Emirates postpones its 4th daily Gatwick flight to Dubai – there are 6 per day from Heathrow

Emirates has confirmed it is postponing the launch of its fourth daily service from Dubai into Gatwick. Emirates had been due to start the 4th daily flight in October, which would have been the airline’s 10th daily service into London. An Emirates spokesperson said:  “Emirates can confirm that we are delaying the launch of our fourth daily service to London Gatwick. This decision was made as part of our routine operational review, to ensure that our capacity is deployed to best serve customer demand across our global network. We remain committed to London and will continue to serve our customers on this route with a total of 63 weekly flights from Heathrow and Gatwick.”  Back in March, Emirates has announced it would add its 10th daily flight to Dubai. It would have been a new B777-300ER  (eight first class suites, 42 in business class, and 310 in economy) and would have meant 4 from Gatwick and 6 from Heathrow per day. There were plans to change to an A380 from Heathrow from June.
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Emirates postpones fourth daily flight to Gatwick

22.9.2016

Emirates has confirmed it is postponing the launch of its fourth daily service into London’s Gatwick airport.

The carrier had been due to start the additional frequency on October, which would have been the airline’s 10th daily service into London.

But a post on routesonline.com today stated that the flights had been removed from the carrier’s inventory.

Business Traveller contacted Emirates for confirmation, and received the following statement from a spokesperson:

“Emirates can confirm that we are delaying the launch of our fourth daily service to London Gatwick. This decision was made as part of our routine operational review, to ensure that our capacity is deployed to best serve customer demand across our global network.

“We remain committed to London and will continue to serve our customers on this route with a total of 63 weekly flights from Heathrow and Gatwick.”

emirates.com

https://www.businesstraveller.com/business-travel/2016/09/22/emirates-delays-fourth-daily-flight-gatwick/ 


and earlier:

Emirates to add tenth daily London service

March 31, 2016
by BusinessTraveller

Emirates is to add a tenth daily service between Dubai and London from October.

The new B777-300ER flight to Gatwick will be the fourth daily service to the south London airport, and the tenth in total to the capital, complementing the Gulf carrier’s six daily flights to Heathrow.

The new service will launch on October 1, with EK023 departing Dubai at 0950, landing into Gatwick at 1430. The return leg EK024 will leave London at 1650, landing back into Dubai at 0240 the following day.

The B777-300ER serving the route will be configured for eight first class suites, 42 in business class, and 310 in economy.

The news comes just days after Emirates started its sixth daily frequency to Heathrow, initially operating the route with B777-300ER aircraft but with plans to upgrade flights to the carrier’s Airbus A380 superjumbo from June (see news February 12).

https://www.businesstraveller.com/news/2016/03/31/emirates-to-add-tenth-daily-london-service/

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UK’s smaller airports want proper government policy to boost their expansion

An article in Airport Technology makes the case for better UK aviation policy, to boost the regional airports and the smaller London airports – rather than focus only on Heathrow and Gatwick.  Airports like Luton, Stansted, Birmingham and London City do not want their interests overlooked, in the ill-advised focus just on “which of two sites to put a new runway.” Speaking on this at the Airport Design, Development and Engineering conference, representatives from the 4 airports reinforced their call on the government to support their expansion. They agreed that a better civil aviation policy is needed in order to build infrastructure, improve connectivity to and from the airports and “stay competitive in the fast growing, ultra-connected global aviation market.” But a lot of the usual PR and spin were trotted out, and the article repeats so many of the standard claims – that airports are vital for business growth; ignoring the tourism deficit caused by ever more UK residents taking cheap overseas leisure trips; ignoring the recent growth which is largely just making up the huge declines during the recession years; making unsound comparison with China; and entirely ignoring any adverse impacts of aviation on the populations overflown, or negatively affected by the industry.  There is, of course, no mention of carbon emissions. The industry is great at self-promotion, and only seeing one side of an argument. [Comments by AW on the text below, showing up some of these bits of spin].
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Forget Gatwick and Heathrow: UK’s smaller airports seek expansion

6 June 2016

By Eva Grey (Airport Technology)

 

Beyond the Heathrow versus Gatwick debate, UK’s other airports are experiencing unforeseen growth in their passenger numbers and are struggling to keep up with demand. During a panel discussion at the Airport Design, Development and Engineering conference, representatives from Birmingham, Stansted, Luton and City airports reinforced their call on the government to support their expansion.

While the country is growing increasingly impatient with the government’s hesitation on whether to deliver a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick, [because what the country has been told, probably wrongly, is the issue – for the benefit of the owners of these two airports.  AW comment]  the rest of the UK’s airports are feeling left out in dealing with an unprecedented level of growth. [That level of growth, recovering after the recession back to levels of around 2008 – scarcely above it. See 2005 – 2015 Air Transport Movements (= commercial flights) AW comment]. 

Dealing with interim passenger capacity is “a nice problem to have”, as chief executive officer at London City Airport Declan Collier put it, but it’s nonetheless a problem that has perplexed the government for the past fifty years.

Speaking on this issue at the Airports conference organised by New Civil Engineer, a panel of representatives of four of UK’s biggest airports agreed that a better civil aviation policy is desperately needed in order to build infrastructure, improve connectivity to and from the airports and stay competitive in the fast growing, ultra-connected global aviation market.

UK business demands extra airport capacity

“The UK economy and UK business wants this capacity tomorrow morning,” said chief executive office at Birmingham Airport Paul Kehoe. “It needs to connect the world blooming out there and we need to connect to that now, not wait 14 years.”  [What the UK economy wants first is more successful companies that can export.  They do not need an airport first. Airports don’t create successful businesses in the wider economy.  Causation and correlation are not the same thing. Lots of demand fills airports. There is quite enough airport capacity for any current business needs.  AW comment].

“That’s a disgrace, an absolute disgrace for the UK and we should be ashamed of ourselves.” [Airports, naturally, will believe that their existence is vital for the wider economy – but the reality may be different. Politicians need to consider very carefully the spin put out by the aviation industry. They are great self promoters. AW comment]

Birmingham Airport is just one of the hubs [it is not a hub, in the technical sense – lazy journalists often use this word, in their attempt not to use the word “airport” twice in the same sentence. AW comment]  that have seen great growth. Over the past two years, it has added five new long-haul routes to reach today’s total of eight, and “that growth is just continuing as people want to connect eastwards,” Kehoe says.

By the time the new runway will be operational at either Heathrow or Gatwick, around 2030 or 2035, other major infrastructure project such as HS2 and Hinkley Point will be here.

“The UK economy and UK business wants this capacity tomorrow morning.”  [The reality is the UK’s tourism deficit was about £16.9 billion in 2015, and likely to be higher this year, from ONS July figures. This is the excess of the money spent by UK residents taking trips abroad, over the amount spent by overseas residents taking trips to the UK.  It is largely due to air travel, as most trips are taken by air, other than those to places nearby in Europe. AW comment].

“When we get to 2030, Birmingham airport will have taken advantage of the market, making significant investments and rewards for our shareholders, but more importantly, for the local community we live in, the Midlands engine which is so desperate to connect with the world.”

Echoing Kehoe’s views, engineering services director for Manchester Airports Group Paul Willis reiterated that there are other airports in the UK that are delivering demand both Heathrow and Gatwick can’t constrain.

For example, London Stansted has 50% spare capacity that could be used and Willis approximates that around 40% of the possible demand that could be achieved in the London area could come through Stansted.

“We’ve got spare capacity and we want to introduce more long-haul flights to Stansted,” he says.

Better airport connectivity as a necessity for growth

Addressing the government’s aviation policy, Willis argues that everyone’s looking long term but missing short term fixes that need to be done, such as rail connectivity.

“The thing that frustrates us with the government [is that] they’re all focused on runways and concrete, whether that’s at Heathrow or Gatwick – and that’s not the only way that we can enlarge the catchment area and also drive capacity through our airports.”

Willis also called on the government to impose a tax break on Air Passenger Duty, an element that is “holding back” the airport from adding extra long-haul routes and expanding.

Possibly the best example of how airports were caught off guard by increased demand came from London Luton, which now has a physical capacity of 12.6 million passengers.

But back in August 2014, when Luton received planning permission to grow their capacity to 18 million, the airport expected to reach that level of demand no sooner than 2027. But the reality is that Luton will “be full” in 2019, nearly seven years before their prognosis. [Well, it might. And then again, it might not….]

“You can take two things from that: firstly, our forecasting skills are crap,” chief executive officer Nick Barton jokes. “The other thing is that London as a destination is probably the best global prospect in the world at the moment and tragically, we don’t have the physical capacity to support the growth of this great city”.

UK’s big infrastructure projects hinged on indecision

Luton is taking steps towards accommodating its future passengers by introducing a rail link which will be fully operational in 2020.

London City Airport has also embarked on a £340 million expansion plan ahead of it turning 30 years old next year. It is currently handling 5 million passengers out of a terminal originally built to handle only 3 million.  [And being in a totally inappropriate location for a busy airport, so close to the centre of London, it is causing huge unhappiness and unacceptable noise for thousands of residents.  AW comment]

Referencing a £200 million expansion turned down by former mayor Boris Johnson in 2015, London City’s Collier said: “The tragedy is that there is a huge demand for passengers to come to London, we have the ability to deliver more capacity and yet we struggle to get the permission to do it for the past two years.”  [And can you wonder why that is?  Looking at its location?  The industry loves to ignore inconvenient facts, like impact on communities.  AW comment]

He pointed out that in the time it will take to have the new runway in London, the major cities around the world will deliver 50 new runways, facilitating capacity for an extra 1 billion passengers. China alone, Collier says, will deliver 17 new airports over the next ten years.  [The reason for that is China is a newly rich country, that has only joined the top ranks of the aviation sector relatively recently.  Its aviation is growing hugely, and there is a massive population. By contrast, the UK has a very mature aviation industry. We have been flying, in huge numbers, for decades. We have a large number of airports already. AW comment].

“It’s a struggle that as a country we have to address. Just imagine how great Great Britain would be if we weren’t struggling with our inability to deliver major infrastructure projects and facilitate a planning system that would deliver those projects,” he said.

http://www.airport-technology.com/features/featureforget-gatwick-and-heathrow-uks-smaller-airports-seek-expansion-4914398/

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Virgin Atlantic and LanzaTech hope to produce jet fuel from waste CO from steel mills

Back in October 2011, Virgin Atlantic announced it was working with LanzaTech (which describes itself as a company that sees waste CO2 as an opportunity, not a liability) to produce a low carbon jet fuel, from waste carbon monoxide from steel works. The hope was for rapid progress. Now Richard Branson has announced that the plant has produced 1,500 US gallons of jet fuel from ‘Lanzanol’ – LanzaTech’s low carbon ethanol. The fuel is made by trapping waste gases from steel mills, and “fermenting” them in a manner that is not described, to produce ethanol. (Some work at Stanford University in 2014 suggested CO and water could be combined to make ethanol using a specially formulated copper catalyst. Link )  Virgin says the alcohol can be converted (not a cheap process) into jet fuel, and hopes it will “result in carbon savings of 65% compared to conventional jet fuel.”  A benefit would be if the CO2 is not released from the chimneys of steel mills into the atmosphere. Virgin hopes for a “proving flight” in 2017 using the fuel, and in due course LanzaTech would fund and build their first commercial jet fuel plant “hopefully in the UK, to supply fuel to Virgin Atlantic and other airlines.” And then that there might eventually be “15 billion gallons of jet fuel per year.”  There is no obvious reason, if this sort of fuel can be made, why it would be for aviation – rather than for important terrestrial uses.
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Low carbon fuel breakthrough for Virgin Atlantic

Delighted to share an exciting breakthrough in Virgin Atlantic and LanzaTech’s efforts to develop commercially viable low carbon fuel. For the first time ever, 1,500 US gallons of jet fuel has been produced from ‘Lanzanol’ – LanzaTech’s low carbon ethanol.

Virgin Atlantic has been working with LanzaTech since 2011, towards producing the world’s first jet fuel derived from waste industrial gases from steel mills (that would otherwise go up chimneys) via a fermentation process. The alcohol-to-jet fuel has passed all its initial performance tests with flying colours, and initial analyses suggest the new fuel will result in carbon savings of 65 per cent compared to conventional jet fuel.

This is a real game changer for aviation and could significantly reduce the industry’s reliance on oil within our lifetime. Virgin Atlantic was the first commercial airline to test a bio-fuel flight and continues to be a leader in sustainable aviation. We chose to partner with LanzaTech because of its impressive sustainability profile and the commercial potential of the jet fuel. Our understanding of low carbon fuels has developed rapidly over the last decade, and we are closer than ever before to bringing a sustainable product to the market for commercial use by Virgin Atlantic and other global airlines.

We will keep working with Boeing and many other aviation industry colleagues on additional testing, before approving the fuel for first use in a commercial aircraft. If that all goes well, the innovative LanzaTech jet fuel could be used in a first of its kind ‘proving flight’ next year. If this was successful, we would seek approval to use the fuel on routine commercial flights. This would also help pave the way for LanzaTech to fund and build their first commercial jet fuel plant, hopefully in the UK, to supply fuel to Virgin Atlantic and other airlines.

The future potential of this technology is enormous. LanzaTech estimates its process could be retrofitted to 65 per cent of the world’s steel mills, potentially being able to produce 30 billion gallons of ethanol worldwide, for around 15 billions gallons of jet fuel p.a (nearly one fifth of all aviation fuel used each year).

This breakthrough follows our recent order of 12 Airbus A350-1000. The aircraft is designed to be 30 per cent more fuel and carbon efficient than the aircraft it replaces in the fleet and is expected to reduce the airline’s noise footprint at its airports by more than half – another real investment in creating one of the youngest, cleanest, greenest fleets in the sky. Head over to Virgin Atlantic to find out more.

https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/low-carbon-fuel-breakthrough-virgin-atlantic

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WTO rules that EU unfairly subsidises Airbus ($10 bn per year) – but US subsidises Boeing too

The long-running battle over immense state subsidies to aircraft makers Airbus and Boeing has intensified – the World Trade Organization ruled that European governments had failed to comply with rulings that it should cut subsidies to Airbus. Both plane makers have taken complaints to the WTO about subsidies supplied by the other.  The WTO is yet to rule on a similar EU complaint that Boeing benefits from billions of dollars in tax breaks in the US. The complaints are because the industries get unfair assistance, are always bailed out, and the success of either one could lead to lower sales (and fewer jobs) for the other.  The state subsidies for these two vast companies mean planes are a bit cheaper than they might otherwise be.  Airbus said it would appeal the judgment and the EU said it found some of the findings “unsatisfactory”.  There may be issues of state subsidies by other plane makers, in countries such as Russia and China, in future. Bombardier has had subsidies from the Canadian government.  In June 2011, the WTO found that the EU and four of its member countries provided billions of dollars in subsidised financing to Airbus, and the recent ruling is the final part of that. The EU had argued that the most recent Airbus jet, the A350, fell outside the case, but that was rejected by the WTO which said funding for the jet had been subsidised. The subsidies to plane makers are just one of the many ways in which the aviation sector is helped, making the cost of flying artificially low.
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EU rapped by WTO for $10bn a year Airbus subsidies

22.9.2016 (BBC)

The EU has failed to comply with rulings that it should cut subsidies to aircraft maker Airbus, the World Trade Organization has ruled.

Rival Boeing says it could pave the way for the US to seek up to $10bn (£8bn) in annual retaliatory tariffs.

It follows years of accusations between the two aerospace giants that each received state funding.

The WTO is yet to rule on a similar EU complaint that Boeing benefits from billions of dollars in tax breaks.

Washington responded to the ruling by calling for an immediate halt for EU subsidies to support US jobs.

Meanwhile Airbus said it would appeal the judgment and the EU said it found some of the findings “unsatisfactory”.

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Analysis: Andrew Walker, BBC economics correspondent

There are two suppliers of large civil aircraft: Boeing in the US and Airbus in Europe.

The EU and the US have both taken complaints to the WTO about subsidies supplied by the other.

At the smaller end of the market segment there are other suppliers, and certainly the potential for more from China and Russia, for example, in the future – which could well involve state subsidies that eventually end up in front of a WTO dispute settlement panel.

For now, though the big stuff is a duopoly. There are two players with state backing, according to WTO judgements. For the rest of the world that is pretty good news.

It ensures there is at least some competition. And without the subsidies, a large plane could well be even more expensive.

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Lost sales

It is the latest of a series of tit-for-tat transatlantic complaints about aircraft subsidies that make up the world’s largest and longest-running trade dispute, which has so far been bitterly battled out over 12 years.

In June 2011, the WTO found that the EU and four of its member countries provided billions of dollars in subsidised financing to Airbus.

While the EU subsequently claimed to have come into compliance, the US disagreed and requested that a compliance panel intervene.

 

The compliance panel has now ruled that the EU failed to comply with all but two of 36 earlier rulings to cut back subsidies European governments provided to Airbus.

The loans were a “genuine and substantial” cause of significant lost sales for Boeing, the WTO said.

The EU had argued that the most recent Airbus jet, the A350, fell outside the case, but that was rejected by the WTO which said funding for the jet had been subsidised.

However it rejected US claims that it fell into the most serious category of “prohibited” aid.

The WTO has also issued rulings over the years saying that Boeing was the recipient of banned federal and state support.

Sweeping victory

Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing chairman, said: “Today’s ruling finally holds the EU and Airbus to account for their flouting of global trade rules.”

“This long-awaited decision is a victory for fair trade worldwide and for US aerospace workers, in particular.”

US Trade Representative Michael Froman said the panel’s finding was “a sweeping victory for the United States and its aerospace workers”.

He called on the EU, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Spain “to respect WTO rules”.

“We call on them to end subsidised financing of Airbus immediately,” he said.

In response, the EU said: “There are certain findings of the panel that we consider to be unsatisfactory. We are closely analysing the report.”

It said the findings should be read in the context of two other reports expected to address US subsidies in coming months.

Airbus said it mostly conformed with its global trade commitments and would appeal.

“We only needed to make limited changes in European policies and practices to comply,” it said in a statement.

“We will address the few still remaining points indicated by the report in our appeal,” Airbus said.

Both the EU and the United States have the right to appeal against the ruling.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37444780

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EU Failed to Cut Off Illegal Subsidies to Airbus, WTO Rules

By ROBERT WALL and DOUG CAMERON  (Wall Street Journal)
Sept. 22, 2016

The long-running battle over billions of dollars in state subsidies to Airbus Group SE and Boeing Co. intensified on Thursday when the World Trade Organization ruled that European governments had failed to end unfair funding to the European plane maker.

The ruling moves the U.S. one step closer to being able impose more than $5 billion in annual tariffs against goods and services from the European Union as soon as next year.

The WTO said in a 574-page report that the EU and some of its member states “failed to comply” with an earlier ruling to remove the subsidies or void their effect to Airbus. EU compliance efforts fell short, the WTO ruled.

The trade body in a future ruling is expected to find the U.S. similarly didn’t sufficiently address concerns about subsidies benefiting Boeing.

It could lead to the EU being allowed to impose similar sanctions on U.S. exporters.

Airbus, the world’s No. 2 plane maker, and its larger rival Boeing are locked in a fierce battle for market share. After airlines went on a multiyear plane buying binge, the value of their combined backlogs of commercial airplanes has risen to almost $1.4 trillion. Still, both argue they have lost deals to the other.

The Geneva-based trade adjudicator said that Airbus received subsidies for its new A350 XWB long-range plane, though it rejected the U.S. claim these were “prohibited subsidies” that have to be remedied expeditiously.

The WTO hadn’t previously passed judgment on A350 support because the program in its current form was launched only after the U.S. initially raised its subsidy concerns with the trade body in 2004.

Airbus only formally began the A350 XWB program in 2006 to challenge rival Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.   U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman called the ruling “a sweeping victory” and urged the EU to halt subsidies to Airbus “immediately.”

An Airbus spokesman said the U.S. was mis-characterizing the WTO findings.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, defended its actions. “An important win for the EU is that the panel rejected new U.S. claims that repayable support for the Airbus models A350XWB and A380 are ‘prohibited subsidies,” the commission said.

Plane subsidies are becoming an increasingly hot topic. Canadian plane maker Bombardier Inc. got a capital injection from the Quebec government in exchange for a stake in the CSeries single-aisle program. The move has been criticized by rival plane makers.

China and Russia also are developing new single-aisle planes, raising concern they will aim to sell them with large government backing.

Boeing Chief Executive Dennis A. Muilenburg called the latest WTO ruling “a victory for fair trade world-wide and for U.S. aerospace workers, in particular.”

The Airbus spokesman said Boeing “remains in denial that billions of grants for the 787 and 777 have been declared completely illegal by the WTO.”

The commission signalled it might appeal. “There are certain findings of the panel that we consider to be unsatisfactory,” it said.

Trade experts believe the WTO plane subsidy dispute between the U.S. and EU could drag on for years.

Mr. Froman said the subsidies the EU, Germany, France, the U.K. and Spain had provided to Airbus “have cost American companies tens of billions of dollars in lost revenue.”

The two sides settled a previous dispute over subsidies in 1992, but the U.S. walked away from that deal in 2004, arguing Airbus had an unfair advantage. Efforts to return to the negotiating table have failed.

A U.S. trade official Thursday said talks with the EU could resume, but only after government loans to Airbus were reprised to commercial rates.

The lack of progress in settling the subsidy spat is seen as another reflection of poor trans-Atlantic trade relations at a time negotiations on a far more sweeping trade deal appear stalled.

The WTO also is expected to rule in the coming months on a further challenge the EU filed against subsidies it alleges Boeing has received for the 777X, the U.S. manufacturer’s newest long-haul plane.

The EU first raised the issue with the WTO in late 2014. The case is moving more quickly because its scope is narrower than the earlier two cases. In it, the EU is challenging tax breaks Boeing has received linked to the new long-haul plane launched in November 2013.

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–William Mauldin contributed to this article.

Write to Robert Wall at robert.wall@wsj.com and Doug Cameron at doug.cameron@wsj.com

http://www.wsj.com/articles/eu-gave-billions-in-illegal-subsidies-to-airbus-wto-rules-1474554683

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Transport & Environment: Airbus ruling on EU subsidies shows it’s high time to stop the aviation subsidies binge

The WTO has ruled against the EU, on its $10 billion per year subsidies to Airbus.  Back in June 2011, the WTO found that the EU and 4 of its member countries provided billions of dollars in subsidised financing to Airbus. And it has not stopped doing so since. There could be another similar ruling if rival plane maker Boeing is found to also have received public subsidies, which it has.  Transport & Environment says this adds another $20 billion or more to the already very long list of subsidies granted to the aviation sector. These subsidies include around €20 billion per year in Europe alone due to the sector’s exemption from tax on aviation fuel – and up to $60 billion worldwide.  Also airlines receive an effective subsidy worth another €7 billion in Europe because ticket prices are artificially suppressed by about 20% due to the VAT exemption on ticket sales.  In addition airlines are bailed out on a regular basis, especially since the 2009 crisis. Already lenient state aid rules for airports have been regularly flouted – which is worth another estimated €3 billion per year, in Europe alone. Aviation in Europe also gets a €3 billion subsidy (one off) under the SESAR ‘joint undertaking’, to deliver the Single European Sky. T&E says one reason the aviation sector’s CO2 emissions are out of control is that flying is artificially cheap because of such subsidies. The subsidies above fall outside of WTO rules and will only be removed with action by governments.
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Airbus ruling shows it’s high time to stop the aviation subsidies binge, says NGO

September 22, 2016 (T&E – Transport and Environment)

Today’s ruling by the WTO (World Trade Organisation) against the EU on subsidies to Airbus, and an expected similar ruling on Boeing, officially adds another €20 billion or more to the already very long list of subsidies granted to the aviation sector, sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) has said.

That list of direct and indirect subsidies includes:

  • Airlines enjoy universal exemption from fuel taxation, estimated at €20 billion a year in Europe and over €60 billion globally;
  • Airlines receive an effective subsidy worth another €7 billion in Europe alone because ticket prices are artificially suppressed by about 20% due to the VAT exemption on ticket sales;
  • Airlines are bailed out on a regular basis especially since the 2009 crisis;
  • Already lenient state aid rules for airports have been regularly flouted; worth another estimated €3 billion a year in Europe alone;
  • Manufacturers get a €1.8 billion subsidy under the ‘Clean Sky 2’ joint technology initiative;
  • Air traffic control gets a €3 billion subsidy under the SESAR ‘joint undertaking’.

Next week the ICAO assembly in Montreal will try to agree the details of a so-called ‘global market-based measure’ [ie. offsetting] to address the runaway CO2 emissions of aviation, the most climate-intensive of transport modes.

One reason CO2 emissions are out of control is that flying is artificially cheap because of such subsidies. 

Meaningful action is urgently needed at ICAO but the very modest and inadequate plans being discussed at the global level will mean nothing so long as the sector binges on government handouts. The subsidies above fall outside of WTO rules and will only be removed with action by governments.

Bill Hemmings, director of aviation at T&E, said: “Today’s ruling is a wakeup call to anyone who believes that the ICAO assembly will solve aviation’s climate problem. Flying is the cheapest and quickest way to fry the planet because not only manufacturers, but also airlines and airports, are subsidised to the hilt.”

Today’s ruling is also significant because it was Airbus which in 2012 intervened directly to emasculate the only international measure currently in place to address aviation’s climate problem, the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS). Airbus also played a key role in ensuring that ICAO’s fuel efficiency standard for new aircraft, decided in 2016, will be meaningless.

https://www.transportenvironment.org/press/airbus-ruling-shows-it%E2%80%99s-high-time-stop-aviation-subsidies-binge-says-ngo

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EU rapped by WTO for $10bn a year Airbus subsidies

22.9.2016 (BBC)

The EU has failed to comply with rulings that it should cut subsidies to aircraft maker Airbus, the World Trade Organization has ruled.

Rival Boeing says it could pave the way for the US to seek up to $10bn (£8bn) in annual retaliatory tariffs.

It follows years of accusations between the two aerospace giants that each received state funding.

The WTO is yet to rule on a similar EU complaint that Boeing benefits from billions of dollars in tax breaks.

Washington responded to the ruling by calling for an immediate halt for EU subsidies to support US jobs.

Meanwhile Airbus said it would appeal the judgment and the EU said it found some of the findings “unsatisfactory”.

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Analysis: Andrew Walker, BBC economics correspondent

There are two suppliers of large civil aircraft: Boeing in the US and Airbus in Europe.

The EU and the US have both taken complaints to the WTO about subsidies supplied by the other.

At the smaller end of the market segment there are other suppliers, and certainly the potential for more from China and Russia, for example, in the future – which could well involve state subsidies that eventually end up in front of a WTO dispute settlement panel.

For now, though the big stuff is a duopoly. There are two players with state backing, according to WTO judgements. For the rest of the world that is pretty good news.

It ensures there is at least some competition. And without the subsidies, a large plane could well be even more expensive.

.

Lost sales

It is the latest of a series of tit-for-tat transatlantic complaints about aircraft subsidies that make up the world’s largest and longest-running trade dispute, which has so far been bitterly battled out over 12 years.

In June 2011, the WTO found that the EU and four of its member countries provided billions of dollars in subsidised financing to Airbus.

While the EU subsequently claimed to have come into compliance, the US disagreed and requested that a compliance panel intervene.

 

The compliance panel has now ruled that the EU failed to comply with all but two of 36 earlier rulings to cut back subsidies European governments provided to Airbus.

The loans were a “genuine and substantial” cause of significant lost sales for Boeing, the WTO said.

The EU had argued that the most recent Airbus jet, the A350, fell outside the case, but that was rejected by the WTO which said funding for the jet had been subsidised.

However it rejected US claims that it fell into the most serious category of “prohibited” aid.

The WTO has also issued rulings over the years saying that Boeing was the recipient of banned federal and state support.

Sweeping victory

Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing chairman, said: “Today’s ruling finally holds the EU and Airbus to account for their flouting of global trade rules.”

“This long-awaited decision is a victory for fair trade worldwide and for US aerospace workers, in particular.”

US Trade Representative Michael Froman said the panel’s finding was “a sweeping victory for the United States and its aerospace workers”.

He called on the EU, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Spain “to respect WTO rules”.

“We call on them to end subsidised financing of Airbus immediately,” he said.

In response, the EU said: “There are certain findings of the panel that we consider to be unsatisfactory. We are closely analysing the report.”

It said the findings should be read in the context of two other reports expected to address US subsidies in coming months.

Airbus said it mostly conformed with its global trade commitments and would appeal.

“We only needed to make limited changes in European policies and practices to comply,” it said in a statement.

“We will address the few still remaining points indicated by the report in our appeal,” Airbus said.

Both the EU and the United States have the right to appeal against the ruling.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37444780

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ESTIMATED REVENUES OF VAT (€7 billion) AND FUEL TAX (€20 billion) ON AVIATION

Summary:

International aviation is exempt from VAT, both on their inputs (e.g. on fuel or aircraft) and on their revenues (e.g. on tickets). In the EU, aviation fuel is also exempt from the minimum fuel excise tariffs.

This report calculates the potential revenues of VAT on tickets and fuel tax on jet fuel. If VAT were to be levied on tickets while other aviation taxes were simultaneously abolished, this would yield revenues in the order of EUR 7 billion. Excise duty on jet fuel would raise revenues in the order of EUR 20 billion.

These figures do not take into account the impact of the cost increases on demand for aviation into account. Since higher costs will reduce demand, the estimates can be considered an upper bound.

The report was commissioned by Transport and Environment.

Authors:   Marisa Korteland  and  Jasper Faber

Delft, July 2013 – 8 pag.

pdf Estimated revenues of VAT and fuel tax on aviation

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Responsible flying grounded by aviation’s fuel tax exemption.   €60 billion per year.

Have you ever driven into a petrol station and daydreamed about how much heavier your wallet would be if you weren’t paying tax at the pump? For airlines, that day-dream is a reality!

Airlines pay zero tax on the fuel that they use, and this exemption amounts to an annual subsidy of €60 billion per annum [worldwide] to the sector, which creates unsustainable growth in its demand for fossil fuel – demand that will double by the 2030. What’s more, that subsidy is enjoyed by the wealthiest 2-3% of the world’s population who fly.

CO2 emissions from international aviation continue to grow unabated, and it’s the most climate intensive form of transport: aviation emissions have more than doubled in the last 20 years and the sector accounts for 4.9% of total worldwide emissions contributing to climate change equal to that of Germany.

As the world, both developed and developing, steps up efforts to decarbonise their economies, such policies are increasingly unacceptable. Countries must reform the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) position on fuel subsidies to bring them into line with well-established global objectives to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels consumption.

Aviation’s free ride – the fuel tax exemption

For aviation, decarbonisation must include phasing out the fuel tax exemption, which is inflating demand but is without any rational economic basis. This exemption, as aviation lawyers have pointed out, is rooted in legal agreements, however that is no reason to exempt it from scrutiny.

Legal realities may explain, but they cannot justify, what is essentially a hefty tax break enjoyed by the corporate world and the world’s wealthiest at the expense of its poorest.

The fuel tax exemption is rooted partially in the 1944 Chicago Convention, but is largely the result of industry lobbying to enshrine the exemption in thousands of bilateral agreements.

The fuel tax exemption amounts to an annual subsidy of €60 billion per annum to the sector. For every economy passenger flying between Europe and the US, this works out at a generous subsidy of almost €95.

All the while, those worst affected by climate change remain the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, as demonstrated by the recent Pacific cyclones.

Past its sell-by date

The International Civil Aviation Organisation’s support for this exemption is a ‘logical approach’ given the organisation’s mission to develop international aviation. However there is nothing ‘logical’ about this subsidy especially when aviation is by far the most carbon intensive form of transport and climate change now the greatest challenge facing mankind.

The IMF and the World Bank have not held back in describing the fuel tax exemption as an anomaly which subsidises the unsustainable growth in international aviation. While the exemption may have had some merit at the dawn of international aviation in the aftermath of WWII, it has no place in the 21st century, when the greatest challenge is to decarbonise our economies and arrest the growth in global emissions.

Indirectly ending the exemption could be done by increasing embarkation (departure) taxes on passengers, which are levied by many countries around the world. It is certainly an option, though once again such a move is likely to be opposed by the airline industry, as the US airline lobby has done with its legal challenge to the German departure tax.

But efforts to end this subsidy must target that subsidy’s origin: ICAO and the industry’s relentless, outdated and counterproductive lobbying.

This lobbying is a product of institutional bias and the airline industry’s profound failure to appreciate that its only future is a sustainable one. ICAO continues to promote the fuel tax exemption, highlights it as a key element for inclusion in all ‘air service agreements’ and restates its position in various Council Resolutions. The organisation founded to oversee the peaceful development of civil aviation continues to see fit to lecture states on national tax policies.

It is essential that countries move to reform ICAO’s position on fuel subsidies to bring them into line with well-established global objectives to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels consumption. This should begin with ending ICAO’s opposition to fuel duty in the form of an updated Council Resolution, which should garner support from those states leading on climate change, and those states facing its worst effects.

Change will not come overnight, but without first steps change will never come. Such a move should be matched by increased departure taxes and the introduction of fuel duty in the major economies, starting with intra EU flights and an increase in the US domestic aviation gasoline tax (the world’s two largest aviation markets).

Legal barriers cannot be ignored and a strategy to overcome them must be drafted. They should not, however, be used as an excuse for inaction.

This fossil fuel tax exemption, so long as it exists, will continue to run counter to global efforts to decarbonise and has no place in the 21st century.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/climate-environment/opinion/responsible-flying-grounded-by-aviation-s-fuel-tax-exemption/

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EU makes €3 billion available to deliver Single Sky

5.12.2014  (European Commission0

Today the European Commission has signed a new partnership agreement, involving major Air Traffic Management (ATM) stakeholders. Airlines, airport operators and Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP) will receive up to €3 bn in EU funding, in order to implement common projects and modernise Europe’s Air Traffic Management (ATM) System.

Today’s agreement with the SESAR Deployment Alliance consortium aims to enhance the performance of Europe’s ATM systems, in order to manage more flights in a safer and less-costly manner, while reducing the environmental impact of each flight.

Commissioner Bulc said: “Today’s agreement is a great achievement for EU aviation, forever changing Europe’s air navigation system, making it smarter, cheaper, greener, and safer. It also marks an important step towards the accomplishment of the Single European Sky. These projects will translate into economic benefits for the whole EU with a contribution of over €400 bn to its GDP, the creation of over 300,000 new jobs and saving 50 million tons of CO2 emissions.”

Background

The SESAR JU [Joint Undertaking] was established in 2007 to coordinate all the ATM related research and development activities in the EU. Following a first programme covering the period 2007-2013, a second programme “SESAR 2020” will be coordinated under the 2014-2020 financial perspectives.

The Council has extended the duration of the Joint Undertaking until 31 December 2024. It is a unique public-private partnership that aims to develop a new generation of air traffic management (ATM) system capable of coping with growing air traffic, under the safest, most cost-efficient and environmentally friendly conditions. It is also the “guardian” of the European ATM Master Plan, the roadmap for all SESAR JU’s activities and their future deployment.

The SESAR Deployment Alliance (SDA) consortium has been established specifically for the purpose of deploying SESAR through the concept of Common Projects; it represents a large number of the operational stakeholders impacted by the Pilot Common Project (PCP).

The Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) was created by the European Commission to manage the technical and financial implementation of several EU programmes including the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). Applicants can answer to the first call for proposal related to SESAR deployment project up to 26th February 2015. Annual calls are expected in the future.

For more information

Aviation: EU makes €3 bn available to deliver the Single European Sky [IP/14/2400]

Frequently Asked Questions [MEMO/13/666]

SESAR Deployment Alliance website

SESAR Joint Undertaking website

Sesar on the European Commission website

INEA Agency (Connecting Europe Facility)

Facts and Figures

  • A macro-economic impact assessment showed that SESAR would create a combined positive impact on EU GDP of €419 bn over the period 2013-2030, with an estimated creation of 328,000 jobs, including indirect and inducted impacts.
  • The European ATM system involves 37 Air Navigation Service Providers and is a business worth €8.6 bn, employing some 57,000 staff of which 16,900 are air traffic controllers.
  • European skies and airports risk saturation. Already some 800 million passengers pass through Europe’s more than 440 airports every year. Each day there are around 27,000 controlled flights – that means 9 million cross Europe’s skies each year. The management of all these flights is ensured by the ATM system.
  • Today’s situation is competently handled by the European air transport sector, but, under normal economic conditions, air traffic is expected to grow by up to 3% annually. The number of flights is expected to increase by 50% over the next 10-20 years.
  • The central problem is that Europe’s air traffic management systems are fragmented and inefficient.
  • EU airspace remains fragmented into 27 national air traffic control systems, providing services from some 60 air traffic centres while the airspace is divided into more than 650 sectors. That means airspace is currently structured around national boundaries and so flights are often unable to take direct routes. On average, in Europe, aircraft fly 42 km longer than strictly necessary due to airspace fragmentation, causing longer flight time, delays, extra fuel burn and CO2 emissions.
  • In addition, current air traffic management technologies were designed in the 1950s. They are now archaic.
  • The inefficiencies caused by Europe’s fragmented airspace bring extra costs of around €5 billion a year. These costs get passed on to business and passengers. Air traffic control currently makes up 6-12% of the cost of a ticket.
  • The US air traffic management system is twice as efficient as that of the EU; it manages double the number of flights for a similar cost from a third as many control centres.
  • Faced with these challenges, in the late 1990s, proposals were formed to create a Single European Sky, removing national boundaries in the air, to create a single airspace:
  • The SESAR JU has a critical role to play in developing the technology to deliver the Single European Sky, the flagship project to create a single European airspace:
    1. improving safety tenfold,
    2. tripling airspace capacity,
    3. reducing air traffic management costs by 50%,
    4. reducing the environmental impact by 10%.

http://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/air/news/2014-12-05-funding_en.htm

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Heathrow Hub says, to match Heathrow’s offer, it would cut price of its runway scheme by £2 billion

The backers of the Heathrow Hub scheme, to lengthen Heathrow’s northern runway towards the west, have now said they could cut the price of their scheme by £2 million. This offer comes just days after Heathrow’s Chairman, Lord Deighton, said their north west runway scheme could be cut by up to £3 billion. The Heathrow north-west runway scheme is expected to cost £17.5 billion (or £14.5 billion with the cheaper scheme) – and the Heathrow Hub scheme is expected to cost £12 billion according to their website (or £10 billion with the cheaper scheme). But Heathrow Hub are now telling the press that their scheme could cost £7.5 million. Their Factsheet of November 2014 said the cost of the runway itself would be £9.2 billion, with £2.8 billion for surface access improvements.  In November 2013 they anticipated the cost of diverting the M25 for the runway would be £0.7 billion. Heathrow Hub also proudly say there would be no cost to the public.  In reality, Transport for London said (February 2015) of a larger Heathrow, not differentiating between the two schemes: “Our assessment estimated that in order for a fully developed Heathrow (149 mppa) to achieve all of the above surface access objectives in the long term (2040-50), costs would be around £15-20 billion*. The Heathrow Hub scheme is privately funded, and hopes to license its scheme to Heathrow airport for up to £5m a year for 20 years, if successful.
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The Heathrow Hub website says: 

Cost

“Minimising the cost of airport expansion and protecting the UK’s economic competitiveness are key.  Heathrow Hub is largely privately funded with a significantly lower capital cost than other options. We estimate that the cost of extending the northern runway and completing the road and rail infrastructure and terminal construction (including land and compensation) to be around £12bn. Our proposals would be phased, allowing capacity to be developed as demand increases.” http://www.heathrowhub.com/our-proposal.aspx

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There is a page for Heathrow Hub past documents  http://www.heathrowhub.com/documents.aspx

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Heathrow Hub’s “revised” brochure August 2016 does not give an overall figure for the cost of their scheme, but states:

“Quicker, and easier to construct    The first phase, costing £3.7bn and providing
approximately 70,000 additional movements, could be completed as soon as 2023.

Cheaper  We estimate that our scheme is up to £6bn cheaper than Heathrow Airport’s 3rd runway.  This leaves financial headroom to pay for  surface access upgrades, potentially saving  the taxpayer some £5bn.”

They say (without giving any figure for the amount of compensation) that:

“HHL are able to offer a similar extended voluntary purchase area to the west of Heathrow , encompassing 4,200 households (source CACI), 24% less than NWR.”  [Same offer at Heathrow NW runway, of 25% over market value, though whether blighted or non-blighted is not mentioned by Heathrow Hub, and legal fees and stamp duty. No mention of reasonable moving expenses. AW note]

Heathrow 2 schems home compensation area 

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The Heathrow Hub response to the Airports Commission  on 10.9.2015    said:

“The Airports Commission estimates that LHR‐ENR is c £3bn cheaper than LHR‐NWR, whilst our assessment shows the difference is likely to be more than £6bn.”

and

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in their Factsheet of November 2014 they say: 

Cost of the runway extension is £9.2 billion. Cost of all surface access improvements £2.8 billion.

Our solution minimises impact on local communities and enables generous compensation packages as a result of its lower overall cost.  [So it is not clear if they see this compensation as included in the £12 billion, or an additional expense on top of it.  It is not included in the above breakdown. ?  AW comment].

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The Heathrow Hub submission to the Airports Commission in July 2013 contained this table (compensation does not appear to be included):

Heathrow Hub costs July 2013


TfL Planning TfL response to questions from Zac Goldsmith MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Heathrow and the Wider Economy.

Heathrow airport expansion proposal – surface access.   February 2015 :

“Our assessment estimated that in order for a fully developed Heathrow (149mppa) to achieve all of the above surface access objectives in the long term (2040-50), costs would be around £15-20bn*. This represents delivering a long-term surface access proposition with an ‘optimal’ level of service, maximum sustainable mode share and little impact on future non-airport users of the transport network. It included a number of new rail connections to key airport trip generators in SE England, including southwest and central London, as well as some highway access enhancement (*cost estimates 2014 prices, did not include maintenance and OPEX).”  Link  


 

‘Heathrow Hub’ backers cut costs at eleventh hour

The group behind a scheme to lengthen one of Heathrow’s runways are reported to have offered to slash the cost by £2 billion in a final effort to win approval from the government.

Heathrow Hub has proposed stretching the northern run­way to 4.2 miles and splitting it in two so that aircraft can take off and land simultaneously. [ie. making two runways, and planes landing on one, taking off from the other].  The project could be delivered for £7.5 billion, the privately funded group now says.

It is vying with two other plans to boost airport capacity in south-east England – a third runway at Heathrow and a second runway at Gatwick.

Last weekend Heathrow offered to cut £3 billion from its £16.8 billion plan for a third runway.

The airport’s chairman Lord Deighton suggested it could scrap proposals to divert the M25 through a tunnel beneath the runway, build cheaper terminal buildings and axe a passenger rail system.

Deighton’s eleventh-hour offer reflected repeated criticism from Heathrow’s biggest customer, British Airways.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA owner International Airlines Group, has described the scheme as “gold-plated facilities to fleece airlines and their customers”.

Heathrow Hub, conceived by former BA Concorde pilot Jock Lowe and backed by the Marshall Wace hedge fund manager Anthony Clake, hopes to license its scheme to Heathrow for up to £5m a year for 20 years.

It estimates it will have spent up to £10 million on the project, largely on employing consultants.  Clake has pledged to hand any profit to charity.

Lowe said the cost-cutting modifications would also entail a more basic terminal and scrapping a rail system, the Sunday Times reported.

He admitted they would “lower the quality” of the Hub project for passengers, but said it would be “simpler, cheaper, quicker and easier” than building a third runway.

http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/63145/heathrow-hub-backers-cut-costs-at-eleventh-hour


See earlier:

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

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

Click here to view full story…

Tania Mathias MP calls for Grayling to step in over proposed £3 billion cuts to Heathrow plan – re-consultation necessary?

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has been asked by Dr Tania Mathias MP to intervene on Heathrow’s £3 billion cost-cutting proposals it announced last week. In order to cut costs, and perhaps get a runway built faster, Heathrow’s Chairman Lord Deighton suggested that changes to plans would be made – though nothing has been put forward yet, but they might be in the next weeks. The cuts would mean scrapping plans to (expensively) tunnel the 14 lane M25 under the runway, and a transit rail system around the airport. Conservative MP Tania Mathias, whose Twickenham constituency is under Heathrow flight paths, said the new plan had caused local people “considerable anxiety.” She has written to the Secretary of State for Transport, asking him to demand the plan goes back out to public consultation and scrutiny by the Airports Commission (though that has been disbanded). Dr Mathias also wants Chris Grayling to make public any official talks on the late changes, between the airport and government departments. Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith also wrote to Lord Deighton that the revised plan would cause Londoners “more environmental misery”. The changes to the roads are not clear, and cutting cost could lead to gridlock on the busiest stretch of the M25. The DfT just said the Government “will continue to consider the commission’s evidence.”

Click here to view full story…

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John Redwood, MP for Wokingham, says Theresa May should drop Heathrow plan

John Redwood, the Conservative MP for Wokingham about 25 km west of Heathrow and under some of its flight paths, has said that the government should drop the three very huge projects they inherited from Gordon Brown and David Cameron.  ie. Hinkley, HS2 and Heathrow.  Each is expensive, highly contentious, and has been much delayed by indecision, argument and opposition.  John Redwood was Shadow Secretary of State for Deregulation, from May 2005 to December 2005, and Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, from June 1999 to February 2000.  He believes all 3Hs should be scrapped, and there are many other good local projects that should be paid for instead.  “I’m all for spending on better trains, power stations and airports, but I don’t want to throw too much money at projects that are so mired in rows and costs.”  On Heathrow noise he says: “Unfortunately Heathrow has recently with NATS changed the routes and noise corridors, annoying many more residential areas near it. There was no proper consultation. When you want to expand you need to do better at showing you are a good and considerate neighbour.” …”More capacity can be provided through Northolt, Gatwick and other London area airports.  Smaller quicker schemes could alleviate the pressures.”
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JOHN REDWOOD Hinkley Point, HS2, Heathrow expansion: Theresa May would be better off scrapping all three

Former Tory minister says inherited projects from Brown and Cameron aren’t worth holding on to – though letting go will be difficult

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BY JOHN REDWOOD, FORMER TORY CABINET MINISTER

18th September 2016  (The Sun)

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THE government inherits three large projects from Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

Each of them is expensive.

Each is highly contentious.

Each of them begins with an H.

Each of them has been much delayed by indecision, argument and opposition.

[John Redwood was a government minister in the 1990’s before challenging John Major for the Conservative Party leadership].

The boldest thing to do would be to scrap them all and do other things that are cheaper, faster to build and more popular.

I would be the first to say we need more power generation, more slots for flights and more rail and road capacity.

I also buy into the government’s wish to spread prosperity around the country as a whole and build good projects outside the very congested London and the south east.

Nor do I begrudge spending serious money on having better transport and more power.

Hinckley Point nuclear reactor

Theresa May’s government has been saddled with Hinkley Point, HS2 and the Heathrow expansion – projects which make very little sense and would be better on the scrapheap
I just don’t think these three projects make much commercial or environmental sense.

The government has just decided that it has to press on with Hinkley, after a period when it was raising good problems with the project.

It entails building a French reactor with a mixture of French and Chinese money, guaranteed by offering a very high energy price over the whole planned life of the station.

A country like ours with a big deficit on our foreign accounts does not need to have to send enormous sums of money out every year to pay for a big new power station.

We could build and finance our own electricity and save the big flow of money abroad.  Some worry about whether the technology can be brought on stream quickly and to budget.   Some are concerned about the security of the whole project.

The government clearly decided in the end the project had gone too far to stop.   It is true the Chinese would be angry about cancellation.  The French Unions and almost half the EDF Board would have been thrilled by termination of the deal, but the French government and the majority of the Board of EDF had gone to some lengths to defend the project and would have been unhappy with a UK pull out.  So the issue now turns to how we will build and finance future power stations.

I urge the government to see that we need more energy capacity here in the UK.  We should not be relying on imports through inter-connectors where all the money we pay for our electricity is paid out to foreigners.   Nor should we need to ask foreign investors to pay for the next one.

There is plenty of money around in the UK to invest.  It would be much better for the interest on the loans and the dividends on the shares to be paid to ourselves at home.

Now the issue is what we will do differently when we build more power stations – the money shouldn’t need to come from overseas.

HS2 is also difficult.

It is to some a symbol of our commitment to the North, and it has gone a long way in planning.  The problems are still there.   It will be very costly to rebuild Euston to receive HS2 trains whilst trying to keep the station open for business.   Dear tunnels are needed to try to reduce the scar it will make on our landscape and the noise it will generate for homes nearby.

It is forecast to make a big loss for taxpayers.  It will rely on taking many passengers off existing train services which in their turn will have financial problems to overcome.  It runs the risk of bringing more people and business into London from Birmingham rather than strengthening the economy out of London.

If it was such a good project as it promoters say you would expect there to be private money available to pay for it and spare the poor taxpayer at least some of the up front cost.

Clearly there is little appetite for this, so I am not the only one who thinks it is a poor investment.  There are so many more worthwhile train projects that would relieve overcrowding on commuter routes into our major cities around the UK.  There are exciting plans to link great northern and Midlands cities with new train tracks.  These could be much worthier projects.  We are not short of seats out of London to the north at 7 am in the morning.

We are short of seats into Manchester, Birmingham, London and other big cities from nearby as commuters struggle to work.  Meanwhile new technologies that offer more flexibility and even greater speed are ignored in favour of a fast train technology that has been around for many decades.

Heathrow

Heathrow is Britain’s largest airport – but smaller schemes at other London airports could alleviate pressures on Heathrow, which is bursting at the seams.  More of a commercial case can be made for Heathrow.   It is our number one airport and it is bursting at the seams.

Unfortunately Heathrow has recently with NATS changed the routes and noise corridors, annoying many more residential areas near it. There was no proper consultation. When you want to expand you need to do better at showing you are a good and considerate neighbour.

Trying to get air quality to acceptable levels and noise down is proving very difficult.  Heathrow expansion also comes at a big cost to the public purse, as there will need to be much improved road and rail links into the centre.  These will especially expensive given the high cost properties that stand in the way.

More capacity can be provided through Northolt, Gatwick and other London area airports.  Smaller quicker schemes could alleviate the pressures.

Now is the time for the government to drop its aitches. Many other good local projects could come forward.  I’m all for spending on better trains, power stations and airports, but I don’t want to throw too much money at projects that are so mired in rows and costs.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/1803692/hinkley-point-hs2-heathrow-expansion-theresa-may-would-be-better-off-scrapping-all-three/

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BA to charge for food on short haul flights, to better compete with low cost airline rivals

British Airways is expected to become the first mid-market airline to charge for meals after striking a deal with M&S, to charge passengers for sandwiches onboard short-haul flights. This could be announced soon.  BA had earlier said that providing free food and drink on board all its flights was an essential part of its product.  However, BA is struggling to make its short-haul routes profitable following the rise of its budget rivals such as Ryanair and easyJet, which have always charged for meals. By charging for sandwiches, BA can offer lower headline fares than its rivals but experts have warned that loyal customers will perceive the change as the airline going downmarket in a bid to chase profits. Some BA staff are reportedly skeptical about the move which they fear would increase their workload, having to handle multiple choices and payments. One said: “On a busy Amsterdam we hardly have time to serve everyone, let alone take money.”  BA’s long haul, business and first class passengers will continue to get “free” meals. The BA website says for European flights “On all Euro Traveller flights we offer you a snack and a bar service, and on some longer flights you’ll be offered more substantial refreshments. Wherever you’re flying to in Euro Traveller, enjoy a soft drink or your choice from the bar with your food.”
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BA partners with Marks & Spencer to charge for in-flight meals

Deal means the carrier will be able to compete with its low cost rivals on headline fares

By Caroline Mortimer (Independent)

18.9.2016

BA becomes the first mid-market air carrier to charge for meals after striking deal with M&S.

British Airways has come under fresh criticism after striking a deal with Marks & Spencer to charge passengers for sandwiches onboard short-haul flights.

The deal follows plans revealed by The Independent in May in which the airline said it would overhaul its policy of providing free food and drink on board all its flights – which it had previously said was an essential part of its product.

The airline has struggled to make its short-haul routes profitable following the rise of its budget rivals such as Ryanair and easyJet which have always charged for meals.

It will mean BA can offer lower headline fares than its rivals but experts have warned that loyal customers will perceive the change as the airline going downmarket in a bid to chase profits.

Nik Loukas, the editor of the Inflight Feed website, told the Mail on Sunday: “I think it is going to be very difficult for passengers to swallow the fact that they are going to have to pay for food after it has been free for so long.

“There will probably be a big backlash. BA has always had a tradition summed up in their slogan ‘To fly, to serve’. I think they will have a battle on their hands.”

The deal is expected to be announced in the coming weeks. Long haul, business and first class passengers will continue to receive complimentary meals.

The idea is said to be the brainchild of BA’s Chairman and Chief Executive, Alex Cruz, who became the first leader of a traditional airline to have founded a low cost airline.

He previously ran Spanish budget airline Vueling before taking the job at BA in April.

Some BA staff are reportedly skeptical about the move which they said would increase their workload as they would have to handle multiple choices and payments.

One long-serving cabin crew member told The Independent in May: “On a busy Amsterdam we hardly have time to serve everyone, let alone take money.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/british-airways-airline-charge-for-meals-food-drink-marks-and-spencer-a7315266.html

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BA website on its means says:

 

Euro Traveller

Tortilla wrap.

Short flight with good food

On all Euro Traveller flights we offer you a snack and a bar service, and on some longer flights you’ll be offered more substantial refreshments. Wherever you’re flying to in Euro Traveller, enjoy a soft drink or your choice from the bar with your food.

UK Domestic

Pain-au-chocolat.

Snack on the run

As brief as your flight is within the UK you can still have a snack and drinks from the bar. The choice differs depending on the length of the flight but can include a hot breakfast or sweet or savoury deli snack.

If you are flying in World Traveller (economy)

Eligible routes

Pay for a wider choice of indulgent meals when travelling in World Traveller (economy) to:

Eligible destinations include Abu Dhabi, Accra, Amman*, Atlanta, Austin, Bahamas (Nassau), Bahrain, Baltimore, Bangkok, Beijing, Beirut*, Bengaluru, Boston, Buenos Aries, Cairo*, Calgary, Cape Town, Chengdu, Chennai, Chicago, Dallas Ft Worth, Denver, Dubai, Entebbe, Hong Kong, Houston, Hyderabad, Jeddah, Johannesburg, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, Lagos, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Miami, Montreal, Mumbai, Nairobi, New Delhi, New York (JFK and Newark), Philadelphia, Phoenix, Rio De Janeiro, Riyadh, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (California), Santiago, Sao Paulo, Seattle, Seoul (Incheon), Shanghai (Pu Dong), Singapore, Tehran, Tel Aviv*, Tokyo (Haneda and Narita), Toronto, Vancouver, Washington DC.

* Gourmet, Healthy and Vegetarian Kitchen options only

http://www.britishairways.com/assets/pdfs/information/food-and-drink/world-traveller-pre-paid-menu.pdf

 

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Treasury Select Committee Chairman writes to Chris Grayling and Philip Hammond to question economic benefits of runway

Andrew Tyrie, Chairman of the Treasury Committee, wrote to Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, on 14th September, questioning the economic case for HS2 and airport expansion. Andrew Tyrie says in his letter:  “The economic case to support the conclusions of the Davies report lacks crucial information.” On 27th November 2015, he tabled 15 parliamentary questions on details of the economic justification [all copied below]. These have yet to be answered 10 months later (they just had a standard holding reply from Robert Goodwill).  Andrew Tyrie says: “For the fifth time I am attaching these questions. Failure to answer them will lead people either to conclude that this work has not been done – in which case it would be unacceptable for a decision to be made without the evidence to support it – or that it has been done, and gives answers that do not necessarily support the conclusions of the Davies report. I do not suggest that either of these are the case. The best way to answer these concerns is to public the information immediately. As we discussed, I have written in similar terms to the Chancellor.”  “Without this information, the evidence in support of any decision that the Government takes on airport capacity will be incomplete.” His Parliamentary Questions focus, in particular, on Table 7.1 in the Airport Commission’s Final Report, of July 2015. (Table copied below). Mr Tyrie spoke to Chris Grayling on 15 August 2016.
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HS2 and airport expansion: Committee Chair writes to Transport Secretary

16.9.2016 (Treasury Select Committee website)

Rt Hon. Andrew Tyrie MP, Chairman of the Treasury Committee, has written to Rt. Hon Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport, about the economic case for HS2 and airport expansion. Letter from Committee Chair to Transport Secretary regarding airport expansion and HS2, 14 September 2016

The letter says: 
Inline images 1

Chair’s comments

Commenting on the correspondence, Mr Tyrie said:

On HS2

“The economic justification for High Speed 2 is not supported by the evidence so far presented by the Government.In the last Parliament, the Treasury Committee examined the proposals for HS2 and exposed the lack of rigour in the economic case. In particular, the Committee took evidence from KPMG and identified shortcomings in the statistical analysis.The question as to whether it is possible to improve capacity at lower speed and, consequently, at a lower cost, has yet to be comprehensively answered.The case for providing sufficient detail, therefore, to enable other ways of improving rail capacity to be fully assessed remains very strong.”

On airport expansion

“The economic case to support the conclusions of the Davies report lacks crucial information.This is the fifth time that I have written to require it to be provided.In November 2015, I tabled parliamentary questions to secure it. These have yet to be answered, over 10 months later. Without this information, the evidence in support of any decision that the Government takes on airport capacity will be incomplete.”

Background

HS2

Drawing on evidence taken as part of a short inquiry into the economics of HS2 in November 2013, the Treasury Select Committee concluded in its Spending Round 2013 report that ‘the Treasury should not allow HS2 to proceed until it is sure the cost-benefit analysis for HS2 has been updated to address fully the concerns raised by the National Audit Office’.

Commenting at the time, Mr Tyrie said:

“There appear to be serious shortcomings in the current cost-benefit analysis for HS2. The economic case must be looked at again.

The Bill should not proceed until this work has been done and the project has been formally reassessed by the Government.

At £42.6bn, including a large contingency reserve, the construction cost of the project has increased by 17 percent even before it has started. It is a huge infrastructure project.

A more convincing economic case for the project is needed.  We need reassurance that it can deliver the benefits intended and that these benefits are greater than those of other transport schemes – whether in the department’s project pipeline or not – which may be foregone.”

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee published its report on the ‘Economics of HS2’ (PDF 2.12 MB) on 25 March 2015.

Airport expansion

On 27 November 2015, Rt Hon. Andrew Tyrie MP, Chairman of the Treasury Committee, tabled a number of Parliamentary Questions, requesting more detailed information on the economic case that supports the conclusions of the Airport Commission’s final report. These questions are included in an annex in the letter.

The Parliamentary Questions focus, in particular, on Table 7.1 in theAirport Commission’s Final Report (PDF 6.08 MB), published in July 2015.

Over the period 25 January 2015 to 13 June 2016, the Chairman had three exchanges of letters with Rt Hon. George Osborne MP, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, in an effort to get him to back up the government’s economic case for an expansion of the UK’s airport capacity. Each time, Mr Osborne responded with a request for Mr Tyrie to speak to the Transport Secretary before the questions would be answered.

On 21 July 2016, Mr Tyrie wrote to Rt Hon. Philip Hammond MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, to urge him to respond to the same request put to his predecessor.

Mr Tyrie spoke to Rt Hon. Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport, on 15 August 2016.

 


Table 7.1 of financial benefits of runway


See also

Questions asked by Mr Andrew Tyrie,

Chairman of the Commons Treasury Select Committee

 

See link

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

 

Q Asked by Mr Andrew Tyrie(Chichester)Asked on: 30 November 2015

Department for Transport Airports: South East  Question 18147

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his timetable is for reaching a decision on plans to increase airport capacity in the South East.

A Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill Answered on: 08 December 2015

The Government is currently considering the large amount of very detailed analysis contained in the Airports Commission’s final report before taking any decisions on next steps. A decision on airport capacity will be made in due course.

 

————–

Q Asked by Mr Andrew Tyrie(Chichester)Asked on: 27 November 2015

Department for Transport London Airports  Question 18078

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the probability that the net present value of each of the three shortlisted schemes examined by the Airports Commission is zero or negative.

A Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill Answered on: 04 December 2015

The Government is currently considering the large amount of very detailed analysis contained in the Airports Commission’s final report before taking any decisions on next steps.

The Government will carefully consider all the evidence set out, including that on costs, when making a decision on additional runway capacity.

 

 

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Q Asked by Mr Andrew Tyrie(Chichester)Asked on: 27 November 2015

Department for Transport London Airports Question 18066

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will instruct the Infrastructure and Projects Authority to reproduce Table 7.1 of the Final Report of the Airports Commission, published in July 2015, using the Commission’s (a) global growth, (b) relative decline of Europe, (c) low-cost is king and (d) global fragmentation scenarios.

A Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill Answered on: 04 December 2015

The Government is currently considering the large amount of very detailed analysis contained in the Airports Commission’s final report before taking any decisions on next steps.
The Government will carefully consider all the evidence set out, including that on costs, when making a decision on additional runway capacity.

 

—————–

Q Asked by Mr Andrew Tyrie(Chichester)Asked on: 27 November 2015

Department for TransportLondon Airports Question 18067

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will instruct the Infrastructure and Projects Authority to reproduce Table 7.1 of the Final Report of the Airports Commission, published in July 2015, using an appraisal period of (a) 10, (b) 20 and (c) 30 years.

A Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill Answered on: 04 December 2015

The Government is currently considering the large amount of very detailed analysis contained in the Airports Commission’s final report before taking any decisions on next steps.

The Government will carefully consider all the evidence set out, including that on costs, when making a decision on additional runway capacity.

 

—————

Q Asked by Mr Andrew Tyrie(Chichester)Asked on: 27 November 2015

Department for TransportLondon Airports  Question 18068

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will instruct the Infrastructure and Projects Authority to provide 90 per cent confidence intervals for each of the figures in Table 7.1 of the Final Report of the Airports Commission, published in July 2015.

A Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill Answered on: 04 December 2015

[Same standard reply as all those above]

 

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Q Asked by Mr Andrew Tyrie(Chichester)Asked on: 27 November 2015

Department for TransportLondon Airports  Question 18076

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the economic impacts of the recommendations of the Airports Commission’s Final Report, published in July 2015.

A Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill Answered on: 04 December 2015

[Same standard reply as all those above]

 

———-

Q Asked by Mr Andrew Tyrie(Chichester)Asked on: 27 November 2015

Department for Transport Airports: South East  Question 18077

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Infrastructure and Projects Authority will assume responsibility for future projects to increase airport capacity in the South East.

A Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill Answered on: 04 December 2015

[Same standard reply as all those above]

 

———-

Q Asked by Mr Andrew Tyrie(Chichester)Asked on: 27 November 2015

Department for TransportLondon Airports  Question 18072

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to Table 7.1 of the Final Report of the Airports Commission, published in July 2015, if he will commission an assessment of the effect on the data in that table under the Commission’s (a) global growth, (b) relative decline of Europe, (c) low-cost is king and (d) global fragmentation scenarios.

A Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill Answered on: 04 December 2015

[Same standard reply as all those above]

 

Q Asked by Mr Andrew Tyrie(Chichester)Asked on: 27 November 2015

Department for TransportLondon Airports  Question 18073

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to Table 7.1 of the Final Report of the Airports Commission, published in July 2015, if his Department will make an assessment of the effect on the data in that table under an appraisal period of (a) 10, (b) 20 and (c) 30 years.

A Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill Answered on: 04 December 2015

[Same standard reply as all those above]

 

———

Q Asked by Mr Andrew Tyrie(Chichester)Asked on: 27 November 2015

Department for TransportLondon Airports18074

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will make an assessment of the effect on (a) the cost of passenger fares and (b) passenger demand of each of the Airports Commission’s three shortlisted schemes and the effect of that cost.

A Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill Answered on: 04 December 2015

The Government is currently considering the large amount of very detailed analysis contained in the Airports Commission’s final report before taking any decisions on next steps.

The Government will carefully consider all the evidence set out, including that on costs, when making a decision on additional runway capacity.

 

———

Q  Asked by  Mr Andrew Tyrie(Chichester)Asked on: 27 November 2015

Department for TransportLondon Airports  Question 18075

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the effect on the conclusions of the Airports Commission’s Final Report, published in July 2015, of the Commission’s decision not to take account of high value-added international sectors in measuring the agglomeration benefits of the three shortlisted projects.

A Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill Answered on: 04 December 2015

[Same standard reply as all those above]

 

———-

Q Asked by Mr Andrew Tyrie(Chichester)Asked on: 27 November 2015

Department for TransportLondon Airports  Question 18070

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Airports Commission estimate of net present value of the three shortlisted schemes took account of the (a) extent to which the cost of each such scheme would be passed to passengers in higher fares and (b) effect of such higher fares on passenger demand.

A Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill Answered on: 04 December 2015

[Same standard reply as all those above]

 

———-

Q Asked by Mr Andrew Tyrie(Chichester)Asked on: 27 November 2015

Department for TransportLondon Airports  Question 18069

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Airports Commission estimated the probability that the net present value of the three shortlisted schemes would be zero or negative; and what that probability was for each shortlisted scheme under the carbon capped and carbon traded policy frameworks.

A Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill Answered on: 04 December 2015

[Same standard reply as all those above]

 

Q Asked by Mr Andrew Tyrie(Chichester)Asked on: 27 November 2015

Department for TransportLondon Airports  Question 18071

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reasons the Airports Commission used his Department’s National Air Passenger Demand Model and National Air Passenger Allocation model in its work; whether the assumption of homogenous capacity in those models affected the net present value figures in Table 7.1 of the Commission’s Final Report, published in July 2015, compared with a model that distinguished between long and short-haul, business and leisure, and domestic and international capacity; and what assessment he has made of whether the use of a model that distinguishes between such different types of capacity would increase or decrease the net present value of each of those shortlisted schemes.

A Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill Answered on: 04 December 2015

[Same standard reply as all those above]

 

Q Asked by Mr Andrew Tyrie(Chichester)Asked on: 27 November 2015

Department for Transport London Airports Question 18065

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what account the Airports Commission took of the concern raised by its expert advisors that the failure to account for high value-added international sectors in measuring the agglomeration benefits of the three shortlisted projects was a significant limitation.

A Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill Answered on: 04 December 2015

[Same standard reply as all those above]

.

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See earlier:

Andrew Tyrie says economic case for a new runway unclear and based on “opaque” information

Andrew Tyrie is the chairman of the influential Commons Treasury Select Committee. He has now said parliament and the public had been left partly in the dark on the case for a new runway, because the Airports Commission’s analysis is not good enough. He said the decision on airport expansion is being taken on the basis of information that was “opaque in a number of important respects.” Mr Tyrie said the robustness of the Airports commission’s conclusions could not be determined from the information in its report. “Parliament has demanded more transparency over the environmental case. At least as important is the economic case.”  Mr Tyrie said it was impossible to tell if the potential economic benefits for the UK of the proposals by Heathrow or Gatwick differed significantly from one another, or even if the benefits of building either are significantly different from not building any new runways. “A decision as controversial as this — one that has bedevilled past governments for decades — requires as much transparency as reasonably possible.”  Andrew Tyrie has written to George Osborne calling for more details of the calculations that led to the Commission recommending a Heathrow runway. He also called for the process to be moved from the DfT to the Treasury.   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/02/andrew-tyrie-says-economic-case-for-a-new-runway-unclear-and-based-on-opaque-information/

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Theresa May’s local council, Windsor & Maidenhead, vows court fight if she backs Heathrow runway

The Tory leader of Theresa May’s own local council, Windsor and Maidenhead, has vowed to use “all necessary financial resources” for a High Court battle to block a third runway at Heathrow.  Councillor Simon Dudley, Leader of the council, pledged the legal action to protect residents “irrespective of who the Prime Minister is”.  He has joined forces with Wandsworth, Richmond upon Thames and Hillingdon councils for the looming court battle if the Government backs Heathrow expansion. “We have very significant financial resources,” he said. “We will put all the necessary financial resources behind a vigorous legal action.”  The Council’s lawyers, Harrison Grant, wrote to David Cameron this year warning him that his “no ifs, no buts” promise before the 2010 general election to oppose a third runway had created a “legitimate expectation” among residents that the project would not go ahead. So if it were given the green light, they argued, it would be an “abuse of power correctable by the courts”.  Mr Dudley said Windsor and Maidenhead had allocated £30,000 for the legal battle and signalled that this could rise to hundreds of thousands.  The council’s concerns include more pollution, noise and traffic as well as extra housing needs created by a larger Heathrow.  A recent poll in the areas suggested around 38% opposed the runway, with 34% in favour of it.
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Theresa May’s local council vows court fight if she backs new Heathrow runway

By NICHOLAS CECIL (Evening Standard)
16.9.2016

The Tory leader of Theresa May’s own local council today vowed to use “all necessary financial resources” for a High Court battle to block a third runway at Heathrow.

Councillor Simon Dudley, leader of Windsor and Maidenhead council, pledged the legal action to protect residents “irrespective of who the Prime Minister is”.

He has joined forces with Wandsworth, Richmond upon Thames and Hillingdon councils for the looming court battle if the Government, as expected, backs Heathrow expansion.

“We have very significant financial resources,” he said. “We will put all the necessary financial resources behind a vigorous legal action.”

The town halls’ lawyers, Harrison Grant, wrote to David Cameron this year warning him that his “no ifs, no buts” promise before the 2010 general election to oppose a third runway had created a “legitimate expectation” among residents that the project would not go ahead.

So if it were given the green light, they argued, it would be an “abuse of power correctable by the courts”.

Mr Dudley said Windsor and Maidenhead had allocated £30,000 for the legal battle and signalled that this could rise to hundreds of thousands.

“We are going to protect our residents irrespective of who the Prime Minister is,” he added.

The council’s concerns include more pollution, noise and traffic as well as extra housing needs.

Following the Brexit vote and Maidenhead MP Mrs May becoming Prime Minister, the council commissioned a poll to gauge whether local opinion over Heathrow expansion had changed.

The survey found it was broadly stable, with 38 per cent opposed to Heathrow’s proposed third runway, compared with 34 per cent for, while 50 per cent backed another runway at Gatwick, with 13 per cent against.

The Government is set to decide within weeks which airport should grow.  Heathrow is expected to get the go-ahead and Boris Johnson today repeated his strong opposition to it, branding it a “fantasy” which should be “consigned to the dustbin”.

However, Sussex MPs still fear that ministers could opt for a bigger Gatwick. They have written to rail minister Paul Maynard warning him that services along the Brighton main line would go into “complete meltdown” if Gatwick got a second runway.

The Gatwick Coordination Group of MPs said there would be a “devastating impact” from Gatwick expansion on the “already beleaguered Southern rail service”, as many of the extra travellers would come by rail.

But a Gatwick spokesman said: “The Airports Commission itself concluded road and rail improvements already under way or planned will more than meet the demand.” [That is not exactly what they said – they acknowledged problems that they said Gatwick should pay to sort out.  See link ]

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/theresa-mays-local-council-vows-court-fight-if-she-backs-new-heathrow-runway-a3346631.html

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See earlier:

 

Richmond, Wandsworth and Hillingdon council leaders write to Chris Grayling to warn legal action threatened if Heathrow expansion is approved

Three Conservative local authorities – Richmond, Wandsworth and Hillingdon – have written to the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, warning that court proceedings will be launched if a Heathrow 3rd runway is approved.  The 3 council leaders, Lord True, Ravi Govindia and Ray Puddifoot, say any approval given to Heathrow would create “severe political and social rupture” at a time when unity is needed. It is also undeliverable and unlawful. They are already preparing a “substantial and strong legal challenge” and say “We must also be very clear that we intend to launch a legal challenge against the government in the unfortunate event that it resolves to support Heathrow expansion or to carry out any further investigatory works into these projects,” The reasons for the challenge are that bad air quality around the airport already breaches legal limits, and with a  3rd runway, the extra planes and cars in west London would “blight the lives” of millions of people. The  council leaders say, in their letter to Chris Grayling, that the runway “would be an environmental disaster for our communities”. Unfortunately they also urge government to back a 2nd Gatwick runway instead, content to  push the misery that they are keen to avoid for their own residents onto others.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/07/richmond-wandsworth-and-hillingdon-council-leaders-write-to-chris-grayling-to-warn-legal-action-threatened-if-heathrow-expansion-is-approved/

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Earlier:

Four councils affected by Heathrow threaten to take legal action against Government if it backs Heathrow runway

Four Conservative controlled councils – Hillingdon, Richmond upon Thames, Wandsworth and Windsor & Maidenhead councils –  are preparing to sue the government over a proposed 3rd Heathrow runway. The four councils are near Heathrow, and affected adversely by it. The warning to David Cameron, from their lawyers, says an escalation in the number of flights would be “irrational and unlawful”.  The legal letter to No 10 says court proceedings will be launched unless the Prime Minister categorically rules out expansion of Heathrow. It says “insurmountable environmental problems” around the airport mean it can never be expanded without subjecting residents to excessive pollution and noise. The councils have believed, since the launch of the (government appointed) Airports Commission’s final report, that it made a “flawed assessment” of Heathrow’s ability to deal with environmental issues (noise, NO2, and carbon emissions among them). The councils also say David Cameron’s previous promise – “No ifs, No buts, no 3rd runway” – had created a “legitimate expectation” among residents that there would be no runway. The authorities have appointed Harrison Grant, the solicitors that led a successful High Court challenge in 2010 against the former Labour government’s attempt to expand Heathrow.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/03/four-councils-affected-by-heathrow-threaten-to-take-legal-action-against-government-if-it-backs-heathrow-runway/

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Earlier:

Flightpath consultation must come before runway decision

The Prime Minister has been warned that signalling Government support for a third Heathrow runway would be unlawful unless the new flightpaths needed to operate the landing strip are first subject to public consultation.

6 October 2015 (Hillingdon Council)

The warning comes from the leaders of Hillingdon, Richmond and Wandsworth councils who have written to Mr Cameron to highlight a series of flaws and omissions in the Airports Commission’s final report on aviation capacity.

They point out that by law, changes to London’s airspace require open consultation so a decision to expand Heathrow would pre-empt this statutory process.  Approving a runway clearly infers the associated flightpaths will also be approved.

David Cameron is now considering the commission’s dossier which recommends expanding Heathrow. Despite scrutinising the new runway proposal for over two years the commissioners failed to identify the location of its new flightpaths, nor carry out the necessary consultation.

Instead, the final report, which costs tax payers in the region of £25m,  asks ministers to approve a third runway at Heathrow without telling them where the planes will fly over London and the south east.

The local councils have now pointed out that the commission’s recommendation is pointing the Government down a legal cul-de-sac and has urged the PM to dismiss the report.

The letter concludes that the local authorities “reserve their rights to take whatever action is in their power to protect their residents and communities from the devastating impacts of a new runway at Heathrow.”

Leader of Hillingdon Council Ray Puddifoot said:

“Even the airports commission has to agree that runways need flightpaths. If you approve one you have to approve the other.

“It will be unlawful for any Government to approve a new runway without publishing detailed flightpath data so the communities affected can exercise their legal right to scrutinise the plans. This is a major obstacle that can’t be put off much longer.”

Leader of Wandsworth Council Ravi Govindia said:

“The law is very clear. Communities have to be consulted on air space changes and once those maps are finally published the backlash will completely change the course of this debate.

“It’s very hard to justify why a two year aviation investigation failed to unearth this key piece of information. We’ve made it very clear to the prime minister that the commission’s recommendation can’t be followed until it is out in the open for all to see.”

https://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/article/30331/Flightpath-consultation-must-come-before-runway-decision

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