No mention of backing for Heathrow runway in SNP manifesto (despite backing last year)

The SNP manifesto has come out, and despite the party saying last year that it backed the 3rd runway at Heathrow, there is no mention of it this time. There is a whole section on aviation policy, (p. 26 https://www.snp.org/manifesto ) but no mention of the runway. This is significant, coming only 7 months after the memorandum of understanding the SNP signed with Heathrow. (October 2016). The manifesto outlines that the SNP will press the UK Government to commit to the Open Skies Agreement in the Brexit negotiations, expand direct international connectivity, protect existing connections within the UK and press the UK Government to secure an exemption from air passenger duty on flights to and from the Highlands and Islands. On airspace policy, the SNP back the need to reform UK airspace and more community engagement in the formation of flight paths in future. The SNP backing for the Heathrow runway was based on economic forecasts that were wildly exaggerated and misleading, (the “up to £147 billion benefit to all the UK over 60 years” claim )and which even the DfT knows were wrong. The actual benefit to the UK is more likely perhaps £6 billion (over 60 years). The promises of new jobs etc are also now seen to have been inflated and misleading. Why would an independent Scotland want to depend on air freight going via Heathrow?
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A SIGNIFICANT SILENCE IN SNP MANIFESTO ON HEATHROW

30th May 2017 (Stop Heathrow Coalition press release)

The SNP made a surprise move in their 2017 election manifesto, published on Tuesday, with no mention whatsoever of Heathrow expansion, despite a whole section on aviation policy (SNP Manifesto, p. 26 https://www.snp.org/manifesto )

The manifesto outlines that the SNP will press the UK Government to commit to the Open Skies Agreement in the Brexit negotiations, expand direct international connectivity, protect existing connections within the UK and to press the UK Government to secure an exemption from air passenger duty on flights to and from the Highlands and Islands. On airspace policy, the SNP back the need to reform UK airspace and more community engagement in the formation of flight paths in future.

There is no mention whatsoever of Heathrow expansion in the document, despite the Scottish Government signed a memorandum of understanding with Heathrow Airport in October 2016, however, this was based on economic indicators even the Department for Transport now reject as wildly overinflated (Table Further Review and Sensitivities Report, DfT, October 2016, p. 9  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/562160/further-review-and-sensitivities-report-airport-capacity-in-the-south-east.pdf )

 

Robert Barnstone, Coordinator of the Coalition, said: “This will appear to be a significant move by the SNP. It suggests there may be backtracking on their support for a third runway after all only a few months ago they were telling Heathrow a third runway had their full support. There are many signs that the Scottish Government are concluding that economic benefits to Scotland are nowhere near as high as they were lead to believe by Heathrow.” 

The No 3rd Runway Coalition was established in March 2017 and comprises 18 community groups around Heathrow Airport, MPs (election candidates until 8 June 2017) from Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, NGOs such as Greenpeace and the Campaign Against Climate Change as well as five local authorities.

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This is what the Manifesto says:

Connecting Scotland to the world

International connectivity plays an important role in facilitating trade, tourism and investment. Membership of the EU has helped open up skies across Europe, boosting the number of flights to and from Scotland, creating more choice for businesses and families.

SNP MPs will:

• press the UK government to commit to the Open Skies Agreement in Brexit negotiations to ensure there is no loss of flights to or from Scotland and our airports are not disadvantaged;

• work with the Scottish Government, Visit Scotland, Scottish Development International and UK departments to secure an expansion of international flights to and from Scotland, opening up new markets for trade and tourism;

• protect vital Scottish air connections to other parts of the UK;

• continue to work with local partners as part of City and Regional Deals to deliver improved connectivity including an Inverness Airport Rail Hub;

• ensure the UK government continues to work with the Scottish Government to secure an exemption from air passenger taxes on Highlands and Islands flights.

The current system for managing aviation noise is outdated and is in urgent need of reform. In the last Parliament, SNP MPs secured a UK government consultation on a new Independent Aviation Noise Authority to ensure communities are fully engaged in decisions by airports to alter flight paths. We will now push for the establishment of this body, ensuring that airspace changes are delivered with the approval of the community, without having an adverse impact on our environment

Page 26 of

https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/thesnp/pages/9544/attachments/original/1496139998/Manifesto_2017.pdf?1496139998

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Doubt a power surge caused BA’s IT fiasco – bad system, bad planning etc more likely

A massive failure of British Airways’ IT system left 300,000 passengers stranded around the world. This will be remembered as a catastrophic event for BA. And there are many questions about what happened. BA said it was due to a “power surge” that was “so strong that it rendered the back-up system ineffective”. But some experts have subsequently publicly expressed their doubt about how true that is, and do not believe a power surge would be able to bring down a data centre, let alone a data centre and its back-up. One said that would mean either bad design of the system, or some other explanation. Normally a data centre would have surge protection, which is there to protect against exactly this problem. There should also be an uninterruptible power supply, and proper earthing systems. The companies supplying the area where BA holds its data say there was no power surge. Experts say much of the problem was the time taken to reboot the system. But the overly-complex IT system is largely outsourced to India – and many of the experts in UK who initially helped to cultivate and develop the network left when the jobs were moved. The extent of the BA problem may be due to poor crisis management planning, an under-trained and under-staffed IT support team and a poor understanding of the wider logistics. The reputational costs to BA could be huge and very significant.
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The Times, on 2nd June 2016, said: 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ba-power-fiasco-blamed-on-staff-blunder-tbfhxwsw2

The incident is thought to concern an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) which delivers a smooth flow of power from the mains, with a fall-back to a battery back-up and a diesel generator.

This week BA’s parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG) admitted that the supply to Boadicea House, a data centre, was temporarily lost. An internal investigation found that the UPS, believed to have been supplied by Hitec Power Protection, was functioning correctly at the time.

One BA source said it was rumoured that a contractor doing maintenance inadvertently switched the supply off, although this has not been confirmed.

An internal email from Bill Francis, head of group IT at IAG, appeared to confirm this version of events. The email, leaked to the Press Association, said: “This resulted in the total immediate loss of power to the facility, bypassing the backup generators and batteries . . . It was turned back on in an unplanned and uncontrolled fashion, which created physical damage to the system.”

…. full story at https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ba-power-fiasco-blamed-on-staff-blunder-tbfhxwsw2

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5 talking points around the British Airways IT failure

An IT system failure left 300,000 passengers stranded around the world in what will be remembered as a catastrophic event for British Airways. But what really happened?

By Roy Manuell (Junior Editor, International Airport Review)

31 May 2017

Why might we have reason to doubt the “power surge” claims?

According to Álex Cruz, BA’s chairman and chief executive, the catastrophic IT failure that left hundreds of thousands of passengers stranded over the UK Bank Holiday Weekend was due to a “power surge.”

It is alleged that the surge was “so strong that it rendered the back-up system ineffective”.

Several experts have subsequently publicly expressed their doubt as to the validity of this claim. “Multiple data centre designers have told the Guardian that a power surge should not be able to bring down a data centre, let alone a data centre and its back-up,” the British newspaper reported on Tuesday 30 May.

“It’s either bad design or there’s more to the story than just a power surge,” said James Wilman, chief executive of the data centre consultancy Future-tech. “You have something specifically that you build in to a data centre called surge protection, which is there to protect against exactly this incident. You also have an uninterruptible power supply, a UPS, and part of its job is to condition the power” – ie smooth out the peaks and flows in current.

“Between those and a quality earthing system, you should be protected from power surges,” Wilman said.

According to another leading British newspaper, The Times, SSE and UK Power Networks, both electricity companies that provide energy to the geographical location at which the airline holds its data centre have denied the possibility of a power surge.

Why was the impact so large?

An unnamed corporate IT expert, speaking to the BBC, further suggested that a power failure shouldn’t have even caused a “flicker of the lights” in the data-centre due to the presence of the UPS – the uninterruptible power supply.

Essentially, the scale of the impact and the amount of people that were affected is largely due to the time taken to reboot the system.

Why did BA’s reboot take so long?

Once the power was lost, the airline’s crisis management plan should have kicked in but as many media outlets have suggested, the overly-complex IT system is largely outsourced to India and many of the experts who initially helped to cultivate and develop the network left when the jobs were moved.

If you saw the amount of old infrastructure that this country is hanging off of, you wouldn’t sleep at night.

Many believe that the time taken to reboot remains a combination of poor crisis management planning, an under-trained and under-staffed IT support team and an incomplete understanding there-and-then of the complex logistics of air travel in the 21st Century.

Is the airline industry’s infrastructure so outdated?

Returning to James Wilman once again, he suggests that airlines’ IT systems are fundamentally outdated and notably the British communications infrastructure is too old.

“We were leading the communications curve back 20 years ago, and the problem is that that now means that much of our infrastructure is hanging off a 25-year-old backbone. Some data centres are reaching the end of their life. And how do you refurbish that when you can’t turn it off?

“If you saw the amount of old infrastructure that this country is hanging off of, you wouldn’t sleep at night,” he said.

The cyber threat and conclusions to come?

It is unfair on BA to over-speculate as the investigation is only just underway and information is only beginning to seep through.

Many fear that cyber threats may have been behind the failure while others argue that it was just one big mistake. Irrespective, it has happened and serious questions now need to be asked as the implications of the failure could be monumentally significant.

International Airport Review will be covering the story as more information comes through.

https://www.internationalairportreview.com/news/34880/british-airways-ba-it-failure/

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See earlier:

British Airways could have to pay £100m compensation bill to passengers due to its huge IT failure

British Airways could face a bill of at least £100 million in compensation for its passengers affected by the cancellations and delays caused by its IT systems failure. The problem, perhaps caused by a loss of electric power, which then lead to most systems not working, resulted in BA flights around the world being unable to take off, passengers unable to check in, even the website not working. The problem affected Heathrow the most in England, as the largest base for BA. Gatwick was also affected. In total about 1,000 flights were affected, with problems likely to last several days more, while systems are fixed and planes get back into the right places. As this computer fault is entirely the fault of BA (and not any sort of “act of God”) BA will be liable to pay full compensation, to anyone delayed over 3 hours. The airline was particularly busy as it was the start of the school half term, and also a Bank Holiday weekend, with people flying for weekends away. The GMB union said the problem had been caused in part because BA made many good IT staff redundant in 2016, to save money. They instead outsourced the work to India. Besides the huge cost of compensation (and improving its IT resilience) BA will have suffered serious reputational damage, with many saying they would avoid ever flying with BA again.

Click here to view full story…

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Read more »

British Airways could have to pay £100m compensation bill to passengers due to its huge IT failure

British Airways could face a bill of at least £100 million in compensation for its passengers affected by the cancellations and delays caused by its IT systems failure. The problem, perhaps caused by a loss of electric power, which then lead to most systems not working, resulted in BA flights around the world being unable to take off, passengers unable to check in, even the website not working. The problem affected Heathrow the most in England, as the largest base for BA. Gatwick was also affected. In total about 1,000 flights were affected, with problems likely to last several days more, while systems are fixed and planes get back into the right places. As this computer fault is entirely the fault of BA (and not any sort of “act of God”) BA will be liable to pay full compensation, to anyone delayed over 3 hours. The airline was particularly busy as it was the start of the school half term, and also a Bank Holiday weekend, with people flying for weekends away.  The GMB union said the problem had been caused in part because BA made many good IT staff redundant in 2016, to save money. They instead outsourced the work to India. Besides the huge cost of compensation (and improving its IT resilience) BA will have suffered serious reputational damage, with many saying they would avoid ever flying with BA again.

 

British Airways could face £100m compensation bill over IT meltdown

IT glitch affected more than 1,000 flights over weekend meaning people missed holidays, lost luggage or were stranded on aircraft

British Airways could face a bill of at least £100m in compensation, additional customer care and lost business resulting from an IT meltdown that affected more than 1,000 flights over the weekend.

All the airline’s flights from Heathrow and Gatwick were grounded on Saturday. Services resumed on Sunday but cancellations and delays delays persisted with about 200 BA flights in and out of Heathrow cancelled on Sunday, according to Guardian calculations. There were no cancellations at Gatwick but some passengers experienced delays.

The glitch is believed to have been caused by a power supply issue and there is no evidence of a cyber-attack, the airline said.

In a video posted on YouTube, Alex Cruz, chief executive of BA, said that all the IT systems were not yet restored. “Many of our IT systems are back up today. All my British Airways colleagues on the ground and in the air are pulling out all the stops to get our operation back up to normal as quickly as we possibly can, we’re not there yet.”

“I know this has been a horrible time for customers. Some have missed holidays, some have been stranded on aircraft, some separated from bags and some stuck in long queues while they have waited for information. On behalf of everyone at BA I want to apologise for the fact you’ve had to go through these very trying experiences,” said Cruz.

As hundreds of passengers remained stranded, the GMB union blamed job cuts at BA for the IT problems which were thought to relate to a power outage.

Mick Rix, GMB national officer for aviation, said: “This could have all been avoided. BA in 2016 made hundreds of dedicated and loyal IT staff redundant and outsourced the work to India. BA have made substantial profits in for a number of years, and many viewed the company’s actions as just plain greedy.”

Both Gatwick and Heathrow advised passengers to check the status of their flights after terminals became congested with travellers hoping to get away for the long weekend and half-term school holiday. BA was asking passengers not to turn up until 90 minutes before their flights because of the level of congestion at Heathrow.

On Sunday morning, Welsh international table tennis player Chloe Thomas, whose 7.30am flight from Heathrow to Germany for the World Table Tennis Championship in Düsseldorf was cancelled at the last minute, described chaotic scenes.

“It’s chaos, people are running about all over the place trying to rebook,” she told Press Association. “There’s no one to help, no leadership. There are lots of people everywhere. There’s nowhere to sit, so people are just lying on the floor, sleeping on yoga mats.”

She said airport staff had handed out mats, as well as thin blankets, for people who were stuck there overnight. She added that one of the shops had sold out of food. Passengers faced long lines to check in, rebook or find lost luggage.

James Walker, chief executive of free flights compensation claim site Resolver, said BA handled about 120,000 passengers a day in and out of Heathrow and Gatwick alone, indicating a bill of close to £50m for delays of more than three hours under EU-backed compensation rules.

About half of those passengers were likely to be entitled to meals and accommodation while waiting for delayed flights and a number will have sought a refund or decided to avoid using BA as a result of a “loss of trust”.

BA has also pledged to reunite hundreds of thousands of items of luggage caught up in the delays with passengers via a free courier service adding further to costs.

Walker said there was no question that BA would have to pay out compensation under the EU scheme which demands payments for flights delayed by at least three hours as a result of reasons within the airline’s control.

“This is not like an ash cloud or traffic controllers’ strike that can’t be predicted. The computer system breaking down is within its control. BA is going to have to pay out and it looks like its costs will be north of £100m.”

Last year, the US airline Delta said it lost $100m after the shutdown of power to its data centre because an equipment failure led to delays.

John Strickland, director of independent transport consultancy JLS Consulting, said it was likely that BA would face a “significant financial impact” as its problems looked set to continue into this week.

BA indicated it was expecting continued disruption as its website said customers due to fly on Monday and Tuesday could rebook for dates up to November this year, even if their flights were operating.

Problems remain with the airline’s IT systems, including its customer call centres and website as well as operations planning. It also takes time for BA to ensure planes and staff are in the right place. Crew working patterns are also governed by strict regulations on rest and working hours.

“It’s the magnitude and scale of the problem. Even if BA’s IT systems were fully operational now it will take some days to fully restore a normal flying programme.”

Strickland said Heathrow was worst affected because it is the biggest BA hub and handles more long haul flights.

BA was unable to respond to queries about the financial impact or the number of flights cancelled on Sunday but a spokesman said: “We would never compromise the integrity and security of our IT systems.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/may/28/british-airways-faces-100m-compensation-bill-over-it-meltdown

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A CEO: Power supply issue caused IT outage

The problem was so serious that the airline canceled all flights from its London Heathrow hub and from London Gatwick, until 6 p.m. local time Saturday. BA also warned all passengers intending to travel before then not to go to the airports. The problem was made more severe by the fact that the UK is on a public holiday weekend, combined with the start of the school half-term holidays in many parts of England, when many families travel for an early summer break.

The incident follows similarly disruptive IT outages at US airlines last year that affected Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines. BA suffered a computer check-in problem in September 2016 that also caused major delays, although not wholesale cancellations.

In Saturday’s event, BA passengers complained of difficulty in getting information from airline staff at airports. The airline’s website was also down and passengers were unable to access the airline’s mobile app. Some travelers were held on board aircraft for lengthy periods as aircraft backed up at Heathrow and Gatwick, unable to depart or find a gate.

“We have experienced a major IT system failure that is causing very severe disruption to our flight operations worldwide,” the airline said in a statement. “The terminals at Heathrow and Gatwick have become extremely congested and we have cancelled all flights from Heathrow and Gatwick before 6 p.m. UK time today, so please do not come to the airports. We will provide more information on ba.com, Twitter and through airport communication channels as soon as we can for flights due to depart after that time. We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience this is causing our customers and we are working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.”

Later in the day, Cruz apologized on the airline’s Twitter account for the “huge inconvenience” the outage had caused to passengers. He added that the root cause of the outage appeared to have been a power supply issue, rather than a cyber-attack.

http://atwonline.com/airlines/ba-ceo-power-supply-issue-caused-it-outage

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BA could face huge compensation bill over stranded passengers

27.5.2017 (Herald  Scotland)

BA could face huge compensation bill over stranded passengers
British Airways could be facing huge compensation costs after thousands of passengers were stranded by a global IT crash.

Delayed travellers are able to claim compensation under EU law, unless the disruption has been caused by factors outside the airline’s control.

Air travel experts say BA is likely to face a massive cost in lost revenue and payouts to customers whose flights were cancelled.

Malcolm Ginsberg, editor in chief at Business Travel News, said: “There is no question – the EU denied-boarding regulations will have to apply.

“They have broken all the rules and they will have to deal with it – it’s going to be a very expensive situation for BA.”

Airlines also have to provide food and drink if their passengers are delayed by more than two hours under the regulations.

Civil Aviation Authority guidance states that anyone who is more than three hours delayed arriving at their destination could be entitled to compensation.

Meanwhile, the unprecedented disruption could last for several days, experts say.   Air industry consultant John Strickland said: “There’s a massive knock-on effect.

“Customers and from the airline’s point of view – manpower, dealing with the backlog of aircraft out of position, parking spaces for the aircraft – it’s a challenge and a choreographic nightmare.”

He added that the problems with BA’s IT systems last year were not on the scale of this issue.    “They were bedding in a new check-in system last year and there were teething problem but not of the magnitude of this,” Mr Strickland said.

The disruption has been compounded by the timing of the outage coinciding with a bank holiday weekend and school half-term holidays.

“Heathrow ordinarily would be busy but would be exacerbated by the bank holiday, half-term and Ascension Day, which is celebrated in a lot of Europe,” Mr Strickland added. “Even if they could quickly get the show back on the road, which is a big uncertainty, disruption could run into several days.”

Mr Ginsberg added: “This is a very, very serious situation, one that will not be solved overnight, even once they get the technology aspects of it done – it’s going to be three or four days. There’s only full aircraft at this time of year and there will be aircraft in the wrong positions.”

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15313930.BA_could_face_huge_compensation_bill_over_stranded_passengers/?ref=rss

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Doubt a power surge caused BA’s IT fiasco – bad system, bad planning etc more likely

A massive failure of British Airways’ IT system left 300,000 passengers stranded around the world. This will be remembered as a catastrophic event for BA. And there are many questions about what happened. BA said it was due to a “power surge” that was “so strong that it rendered the back-up system ineffective”. But some experts have subsequently publicly expressed their doubt about how true that is, and do not believe a power surge would be able to bring down a data centre, let alone a data centre and its back-up. One said that would mean either bad design of the system, or some other explanation. Normally a data centre would have surge protection, which is there to protect against exactly this problem. There should also be an uninterruptible power supply, and proper earthing systems. The companies supplying the area where BA holds its data say there was no power surge. Experts say much of the problem was the time taken to reboot the system. But the overly-complex IT system is largely outsourced to India – and many of the experts in UK who initially helped to cultivate and develop the network left when the jobs were moved. The extent of the BA problem may be due to poor crisis management planning, an under-trained and under-staffed IT support team and a poor understanding of the wider logistics. The reputational costs to BA could be huge and very significant.

Click here to view full story…

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Heathrow loses High Court challenge on charging Crossrail trains using the line it built

Heathrow has lost a High Court challenge over access charges it can can levy on Crossrail trains travelling to the airport.  The airport spent £1 billion building a five-mile spur 20 years ago to connect Heathrow to the Great Western track. Legal action was triggered after the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) decided the amount which Heathrow could charge Crossrail, and others, for using the spur could not include any amount connected to the recovery of the spur building costs.  Heathrow applied for a judicial review at London’s High Court, arguing the decision was irrational and ORR had no power to reach any decision over the access charge at all.  Now Mr Justice Ouseley has ruled that the challenge failed on all grounds. He refused permission to appeal, but Heathrow can still ask the Court of Appeal to hear the case. Heathrow is counting on the arrival of Crossrail in May 2018, as part of its plans to increase the airport’s rail capacity by 2040.  There had been concerns that had the decision gone  in favour of Heathrow, Transport for London (TfL) may have opted not to serve the airport at all. Heathrow needs a higher proportion of passengers to arrive by rail, to try to deal with its air pollution problems. 
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High Court derails Heathrow Airport bid to charge Crossrail trains for each time they travel to the airport

26.5.2017
By Rebecca Smith (City AM)

The High Court has rejected Heathrow Airport’s bid to charge Crossrail for its trains travelling to the airport.

Heathrow said it was “disappointed with today’s ruling” and is considering its next steps.

There had been a dispute over whether Crossrail trains should be charged for each time they travel to Heathrow Airport, which the airport was seeking from Transport for London (TfL) which runs the Elizabeth Line.

Crossrail, now known as the Elizabeth Line, will run from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

Part of the line will run on track built by Heathrow owners, who use it for the Heathrow Express service. The airport spent £1bn building the line 20 years ago to connect Heathrow to the Great Western track. It wanted to recoup some of the costs of the link.

Read more: Capacity gap needs plugging until Heathrow expansion, say business leaders

Previously, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) had decided Heathrow couldn’t charge trains for using the line, saying it would cost around £42m a year.

The airport had said it wanted to ensure “track access charges were fair”. It took the decision to the High Court for a judicial review, with the court dismissing Heathrow’s application today.

The ORR said:

We welcome this judgement and we will now work with all the affected parties to enable Crossrail services to start running as scheduled into the airport.
“As the independent regulator for the UK’s railways, we have a statutory role in ensuring charges to run trains on relevant networks are underpinned by evidence and comply with legal requirements,” it said.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “Heathrow is committed to increasing sustainable public transport to the airport – that’s why we invested in Crossrail, built the Heathrow Express rail service, support Piccadilly Line services to the airport, and subsidise Europe’s largest free bus network.”

We are looking forward to the arrival of Crossrail in May 2018 as part of our plans to treble Heathrow’s rail capacity by 2040 and put the airport at the heart of an integrated transport network in London.

While we are disappointed with today’s ruling and are considering our next steps, both Heathrow and Network Rail agree that track access charges must be fair to encourage future private investment in the rail network.

There had been concerns that should the decision go in favour of Heathrow, Transport for London (TfL) may have opted not to serve the airport at all.

Howard Smith, TfL’s operations director for the Elizabeth Line, said:

“We welcome the court’s judgement to uphold the Office of Rail and Road’s original decision on the charging levels for Elizabeth line services to Heathrow.

“We look forward to working swiftly with Heathrow to conclude final details of access arrangements for Elizabeth line services.”

Four Crossrail trains an hour are planned to run between Paddington and Heathrow terminals 2 to 4, from May next year.

http://www.cityam.com/265482/high-court-derails-heathrow-airport-bid-charge-crossrail

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The High Court decision means some has raised questions over whether the stance taken by ORR risks discouraging future private investment in the railway network..

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See earlier:

Heathrow and Crossrail in legal dispute over how much TfL would have to pay to use 5 miles of track

Crossrail (the Elizabeth line) is a £15 billion train line designed to cross London from west to east, bringing relief for commuters, but it seems it may not now stop at Heathrow because of a legal row with the airport’s owners over fees. Heathrow has its lucrative Heathrow Express service runs partly on a 5-mile stretch of track, built and paid for (over £1 billion) by the airport. The Crossrail link into Heathrow would run on this section of track. It is an expensive (£25 per ticket) route, and Heathrow’s foreign owners want to recoup past spending on the private train line with an “investment recovery charge” of £570 for every train that uses the track, plus extra fees of about £107 per train. But the Elizabeth line, by contrast, will be in line with the fares that apply across the rest of the capital’s transport network. The opening of the new Crossrail service to Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 4 is expected to throw the financial sustainability of the existing Heathrow Express into question, though Heathrow insists it would continue to run alongside the Elizabeth Line. Heathrow’s owners are now in dispute with the Office of Rail and Road, which sets track access charges, over the amount that TfL, which runs the Elizabeth Line, will need to pay to use the track. The hearings were held earlier this year and a High Court judgment is expected within weeks.

Click here to view full story…

Heathrow expansion plans, and ability to reduce road vehicle trips, threatened by Crossrail costs row

Simon Calder, writing in the Independent, says plans to build a 3rd Heathrow runway could be jeopardised by a row between the airport’s owners and Transport for London (TfL). Heathrow Terminals 2, 3 and 4 are expected to be served by the new Crossrail east-west line, which is due to open in May 2018. But Heathrow is demanding very high fees from rail users to pay back the estimated £1 billion cost of the privately funded Heathrow Express spur from the Great Western line – into the airport. That opened in 1998. The Office of Rail and Road said that Heathrow could not recoup the historical costs of building this link. Heathrow challenged this decision, and a legal judgment is expected shortly. If the ruling is in favour of Heathrow, TfL may choose not to serve the airport at all — which would throw into doubt predictions of the proportion of passengers using public transport if a 3rd runway was built. The NPS for the runway requires a higher proportion of passengers and staff to use public transport in future, than now. One of Crossrail’s selling points has been easy access to Heathrow from east London and the City, down to 34 minutes from Liverpool Street to Heathrow. “Without straightforward, low-cost rail links, more airline passengers may opt to go by road to Heathrow — adding to pollution, congestion and noise.”

Click here to view full story…

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IAG warns the “costs and complexity” of bridging M25 could be major problem for Heathrow runway plans

British Airways’ owner International Airlines Group (IAG) estimates bridging the M25, close to the M4 junction, would cost £2 billion-£3 billion. The Airports Commission suggested the cost could be higher, with £5 billion for local road upgrades, including the tunnel. The Commission said Heathrow should pay for these, as part of the cost of building its runway. The cost and complexity of somehow putting the runway over the busiest, widest section of motorway in the UK are considerable.  IAG, as by far the largest airline at Heathrow, does not want to be charged for this work, which would mean putting up the price of its air tickets.  IAG says there is no detailed risk and cost analysis of the airport’s plans on what to do with the M25, though a bridge is cheaper than a tunnel.  Willie Walsh said: “Airlines were never consulted on the runway length and they can operate perfectly well from a slightly shorter runway that doesn’t cross the M25.” He wants Heathrow to build a shorter runway of 3,200m rather than 3,500m that does not require going over the M25. But that would mean the motorway directly at the end of the runway, in the worse danger zone. IAG says: “We will not pay for a runway that threatens both costs and delays spiralling out of control and where critical elements of the project could be undeliverable.”
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M25 could de-rail Heathrow expansion, says IAG

by Phil Davies  (Travel Weekly)

24.5.2017

Heathrow’s expansion could be stymied by the cost and complexity of plans to bridge the M25 motorway to build a third runway, the government is being warned by the airport’s largest operator.

British Airways owner International Airlines Group estimates bridging the M25, close to the M4 junction, would cost £2 billion-£3 billion on top of Heathrow’s already “over-inflated” £17 billion bill for the third runway.

All costs will be paid for by airlines’ customers, IAG warns in its submission to the government’s consultation on its Airports National Policy Statement, which closes tomorrow (Thursday).

IAG also claims that there is no detailed risk and cost analysis of Heathrow’s plans to build over one of Europe’s busiest motorways.

IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said: “Airlines were never consulted on the runway length and they can operate perfectly well from a slightly shorter runway that doesn’t cross the M25.”

The airport needs to focus on a shorter runway of 3,200m rather than 3,500m that does not breach the M25 and is delivered to a business case that keeps current charges the same or lower than today’s, according to IAG.

While the airline group says that Heathrow is the best option for expansion, it also welcomes credible schemes from promoters other than Heathrow.

IAG says this would ensure customers get the very best scheme, built at an affordable price, which delivers a competitive new Heathrow for the UK economy post-Brexit.

Walsh said: “Bridging the M25 means years of disruption on a motorway already plagued by delays and congestion. As well as increased costs, this will have a huge impact not only on motorists but on local communities around Heathrow.

“The airport has yet to produce a business plan that assesses the financial implications and risks of bridging the M25.
“We will not pay for a runway that threatens both costs and delays spiralling out of control and where critical elements of the project could be undeliverable.

“Britain needs cost-effective airport infrastructure that benefits the country rather than Heathrow’s shareholders.

“It is already the world’s most expensive hub airport and customer charges must not increase to pay for the new runway.

“We urge the government to benchmark Heathrow’s costs against other similar global schemes.”

http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/279839/m25-could-de-rail-heathrow-expansion-says-iag

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IAG boss Willie Walsh warns that the “costs and complexity” of bridging the M25 could throw Heathrow expansion off track

By Rebecca Smith (City AM)

Wednesday 24 May 2017

British Airways owner IAG has hit out again at prospective M25 plans for Heathrow expansion, warning that bridging the major motorway will derail the third runway plans.

In its submission to the government’s consultation on its national policy statement, which closes tomorrow, IAG warns of the scheme’s cost and complexity, estimating that bridging the M25 will cost £2-3bn on top of the airport’s £17bn bill for the third runway.

IAG said there is no detailed risk and cost analysis of Heathrow’s plans to build over one of Europe’s busiest motorways.

Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive, said: “The airport has yet to produce a business plan that assesses the financial implications and risks of bridging the M25. We will not pay for a runway that threatens both costs and delays spiralling out of control and where critical elements of the project could be undeliverable.”

In a headache for the airline giant, it said all costs will be paid for by carriers’ customers.

IAG wants the focus on a shorter runway that does not breach the M25. A shorter runway had been floated amid Heathrow’s earlier proposals for expansion, but was considered more of a trouble in terms of noise concerns.

Walsh said: “Bridging the M25 means years of disruption on a motorway already plagued by delays and congestion. As well as increased costs, this will have a huge impact not only on motorists but on local communities around Heathrow.”

Britain needs cost-effective airport infrastructure that benefits the country rather than Heathrow’s shareholders.
While IAG has backed Heathrow for expansion over the other alternatives, such as a second Gatwick runway, Walsh urged the government to benchmark Heathrow costs against “other similar global schemes”.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “Like all major infrastructure projects, we have to balance several factors in order to deliver the increase in airport expansion that Britain needs: risk, constructability, passenger experience, quality, affordability and time.

“In each of these areas we have engaged expert advisers and consulted our airlines to ensure we get the right balance and the best outcome for our passengers, our local communities and the country as a whole.”

The airport has not yet decided how the runway will cross the M25, with a proposal to construct a 650 metre tunnel for the motorway vying with the option of putting the runway on a slope above the road.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said the latter would be “cheaper and quicker” than any movement of the M25 in October last year.

Highways England has also said a tunnel would cause a national shortage of contractors, delay road building schemes across Britain and cause huge frustration for drivers.

http://www.cityam.com/265337/iag-boss-willie-walsh-warns-costs-and-complexity-bridging

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See earlier:

 

Heathrow boss rules out footing the £5 billion bill for road and rail works – wants taxpayer to pay

The Airports Commission left the matter of who would pay for the approximately £5 billion needed to tunnel a section of the M25, and other surface access improvements, vague. The assumption has been made that the taxpayer would have to fund this, though the Airports Commission suggested that Heathrow would be able to find the funding from its investors for this. Now the CEO of Heathrow has dismissed the suggestion that the airport foots the £5 billion bill for road and rail work if a 3rd runway is built.  Huge motorway engineering would be needed, to have the runway going over the motorway.  John Holland-Kaye has ruled out paying for the surface access work. Though the government funds road and rail improvements under normal circumstances, tunnelling the M25 and dealing with hugely increased road traffic using an airport 50% larger than at present are not normal circumstances. Especially in times of huge economic savings being necessary in public finances. The Commission’s final report said it considered the runway was commercially viable “without a requirement for direct government support. This remains the case even in a situation where the airport is required to fund 100% of the surface access costs.” This would be by Heathrow “raising both debt and equity finance. This finance is then serviced through subsequent revenues and refinancing by the airport operator.”    

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/07/heathrow-boss-rules-out-footing-the-5-billion-bill-for-road-and-rail-works-wants-taxpayer-to-pay/

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Times reports that Heathrow plans to offer to cut costs and build runway scheme faster

The Times reports that it has learned how Heathrow is planning to cut up to £3 billion (out of about £17.6 billion) from its plans for a 3rd runway, in order to persuade Theresa May and the Cabinet that the runway could be delivered – and delivered a year earlier. Revised plans include potentially scrapping plans to tunnel the M25 under the 3rd runway, not building a transit system to carry passengers around the airport (using buses instead) and smaller terminal buildings. The aim is not only to get the runway working by 2024 but also -with reduced costs – keeping charges for passengers a bit lower. The Airports Commission estimated the cost per passenger would need to rise from £20 now to £29. Airlines like British Airways are not prepared to pay such high costs, and especially not before the runway opens.  BA’s Willie Walsh has described Heathrow’s runway plans as “gold-plated”. The Times expects that Heathrow will announce its new “cheaper, faster” plans by the end of September.  There is no mention of the “Heathrow Hub” option of extending the northern runway – a slightly cheaper scheme than the airport’s preferred new north west runway.  There is no clarity on quite what Heathrow plans for the M25, if they cannot afford to tunnel all 14 lanes (at least £ 5 billion).  Lord Deighton said it might be “diverted” or have “some form of bridge.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/09/times-reports-that-heathrow-plans-to-offer-to-cut-costs-and-build-runway-scheme-faster/
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Eurostar to run direct trains (under 4 hours) from London to Amsterdam by end of 2017

Direct Eurostar services between London and Amsterdam will be operating by the end of the year, sparking a major price war with airlines. Initially there will be 2 trains per day and the journey from St Pancras to Amsterdam city centre will take just under 4 hours.  Direct Eurostars between London and Rotterdam are also due to start before long. There is considerable, lucrative, demand due to Christmas markets in Amsterdam.  Eurostar is now set to challenge companies including British Airways and easyJet, on price, speed, ease, convenience and quality of service.  Eurostar already competes with airlines with low fares, as low as £25 one way, between London and Brussels. Eurostar has bought new e320 trains and refurbished others. The e320 trains have 20% more capacity, and wifi.  Part of the route to Amsterdam is with Dutch rail operator NS International, which operates high-speed links to Brussels, Frankfurt, Paris and other destinations.  In March Eurostar announced the opening of a new high-speed link to Bordeaux, with an easy connection in Paris (Gare du Nord to Montparnasse) with train times linking up. This trip cuts an hour off the journey time to Bordeaux, and offers an alternative to flying.
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Eurostar to run direct trains from London to Amsterdam by end of the year

By DICK MURRAY  (Evening Standard)
23.5.2017

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Direct Eurostar services between London and Amsterdam will be operating by the end of the year, sparking a major price war with airlines.

Initially there will be two trains a day and the journey from St Pancras International to Amsterdam city centre will take just under four hours.

Direct Eurostars between London and Rotterdam are also said to be in the “final stages of preparation” and will follow shortly afterwards.

The Amsterdam launch will be in time to seize a share of the lucrative Christmas market. More than three million passengers a year travel by air between London and Amsterdam, making it one of Europe’s most busiest routes.

Eurostar is now set to challenge companies including British Airways and easyJet.

A company source said: “We will compete with the low-cost airlines on price, speed, ease, convenience and quality of service.”

The train operator is already taking on airlines on its Paris and Brussels routes, offering fares as low as £25 one way. It also highlighted the start this Sunday of its new e320 trains between London and Brussels.

Speaking in the Belgian capital, Euro-star chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said the Brussels service was part of a £1 billion investment programme, including 17 of the e320 stock and refurbishment of original trains.

The terminal at Brussels Midi has been renovated. “The introduction of the e320 on the Brussels route marks an important milestone in the travel experience for customers,” he said.

“With demand for high-speed rail over plane on the increase we are gearing up to expand our reach to Amsterdam and Rotterdam.”

Marjon Kaper, managing director of Dutch rail operator NS International, which operates high-speed links to Brussels, Frankfurt, Paris and other destinations, said: “The preparations for the direct connection between Amsterdam and London with Eurostar and NS are progressing well.

“All partners are working hard on this. Today is special because the start of services with the new train to Brussels brings the ‘Amsterdam Route’ closer.”

The e320 has been on the London-Paris route since 2015. Eurostar said it was “proving very popular with customers”, with “20 per cent more capacity … chic interior, wi-fi and on-board entertainment streamed to customers’ personal devices”.

However, when the trains were launched the Standard reported how some passengers complained about “uncomfortable” seats, “too bright” lighting and a “wobbly” swaying motion.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/eurostar-to-run-direct-trains-from-london-to-amsterdam-by-end-of-the-year-a3546141.html

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High-speed line to Bordeaux

14.3.2017 (Eurostar press release)

  • Journey time reduced by over one hour
  • First service departs on 2 July 2017
  • Fares from London to Bordeaux start from £110 return

Eurostar, the high-speed rail service linking the UK and mainland Europe, will open ticket sales for the new route from London to Bordeaux tomorrow, 15 March 2017.

The new high-speed line in France will reduce journey time by over one hour, offering passengers a more convenient alternative to flying. With a simple connection in Paris from Gare du Nord to Montparnasse, passengers can travel from the heart of London to the centre of Bordeaux, with services specially timed to ensure a fast transfer between the Eurostar and local high-speed train.

The new line is testament to the increasing appeal of the city, which offer travellers the ultimate French escape. Crowned as the 2017World’s Best City by Lonely Planet, Bordeaux boasts grand architecture, a dynamic restaurant scene and a wealth of art and culture.

Nick Mercer, Commercial Director, Eurostar, said: “There is a growing appetite for Bordeaux, as British travellers are drawn to the gastronomic and cultural attractions of the city and nearby regions. With the new high-speed line, passengers will benefit from a more civilised way to travel with city-centre-to city-centre travel, a generous baggage allowance and superior comfort on board our new trains.”

With its close proximity to the Atlantic Coast, Bordeaux is extremely well connected linking some of France’s most popular seaside resorts including Île de Ré, Cap Ferret, Arcachon. For those looking to taste some of Europe’s finest wines, the world famous vineyards of Saint-Émilion and Médoc are within easy reach.

With quick and convenient check-in, city-centre to city-centre travel, and a generous baggage allowance, Eurostar is the ideal way to travel to mainland Europe. Passengers travelling on the new e320 train can sit back and unwind in more spacious surroundings and enjoy free wi-fi and over 300 hours of entertainment – all streamed straight to their phone, tablet or laptop.

From only £110 return, passengers can speed across the French countryside to Bordeaux. For more information or to book Eurostar tickets visit www.eurostar.com or call the Eurostar contact centre on 03432 186 186.

About Eurostar

  • Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Lyon, Avignon, Marseille and the French Alps
  • Eurostar and Eurotunnel are entirely separate companies.  Eurostar operates high-speed passenger trains, while Eurotunnel operates vehicle shuttle services and the Channel Tunnel itself. Eurostar is Eurotunnel’s biggest customer.

https://mediacentre.eurostar.com/mc_view?language=&article_Id=ka3b0000000TgrUAAS

 

 

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Homebuyers vote noise to be the biggest turn off – plane noise very high on the list

Some new research indicates that homebuyers take noise pollution very seriously when buying a house. According to a recent survey, 92% of homeowners say noise levels from a nearby pub would influence their decision to buy, with 55% saying they definitely wouldn’t buy it.  Other noise sources that homeowners say would deter them completely from buying their dream property include airports (54%), motorways (48%) an airport flight path (45%), electricity pylons (40%) and a train mainline (36%). And 38% of homeowners say noise levels from an A-road would make them reconsider the purchase. After a nearby noisy pub, airports were a close second on the list of noise pollutants that would affect someone’s decision to buy.  91% saying they would be influenced and over half (54%) saying noise levels from an airport would put them off completely. Only 9% of homebuyers said they would look beyond the noise levels and buy anyway.   45% of homebuyers said the noise from flight paths would put them off completely. 30% said they would reconsider buying, while 15% said that they would be willing to offer a lower price for an affected property. The advice given is that with the potential expansion to Heathrow, homebuyers would be wise to look at the new flight path before committing to a new home purchase. But that is not possible, as there are not likely to be flight path maps for several more years …

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Homebuyers vote noise to be the biggest turn off

New research from Plentific.com [a home service marketplace] has revealed that homebuyers take noise pollution very seriously when it comes to buying their dream home.

According to a recent survey, 92% of homeowners say noise levels from a nearby pub would influence their decision on buying their dream home, with 55% saying they definitely wouldn’t buy it.

Other noise sources that homeowners say would deter them completely from buying their dream property include airports (54%), motorways (48%) an airport flight path (45%), electricity pylons (40%) and a train mainline (36%). 38% of homeowners also say noise levels from an A-road would make them reconsider the purchase.

Homeowners over 55-years-old were the most likely to opt out of buying their dream property in every category, while under 35-year-olds saw noise as less of an influence when it comes to buying. This group ranked bottom in all but two categories: airports (50%) and restaurants (32%).

Stephen Jury, Spokesperson for Plentific, commented: “Finding your dream home for your budget can be tricky, but our research highlights that certain noise levels can make or break the decision to buy.

The reality is that people worry about noise; if you look at demand and prices for homes that will potentially be affected by HS2, new flight paths or motorway developments, there’s inevitably a negative impact. While certain home improvements and renovation work can soften the impact of noise, you still have to be willing to make a compromise on the quality of your home life. Ultimately, noise is a factor that people either can or can’t live with.”

Social butterflies may think living in close proximity to a bar, pub or nightclub would be a good idea. However, when it comes to buying a dream home, a staggering 55% of homebuyers said that the noise from one of these hangouts would lead them to abandon their purchase. Almost half of 18 to 34-year-olds (45%) admitted they wouldn’t purchase a property impacted by this kind of noise.

As well as noise levels putting off buyers, other factors that come with busy bars, pubs or nightclubs could potentially be a turn off when it comes to living near these establishments. Anti-social behaviour from customers, as well as excess litter, could also contribute to an uncomfortable environment and affect the homebuyer’s decision to purchase their dream property.

With noise levels from bars, pubs and clubs proving the biggest turn off for homeowners when it comes to buying their dream home, paying for noise reduction methods could be a real game changer for sellers. Acoustic curtains are perfect for these noise issues, as they are likely to be used in the late evening and at night. Sound blocking doors could be another option to help remove the risk of noise affecting your home.

Motorways were among the top influencers when it comes to buying a dream home (92%), with almost half of homebuyers saying they definitely wouldn’t purchase their dream home due to resulting noise levels (48%). Just 8% of homebuyers said motorways wouldn’t influence their decision.

If you’re part of the 8% who would be willing to buy near a motorway, double glazing or secondary double glazing can make a big difference when it comes to reducing noise levels. A qualified trade professional can help to install and replace glass window panels to ensure maximum protection from traffic noise.

Airports were a close second on the list of noise pollutants that would affect a homebuyers’s decision to purchase their dream property, with 91% saying they would be influenced and over half (54%) saying noise levels from an airport would put them off completely. Only 9% of homebuyers said they would look beyond the noise levels and purchase the property of their dreams even if it was near an airport.

While completely blocking out noise from an airport may be impossible, there are some nifty tricks that can help soften the blow. Acoustic ceiling panels are one option, as is insulation in your walls to help block out the sounds of planes taking off and landing. A builder or structural engineer will be able to advise you on the most effective soundproofing methods for your walls and ceilings.

Airport flight paths also proved to be a deal breaker when it comes to buying a dream home, with 45% of homebuyers saying the noise levels would put them off completely. 30% of homebuyers said they would reconsider buying, while 15% said that they would be willing to offer a lower price for an affected property. With the potential expansion to Heathrow, homebuyers would be wise to look at the new flight path before committing to a new home purchase.

While noise levels from airport flight paths may vary depending on the location of the property within the path, there are many effective home improvements which can reduce the resulting disruption. Carpeting is effective at absorbing excess noise, as well as feeling plush and adding an extra layer of comfort to your home. Ensure that you book a qualified trade professional to lay your carpeting, as any gaps or wonky edges could render your efforts moot

Nearby transport links are often a must-have for homebuyers, providing easy access to work, entertainment and leisure. However, Plentific’s research shows that noise levels from a train mainline would affect 88% of homebuyers when it comes to buying their dream property.

Disruption from a train mainline can also come in the form of physical vibrations, which can create an uncomfortable living environment. For those not keen on expensive solutions, acoustic art could be the answer. Special boards designed to absorb excess sound and vibrations can be hung on walls to reduce the disruption while also adding decoration to the home.

Eating out for dinner every now and then might seem like a nice idea, but living next to a noisy restaurant is certainly not every homebuyers’s cup of tea. In fact, 80% of homebuyers said noise levels from restaurants would influence their decision to purchase a property. When it came to restaurant noise, 32% of homebuyers said it would put them off buying completely, while 31% would reconsider their purchase and 16% would reconsider but feel comfortable with offering a lower price.

If your dream property comes with a garden, this can be optimised to help reduce noise levels from restaurants. Bamboo can be a great sound blocker, and it will also mask excess noise when swishing in the breeze. Other plants and trees can also work well to reduce sounds from nearby restaurants. Make sure to consult a qualified gardener before you start planting, so that you can be sure your helpful plants will also be able to thrive in your garden.

http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/property/homebuyers-vote-noise-to-be-the-biggest-turn-off.html

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Walsh says Heathrow does not have the ability to ring fence slots to increase domestic flight routes

A row has emerged between British Airways and Heathrow over the airport leading domestic airports to believe they will get air links to Heathrow, if it builds a 3rd runway. Heathrow has written to the government asking it to “ring-fence” a proportion of its take-off and landing slots for domestic flights. But BA has replied that Heathrow does not have any standing to control destinations served by the slots.  Willie Walsh, IAG’s CEO said:  “It’s not in Heathrow’s gift to increase domestic flying from the airport … Airlines, not airports, decide where to fly based on routes’ profitability.”  He wants Heathrow to keep its charges down, so IAG’s airlines can keep growing and making more money.  Walsh says only with low airport charges would there be many domestic flights, as they are otherwise not profitable. Currently, only 6% of passengers travel on domestic flights from Heathrow. It has links to 8 UK destinations. Heathrow has told several airports that it will pay for a Route Development Fund, for 3 years, to subsidise some routes and get them going. It has not said it would subsidise them indefinitely. European regulations restrict how much flights to small airports can be subsidised, due to competition concerns. Heathrow has depended on backing for its runway plans, from some regional airports, which have been led to believe they will benefit from it.
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Row emerges over Heathrow plan to ring fence slots to expand domestic flights

by Phil Davies  (Travel Weekly)

May 22nd 2017

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Row emerges over Heathrow plan to ring fence slots to expand domestic flights
A row has emerged between British Airways and Heathrow over the airport’s hopes to increase domestic flights once it gets a third runway.

Heathrow has written to the government asking it to “ring-fence” a proportion for domestic flights of the extra take-off and landing slots created.

But BA has hit out at the plan, saying that the airport does not have any standing to control destinations served by the slots, the Daily Telegraph reported.

“It’s not in Heathrow’s gift to increase domestic flying from the airport,” said BA’s owner, International Airlines Group.

“Airlines, not airports, decide where to fly based on routes’ profitability.”

BA is based at Heathrow and has about half of the take off and landing slots currently available.

The airline called for competitive fees to encourage flights at Heathrow, adding: “The best way to encourage domestic routes is for the airport to be fairly priced.

“It’s hard to make routes viable if airlines are charged more at Heathrow than any other airport. If costs are low, flights will follow.”

Heathrow handles almost 76 million passengers a year and about 470,000 flights, making it the busiest airport in Europe and the seventh busiest in the world.

If the plans to add the third runway go ahead, the airport is expected to see flights increase to more than 700,000 a year.

Currently, only 6% of passengers travel on domestic flights from Heathrow to eight UK destinations, though this could soar if plans go ahead to add more UK services.

The airport is only able to ask for the slots to be earmarked because of Brexit, as once the UK leaves the European Union it will not be controlled by the bloc’s competition rules.

A Heathrow spokesman said: “We’ve always been clear that an expanded Heathrow must deliver for all of Britain and that’s why we’re urging the government to back our proposal to ring-fence slots at an expanded Heathrow for domestic use, an opportunity now possible because Britain is leaving the EU.”

The row followed foreign secretary and former London mayor Boris Johnson claiming a third runway is “not the right solution” for airport expansion.

The long-term critic of Heathrow expansion was quoted by ITV News as saying an additional runway at the London hub would be “very difficult to deliver” despite the Conservative election manifesto backing development of the airport.

http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/279568/row-emerges-over-heathrow-plan-to-ring-fence-slots-to-expand-domestic-flights

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The image above says these are “Potential new routes based on potential route maps published by easyJet and Flybe”  [ie. just aspirational … with zero certainty]

Local campaign group, HACAN, has said Heathrow’s claims that a third runway would deliver a lot more routes to domestic destination ‘should be taken with a pinch of salt’. HACAN, a residents’ organisation which opposes a new runway, warned people to read the small print of the announcement very carefully indeed.

Heathrow in its response to the Government’s consultation argued that there could be as many as thirteen new domestic routes (see Heathrow’s map above) but admits in the small print that the ‘potential new routes are based on potential route maps published by easyjet and Flybe.’ Easyjet has not confirmed yet that it will come to Heathrow even if a third runway is built.

HACAN Chair John Stewart claimed that Heathrow’s claims were based on evidence ‘so flimsy that it could fall apart at any moment’.

He said, “Heathrow’s claims should be taken with a pinch of salt. The intention is more to try to reassure the regions that a third runway could benefit them rather than a serious prediction about the number of domestic destinations a third runway will serve.”.

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Tory manifesto backing for Heathrow runway, during NPS consultation period, turns process into “worthless charade”

Lawyers for HACAN (Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise) will be looking at the Conservative Manifesto pledge to expand Heathrow, despite the public consultation still running. The manifesto states: “We are investing to reduce travel time and cost, increase capacity and attract investment here in the UK.  We will continue our programme of strategic national investments, including High Speed 2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and the expansion of Heathrow Airport – and we will ensure that these great projects do as much as possible to develop the skills and careers of British workers.”  The current 16 week Department for Transport consultation on the Airports National Policy statement (setting out the policy for the basis of a Heathrow 3rd runway) ends of 25th May. The Manifesto was published on 18th May.  Hacan believes the consultation, which is intended to ascertain public opinion about the runway project and conditions that should apply to it, is invalidated by the manifesto pledge.  The NPS consultation also has to be assessed by the Transport Select Committee, and then be voted on in parliament, before it is official government policy. But by seeming to pre-empt this process, the Tory manifesto says the party has already made up its mind, which makes the consultation process into a worthless charade.
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Heathrow expansion opposition group questions Conservative manifesto third runway pledge

Lawyers for HACAN (Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise) will look at the pledge to expand Heathrow, despite the public consultation still running

BY GOOLISTAN COOPER  (Get West London)
22 MAY 2017

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A campaign group is to consult its lawyers over the statement in the Conservative election manifesto that it intends to expand Heathrow .

HACAN (Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise), one of the residents’ groups that oppose the airport’s expansion, claims that the current consultation – which still has a week to run – was invalidated with the pledge on Thursday (May 18) that the Conservatives would proceed with a third runway.

The group’s chairman, John Stewart , believes the pledge to be “unlawful”, saying the consultation risked looking like a “worthless charade”.

The manifesto reads: “We are investing to reduce travel time and cost, increase capacity and attract investment here in the UK.

“We will continue our programme of strategic national investments, including High Speed 2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and the expansion of Heathrow Airport – and we will ensure that these great projects do as much as possible to develop the skills and careers of British workers.”

This left Mr Stewart unhappy. He said: “The manifesto announcement seems to have pre-empted the result of the consultation which doesn’t close until next Thursday.

“We believe this may be illegal and are consulting with lawyers.

“If the government has already made up its mind, the consultation has become a worthless charade.”

Prime Minister Theresa May announced in October that a third runway at Heathrow was the government’s preferred option for expansion.
A consultation on the third runway was released earlier this year in the form of a National Policy Statement.

This will be considered by the Transport Select Committee later this year before being put to a vote in Parliament.

It can only become government policy with the backing of Parliament, HACAN said.

The Conservative Party has been asked to comment.
http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/heathrow-expansion-opposition-group-questions-13062102#ICID=sharebar_twitter

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Heathrow expansion plans, and ability to reduce road vehicle trips, threatened by Crossrail costs row

Simon Calder, writing in the Independent, says plans to build a 3rd Heathrow runway could be jeopardised by a row between the airport’s owners and Transport for London (TfL). Heathrow Terminals 2, 3 and 4 are expected to be served by the new Crossrail east-west line, which is due to open  in May 2018. But Heathrow is demanding very high fees from rail users to pay back the estimated £1 billion cost of the privately funded Heathrow Express spur from the Great Western line – into the airport. That opened in 1998. The Office of Rail and Road said that Heathrow could not recoup the historical costs of building this link. Heathrow challenged this decision, and a legal judgment is expected shortly. If the ruling is in favour of Heathrow, TfL may choose not to serve the airport at all — which would throw into doubt predictions of the proportion of passengers using public transport if a 3rd runway was built. The NPS for the runway requires a higher proportion of passengers and staff to use public transport in future, than now.  One of Crossrail’s selling points has been easy access to Heathrow from east London and the City, down to 34 minutes from Liverpool Street to Heathrow. “Without straightforward, low-cost rail links, more airline passengers may opt to go by road to Heathrow — adding to pollution, congestion and noise.”
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HEATHROW EXPANSION PLANS THREATENED BY CROSSRAIL ROW

Britain’s biggest airport accused of demanding £677 every time a train arrives

By SIMON CALDER (TRAVEL CORRESPONDENT, Independent)
22.5.2017

Plans to build a third runway at Heathrow could be jeopardised by a row between the airport’s owners and Transport for London (TfL).

Heathrow Terminals 2, 3 and 4 are expected to be served by the new east-west line, which is due to open between central London and the airport in May 2018.

But Heathrow is demanding a heavy price from the capital’s transport users, in order to pay back the estimated £1bn cost of the rail link. The privately funded Heathrow Express spur from the Great Western line opened in 1998.

The Office of Rail and Road said that Heathrow could not recoup the historical costs of the link, a decision that the airport then asked to be judicially reviewed. A judgment is expected shortly.

If the ruling is in favour of Heathrow, TfL may opt not to serve the airport at all — which would throw into doubt predictions of the proportion of passengers using public transport if a third runway is built.

The National Policy Statement on expanding Heathrow requires that “access to the airport by road, rail and public transport is high quality, efficient and reliable for both passengers and airport workers”.

The Government is committed to maximising the number of journeys made to airports by sustainable modes of transport.

TfL initially plans to run trains four times an hour between Paddington (National Rail) and Heathrow Terminal 4, serving Terminals 2 and 3 along the way, and replacing the existing Heathrow Connect.

One of Crossrail’s selling points has been easy access to Heathrow from east London and the City, as well as Luton and Gatwick airports with a single change at Farringdon.

Once the full service is up and running in 2019, travellers are promised: “The journey time from London Heathrow to the City of London (Liverpool Street) will fall from 55 to 34 minutes.”

But the new link puts the appeal of the Heathrow Express — the existing non-stop service to Paddington — in doubt.

While it still has a time advantage, and will be the only link running to Terminal 5, the Express’s premium price of £25 one-way at peak time may deter some users when a low-cost, high-quality service that goes deeper into London is available.

If TfL decides not to serve Heathrow at all, it is conceivable that passengers could still reach it by changing at Hayes & Harlington to a separate shuttle service. But as well as making the journey more cumbersome for travellers with heavy baggage, it could require them to buy an additional ticket — currently costing £6.30 one way.

While Heathrow’s Underground stations are part of the TfL zonal system, the rail links are not.

A spokesperson for Heathrow told The Independent; “We are committed to increasing public transport to Heathrow and look forward to the arrival of Crossrail in May 2018.

“We need to ensure that track access charges are fair and are waiting on a ruling from the courts on whether the regulations apply and if so, their correct application to costs.”

Heathrow is also intended to be connected to the new High Speed 2 rail link from London to Birmingham via a new station at Old Oak Common in west London.

Without straightforward, low-cost rail links, more airline passengers may opt to go by road to Heathrow — adding to pollution, congestion and noise.

….. and it continues  …..

http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/heathrow-expansion-third-runway-transport-for-london-crossrail-trains-express-rail-links-a7748761.html

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See also

Heathrow and Crossrail in legal dispute over how much TfL would have to pay to use 5 miles of track

Crossrail (the Elizabeth line) is a £15 billion train line designed to cross London from west to east, bringing relief for commuters, but it seems it may not now stop at Heathrow because of a legal row with the airport’s owners over fees. Heathrow has its lucrative Heathrow Express service runs partly on a 5-mile stretch of track, built and paid for (over £1 billion) by the airport. The Crossrail link into Heathrow would run on this section of track. It is an expensive (£25 per ticket) route, and Heathrow’s foreign owners want to recoup past spending on the private train line with an “investment recovery charge” of £570 for every train that uses the track, plus extra fees of about £107 per train. But the Elizabeth line, by contrast, will be in line with the fares that apply across the rest of the capital’s transport network. The opening of the new Crossrail service to Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 4 is expected to throw the financial sustainability of the existing Heathrow Express into question, though Heathrow insists it would continue to run alongside the Elizabeth Line. Heathrow’s owners are now in dispute with the Office of Rail and Road, which sets track access charges, over the amount that TfL, which runs the Elizabeth Line, will need to pay to use the track. The hearings were held earlier this year and a High Court judgment is expected within weeks.

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