The CAA have produced a new report about aircraft noise in the context of airport expansion. They realise that airports and airlines should do all they can to reduce noise. Some of their recommendations are that when looking to expand, airports should do more to ensure local residents see benefits from additional capacity – whether through funding community schemes, direct payments, or tax breaks. Also that airports seeking expansion should significantly increase spending on noise. mitigation schemes to get closer to international competitors – including full insulation for those most affected. Airlines should focus on noise performance when purchasing new aircraft, and airports should structure their landing charges to incentivise airlines to operate so called “cleaner” (lower carbon emissions?), and less noisy flights. The CAA also propose creating a new Airport Community Engagement Forum, bringing together local residents, the aviation industry, policy makers and planners focussed on how (not whether) new airport capacity can be developed and operated with least annoyance, or complaint, from those over flown.
“However, building a new runway to benefit consumers cannot be achieved at the expense of the overflown. Aviation must manage its impact on the environment and on those living close to airports if it is to expand.”
” …with further growth only allowed providing noise constraints are not exceeded. As
such, growth can only be enabled by reducing noise, and even in this case, the benefits must be shared between the community and the airport.”‘
Iain Osborne, Group Director for Regulatory Policy at the CAA, said:
“Very many people in the UK are already affected by aviation noise and it’s clear that unless the industry tackles this issue more effectively, it won’t be able to grow. The recommendations we’re making will help the industry to reduce and mitigate its noise impact, whilst also making sure the communities affected by aircraft noise are fairly compensated and feel much more involved in the way their airport operates. ”
CAA urges UK aviation to improve noise performance and do more to engage communities
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today published a series of recommendations to help drive improvements in the way the aviation industry manages aircraft noise.
More people in the UK are affected by aviation noise than any other country in Europe. With the Airports Commission currently considering proposals for increasing the UK’s aviation capacity, the CAA is clear that the industry will not be able to grow unless it first tackles its noise and other environmental impacts more effectively. To help drive improvements from the industry, the CAA has published Managing Aviation Noise, a document setting out a series of recommendations to help reduce, mitigate and compensate communities for aviation noise.
The recommendations cover changes airports and airlines could make now, as well as improvements policy-makers and industry could make ahead of any future increases in capacity. There is a strong focus on making sure airports work with their local communities more closely, as well as operational changes and ideas for incentivising airlines to reduce the noise impact of their flights.
Key recommendations for the aviation industry include:
• Airports and airlines should ensure that operational approaches to mitigate noise are incentivised and adopted wherever feasible. The CAA will work with industry to consider, trial and promote novel operational approaches to noise minimisation.• When looking to expand, airports should do more to ensure local residents see benefits from additional capacity – whether through funding community schemes, direct payments, or tax breaks.• Airports seeking expansion should significantly increase spending on noise. mitigation schemes to get closer to international competitors – including full insulation for those most affected.• Airlines should focus on noise performance when purchasing new aircraft.
• Airports should structure their landing charges to incentivise airlines to operate cleaner, quieter flights.
In addition, the document proposes creating a new Airport Community Engagement Forum bringing together local residents, the aviation industry, policy makers and planners focussed on how new capacity can developed and operated to minimise noise impacts and maximise community benefits, rather than whether it should be built.Measures that Government and local authorities could consider include the potential for tax breaks for local people and businesses and, if other methods are not successful, the potential for a future noise tax to incentivise airlines to procure and operate fleets in the most noise efficient fashion possible and to internalise noise impacts in consumer decision making.Iain Osborne, Group Director for Regulatory Policy at the CAA, said:
“Very many people in the UK are already affected by aviation noise and it’s clear that unless the industry tackles this issue more effectively, it won’t be able to grow. The recommendations we’re making will help the industry to reduce and mitigate its noise impact, whilst also making sure the communities affected by aircraft noise are fairly compensated and feel much more involved in the way their airport operates.“We believe these measures could make a real difference to people living near airports today, as well as ensuring any future decisions on aviation capacity increases take full account of the impact of aviation noise on people’s quality of life.”
The noise area of the CAA website includes information designed to help improve the public’s understanding of aircraft noise and how it is currently managed.
Notes to editors
1. The CAA is the UK’s specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy.
A new report, Managing Aviation Noise, published today by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on best ways of tacking aircraft noise has been branded ‘disappointing’ by HACAN, which campaigns on behalf of residents under the Heathrow flight paths.
HACAN Chair John Stewart said: “Although the report is packed with useful ideas on how to reduce the impact of aircraft noise on residents, it is on the whole a disappointing report as it says very little about how the number of planes flying over communities can be cut which is the big issue for local residents.”
Stewart added: “We do welcome, though, a clear recognition in the report that there has been very little improvement in the noise climate around airports since 2000. This reflects the experience of residents and challenges those in the aviation industry who like to give the impression that things are getting steadily quieter.”
The report’s key recommendations for the aviation industry include:
Airports and airlines should ensure that operational approaches to mitigate noise are incentivised and adopted wherever feasible. The CAA will work with industry to consider, trial and promote novel operational approaches to noise minimisation.
When looking to expand, airports should do more to ensure local residents see benefits from additional capacity – whether through funding community schemes, direct payments, or tax breaks.
Airports seeking expansion should significantly increase spending on noise. mitigation schemes to get closer to international competitors – including full insulation for those most affected.
Airlines should focus on noise performance when purchasing new aircraft.
Airports should structure their landing charges to incentivise airlines to operate cleaner, quieter flights.
In addition, the document proposes creating a new Airport Community Engagement Forum bringing together local residents, the aviation industry, policy makers and planners focussed on how new capacity can developed and operated to minimise noise impacts and maximise community benefits, rather than whether it should be built.
The report also floats the idea of a noise tax being imposed on airlines with the money raised used to provide compensation and possible tax breaks for residents.
Stewart concluded: “Most of these proposals are a step forward but, unless a way is found to cut the number of planes flying over communities, the central problem is not being addressed.
CAA report tells aviation industry to do more to tackle aircraft noise if it wants to expand
May 29th 2014 (AEF – Aviation Environment Federation)
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today published a new report arguing that the aviation industry’s plans to manage noise fall short of what would be needed to secure permission for new runways.
The report, ‘Managing Aviation Noise’, is being promoted by the CAA as a call to arms for the aviation industry on noise. It emphasises that noise is one of the biggest challenges to airport expansion, particularly in the UK where more people are affected by aircraft noise than in any other country in Europe. The industry ‘noise roadmap’ is criticised for being insufficiently ambitious and failing to deliver the Government’s objective of limiting and reducing aircraft noise, with the CAA arguing that the number of people exposed to aviation noise should be reduced and not just stabilised.
Airlines should do more, according to the report, by buying quieter aircraft, and airports should structure landing charges to promote the use of less noisy planes. None of these suggestions are new, however, and the industry is likely to argue that it is already taking significant action on noise. The report therefore recommends that if other options fail, Government should consider a noise tax to add greater incentive.
The report also says that airports should do more to ensure that communities feel benefits from airport expansion through funding community schemes, direct payments or tax breaks. A significant increase in spending on noise should accompany any airport expansion, it is argued, since airports in the UK do not spend anywhere near the same level on noise mitigation as other countries in the EU and the US. The report, however, does not comment on the latest compensation plans from Heathrow and Gatwick.
To further community involvement, the CAA recommends a new Airport Community Engagement Forum to bring together local residents, the aviation industry, policy makers and planners to come up with practical solutions to minimise the impacts of airport expansion. This could be viewed as a CAA-led alternative to the independent noise ombudsman recently recommended by the Airports Commission.
AEF would welcome constructive engagement between airports and local communities, as many of our members have concerns about the effectiveness of the ‘consultative committees’ that currently fulfil this role. Any forum based on the idea that local communities must accept expansion in order for airports to work constructively with them is unlikely to be widely supported by the people already affected by unacceptable noise levels.
Building work has started on a controversial airport at Aranmula, in Kerala, south India. It has been deeply opposed. Now the southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal has cancelled the environmental clearance given to the airport project, which means any construction has to stop. In November 2013 the Ministry of Environment and Forests gave permission for the greenfield airport, based on the recommendations given by its Environmental Appraisal Committee, which had rejected all the local and expert objections. It is now clear that the plans break many laws, including the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act 2008. Much of the area of the proposed airport is currently paddy fields and wetlands. It also consists of hilly areas and a stream on which local farmers depend for agriculture. The new report says that conversion of paddy fields would impact on the remaining wetlands, disturb the food chain, and accelerate the depletion of fish resources as well as other flora and fauna in the local river basin. Opponents have staged a non-violent “satyagraha” or permanent attendance at the temple, in protest – the 100th day was on 21st May. It has been attended by 100 – 800 people every day. Remarkable.
Green Tribunal cancels environmental clearance of Aranmula Airport
Verdict seen as a major victory for local residents and activists who strongly oppose the proposed airport as it involves large-scale illegal conversion of paddy fields and alleged ecological impact
The pictures show paddy fields [rice] where the airport is being constructed
The southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), on Wednesday, cancelled the environmental clearance given to the controversial international airport project in Kerala. The project is under construction at Aranmula in Pathanamthitta district. The tribunal, at Chennai, ordered KGS Group, the promoters of the project, to stop all the construction and related activities at the project site. The project was given clearance by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests in November last year.
The ministry had cleared the Rs 2,000 crore greenfield airport in December last year, based on the recommendations given by its Environmental Appraisal Committee. The clearance meant rejection of all the objections raised by the local communities and several organisations, including environmental groups, in the state.” The proposed airport violated many rules and laws, including the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act 2008, Kerala Land Reforms Act, 1963, Environment Protection Act, 1986 and Land Acquisition Act. Construction of the airport could result in diversion of course of water which runs through the Pampa river,” says K P Sreeranganathan, local resident and one of the petitioners in the Green Tribunal.
A major portion of the 200 hectares proposed site consists of paddy fields and wetlands. It also consists of hilly areas and a stream on which local farmers depend for agriculture. Developers, however, claim that the Aranmula airport is the first private international greenfield airport in the country. KGS Aranmula Limited is the consortium which is developing this project.
“The tribunal cancelled the environment clearance based mainly on three reasons,” says Harish Vasudevan, a green lawyer actively involved in the legal battle against the project.”The tribunal accepted our argument that the private agency, Envirocare, which conducted the Environment Impact Assessment study for the company lacked expertise to do so.”
The bench has also ruled that the public hearing for the project was not done in the required manner and company failed to give an exact account of the response of the local communities on the project.
The court observed that the promoters have not even mentioned about paddy fields, hilly areas and streams in the promised site. The tribunal has criticised conversion of wetland and paddy fields into an industrial area for the sake of the project. The ministry’s Environmental Appraisal Committee failed to look into these issues.
Another reason for the agitations is that Aranmula, a global heritage village recognised by the Unesco, has an ancient Krishna temple. The mast height of the temple will have to be brought down if the project has to be implemented and without to avoid obstruction to the flights. Aranmula Heritage Village Protection Action Council and political parties such as Bharatiya Janata Party have been opposing the project on the environmental and heritage grounds.
“This is a victory of the concerted and continuous efforts of the people as a number of organisations had come together to fight against the project that would have caused significant environmental and ecological damage,” says famous poet Sugatha Kumari, who is on the forefront of the agitations against the project.
“The Green Tribunal’s verdict on Aranmula project is a strong warning against those who flout rules and disregard the environment and ecology in order to achieve something they desperately need,” V M Sudheeran, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president told media persons in Thiruvananthapuram.
Setback to the state government
The verdict is a major setback to the Congress-led Oommen Chandy government that has been pushing the project since 2011 and gave a No Objection Certificate to the central government.
The affidavits submitted by the Kerala government in the tribunal also did not tell the true story and ground realities about the environment and ecology of the proposed site,” points out C R Neelakandan, a well-known environmentalists.
The clearance for the project was first given by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government led by V S Achuthanandan in October 2010. Without taking the local communities into confidence, the site was notified as an industrial area. The local residents in three affected villages came to know about the project only when their land with title deeds was notified for acquisition.
Later, the Congress led-United Democratic Front government which came to power in May 2011 moved forward with the project even when a Legislative Assembly Committee had raised objections against the project in March 2013. The committee observed that 80 per cent of the land earmarked for the project was
paddy fields. Conversion of paddy fields would impact the remaining wetlands, disturb the food chain, and accelerate the depletion of fish resources as well as other flora and fauna in the Pamba river basin. Te Kerala State Biodiversity Board too had expressed its reservations on the project.
The project that started as a private project was converted as a public-private partnership project in the wake of the agitations. The state government has bought 10 per cent of the stakes of the consortium that is led by KGS Group and Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group. The KGS Group has 51 per cent and Reliance has 15 per cent stake in the consortium.
“This was to give undue concessions to the project in the name of public partnership,” says Neelakandan.
In November 2013, the Department of Revenue (DoR) Central Board of Excise and Customs issued a report stating there was “no urgent requirement” for the development of the Greenfield International Airport at Aranmula. In December 2013, the central government granted “in-principle” approval for the new airport. As per Greenfield Airport Policy, 2008, Airport Authority of India (AAI), the state government or any other entity can submit application for setting up of a green field airport. The airport has faced objections from multiple sources, including that it violates the policy of not allowing a new green field airport within 150km of an existing airport. The proposed site locates at a distance less than 150 km from both the Cochin International Airports as well as Thiruvananthapuram International Airport. The Indian Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture has already recommended the development of the airport not go ahead. http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/green-tribunal-cancels-environmental-clearance-aranmula-airport
Aranmula satyagraha against airport plan enters 100th day
21.5.2014 (The Hindu)
Action council plans grand celebrations, three processions to be taken out
The indefinite satyagraha launched by the People’s Joint Action Council, chaired by poet and social activist B. Sugathakumari, against the controversial airport project at Aranmula will enter its 100th day on Wednesday.
The action council has made arrangements to observe the milestone in a big way.
Though it was decided to include 100 persons every day in the satyagraha that began on February 11, the number of participants had exceeded far more, even 800 to 1,000 on most of the days, action council leaders P.R. Shaji and P. Induchoodan, said in a statement here.
They said as many as 89 socio-cultural, political and environmental organisations actively took part in the satyagraha during the past 99 days.
People representing all the 14 districts had visited the satyagraha venue expressing solidarity with the agitation to protect the wetland, paddy land, and the heritage of Aranmula, they said.
Register of names
Prominent personalities from the socio-political spheres of the State had addressed the satyagraha on all days.
The action council is maintaining a register showing the name, address and other details of as many as 30,000 people who have taken part in the satyagraha so far, the statement said.
The action council leaders said the people in the area would take out three processions from three different places to Iykara Junction at Aranmula in the morning on Wednesday. The 100th day celebrations will begin with 100 people representing 100 places and 100 organisations lighting lamps at the satyagraha venue.
In a statement here on Tuesday, Hindu Aikyavedi district vice-president P.R. Soman said the organisation would stage dharnas at all taluk headquarters in the State on Wednesday, extending solidarity with the satyagraha at Aranmula.
Mr. Soman said P.G. Sasikala, Mahila Aikyavedi State vice-president, will inaugurate the evening dharna in Thiruvalla and N.G. Unnikrishnan, Aranmula Heritage Village Action Council (AHVAC) general convener, will inaugurate the dharna in Mallappally.
K. Krishnakutty, AHVAC State co-ordinator, will inaugurate the dharna in Adoor.
Kummanam Rajasekharan the agitation movement leader gives Aranmula Temple Prasadam to the oldest peasant Sri Podiyan,to celebrate Aranmula agitation Victory
[Prasadam is called Sacred food. Prasadam translates to “mercy”, or “God’s Mercy.” It can be explained as something that has been offered to God, which now has spiritual benefit.]
Big Victory for Aranmula Agitation; Green Tribunal cancels environment clearance to Aranmula Airport
Aranmula, Kerala May 28:
The Chennai Bench of the National Green Tribunal [NGT] today cancelled the environment clearance given to the Aranmula Airport project, in Kerala. The tribunal has also ordered KGS Group, the promoters of the project, to stop all the construction activities going on at the project site in Pathanamthitta district.
The apex court’s bench today has cancelled the environment clearance based on four reasons, mainly because of the incompetency of Enviro Care, the agency which had done the study on environmental impact of the proposed project.
The Airport project, in the central part of Kerala went into controversy as the famous Aranmula Sree Parthasarathy temple is in the vicinity of the project. This created strong resistance from the public, especially from the Hindu devotees and struggle against the project is going on.
This was also a major campaign issue in the recently concluded parliament election. The tribunal observed that the project would adversely affect the environment of the area and would have disastrous impact on it.
The tribunal rejected the arguments of KGS Group and the Kerala Government. Based on the controversial no objection certificate, submitted by the Kerala Government, the Ministry of Environment and Forests had cleared the project in November, 2013.
The court said that KGS Group had not conducted a serious study about the environment impact of the project. They did not even mention about paddy fields and hills in the proposed site. The company did not even conduct a public hearing over the issue.
Aranmula Heritage Village Protection Action Council [AHVPAC] had approached the Green Tribunal against the order of the Environment Ministry and hence the latest order. The airport is planned to build in around 500 acres with a total investment of Rs 2000 crore. [A crore is 10 million rupees].
The Kerala State Biodiversity Board submitted a report to the government in March 2013, expressing its reservations over the land use changes and ecological imbalance that the project will entail. The Board observed that 80% of the 500 acres earmarked for the project were paddy fields. Conversion of paddy fields would impact on the remaining wetlands, disturb the food chain, and accelerate the depletion of fish resources as well as other flora and fauna in the Pamba river basin, the report said.
In April 2013, the tribunal had granted an interim stay on the project banning any construction at the site. It also stayed the Kerala Government’s order to convert the 500 acres of land for industrial purpose .
However, the Tribunal set aside its order on 30 April 2013, dismissing the petition filed by the Action Council, challenging various decisions related to the project including industrial area notification and the NOC given by the Kerala Government.
Opposition in Kerala in south west India to building of a new airport at Aranmula
2.8.2013In Kerala, in the south west of India, there are plans for a private company to build a large new airport, for low cost airlines, at Aranmula. The site is within 100 km of two international airports – at Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. These airports bring in tourists to Kerala, and it is intended that it brings in pilgrims to a nearby site. The land at Aranmula is greenfield, and there are plans to take at least 350 acres, and perhaps much more for an aerotropolis. Local people fear it could destroy paddy land and damage the region’s water source. They also fear it could harm the town’s ‘heritage’ tag and damage the structure of a temple located just a few hundred metres from the project site. There are concerns that the airport would not be profitable, due to its two neighbours, which are not full. The airport has aroused intense opposition over the past two years, and there have been many protests. The opponents have a Facebook site, and have been feeling they are alone in their fight, being unaware of the extent of other airport opposition elsewhere in the world. The Indian government recently announced it proposes to build 17 new airports in 11 states. http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=17445
The opponents of the Aranmula airport project have a Facebook page at
A Telegraph article (by Natalie Thomas) is loud – as ever – in its calls for another Heathrow runway. The opening on 2nd June is the opportunity for a PR splurge by Heathrow on how it is losing out to middle eastern airports (which are not located in highly populated areas, or have flight paths over highly populated areas, like Heathrow) and how Heathrow is losing its “global aviation crown.” The UK is no longer geographically in the right location to be the world’s largest hub, and the UK is a democratic country, where major building projects have to be agreed. Natalie is enthusiastic about having as many transfer passengers as possible at Heathrow, to make it maximally profitable. “With a relatively small domestic market, Qatar’s aviation industry is built on international passengers using Doha as a transfer and stopover destination.” Quite so. By contrast, London is a major destination in its own right, so the transfer argument is different. The article also enthuses about how the Queen’s Terminal will be the home of the Star Alliance group of airlines, some of which “connect Britain to emerging markets” and these will be able to use transfer passengers more effectively” to “improve Heathrow’s competitiveness.”
Heathrow’s new terminal a reminder of what we have gained but also lost
Heathrow is preparing to unveil its latest £2.5bn terminal building next week but Britain’s busiest airport is already losing its crown to rival hubs abroad
Heathrow’s new Terminal 2 building, which features the Slipstream sculpture by Richard Wilson (above), will open on June 4Photo: David Levene/LHR Airports Limited
National embarrassment. Two words which have haunted Heathrow executives ever since the botched opening of Terminal 5 in 2008.
Few will forget that farcical day when what was supposed to be a celebration of private sector investment descended into chaos, with cancelled flights and delays in passengers recovering their baggage, all painfully played out in front of the world’s media.
It was a textbook lesson in how not to handle the launch of a major infrastructure project and Heathrow’s management, soon to be taken over by John Holland-Kaye, will be going to great lengths to ensure there is no repeat performance when the airport’s latest project, the new £2.5bn Terminal 2 building, opens on June 4.
Why should we care about a new terminal building? Aside from all of the consumer arguments about how it is intended to make air travel a less stressful experience, the opening of the “Queen’s Terminal” is symbolic for several reasons.
First of all, it replaces Heathrow’s first ever terminal, which was opened by a young Queen Elizabeth in 1955, back when Heathrow was called London Airport. The facility was considered state-of-the-art at the time, with roof gardens and a cinema, and represented a major step forward in Britain’s development as a global aviation powerhouse. When London Airport was opened to commercial passengers in 1946, those who could afford air travel were forced to wait in tents which were later replaced by prefabricated buildings. Hardly the lap of luxury.
Back in 1955, the Europa Building, which was later re-named Terminal 2, catered for 82,840 passengers a year. The new Queen’s Terminal has been built with a maximum capacity of 20m passengers in mind and will become the home of the Star Alliance group of airlines, which include Lufthansa and United but also carriers which connect Britain to emerging markets, such as Air China and Turkish Airlines.
This leads on to the main reason why we should be celebrating the opening of the new Terminal 2. Moving a bunch of airlines in the same alliance under one roof may sound administrative and dull but it will improve Heathrow’s competitiveness. The West London airport will become a more attractive place for passengers flying with Star Alliance carriers to connect to another flight. Connection times will be quicker – or so we are promised – and the hope is that Star Alliance members will increase the number of passengers transferring through Heathrow rather than at rival airports abroad.
Transfer passengers hardly sound exciting but they are playing a key part in the debate over where to build the next runway in the south east of England, which is entering a critical phase. They are at the heart of Heathrow’s campaign for a third runway. And, for that matter, they are also central to Boris Johnson’s argument for a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary, to the east of London. Both argue that hub airports, where airlines use transfer passengers to fill flights that wouldn’t be viable if they relied on local demand alone, improve Britain’s connectivity, particularly to emerging markets, which are of increasing importance to UK exporters.
Rival Gatwick, which is competing against Heathrow for an additional runway, down plays the importance of transfer traffic. Its chief executive, Stewart Wingate, points out that Europe is, and will continue to be, the UK’s biggest trading partner and therefore the greatest need in future will be for connections to the continent both for business and leisure purposes.
There is no argument that connections to mainland Europe are, and always will be, of vital importance to the UK economy but you only have to look at what is happening abroad to understand the value of transfer traffic.
As Heathrow busily prepares the Luis Vidal-designed Queen’s Terminal for its grand opening, over in Qatar’s capital Doha, officials will today be cutting the ribbon on Hamad International Airport, which has been billed as “the world’s newest state-of-the-art hub”.
The $15bn (£9bn) hub will replace the country’s current principal airport, Doha International, which will be phased out after the national carrier, Qatar Airways, moves its operations over to Hamad today.
Capable, eventually, of handling 50 million passengers a year, Hamad International is unashamedly targeting transfer traffic. With a relatively small domestic market, Qatar’s aviation industry is built on international passengers using Doha as a transfer and stopover destination. Some 85% of passengers passing through the old airport were on transfer and Hamad has been designed with these passengers in mind, with spacious lounges and facilities including a swimming pool and squash courts to help weary travellers pass away the time before their next flight.
The pursuit of transfer travellers has already paid off for nearby Dubai, which overtook Heathrow in the first three months of this year as the world’s busiest airport for international passengers. It was a moment airline chiefs such as Willie Walsh, the head of British Airways’ parent company, had long warned would arrive, as the Gulf countries poured investment into their airport infrastructure while politicians in this country dithered over runway expansion. It’s not only happening in the Gulf states either. Turkish Airlines is undergoing rapid expansion and in so doing is turning Istanbul into a major hub. And few will forget Amsterdam Schiphol’s cheeky advertising campaign in 2012, when it brazenly advertised one of its five main air strips as “Heathrow’s third runway”.
Last month, Sir Tim Clark, the president of Emirates airline, put the success of Dubai International Airport, down to “progressive” economic and infrastructure policies. Those words should be ringing in the ears of politicians in this country next week.
Following 50 years of inertia, the Coalition successfully delayed any decision over where to build the next runway in the south east of England by setting up the Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies. Despite initial frustrations among those in the aviation industry at having to engage in yet another inquiry over airport expansion, Sir Howard has been widely praised so far for the way he is handling the political hot potato he was passed.
The former Financial Services Authority chairman will make his final recommendations after the General Election but already there are concerns over whether politicians will uphold their side of the bargain. The Government has been woefully slow at responding to the Airports Commission’s interim recommendations – measures to make the most of existing capacity which were published in December. If it takes more than five months to respond to an interim report, what will happen when the really contentious work begins and politicians will be asked to back a runway location with which they may not agree?
Next week’s opening of the new Heathrow T2 will be a celebration of how far Britain’s aviation industry has come since December 16 1955, when Her Majesty inaugurated the airport’s first terminal. But it will be a stark reminder of the political dilly-dallying which is now causing Britain to lose its aviation crown.
On the subject of the attitudes of Middle East airlines and airports, to the rights and opinions of people in the UK:
Heathrow chairman, Sir Nigel Rudd, hushes hubbub over 24/7 airport comment by Heathrow board member
Date added: May 21, 2014
A Heathrow Airport Board member, Akbar Al Baker, recently said Heathrow should have 24 hour flights, planes should be allowed to fly all night, and that Brits make an “excessive” fuss about aircraft noise. This has hugely embarrassed Heathrow, which has been trying hard to claim a 50% increase in flights will result in less noise … square that one. Now, in response to the awkward and off-message remarks by Al Baker, Sir Nigel Rudd, chairman of Heathrow, said: “Mr Al-Baker’s views are his own and do not represent the views or policy of the Heathrow board or executive committee. We recognise that adding the flights Britain needs for growth must come hand in hand with reducing aircraft noise for residents. Round the clock flying from London is not an option. We take the concerns of local communities very seriously and have never argued for 24-hour flying.” Anti expansion campaigners were highly critical of the airport, and its need to urgently rush out reassuring comments due to the embarrassment caused by Mr Al-Baker putting his foot in it. Question is why Mr Al Baker was not aware that this, though revealing, was not a helpful or acceptable comment to make, from Heathrow’s point of view.
Heathrow Airport Board member, Akbar Al Baker, says Heathrow should have 24 hour flights
Date added: May 21, 2014
One of the Board members of Heathrow Airport is Akbar Al Baker, who is the CEO of Qatar Airways and led the development of the new Doha airport. He is on the Board because Qatar Holdings bought a 20% stake in Heathrow in 2012. He has caused a storm of protest after claiming, with stunning insensitivity and demonstating a woeful lack of understanding of British democracy, that Heathrow should have 24 hour flights – ignoring the well-being of those overflown. The benefit would be that his companies would be more profitable. Akbar Al Baker said Britons make an “excessive” fuss about noise levels from aircraft flying over their homes” and home owners living under flight paths “wouldn’t even hear the aircraft” after a while.” He appears not to understand that in Europe, unpopular and damaging major developments cannot just be steamrollered through, as they perhaps can be in the Gulf States. Mr Al Baker thinks European airports should open 24 hours a day if they want to compete with the emerging Gulf hubs in Dubai and Doha. Though rapidly denied by Heathrow, which distanced itself from Mr Al Baker’s comments, it is indicative of a way of thought which people may fear is prevalent on the Heathrow board.
I have yet to be convinced of the benefit of having a transfer airport on British soil. No doubt it makes money for someone, and a lot jobs depend on it. But I could say the same thing about, say, the Common Agricultural Policy. The costs which such an airport imposes on society as a whole far outweigh these narrow advantages.
If the Dutch really want to pollute their crowded skies, if the French are determined to whisk foreigners from one aircraft to another, in the hope that they will buy overpriced goods in the airport on their way, let them do so; just because other people do it is no reason for us to compete.
Surely Dubai is successful because of its geographical location. It collects flights from all over Australasia and they fan out to destinations all over Europe. Flights from Australia can’t make Heathrow non stop, they have to refuel and Dubai is a convenient place. So you can’t really compare Dubai and Heathrow.
Once again the DT acts as a shill for Wee Willie Walsh and his ilk. An increase in transfer passengers has virtually no impact on GDP (they are, after all, only changing planes) but imposes enormous burdens in the form of noise pollution on all those who live on the West side of London.
It makes routes that would otherwise be unviable viable – and so makes business easier and smoother and therefore increases overall GDP.
Yep and if Heathrow are allowed to expand, road works and flight delays for years will cripple the economy ! To overload an overloaded airport ?
A taxpayer-funded report on the future viability of Prestwick Airport will not be published, to protect commercially confidential information, despite at least £5 million of public money having been pledged to ensure its survival. This has led to accusations that ministers are expecting “blind faith” from the public when it comes to justifying spending taxpayers’ money. The report follows a review that took 3 months. The airport has been losing millions of pounds under its previous owners. Although the full document is being withheld, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to report key findings to the parliament’s Infrastructure Committee in June. The Scottish Government bought Prestwick for £1 in November 2013. Labour’s infrastructure spokesman has said it was unacceptable for the report to be kept secret, and the public deserves to know how the £5 million will be repaid. The CEO of Edinburgh Airport, Gordon Dewar has claimed Government ownership of Prestwick was distorting competition in the Central Belt of Scotland. . Glasgow Airport chiefs are also said to be uneasy over the arrangement. Prestwick lost £9.7 million last year.
A TAXPAYER-FUNDED report on the future viability of Prestwick Airport will not be published, despite at least £5 million of public money having been pledged to ensure its survival.
The full report by a senior finance executive into the long-term options for the publicly owned South Ayrshire hub is being withheld to protect commercially confidential information.
It has led to accusations that ministers are expecting “blind faith” from the public when it comes to justifying spending taxpayers’ money.
Romain Py submitted his finished report two weeks ago on the future of the airport, which lost millions of pounds under its previous owners, following a review that took three months.
Although the full document is being withheld, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to report key findings to the parliament’s Infrastructure Committee in June.
Mr Py’s recommendations will also influence another Government document that will outline ministers’ “strategic vision” for the troubled Ayrshire airport, which the Scottish Government bought for £1 last November.
But Labour’s infrastructure spokesman James Kelly said it was unacceptable that Mr Py’s report would not be made public.
He said: “So far at least £5m has been committed to Prestwick Airport and the public deserves to know how this money is being invested and when it will be returned to the public purse.
“The Scottish Government cannot justify keeping taxpayers in the dark when their money is being spent on a project with no clear strategy in place. They are asking people to put blind faith in their actions on Prestwick without being prepared to put all the facts on the table.
“Nicola Sturgeon has paid scant disregard to parliament on this issue. She needs to publish this report and come to parliament urgently so that there is a clear and transparent debate about the how the airport is being taken forward.”
The chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, Gordon Dewar, recently claimed Government ownership of Prestwick was distorting competition in the Central Belt. Glasgow Airport chiefs are also said to be uneasy over the arrangement, while Glasgow Chamber of Commerce (GCC) has previously appealed for reassurance the takeover will not have a detrimental effect on Scotland’s second-busiest airport.
GCC chief executive Stuart Patrick said Ms Sturgeon had assured the Chamber in March that, while they would not be able to see Mr Py’s full report, the “strategic vision resulting from the report would be published”.
Mr Patrick added: “Irrespective of the issue of commercial confidentiality, we are clear that the Scottish Government has said it is committed to sharing the strategic priorities that will result from the completion of the business plan. We wait for that as soon as is practically possible.”
Alex Johnstone, Conservative transport spokesman and a member of Holyrood’s Infrastructure Committee, said he expected Ms Sturgeon to provide the panel with a robust account of Mr Py’s findings. He added: “We certainly need to know what’s in that report so that we have a realistic view. We all want to see Prestwick return to the glory days, but the route between where we are now and that achievement is going to be a long and hard one.”
The Scottish Government stepped in to save the airport from closure after New Zealand owner Infratil failed to find a commercial buyer. Accounts have since shown it was running at a pre-tax loss of £9.77m in the 12 months to March 31, 2014.
A Glasgow Airport spokesman said reassurances had been received last year that the Government’s plans for Prestwick would not damage any other airport.
A spokesman for Transport Scotland said: “Our senior advisor has completed his work at Prestwick Airport and we are currently considering his recommendations. The Deputy First Minister has committed to providing the Scottish Parliament with a further update on progress at Prestwick Airport when she appears at the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee next month.”
Prestwick Airport reveals spiralling losses – almost £10 million in 2013
March 7, 2014
The full scale of Prestwick Airport’s financial problems are revealed in the latest accounts, which show a pre-tax loss of almost £10 million in its final full year of private ownership. Its financial problems have escalated with a pre-tax loss of £9.77m in the 12 months to March 31, 2013. The airport made a £2.3m pre-tax loss in the year to March 2012. Last March its owners, Infratil, put the airport up for sale, but as no buyer could be found, the Scottish Government stepped in and bought Prestwick for a £1 on November 22 2013. Prestwick had a 20% fall in the number of passengers in July 2012 compared to the same month in 2011 – the busiest time of the year with the school holidays. The airport’s accounts state that Prestwick is only a going concern if its owner is willing to continue funding deficits. Such an undertaking has been made by Transport Scotland on behalf of Scottish ministers ie. public subsidy. Only Ryanair is operating scheduled flights, and a significant percentage of the airport’s aviation revenue is derived from freight and other aircraft activity.
Prestwick Airport to be sold to Scottish Government for £1 – and other failing regional airports look to business parks and housing
Infratil, which currently owns Prestwick Airport, has said the airport is expected to be sold to the Scottish Government for £1. The sale is due to be completed by Wednesday, 20 November. Infratil said the airport’s value had been “fully impaired” – effectively written off – after Prestwick and sister airport Manston in Kent were collectively valued at £11 million in March. Infratil bought Prestwick from Stagecoach in 2001 for £33m. Manston is being sold to Stagecoach founder Ann Gloag for an expected £400,000. Scottish Ministers are taking over Prestwick airport, which is losing £7m a year, to avert its closure and safeguard 1,400 jobs, including 300 at the airport. Infratil described its investment in the airports to have been “unsuccessful for Infratil” and that while such regional airports looked like a good investment 5 years ago, they now are not as they are reliant on “robust air traffic growth driving demand.” Other failing airports are looking to create business parks on their land, and housing – to try and make money out of them. http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=18387
Glasgow Prestwick Airport may be given to the Scottish Government for nothing
October 11, 2013 The owners of Glasgow Prestwick, New Zealand company Infratil, have suggested they may give away the airport for nothing. The Scottish government has announced it is negotiating to buy the unprofitable airport, and hopes to conclude detailed negotiations with the company by 20 November. Scottish government said it was the “only realistic alternative to closure”. In a statement on its website, the company said it did not expect any transaction “to give rise to material proceeds”. Prestwick was put up for sale last March after heavy annual losses. Several investors expressed interest but no offers were made. Infratil has also been trying to sell its other unprofitable UK airport, Manston. In May 2013, Infratil announced that it had written down the value of both airports to £11m. Infratil has agreed to ensure the airport is kept fully open and operational during the negotiation process. In 2012 Prestwick had around 1 million passengers, compared to 2.4 million at its peak in 2005. Click here to view full story…
First Class seats take up a larger proportion of a plane than economy class seats, and ever more so when the level of luxury involves a flat bed, a bathroom, lounge space etc. Data from CAPA shows that flights using Heathrow have the largest number of First Class seats of any airport in the world. Of the top 10 routes based on the number of First Class seats, Heathrow has 9. Of the top 25 global routes by number of First Class seats, Heathrow has 15. Of the 25 largest first class routes, 10 are trans-Atlantic – only one of these is Frankfurt-Chicago. However, though the levels of luxury being offered by Middle Eastern airlines, for customers to whom money is no object, is rising – overall there is a decline in the number of luxury seats. Some airlines are reducing the number, while a few are increasing. The top 4 routes for luxury travel are Heathrow-New York (by far the largest); 2nd is Heathrow- Dubai; 3rd Heathrow- Chicago; 4th Heathrow-Mumbai. CAPA says growth constraints at Heathrow have seen British Airways strategically grow through a larger share of high-yielding passengers (across premium passengers and premium economy).
Long-haul first class air travel dwindling despite Etihad and Emirates innovation
However, Capa points out in data released on its website last week that while London Heathrow to New York JFK is still the world’s most popular long-haul first class route with 1,116 weekly first class seats and an average of 159 seats a day between May 12 and 18, the removal of first class cabins from American Airlines’ 777-200s fleet means that these numbers are down “considerably”.
“American in May 2012 offered 560 first class seats across 35 weekly New York JFK-London Heathrow flights while in May 2014 offers 168 across 21 weekly flights,” Capa said.
Iata data last week showed that premium traffic volumes have declined in recent months as China demand fell, with only the Middle East performing solidly. Growth in premium travel slowed in March, up 1.9 per cent year on year compared to 4.1 per cent in February.
“The Gulf in particular is enjoying an acceleration in economic growth and tourism … it shows once again that this region is one of the strongest aviation markets in the world,” said Hussein Dabbas, the International Air Transport Association’s regional vice president for Africa-Middle East.
However, airlines around the world are reviewing their premium offerings, with only a handful able to sustain a first class cabin.
Airlines continue to “cannibalise their first class with business class seats that become lie flat”, Capa said.
At the same time the pool of first class passengers is shrinking.
Germany’s Lufthansa is soon expected to cut first class from many of its long-haul aircraft. Qatar Airways has already indicated its focus away from first class and Tam is the latest airline to remove first class.
However, Emirates’ tie-up with Qantas has helped to shift demand towards Dubai, with the Heathrow to Dubai route the second busiest first class route in the period with 850 seats weekly and 121 on average daily, Capa data showed.
Overall Dubai is home to more long-haul first class routes than Heathrow, and Emirates flies more long-haul first class seats than British Airways or Lufthansa, Capa said.
“The shift in the world’s top first class routes and number of seats is a story of changing partners and alliances, with Qantas boosting Dubai but detracting from Singapore. This helps accentuate the continued focus of the two major UAE airlines in the premium cabins, retaining their focus on first class travellers,” said Capa.
“The new cabins from Etihad Airways may bring unprecedented levels of luxury to first class, but elsewhere the trend of long-haul first class is unequivocally one of decline. TAM is the latest airline to remove first class, while American’s removal of the cabin from its 777-200s will have an impact on some of the world’s largest first class routes ranked on available seats.
London Heathrow-New York JFK is the route with the most first class seats with 1,116 a week, but this figure is down considerably, following aircraft changes from American. Nine of the world’s 10 largest first class routes are to/from London Heathrow, while 15 of the top 25 are to/from London Heathrow. British Airways has the largest amount of first class capacity on nine of those 15 routes. 10 of the 25 routes are trans-Atlantic while Dubai is home to four; Singapore and Los Angeles three each; and Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Seoul home to just one each.
But meanwhile the Gulf is going from strength to strength. Overall Dubai is home to more long-haul first class routes than London Heathrow, and Emirates flies more long-haul first class seats than British Airways or Lufthansa.”
The article ends:
Outlook: Further shrinkage of first class is inevitable – for most airlines
“While Lufthansa headquarters may be engulfed in worry over internal labour disputes and the march of Gulf carriers, as far as first class is concerned, there is a sense of groundhog day: Lufthansa is removing first class from a number of long-haul aircraft, the exact same thing it did some years ago – only to re-install first class after a change in executive leadership that saw it as strategically important.
This time around, Lufthansa’s removal will probably be final. Airlines have cannibalised their first class with business class seats that become lie-flat. At the same time, first class is increasingly off limits for all but the top echelons of executives (or the wealthy leisure travellers, although they look more for discounts, and frequent flyer redemptions, which give a low yield).
This was stated clearly by Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker to Bloomberg: “Executive travel returning to first class will never happen, I don’t think so… We decided that as load factors on first class were only 40%, that we better not have first class but give a very good business class product.” Those adding first class, like Garuda Indonesia, are few and without a clear business plan for the cabin.
The shift in the world’s top first class routes and number of seats is a story of changing partners and alliances, with Qantas boosting Dubai but detracting from Singapore. This helps accentuate the continued focus of the two major UAE airlines in the premium cabins, retaining their focus on first class travellers. It is also a story of pragmatism as American’s over-due retrofit of its 777-200s impacts a number of the world’s largest first class routes while Cathay Pacific arguably is more prudent than Singapore Airlines in deploying first class, which perhaps sees this as more about branding than profits.
“Only a handful of today’s first class operators can sustain the cabin, a feature that is accentuated as the UAE carriers attract increasingly large proportions of high end travellers on long-haul services..”
Airlines have been rationalising, ending “strategic” routes thought to give glamour despite poor returns. But airlines are being slower at weaning themselves off prestige cabins. Only a handful of today’s first class operators can sustain the cabin, a feature that is accentuated as the UAE carriers attract increasingly large proportions of high end travellers on long-haul services. Etihad‘s new Residence product inevitably has a combination of strategic and commercial planning, but it goes a long way to emphasing where they and Emirates are positioning globally.
In modern history the front may be as extravagant as ever, but it is also becoming less common than ever on the traditional airlines. The vocal frequent flyers may rue this fact, but for airlines it is another healthy step towards a sustainable industry.”
Busiest first class air travel routes in the world
May 25, 2014 (The National)
While the likes of Etihad and Emirates are going from strength-to-strength with their first class offerings, the trend of long-haul first class travel elsewhere is one of decline, according to Capa. Find out how many of the routes involve the UAE.
(CAPA data between 12th and 18th May)
London Heathrow to New York JFK is still the world’s most popular long-haul first class route with 1,116 weekly first class seats and an average of 159 seats a day Between May 12 and 18
Heathrow to Dubai 850 first class seats, 121 average daily first class seats.
Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare. 658 first class seats, 94 average daily first class seats.
London Heathrow to Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. (Mumbai). 504 first class seats, 72 average daily first class seats.
Miami International Airport to Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport. 504 first class seats, 72 average daily first class seats.
London Heathrow to Singapore Changri. 460 first class seats, 66 average daily first class seats
London Heathrow to Boston Logan. 384 first class seats, 55 average daily first class seats
Heathrow to Dallas Fort Worth. 378 first class seats, 54 average daily first class seats.
Heathrow to Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, India. 372 first class seats, 53 average daily first class seats.
London Heathrow to Miami International. 364 first class seats, 52 average daily first class seats.
Etihad Airways has raised the stakes to win the loyalty of luxury travellers with a US$20,000 flying hotel suite complete with a Savoy-trained butler.
The premium travel experience is being offered on its Airbus A380 and Boeing787 Dreamliner aircraft as rival Gulf carriers compete to win high-spending business and first class passengers.
“I think we have set the new standard in premium travel,” said James Hogan, the president and chief executive of Etihad Airways.
“The Residence by Etihad” will be a forward upper-deck cabin configuration on the A380. Accommodating single or double occupancy, it includes a living room, separate double bedroom and en suite shower room. Guests in The Residence will also have a personal butler – trained by the Savoy Butler Academy in London.
Ticket prices start at about $20,000 for either one or two people. The service is being initially offered on London routes starting from this December.
In addition, the upper deck will have a number of fully private suites, branded First Apartments, with a separate reclining lounge seat and full-length bed, as well as a chilled mini-bar, personal vanity unit and wardrobe.
“Etihad’s new product is above premium. What they are trying to do with the A380 residence is like a hotel in the air. If you look at Qatar Airways, they are starting a business class only flight from London to Doha, so Etihad’s product puts them head-to-head for competition to snare high fare, high yield customers” said Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at StrategicAero Research.
“Etihad is significantly more expensive than Qatar and Emirates, but this is for the exclusivity of their product. It trendsetting and I wonder how long it will take until an airline comes with a similar product if Etihad’s cabin offerings deliver significant revenues.”
While Etihad does not operate a fleet of private jets like rival Qatar Airways, which has Qatar Executive business, it believes it can charter the premium part of its A380 to accommodate families or government delegations in the region.
“We are a scheduled carrier, so we don’t compete with private jets. All we have taken is the concept of private jets of service into the A380 cabin and the 787 cabin,” said Mr Hogan.
“We certainly believe in the strong market for the residence and the apartments. We can charter that premium part of the aircraft. And frankly we believe we are better than the private jets.”
In 2008, Etihad set up Etihad Design Consortium to conduct consumer research and workshops in Abu Dhabi, Sydney, London, and New York. The research focused on consumers’ demands and needs in a flight.
Etihad did not disclose its investment in the new product.
“There are such exciting changes coming up in Abu Dhabi with the Louvre coming, the Guggenheim, the hospital groups. This city is vibrant and dynamic. We are fortunate to grow alongside of that,” said Mr Hogan.
Etihad has 10 Airbus A380s on firm order. The first A380 will arrive in December and will fly to London. Next year, four A380s will be delivered. They will fly to Sydney, Melbourne, New York and Paris. In 2016, another three A380 aircraft will be delivered to be followed by the last two in 2017.
For the 787 Dreamliners, Etihad has a total of 71 aircraft to be delivered between 2014 and 2023 – making it the largest operator of 787 in the world.
Unlike some European carriers that may struggle to find enough demand for their first class, Mr Hogan said the demand coming from this region is significant.
“There is a market there for this kind of product. We wouldn’t introduce this product unless we felt there’s a return,” said Mr Hogan.
“If you consider we are based here in Abu Dhabi, with the GCC, we are in the middle of this. There’s a huge market … here in the Emirates in peak season, you can’t get a seat in the business class,” Mr Hogan added.
“It’s all about privacy. That’s very much in our current first class private suites product, and our new bedroom concept will take it to the next level,” said Tim Clark, the president of Emirates.
“We’re talking fully enclosed rooms, with all the touches and amenities that you’d expect in hotel or a private bedroom on a luxury yacht, room service and so on. It will be on our A380s, and on our new 777s.”
Emirates said that it is in “advanced stages” of developing its bedroom concept. While it did not disclose the cost of a bedroom, it said that its current first class suite costs US$500,000 apiece, and with the 1,500 seats in its current fleet, that is a total investment of $750 million.
Emirates, the world’s biggest customer of the Airbus A380 superjumbo, made headlines at the Dubai Airshow in November when it ordered $99 billion worth of aircraft – including 150 Boeing777X and 50 A380s fromAirbus.
The International Air Transport Association (Iata) said in a note yesterday that premium travel in the Middle East has outperformed other markets globally.
In March, global premium travel rose 1.9 per cent year-on-year, slower than the 4.1 per cent in February.
“Middle East premium travel performed solidly in March, particularly routes to Africa, from Europe, and to the Far East,” said Hussein Dabbas, Iata’s regional vice president for Africa-Middle East.
“The Gulf in particular is enjoying an acceleration in economic growth and tourism. It shows once again that this region is one of the strongest aviation markets in the world.”
Analysts said that a key to the success of Emirates new product will be the pricing. Etihad Residence Suite on the upper deck of its A380 costs $20,000 one way on its Abu Dhabi-London route.
“If its high like Etihad’s Residence Suite, then perhaps it may stifle demand leading to discounting. And with high prices, Emirates will not want to discount so early on with a new cabin product,” said Saj Ahmad, the chief analyst at StrategicAero Research.
Other analysts think that airlines need to revisit their business case of having premium travel products, which may not sell as well as business class seats.
“Premium travel is still in important segment in the Gulf market but more so business class than first class. First class is only supported on certain routes and many airlines globally have withdrawn it or offer it selectively,” said John Strickland, the director of London-based JLS Consulting.
“Airlines have to evaluate the cost of investment versus the likelihood of regularly selling the seats and the opportunity cost of having more seats in business class, which on many routes are more saleable.”
While the endlessly repeated publicity from the airports and airlines, and their lobbyists, has succeeded in getting most people in the UK to believe there is some sort of airport capacity crisis, the reality is different. The Airports Commission has been given the task of looking at this alleged shortage of airport capacity, and understanding it in detail. While the Commission’s interim report in December said the “UK requires one net additional runway in south east by 2030″ they add that the “UK does not have a connectivity crisis today.” The Commission has produced several charts to illustrate this, and says many more could be produced showing how well served the UK is, by different measures. Their charts illustrating short haul destinations by country show the UK far ahead of European rivals; UK 2nd only to Germany on long haul destinations; UK first in Europe for long haul services (now overtaken by Dubai); London far ahead of European rivals by destination for both cities and countries. The UK really is better connected than its rivals, and the Commission say there is “Little evidence of a significant downward trend in UK/London connectivity.”
UK shown by the green line in the charts below
From Airports Commission power point presentation given on 17th March 2014.
Boris has now submitted his dossier to the Airports Commission, in support of his plan for a massive hub airport in the Thames estuary. The Commission had given Boris extra time in which to address critical questions concerning his plans. Boris claimed that the government was edging towards giving Gatwick the go-ahead, saying there was “a political fix around Gatwick”. He said, in all parties: “A lot of money is moving off Heathrow and on to Gatwick. Heathrow is closer to the answer but not deliverable. Gatwick is more deliverable but it is not the right answer.” He said, expanding Gatwick was “a sham, a snare, a delusion”. Boris hopes his estuary airport could be built for about £25 billion, with £25bn more for surrounding transport infrastructure, and £14 billion more to buy and close Heathrow, which would be redeveloped as a new suburb. Boris makes the usual claims about jobs and growth of the economy, and gives no thought at all to the fact that two new runways cannot be fitted within UK carbon targets. Boris’s evidence from the CAA shows a 3rd Heathrow runway would bring the number of people exposed to severe aircraft noise to more than a million. Utterly unacceptable.
Boris Johnson: ‘A lot of money is moving off Heathrow and on to Gatwick … Gatwick is more deliverable but it is not the right answer.’ Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA
A “political fix” is putting Gatwick airport in pole position to get a new runway, London mayor Boris Johnson claimed, as he appealed to theAirports Commission to take a longer view and reconsider building a new hub.
The mayor has submitted a new dossier to the commission, which had made its scepticism over his favoured plan of a Thames estuary airportproject clear but revised its timetable to allow Johnson to address critical questions.
Johnson said it was time to stop “making do” and haphazardly expanding existing airports, adding: “We must ensure that the final outcome is not one that future generations will regret.”
The mayor claimed the government was edging towards giving Gatwick the go-ahead, saying there was “a political fix around Gatwick”. He said, in all parties: “A lot of money is moving off Heathrow and on to Gatwick. Heathrow is closer to the answer but not deliverable. Gatwick is more deliverable but it is not the right answer.”
He said, expanding Gatwick was “a sham, a snare, a delusion”.
However, the mayor’s team claim much of this money could be raised from the private sector, while new infrastructure would be an inevitable government spend to meet the needs of an expanding population in east London, whether or not a new airport was built.
The Thames estuary case focuses on London’s forecast growth, to 11.3 million people by 2050, and the additional jobs and homes moving the hub airport could produce. The submission claims the new hub would generate £7bn a year in economic benefits and would be commercially viable with a relatively modest increase in landing charges – rejecting the Airports Commission’s estimates that the cost of building in the Thames estuary would mean fees triple those at Heathrow, driving up fares.
Foster and Partners’ artist impression of a four-runway Thames estuary airport capable. Photograph: Foster And Partners/PA
Johnson’s latest evidence included studies conducted for Transport for London by the Civil Aviation Authority showing that a third runway at Heathrow would bring the number of people exposed to severe aircraft noise to more than a million, with areas from Kensington to Deptford caught within its noise contour. Referring to recent comments made by a Heathrow board member and major shareholder, Qatar Holdings’ Akbar Al-Baker, that locals would get used to plane noise, the mayor said: “Mr Al-Baker very brilliantly highlighted both the problem and the solution. Many people felt their experience didn’t accord with what he was saying. Doha is building a hub away from the main population; it was very helpful because he showed what needed to be done.”
According to the mayor’s team, building the Thames estuary airport at a similar remove from the capital would expose fewer than 30,000 people to aircraft noise. Johnson said: “The brutal, ineluctable facts of geography mean that we as a country will come round to this in the end.”
While Sir Howard Davies left the Thames estuary proposal off the original shortlist, political pressure resulted in a fudge whereby the commission requested more time to consider the idea of a brand new, four-runway hub in east London. Davies will announce in September whether the estuary plan remains in contention with the other three schemes. As well as Heathrow and Gatwick airports’ own blueprints for an additional runway, the Heathrow Hub group has drawn up a scheme to lengthen the west London airport’s two existing runways to effectively create a four-runway operation.
The commission will give its final recommendation in June 2015. No political party has promised to implement its findings. Johnson, who may yet be in a parliamentary role when a decision is made, said: “I will respect the findings of the Davies commission but I will not abide by them.”
Mayor of London Boris Johnson has said that a new airport in the Thames Estuary would add £7bn a year to the UK economy and create 400,000 jobs.
Six months after the Airport Commission said it favoured options for a third runway at Heathrow and another for a second runway at Gatwick, Johnson has come back with a final push for a new hub in the Estuary to cope with the growing numbers of travellers into and out of London.
‘The creation of a monstrous Heathrow on a constrained site won’t solve our capacity crisis and would inflict untold misery on hundreds of thousands more Londoners through the din of many more jet engines,’ he said. ‘A new hub in the inner estuary can be built for the same cost as a four-runway Heathrow, and would bring new jobs, homes, and long-term competitiveness.’
The Mayor said that if the commission failed to look to the longer term and continued to focus on what was needed in the short term, it would be letting the country down.
He also said there is a ‘political fix around Gatwick’ which is edging towards giving the UK’s second-busiest airport the go ahead, and that expanding Gatwick is a ‘sham, a snare, a delusion.’
The Airports Commission, led by MT columnist Sir Howard Davies, was set up by the UK Government in September 2012 to look at ways of increasing UK airport capacity.
In December 2013, the committee concluded that Heathrow and Gatwick were the two airports shortlisted to go through to the next round of scrutiny over who gets to build another runway. It said more detail on Johnson’s proposal for the hub on the Isle of Grain in Kent was needed before it could consider the proposal.
At the time, Johnson said the good news was that ‘we’re not dead yet,’ but described Davies’ request for more information as a ‘fudgerama’, saying his own proposal was now ‘half in and half out’.
However Medway and Kent Councils both oppose the Mayor’s plans, and yesterday published the results of a survey they commissioned that suggested five out of six adults would oppose the new airport.
Mayor warns Airports Commission not to miss the ‘bigger picture’
23 May 2014
The Mayor of London today urged the Commission charged with refereeing the ongoing debate about where to provide new aviation capacity in the UK to take the “bigger picture and longer view ” into account. Issuing a substantial new dossier of evidence today (23 May) the Mayor said that a national decision on airport policy was not just about where to lay the tarmac for another runway, but presented a chance to reshape the national economy to meet the challenges of astonishing levels of projected population growth, not least in London. The Mayor said that if the commission failed to look to the longer term and continued to focus on what was needed in the short term, it would be letting the country down.
Key to nearly every page of the new submission is the belief that airport policy has a huge impact on the entire fabric of society and that the decision on national aviation policy must be closely linked to the phenomenal rate of population growth in London. With London forecast to grow to 10million people by 2030 and by a staggering 37 per cent to 11.3million people by 2050, major infrastructure decisions like airport expansion have to contribute towards meeting the need for homes and jobs posed by that growth. Were a decision made to build a new airport then redevelopment of the Heathrow site could provide 90,000 jobs and 80,000 homes, adding £7.5 billion a year to the UK economy.
Today the Mayor told the Airports Commission they risked missing a once in a lifetime opportunity to end the blinkered and ‘make-do’ philosophy that had led to decades of haphazard expansion, and to recognise that the only proposal to address the wider needs of the nation would be to build a new hub airport that would generate economic benefits of at least £7bn a year, providing a secure platform for the prosperity of a growing population.
The submission to the Airports Commission has been developed with the support of world leading consultancies with specialties covering a wide range of aviation and city planning skills. And in the evidence released today the Mayor’s team declare that a new airport in the inner estuary is technically, economically and environmentally feasible. The new airport:
Would generate a massive, permanent boost for the UK economy. It would support around 400,000 jobs UK wide, with the benefits from the extra global connectivity alone worth nearly £7bn a year. Those benefits would be far greater and much wider-reaching than single new runways at Heathrow or Gatwick.
Is assessed as commercially viable on a standalone basis with only a small increase in landing charges – nothing like the increase claimed by the Commission.
Faces no insuperable obstacles to its delivery. Every challenge posed can be addressed and building a new airport would be far less taxing than facing the challenges posed by the massive environmental and political undeliverability of a new runway at Heathrow.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “The Airports Commission has been asked to consider a subject that is of vital importance to our country’s prosperity and place in the world. It is not a small matter and their work will have ramifications for decades to come. That is why it is crucial their considerations take into account the future requirements of this country in 40 or even 50 years time. We must ensure that the final outcome is not one that future generations will regret.”
Today’s evidence included studies conducted for TfL by the Civil Aviation Authority, which show that a third runway at Heathrow would bring the number exposed to severe noise to more than one million people. Areas that would be newly caught within Heathrow’s noise contour include Kensington, Chelsea, Chiswick and Deptford. By contrast a new airport in the Thames Estuary would expose less than three per cent of the same number to aircraft noise. The document adds that scientific studies have associated loud and sustained noise with adverse health impacts, including increased risk of hospital admission for stroke and cardiovascular disease, higher rates of hypertension and lower reading ages in children.
Other key points made in the submission include that:
By 2050, a new hub airport would provide 63 more daily regional air connections than if no additional hub airport capacity is provided, which is 43 more than today and 49 more than Heathrow could sustain with a third runway.
A new airport in the Inner Thames Estuary would add 134,000 net additional jobs in the local area by 2050 – equivalent to £16.6bn GVA per annum – and trigger a further 138,000 catalytic jobs across the whole region. Nationally, an inner Thames estuary airport would support 388,000 gross jobs by 2050, worth £42.3bn per annum in GVA terms.
Having a strong hub airport serving the UK is vital to the economies of the UK regions. It would provide a £2.2 billion economic boost to 15 major UK cities by 2050 and deliver 18,000 new jobs thanks to the improved connectivity that a new, unconstrained airport would deliver.
The additional connectivity would improve UK productivity, resulting in a permanent 0.5% increase in GDP – valued at £6.9bn in today’s prices.
By contrast, the Airports Commission’s own figures demonstrate that a 3-runway Heathrow would effectively be full shortly after opening, with limited slot availability and very poor resilience – little improvement on Heathrow today.
A second runway at Gatwick is no solution either – it fails to address the dire noise problems; unable to function as a hub alongside Heathrow it cannot deliver the connectivity the UK needs; and as a result offers the smallest economic boost of any of the options being considered.
Today’s submission also reaffirms a key conclusion of TfL’s submission to the Airports Commission in 2013: that building and moving to a new airport can be assessed as commercially viable, on a standalone basis, with a relatively modest increase in landing charges.
A new analysis undertaken by Ernst & Young concludes that a threefold increase in landing charges, claimed by the Airports Commission to be necessary to repay debt by 2050, is based on assumptions that are without any local or global precedent; adjusting these assumptions brings the required increase in landing charges down significantly, to 1.4x Heathrow’s Q6 level. Indeed, KPMG (the Commission’s own financial advisers) acknowledges the 2050 assumption as “arbitrary” and the approach “highly simplified”, and that, under different assumptions, an increase of just six per cent would be needed.
It was confirmed today that the Mayor and Sir Howard Davies will both attend and speak at a major event on 18 June where the challenge of London’s growth will be addressed. Further details and invitations to the “Shaping a growing London: the place of an airport” event will be released within the next week.
Boris isn’t interested in anyone’s health. This is his great vanity project. Look at this record on air quality. If he gave a damn he would do something to reduce inner city traffic, but that’s not sexy enough.
The best airport is one with no runways.
Just think of Boris and Dave as salesmen,on commission, for a variety of construction,oil/gas and diesel engine interests.
The intriguing thing is who are they the front men for and how their “commissions” are paid.
A Thames airport would be an utter disaster in terms of fog, gales and bird strikes. Planes would continue to have to circle over London and fly low over the city on take-off rather than over the gravel pits to the immediate west of Heathrow as to fly over the estuary and the towering London Array would disrupt flight paths into other coastal European airports such as Schipol. It would also disrupt the prosperity of those Thames Valley towns such as Swindon, Reading etc whose businesses depend on easy access to Heathrow.
Boris is a dreamer, nothing wrong with that, but he’s having a nightmare with this proposal.
Which would you prefer, a plane crashing into the unexploded bombs of the SS Montgomery or a plane crashing into London?
If Heathrow stays and a plane hits a populated area people will look back and say, why didn’t they take the opportunity to move the airport
What about the post-oil society? Will we really see air travel grow for ever?
Hasn’t the closure of Manston indicated what a dead duck a hub airport this side of “town” would be?
Heathrow remains the major focal point because it is positioned to serve more of the country. Only Stansted could improve on that by concentrating our logistical minds on more central/eastern routes north, rather than the current obsession with the West Coast as regards HS2.
What people want is not always in our best collective interests.
I’m sure many people would want an unpaid helper, but slavery is illegal, at least incivilised countries.
Flying is the most effective way of causing climate change. While a tiny minority get to benefit from this in the short term, all of life on earth has to suffer to the consequences. Part of the tragedy of the commons.
I think future generatyions are going to regret quite a few decisions being taken right now. Most involve continuing to burn fossil fuels when the evidence of severe change is not just threatening to occur, but with the confirmation of the Antarctic ice sheet on the move ACTUALLY HAPPENING. Fat Boris may be in an expansionary state on a personal level, but the pursuit of fossil-fuel driven economic growth will be recognized by historians as the cause of the round of extinctions and economic collapse precipitating now. We are all responsible, of course, but they must wonder why we so blindly threw everything away and followed complete ignorami like Cameron, the clan Johnson, the Ghost of Thatcher. As the film so titled grasped so aptly, this really is The Age Of Stupid.
Five out of six people would oppose building a new airport in the Thames Estuary if it meant closing Heathrow and other airports, a survey has found. An estuary airport on the Isle of Grain and the closure of Heathrow has been proposed by London Mayor Boris Johnson. The online survey of 2,000 adults from across the UK was commissioned by Medway Council and Kent County Council, which oppose a new Thames Estuary airport. They say that financially, geographically and environmentally the estuary airport project is wrong – and it would be a huge waste of public money. The survey found 38% of those asked supported an estuary airport. But when they were told Heathrow, City and Southend airports could close as a result, (which they would probably have to) the support dropped to 16%, or just over one in six. Boris is due to submit final plans for the estuary airport to the Airports Commission today. The cost of the airport has now risen to £148bn for the Isle of Grain option. Boris wants a city of 190,000 homes on the Heathrow site, if the airport shuts [which is utterly unlikely].
‘Five out of six people’ against Thames Estuary airport
Boris Johnson wants the Thames Estuary airport to be built on the Isle of Grain
Five out of six people would oppose building a new airport in the Thames Estuary if it meant closing Heathrow and other airports, a survey has found.
An estuary airport on the Isle of Grain and the closure of Heathrow has been proposed by London Mayor Boris Johnson.
The online survey of 2,000 adults from across the UK was commissioned by Medway Council and Kent County Council (KCC), which oppose the new airport.
Mr Johnson’s office has not yet commented on the survey.
The mayor is due to submit final plans for the estuary airport to theAirports Commission on Friday.
The commission, which is considering how to expand air capacity in south-east England, has drawn up a shortlist which comprises building a third runway at Heathrow, lengthening an existing runway at Heathrow, and building a new runway at Gatwick.
It is also considering the £148bn Isle of Grain airport in north Kent.
Medway Council and Kent County Council oppose building an airport on the Isle of Grain
Medway and KCC believe City and Southend could also close, but Mr Johnson has not said this would be the case.
The survey found 38% of those asked supported an estuary airport. But when they were told Heathrow, City and Southend airports could close as a result, the support dropped to 16%, or just over one in six.
“We strongly believe that plans to site a hub airport in the Thames Estuary are financially, geographically and environmentally wrong,” said Rodney Chambers, leader of Medway Council.
“It will waste tens of billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money for a project which is on the wrong side of London for the majority of passengers.
“This survey highlights the chronic lack of public support for the project.
“Most people will not back a scheme which closes other key airports including Heathrow and City and Southend Airports.”
The Airports Commission will make its final recommendation on airport expansion in summer 2015.
Just one in six British adults (16%) would support the building of an Estuary Airport in the Thames at the expense of closing existing facilities at Heathrow, City and Southend according to new research.
A public opinion survey, carried out by ComRes and commissioned by Medway Council asked more than 2,000 British adults if they supported plans for a new airport in the Thames Estuary.
Just over a third (38%) say that they would support an estuary airport. However, this figure plummets to just 16% when people are told that existing major facilities would have to close as a result.
Plans submitted by Mayor of London Boris Johnson to the Airports Commission include an option to site a four runway £148bn development in the Thames Estuary.
The London mayor believes that alternatives need to be found in order for the UK to maintain its place in an increasingly competitive global aviation market place.
Cllr Rodney Chambers, Leader of Medway Council which with Kent County Council and the RSPB has consistently opposed plans for an estuary airport, said: “No one disputes the need to invest more in aviation in order to ensure the UK keeps pace with demand and matches competition from abroad.
“However, we strongly believe that plans to site a hub airport in the Thames Estuary is financially, geographically and environmentally wrong.
“It will waste tens of billions of pounds of taxpayer’s money for a project which is on the wrong side of London for the majority of passengers.
“This survey highlights the chronic lack of public support for the project. Most people will not back a scheme which closes other key airports including Heathrow and City and Southend Airports and it’s time we explore other, more sensible options.
“This should include how Stansted can be upgraded alongside improvements at the network of excellent regional airports which serve the UK and are not being used to their full capacity.”
The public polling also revealed a lack of support for additional travel and ticket fare increases as a result of the infrastructure costs required to fund a new hub airport.
Nearly half (49%) said it was not acceptable to increase airline ticket costs in order to fund a new airport. Respondents also said that, on average, the maximum time they would be prepared to travel from Central London to an airport near London would be just under an hour (59 minutes).
Cllr Chambers added: “The mayor’s vision for a new hub airport in the Thames estuary is misguided on several levels. Not only are the economics wrong but it would lead to a huge population shift with the need for a new city the size of Manchester being built.
“The fact that anyone would seek to do this on an area of global scientific and environmental significance, which is home to 300,000 migrating wildfowl, simply beggars belief.”
Paul Carter, Leader of Kent County Council, said: “The estuary airport is simply in the wrong place and on the wrong side of London. It is in a place that is difficult to access, would require billions of pounds thrown at it, is particularly prone to bad weather, high winds and fog, and also on one of the most significant bird migratory paths in the country. Birds and aeroplanes are not a good mix.”
• ComRes interviewed 2,034 GB adults online between 4th and 6th April 2014. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all British adults aged 18+. • ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules (www.britishpollingcouncil.org). This commits ComRes to the highest standards of transparency. • Data tables are available on the ComRes website – www.comres.co.uk
Only 16% of British adults would support ‘Boris Island’ if it would cause other surrounding airports to close, according to new research.
The study found just one in six British adults would support the building of an Estuary airport in the Thames, dubbed Boris island after the mayor’s backing, at the expense of closing existing facilities at Heathrow, London City and Southend airport, according to a public opinion survey commissioned by Medway Council and Kent Council.
The findings come as the mayor submits his final plans for an Estuary airport to the government’s aviation commission.
The study asked more than 2,000 people if they supported the plans for a new airport in the Thames Estuary, with 38 per cent saying they would support an Estuary airport.
However, this figure drops to 16 per cent when people are told that existing major facilities would have to close as a result.
Rodney Chambers, leader of Medway Council, said: “No one disputes the need to invest more in aviation in order to ensure the UK keeps pace with demand and matches competition from abroad.
“However, we strongly believe that plans to site a hub airport in the Thames Estuary is financially, geographically and environmentally wrong.
“It will waste tens of billions of pounds of taxpayer’s money for a project which is on the wrong side of London for the majority of passengers.
“This survey highlights the chronic lack of public support for the project. Most people will not back a scheme which closes other key airports including Heathrow and City and Southend Airports and it’s time we explore other, more sensible options.
“This should include how Stansted can be upgraded alongside improvements at the network of excellent regional airports which serve the UK and are not being used to their full capacity.”
Flights by American Airlines have started from Manchester to Charlotte in North Carolina, and will run every day until the end of September. Airport and airline bosses heralded the flight as a boost for both the airport and Manchester. The airline says “Manchester has been a hugely important city for American Airlines for many years and we are thrilled to add this flight to Charlotte…. It will bring in around 200 passengers every day…..Next year, we hope to run them for longer. In terms of American Airlines, we have a massive presence in the US and Charlotte is our second biggest hub. ….This is putting Manchester in line with our other destinations like Madrid and Rome.” American Airlines already flies from Manchester to Chicago, New York and Philadelphia. The airline CEO said most passengers are expected to originate from America – looking to fly into the north of England.”The biggest growth in airlines is down to people visiting friends and family, and Manchester has a catchment area of 22m.” More international flights from the regional airports mean less pressure to expand airports in the south east. Or to build a new south east runway. Manchester’s 2nd runway is hardly used.
First flight from Manchester to North Carolina with American Airlines takes off today
The first flight from Manchester to Charlotte in North Carolina will take off today.
The inaugural American Airlines service will arrive into Terminal Three, before running every day until the end of September.
On the eve of the first flight, operated by US Airways after their merger, airport and airline bosses heralded the flight as a boost for both the airport and Manchester.
Clive Cook, American Airlines’ MD for UK and Ireland, told the M.E.N: “Manchester has been a hugely important city for American Airlines for many years and we are thrilled to add this flight to Charlotte,
“This flight is a very important step for us. I will bring in around 200 passengers every day.
“Next year, we hope to run them for longer. In terms of American Airlines, we have a massive presence in the US and Charlotte is our second biggest hub.
“This is putting Manchester in line with our other destinations like Madrid and Rome.”
American Airlines already flies from Manchester to Chicago, New York and Philadelphia.
He said most passengers are expected to originate from America – looking to fly into the north of England.
He added: “Lots of people don’t want to come into Heathrow, Manchester has a great draw on it’s own and it’s a great way into the UK. The biggest growth in airlines is down to people visiting friends and family, and Manchester has a catchment area of 22m. There is very big traffic into Manchester and we’re helping that along a bit.
“Before our merger, American Airlines had operated at Manchester for over 25 years, we go back a long way.”
He said Charlotte’s 630 daily departures to almost 150 destinations also made the airport a great transfer point for travellers.
Andrew Cowan, chief operating officer for MAG, said: “It is not only great news for Manchester Airport to welcome this important new route, but for the entire region. The introduction of the daily Charlotte route will further strengthen connections from Manchester to North America, with a wealth of onward connectivity. The route also sees another direct long haul service added to our ever increasing network of routes, which is testament to the success of our Fly Manchester campaign.”
The flight will be met by a water cannon, cake and speeches.
which show direct flights to some places outside Europe, and the flight details (day of the week, duration etc).
Trouble is that the website says:
“NEED SOME INSPIRATION FOR YOUR NEXT HOLIDAY?”
and most of the destinations are largely for leisure.
United Airlines launches new Edinburgh to Chicago link
The first direct flight service between Edinburgh and Chicago has been launched by United Airlines.It will operate five times weekly until 12 June, daily from 13 June to 2 September and four times weekly between 3 September and 6 October. The airport said it marked “a significant step” in achieving better connectivity between the Scottish capital and North America. This service will provide real benefits to Scotland’s economy, encouraging more tourism, trade and investment by reducing the need for travellers to make connecting flights via London or the continent. ie. this helps to take the pressure off the south east airports, meaning the alleged case for a new runway is weakened. There is a huge amount of spare runway capacity at all regional airports, which should be used – rather than all flights being from the south east. That helps balance the economy, and reduce the north-south divide.
Qatar Airways new service between Edinburgh and Doha – and others – avoiding need for connecting flights
November 22, 2013 A new non-stop flight between Edinburgh Airport and Doha in Qatar is to be launched next year. It will be operated x5 per week by Qatar Airways, which serves more than 100 international destinations from Doha. The 787 Dreamliner aircraft will fly all year round on the route, providing connections to Australian hubs in Perth and Melbourne. It will be the Dreamliner’s first scheduled service from Scotland. Officials at Edinburgh Airport have long wanted to attract a major Middle Eastern carrier to allow them to compete with Glasgow, which provides a twice daily Emirates service to Dubai. There will also be a US Airways route linking Edinburgh with Philadelphia. Scotland’s Transport Minister Keith Brown hailed the move as “excellent news” for the aviation sector and said the new route was “yet more evidence of the strong bonds we are building with Qatar. The direct flights remove the need to use Heathrow for hub connections. In 2014 Scotland has the Commonwealth Games, and the Ryder Cup and wants to get in more visitors to these, as well as other business and tourists. Click here to view full story…
Air transport has proved to be one of the fastest growing industries over the past 20 years, with passenger traffic nearly tripling in terms of revenue-passenger-kilometres (RPKs) and increasing at an average of 5.4% per year since 1994. However, though there have been improvements in fuel use per revenue-tonne-kilometre (RTK), the industry’s carbon emissions increasing by 150% since 1994. With a similar rate of increase in air traffic expected over the next 20 years, the emissions can only go up. The increase in air travel had been helped by a halving in its cost over the period. The future cost of jet fuel is unknown but IATA hopes the price of jet fuel will be stable, and the cost of flying will get even lower – justifying huge expansion predictions. IATA says curbing demand for air travel is not realistic. ( Why ?) IATA knows its aim of so called “carbon neutral growth” cannot be achieved, but hopes ICAO will come up with something to enable aviation emissions to be traded, so the industry can buy carbon cuts in other sectors, while it continues to emit more.
With air traffic likely to triple over the next 20 years, decoupling emissions growth will be a major challenge, warns IATA economist
Tue 13 May 2014 (GreenAir online )
Air transport has proved to be one of the fastest growing industries over the past 20 years, with passenger traffic nearly tripling in terms of revenue-passenger-kilometres (RPKs) and increasing at an average of 5.4% per year since 1994. However, despite strong efficiency gains that have seen fuel use per revenue-tonne-kilometre (RTK) decline by nearly a half, this has led to the industry’s carbon emissions increasing by one-and-a-half times over the same period, reported IATA’s Chief Economist, Brian Pearce (right), at the ATAG Global Sustainable Aviation Summit in Geneva. With a similar rate of increase in air traffic expected over the next 20 years, industry and governments will need to overcome the challenge of decoupling it from the growth in emissions, he said.
Pearce told delegates the global spend on air transport had closely followed the upward trend of global nominal GDP since 1994 and if forecasts were correct, that spend would increase from currently around $7 billion a year to $2.5 trillion by 2034. The world spent around an annual average of 0.9% of GDP on air transport over the past 20 years, he said. Although outstripped by the growth in passenger traffic, air freight (measured in FTKs) had increased by an average of 4.2% per annum, compared to a 2.8% annual average increase in global GDP.
The increase had been helped by a halving in the cost of air transport over the period. “Much of that reduction has been achieved by manufacturers giving us much more fuel efficient aircraft and engines,” he said. “And the reduction has come during a period when jet fuel prices have tripled – an amazing efficiency record.”
With jet fuel forming around a third of all airline costs, the future trend over the next 20 years would be determined by fuel prices. The ‘peak oil’ view would see much higher prices but economists, by contrast, foresee a reduction in energy costs as a result of a stimulation in innovation and efficiency caused by the rapid increase during the past 20 years. “The consensus is that we are likely to see stability in fuel prices,” said Pearce. “Therefore, I think we should probably bet that we will see air transport continuing to become cheaper.”
Air travel would be in strong demand over the next 20 years, supported by the growth of large cities and the need to connect those cities, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, forecast Pearce, with the growth in passenger traffic outstripping that of air cargo.
Despite the rising levels of carbon emissions, Pearce said curbing that demand in order to achieve the industry’s carbon-neutral growth target was not a realistic option. “Air transport is critical for economic development. Do we really want to suppress the travel needs of, say, India and China? Because that is what we’re talking about here,” he questioned.
“But it illustrates the challenge that we, the industry, and governments need to overcome. We do need to decouple the growth in air transport from the growth in emissions. The industry has been thinking a lot about this and how it is possible to design a mechanism that can address those differences sufficiently and fairly. The challenge we have over the next three years at ICAO is to make sure that thinking is reflected in the discussions by governments.”
Pearce said a study carried out by IATA and consultants McKinsey had showed there was scope to make a range of cost-effective reductions amounting to around 215 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year by 2030 (the industry emitted around 689 million tonnes in 2012). However, he said, most of those reductions would need to come from infrastructure measures that only governments could act on, such as air traffic management improvements in Europe and the United States.
“But even with implementation of all these measures, the demand for air travel, and to a lesser extent air cargo, means there is going to be tremendous pressure on the industry because of the inevitable rise in emissions. Carbon-neutral growth, therefore, is going to be critical for us and for the wider economy in order to deliver the benefits from the industry that we have seen over the past 20 years.”
During the conference, ATAG released a new report ‘Aviation Benefits Beyond Borders’ that shows the industry’s economic impact was worth $2.4 trillion, with 3.4% of global GDP and over 58 million jobs supported by aviation. In 2013, 3.1 billion passengers were carried around 5.4 trillion kilometres on 36.4 million commercial flights that served nearly 50,000 routes. http://www.greenaironline.com/news.php?viewStory=1858
An average improvement in fuel efficiency of 1.5% per year to 2020
A cap on net aviation CO2 emissions from 2020: carbon-neutral growth [NET not gross]
Cut net CO2 emissions in half by 2050 compared to 2005 [by carbon trading with other sectors that actually make the carbon cuts, allowing aviation emissions to grow.]
Carbon-Neutral Growth 2020 (CNG2020)
CNG2020 means that aviation’s net CO2 emissions will not increase beyond 2020 levels even as demand for air transport continues to grow
The industry is working hard to deliver CNG2020 (Four Pillar strategy), but it is also contingent upon action by other stakeholders, notably:
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) needs to adopt a CO2 emission standard for new aircraft types
Governments and fuel companies need to support and scale up the production of sustainable biofuels for aviation
Governments and air navigation service providers need to improve air traffic management, and live up to their commitments to deliver the Single European Sky in Europe and NextGen in the United States
At its Annual General Meeting in June 2013, IATA members adopted a resolutionproviding a set of principles on how governments could integrate a single global market-based measure as part of an overall package of measures to put a cap on net aviation emissions from 2020
Four Pillar Strategy to Address Climate Change
Short-term: enhancements and modifications to existing in-service fleet
Medium-term: accelerate fleet renewal, introduce latest technologies, including drop-in biofuels
Long-term: radical new technologies and aircraft designs
IATA Technology Roadmap identifies technologies that could reduce fuel burn per aircraft by up to 30%
Improved operations can save fuel and CO2 emissions by up to 6% per year (IPCC)
IATA helps fuel conservation by compiling best practices, publishing guidance, visiting airlines and training
IATA will extend fuel conservation programs and promote airline environmental management systems
Governments and infrastructure providers could avoid up to 12% of CO2 emissions by addressing airport and airspace inefficiencies (IPCC)
Some 4% of this has already been achieved since 1999 (according to the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation – CANSO)
Single European Sky (SES), US NextGen Air Transport System and flexible use of airspace would contribute to these savings
To the extent that the industry’s climate change objectives may not be achieved through the first three pillars alone, a cost-effective single global market-based measure is needed to bridge the gap
Considering the international nature of aviation, a global approach to aviation emissions must be preferred over a patchwork of individual and uncoordinated policies:
A market-based measure should be cost-effective and administratively simple
Airlines should only be held accountable once for their emissions
A patchwork of measures may lead to the same emissions being covered by more than one mechanism.
A global mechanism is needed to prevent market distortions and carbon leakage
At its 38th session, the ICAO Assembly decided to develop a global market-based measure for international aviation. It requested the ICAO Council to finalize the work on the technical aspects, environmental and economic impacts and modalities of the possible options for a global MBM scheme. The results of the work of the Council will be reported to the next Assembly in 2016 for approval.