The Commons Select Committee on Transport has published its report on “Surface Transport to Airports.” This says Government failure to take a clear lead on integrated transport planning is a major obstacle to better surface access to the UK’s airports. They urge Government to set out an integrated transport plan which connects airports across the country, “boosting regional access and economic development.” The Committee looked at UK airports with over one million passengers per year. They believe that poor surface access restricts growth, adversely affects the passenger experience and forces airport users, local commuters and airport employees to choose to use cars to get to the airport, exacerbating local environmental concerns. [Heathrow and Gatwick were not the key focus of the inquiry.] The report says a lack of leadership on strategic planning, and a lack of co-ordination. They say the lack of a decision over airport capacity in the south east means that it is difficult to see how regional airports fit into the national picture. [Deciding once and for all not to build a new runway would make the situation clearer? AW] The report recommends that the forthcoming draft National Policy Statement on airports should contain policy on the surface access implications of long-term airport capacity, and this should include measures for improving access to airports that have existing spare capacity.
Surface transport to airports report published by Transport Committee
26.2.2016 (Transport Select Committee website)
The Transport Committee publishes a report saying that Government failure to take a clear lead on integrated transport planning is a major obstacle to better surface access to the UK’s airports. The Committee urges Government to set out an integrated transport plan which connects airports across the country, boosting regional access and economic development.
In an inquiry looking at UK airports with one million passengers or more per annum, MPs agreed poor surface access restricts growth, adversely affects passenger experience and forces airport users, local commuters and airport employees to choose transport which exacerbates environmental concerns.
The inquiry revealed a lack of leadership on strategic planning. Heathrow and Gatwick were not the key focus of the inquiry. However, the lack of a decision over airport capacity in the south east means that it is difficult to see how regional airports fit into the national picture.
The devolution agenda has the potential to improve local planning and economic development. However, Network Rail and Highways England must play their part: how they prioritise airport access schemes is vital to allow local areas to plan and develop effectively. Whether by road or rail, people should be able to choose forms of transport which deliver on ease of travel as well as environmental grounds.
The respective roles and responsibilities of the National Infrastructure Commission, Transport for the North, combined authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships must be clarified. This is particularly important to ensure that advances such as integrated ticketing, can be implemented for the full benefit of passengers.
Launching the report, the Chair of the Transport Committee, Louise Ellman MP, said:
“Our inquiry highlights the failure to develop an integrated approach to transport planning, from the absence of a decision on airport expansion in the South East, to the lack of a clear plan to upgrade our rail infrastructure which effectively links cities and airports across the north.
“Without a vision for the country, local areas and regional airports cannot be expected to deliver their own plans effectively. When a decision is finally made about airport expansion in the South East, this must be accompanied by a clear plan to optimise connectivity between regional transport hubs across the country. This will provide much needed national coherence on transport planning matters.
“Government should take the lead in identifying and realising the economic benefits of improved surface access around airports. Where there is compelling evidence that airport expansion would act as a catalyst for significant local, and in some cases national, economic growth, the necessary support and coordination should be provided.”
Good surface access to airports is crucial. Where it works well, it can have significant positive impacts, both economically and environmentally. Limited or poor surface access can constrain growth, adversely affect the passenger experience, and force passengers, employees and freight operators to choose modes of travel to and from airports that exacerbate environmental problems and congestion.
In the last Parliament, the Transport Committee recommended that the Government should develop a coherent strategy to improve road and rail access to the UK’s major airports, and stressed the need for greater connectivity between airports outside South East England.
Our inquiry shows that Government has made little headway with this agenda. The absence of a decision on airport expansion in the South East is a major obstruction to progress, and without a master plan for the country, the regions cannot be expected to deliver effectively their own pieces of the jigsaw.
Government must take a clear lead on integrated transport planning which will benefit airports and the country as a whole. The Government is working on a draft National Policy Statement on airports.
While, for the Government, this is driven primarily by the need to deal with airport expansion in South East England, the NPS must help to clarify how planning decisions will be made in relation to surface access improvements.
Decisions about new transport infrastructure need to be taken far enough in advance that their implications can be taken into account in local development plans.
Network Rail, Highways England and their counterparts across the rest of the UK should reflect these decisions in their long-term plans and funding commitments.
Government, local authorities and airports need to do more to encourage modal shift from private vehicles to public transport, particularly rail. The Department should have a strategic plan for modal shift across the Strategic Road Network which underpins the development of national transport networks as well as airport Surface Access Strategies.
In terms of accountability, Airport Master Plans and Surface Access Strategies provide a useful policy lever, but are not subject to sufficient scrutiny. The Government should look again at institutional and governance changes to ensure that airport operators are working towards ambitious and realistic targets, and are held to account for their delivery.
The devolution agenda stands to improve local planning and economic development. Some Local Enterprise Partnerships have proved to be very effective in developing local economies. However, as more devolution deals are struck, we are concerned that a potentially complex and confused picture is emerging as to how significant transport projects will be delivered. Some of the most important factors in improving surface access to airports—such as integrated ticketing across different modes of transport—will require a tightly coordinated approach.
Under the patchwork of combined authorities, statutory transport bodies (including Transport for the North) and the National Infrastructure Commission—all of which have responsibility for aspects of regional connectivity and smart ticketing—it is difficult to see where any ultimate decision-making power lies and how funding streams will be accessed.
Major cross-boundary transport projects will not, in all likelihood, make progress unless the responsibilities and powers of all the different actors are clarified. With different devolution deals across the country these will vary from place to place; which could be more challenging for the national network operators who may have different levels of responsibility in different parts of the country. The Government needs to ensure that Transport for the North (and other similar bodies) are given adequate powers to provide effective leadership.
The principle that airports pay for the surface access improvements from which they directly benefit should be retained, but the Government should be clearer about where the boundary lies between this and improvements to rail and road infrastructure adjacent to an airport and within its catchment area.
Where there is compelling evidence that airport expansion would act as a catalyst for significant local economic development, the Government should ensure that local authorities, airports, and the national network operators can work together to identify relevant surface access infrastructure improvements and the means to fund them.
Under the section of the report entitled “Planning for future demand” it says:
“44. .The predicted pressures on transport networks in the South East are of particular concern. On 18 November 2015, Transport for London warned of congestion “on a scale we have not seen” on road, rail and Tube corridors into central London if a third runway at Heathrow were not supported by “massive” investment to improve surface transport.71 This concern was reflected in evidence from Surrey County Council, which argued that it was essential that the Government and other bodies commit “to funding the core and extended baseline of strategic road and rail improvements identified by the Airports Commission for Heathrow and/or Gatwick to expand”.72
“45. The Airports Commission concluded that, regardless of decisions on airport expansion, “many key road and rail links in the [South East] are expected to be close to capacity by 2030, even assuming the delivery of the Commission’s extended baseline”. It added that the scale of growth in background demand means that all three shortlisted schemes would impact on congestion on most routes and warned that Government will need to take decisive action to address long-term capacity issues arising from background demand growth, regardless of airport expansion. This may involve the provision of “new infrastructure, demand management, or a combination of the two”.73“
Under the section entitled “Who Pays?” the report says:
“76. Where an airport is privately owned (as nearly every airport in the UK is), there is a well-established principle, reiterated in the Aviation Policy Framework, that the costs of providing or enhancing surface access will be met by the airport operator. In some cases, a degree of public expenditure may be considered. In the case of airport expansion or enhancement, it is assumed that surface access enhancements required to deal with background demand on the transport networks already exist.117 For regulated airports, surface access investment is also subject to CAA price regulation.
“79. In response to these arguments, the Minister warned that airports “will of course be working very hard to make the case for the wider economic benefit to the area, because every penny that comes in from central Government, a local enterprise partnership or a combined authority is a penny less that comes from the airport”.122 The Minister’s view was supported by East Sussex County Council, which argued that “Government needs to ensure that airports should bear the responsibility of covering the majority, if not all, of the costs of transport schemes which are required (in part or in their entirety) as a result of airport expansion”. It added that “an over-reliance on the public purse to fund transport schemes attributable to airport expansion is likely to be to the detriment of funding towards local authority, LEP or Highways England/Network Rail promoted major transport infrastructure schemes which are equally important at supporting growth, creating jobs and providing new homes”. East Sussex Council concluded that “the DfT should liaise with the relevant LEPs to identify which transport schemes are linked to airport growth, and engage with appropriate local authorities to ensure that a joined-up approach between these transport authorities is undertaken”.123 “
Under “State Aid” the report says:
“81. The Airports Commission observed that, if an airport benefits from surface transport paid for by the taxpayer, this “may mean that a contribution from the scheme promoter to these costs is justified.” State Aid rules may also require an airport operator to make an appropriate payment if it benefits from a surface access scheme. The Airports Commission concluded that “the Government would need to reach its own view on the level of public investment that can be justified” for any particular scheme.125
82.The European Commission explains that airports with more than 5MPPA that are planning infrastructure developments can receive state aid only “under very exceptional circumstances”. These “exceptional circumstances” are not clearly defined, but the guidelines explain that these circumstances arise when:
there is a clear market failure;
it has not been possible to finance investments on capital markets; and
where a very high level of positive externalities is associated with the investment.126 “
In the reports Conclusions and Recommendations, it says:
6. We recommend that, in its forthcoming draft National Policy Statement on airports, the Department set out its policy for addressing long-term airport capacity issues and the surface access implications of these. This policy should include measures for improving access to airports with existing spare capacity. (Paragraph 46)
7.We are concerned at the lack of coordination that is sometimes evident when infrastructure operators and local authorities plan renewal and enhancement works to the Strategic Road Network, the local road network adjacent to airports and the rail routes serving airports. The closures of the Gatwick and Heathrow Express services for engineering works over Christmas 2015—and the ensuing disruption to airline passengers—highlighted the importance of having a range of coordinated surface transport options in order to provide adequate resilience in the surface transport network. (Paragraph 47)
8.We recommend that the Department sets out, in its response to this Report, how it expects local authorities, Highways England and Network Rail to cooperate to keep the existing networks operating effectively and what steps it will take towards eliminating planned road and rail closures on the same route at the same time. (Paragraph 47)
A Canadian-led consortium of pension funds has beaten rivals to buy London City airport, from GIP, which paid £760 million for it. So that is a hefty profit. The valuation has proved controversial because the largest airline at City airport, BA, threatened to pull most of its aircraft out of the airport if the new owner raised airline charges to cover the high sale price. Willie Walsh, CEO of BA’s owner IAG, considers £2 billion a foolish price. GIP owns 75% of the airport, and Oaktree Capital own 25%. The consortium that has bought the airport is led by the Ontario Teachers’ pension fund. It includes Borealis Infrastructure, which manages funds for one of Canada’s largest pension funds, and also Japanese pension funds. The consortium is made up of AIMCo (Alberta Investment Management Corporation), OMERS (Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System), Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Wren House Infrastructure Management. Kuwait’s Wren House Infrastructure Management is an investment vehicle owned by the Kuwait Investment Authority. The Canadian Teachers’ pension fund has $160bn in assets, and already owns 4 airports (share of Birmingham, Bristol, Brussels and Copenhagen). HS1 Ltd is jointly owned by Borealis Infrastructure and Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, both Canadian pension funds. GIP bought the airport for an estimated £750m in 2006 from Dermot Desmond, the Irish financier, who paid just £23.5m for it in 1995 from Mowlem.
Canadian consortium buys London City airport for £2bn
Group led by Ontario Teachers’ pension fund and HS1 investor Borealis, saw off strong competition to purchase the capital’s smallest airport
By Gwyn Topham, Transport correspondent (Guardian)
Thursday 25 February 2016
London City Airport has been sold to a Canadian consortium for around £2bn.
The airport in Docklands largely serves a clientele of business executives and has been bought by a consortium led by the Ontario Teachers’ pension fund and Borealis, the pairing whose UK infrastructure investments include HS1.
Other reported bidders were the Chinese transport company HNA and another Canadian consortium, as the price for the capital’s smallest airport exceeded early expectations.
The value of the airport, which serves around four million passengers a year, has rocketed over the past two decades. Global Infrastructure Partners, its owner until now, also has Gatwick and Edinburgh in its portfolio. It paid a third of that price a decade ago to buy the airport from Irish businessman Dermot Desmond, who had purchased it in 1995 for just £23.5m. It was an investment that had been considered risky while Canary Wharf, a major source of business passengers, was in administration.
The Ontario Teachers and Borealis consortium also included Aimco and Wren House, while the defeated Canadian consortium included PSP Investments, a pension fund that covers the country’s mounted police.
Expansion plans for the central London airport have been blocked by the mayor, Boris Johnson. City airport is appealing against Johnson’s decision to block its proposed £200m expansion plan, which would have doubled its passenger traffic by 2030, extending the terminal and airfield to allow 50% more flights.
London City Airport is in the middle of a planning battle over 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, mayor of London, over concerns of sound pollution. London City is appealing against the mayor’s decision. The appeal starts on 15th March.
Campaigners attempting to curb its present operations due to noise and pollution concerns have warned that the 2030 vision would mean a huge increase in flights and disruption over inner north-east London.
The sale may raise the eyebrows of the boss of London City’s biggest customer, British Airways. Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA’s ower IAG, recently dismissed the £2bn valuation as “foolish”. He warned that BA was prepared to move its operations elsewhere should any buyer attempt to increase landing charges to cover the cost of its purchase.
The price is around 30 times London City’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in 2015. Walsh said he could not see how any buyer could “recover or make any return on that investment unless they make significant increases in airport charges”.
The price tag dwarfs the £1.5bn paid by Manchester Airports Group for Stansted two years ago, which carries more than five times as many passengers and has permission to double that number.
However, London City airport, which is near Canary Wharf, has an unparalleled location and investors may believe airlines could sustain higher fares – despite Walsh’s claim about the margins BA makes at City.
Global Infrastructure Partners declined to confirm or comment on the reported sale. London City airport and Ontario Teachers did not respond to requests for comment.
Birmingham Airport, located in the Midlands near the city of Birmingham, is one of the UK’s premier regional airports.
Bristol Airport, located 13km away from central Bristol, is the principal international airport in the South West of England.
Brussels Airport, the principal airport in Belgium, is a key gateway for business and leisure travelers and an important hub for Star Alliance.
Copenhagen Airports is the largest airport in Scandinavia, serving as a both a natural Scandinavian hub and as a point of origin and destination.
High Speed 1 (HS1) is a 109 km high speed railway connecting London to the Channel Tunnel.
Koole Terminals is a leading platform of storage terminals in Northwestern Europe, with storage capacity for a wide range of liquid bulk products spread across assets in the Netherlands, the UK and Poland
Transportation – Roads, rail, tunnels, bridges, ports and airports
The Borealis transportation asset portfolio represents a diverse and essential set of assets in the freight and passenger-based transportation infrastructure sectors.
Each asset is critical to the safe, efficient passage of goods and people between continents, countries and cities that is vital in today’s global economy.
HS1 is the only high speed railway in the UK serving Eurostar and Southeastern. http://www.highspeed1.com
Through High Speed 1 (“HS1”), Borealis is party to a concession until 2040 to operate, manage and maintain the 109 km high speed rail line connecting London, St. Pancras Station to the Channel Tunnel. HS1 is the UK’s first high speed rail line and forms part of the Paris-Brussels-London trans-European high-speed rail network.
Port of Southampton
The Port of Southampton is home to the UK’s second busiest container terminal handling more than 1.5 million TEUs each year. http://www.abports.co.uk
The UK’s leading ports group, Associated British Ports (“ABP”) owns and operates 21 ports in England, Scotland, and Wales, and handles approximately a quarter of the country’s seaborne trade.
TANK & RAST. Germany
Tank & Rast (“T&R”) is the owner and the landlord of over 90% of motorway service areas (“MSAs”) on the German Autobahn network. Founded in 1951 as a state-owned entity and privatised in 1998, T&R’s network includes c. 400 sites located on all major motorway routes throughout Germany and visited by c. 500m visitors each year – c. 350 fuel stations, c. 390 service stations, c. 390 restaurants and c. 50 hotels. The MSAs operate under long-term regulatory concession agreements granted by the German government.
The Borealis website says:
Borealis identifies and manages all GSIA assets
Since its formation in 1999, Borealis has been investing in infrastructure assets on behalf of OMERS, one of Canada’s largest pension plans. The OMERS pension plan hasapproximately 450,000 members and net assets in excess of $72 billion.*
Commencing in 2010, OMERS led an initiative to assemble a capital pool to acquiremulti-billion dollar infrastructure assets with the capacity to generate large and sustainable cash flows over the long term. The Global Strategic Investment Alliance (GSIA) was officially formed in 2012. The GSIA brings together like-minded, long term, global institutional investors in pursuit of attractive, large-scaleinfrastructure assets mainly in North America and Europe.
Current members of the GSIA include a consortium led by Mitsubishi Corporation, Pension Fund Association of Japan, Government Pension Investment Fund and the Development Bank of Japan, McMorgan Infrastructure Fund I, LP, and OMERS. The total capital committed to the GSIA is US$12.58 billion**.
The GSIA alliance members have exclusively engaged Borealis to identify, pursue and manage infrastructure investments on their behalf.
A Brexit vote would not have a material impact on the airline business, according to Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group (IAG). Last year, he said he was “pro-Europe”, adding that he believed the UK is better off within the EU from a business point of view. On Radio 4’s Today programme he said IAG had taken advice from a number of sources, looked at it within the company and done a risk analysis. Though there is a lot of uncertainty, the view of IAG is that leaving the EU would not have much impact on them. The low cost airlines fear Brexit could mean higher air fares. Ryanair apparently plans a poster campaign on his own planes, encouraging customers to vote to stay in the EU. Heathrow and Gatwick airports are in favour of Britain staying in the EU, for their businesses. Willie Walsh had previously spoken out about the impact of a possible Brexit on Ireland’s economy, but urged fellow Irish chief executives to stay out of the debate. IAG has announced profits of €2.34bn for the year ending 31 December 2015 – a year-on-year increase of 125%. Helped by the low price of jet fuel, (and savings not passed on to passengers?)
Willie Walsh: Brexit will not have ‘material impact’ on business
By Tom Newcombe (Buying Business Travel)
26 Feb 2016
The chief executive of British Airways parent company IAG has said a ‘Brexit’ from the European Union would not have an impact on its business.
The head of the company which also owns Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling did admit the impending referendum was causing “uncertainty” in the market.
Speaking to BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme about what impact a vote to leave the EU would have, Walsh said: “We have taken advice from a number of sources, we have looked at this internally, we have undertaken a risk analysis.
“Obviously there is uncertainty in the market which is weighing on people’s minds. But our view is should there be a vote we don’t believe it will have a material impact on our business,” Walsh added.
His comments follow a number of bosses from aviation businesses including Easyjet, Ryanair and Heathrow that have all backed the ‘In’ campaign.
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said the airline remains a “committed supporter” of the UK remaining in Europe.
“As the UK’s largest airline, Ryanair is absolutely clear that the UK economy and its future growth prospects are stronger as a member of the European Union than they are outside of the EU,” O’Leary said.
Brexit won’t have “material impact” on British Airways, chief executive says
There’s a very interesting intervention from Willie Walsh, the chief executive of British Airways, who has said that a Brexit will not have a “material impact” on his business.
David Cameron yesterday suggested that a Brexit could push up air fares. However Mr Walsh told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4: “We have taken advice from a number of sources, we have looked at this internally, we have undertaken a risk analysis.
“Obviously there is uncertainty in the market which is weighing on people’s minds. But our view is should there be a vote we don’t believe it will have a material impact on our business.”
His comments came after a rival airline boss, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary, said on Wednesday that he would actively campaign to keep the UK in the EU.
Mr O’Leary accepted that Brexit would not be “the end of the world” and predicted that it alone would not cause UK air fares to rise.
But he warned there would be “undoubtedly three or four years of uncertainty and less economic growth”.
Heathrow and Gatwick bosses John Holland-Kaye and Stewart Wingate have signed a letter by about 200 of UK businesses, saying Britain should remain in the EU. John Holland-Kaye said: “A vote to remain offers the best of both worlds – it secures our place as a powerhouse in the global economy, while remaining in the world’s largest free trade zone. Heathrow believes that the UK will be better off remaining in a reformed EU. We are the UK’s only hub airport, connecting Britain to over 80 long haul destinations, and handling over a quarter of UK exports – but we recognise that for business to thrive we also need to be part of the single European market. Membership of the EU has made air travel affordable and convenient, with regular flights to the continent from all parts of Britain – fuelling jobs, exports and economic growth.” Comments have already been made by EasyJet boss Carolyn McCall and TUI’s former chief Peter Long, warning that the cost of flights would rise if Britain leaves the European Union. People in the aviation industry believe there would be potential “uncertainty” if Brexit meant the UK has to renegotiate crucial trade deals with international partners.
Heathrow’s statement on the EU referendum
Commenting on the European Union’s impact on trade, aviation and British prosperity, Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:
“Heathrow believes that the UK will be better off remaining in a reformed EU. We are the UK’s only hub airport, connecting Britain to over 80 long haul destinations, and handling over a quarter of UK exports – but we recognise that for business to thrive we also need to be part of the single European market.
Membership of the EU has made air travel affordable and convenient, with regular flights to the continent from all parts of Britain – fuelling jobs, exports and economic growth.
A vote to remain offers the best of both worlds – it secures our place as a powerhouse in the global economy, while remaining in the world’s largest free trade zone.”
The board of Heathrow Airport has agreed to say that Brexit could cause “uncertainty” for Britain’s trade ties, Sky News learns.
Heathrow Airport’s chief executive is warning against departing the EU
By Mark Kleinman, City Editor (Sky.com)
The owners of London’s two biggest airports will put on a rare show of unity on Tuesday when they warn that a UK exit from the European Union (EU) could undermine economic competitiveness.
Sky News has learnt that the chief executives of Gatwick and Heathrow – Stewart Wingate and John Holland-Kaye – have signed a letter backed by dozens of captains of industry which will argue that David Cameron’s EU reform deal is sufficiently compelling to justify opposing Brexit.
Sources said, though, that in addition to signing that letter, Heathrow Airport Holdings would go further, issuing a statement alongside its full-year results that would highlight potential “uncertainty” if the UK has to renegotiate crucial trade deals with international partners.
One insider said that directors had agreed the statement during a board meeting on Monday, adding that it would go beyond the company’s previous publicly expressed views on the EU referendum.
Heathrow is the UK’s single-biggest port by value, and executives at the airport are sufficiently concerned about the possibility of Brexit to deliver an explicit warning about the potential disruption from the renegotiation of cross-border agreements.
A Heathrow Airport Holdings spokeswoman declined to say whether the company was considering making a financial contribution to Britain Stronger in Europe, the official campaign to remain in the EU.
The decision of both Gatwick and Heathrow to sign the letter co-ordinated by Downing Street puts them on the same side of the EU debate as the Prime Minister and the opposing side to Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, who has consistently opposed the construction of a new runway at both airports in favour of a new site in the Thames Estuary.
A decision about the construction of a new runway is now unlikely to be made until well after June’s EU poll, despite the recommendation last year by Sir Howard Davies that Heathrow was the preferred option.
Tuesday’s letter from business leaders, the details of which were revealed by Sky News at the weekend, will say that leaving the EU would “deter investment and threaten jobs”.
“Businesses like ours need unrestricted access to the European market of 500 million people in order to continue to grow, invest and create jobs,” it will say.
Sources also disclosed on Monday that some members of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group (BAG) have declined to put their names to the letter.
Among the members of the group who have opted not to sign it are Alison Brittain, chief executive of Whitbread; Jeff Fairburn, who runs the housebuilder Persimmon; and Liv Garfield, the Severn Trent boss.
Some companies are determined to remain neutral during the referendum campaign, meaning their bosses will not sign statements such as Tuesday’s even if they are in favour of the UK remaining in the EU.
Executives who have signed the letter include Marc Bolland, the Marks & Spencer chief executive who has signed in a personal capacity; Warren East, the Rolls-Royce boss; Jayne-Anne Gadhia, chief executive of Virgin Money; Carolyn McCall, the easyJet chief executive; John Nelson, who chairs Lloyd’s of London; Sir Roger Carr, BAE Systems chairman; Sir Mike Rake, BT Group chairman; Vittorio Colao, chief executive of Vodafone; and Xavier Rolet, head of the London Stock Exchange Group.
Brexit up in the air: implications for aviation if the UK votes to leave the EU
January 28, 2016
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. The European 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.
EasyJet CEO says UK should stay in the EU for low fares and airline benefits
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.
In an open letter to David Cameron, which was co-ordinated through the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), community groups concerned about the impacts of flight path changes have called on the Government to bring forward a review, both of airspace policy and the process for consultation and engagement. The letter describes the current approach for making airspace changes as “not fit for purpose” and demands that a moratorium on flight path trials and airspace decisions is introduced until a new policy is put in place. Flight path trials over the last few years have led to significant community disturbance around major airports across the UK, especially where communities have been overflown for the first time. In many cases, flight path trials were cancelled early following vociferous reactions from the public. The Government and the CAA were expected to consult on proposals to change the policy and process for making changes to flight paths early this year. However, this has been delayed until at least the summer, when the Government will make a statement on a possible new runway. The letter’s 24 signatories stress that the airspace policy review is required urgently to address existing problems and should be independent of any future decisions on airport capacity.
Airport noise community groups write to David Cameron calling for review of airspace policy
Feb 22nd 2016 (Aviation Environment Federation)
In an open letterto David Cameron, which AEF co-ordinated, community groups concerned about the impacts of flight path changes have written to call on the Government to bring forward a review of airspace policy and the process for consultation and engagement. The letter describes the current approach for making airspace changes as “not fit for purpose” and demands that a moratorium on flight path trials and airspace decisions is introduced until a new policy is put in place.
Flight path trials over the last few years have led to significant community disturbance around major airports across the UK, especially where communities have been overflown for the first time. In many cases, flight path trials were cancelled early following vociferous reactions from the public. See background briefing here.
The Government and the Civil Aviation Authority were expected to consult on proposals to change the policy and process for making changes to flight paths early this year. However, the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin indicated in an evidence session with the Transport Select Committee that the Government does not currently plan to review its policy for airspace change until at least the summer, when it makes a decision on South East airport expansion.
The letter’s 24 signatories, including representatives from around Edinburgh Airport, in addition to groups in the South East and nationally representative organisations, stress that the airspace policy review is required urgently to address existing problems relating to a reorganisation of UK airspace and should be independent of any future decisions on South East airport capacity.
The letter argues that issues related to airspace change can evoke strong community responses yet the guiding principles underpinning the existing policy and process are unclear or lacking in supporting evidence. A recent consultant’s report for the Civil Aviation Authority concluded that it is not clear whether, for example, the Government considers it appropriate to expose new communities to aircraft noise. Until these issues are resolved, the letter calls for a moratorium on new flight path trials except where there is a community preference to reverse those which have already taken place.
The letter reinforces previous requests to Ministers, by groups around Heathrow, Gatwick and London City Airports, asking for recent airspace changes to be reversed, on which there has been no substantive progress
Correspondence address: C/O Aviation Environment Federation 40 Bermondsey Street London SE1 3UD
To: The Rt Hon David Cameron MP 10 Downing Street London SW1A 2AA
18th February 2016
Dear Prime Minister
Organisations representing communities throughout the UK recently met to share their concerns – and in many cases their anger – about the noise impacts of recent flight path trials and other airspace changes. Some of these organisations have previously written to ministers about this issue, but no substantive progress has been made on the matters raised in those letters. The meeting felt strongly that we should write to you to call for an urgent review in relation to airspace. Since significant changes are already underway and are independent of any future decisions on South East airport capacity, such a review should not be held up by the runway debate.
We urge you, therefore:
to bring forward meaningful consultation on both the policy governing airspace change and the process for delivering it; and
to impose a moratorium on any new initiatives leading to further trials of future airspace changes (including permanent vectoring changes), except where there is a community preference to reverse those which have already taken place, until such consultation has been completed and Government policy reviewed.
We understand that the Government wishes to reorganise airspace and that the approach for doing so has been set out by the CAA in its Future Airspace Strategy. Our experience suggests however that the current approach for making such changes is not fit for purpose. Many airspace changes including trials of possible new flight paths have, for example, taken place recently without notification for local communities, and for reasons that in some cases remain opaque.
Further, it has become clear that the principles guiding the CAA on how to assess and manage the environmental impacts of airspace change are currently too crudely defined to be directly applicable to the issues posed by the introduction of modern technologies. Performance Based Navigation, for example, enables aircraft to fly intensely concentrated routes such that those who find themselves under a flight path drawn up by air traffic controllers can be – in some cases quite suddenly – exposed to noisy aircraft at a rate of up to one per minute.
Issues such as the location of these intensely concentrated flight paths, how effectively their proposed introduction is publicised, what the trigger should be for the deployment of respite options, and whether it is appropriate to expose new communities to aircraft noise evoke strong reaction and – in our view – require clearer guidance, based on evidence on noise impacts. Independent consultants to the CAA recently reached a similar conclusion. Yet significant change has been taking place without formal public engagement on these critical, high level questions.
Irrespective of the decision-making process concerning a new runway, airspace change is underway and changes planned for the future will have very significant community impacts. We understand that a bundling together of questions relevant both to airport expansion and airspace change may appear convenient. But it is our view that the Government’s decision to undertake further analysis on the issue of airport expansion must not hold up the public consultation of the principles and process for assessing the community impacts of airspace change that we had been expecting to be issued early this year.
Given the strength of feeling that the changes so far trialled or undertaken have provoked in many cases – resulting in a number of trials being forced to end early and airports having to reconsider their own approach to community engagement – we request that a moratorium be placed on all further airspace change trials until such public consultation has been undertaken and the Government’s policy reviewed.
Tim Johnson (Aviation Environment Federation)
Sarah Clayton (AirportWatch)
Robert Barnstone (HACAN East, at London City airport)
Martin Baraud (GON, Gatwick Obviously Not)
Murray Barter (RAAN, Residents Against Aircraft Noise)
Louise Barton (Lydd Airport Action Group)
Peter Clymer (TWAANG, Tunbridge Wells Anti Aircraft Noise Group)
Nigel Davies (EGAG, Englefield Green Action Group)
John Davis (LADACAN, Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise)
Nic Ferriday (West London Friends of the Earth)
Stephen Hanks (Nutfield Conservation Society)
Ian Hare (PAGNE, Pulborough against Gatwick Noise and Emissions)
Rosalie James (Aircraft Noise Three Villages)
Margaret Majummdar (ENAG, Ealing Noise Action Group)
Dominic Nevill (ESCCAN, East Sussex Communities for the Control of Aircraft Noise) Helena Paul (SEAT, Stop Edinburgh Airspace Trial)
Sally Pavey (CAGNE, Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions)
Linda Penny (BIPLANE, Back Ifold, Plaistow & Loxwood Against Noise and Emissions)
Peter Sanders (SSE, Stop Stansted Expansion)
Brendon Sewill (GACC, Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)
John Stewart (HACAN, Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise)
Mike Ward (Plane Wrong)
Peter Willan (Richmond Heathrow Campaign)
Katie Williams (Teddington Action Group)
Reported in The Times
Improved GPS makes flight paths narrower and noisier
Research shows that stress related to noise could lead to heart attacks and strokes
By Graeme Paton Transport Correspondent (Times)
Homeowners are putting up with “disastrous” levels of aircraft noise because planes now have more accurate guidance systems.
In a letter to the prime minister a coalition of more than 20 community groups has called for a ban on all further flight path changes pending a comprehensive strategy to deal with the effects of aircraft noise.
It follows research showing that the stress related to noise could lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and impaired performance at school.
Concerns have been raised over the use of satellite navigation systems to guide plans into airports more accurately. The technology replaces ground beacons and reduces the width of land overflown but leads to a greater concentration of planes over a smaller area.
One group living near Edinburgh airport said that aircraft noise of 80 decibels, which is equivalent to city traffic, was being recorded in rural areas and that complaints had risen 200-fold.
The letter to the prime minister, organised by the Aviation Environment Federation, calls for a moratorium on flight path trials and airspace decisions until a new aviation policy is implemented.
The move is made before a decision on a new runway in the southeast. The government has already put the ruling off for six months pending research into the effects of noise and emissions.
Tim Johnson, director of the federation, said: “We need a clearer policy direction from government with effective community consultation to avoid any more disastrous flight path trials. David Cameron needs to know that people up and down the UK are calling for a review immediately and there is no justification for this to be held up by the government’s deliberations on a new runway.”
Linda Penny, spokeswoman for a residents’ group near Gatwick, said: “Intervals between planes of two minutes or less up to midnight and beyond mean a constant wall of noise, disrupting sleep and wrecking the previous peace of the gardens.”
The massive new 3rd airport for Istanbul – Istanbul Grand Airport (IGA) – big enough to take 150 million passengers per year in due course, is due to open on October 29th 2017. With 3 runways built in the first phase, it will have six runways and four terminals when completed. It would mean Istanbul having an airport larger than any in Europe. It will replace Atatürk Airport and provide the capacity that Turkish Airlines wants for huge expansion. Turkey is not doing well in cutting its carbon emissions overall, with more coal power stations planned and inadequate targets. A total of 25 new airports have opened in Turkey in the last 10 years. It is thought that by 2028, the new Istanbul airport may have enough capacity to shift passengers away from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, Heathrow, Schiphol, and Dubai. Even with the existing airports, Istanbul has been taking share from competitors for transfer traffic between Europe and Asia. Istanbul is one of the top-five largest feeders for Europe. It is likely that even if a 3rd runway was built at Heathrow, Istanbul would overtake Heathrow. It is better located to be a major hub airport, and would take its business. That is expected to start even before 2020. The President of Turkish Airlines says: “The world used to be focused on Northern Europe and America. In this century, it’s our turn.”
Travel tech industry smells money in gigantic new Istanbul airport
Turkey is on track to spend more than $5 billion on Istanbul Grand Airport (IGA), which — if it fulfills its ambitions — will have six runways and four terminals.
By the end of next year, its first phase is scheduled to open, with three runways operating out of a main terminal with two satellite terminals.
By 2028, it may have enough capacity to shift share away from de Gaulle, Heathrow, Schiphol, and Dubai by being able to process 150 million passengers a year.
Already before the new airport opens, Istanbul’s existing airports have been taking share from competitors for transfer traffic between Europe and Asia. The city is one of the top-five largest feedersfor Europe.
In 2013, (the year with the latest comparable data available), Istanbul’s Ataturk international airport processed 51 million passengers, about the same as Amsterdam. It’s on track to overtake Frankfurt in passenger volume by early next year, Bloomberg reports.
In a dozen years, Turkish Airlines has boosted its fleet numbers from 55 aircraft to nearly 300.
All of this growth is good news for airport and airline IT specialist businesses.
An interview with Dr Temel Kotil, General Manager and CEO, Turkish Airlines, President, Association of European Airlines.
An extract from a longer article:
Istanbul: Overtaking Heathrow’s hub
If Istanbul Atatürk were to continue to grow at 9% (as it has in 2015) and for London Heathrow to grow by the same 2% it is achieving (bearing in mind that the earliest a third runway will be built will be 2025), then Istanbul will overtake Heathrow in just three years, or exactly about the time Istanbul New Airport, the €10.2 billion mega-hub, is set to open. However, because of constraint at Istanbul Atatürk, it is possible that Turkish Airlines’ growth could be squeezed, reducing this growth pace. But even then, it does not seem that the assumption of Istanbul having ‘Europe’s largest airport’ will be delayed much beyond 2020.
Of course Turkish Airlines’ ambitions are expected to be entirely served by being the primary customer of Istanbul New Airport when it opens in 2018, and which unsurprisingly Dr Kotil puts in the same “largest on Earth” category as he does his own airline: “The world used to be focused on Northern Europe and America. In this century, it’s our turn.”
Indeed İGA Havalimanı İşletmesi A.Ş (İGA), the five-member consortium building the airport, maintains the same position, claiming that they are building a brand to rival Changi: “The most important hub between New York and Shanghai,” a statement which clearly overlooks the hubs of the Middle East Big Three (MEB3 = Emirates at Dubai, Etihad at Abu Dhabi, and Qatar Airways at Doha).
Kotil agrees that there are some competitive parallels with the MEB3 – notably the clear government support for the role of air transport in both the Turkish and Gulf economies, and how this translates into active support of the objectives of the airline(s), the airport(s), and the fundamental importance of tourism.
But the comparisons end there: Istanbul has a radically different place on the Southern tip of Europe making it much closer to its most important sources of feed. This famously allows Turkish Airlines services to use widebodies to steal feed from European hubs, and larger airports, but crucially to deploy its army of 737-800 single-aisle aircraft to a plethora of potentially hundreds of smaller airports of the size of Gothenburg and Friedrichshafen – airports which cannot viably be exploited for feed by Emirates widebodies.
The genuine success of this hub means that well over 50% of Turkish Airlines’ traffic at Istanbul Atatürk Airport is now transfer. However, Kotil also stresses that Istanbul – and Turkey – also have a much bigger O&D market than Middle East and other hub cities. He points out that Istanbul (pop. 14 million) and Moscow (12 million) are Europe’s “only true mega cities with populations rivalling those in Asia.” Kotil says this means the potential volume for O&D is “sky-high” compared to super-luxurious Dubai (pop. 2.1 million), and certainly just-overtaken Frankfurt (0.7 million), and even Europe’s great visitor magnets of London (8.5 million), and Paris (2.3 million).
Kotil enthuses: “Istanbul is an excellent mega city. It is not an eastern city, nor a western city, it is multi-cultural.” The number of tourist visits to Istanbul has trebled this century from four million to 12 million. With the Turkish economy four times bigger than it was in 2000, business and leisure passengers have plenty of reason to visit Istanbul and Turkey (pop. 75 million). Turkish Airlines is assisting this effect, even with the transfer passengers – those with a wait of six hours or more can now make the most of a free tour of Istanbul, turning those using its hub from people changing planes into real tourist dollar visitors to Turkey.
NEW ISTANBUL AIRPORT ON TARGET TO OPEN IN 2017 – TURKISH AIRLINES BOSS
12.1.2016 (Airport World)
An international team of architects is working on the design of Istanbul’s planned new €10.2 billion airport, which is expected to boast the world’s biggest terminal complex.
The gateway is set to boast three runways and a super size terminal capable of handling 90 million passengers per annum when it opens on October 29, 2017.
Its capacity will eventually rise to 150mppa, the first of two planned development phases being activated when it handles 80 million passengers per annum.
Located 35 kilometres from the centre of Istanbul on a 7,650 hectare site close to the Black Sea, the gateway will replace Atatürk Airport and provide the capacity needed to support the continued rapid growth of air traffic and the hub operations of Turkish Airlines.
Turkish Airlines’ president and CEO, Temil Kotil, for one, has no doubt that the 2017 opening date is feasible, despite alleged funding issues the huge construction programme necessary to make it become a reality.
“A total of 25 new airports have opened in Turkey in the last 10 years, some built in less than one year. We are good at building things in Turkey,” he says.
“The new airport will be good for Turkish Airlines and Istanbul as although Atatürk is a very good airport, we have outgrown it, and need more capacity to meet future demand.”
The Turkish government awarded the concession to build and operate Istanbul’s new €10.2 billion gateway to the İGA Havalimanı İşletmesi AS consortium after it agreed to pay it a sizeable fee of €22.2 billion plus VAT over the course of the 25 year operating lease.
It promises that Istanbul’s new gateway to the world will offer “outstanding aesthetic features and a simple and user-friendly layout”.
Arup has developed the master plan for the new airport, which will become one of the world’s new mega-hubs, while UK-based Grimshaw – in partnership with the Nordic Office of Architecture – will design the gateway’s one million square metre terminal.
İGA Havalimanı İşletmesi AS comprises the Turkish companies of Cengiz, Mapa, Limak, Kolin and Kalyon, all of which have a 20% stake in the Build-operate-transfer (BOT) project.
Others working on the huge project include Haptic Architects and local Turkish partners, GMW Mimarlik and Tekeli Sisa.
Istanbul New Airport shaping up as a hub for the 21st century
By Jonny Clark (The National, AE Arab Emirates)
The latest designs for Istanbul’s newest airport – aptly called Istanbul New Airport – have been released, this time for its air traffic control tower. Designed by the US firm Aecom and the leading Italian automotive design company Pininfarina, the 95-metre structure is an elliptical tower designed to resemble the tulip, a Turkish symbol.
The new design – which beat away competition from global architects such as Zaha Hadid – will act as a crowning glory to the passenger terminal design from the architects Grimshaw and Nordic.
“We were looking for a striking design fit for a 21st-century airport while remaining sensitive to Istanbul’s unique heritage,” says Yusuf Akçayoglu, the chief executive of Istanbul Grand Airport, the company responsible for the development.
As one of the world’s largest aviation projects, Istanbul New Airport has ambitious passenger numbers in mind. The first phase of the project aims to serve 90 million passengers per year, rising to 150 million passengers per annum when the development is complete.
These figures will dwarf Dubai International Airport’s passenger numbers, currently standing at about 70 million passengers per year, according to the Airports Council International. According its operator, the figures until the end of November stood at 70.96 million.
While Istanbul New Airport is 35 kilometres from Istanbul, much farther than the current airport, it has the land needed to fulfil its grand plans. Six runways will be developed and delivered in four phases.
To help business travellers connect to the city, a large plaza and transport hub will be built at the entrance, allowing the airport to integrate with existing rail, metro and bus routes.
Travellers connecting through the hub should also expect a market-leading lounge from Turkish Airlines, which recently added a further 2,400 square metres to its 3,500 square metres lounge in Ataturk airport.
Estimated to be open in late next year, the first phase of the new airport will feature three runways, one main terminal with two satellite terminal buildings, 88 aircraft passenger bridges, hospitals, hotels and even convention centres.
Why has Istanbul decided to build a third airport?
Turkish Airlines is growing fast, similar to the Middle East’s three airlines, thanks to its strategic position. However, Atatruk International Aiport, built in 1924 and currently the world’s 13th largest by passenger figures, is restricted by the city that surrounds the perimeter, meaning it cannot build an extra runway required to support growth.
How can Turkish Airlines grow so rapidly?
Over the past 12 years, Turkish Airlines has increased its fleet size nearly six times from 55 aircraft to almost 300. The airline still has more than 180 aircraft on order, including both short-haul and long-haul aircraft; these will help the airline to expand its growth further. The carrier already flies to over 110 countries, more than any other airline in the world. The current airport restrictions are slowing the airline’s growth, but these will be removed with the new airport’s capacity.
How much will this new airport cost?
The Turkish government awarded the concession to build and operate Istanbul’s new €10.2 billion (Dh40.45bn) gateway to the IGA Havalimaniletmesi consortium after it agreed to pay it a fee of €22.2bn over the course of the 25-year operating lease.
Forests and lakes destroyed to build Istanbul’s vast 3rd airport aerotropolis covering 76 square kilometers of land
April 8, 2015
Istanbul is building a third airport, north of the city close to the Terkos lake area. Istanbul already has Atatürk Airport on the European side and Sabiha Gökçen airport on the Asian side (these handle around 45 million and 15 million passengers respectively per year), but both claim to be struggling with increased demand – being well located as a hub between Europe, the Middle East and the East. Their national airline, Turkish Airlines, is growing fast. The site for the 3rd airport, which is to be an Aerotropolis, not merely an airport, is about 76 square kilometres. The third airport is linked with other forest destroying megaprojects – a third bridge over the Bosphorus, a motorway and a canal linking the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. All three are linked and feed into each other. The vast construction works destroy areas of forest, lakes and ponds – causing serious local concern about biodiversity loss, loss of natural habitat and possible future heat island and water supply problems. Turkey wants another vast airport, perhaps able to take up to 150 million passengers per year, partly to boost its chances of getting the Olympics in 2024. The busiest airport in the world now, Atlanta, handles about 95 million passengers per year. A short video shows the ongoing environmental destruction, during the building of the airport. https://vimeo.com/123657571
Turkey plans to build a 6-runway mega airport near Istanbul to be one of the world’s largest
January 24, 2013
Turkey is planning to build one of the world’s biggest airports, and one larger than anything in Europe, costing some $5bn. It wants to make Istanbul a global hub and boost its chances of getting the Olympics in 2020. Turkey is well situated geographically for traffic between the USA and Europe, and the Far East. It is therefore in competition with other Middle East and Gulf countries, which are also building mega-sized airports, such as Dubai and Doha (capital of Qatar). A tender will be held in may for the Turkish airport. This would be the third airport for Istanbul, which already has Ataturk airport, and Sabiha airport – which handle around 45 million and 15 million passengers respectively per year. The new airport will be near the Black Sea, and is anticipated to be able to cope with 150 million passengers per year. By contrast, Heathrow deals with some 69 million, and Atlanta – the world’s busiest airport – handles some 90 million per year. The plans are for the new 6 runway airport to be open by 2017.
Alice Bows-Larkin, a Professor in Climate Science and Energy Policy at MACE at Manchester University, gave written evidence at the trial of the Heathrow 13, for their action at Heathrow in July 2015. Her witness statement (11 pages + references) is a closely argued and highly expert assessment of the need for the emissions from aviation to be restricted. It is well worth reading. Just a few of the points she raises are that the UK has signed up to the ambition of the Paris Agreement to keep global temperature rise to below 2 degrees C. This is not consistent with an increase in the CO2 emissions from UK aviation above their capped level. There is no justification for international aviation to be excluded for global ambitions to limit CO2. Even if there is some carbon trading scheme, aviation needs to be fully included. If ‘negative emission sources’ that can remove CO2 from the air (unlikely) “do not materialise in time, ‘well below 2°C’ will only be achieved by a wholesale shift away from fossil fuel combustion. This would mean that CO2 produced by the aviation sector would also need to be reduced to near zero. This … would be largely uncontested.” Prof Larkin says in her view the Government’s intention to build a new runway, raising UK aviation CO2 emissions, “implies a misunderstanding by UK Government of the scale of CO2 mitigation that a 2°C goal relies upon – let alone a ‘well below’ 2°C target.”
Below are just a few selected quotes from the (13 page) statement:
Either way, mathematically the contribution from aviation CO2 needs to be recognised in any estimate of the total reduction amount of CO2 across all sectors commensurate with a set temperature goal.
Although there are always steps being taken to improve the fuel efficiency of aircraft, given an imperative to reduce fuel costs, it is clear that to avoid an increase in CO2 production
from aviation, the growth in the industry needs to be off-set by fuel-efficiency gains or
alternative non-carbon emitting fuels. Moreover, the recent Paris Climate Agreement has a
legally binding goal of avoiding a temperature rise of ‘well below’ 2°C. There are discussions
on-going around how to achieve this – but mathematically ‘well below’ 2°C can only be
achieved by preventing CO2 production, to the extent that any sinks that can absorb CO2 are
larger than the CO2 produced, leading to net zero emissions by 2050 (Gasser et al 2015,
Anderson 2015). There is an on-going debate highlighting the limited capacity of the Earth to
absorb CO2 to the extent necessary by 2050. If it is assumed that these ‘negative emission
sources’ do not materialise in time, ‘well below 2°C’ will only be achieved by a wholesale
shift away from fossil fuel combustion. This would mean that CO2 produced by the aviation
sector would also need to be reduced to near zero. This again would be largely uncontested.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recognise this, by suggesting that all other sectors would need to reduce emissions by 90% to account for aviation’s CO2 emissions in future (page 30, CCC 2009). However, this estimate assumes that other sectors are able to cut emissions by greater than 80% by 2050. To date there is limited evidence that this will be achieved, and in my view there are no policies currently in place that incentivise even 80% reductions by 2050, let alone those required to avoid a ‘well below 2°C’ goal which limits the carbon budget even further.
Moreover, others argue that emission cuts could be achieved by trading aviation
CO2 emissions with other sectors – i.e. other sectors make greater cuts and sell ‘allowances’
to the aviation sector so that it can emit. Either way, mathematically the contribution from
aviation CO2 needs to be recognised in any estimate of the total reduction amount of CO2
across all sectors commensurate with a set temperature goal. The Committee on Climate
Change (CCC) recognise this, by suggesting that all other sectors would need to reduce
emissions by 90% to account for aviation’s CO2 emissions in future (page 30, CCC 2009).
However, this estimate assumes that other sectors are able to cut emissions by greater than
80% by 2050. To date there is limited evidence that this will be achieved, and in my view
there are no policies currently in place that incentivise even 80% reductions by 2050, let
alone those required to avoid a ‘well below 2°C’ goal which limits the carbon budget even
Given that the evidence suggests that an expansion of airport capacity in general will support an increase in CO2 emissions, or at least not facilitate their reduction out to 2050, and yet the UK is supportive of the Paris Agreement, a decision to expand Heathrow suggests that CO2 is a low priority consideration in planning decisions. It is not being considered as a make or break factor. In my view, this also implies a misunderstanding by UK Government of the scale of CO2 mitigation that a 2°C goal relies upon – let alone a ‘well below’ 2°C target.
Without widespread deployment of highly speculative negative emission technologies, cutting CO2 emissions in line with ‘well below 2°C’ will require a transformation in energy systems, and will need to include all CO2 producing sectors. I am unaware of any analysis that can demonstrate how aviation could be an exception to this
The aviation sector creates CO2 emissions through combusting kerosene. The altitude at
which aircraft fly also leads to additional warming impacts. One of the greatest challenges
for the aviation sector lies in the highly limited opportunities compared with other sectors to
reduce CO2 emissions through technical and operational measures. As a result, any increase
in growth in the sector above ~2% per year in terms of passenger-km tends to lead to an
increase in absolute CO2 emissions. Thus without any serious programme of efficiency
improvements coupled with rapid biofuel deployment for the sector, demand-side measures
(e.g. constraining airport expansion), offer an alternative but also one of the few options to
cut its CO2.
The latest Agreement from the Paris Conference of the Parties in 2015 includes text that…
“aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by holding
the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial
This level implies a highly constrained amount of CO2 can be released into the atmosphere in
the coming 50 years. Interpretations of what this means will vary – with assumptions around
the extent of ‘negative emission technologies’ being key to this variation. However, with
emerging widespread concern over the feasibility of these technologies operating at scale,
and within the next 35 years and beyond, the option of phasing out fossil fuels within this
period becomes a high priority. This would require all fossil fuel burning sectors to mitigate
their CO2 emissions urgently, in line with a complete phase out by around 2050.
Under less stringent climate constraints than ‘well below 2°C’, it is reasonable to assume
that some sectors will not need to significantly mitigate emissions, and aviation may be a
good candidate for being such a sector, given its limited mitigation options. However, the
‘well below 2°C’ framing of the Paris Agreement, that has been put in place to address
concerns over the extent of climate impacts associated with breaching the 2°C threshold, as
collated by the IPCC and the WHO, leads to the conclusion that the aviation sector will also
need to significantly cut its CO2 emissions by 2050. Thus, measures that support and
encourage CO2 growth, such as an expansion of airport capacity without mechanisms
enforcing increases in efficiency or carbon intensity over and above levels of passenger-km
growth, are incompatible with the goals within Paris Agreement. This interpretation would
be further underlined, were the Agreement to include an even greater recognition that for
many nations world-wide, CO2 emissions will rise in support of their development for basic
energy needs (Lamb et al 2014), leaving even more limited CO2 space for all CO2 producing
There is global agreement that the world needs to limit warming to ‘well-below 2°C above
pre-industrial levels’. Analysis regarding what this means in terms of mitigation is now being
published, with the issue of ‘negative emission technologies’ leading to the greatest area for
debate. Nevertheless, the vast majority of academics working on climate change mitigation
would agree that a rapid and significant reduction in the combustion of fossil fuels is needed
in the coming decades. Air transport is known for both its carbon intensive nature, and its
absence of viable technical mitigation options in a timeframe in keeping with avoiding a 2°C
temperature rise. As such, there is an expectation that its emissions will continue to grow, or
at least not be curbed in a similar way to other sectors, with these other sectors reducing
their emissions more to compensate. To date, and from a UK perspective, mitigation
measures targeting this sector have been less stringent than for others. However, with the
newly published Paris Agreement, most would agree that it is now crucial that targets, goals
and pledges be revisited to address the “serious concern” noted in the Agreement that there
is a … “significant gap between the aggregate effect of Parties’ mitigation pledges in terms of global annual emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 and aggregate emission pathways consistent with holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre- industrial levels”.
Without widespread deployment of highly speculative negative emission technologies,
cutting CO2 emissions in line with ‘well below 2°C’ will require a transformation in energy
systems, and will need to include all CO2 producing sectors. I am unaware of any analysis
that can demonstrate how aviation could be an exception to this.
Heathrow 13: Prof Alice Bows-Larkin’s expert evidence on aviation and climate change
16.2.2016 (Carbon Brief)
Thirteen people found guilty of aggravated trespass whilst protesting against the proposed expansion of Heathrow airport are due to be sentenced next week. It could see the first custodial sentences handed down to environmental protesters in the UK in two decades.
The high-profile trial of the “Heathrow 13” has gone down the rare – but not unprecedented – route of enlisting a climate scientist as an expert witness for the defence.
Prof Alice Bows-Larkin, professor of climate science and policy at the University of Manchester, gave evidence to the court on the impact of aviation on climate change. Exclusively, Carbon Brief has her full statement, exactly as it was submitted to the judge in the trial.
The “Heathrow 13”, part of the Plane Stupid campaign group, were arrested on 13 July last year after chaining themselves to a railing on Heathrow’s northern runway for six hours to protest against the impact of aviation emissions on climate change.
The protesters were arrested and later found guilty of aggravated trespass. District Judge Deborah Wright said that while it was clear the defendants were “principled people” and committed to their cause, she didn’t accept their actions were necessary to protect people from climate change. They should be prepared for jail time, she said, because of the “astronomical” cost of disrupting more than 20 flights.
With their final sentences due to be passed at Willesden magistrates court on 24 February, the case of the “Heathrow 13” has garnered a fair amount of media coverage and high-profile political support in recent weeks. One law expert told the Independentthat custodial sentences for a peaceful, non-violent protest would be “unprecedented in modern times”.
The criminal charge of aggravated trespass came into force in 1994, following a series of road-building protests. While it can technically carry a custodial sentence “not exceeding three months”, no one has since faced jail time as a result of a non-violent environmental protest in the UK.
“The defendants argue that their action was necessary due to the airport’s contribution to life-threatening climatic changes. Furthermore, Heathrow expansion is inhumane to the local residents and those at the sharp end of climate change, and hugely environmentally destructive.”
The “Heathrow 13” case isn’t the first time climate change has been used as a defence in a court of law. In 2008, the “Kingsnorth Six”, arrested for trying to shut down a coal-fired power plant in Kent, were acquitted after arguing what’s known in law as a “necessity defence”.
The defendants successfully argued that their actions were legally justified since they were intending to prevent the far greater harms to society posed by climate change. The nine-person jury cleared the defendants of any wrongdoing by a majority verdict.
Unlike the “Heathrow 13”, whose lesser charges of aggravated trespass warranted a trial by magistrate, the reported £30,000 damages caused by “Kingsnorth Six” meant they appeared before a jury instead.
In January 2016, a judge allowed lawyers to present climate change as a necessity defence for the first time in the US, in the case of the “Delta Five”, a group of activists accused of obstructed a train carrying coal and crude oil.
The defence was less successful that time, however, with the same judge later ruling that the evidence was insufficiently strong for the jury to take into account in its verdict. The protesters were found guilty of trespass, though not guilty of obstructing the train, and spared jail time.
On the rare occasions when climate change has been used as a criminal defence, it’s not unknown for a climate scientist to be called on to give supporting evidence.
Dr James Hansen, veteran climate scientist and former director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, appeared as an expert witness in both the “Kingsnorth Six” and “Delta Five” cases, and again in 2010 in the trial of 20 activists accused of planning to trespass on a coal plant near Nottingham.
In the trial of the “Heathrow 13”, Prof Alice Bows Larkin, a professor of climate science and energy policy at the University of Manchester, specialising in shipping and aviation emissions, gave evidence on behalf of the defence. She did not appear in court, instead submitting a written statement to the judge, parts of which were read out as a summary in court. [The judge did not want to hear any of the defence expert witnesses in person].
Bows-Larkin’s statement begins with a general outline of the impact on climate change of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other substances present in aircraft emissions, such as nitrous oxides, soot, water vapour and sulphur dioxides. She explains:
“Estimates of the historical warming…suggest that the total warming impact of aviation has been around twice that than would be caused by the CO2 alone.”
Bows-Larkin then explains how, to be consistent with the legally-binding obligation in the Paris Agreement of limiting warming to “well-below 2C above pre-industrial levels”, emissions from the aviation sector, like all other sectors, will need to be reduced to near-zero.
“The vast majority of academics working on climate change mitigation would agree that a rapid and significant reduction in the combustion of fossil fuels is needed in the coming decades…I am unaware of any analysis that can demonstrate how aviation could be an exception to this.”
The combination of growing demand and few technical options on the horizon that could dramatically reduce aircraft emissions means that the inability of the aviation industry to curb its environmental impact constitutes a public health risk, says Bows-Larkin.
“All CO2 emitting sectors are damaging to human health through contributing to further warming, but particularly concerning are sectors that do not foresee a significant cut in CO2going into the future.”
Bows-Larkin acknowledges the potential for technology, such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, to offset greenhouse gas emissions. But there is a big question mark over whether we can assume such technologies will materialise in time to meet climate targets, she explains.
It’s a detailed account of where the aviation industry sits alongside UK domestic and international law, and is worth reading in full.
Or, for a flavour of exactly what the court heard, Raj Chada, partner at Hodge Jones & Allen and defence lawyer for four of the accused, has confirmed to Carbon Brief that sections 2.2, 2.6, 3, 8 and parts of 9 were read out in court as a summary of her testimony.
“The London Assembly has a long-standing opposition to Heathrow expansion for a very clear reason. We don’t need it and we don’t want it.” So says Darren Johnson, speaking for the Green Party on the London Assembly. In a blog, he says a 3rd runway at Heathrow would undermine efforts to tackle air pollution and climate change, and increase noise for millions of Londoners. TfL and the GLA could help fund a legal challenge by London borough councils’ to a Heathrow runway. With a new runway, around 30% of the extra Heathrow passengers would simply be “people who would otherwise fly out of another London airport.”…. Why are we considering taking 10m passengers a year from other London airports and concentrating them all at one of most polluted hot spots in the country?” The government’s latest modelling shows, to keep aviation within its carbon cap, “it would need to impose a carbon tax on fuel adding £100 to the cost of a return flight to Ibiza by 2050, even if there is no airport expansion…. In other words, we’d build a new runway in a London airport – then tax people so no more flights were taken across the UK as a whole.” … “Why create so many problems when we could easily get the extra passenger journeys out of existing capacity at other British airports?”
“All that noise & just so people can stop off in Heathrow’s duty free”: the case against airport expansion
Blog by Darren Johnson (in City Metric)
. The London Assembly has a longstanding opposition to Heathrow expansion for a very clear reason. We don’t need it and we don’t want it.
Last May, the Assembly called upon the Airports Commission to reject both of the Heathrow expansion options. Mayor Boris Johnson added, in a response to a written question in June: “My team and I concluded that the Commission’s assessment had failed to demonstrate that Heathrow expansion could be compatible with the UK’s air quality obligations under EU law. It is simply inconceivable that Heathrow expansion could be allowed to proceed in these circumstances.”
So, the position of the mayor and the London Assembly is completely clear. A third runway at Heathrow would undermine efforts to tackle air pollution and climate change, and increase noise for millions of Londoners.
We know that Transport for London (TfL) and the Greater London Authority could help fund a legal challenge by London borough councils’ to this decision. To us, the pro Heathrow supporters are out of touch and are in the pockets of big business.
According to the Davis report, around 30 percent of new Heathrow passengers are simply people who would otherwise fly out of another London airport. So that’ll be concentrating air pollution in one place. Can that be sensible?
How many London residents, school children and businesses will experience worsening or illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide or particulate exposure? Why are we considering taking 10m passengers a year from other London airports and concentrating them all at one of most polluted hot spots in the country?
It’s predicted that Heathrow will be breaching European legal pollution limits in 2030, when still running under capacity. It will be much higher when at full capacity. TfL also think the Davis Report underestimated the pollution from surface access.
So why make it impossible to meet air quality laws, just to get 10m passengers flying out of Heathrow instead of Gatwick or Stansted?
The government is signed up to targets on carbon emissions. To meet them, its latest modelling shows it would need to impose a carbon tax on fuel adding £100 to the cost of a return flight to Ibiza by 2050, even if there is no airport expansion. One of the initial reports by the Davies Commission published a graph showing that, to meet those targets after expanding airport capacity, that additional cost would have to be around £150.
In other words, we’d build a new runway in a London airport – then tax people so no more flights were taken across the UK as a whole.
If Department for Transport modelling is accepted, it implies a massive switch of flights away from Scottish and regional airports as the South East airports grow.
Who benefits from this growth?Around 5 in 10 new passengers will just be transferring between international flights. So hundreds of thousands more Londoners will have to put up with aircraft noise, just so people can stop off in Heathrow’s duty free.
This expansion would mean spending at least £18bn on a third runway, creating all these problems, not to mention the climate impacts, even though only 10 percent of flights is actually a new connection for British passengers. Why create so many problems when we could easily get the extra passenger journeys out of existing capacity at other British airports?
When we also consider that business flights are falling – and that most of the increase is due to relatively wealthy people choosing to take even more flights each year – the idea of expanding airport capacity looks a nonsense.
It’s not even big business, as such, but rich businessmen pushing for it.
Darren Johnson represents the Green party in the London Assembly.
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.