the average aircraft would already be 10% more efficient than the ICAO standard. ICAO recognised that “the projected doubling of global passengers and flights by 2030 must be managed responsibly and sustainably.” However, this does very little to achieve that. The exclusion high CO2 emitting international aviation and shipping was a major weakness of the Paris Agreement in December.
Global initiative introduces first proposal to reduce airplane pollution
International Civil Aviation Organisation plan of 4% fuel reduction of new aircraft starting in 2028 not enough to halt emissions, environmental groups say
by Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington (Guardian)
Governments proposed for the first time on Monday to reduce climate pollution from airplanes, plugging one of the biggest loopholes in last December’s landmark Paris agreement.
The global initiative was a first attempt to halt carbon emissions from air travel – one of the fastest growing sources of climate pollution.
In a call with reporters, White House officials described the standards as “a huge deal”, noting that the aviation authority has also proposed an aspirational goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2020.
But campaign groups, specifically the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), said the proposed standards were a missed opportunity and would have little real effect in curbing emissions.
The standards proposed at an expert meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao) in Montreal would apply to all new commercial and business aircraft delivered after 1 January 2028.
But they exclude aircraft that are already in use, and as most airlines have lifetimes of 20-30 years, it will take decades to cover the current fleet.
In addition, the standards would on average require only a 4% reduction in the cruise fuel consumption of new aircraft, compared to 2015.
The proposals will be put to countries for formal adoption next year.
Icao said the standard was aimed at larger aircraft, which were responsible for the vast majority of global aviation emissions.
“The goal of this process is ultimately to ensure that when the next generation of aircraft types enter service, there will be guaranteed reductions in international CO2 emissions,” Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, president of the Icao council said.
“We also recognize that the projected doubling of global passengers and flights by 2030 must be managed responsibly and sustainably.”
The exclusion of high-polluting industries such as international aviation and shipping was seen as a major weakness of the historic agreement reached last December.
Currently, air travel and shipping together account for about 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but are projected to account for about 30% by 2050. But emerging economies had balked at the idea of including shipping and aviation in the Paris agreement, and so negotiators left them out of the deal.
White House officials said they were satisfied with the proposed standard – given the range of countries’ positions. The European Union and some emerging economics had been reluctant to take stronger action. “This is a really a strong result,” the officials said. “It’s the first ever CO2 standards for aircraft covering existing aircraft.”
But campaign groups suggested the Icao recommendations would do very little to rein in emissions – and in some cases lagged behind technology that was already in use.
According to an analysis by the International Council on Clean Transportation, (ICCT) some of the top performing commercial aircraft were already achieving the standard – with room to spare. By 2020, eight years before the proposed standards were even due to come into effect, the average aircraft would already be 10% more efficient than the Icao standard.
“Given the substantial lead time for the standards, along with anticipated fuel efficiency gains for new aircraft types already in development by manufacturers, the standards will serve primarily to prevent backsliding in emissions,” ICCT said in a statement. “Additional action would be required for the standard to reduce emissions below business as usual.”
Vera Pardee, an attorney for the Centre for Biological Diversity, said the proposed standard put an additional burden on the Obama administration to make good on earlier promises to cut aviation emissions.
The Environmental Protection Agency had been waiting for Icao to bring in its standards before moving to cut emissions from the domestic airline industry.
However, the White House would not say whether the EPA would propose those new domestic standards before Barack Obama leaves the White House.
If the global goals laid out at the recent Paris climate conference are to be met, curbing aviation emissions is critical. But don’t expect last week’s agreement to set the first standards for airplanes to make a big dent. In fact, it will do little to reduce the rise in emissions from airlines, the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gases responsible for climate change.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations’ aviation agency, approved the first-ever binding agreement to cover emissions for aircraft. New efficiency standards will apply to all new commercial jets delivered after 2028, as well as existing jets produced from 2023.
The rub is that the long-awaited standard is lower than what the industry is on track to achieve anyway in the next decade.
As it stands, the most advanced jets being built by Boeing and Airbus (such as the twin-aisle B787s and A350s, or the newest versions of the narrow-body B737s and A320s) already meet or exceed this new efficiency goal.
About two decades after aviation started talking about limiting carbon emissions, and after six years of negotiations, the result is lower than “business as usual.”
All this matters given the size of aviation and the industry’s growth, with airlines projected to add 50,000 new large planes to meet rising demand for air travel around the world by the middle of the century.
While carbon-intensive industries like automobiles or power plants are being forced into significant emissions cuts over the next decades, the aviation deal appears to give air travel a pass.
There’s a fair bit of secrecy surrounding the civil aviation group’s process, and the Montreal-based organization won’t disclose details about the new standards until a formal vote scheduled in the fall.
This kind of secrecy as well as the reliance on standards crafted by the industry means questions and finger-pointing.
“Everything this week has been political,” said Bill Hemmings, the director of aviation and shipping at Transport & Environment, a Brussels-based environmental group, speaking last week about the negotiations. “It has been horse-trading of a massive nature, done in secret, all behind completely closed doors.”
The White House, which is eager to emphasize American leadership in fighting climate change, has put a positive spin on the deal.
Even those with the most to lose — the manufacturers and airlines — heaped praise on the agreement, which they said comes in addition to voluntary measures they have taken to increase fuel efficiency.
Airplane makers point out that they hardly need incentives to develop more efficient planes and not gas-guzzlers. Airlines have been pressing for planes that deliver savings on fuel — and therefore on emissions — for years.
Julie Felgar, a senior Boeing manager dealing with environmental issues, said Boeing had made a 70% reduction in fuel use since the dawn of the jet age, as well as a 90% reduction in noise. “And we don’t see that technology curve slowing down,” she said.
Both Boeing and Airbus, for example, have developed new versions of their best-selling single-aisle planes with the latest generation of efficient jet engines, which they say are 20 to 25% more efficient than earlier generations.
Both are also betting on a new generation of airplanes with lighter airframes that can also improve fuel economy — and emissions — by about 20 percent. Boeing has more than 1,100 787 Dreamliners on order and already delivered about 370 aircraft around the world. Airbus has so far delivered 15 of the more than 770 A350s it has on order.
But there is also some skepticism that airplane makers can keep churning out new and revolutionary designs. Because they were stung by the high cost and technical problems encountered while developing the 787, the opposite may be true.
Boeing’s chairman said two years ago that the company would seek to avoid more “moon shots” — by which he meant leapfrogging technologies — and would focus instead on producing planes more efficiently and more cheaply.
Many participants said the International Civil Aviation Organization could raise its standard in the future. But so far, aviation has contributed little to the effort to tackle climate change. As the Center for Biological Diversity said in a report, “That failure undermines global climate efforts and is neither fair nor justifiable.”
Countries Embrace New Rules to Limit Airline Emissions
February 9th, 2016
By Bobby Magill (Climate Central)
The United States and 22 other countries on Monday struck a first-ever international agreement to cut carbon emissions from commercial airplanes as a way to reduce their impact on climate change.
The agreement, announced by the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization, or ICAO, calls for a 4 percent reduction in fuel consumption from new commercial aircraft built after 2028 and from aircraft currently in production delivered after 2023.
The standards aim to cut carbon emissions from airplanes by more than 650 million tons between 2020 and 2040, roughly the same as the emissions from 140 million cars, according to a White House statement.
The ICAO is withholding specific details of the standards — including the ways in which airplanes will be required to emit less carbon — until its 36-state governing council can officially adopt the rules late this week or next, ICAO spokesman Anthony Philbin said.
Commercial airplanes are major emitters of the carbon dioxide contributing to climate change, accounting for 11% of all emissions from the global transportation sector. Those emissions are expected to grow by about 50% by mid-century as the demand for air travel increases worldwide.
The new standards are even more important as climate change warms the atmosphere, forcing aircraft to deal with more violent turbulence and increasing flight times and weight restrictions.
A Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution study published last year shows that climate change will increase wind speeds in some areas of the globe. That could lead to airplanes burning more fuel as they fly into winds. Total global carbon dioxide emissions could increase by 0.03 percent as round-trip flight times across the globe increase, according to the study.
To deal with those conditions, fuel efficient aircraft will be needed. Already, new efficient aircraft types are being built and developed — variants of Boeing’s 787 and the Airbus A350, for example — and they’re likely to meet or exceed the emissions standards proposed this week.
“The goal of this process is ultimately to ensure that when the next generation of aircraft types enter service, there will be guaranteed reductions in international CO2 emissions,” ICAO Council President Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu said in a statement. ”The projected doubling of global passengers and flights by 2030 must be managed responsibly and sustainably.”
White House officials said in a statement that the standards are part of a comprehensive approach to reducing aviation emissions through new technology and alternative fuels.
Reaction to the international agreement was mixed on Tuesday. Airlines For America, an aviation industry trade group, called the new standards ambitious.
“They will further support our global aviation coalition’s emissions goals to achieve 1.5 percent annual average fuel efficiency improvements through 2020 and carbon neutral growth from 2020,” Nancy Young, Airlines For America’s vice president of environmental affairs, said.
Environmental groups were blunt with their criticism.
“These standards set the bar embarrassingly low, ensuring that almost all aircraft will already meet the requirements well before they go into effect in 2023,” said Sarah Burt, an Earthjustice legal expert on aircraft pollution. “The aviation industry is sandbagging, which seriously hinders our efforts to meet the commitments we made in Paris.”
Although they are likely to promote the development of more fuel efficient aircraft in the coming years, they’re a missed opportunity because new airplanes already in development exceed the fuel efficiency standards announced this week, he said.
Boeing, Airbus and other airplane manufacturers began developing new fuel efficient airplanes a decade ago that are just being delivered to airlines. But with oil prices lower than they’ve been in more than a decade, the new standards may help ensure that the airlines and airplane builders will continue to focus on fuel efficient aircraft, Rutherford said.
ICAO trying to negotiate standards for fuel efficiency requirements for new and future planes
February 8, 2016
Talks are going on – till 12th February – in Montreal at ICAO, on global fuel efficiency standards for aircraft. The proposals would mean makers of the world’s largest passenger jets would be forced to upgrade models currently in production, or stop producing certain models as early as 2023 (or maybe 2028). Planes currently flying are not included. Big improvements in aircraft CO2 emissions are needed, as the sector was left out of the Paris agreement. The sector intends to continue growing fast – with emissions rising much faster than any feasible fuel efficiencies. As well as the fuel efficiency of planes, ICAO is meant to be (after 6 years) finalising a “market-based mechanism” for all airlines later this year – as a two-part strategy. There are differences between countries on how tight the fuel efficiency standard should be, on a scale of 1 – 10 (10 being the best). The US and Canada are pushing for more stringent targets than the EU. Environmental groups say the EU is dragging its feet. Airbus may have to change the engines on the A380, and the Boeing 747-8 may no longer be produced. Aircraft makers are not keen on having to make costly improvements to planes now in production. The tougher standard for new designs could go into effect by 2020.
The protesters who disrupted flights last summer have been told to expect jail when they are sentenced next week (24th) – the maximum jail term for their offence would be 3 months. However, it is possible that jailing the “Heathrow 13” could encourage environmental activists to cause more damage in future protests. The reason is that academics believe a custodial sentence would inspire demonstrators to cause more damage in future – because it would remove the incentive to seek a trial by magistrate rather than trial by jury. Environmental protestors involved in peaceful direct action generally make sure they cause less than £5,000 damage. Beneath this threshold, they are likely to be tried by a magistrate – and receive a lighter sentence (not prison) than if they had been tried by a jury. But if Judge Deborah Wright does jail the Heathrow 13, activists in the future may be inclined to do what it takes to secure a jury trial. Juries are considered less likely to convict than magistrates. Dr Graeme Hayes of Aston University believes the precedent is that non-violent protestors are dealt with leniently by magistrates. If that is no longer the case, there is the risk that “some activists may decide to cause more property damage.” Professor Brian Doherty, professor of political sociology at Keele University, agreed.
Heathrow 13: Jailing peaceful protestors ‘will lead to more disruption’, experts say
The protesters who disrupted flights last summer have been told to expect jail when they are sentenced next week
By Tom Bawden Environment Editor (Independent)
Jailing the “Heathrow 13” could encourage environmental activists to cause more damage in future protests, experts have warned.
The non-violent protesters who disrupted flights at Heathrow Airport last summer have been told to expect jail when they are sentenced next week – after being convicted at Willesden Magistrates’ Court.
But academics fear that a custodial sentence would inspire demonstrators to cause more damage in future – because it would remove the incentive to seek a trial by magistrate rather than trial by jury.
Environmental protestors involved in peaceful direct action generally make sure they cause less than £5,000 damage. Beneath this threshold, they are likely to be tried by a magistrate – and receive a lighter sentence than if they had been tried by a jury.
But if Judge Deborah Wright jail the Heathrow 13 at their sentencing on 24 February, protestors in the future may be inclined to do what it takes to secure a jury trial. Juries are considered less likely to convict than magistrates.
“It’s very clear that environmental activists take decisions on what they think the outcome is going to be. They don’t stumble naively onto the North runway at Heathrow thinking ‘Oh, I wonder what’s going to happen when we get arrested’,” said Dr Graeme Hayes of Aston Universitywho has been studying environmental protests for 25 years. [Graeme is a Reader in Political Sociology. His research focus is primarily on social movements, and on environmental sociology, and in particular the collective responses to climate change and to genetically-modified crops.]
“The Heathrow 13 are well aware of the precedent that when you’re a non-violent protestor the magistrate will deal with you leniently. But if you remove that basic understanding then the activists are much more likely to say ‘in that case we need a jury trial’ – and then comes the risk that some activists may decide to cause more property damage.”
Brian Doherty, professor of political sociology at Keele University, said he “agreed with the logic” set out by Dr Hayes that protestors may seek a jury trial in the future, if the magistrate sends the Heathrow 13 to jail. [Professor Brian Doherty’s principal research interest is in the relationship between radical ideas and actions, particularly in environmental movements. My work has therefore covered green parties, local environmental protesters, major NGOs, and environmental direct action in Britain and other countries.
The demonstration last July saw the activists – including 68-year old atmospheric physicist Dr Rob Basto and 44-year old filmmaker Sheila Menon – cut a hole in a fence and make their way onto the north runway.
Heathrow 13: Jailing peaceful protesters would be ‘unprecedented’ attack on dissent, judge told
Campaigners warn British legal system’s long-standing tolerance towards non-violent action is under threat
By Tom Bawden Environment Editor – Independent
Tuesday 2 February 2016
A judge has been urged not to act on her threat to jail 13 peaceful environmental protesters – as campaigners warn that the British legal system’s long-standing tolerance towards non-violent direct action is under threat.
A retired atmospheric physicist with a sick 94-year old mother is among 13 peaceful protesters facing prison later this month after a judge told them to expect a custodial sentence for disrupting flights at Heathrow Airport last summer.
If the “Heathrow 13” are jailed, this would be the first time peaceful environmental protesters have gone to prison for the offence of aggravated trespass since it came into force two decades ago.
In interviews with The Independent, members of the group said they are scared by the prospect of jail time but more convinced than ever that they hold the moral high ground. Some have vowed to step up their protests after release, to keep drawing attention to the huge role air travel plays in global warming. Heathrow 13 facing jail sentences stand on the right side of history
At 68, Dr Rob Basto is the oldest member of the group, who each face up to three months in prison when they are sentenced on February 24. Dr Basto, who lives in Reigate in Surrey, is an atmospheric physicist by training but spent most of his career as a software engineer on contract for the Wellcome Trust and Reuters.
Married to Judy for 29 years and with a 28-year-old son who also studied physics, he is particularly concerned about the impact on his family should he go to jail.
“I still feel fit and healthy and I go climbing. But I am quite apprehensive because of my family situation. My mother is ill and she’s 94,” he said. Dr Basto said he was “frightened” into protesting 15 years ago after studying research into the impact of climate change.
Danielle Paffard, 28, is a biology graduate of Oxford University who helped set up the UK Uncut tax avoidance protest group that occupied branches of Top Shop and Vodafone. She also faces a jail sentence for her part in the Heathrow action.
“I was very shocked by the judge’s comments. It was really galling to hear her say she understands the serious impact of climate change – but that we made some people late and that’s unacceptable,” said Ms Paffard, who grew up in the Nottinghamshire countryside with her mother, a psychiatrist, and father, who works in the NHS.
Ten of the Heathrow 13 have no previous convictions, while three have been convicted of aggravated trespass before.
Ella Gilbert, who recently finished an MA in climate change at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, added: “It is a bit of a shock, but I have absolutely no regrets or reservations about it. I think we’re standing up and making a difference by contributing to a wider discourse and actually stopping emissions from aviation.”
Campaigners were astonished last week at Willesden Magistrates’ Court last week as District Judge Deborah Wright found the protesters guilty of aggravated trespass and said she planned to jail them.
She paid tribute to the demonstrators for their passion about the environment – saying “They are all principled people” – before telling them custodial sentences were “almost inevitable”.
The Heathrow protest – part of the long-running Plane Stupid campaign to end airport expansion – saw the group cut a hole in a fence and making their way on to the north runway. The demonstration at around 3.30am on the morning of Monday July 13 forced the cancellation of 25 flights.
“It does feel harsh to send us to prison for a peaceful, non-violent direct action,” said 44-year old Sheila Menon, a London-based filmmaker and environmental campaigner.
Mike Schwarz, a lawyer from Bindmans who is representing nine of the Heathrow 13, said: “A custodial sentence would be excessive and wrong because there is a long history of recognition by senior judges that an allowance should be made on sentencing for peaceful protests of public importance.”
Paul Heron, from the Public Interest Lawyers legal firm, added: “For first time offenders, particularly because they not only alerted the authorities and acted in a peaceful way, it would seem harsh to attract a custodial sentence.” Mr Heron is not involved in the case and was speaking in a personal capacity.
Dr Graeme Hayes, a reader in political society at Aston University, who has been researching environmental protests for 25 years, said: “It would be unprecedented in modern times – for an environmental activist to be imprisoned for a peaceful, non-violent protest which the judge recognises as being conducted with honesty, sincerity and integrity.”
Occupations generally involve entering private premises without permission, and this usually means you are trespassing.
Even if you enter the site with permission – as a customer, say – that permission can be withdrawn if you become involved in the protest, and you may be asked to leave.
Trespass itself IS NOT a criminal offence, although it can become one if you interfere with the ‘lawful business’ taking place on the site (see Aggravated trespass below). You cannot be arrested for trespass, and committing trespass DOES NOT give you a criminal record.
Because you have entered private property without permission, security guards or doormen CAN use reasonable force to remove you, IF it is necessary to prevent harm to others on the premises or to prevent damage to property. However, if security guards use excessive or unnecessary force, they may be committing an assault. It is unusual for the police to arrest security personnel for assault, but if you feel you have been assaulted by security guards you might wish to take legal advice on making a civil claim for damages.
Depending on the situation, security guards may call the police rather than attempt to remove you themselves, especially if there are a lot of you.
Once it is clear that a protest or occupation is taking place, security will probably try to stop anyone else from coming in. Any use of force against security guards – trying to push past them, for instance – could be assault, and they would then have the right to use reasonable force to defend themselves.
Police, and especially security guards, can sometimes get very agitated about people taking photographs of them. Generally speaking, there is no law against taking photographs in private premises such as shopping malls or shops . Some malls and department stores make it a ‘condition of entry’ that you don’t take photos, in which case taking a photograph might make you a trespasser. But you would still not be committing a criminal offence.
There are laws of harassment and breach of privacy which can apply to photography, but it is very unlikely that these will apply if you are simply taking photographs in the course of an occupation.
Neither security guards or police have the power to assault you for taking a photograph, or to delete images. The police have the right to seize a camera in certain restricted circumstances where it is necessary to secure evidence of an offence, but this is rarely used.
Companies who are the target of an occupation will often call the police. The presence of the police does not necessarily mean that they are going to make arrests.
The police may start by trying to find out how long you intend to be in occupation, and whether any criminal damage has been caused. They will probably also talk to the owners / managers of the building, and find out what their attitude towards it is.
If you make it clear that it is a short term occupation – half an hour for instance – they may well decide that they are happy to let you leave in your own time. However, if the business is determined to prosecute, or you look likely to continue the occupation for a long period of time, the police may be more likely to make arrests. By far the most likely reason for arrest in an occupation is aggravated trespass, but there are others.
Beware ‘intelligence gathering’ by police in these situations. They may want to know the names of those involved, especially the organisers. This information will be entered onto a police database, and it is usually best to avoid giving any personal details or information to the police.
Use of force
The police can use ‘reasonable force’ to remove you from the premises or arrest you if they believe you are committing aggravated trespass (or any other offence). Force used must be the ‘minimum necessary’.
Protesters sometimes use bike locks, or superglue to attach themselves to something on the site, to make it more difficult for the police to remove them. This is not unlawful in itself, but may make it more likely that you are arrested for aggravated trespass. If the ‘lock-on’ causes damage to anything, you may also be arrested for criminal damage.
Being arrested on an occupation does not mean that you will be prosecuted. This can depend largely on the attitude of the company or organisation you have occupied. Some may have a policy of prosecuting all protesters, but there are a number of reasons a company might not want to do this. They may not want the publicity or may be worried about loss of public support or custom.
Also, being prosecuted does not mean you will be convicted. The law is sometimes very grey, and a good lawyer can make all the difference.
Unlike just common trespass, aggravated trespass is a criminal offence . To secure a conviction the police must first show that there was a ‘further act’ ,(DPP v Barnard) beyond mere trespassing. This ‘further act’ can be anything – playing music, putting up a banner, anything at all. Secondly, the police must show that this further act was intended to ‘deter, disrupt or obstruct’ the lawful business taking place.
There is no aggravated trespass if any disruption or obstruction is accidental.
It is a defence to claim that any disruption you caused was accidental and not intended, although magistrates may take the view that turning up with a load of people and banners does show you may have intended some level of disruption.
It is also a defence to show that the activity you are disrupting is unlawful. This is not easy to do, and you may be expected to provide substantial evidence of the law-breaking. Case law says there must be more than a “bare assertion” . You will also need to show that you have tried all other routes, where possible, to voice your concerns at the ‘illegal activity’ before taking action.
Aggravated trespass is a minor offence, dealt with by the magistrates court. The penalty at present is a maximum of three months imprisonment or a fine. It is very unusual for people to be imprisoned for aggravated trespass, and first time offenders are often given a conditional discharge – meaning that no further action is taken if you don’t repeat the offence.
Refusing to leave
The police can order you to leave if they believe you are committing or intend to commit aggravated trespass . If you refuse to leave then you are committing an offence, and can be arrested. The penalty if convicted is the same as for aggravated trespass.
Breach of the peace
In some occupations the police have reacted by making arrests to prevent a breach of the peace. In England and Wales, this is merely a power the police have to remove you from a place and detain you until the risk of a ‘breach of the peace’ is past. It does not give you a criminal record, or result in any criminal charges.
Nevertheless the police can only lawfully arrest for breach of the peace in very limited situations. They must have a ‘reasonable belief’ that there is an imminent risk of harm being done to someone, (or, in his presence, to his property). The police do not always keep to this definition, and if anyone is arrested in circumstances where there was no risk of harm, they should consider taking civil action for unlawful arrest.
In Scotland the situation is completely different, as there is an actual offence of ‘breach of the peace’, for which you can be prosecuted. It is a minor charge similar in some ways to s5 Public Order Act. You can be arrested if your conduct is ‘alarming and disturbing to a reasonable person’. Like s5 offences, it is horrendously wide ranging.
Public Order Act offences
It is possible that the police may seek to arrest for the more minor public order act offences.
S5 Public Order Act is a ‘catch all’ offence which criminalises any behaviour (including in writing, e.g. a banner) which is likely to cause ‘alarm, harassment or distress’ to any individual.
S4 Public Order Act covers conduct intended to cause alarm, harassment or distress, or which causes fear or provocation of violence.
It is highly unlikely that merely being part of an occupation would make you guilty of these offences. If you are arrested, don’t panic, get legal advice, and be aware of your right to make no comment to all questions including during an interview.
If you have damaged anything on the premises you may be arrested for criminal damage. The definition of damage is pretty wide, and includes damage that is ‘not visible or tangible’ according to the CPS. Even very minor damage has been used by police as an excuse to arrest, although it is less likely to result in a conviction in court.
You don’t have to have intended to damage something – it is enough if you have been ‘reckless’.
The police have to prove that it was you who caused the damage -, and that the damage wasn’t just an accident, although bear in mind ‘reckless’ behaviour.
It is a defence if you can show you had a ‘lawful excuse’, that you believed it was reasonable to commit the criminal damage in order to protect property that was in immediate need of protection.
Be warned – this is not an easy defence to run!
Damage of less than £5,000 is dealt with by the magistrates court. The maximum penalty is three months imprisonment or a fine. Sentences vary, but minor damage will normally result in a fine or conditional discharge.
A Virgin flight (VS025) heading to New York turned back to Heathrow after a laser beam was shone into the cockpit, Virgin Atlantic has said. The crew told air traffic control there was a “medical issue” with one of the pilots after the laser hit flight VS025 after take-off at 20:13 GMT on Sunday 14th. The flight turned back some way west of Ireland, after burning off and dumping excess fuel, in order to land safely. The radio clip of the conversation between air traffic control and the pilot indicated the laser attack may have happened some 6 – 7 miles west of Heathrow (the plane took off towards the east and turned west). The plane was landed safely, as the other pilot was not affected. [What happens if both pilots are affected ….] Shining lasers at planes is illegal. A new law introduced in 2010 means someone can be charged with “shining a light at an aircraft in flight so as to dazzle the pilot”. Balpa general secretary Jim McAuslan said lasers were “incredibly dangerous”, and called for the government to classify them as “offensive weapons”. Aircraft are attacked with lasers at an alarming rate and with lasers with ever-increasing strength. Between January 2009 and June 2015 more than 8,998 laser incidents across the country were reported to the UK CAA. In 2014, there were 1,440 incidents, with 168 at Heathrow, which has the highest number.
In a recording from the cockpit which was published online, a crew member is heard telling Irish air traffic that the incident took place six to seven miles west of Heathrow.
‘Pilot shot in the eye’
Virgin Atlantic said the flight returned to the west London airport as a “precautionary measure” after the co-pilot reported feeling unwell.
The airline apologised to passengers for any inconvenience caused, and said it was working with the authorities to identify the source of the laser.Image copyrightMax Earey
Passengers are due to board an alternative flight at 13:00 GMT on Monday, but some complained about the length of the delay.
Photographer Max Earey tweeted: “So the aircraft lands @10.30 pm but you can’t get me out again until 1pm tomorrow! REALLY @VirginAtlantic I’m losing a whole day of my trip.”
But Jessica Moore, who was travelling to New York for a holiday with her boyfriend, said she thought the pilots were right to turn around, and Virgin had treated them well.
“Many people on the plane were quite worried they weren’t telling us the whole truth, but I didn’t think that was the case,” she said.
“Obviously it is frustrating to lose a day of our holidays; I am travelling to New York with my boyfriend and we were supposed to stay there for five days.”
A new law introduced in 2010 means someone can be charged with “shining a light at an aircraft in flight so as to dazzle the pilot”.
According to the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), a laser can result in temporary vision loss associated with flash blindness; a “visual interference that persists after the source of illumination has been removed”.
It can also cause an after-image – an “image left in the visual field after exposure to a bright light” – and glare in the cockpit.
Balpa general secretary Jim McAuslan said lasers were “incredibly dangerous”, and called for the government to classify them as “offensive weapons”.
“This is not an isolated incident. Aircraft are attacked with lasers at an alarming rate and with lasers with ever-increasing strength,” he said. “Make lasers an offensive weapon. Modern lasers have the power to blind, and certainly to act as a huge distraction and to dazzle the pilots during critical phases of flight.”
Janet Alexander, a commercial airline pilot, described the experience as “very like a lightning strike in that it’s very instantaneous, very, very bright light, which is dazzling basically”.
“And of course if it’s targeted in exactly the wrong way you could permanently damage someone’s sight.”
Laser terror at 10,000ft on board Virgin Atlantic flight from Heathrow
By JUSTIN DAVENPORT, BENEDICT MOORE-BRIDGER (Standard)
A Virgin Atlantic flight to New York was forced to turn back to Heathrow after a laser was shone into the cockpit while it flew at 8,000ft.
The pilot declared a medical emergency about an hour into the flight when his co-pilot was taken ill. Scotland Yard was today hunting the source of the attack, which took place a few miles west of Heathrow last night.
Virgin Atlantic said the plane returned to the airport as a “precautionary measure” and the airline was helping police try to identify the suspect.
A Virgin spokeswoman said the safety of the crew and customers who had been on board Flight VS025 travelling to JFK airport had been a “top priority.”
“So it is very, very dangerous indeed — but unfortunately there’s a game that some so-called aircraft spotters play called laser tagging, where they try and shine their beam onto the fuselage of the aircraft.”
He said the Airbus A340 was climbing after take-off and was at about 8,000ft about “six or seven miles” west of Heathrow, when the incident took place.
The flight path shows it was following the M3 corridor in Surrey and the attack may have taken place somewhere between Weybridge and Sandhurst.
The crew reported it at the time. In an audio recording the pilot declares a “Pan-Pan” emergency, saying they have a “medical issue” and are returning to Heathrow. “Pan-Pan” indicates an urgent situation in which there is no immediate threat to life — as distinct from a “Mayday” call.
It is understood that the plane had passed over the west coast of Ireland before heading back to Heathrow.
Bethany McHutchinson, one of 252 passengers on board, told Sky News: “It was really scary. Whether by accident or on purpose, if it had been really serious it could have put everyone on the plane in danger.
“It’s just nice to know that we’re safe now and back on the ground. It’s very scary, when you’re up in the air and you hear stuff like that.”
There has been a surge in reported laser attacks on aircraft in the UK in the last few years.
The Civil Aviation Authority recorded more than 1,300 incidents in each of the four years from 2010, compared with only 20 in 2005. More were reported at Heathrow than at any other UK airport .
Last year saw one of the most serious cases, when a British Airways pilot’s eyesight was reportedly damaged when a “military-strength” laser was shone into the cockpit as he landed at Heathrow.
Pilots’ union Balpa has said “more needs to be done” to tackle the problem. The union said a laser can result in temporary vision loss associated with flash blindness — a “visual interference that persists after the source of illumination has been removed”. It can also cause an “after-image” and glare that distracts a pilot.
Balpa general secretary Jim McAuslan said: “This is not an isolated incident. Aircraft are attacked with lasers at an alarming rate, and with lasers with ever-increasing strength.
“It is an incredibly dangerous thing to do. Shining a laser at an aircraft puts that aircraft, its crew and all the passengers on board at a completely unnecessary risk.
“Modern lasers have the power to blind, and certainly to act as a huge distraction and to dazzle the pilots during critical phases of flight.”
Between 2009 and June last year more than 8,998 laser incidents across the country were reported to the UK Civil Aviation Authority.
A CAA spokesman said: “Shining a laser at an aircraft in flight could pose a serious safety risk and it is a criminal offence to do so.
“We strongly urge anyone who sees a laser being used at night in the vicinity of an airport to contact the police immediately.”
A Metropolitan police spokesman said: “Police were contacted at approximately 9.35pm last night following reports of a laser shone in the direction of a commercial flight that had taken off from Heathrow Airport.
“Inquiries continue to establish where the offence took place.”
Laser pen plane attack rise warning by police air service chief
It is only a matter of time before someone dies as a result of attacks with laser pens, the head of safety for the National Police Air Service warns.
David Taylor, from Llandudno, says laser attacks on planes and helicopters in England and Wales have almost doubled in five year.
There were 746 incidents in 2009 and 1,442 last year.
NPAS now operate most of the UK’s police helicopters, including those serving north and south Wales.
At the same time as the rise in attacks, the severity of the incidents has also increased as ever more powerful lasers become available.
Several pilots have suffered damage to their sight which may prove irreversible.
Mr Taylor represents NPAS on the multi-agency UK government’s laser working group, which is pushing for stronger legislation around the purchase and use of laser devices.
It wants to bring Britain in line with countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the USA where laser attacks are federal offences and attract stiff penalties.
“Fifteen years ago laser pens were 1 milliwatt – roughly the power you’d need for a pointer in a classroom – but today it’s extremely easy to pick up lasers on the internet of 5 to 7 watts; over five thousand times stronger, and easily enough to burn your name into a wall at close range,” he said.
“Aside from a handful of highly specialised uses, there’s absolutely no legitimate reason anyone could have for wanting such a powerful laser.
Laser pen attacks
England and Wales
1,142 attacks on aircraft in the last year
746 incidents reported in 2009
97 attacks made on NPAS helicopters in 2014
2-4 attacks per year (average) on Dyfed-Powys police helicopter
NPAS are currently trialling protective goggles for pilots, however Mr Taylor wants attacks to be prevented in the first place.
“Much better would be to mount a massive public-awareness campaign to make people realise that these things can be every bit as dangerous as knives, and to make their use as antisocial as smoking or drink-driving,” he said.
“It’s not just pilots, train drivers and motorists are being targeted, and given that, if we don’t tackle this now it really is a matter of time until someone dies.”
Police helicopters attacked
NPAS National Police Air Service helicopters were attacked 97 times in 2014, and whilst specifically Welsh figures have only just begun to be collated this year, Mr Taylor believes they will be “in high single figures or low tens” for both the north and south Wales areas – which includes the Gwent Police area.
The Dyfed-Powys force said their helicopter is subjected to an average of two to four attacks per year.
However, Mr Taylor warned that these numbers are likely to be the tip of the iceberg, as many attacks go unreported.
The Commons Transport Committee held an oral evidence session on 8th February, inviting Transport Secretary of State, Patrick McLoughlin, to comment on the decision by the government to delay a statement on the location of a possible new runway. The tone of the session was that the Committee was eager for a decision to be made rapidly, with concern that undue time was being taken. Mr McLoughlin explained that even an EU referendum in June would not rule out a decision before Parliament’s summer recess. He said though there has been a delay, partly due to air pollution problems and the VW “defeat” scandal, he hoped the government was ensuring all necessary research had been done, to minimise the chance of legal challenges causing yet further delays. The timetable the government is working to is a runway by 2030, though Heathrow and Gatwick would prefer it to be by 2025. Mr McLoughlin said he “very much hoped” there would be a statement to Parliament at least several days before summer recess (starts 21st July) to allow time for MPs to comment etc. He stressed how the 2008 Planning Act would make pushing a runway through fast, and gave the various timings, with only 6 months for a planning inquiry and examination in public.
Patrick McLoughlin, on the timings of getting a runway through
“There is no doubt that there is frustration about all the legal requirements and the hoops that we sometimes need to jump through, but we just have to accept that that is the right thing to do. If you are putting a new piece of major infrastructure in an area where it has not hitherto been, you have to expect that people will want their views heard. They will want to make sure that the right environmental work has been done, and the right kind of inquiries as to how it may affect their lives or the lives of their neighbourhoods are things that need to be judged. Yes, it is frustrating. We are doing it under the 2008 Act, which has changed things and gives a much more straightforward timetable as to the time it will take.
” ….. Before the 2008 Act came into force, Terminal 5 took something like eight years in the planning process, from application to final approval. We had a planning inquiry lasting over three years. The new airport capacity will be developed under the new Act. Under the Planning Act 2008, the inquiry period is fixed at six months. There are areas where there are other engagements of the public and Parliament in the process.
“Basically, there are six months for the planning inquiry and examination in public; three months for the planning inspector to report to the Secretary of State; three months for the Secretary of State to consider, report and announce a decision; a six-week period for any potential judicial reviews; and within that period there are also parliamentary occasions when Parliament can take a vote on the issues.”
On considering new economic evidence, if it was shown that the alleged economic benefits of a new runway were incorrect, he said:
Q59 Chair: [Louise Ellman] Does that mean you are going to open up new inquiries into economic issues?
Mr McLoughlin: “No, I do not want to open up new inquiries, but obviously if they come up with substantial evidence I will look at it.”
New runway will be built at Heathrow or Gatwick by 2030, MPs told
Transport secretary insists government has made progress on expansion issue as Heathrow chief reveals concern over ‘worrying’ timeline
By Gwyn Topham, Transport correspondent (Guardian)
8 February 2016
A new runway will be built at Heathrow or Gatwick by 2030 and the work being done now is vital to make sure the decision is legally watertight, the transport secretary has told sceptical MPs.
Questioned by the Commons transport select committee on Monday, Patrick McLoughlin insisted that the government had made progress on the issue of airport capacity and still hoped to give a final decision by July.
McLoughlin said questions over air quality in the light of revised government pollution targets, as well as the VW emissions scandal, meant evidence from the commission needed to be examined and more work had to be done.
He said: “I guarantee that there will be attempts to get judicial reviews on whatever decisions we take. To ensure we are in the strongest position it is right this exercise is carried out or we would have even longer delays in the process.”
The Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, made a “clear and unanimous” recommendation last June that an extra runway should be built at Heathrow, but in December the government further prolonged the debate by only agreeing that a new runway was needed, and deferring a final response on its location.
McLoughlin told MPs: “We did take a number of decisions, that we accepted the recommendations of Davies, the locations, the timescales – it was the location that we didn’t make a decision on.”
Committee chair Louise Ellman replied: “I think you know that location has to be the key decision and that’s what everyone expected the government to be announcing.”
The transport secretary said a likely EU referendum in June would not rule out a decision being made before summer recess. Previously, he had suggested the vote could further prolong the final verdict.
McLoughlin promised that a runway would be delivered by 2030, adding: “Business needs to be reassured that we are sticking by that date.”
He said he did not believe there was a need to pre-empt judicial reviews, adding: “The government has been stung by these before so I can understand them wanting to be sure it is robust.”
In an unusually strong attack on Gatwick, Holland-Kaye warned that the prime minister had a choice of a third runway at Heathrow or a Gatwick option that “will not get us to emerging markets, which does nothing for the regions of the UK, or for exports, that delivers a fraction of the jobs or the economic benefits, is less financially robust, does not have the support of business or unions, nor the local community, nor the airlines, nor politicians, nor the policy basis of the airports commission. That offers local people no respite from noise. That has only one motorway and one railway line.”
A Gatwick spokesperson said Holland-Kaye failed to mention “insurmountable barriers that had stopped Heathrow expansion time and time again”, adding: “What remains obvious is that Heathrow’s time has passed.”
Patrick McLoughlin hints that EU referendum could delay runway decision, even beyond this summer
January 21, 2016
One of the many omissions by the Airports Commission, in its analysis of whether a runway should be built, and its recommendation, is the impact of the UK leaving the EU. It was not considered. Clearly, if the UK did leave Europe after a referendum, there would be complicated economic impacts – which would take years to work through. Now the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, speaking in an interview on LBC, has said there could indeed be a delay in the government making a decision due to the referendum and the uncertainty about that. Asked when there would be a decision, he replied: “I hope later this year. We have said we would hope to move some way by the summer of this year.” And he went on: “There’s lots of other things which are going on in the political spectrum – if there’s a referendum this summer, and the like. But I would hope by the summer of this year we will be able to make progress.” There is no mention at all of the issue in the Airports Commission’s final report in July 2015 nor in the many supporting documents, nor in its interim report, in December 2013. David Cameron has said the EU referendum will happen by the end of 2017. It may happen as early as June or July 2016.
Long awaited Government statement on runways – decision will be delayed till summer 2016 – more work needed
December 10, 2015
After a meeting of the Cabinet Airports Sub-Committee, a statement was finally put out by Patrick Mcloughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport, at 7pm. It said that the government confirms it supports the building of a new runway in the south east, to add capacity by 2030 (earlier airports claimed they could have a runway built by 2025). The decision on location is “subject to further consideration on environmental impacts and the best possible mitigation measures.” All three short listed schemes will continue to be considered – so Gatwick is still included. “The government will undertake a package of further work and we anticipate that it will conclude over the summer.” On air pollution and carbon emissions “The government faces a complex and challenging decision on delivering this capacity.” More work is needed on NO2. “The government expects the airports to put forward ambitious solutions. …The mechanism for delivering planning consents for airport expansion will be an ‘Airports national policy statement’ (NPS), following which a scheme promoter would need to apply for a development consent order.”… “At the first opportunity I will make a statement to the House to make clear our plans.”
Carbon emissions from global aviation are known to worsen climate change – but now climate change is set to worsen flight times, according to new research. Climate change is likely to cause a faster jet stream, and that will add thousands of hours to journey times and increase airline fuel bills. Dr Paul Williams, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Reading, combined climate models with the software used by aviation companies to calculate the best routes each day. This showed the impact of a 15% faster jet stream, with flights from Europe toward the USA taking somewhat longer, against the wind. The wind could help speed the flights going eastwards, but the overall impact is a longer round trip. There are currently about 300 round trips per day, across the Atlantic, meaning the delay adds up to about 2,000 extra flying hours per year, $22m in extra fuel and 70m extra kilogrammes of CO2 emitted. Earlier work showed other impacts of rising temperatures on aviation, including bumpier, more turbulent flights and reducing the weight planes can carry. The impact of the faster jet stream will mean worse environmental impacts from aviation, as well as raising ticket prices. The jet stream also occurs in other part of the northern hemisphere, and in the southern hemisphere, and would have the same effect on planes there.
Winds of climate change will make transatlantic flights longer, study shows
Faster jet stream will add thousands of hours to journey times and increase airline fuel bills
By Damian Carrington (Guardian)
Airline flights are known to worsen climate change but now climate change is set to worsen flight times, according to new research.
The work shows faster jet stream winds will delay transatlantic flights, adding thousands of hours a year to journey times and millions of dollars to airline fuel bills. Earlier work showed other impacts of rising temperatures on aviation, including bumpier, more turbulent flights and reducing the weight planes can carry.
Climate change is increasing the speed of the jet stream, a strong high-altitude wind that blows west to east across the Atlantic. Pilots harness the jet stream to get from the US to Europe more quickly, but have to battle it on the return journey, which currently takes an hour longer.
Dr Paul Williams, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Reading, UK, combined the software used by aviation companies to calculate the best routes each day with climate models to reveal the impact of warming on flight times.
The faster jet stream slowed eastbound transatlantic flights more than it speeded up westbound flights, leading to round trips that were on average a minute and 18 seconds longer. There are currently 300 round trips a day, meaning the delay adds up to 2,000 extra hours year, $22m in extra fuel and 70m extra kilogrammes of CO2 emitted.
“The aviation industry is facing pressure to reduce its environmental impacts, but this study shows a new way in which aviation is itself susceptible to the effects of climate change,” Williams said. “This effect will increase the fuel costs to airlines, potentially raising ticket prices, and it will worsen the environmental impacts of aviation.” Fuel costs are a critical factor in the competitiveness of airlines.
“The jet stream is does not just live in the Atlantic, it goes all the way around the world and there is another one in the southern hemisphere too,” Williams said. “So it is plausible that similar flight routes around the world will be affected and when you look at those numbers, it is just enormous.”
Carbon emissions from aviation are a significant and fast growing factor in driving global warming. On Monday, governments proposed for the first time to reduce future emissions from airplanes, although campaigners said the new standards would have little real effect.
The new research, published in Environmental Research Letters, examined flights between London’s Heathrow airport and New York’s John F. Kennedy International and calculated the impact of a 15% increase in the speed of the jet stream, which is expected in the next few decades unless current carbon emissions are heavily cut.
William’s calculated more than 1.3m flight paths in simulations covering 40 years and found that while New York to London flights were on average four minutes faster, the return flights were five minutes and 18 seconds longer. This was because planes slowed down by the jet stream spend more time fighting the headwind, while those sped up by it spend less time getting the boost.
The current record for the fastest (non-Concorde) transatlantic flight – five hours and 16 minutes, set in 2015 – was assisted by an unusually fast jet stream. Williams said passengers should expect that record to be broken more often, but they should also expect more frequent very slow flights of over seven hours. Climate change will approximately double the chances of both, he said.
The jet stream is driven by the temperature difference at high altitudes between the polar region and the equator. Satellite measurements have already shown that climate change is increasing this temperature difference. “We know the jet stream is getting stronger,” said Williams. “This is good hard science that we understand very well.”
Changes to the northern hemisphere jet stream have also been linked to extreme rainfall and flooding in the UK and heavy snowfalls in the US.
Research shows climate change will lead to more clear air turbulence and bumpier flights
April 8, 2013
Climate change will lead to bumpier flights caused by increased mid-air turbulence, according to an analysis by scientists, at the University of Reading, of the impact of global warming on weather systems over the next 40 years. The study is published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The increasing clear air turbulence results from the impact of climate change on the jet streams, which are at the altitude at which airliners fly. The jet streams are driven by the temperature difference between the poles and the tropics. More turbulence will cause more injuries to passengers and aircrew every year, as well as delays and damage to planes. There is an estimate of this costing some £100m each year. The Reading study indicated the frequency of turbulence on trans-Atlantic flights will double by 2050 and its intensity increase by 10-40%. Rerouting flights to avoid stronger patches of turbulence could increase fuel consumption and carbon emissions, make delays at airports more common, and ultimately push up ticket prices. Ironic. Aviation helps drive climate change – and gets some of its adverse impacts.
The sale of London City Airport could be in jeopardy after British Airways, the largest airline based there (40% of the flights), threatened to pull out most of its aircraft. The second largest airline there has about 20% of the flights. The airport was put up for sale by GIP in in August 2015. BA fears that the high price of £2 billion could force its new owners to raise landing fees, and BA says it is not prepared to pay. Willie Walsh said the £2 billion price would mean a multiple of 44 times London City’s earnings (EBITDA), though the airport said it was a multiple of 28. Walsh said the airport had “very high” airport charges of £19 per passenger, one of the most expensive after Heathrow, and with higher charges he would not make enough profit. The number of passengers at London City airport has grown from 2m in 2005 to an estimated 4.3m in 2015. The airport’s value could also be limited by its battle to get planning permission for a £200m development that would increase the number of passengers to 6m by 2023. The plans were blocked last year by Boris, over aircraft noise concerns. London City is appealing against this. The introduction of Crossrail in 2018, which will cut down the journey time from Canary Wharf to Heathrow, could be a real threat to the airport.
London City Airport’s price tag under scrutiny after British Airways threatens to pull out most flights
British Airways to drastically cut services at London City Airport?
The sale of London City Airport could be in jeopardy after British Airways, the largest airline based at the terminal, threatened to pull out most of its aircraft. The airline fears that the high price tag of £2 billion could force its new owners to raise landing fees.
The airport’s US owners, Global Infrastructure Partners, put up London City Airport for salelast August. Despite the £2bn (€2.64bn, $2.88bn) valuation, it has already attracted offers from three groups, including Hong Kong’s Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings, Atlantia Spa and another three consortia, one of which is led by Macquarie Infrastructure Corp, Reuters reports.
Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, warns new owners of London City Airport – no increase in landing charges.
Willie Walsh, the chief executive of IAG, the parent company of BA, told the FT that he had serious concerns about the owners’ high price tag, which would amount to a multiple of 44 times London City’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in 2014. “If the owners succeed in selling this for £2bn we cannot see how a buyer will be able to recover or make any return on that investment unless they make significant increase in airport charges,” Walsh said.
Describing the price tag as a “foolish price”, he warned that the IAG will significantly reduce its aircraft at the airport if higher landing charges were introduced. “We will not stay in London City at the levels we are today if these charges increase,” he warned.
Walsh told the FT: “Quite honestly the margins we make at London City would not support any increase in charges.” London City Airport is a favourite with business travellers due to its proximity to Canary Wharf and the City of London.
BA operates a range of short-haul business and leisure routes, as well as its twice daily business class only flight to New York. Walsh noted that the airport had “very high” airport charges of £19 per passenger, one of the most expensive after Heathrow Airport.
“London City airport has its advantages but those advantages do not enable airlines to price at any price, and should not enable the airport to raise charges to cover what would be a foolish price to pay for an airport like that,” Walsh said.
He noted that the ability to “increase retail revenues are at their limit at the airport, so you are left with the only option to increase charges.” Both London City Airport and its owners have declined to comment, the FT said.
British Airways is threatening to pull most of its aircraft out of London City airport if the hub’s new owner raised airline charges to cover the £2bn price tag.
The move could jeopardise the sale of the London airport beloved by executives, which was put on the market last August by its US owners and has already attracted offers from at least three groups.
Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group, BA’s parent, told the Financial Times he had serious concerns about the owner’s £2bn valuation, which would represent a multiple of 44 times London City’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in 2014.
“If the owners succeed in selling this for £2bn we cannot see how a buyer will be able to recover or make any return on that investment unless they make a significant increase in airport charges,” he said.
He called the sale tag a “foolish price”, and warned that IAG will significantly reduce its aircraft at the airport if higher landing charges were introduced.
“We will not stay in London City at the levels we are today if these charges increase,” said Mr Walsh. “Quite honestly the margins we make at London City would not support any increase in charges.”
London City has won the affection of business travellers because of its proximity to Canary Wharf and the City of London compared to Heathrow and Gatwick airports. Almost two-thirds of London City’s passengers are business travellers.
A symbol of London’s resilience as a global business capital, London City has seen passenger growth numbers double over the past decade from 2m in 2005 to an estimated 4.3m last year despite the financial crisis.
Oliver Sleath, analyst at Barclays, said it would seem odd for BA to suddenly leave London City. “Having built up a number one position at London City, they would be handing valuable revenue to competitors, especially given the large financial community in Canary Wharf,” he added.
“But I think the introduction of Crossrail in 2018, which will cut down the journey time from Canary Wharf to Heathrow, could tip the balance and make it more of a real threat.”
BA operates a range of short-haul business and leisure routes, as well as its twice daily business class only flight to New York that is popular with executives.
Mr Walsh said London City already had “very high” airport charges of about £19 per passenger, one of the most expensive rates after Heathrow, the UK’s biggest airport.
“London City airport has its advantages but those advantages do not enable airlines to price at any price, and should not enable the airport to raise charges to cover what would be a foolish price to pay for an airport like that,” he added.
The airport was put up for sale last August by Global Infrastructure Partners, the US fund that also has stakes in Gatwick and Edinburgh airports.
The group has owned the airport since 2006, when it was bought for an estimated £750m from Dermot Desmond, the Irish financier, who paid just £23.5m for London City in 1995.
People close to London City’s owners disputed the valuation multiple. They said the airport’s adjusted profits for 2015 were £72m, which meant that the £2bn price tag would represent a multiple of 28 times earnings, not 44.
The airport’s value could also be limited by its battle to get planning permission for a £200m development that would increase the number of passengers it handles to 6m by 2023. The plans were blocked last year by Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, over aircraft noise concerns. London City is appealing against the mayor’s decision.
But Mr Walsh said even with expansion, the £2bn price tag was too high when compared with sales of previous UK airports. “The ability to increase retail revenues are at their limit at the airport, so you are left with the only option to increase charges,” he added.
It is not the first time Mr Walsh has threatened to leave an airport over high charges. In December, he warned that IAG could expand overseas rather than in the UK after attacking the high costs involved with building a third runway at Heathrow airport.
Carolyn McCall, CEO of easyJet, has claimed it is “very unfair” to expect airlines to fund runway building and airport expansion before the work takes place. She said “quite a big negotiation” will have to take place, whether (if) Heathrow or Gatwick is chosen. The cost of the expansion at Heathrow would be about £18.6 billion; Heathrow Hub at £13.5 billion, or Gatwick at 9.3 billion. Ms McCall has a main base at Gatwick, but backs a runway at Heathrow, expecting easyJet could make more money there. Willie Walsh of IAG has often said that the cost of Heathrow expansion is “outrageous” and insisted “we wouldn’t be prepared to pay for or to support the development”. Carolyn McCall said the issue of pre-funding is a massive issue for airlines – and therefore for airline passengers – as it would mean more expensive air fares for perhaps up to 10 years before the runway was completed. She claimed it was “a very unfair way of funding infrastructure development which is to the benefit of the country.”… “There are lots of negotiations to be had between Heathrow and airlines, including us, as to how we would operate at Heathrow and at what cost and with what infrastructure.” She wants a runway.[But she wants someone else to pay for it, so flying for leisure can become even cheaper.]
EasyJet boss criticises South East air expansion ‘pre-funding’
The boss of easyJet has claimed it is “very unfair” to expect airlines to fund airport expansion in the South East in advance of the work taking place.
1 February 2016
The boss of easyJet has claimed it is “very unfair” to expect airlines to fund airport expansion in the South East in advance of the work taking place.
Carolyn McCall, chief executive of the no-frills airline, insisted that “quite a big negotiation” will have to take place whether Heathrow or Gatwick is chosen.
The Davies Commission recommend last July that a third runway should be built at Heathrow, at a cost of £18.6 billion.
But ministers have postponed a final decision pending new analysis of the environmental impacts.
Other shortlisted options are extension of the existing northern runway at Heathrow – costing £13.5 billion – or building a second runway at Gatwick, which would cost £9.3 billion.
Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways’ parent company IAG, has previously described the cost of Heathrow expansion as “outrageous” and insisted “we wouldn’t be prepared to pay for or to support the development”.
Ms McCall – who is backing a third runway at Heathrow despite having an existing base at Gatwick – echoed his comments.
Speaking at Italy’s Venice Marco Polo airport, where the airline launched its latest base, she told the Press Association: “There’s quite a big negotiation to be had between airlines and Heathrow before people assume how they’re going to be pre-funding.
“Wherever it’s built, pre-funding is a massive issue for airlines – and therefore for airline passengers – regardless of the airport. Heathrow and Gatwick are in the same boat on that.
“I completely understand BA’s point of view at Heathrow because we would have the same point of view at Gatwick, which is pre-funding doesn’t work.
“Basically you’re getting airlines to pay for your infrastructure development before anything is delivered and it can take you 10 years for it to be delivered.
“It’s a very unfair way of funding infrastructure development which is to the benefit of the country.”
She added: “There are lots of negotiations to be had between Heathrow and airlines, including us, as to how we would operate at Heathrow and at what cost and with what infrastructure.”
Ms McCall also expressed her frustration that a final decision over where expansion should take place was delayed in December. [So she definitely wants a new runway. She just doesn’t want to have to pay for it.]
She said the UK’s attitude to airport capacity is “frustrating” by comparison to the rest of Europe. [Meaning the state pays for runways elsewhere?]
“It’s not good for aviation because we’ve been waiting for a very long time for this decision,” she explained.
“Davies came out with a very clear-cut recommendation, and I think by delaying it’s got everybody going: ‘What’s that about, what does this mean?’. [She presumably has not read the comments by Andrew Tyrie on the inadequacy of the economics in the Airports Commission’s report. Link ].
“So it’s more uncertainty and I think it’s frustrating when you go to Europe and you see how clear their visions are about their primary airports.
“There’s none of this (uncertainty). They drive capacity and expansion. They do it with all the stakeholders. The key players are very aligned and it really works for them. It works for their economies and it works for the aviation industry.” [Meaning what exactly? Someone else pays? Who?]
Meanwhile Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the influential Commons Treasury select committee, has written to Chancellor George Osborne calling for more details of the calculations which led to the Davies Commission recommending Heathrow.
He said the Commission’s case was “opaque in a number of important respects” and that “a good deal more information is required” if the Government’s decision is to be properly scrutinised.
A Department for Transport spokesman said the Commission had provided “exhaustive detail”. [Actually, it did not provide exhaustive detail – there are a lot of omissions].
Gatwick’s main airline, easyJet, questions Gatwick case for 2nd runway and does not want to pay higher landing charges
November 21, 2014
Carolyn McCall, CEO of EasyJet, the largest airline at Gatwick, has said passengers want expansion at Heathrow, not at Gatwick. Ms McCall said easyJet is “quite concerned” at the prospect that Gatwick’s landing charges would rise to pay for a 2nd runway. They are having confidential talks with the airports on future charges. EasyJet makes on average £8 profit per seat. If Gatwick’s charges doubled from the current £9 to an average of £15 to £18 (or even up to £23) as predicted by the Airports Commission, this would hit EasyJet’s economics. Ms McCAll said: “This whole issue of capacity should be about where the demand is. Airlines have to want to go into that airport, and the congestion we have is predominantly around the Heathrow hub. Passengers need to really value what this infrastructure brings, and if they don’t see any benefit it’s going to struggle.” A new runway risked emulating unpopular toll roads. “It will be years and years before [passengers] see any positive effect.” As one of the UK’s largest and fastest growing airlines, EasyJet’s opinion will need to be given careful consideration by the Commission.
Willie Walsh says there is no business case for a 2nd Gatwick runway – BA has Gatwick’s 2nd largest number of passengers
November 1, 2014
Willie Walsh, the head of IAG, will not support a 2nd Gatwick runway, even if it is chosen by the Airports Commission or backed by the next government. He does not believe there is a business case to support its expansion, and there is insufficient demand from airlines for extra capacity at Gatwick. Mr Walsh campaigned heavily for a 3rd Heathrow runway before 2010, but has made frequent comments indicating he does not believe UK politicians will have the “courage” to build that. Willie Walsh says British Airways would resist higher landing charges, which would be necessary to fund a runway – either at Heathrow or Gatwick. (EasyJet has also said in the past they don’t want a new runway, if it means substantially higher charges – their model is low cost). BA would want lower costs, not higher costs, from a new runway. IAG’s shares have now risen as it has now made a profit at last, and will be paying its first dividend (and maybe some UK tax). Gatwick’s main airline is EasyJet with around 37% of passengers, and British Airways 2nd largest at around 14%.
EasyJet says it would fly from Heathrow, “if it was right for us” debunking Gatwick’s Heathrow myth
March 29, 2014
Gatwick airport, in its bid to try to persuade the powers-that-be of its suitability as the site of a new runway, has often said that the low cost airlines would not fly from Heathrow. However, easyJet has now said that it would consider flying from an expanded Heathrow. Carolyn McCall, the chief executive of easyJet, said it would look at flying from Heathrow in future “if it was right for us”, and it if wasn’t too expensive. Gatwick claims that the increase in demand for air travel will be for short haul flights, mainly to Europe or countries adjacent to Europe. Heathrow claims the demand for air travel in future will be long haul. According to Gatwick’s chief executive, Stewart Wingate, Heathrow is inaccessible for low-cost airlines and charter carriers due to its high landing charges. But Ms McCall points out that easyJet already flies to and from other hub airports in Europe, such as Schiphol, Rome Fiumicino and Paris Charles de Gaulle. Though Heathrow has high landing charges, so do the other European hub airports. Ms McCall made her comments shortly after easyJet announced a 7-year pricing deal with Gatwick and revealed it is in discussions to take over the airport’s north terminal, potentially forcing out British Airways. It made no mention of a 2nd Gatwick runway.
Andrew Tyrie is the chairman of the influential Commons Treasury select committee. He has now said parliament and the public had been left partly in the dark on the case for a new runway, because the Airports Commission’s analysis is not good enough. He said the decision on airport expansion is being taken on the basis of information that was “opaque in a number of important respects.” Mr Tyrie said the robustness of the Airports commission’s conclusions could not be determined from the information in its report. “Parliament has demanded more transparency over the environmental case. At least as important is the economic case.” Mr Tyrie said it was impossible to tell if the potential economic benefits for the UK of the proposals by Heathrow or Gatwick differed significantly from one another, or even if the benefits of building either are significantly different from not building any new runways. “A decision as controversial as this — one that has bedevilled past governments for decades — requires as much transparency as reasonably possible.” Andrew Tyrie has written to George Osborne calling for more details of the calculations that led to the Commission recommending a Heathrow runway. He also called for the process to be moved from the DfT to the Treasury.
Osborne Must Take Lead Over Heathrow Economic Case, Tyrie Says
By Thomas Penny (Bloomberg)
February 1, 2016
Treasury committee chair says airport commission case opaque Published analysis not sufficient for decision on runways
Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the House of Commons Treasury Committee, wrote to Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to urge him to take the lead in assessing the economic case for expanding airport capacity in southeast England. [The remit of the Treasury Select Committee is to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of HM Treasury, with all of its agencies and associated bodies, including HM Revenue and Customs, the Bank of England, the Prudential Regulation Authority, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Royal Mint, etc].
Prime Minister David Cameron’s government in December delayed a decision on airport expansion until after London’s mayoral election in May, arguing that a state-backed commission led by Howard Davies hadn’t properly assessed the environmental impact of an additional runway. It also appears to have failed adequately to consider the economic case, Tyrie said, faulting the commission for analyzing costs and benefits of only one of the five possible scenarios it created.
“The decision on airport capacity is crucial to the future of the British economy,” Tyrie wrote in the letter to Osborne, which he made public on Monday. “It therefore cannot be left to the Department for Transport, and you will need to take the lead.”
Cameron, who campaigned against building an additional runway at Heathrow Airport in west London when he was in opposition, appointed the commission three years ago to sidestep an issue that would have cost his Conservative Party support in areas under the flight path.
The commission recommended a new runway at Heathrow, Europe’s busiest hub, and the premier delayed the decision again to protect Zac Goldsmith, a Tory candidate for Mayor of London and an outspoken critic of expansion at the airport.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said last month that a proposal to expand Gatwick Airport, south of London, remains in government consideration along with two options for expansion at Heathrow.
Tyrie said he had written a public letter to the chancellor because the Treasury had failed to answer questions posed under the usual procedures for members of parliament asking questions of ministers.
Airports Commission case for Heathrow expansion ‘opaque’
Treasury committee chair Andrew Tyrie says more information required over reasons for Davies report’s conclusions
A decision on airport expansion is being taken on the basis of “opaque” information, a senior MP has warned.
Andrew Tyrie, chair of the influential Commons Treasury select committee, said parliament and the public had been left partly in the dark on the case for a new runway at Heathrow.
He has written to George Osborne calling for more details of the calculations that led an independent commission to recommend the highly controversial addition to the country’s biggest airport.
In his letter, Tyrie complained that ministers had failed to respond to a series of detailed technical questions tabled in the Commons seeking clarification in areas such as the impact on fares and passenger demand.
He said the commission’s case was “opaque in a number of important respects” and that “a good deal more information is required” if the government’s forthcoming decision is to be properly scrutinised.
The Department for Transport said the commission had provided “exhaustive detail”. “The case for aviation expansion is clear and it’s vitally important we get the decision right so that it will benefit generations to come,” a spokesperson said.
“So we continue to consider the exhaustive detail contained in the Airports Commission’s final report. It has not so far been possible to respond to Mr Tyrie’s long list of questions on related and different issues. However, we are considering his questions in the light of progress and will respond to his letter as soon as possible.”
A spokesman for Gatwick said: “This is a highly significant intervention from the chairman of the Treasury select committee. It is clearly now the consensus view that the Davies report is seriously flawed and not a sound basis for decision-making.”
01 February 2016 (Commons Treasury Select Cttee press release)
Rt Hon. Andrew Tyrie MP writes to the Chancellor, asking him to go further to back up the government’s economic case for an expansion of the UK’s airport capacity.
Letter from Rt Hon. Andrew Tyrie MP to Rt Hon George Osborne MP on airport expansion 25 January 2016
Commenting on the correspondence, Mr Tyrie said:
“The robustness of the Airports Commission’s conclusions cannot be determined from the information available in the Davies report. Parliament has demanded more transparency over the environmental case. At least as important is the economic case.
In considering the economic case, the Commission created five scenarios for how the aviation sector and the global economy might develop. But it has provided figures on the costs and benefits of the runway proposals under just one of these. The absence of information on the costs and benefits under the other scenarios makes it impossible to assess the robustness of the economic case. Nor is it possible, on the basis of the figures published by the Commission, to tell if the potential economic benefits of the proposals differ significantly from one another. Nor can it be established whether the benefits are significantly different from the option of not building any new runways.
Furthermore, the economic case depends on the time horizon over which costs and benefits are measured. The Commission used a period of sixty years from the completion date of 2026. The Commission should be expected to be able to demonstrate the sensitivity of the costs and benefits to the choice of appraisal period. What about 30 years, or 40 years? This analysis is also currently lacking.
These may sound like arcane and technical points. They are not. Without adequate information on the robustness of the economic case, Parliament and the public will not be able to judge the merits of any decision the Government eventually makes.
And this decision matters. Getting it right will be important in determining whether or not Britain can compete globally. Decisions of such crucial economic importance cannot be left to the Department for Transport. So the Chancellor of the Exchequer should take the lead.
A decision as controversial as this – one that has bedevilled past Governments, in one way or another, for decades – requires as much transparency as reasonably possible for the basis of the decision. There is no excuse for not providing it. So this work needs to be done, and published, as soon as possible, and at least three months before any decision is taken.”
We may not need a new runway at all, says senior Tory
By Graeme Paton, Transport Correspondent (The Times)
February 1 2016
MPs will raise fresh doubts over plans for a new runway in the southeast today amid claims that the economic case for expansion had not yet been made.
Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative chairman of the Treasury select committee, said an analysis used to justify an additional runway was lacking.
He described the economic case put forward by the Airports commission, which made a unanimous recommendation in favour of a third runway at Heathrow, as “opaque in a number of important respects”.
In a letter to George Osborne he urged the government to carry out further analysis before reaching a decision in the summer. He said it could conclude that no new runways were needed at all.
Mr Tyrie, the Tory MP for Chichester, also called for the process to be moved from the Department for Transport to the Treasury.
Such a move would almost certainly lead to a further delay on a new runway which has already been put on hold for six months pending further investigation into air quality and noise.
It also threatens to further weaken Heathrow’s case for a third runway following the commission’s conclusion that expansion of the airport would provide the greatest economic benefit to the nation.
According to the commission’s final report, a third runway would create up to £147 billion in benefits over 60 years, compared with £89 billion at Gatwick, which is also vying for permission to expand. [This is very much contested, and the Commission’s own economic advisors, Mackie and Pearce, said these figures should be treated with caution. More info].
Ministers have accepted that the case for a new runway has already been made and are to choose between rival schemes at Heathrow and Gatwick. A decision is now unlikely before June.
Mr Tyrie said, however, that the robustness of the Airports commission’s conclusions could not be determined from the information in its report.“Parliament has demanded more transparency over the environmental case,” he said. “At least as important is the economic case.”
Despite claims that expanding Heathrow would generate more money, Mr Tyrie claimed it was impossible to tell if the potential economic benefits of the proposals differed significantly from one another.
He added: “Nor can it be established whether the benefits are significantly different from the option of not building any new runways. A decision as controversial as this — one that has bedevilled past governments for decades — requires as much transparency as reasonably possible.”
A Department for Transport spokesman said that the commission had provided exhaustive detail. [That is absolutely not true. The Commission’s work contains many omissions]. “The case for aviation expansion is clear and it’s vitally important we get the decision right so that it will benefit generations to come,” he said. [That is also absolutely not true. It is the view of the aviation industry. A key DfT civil servant used to be in Heathrow’s PR department. Simon Baugh. More info].
A spokesman for Gatwick, which has repeatedly criticised the Airports Commission’s conclusions, said that Mr Tyrie’s letter represented a significant intervention. The official said it was now the consensus view that the report was seriously flawed and not a sound basis for decision making.
“Gatwick expansion delivers the new connectivity and economic growth we need without the environmental impacts that have stopped Heathrow time and again,” he said. “If we want something to happen, it is time to back growth at Gatwick.” [This is just predictable sound bite from Gatwick, as the economic case for a Gatwick runway is also totally unproven, and would land the taxpayer with bills of billions of ££s for infastructure for decades].
In July 2012, Andrew Tyrie – as a member of the Tory Free Enterprise group, was advocating the building of two runways at Heathrow. Link
Peter Jordan, a retired scientist and member of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, commented on the Times article:
Mr Tyrie is right. The Airports Commission (which did a lot of very professional work) had one flaw – it’s terms of reference told it to examine how new capacity could be provided in the Soutrh East. It didn’t tell it to examine whether new capacity was needed.
The problem is that politicians have been wined and dined by aviation interests who tell them we’re all going to die if we don’t have more business connections to China (for example)
Here’s why we don’t need any more runways:
– Unused existing capacity
– More efficient planes carrying more passengers per flight
– The majority of flying is for tourism, which sucks money out of the UK economy. More of us go abroad than foreign tourists who come to us.
– Pollution at the candidate airport sites is already above legal limits. This is caused both by flying and by ground transport, especially commuting.
– Every flight contributes to carbon dioxide emissions.
– more capacity in the South East increases the North-South divide.
Here’s why we have problems with these simple facts:
– Inadequate taxation of aviation fuel artificially subsidises aviation
– Nationalistic nonsense about competing with Schipol and Paris/Charles de Gaul
– Lazy politicians get their information from aviation industry press releases
Mr Tyrie is a welcome exception. Power to his elbow.
For nationalists who worry about Britain’s prestige, here are some more facts:
– Tourism is a net loss for the UK
– London Heathrow is already the pre-eminent transatlantic hub
– Business flying is gradually declining
– Building new runways or even new airports does not demonstrate our national mojo. It has to be a hard-headed business decision.
Back in early 2015, Emma Jones – the founder of Enterprise Nation – a small business support platform, was working for Gatwick airport and promoting its usefulness for business. She is quoted by Gatwick in March 2015 as saying how many of the UK’s 5 million small businesses were looking to ‘Go Global’ and sell their products and services abroad. “To do so requires an easy-access airport and low cost flights to meet new contacts, research markets and source suppliers. It’s for these reasons that I support expansion at Gatwick ….” Then in November, Emma was appointed by David Cameron as one of six leading entrepreneurs to be business ambassadors with a focus on helping more small businesses export their products and services. And she is now working with Heathrow. It has been announced that Heathrow is to carry out a consultation with Enterprise Nation, to explore the impact of expanding Heathrow on the UK’s small and medium sized enterprises (SME). Emma said: “A quarter of all UK exports by value already travel through the airport. It will be interesting to see how an expanded Heathrow could make a real difference at a time when more people than ever before are starting and growing businesses.”
Gatwick Airport Ambassador switches allegiance, and runway bid fails to gain traction with business
29.1.2016 (CAGNE press release)
One of Gatwick’s most high profile supporters has switched their support to Heathrow.
Emma Jones – one of the Government’s business ambassadors and founder of Enterprise Nation – had previously appeared in Gatwick press releases and on websites. Today she has said, “Expanding Heathrow is a massive opportunity for all of the UK’s businesses – from the largest right down to the smallest. With 40 new long-haul routes to fast-growing markets and improved domestic connectivity, expansion will enhance the UK’s productivity and drive growth by boosting exports.’
Sally Pavey Chair of CAGNE ( Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions) commented: “This change of business heart by Ms Jones simply re-iterates the fact that Gatwick is not seen as the answer for business growth by large or small businesses.”
It would seem the move by Emma Jones, who last year was working to promote Gatwick, confirms the Airports Commissions findings that Gatwick does not serve emerging markets where business wants to go; Gatwick’s current number one destination is Spain.
The Daily Mail reported on 27th January that: “Passengers using the non-stop Gatwick Express between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport – which costs £34.90 for an Anytime Return ticket bought at a station – are least likely to be satisfied with their train fare at just 37%.”
Sally commented that “Gatwick sits on one of the worst railway lines in the country with 37%* of passengersbeing satisfied by the cost of the Gatwick Express.”
“Gatwick’s location results in the already overcrowded commuter trains being further filled by Gatwick’s low-cost airline leisure travellers each day. Surely this is not how we want potential business travellers welcomed to the UK, finding themselves miles from London at a regional airport, and with a slow, crowded journey to reach the capital?”
Notes to editors
Gatwick Airport heavily used Ms Jones’ support with open joint letters, in Gatwick press releases and Gatwick’s blog, to illustrate they had support. So the announcement by Emma Jones of her changed allegiance is a real set back for Gatwick’s multi million £ propaganda campaign.
Gatwick used Emma Jones’ support for promotional purposes, with Ms Jones stating, ‘why wouldn’t UK entrepreneurs want more of the same?’
Emma Jones is not alone in not supporting Gatwick expansion, as EasyJet, Gatwick Airport’s number one customer, does not support Gatwick.
Gatwick lists 5 Chambers of Commerce that support their bid, all of whom are located in Sussex.
Emma Jones also helped publicise a conference at Gatwick attended by 100 companies, including Google and Barclays. Gatwick’s press release detailed: ‘Emma Jones, Founder of Enterprise Nation, said: “With so many small businesses starting trade on a Monday and trading with the world by Wednesday, they need to access practical guidance on how to enter new markets – and they need routes to those markets.’
Jones also publicised the “TAKE OFF: Growing Your Business Abroad” event aimed at small businesses in the UK.
Emma Jones stated in a Gatwick press release dated 23rd March 2015: “It’s for these reasons that I support expansion at Gatwick so that this entrepreneurial transport hub can help even more small businesses trade across borders.’
Heathrow and Enterprise Nation launches SME consultation
By James Muir
Jan 29, 2016
Heathrow Airport is to carry out a consultation with business support group, Enterprise Nation, to explore the impact of expanding the hub on the UK’s small and medium sized enterprises (SME).
The airport says the findings will be used to develop an SME growth strategy within Heathrow’s expansion plans. It believes this will help export growth in line with the government target of £1 trillion ($1.4 trillion) of exports by 2020. Heathrow says in 2015, exports to China via Heathrow grew by 117 per cent to £7.6 billion, and with 40 new long-haul routes to growing markets and improved domestic connectivity, UK productivity and exports will grow further.
Heathrow Airport chief executive officer, John Holland-Kaye says: “SMEs are the backbone of the British economy and when they export they flourish. For small exporters, that starts with a box on a plane – usually from Heathrow.”
“With expansion we’ll open up 40 new long-haul trading links and improve domestic connectivity – making it cheaper and more efficient for SMEs to sell their products in fast growing markets around the world.”
Enterprise Nation founder, Emma Jones says: “A quarter of all UK exports by value already travel through the airport. It will be interesting to see how an expanded Heathrow could make a real difference at a time when more people than ever before are starting and growing businesses.”
The findings of the consultation will be announced in April.
Prime minister appoints Enterprise Nation founder as business ambassador
20/11/2015 (in International Trade and Campaigning)
Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones has been appointed by prime minister David Cameron as a business ambassador with a focus on helping more small businesses export their products and services.
Emma Jones is one of six leading entrepreneurs and executives selected to promote the UK in overseas markets, and assist British businesses to take advantage of opportunities both in the UK and abroad.
When travelling on business, the ambassadors will arrange meetings at the request of government such as lobbying to remove barriers to market access or leading events for SMEs.
They will also lead trade missions, brief UK ministers and ambassadors, meet overseas ministers and inward missions, and contribute to government-to-government dialogues with international markets.
The other new ambassadors are:
Karen Blackett, MediaCom
Liv Garfield, Severn Trent
Paul Kahn, Airbus Group UK
Stephen Kelly, Sage
Holly Tucker, notonthehighstreet
“It is excellent news that some of Britain’s best and brightest business minds will be working with us,” Cameron said.
“Our new business ambassadors will bring a wealth of experience and expertise, helping us to unlock markets, grow our international trade and boost inward investment.
“Showing the world that the UK is open for trade and investment is a key part of our plan to deliver economic security. Ambassadors of this calibre show we mean business.”
News of Emma Jones’ appointment follows Enterprise Nation’s recent Go Global Mission to Shanghai when 40 small businesses travelled to China to explore export opportunities. The initiative is part of our ongoing commitment to help more small businesses export overseas.
A group of 19 entrepreneurs have signed an open letter supporting a second runway at Gatwick Airport saying it is the best airport for startups with global ambitions.
In an open letter to the Airports Commission business owners including Pimlico Plumbers boss Charlie Mullins, Mr & Mrs Smith co-founder James Lohan, former Pizza Express chairman Luke Johnson and Supper Club founder Duncan Cheatle, say expansion of Gatwick would allow “development of low cost business access to overseas markets” for “cost-conscious entrepreneurs”.
Expanding the rival Heathrow Airport, the letter continues, would “restore its monopoly and strangle the diversity that was so long in coming to the UK’s aviation industry”.
Speaking on behalf of the signatories, Emma Jones, founder of small business support platform Enterprise Nation, said: “Enabling startup businesses to go global is vital to the future of the UK economy. Start-ups do not have vast expense accounts, but rely on low cost fares to reach new markets.
“Since the breakup of BAA, Gatwick has excelled in providing more choice, lower fares, better service levels and efficient service; why wouldn’t UK entrepreneurs want more of the same?”
Stewart Wingate, Gatwick’s CEO, added: “Indecision has dogged this debate for decades but more than anything, entrepreneurs and businesses up and down the country need certainty.
“Expansion at Heathrow is politically and environmentally toxic, but a new runway at Gatwick could be delivered by 2025 at a fraction of the environmental impact of Heathrow.”
Both airports are keen to secure the backing of business leaders in their efforts to secure another runway in what has been a long running inquiry.
Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Kelly Hoppen is an ambassador for Heathrow and in September last year Willie Walsh, boss of British Airways’ parent company, who supported Heathrow in a previous inquiry, said: “I would not support a runway at Gatwick because I don’t think there is a business case to support it.”
CAPA, the Centre for Aviation, has set out some of the issues that UK aviation might face, if the UK chose to leave the EU – Brexit. CAPA says the biggest source of benefits to UK aviation from EU membership is in the area of traffic rights and the nationality of airlines. Any airline owned and controlled by nationals of EU member states is free to operate anywhere within the EU without restrictions on capacity, frequency or pricing. TheEuropean Common Aviation Area (ECAA) covers 36 countries and 500 million people. CAPA believes if the UK were to leave the EU, its airlines would no longer enjoy automatic access to this market, although the UK might negotiate continued access. The most obvious way for the UK to do this would be to participate in the ECAA Agreement in the same way as countries such as Norway currently do. CAPA says it would be questionable whether continued pan-European access would be popular in the EU for easyJet which has caused significant competitive damage to European legacy airlines. Being Irish, Ryanair would continue to have access to the European market, but if the UK had left the EU, this could cause Ryanair difficulties operating in what is its largest country market. Hence Michael O’Leary is backing the UK’s continued EU membership.
Brexit up in the air: implications for aviation if the UK votes to leave the European Union
Brexit up in the air: implications for aviation if the UK votes to leave the European Union
22-Jan-2016 (CAPA – Centre for Aviation)
Opinion polls are notoriously volatile and unreliable predictors. Nevertheless, a recent opinion poll* in the UK has indicated that voters favouring a British exit from the European Union now number more than those favouring the status quo. Whether or not the poll is totally accurate, it indicates that a so-called “Brexit” is a serious possibility.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative government has promised UK citizens a referendum on this before the end of 2017. Meanwhile, he is attempting to renegotiate the UK’s membership, so that he can then back a campaign to stay in the EU. He is now hopeful of securing a deal with the UK’s European partners at EU summits in Feb-2016 or Mar-2016. This could pave the way for a referendum as soon as Jun-2016.
This report considers the possible implications of a Brexit on the aviation industry in the UK and Europe, with a particular focus on airline traffic rights. Much will depend on how, and to what extent, a post-EU Britain chooses to replicate its existing access to the EU single market in aviation (and in other sectors). Suffice it to say – the situation is uncertain.
*A poll conducted by Survation and published 17-Jan-2016 indicated that 42% of UK respondents were in favour of leaving the EU, 38% were in favour of remaining, and 21% were undecided.
The biggest source of benefits to UK aviation from EU membership is in the area of traffic rights and the nationality of airlines. Any airline owned and controlled by nationals of EU member states is free to operate anywhere within the EU without restrictions oncapacity, frequency or pricing.
The creation of the liberalised internal aviation market was one of the most important catalysts behind the rapid development of LowCostCarriers in Europe in the 1990s. Today, the extensive pan-European networks of Ryanair, easyJet, Vueling, Norwegian and others are built upon this free access.
Of course, Norway is not part of the European Union, but Norwegian Air Shuttle has equal access to the internal European market for air transport, thanks to the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA).
ECAA could offer a route for UK airlines to access the single aviation market, post-Brexit
The ECAA extends the liberalised aviation market beyond the EU member states to include Norway, Iceland, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo. The ECAA covers 36 countries and 500 million people. Norway and Iceland (and Liechtenstein) are also part of the European Economic Area, which extends the EU’s wider single market to these non-EU countries.
If the UK were to leave the EU, its airlines would no longer enjoy automatic access to this market, although the UK might be expected to negotiate continued access. The most obvious way for the UK to do this would be to participate in the ECAA Agreement in the same way as countries such as Norway currently do.
ECAA requires acceptance of EU aviation laws and “close economic cooperation” with the EU
The Agreement provides for expansion of the ECAA to include other countries that are happy with two broad conditions.
Firstly, they must be prepared to accept EU aviation laws and,
secondly, they must establish a “framework of close economic cooperation, such as an Association Agreement” with the EU.
It may seem reasonable to assume that the UK would be prepared to continue to accept EU aviation laws, since it does currently. A similar logic would also suggest that the UK would establish continued close economic cooperation with the EU.
However, neither of these assumptions can be absolutely cast iron. Would a UK that has just decided to leave the European Union necessarily be happy to sign up immediately to a return to many of the EU’s provisions?
The UK might not be guaranteed ECAA membership
In addition, while the ECAA Agreement seems to allow countries that are not EU member states to become part of the single aviation market, provided that they accept the two conditions noted above, it is not totally clear that this is automatically guaranteed.
The ECAA Agreement is a multilateral agreement between the EU, its individual member states and the additional states that form part of the single aviation market. It may, at least in theory, be possible for any one of the signatory nations to object to modification of the agreement that is proposed to allow the UK’s continued participation after leaving the EU.
It was one thing to extend the ECAA to a number of relatively small countries that provide additional market opportunities for EU airlines, but whose own airlines pose little competitive threat. (Norwegian is an exception but its growth has surprised some, and Norway had to be allowed in for the sake of the tri-national airline SAS.)
It would be a different thing to guarantee continued pan-European access to low cost UK airlines such as easyJet, which have caused significant competitive damage to European legacy airlines. Although Europe’s largest LCC Ryanair, as an Irish airline, would continue to have access to the European market, the UK’s ejection could cause Ryanair difficulties operating in what is its largest country market. Little wonder that Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary is backing the UK’s continued EU membership.
The UK’s future exclusion from the ECAA may currently seem far-fetched, but there is precedent for powerful voices in European aviation to attempt to use the bilateral air services framework to raise protectionist barriers to competition (witness the debate over the Gulf airlines).
It certainly seems fair to say that the UK’s status with respect to the single aviation market, in the event that it were to leave the EU, is at least to some extent uncertain. The ECAA Agreement contains no explicit clauses clarifying what would happen to a member state that ceased to be part of the EU.
The UK would still have to comply with a wide range of EU rules
The areas of EU aviation law and regulation that the UK would likely need to submit to, as part of the ECAA, are extensive. They include market access, safety, security, air traffic management, the environment, social (labour) issues, consumer rights and the economic regulation of airports.
The EU’s new Aviation Strategy proposes changes in many of these areas, but only EU member states have a say on such developments. Non-EU participants in the ECAA have to take it or leave it.
In addition, broader EU rules in areas such as state aid and competition, so not just limited to aviation, would still apply to the UK.
Of course, the UK currently operates according to EU rules in these areas, and might not be expected to object to continuing to do so. However, with the passage of time, it is not inconceivable that the UK might decide that developments in one or more of these areas were not in its self-interest.
For example, UK airlines (and those of other EU states) have been vocal in lobbying on issues such as passenger rights and environmental measures, such as emissions trading, but they, and the UK government, have been able to influence the debate within an EU membership framework. If a future non-EU UK wanted to remain part of the ECAA, it would still be bound by EU rules, but would no longer have a voice in shaping them.
The UK, upon leaving the EU, would then have to establish close economic cooperation
Then there is the question of whether or not a post-EU version of the UK would seek to establish a “framework of close economic cooperation” with the EU? This question is fundamental, not only to its continued participation in the internal European aviation market, but also to its broader participation in the single market more widely.
This question has been aired in the UK, and the default assumption is that the UK would indeed prefer to retain access to the single market, but it is also the subject of some uncertainty. The UK referendum will not ask its citizens to decide on this question; it will ask merely whether to remain in the EU or not. (The exact wording will be, ‘Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?’).
If the majority vote is in favour of leaving the EU, everything else is then up for grabs. So-called “Association Agreements” with the EU, which have to be ratified by each member state, typically offer non-EU countries tariff-free access to some or all EU markets (and financial or technical assistance), and often include a free trade agreement. In exchange, they generally require commitments to political, economic, trade, or human rights reform in a country.
In the past, such agreements have either been a staging post on the way to full EU membership, or a means for a non-EU country to have some of the benefits of the EU without committing to joining up in full. There is no precedent for a former member state entering into such an agreement.
However, it seems unavoidable that the UK would still need to be bound by a range of EU rules and regulations if it wanted to continue to enjoy any access to EU markets. Its membership of the ECAA would be conditional upon this.
Again, the question arises in connection with a UK that leaves Europe: how much Europe would this UK still want? Moreover, the mirror to this question also arises: how much of the single market would Europe still want to offer Europe?
The Switzerland model: a bilateral agreement with the EU
Another way for the UK to ensure that its airlines continue to have access to the EU’s single aviation market would be to negotiate a new UK-EU agreement on a bilateral basis.
There is a precedent for this in the agreement on air transport between Switzerland and the EU as a whole, which was signed in 1999 and came into force in 2002. Domestic rights were originally excluded, but negotiations on this topic began in 2011. A free trade agreement between Switzerland and the EU was signed in 1972, and came into force in 1973.
But the Swiss bilateral ties it to other EU rules and principles, putting its aviation agreement at risk
The Swiss air transport agreement with the EU provides mutual market access for airlines of both parties and effectively binds Switzerland to much of the EU’s aviation legislation. It was negotiated as a package in tandem with a series of other bilateral agreements, which all stand together.
If any one of seven bilateral EU-Switzerland agreements is terminated, including the one on air transport, then they are all terminated.
The provisions in these agreements included binding Switzerland to the four freedoms that form the foundations for the EU’s single market. These are the freedom of goods, services, capital and labour. Following a 2014 referendum on the restriction of immigration, Switzerland risks breaching its agreement with the EU on the freedom of movement of persons. If this agreement is breached, it will effectively also terminate the air transport agreement.
The Swiss government is in the process of redrafting its immigration policy, in negotiation with the EU. Until this is complete, there remains some uncertainty hanging over the air transport agreement.
Whatever the final outcome, the Swiss example illustrates that it is possible to negotiate access to the single aviation market on a bilateral basis, but that the EU is also likely to demand at least some level of conformity with its four freedoms. Indeed, whichever mechanism is used by a non-EU country to access the single aviation market – via the ECAA or a bilateral agreement – there are likely to be significant conditions requiring the country to adopt many of the EU’s rules and legislation.
UK could attempt individual bilaterals with each country, but this would be complicated
Rather than attempt a Swiss-style accord with the EU as a whole, the UK could possibly seek to negotiate, on a bilateral basis, new air services agreements with each individual member of the ECAA and Switzerland, or a chosen subset of them.
It seems very likely that it could agree unlimited open skies style access for its own airlines and those of the other countries on routesbetween the UK and each of these countries, for example between the UK and France or Italy.
However, in order to replicate fully the access to the single aviation market that its airlines currently enjoy, the UK would also need to negotiate with each country a web of fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth freedom rights. For example, these rights would be necessary to allow a UK airline to operate from the UK to Italy and then to continue from Italy to France, to operate between Italy and France without starting in the UK and to operate domestic routes in Italy.
This “multi bilateral” approach could potentially avoid the need for the UK to take on large chunks of EU rules, but it would also be far more complicated than dealing with the EU as a whole. Moreover, individual EU countries may not be willing to play along, given that they presumably would still hold the EU’s principles dear, and that the UK would have just rejected many of those principles.
Beyond Europe, UK would need to replace EU-US traffic rights…
Beyond the internal European aviation market, a country’s EU membership brings the benefits to its airlines afforded by air services agreements that are negotiated with third party countries at an EU level on behalf of all member states.
The most important of these is the so-called EU-US open skies agreement, which allows the airlines of both parties to the agreement to fly from anywhere in the EU to anywhere in the US and vice versa (although it does not allow access to domestic markets).
The agreement was effectively a pre-condition for the US to give antitrust immunity to the profit sharing joint ventures between EU and US airlines that lie at the heart of the three branded global alliances.
…by negotiating continued access to the EU-US open skies agreement
The UK, if it leaves the EU, will have to negotiate a means for its airlines to retain liberalised access to the trans-Atlantic market. Non-EU members Norway and Iceland are also parties to the EU-US agreement and it may be assumed that the UK could negotiate to enjoy a similar status to theirs.
…or through a new UK-US bilateral (with the EU’s involvement)
Alternatively, it could seek to negotiate a new UK-US open skies-style bilateral, but this would not in itself give UK airlines the freedom to fly from, say, Paris to New York. It could also, for example, call into question Norwegian’s rights to fly from the UK to destinations in the US in competition with UK airlines.
If it wanted to re-create synthetically the traffic rights environment of the EU-US agreement, after coming to a new UK-US bilateral, the UK would also need to negotiate with the EU and US to allow non-UK airlines to fly UK-US routes, and to allow UK airlines to fly EU-US routes.
Opportunities could arise for anti-competitive forces
British Airways and its parent IAG are currently firm advocates of competition and market liberalisation, but future scenarios could arise where UK airlines may lobby for a more restrictive stance on UK-US competition from non-UK airlines. Under such scenarios, the UK could feasibly look to retreat from a liberal trans-Atlantic traffic rights regime that continues to mimic the existing EU-US open skies agreement.
Again, although it may now seem that the most likely scenario is that the UK will renegotiate the same US traffic rights for UK (and EU) airlines as currently apply, there is at least some degree of uncertainty over the situation. The implications for the North Atlantic immunised joint ventures are unclear.
Moreover, the fragmentation of the existing EU-US open skies regime would provide more opportunities for anti-competitive forces to enlist the bilateral regime to raise protectionist barriers in the future.
UK would also have to replace other EU-level bilaterals…
In Dec-2015, the EU launched an initiative to negotiate EU-level aviation agreements with a number of other countries, including Turkey,China, Mexico, Armenia, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States and, in what would be the first such agreement between two blocs of countries, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) States.
If it left the EU, the UK would also need to negotiate new air services agreements on a bilateral basis to replace all these EU-level deals.
…and decide whether to replace EU nationality clauses in UK bilaterals
In addition to these EU-level agreements, there is still a large number of bilateral agreements between the UK and other, non-EU, countries (the same is true for all EU countries). In order to bring them into line with EU law, most of the agreements have been amended to replace references to UK ownership of airlines with references to EU ownership.
This means that the UK’s bilaterals no longer discriminate against other EU airlines in terms of their rights to operate from the UK to the non-EU country. If it decides to leave the EU, the UK will then have to decide whether or not to retain these revised nationality clauses, which allow other EU airlines to compete with UK operators on international routes from the UK.
UK may not be able to pick and choose which parts of EU legislation to retain
In general, those who oppose the UK’s continued membership of the EU, but who are in favour of continued access to the single market, object mostly to the freedom of labour. In particular, they are concerned about unlimited immigration into the UK from the newer EU member states, mainly in Central and Eastern Europe.
There are those who suggest that a post-EU UK would negotiate with Western European countries to continue to allow the free movement of people. However, it may not be so easy to pick and choose which parts of EU legislation the UK wants to retain, and in which territories, if it wants to retain access to the entire single aviation market.
Maintaining existing traffic rights may be the most likely post-Brexit outcome…
In summary, if the UK decides to leave the EU, the most likely outcome for aviation is that the UK will negotiate with the EU and other partners to maintain the status quo with regard to airline traffic rights, as far as possible.
However, this would likely require the UK to continue to accept a large proportion of EU rules and legislation, not only on aviation, but also on broader issues including its four fundamental freedoms.
Moreover, the UK would no longer have the same influence over these rules that its current status as an EU member state gives it. As Borge Brende, Norway’s foreign minister, has observed, “Our arrangement . . . is that we have to implement all the EU directives. We are not around the table when these are discussed in Brussels.”
…but there are important uncertainties and risks for airlines
If it wanted to be more selective about which rules to follow and which to reject the consequences are unclear, but the situation could start to unravel, and this could threaten the UK’s inclusion in EU markets, including the single aviation market.
This is a potential threat not only to UK airlines, but also to airlines from other EU states for whom the UK is an important market. Either way, the UK government will need to start planning for the exit the minute the referendum is concluded, if the outcome is a vote to leave the EU.
EasyJet CEO says UK should stay in the EU for low fares and airline benefits
Date added: January 27, 2016
easyJet will campaign for Britain to stay in the European Union, with its chief executive telling consumers that membership encourages low cost travel between European cities. easyJet ‘s CEO, Carolyn McCall, said the EU was good for its business and its customers. “We will do everything we can to make sure that consumers understand that they are far better off within the EU when it comes to connectivity and low fares,” she said. Ms McCall is part of the pro-European lobby group, “Britain Stronger in Europe”, headed by former Marks & Spencer chief executive Stuart Rose. EasyJet would not be shy about its support. easyJet operates over 600 routes, most of which are in the EU. Ms McCall said: “We think it would be very difficult for our government to negotiate with 27 other member states to get the flying rights that we have today within the EU.” EasyJet has detailed contingency plans in place for if the UK votes to leave the EU, but they are not making these public. Ryanair has also urged Britain to stay in the EU. Though several large British businesses favour staying in the EU, often due to the benefits of tariff-less trade, many smaller firms feel the EU imposes what they argue are costly regulations.