Early decision on a new south-east runway thought unlikely, due to Brexit and Cameron resignation

There is much speculation and uncertainty about what will happen on the runway situation, and whether – or how much – it will be delayed. A leak was inadvertently made to PoliticsHome on 22nd (not intended to go out till after a Remain vote) indicating that the government would make a runway announcement on 7th or 8th July. That now seems very unlikely indeed. Heathrow put out a bland statement, realising that the rapid decision in their favour is not looking likely, and making out that their runway is of great national importance. Nobody knows what future role Boris may play, but he promised in May 2015 to “lie down in front of bulldozers” to stop a Heathrow runway. Gatwick is no more likely to succeed. There are also fears for infrastructure projects like HS2,and future investment in other rail services. In short, there is immense uncertainty about almost everything. Many of the UK’s rail franchises are controlled and operated by European state-owned companies from Germany, the Netherlands and France. What happens with them?  Business likes to plan ahead, and does not like uncertainty or being in limbo. The extent to which air travel will grow in future is now in doubt, with a recession likely – and UK air passenger numbers fall in recessions. The weakness of the currency will make many foreign leisure trips more expensive for Brits.
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EU referendum: Heathrow runway decision left up in the air

Britain’s vote to leave the EU will potentially have far-reaching implications for the country’s transport system.

Perhaps, most pertinently from a timing point of view, is what happens to Heathrow?

The west London airport was favourite to be picked as the site for a new runway, with the government talking about making a final decision this year, possibly even this summer.

But that was when David Cameron was in charge. Boris Johnson has promised to lie down in front of bulldozers to stop expansion.

It is bound to form part of the Conservative leadership campaign. If so, you can forget an early decision.

If Mr Johnson is the new PM, that would seem to kill off Heathrow’s chances. Rival Gatwick is very much back in the game.

Also vulnerable, though much further along in terms of process, is the promised investment in high speed rail (HS2).

A government source has suggested that this vote won’t affect funding. However, HS2 is yet to be voted through Parliament and the new prime minister will have her or his own spending priorities.

Investment in Britain’s train services is also open to question.

Many of the country’s rail franchises are already controlled and operated by European state-owned companies from Germany, the Netherlands and France.

They all got the chance to bid for the business because of EU competition rules. In future, however, will that still be the case?

I asked the transport secretary that question a few months ago. He wasn’t quite sure.

It is also unclear what will happen with the car industry.

New cars currently have to pass a European emissions test before they can go on sale.

Frankly, it’s done a poor job of protecting the air in recent years, even carmakers say it’s too weak, which is why it’s being tightened up considerably, starting in 2017.

So will our future cars have to pass the new, tougher EU pollution test?

One expert told me it’s likely to stay in some form, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to sell UK-built cars across the rest of Europe.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36621555

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Heathrow statement on EU referendum result

24.6.2016

A Heathrow spokesperson said:
“With today’s result, the case for expansion at Heathrow is stronger than ever before. Only Heathrow can help Britain be the great trading nation connecting all regions of the UK to the world. It is the keystone that connects businesses of every size to markets across the world as the UK’s only global hub airport.
“Global connections are critical for a new outward-looking UK to help our businesses and economy to thrive – and with expansion we can deliver up to 40 new destinations on top of the 83 we serve now.
“We are confident that the Government will make the right choice for the future of the UK, putting the interests of the country first.
“We look forward to working with the Government and its agencies on next steps.”

http://mediacentre.heathrow.com/pressrelease/details/81/Corporate-operational-24/6440


Decision on second runway at Gatwick Airport set to be delayed due to EU Referendum result

June 24, 2016

By Thomas Macintosh (Surrey Mirror)

A decision on whether or not a second runway should be built at Gatwick Airport is likely to be delayed again, due to the result of the EU Referendum.

The Surrey Mirror understands a decision on the controversial plan will now be put back even further, after Britain voted to leave the EU.

It was recommended, in July last year by the Sir Howard Davies Commission, that Heathrow should be allowed to build a third runway, rather than Gatwick be allowed to build a second.

But delays since then had raised hopes from those supporting Gatwick’s expansion that the Government could ignore this recommendation. And in the light of today’s events, a spokesman for the Sussex airport said it was “still very much in the game”.

A decision had initially been expected by the end of 2015 but was then pushed back to this summer.

However, the United Kingdom’s decision to leave Europe, and David Cameron’s subsequent resignation this morning, mean that decision is expected to be pushed back again.

Jeremy Taylor, chief executive of Gatwick Diamond Business, was a strong advocate for remaining in the European Union, and agrees the referendum result is likely to lead to another delay.

“It is going to be interesting to see the economic impact [of leaving the EU],” he said. “In business we like a plan. Instability and no plan [on Gatwick] is obviously disconcerting.

“I think that the bigger picture is that this decision [to leave the EU] jeopardises all infrastructure throughout the country, one of which is increase in runway growth and capacity.

“The Prime Minister has made the decision to stand down, so any decision that was going to be made [this summer] will likely be pushed back. Then it depends on who is the next Prime Minister, each one will have their own views on runways and how much of a priority it is. Some are very anti-Heathrow, but that is going to be a decision which will likely be taken at a later date.

“Once again we are in limbo.”

Gatwick has not issued an official statement on Brexit. However, airport spokesman William Boyack told the Mirror: “We haven’t had an indication [that the decision will be delayed] but it was always a possibility. The political situation has changed quite significantly. We need to keep a close eye on that and how it affects the campaign.”

Apparently referring to Boris Johnson’s strong opposition to Heathrow expansion, he added: “Looking at the likely Prime Ministerial candidates, Gatwick is very much still in the game.” [Boris has, in fact, often said he does not back a Gatwick runway].

Mr Johnson is favourite [not entirely ….] to be the next Prime Minister. He famously advocated a new airport, dubbed Boris Island, an idea slammed by critics as “financially, geographically and environmentally wrong”.

Reigate MP Crispin Blunt [who wants a Heathrow runway, in order to protect his constituents from the horror of a Gatwick runway] said this morning’s seismic developments should have no impact on the runway decision and when it is delivered. “This decision should be made as soon as possible,” he said. “We need to get on with it. I am hoping we will get an announcement before the summer recess [of Parliament on July 21].”

He also said the potential installation of Mr Johnson as Prime Minister should make no difference, as his opinions should hold no more sway than those of any other constituency MP.

In October 2015 George Osbourne, who may be Mr Johnson’s main rival for the role, was understood to be ready to back a new runway at Heathrow and is believed to have ruled out a second runway at Gatwick.

Theresa May, who is also seen as possible contender, is understood to be against expansion at Heathrow as she represents many constituents who would be affected by any extra flightpaths.

Brendon Sewill, chairman of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, which has long fought against a second runway, said the group’s committee would be discussing Mr Cameron’s decision to resign over the next week.

He added: “This obviously raises a situation of great confusion and uncertainty and it makes it more possible that the runway decision will be postponed.”

The Department for Transport has been approached for a comment.

http://www.surreymirror.co.uk/gatwick-airport-second-runway-decision-set-to-be-delayed-again-due-to-eu-referendum-result/story-29439470-detail/story.html

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Simon Calder: What does Brexit mean for British tourists travelling to Europe?

With Britain, somewhat unexpectedly, voting for Brexit there may be changes in the way airlines operate between the UK and the EU, and there may be other implications for air travel from currency changes. Simon Calder, in the Independent, sets out some of the issues and what might happen. The exchange rate of the £ against the $ or the € may not only make holidays, to the EU or elsewhere, more expensive – but an increase in the price of jet fuel could happen if the £ weakens against the $. Through the “Open skies” agreement, since since 1994, any EU airline has been free to fly between any two points in Europe. This allowed easyJet and Ryanair to flourish, and forced “legacy” carriers such as BA, Air France and Lufthansa to cut fares. The UK may have to negotiates a similar arrangement to Norway, within the European Economic Area (EEA), in which case little would change. But if Britain does not join the EEA, every route between the UK and the EU might need to be renegotiated on a bilateral basis. The bureaucratic logjam would be immense. Similarly, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have easy access to America because of an EU-US treaty on open skies. The freedom for British airlines such as easyJet to fly within and between EU countries could be curtailed; nations such as France and Italy have in the past been protectionist of their home airlines. And much more …..

Click here to view full story…

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Simon Calder: What does Brexit mean for British tourists travelling to Europe?

With Britain, somewhat unexpectedly, voting for Brexit there may be changes in the way airlines operate between the UK and the EU, and  there may be other implications for air travel from currency changes. Simon Calder, in the Independent, sets out some of the issues and what might happen. The exchange rate of the £ against the $ or the € may not only make holidays, to the EU or elsewhere, more expensive – but an increase in the price of jet fuel could happen if the £ weakens against the $. Through the “Open skies” agreement, since since 1994, any EU airline has been free to fly between any two points in Europe. This allowed easyJet and Ryanair to flourish, and forced “legacy” carriers such as BA, Air France and Lufthansa to cut fares. The UK may have to negotiates a similar arrangement to Norway, within the European Economic Area (EEA), in which case little would change.  But if Britain does not join the EEA, every route between the UK and the EU might need to be renegotiated on a bilateral basis. The bureaucratic logjam would be immense. Similarly, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have easy access to America because of an EU-US treaty on open skies. The freedom for British airlines such as easyJet to fly within and between EU countries could be curtailed; nations such as France and Italy have in the past been protectionist of their home airlines. And much more  …..
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What does Brexit mean for British tourists travelling to Europe?

The freedom for British airlines such as easyJet to fly within and between EU countries could be curtailed

By Simon Calder @SimonCalder   (Independent)
24.6.2016

Our most intense engagement with Europe is when we go on holiday there.

With the peak travel season about to begin, millions of British holidaymakers are about to discover the immediate effects of the Leave vote in pushing up prices abroad. Longer term, there will be more big changes.

Will holidays cost more?

In the short term, the slide in sterling to its lowest level for year means the price of everything from a cup of coffee in a cafe in Paris to a night in a luxury hotel in the Maldives will rise.

The level of the increase depends on what level the pound settles at: before the referendum, the Treasury predicted sterling would lose 12-15 per cent of its value on a Leave vote.

Longer term, the two key rates are against the euro and the dollar.

The €:£ rate is crucial because we take the majority of our foreign holidays to the single-currency area: to the Spanish costas, the French countryside, the cities of Italy and the islands of Greece.

Further afield, prices in destinations including the US, Dubai and China will rise in proportion with the strength of the dollar relative to sterling; many currencies are locked to the US$.

Even if you never venture beyond Europe, the $:£ rate is also significant. Oil is priced in dollars, as are aircraft. So a 12% fall in sterling will push up the price of petrol, diesel and aviation fuel, as well as the cost of aircraft for airlines such as British Airways and easyJet.

Will I be asked to pay more for my holiday this year – or next?

Abta, the travel association, allows holiday companies to impose surcharges “when the cost of a package holiday goes up after you booked because of currency fluctuations (the euro growing stronger against the pound, for instance) [and] rising fuel costs (for flights and cruises)”.

The firm must absorb the first 2% of any increase, and if the surcharge goes above 10 per cent then you have the right to cancel.

If you have already paid for your holiday in full, it is unlikely that you will need to pay a surcharge.

The company will probably have hedged its currency requirements for paying airlines and hoteliers. Some firms will also have hedged, at least partially, costs for 2017 holidays.

Anyone who has put together their own trip, and has yet to pay for accommodation or a rental car, will find that the cost in sterling terms has risen.

Will cheap flights disappear?

“Open skies” represents one of the most tangible benefits of European Union membership. Since 1994, any EU airline has been free to fly between any two points in Europe.

The freedom to fly allowed easyJet and Ryanair to flourish, and has forced “legacy” carriers such as BA, Air France and Lufthansa to cut costs and fares. On any European journey you care to name, the typical fare is around half what it was in the early 1990s – and anyone who can be flexible about timing can save even more.

Before the referendum, some in the Remain camp speculated that open skies would be among the first arrangements to be binned.

If the UK negotiates a similar arrangement to Norway, within the European Economic Area (EEA), then little would change; Norwegian, a non-EU budget airline, flies successfully within Europe and from the UK to the US.

If Britain does not join the EEA. every route between the UK and the EU might need to be renegotiated on a bilateral basis. The bureaucratic logjam would be immense. Similarly, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have easy access to America because of an EU-US treaty on open skies.

But given that London is the world hub of aviation, and a key destination for dozens of airlines, it looks unlikely that routes to and from the UK will be affected.

The freedom for British airlines such as easyJet to fly within and between EU countries could be curtailed; nations such as France and Italy have in the past been protectionist of their home airlines.

The chance to clip the wings of the likes of easyJet could be welcomed by politicians and airlines in other EU countries – if not by travellers. It is likely that airlines will restructure into separate UK- and EU-based corporate entities, adding complexity and cost, and reducing flexibility. Immediately after the result, Carolyn McCall, easyJet’s chief executive, said she had written to the UK government and European Commission urging them “to prioritise the UK remaining part of the single EU aviation market”.

How will passengers’ rights be affected?

The EU stipulates care and compensation in the event of disruption for airline passengers (and, to a limited extent, international train and ferry travellers).

These automatic rights would end for UK airlines when flying from British aorports, though EU airlines (including Ryanair) would continue to be governed by them. It is possible that a future British government would create its own rules on passenger rights.

Could using our phones abroad cost more?

Another tangible benefit for EU consumers has been the squeeze on the excessive roaming charges levied by mobile phone companies.

The maximum surcharges phone firms can add for calls, texts and data while abroad have just been reduced again. By next June they will disappear completely; that will happen despite the vote to leave.

Once Britain leaves, it is difficult to imagine any UK government saying to the mobile-phone firms: “As we’re out of the EU now, feel free to bring back excessive roaming charges.”

In addition, mobile-phone companies will start demonstrating a year from now that they can survive on zero roaming fees within Europe, and it may be that competitive pressure is sufficient to keep a lid on price rises.

What about British people who live in other EU countries?

The immediate impact for those who depend on savings or pensions in sterling is that the cost of living will rise; the exact amount depends on how the local currency strengthens against the pound. Longer term, the automatic right to live and work in EU countries will end, but it is likely that long-term expatriates will be able to stay.

UK passports and driving licences are “EU-branded”. Will we need to get new ones?

No, and for the time being new UK driving licences will continue to show the EU symbol and British passports will bear words “European Union” on the cover. But within a few years, when you renew either your passport or driving licence the design will change.

Some say we’ll need visas to go to Europe?

Yes, during the campaign some elements of the Remain side hinted darkly that we’ll all be queuing up outside the Spanish Embassy before we’re allowed to go to Benidorm.

The Green MP Caroline Lucas said that, in the event of the UK leaving the Single Market, “We would need to have visas.”

Yet the UK is second only to Germany in terms of the tourists it exports to other countries. Britain runs a massive “tourism deficit” (the excess of what we spend abroad compared with what we earn from foreign tourists), much to the benefit of bartenders from Benidorm to Benitses.

The suggestion that the governments of Spain, Greece, Portugal, etc would single out Brits for tougher treatment at the border is far-fetched. We will simply continue to show our passports on arrival, as we do now – as the UK is outside the Schengen Area.

Will there be border controls on the land frontier between Northern Ireland and the Republic?

Unlikely. There has been largely unrestricted travel between the two countries since 1921 under the terms of a Common Travel Area (which also includes the Isle of Man).

The government says: “A person who has been examined for the purpose of immigration control at the point at which he entered the area does not normally require leave to enter any other part of it.”

The Republic of Ireland will probably remain outside Schengen, and the current absence of frontier posts will probably continue.

We’re told always to travel to Europe with our EHICs. Presumably health care will get more expensive and travel insurance costs will rise?

European Health Insurance Cards indicate entitlement to public health care on the same basis as local people in EU countries.

But before joining the EEC (as was), the UK had reciprocal health agreements with many European nations.

We still maintain bilateral deals with 16 countries, such as Australia, New Zealand and the former Yugoslavian republics of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

It is likely that a similar range of deals would be concluded with some or all EU members. If they are not, then the need for travel insurance will increase – and premiums could rise.

What about duty-free?

When the UK leaves, it is likely that the limits that apply elsewhere in the world will be re-imposed. For alcohol, that means one litre of spirits, four litres of wine and 16 litres of beer – so no more filling up the boot with cheap claret in Calais.

The tobacco limit will be 200 cigarettes. Those limits are irrespective of In addition, a limit of “other goods” of £390 will be imposed.

A silver lining for airlines and cross-Channel ferry operators is that proper duty free would return; anyone who currently promises “duty free” for a journey within the EU is fibbing.

Looking at the UK tourist industry, the slump in sterling is presumable a benefit?

With weaker sterling, the rest of the world will get more pounds for its euros, dollars, yen, etc, making the UK a cheaper destination to visit.

Conversely, going abroad becomes more expensive for the British traveller, who may then choose to holiday in Cornwall rather than the Costa del Sol.

But it’s more complicated than that, especially in terms of British holidaymakers’ behaviour. Demand for overseas travel is price-inelastic.

If people find foreign holidays significantly more expensive, some may opt to stay in the UK. But between the summers of 2008 and 2009, when the cost of going abroad increased by roughly 25 per cent, the number of overseas trips by British holidaymakers reduced by a much smaller percentage.

Looking at foreign visitors coming here: EU rules allow European citizens to come to Britain with only a national identity card.

The UK government could re-impose the rule that all foreign nationals must have a passport, though the British travel industry would lobby strongly against anything that makes it more difficult for many EU citizens to visit the UK.

http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/brexit-travel-europe-holidays-what-does-it-mean-latest-live-eu-referendum-result-a7099931.html

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Britain leaving the EU: What could Brexit mean for travellers?

By Nikki Ekstein (Traveller)

June 24 2016

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All eyes are on the European Union as the UK approaches its controversial Brexit vote. But ramifications of the referendum will be more far-reaching than any one continent. Given that London is the biggest gateway for international travel to Europe, a UK separation could create a storm of regulatory headaches, from immigration, to consumer protections, to airlines. Here’s what passport holders need to know ahead of the vote on Thursday.

Flying through Heathrow may feel more like flying through JFK-not in a good way.

International travellers passing through New York’s JFK will all commiserate over the brutal American welcome of a four-hour customs line (that’s the average wait time on weekends, according to a recent study led by various travel advocacy groups). At London’s Heathrow, queues move a lot more quickly, and that’s largely because EU citizens can enter through a separate line without any restrictions. If Brexit passes, those travellers could potentially join Americans and other international travellers in one queue for non-UK citizens.

Charlie Leocha, president of consumer advocacy group Travelers United, said that if Brexit passes, “getting in and out of the UK will be an absolute horror show.” As a member of the committee that helped raise funding for the installation of automated customs and border patrol kiosks in major American airports, he knows how long it can take to come up with solutions for these types of problems. “Improving the process for customs and immigration in the US took major cooperation from airlines and airports over an extended period of time. The problems we’ve had with this in the US are going to replicate in the UK – and it’s going to be a mess,” he said.

But others are more optimistic; Luke Petherbridge, public affairs manager for the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and a co-author of the report “What Brexit Might Mean for UK Travel,” isn’t particularly worried about this point. “We can’t see that it would have any significant impact,” he said about the potential for expanded customs controls. “If you needed a visa before, you will still need a visa. And we expect that there would be an allocation of resources from the UK government to adjust for any passenger influx at customs and border patrol.”

On the other hand, arriving by train or ship shouldn’t change at all.

“If you travel through the tunnel from London to Paris, you go through French immigration in the UK and then through UK immigration in France-that’s how it works currently, and there’s no reason why that should change,” explained Petherbridge, who also offered reassuring words about cruise travel. “You’ve always had to show your passport at port on a cruise ship-that should be no different.”

Travelling to Europe may be cheaper ?

The finance world is bracing itself for economic turmoil next week should Brexit pass. The general consensus is that the British pound would take a hard hit on the heels of a split, which would have a domino effect on global economies. For internationals visiting the UK, it would likely translate to preferential exchange rates and more affordable vacations. Compounding matters is the possibility that EU nationals will also curtail their frequent visits to England; the travel booking site TravelZoo conducted a survey that revealed one in three Europeans would be less inclined to travel to the UK following a leave vote.

Reduced spending power in the UK also has its ramifications across Europe. According to the ABTA’s report, compiled with Deloitte, UK citizens spent 19.76 billion, or $28 billion, on outbound travel throughout the EU in 2014. Industry estimates put 10 million British travellers in Spain each summer alone. Ripple effects could create deeply discounted vacations across the entire Mediterranean, particularly in British-favoured destinations such as Ibiza, Mallorca, Tuscany, and Provence.

“This could be a good summer for Americans to head to Europe,” advised Leocha. Or next summer: Since many Brits will already have travel plans in store for this summer, it’ll take until 2017 to see the real effects of a reluctant British traveller base.

But affordable airfares may be harder to find.

Under Single European Sky legislation, any carrier based in the EU has the guaranteed right to operate freely throughout the continent. In the event that Brexit passes, carriers such as British Airways and EasyJet (which are based in London and Luton, respectively) will have to renegotiate their bilateral agreements with the EU to continue flying into Europe.

Consumer protections may take a dip ?

The EU has unrivalled consumer protections for travellers, compensating them on anything from delayed flights to cancellations due to natural disasters. That will continue for passengers (including non-EU citizens) on flights on European-based carriers to and from the EU. UK-based carriers will have to decide whether to live up to EU standards or chip away at consumer rights-as American carriers have done. Flight insurance providers such as Berkshire Hathaway may emerge as the winners here.

And so might (some) travel taxes.

On a recent phone interview, ABTA’s Petherbridge explained that the EU currently imposes a strict cap on Britain’s value-added tax (VAT), which would be up for revision following a leave vote. But there’s also good news about travel taxes. Under current EU policies, any flight departing the EU pays departure taxes as dictated by the individual countries. Considering the heavy entry taxes at Heathrow, it should come to no surprise that the UK is one European country that levies a departure tax as well.  ( ….and it goes on ….)

The big picture is still to be determined.

Even without taking into account the number of Brits who have vacation homes across the Mediterranean, ABTA reports that 1.3 million UK citizens live in other EU countries. Those homeowners account for millions of passenger seats on EU flights on their own-a single carrier estimates 2 million seats-while their friends and family members add nearly 9 million visits, according to ABTA and Deloitte. All this is imperiled by questions about homeownership rights that arise from a potential Brexit.

In the event that these rights are revoked or halted, there may soon be a glut of Mediterranean vacation homes coming to the market. But that’s unlikely, said Petherbridge. “The economic impact of abandoning those [expat] communities would be huge, so there’s a big incentive to continue some amount of cooperation,” he said. Still, he added that it would be “impossible to gauge how receptive either side would be at this point.”

That uncertainty is a running theme across all these issues, which hinge on sheer speculation until after Thursday’s vote. Even if the resolution passes, both Leocha and Petherbridge estimated that it would take two years to address the tangled web of concerns that could arise from the split.

The ABTA hopes that’s not the case. According to its official position, “the risks and uncertainties associated with the UK leaving the EU, both economic and regulatory, outweigh any potential upsides for travellers or travel businesses.”

BLOOMBERG

http://www.traveller.com.au/what-could-brexit-mean-for-travellers-gpq6er



 

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BA chief, Willie Walsh, threatens to reduce Gatwick flights if it got a 2nd runway

The boss of International Airlines Group ( IAG), which owns British Airways, has threatened to reduce its flights at Gatwick if the airport is given permission to expand with another runway. Willie Walsh warned that the cost of building a second runway at would result in charges that are too high.   He said: “We struggle to see any business case for the expansion of Gatwick and will consider our position at the airport if the Government backs expansion there, principally because the cost of that expansion when translated into airport charges would likely wipe out the profit we make.”  He claimed Chancellor George Osborne and the Treasury are “clearly excited about a large infrastructure project that requires no Government spending”, but urged them to consider the options “as if it was funding the project”. He added: “If there is expensive, inefficient airport expansion at Gatwick or Heathrow, then we will expand through other airports and hubs.”  Willie Walsh has repeatedly said he is not prepared to pay very high landing charges at an expanded Heathrow, and would instead move his IAG planes to Dublin and Madrid instead.
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BA chief threatens to reduce Gatwick flights over expansion plans

Thursday 23 June 2016

(Crawley & Horley Observer)

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The boss of the firm which owns British Airways has threatened to reduce its flights at Gatwick if the airport is given permission to expand.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group, warned that the cost of building a second runway at the West Sussex airport would result in charges that are too high.

He said: “We struggle to see any business case for the expansion of Gatwick and will consider our position at the airport if the Government backs expansion there, principally because the cost of that expansion when translated into airport charges would likely wipe out the profit we make.”

The Government has said it is still considering giving the go ahead for the £9.3 billion project at Gatwick or to expand Heathrow.  [That was before the referendum].

…….. and it continues on Heathrow  ….

He claimed Chancellor George Osborne and the Treasury are “clearly excited about a large infrastructure project that requires no Government spending”, but urged them to consider the options “as if it was funding the project”.

He added: “If there is expensive, inefficient airport expansion at Gatwick or Heathrow, then we will expand through other airports and hubs.”

 

…..   and it continues  …..

http://www.crawleyobserver.co.uk/news/regional/ba-chief-threatens-to-reduce-gatwick-flights-over-expansion-plans-1-7444499

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and in the Independent

 

“Mr Walsh also warned that IAG might abandon Gatwick if the Sussex airport is awarded a new runway: “We struggle to see any business case for the expansion of Gatwick and will consider our position at the airport if the Government backs expansion there, principally because the cost of that expansion when translated into airport charges would likely wipe out the profit we make.” ”

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Earlier:

Willie Walsh tells AOA conference Heathrow’s runway is too expensive, and at that price, would fail

The Airport Operators Association is holding a two day conference on the runway issue, and Willie Walsh (CEO of IAG) was its key speaker. He said Heathrow should not get a 3rd runway, if the Airport Commission’s calculation of the cost of building it is correct. He said: “The Commission got its figures wrong – they are over-inflated. If that is the cost [of a new runway], it won’t be a successful project.” He described the assumption that airlines would pay for the new runway through increases in fares as “outrageous”. British Airways is by far the biggest airline at Heathrow, with 55% of the slots. He said of the Commission’s report: ” … I have concerns about the level of cost associated with the main recommendation and the expectation that the industry can afford to pay for Heathrow’s expansion.” He does not believe the cost is justified, and “If the cost of using an expanded airport significantly exceeds the costs of competitor airports, people won’t use it.” It was not realistic for airlines: “You have to see it in terms of return on capital. ….Either the figures are inflated or you are building inefficient infrastructure. I do not endorse the findings. I definitely don’t support the costs of building a runway. If those costs are real, we should not build it.” On the cost of £8 billion to build a 6th terminal he commented: “How many chandeliers can you have in an airport terminal?

Click here to view full story…

2nd runway at Dublin airport threatens Heathrow’s position as main IAG hub

Heathrow may face more competition for hub traffic from Dublin, if there is a 2nd runway in 2020 – and airlines prefer using Dublin rather than Heathrow. This might mean Heathrow being partly sidelined. In May 2015 Aer Lingus, the Irish flag carrier, was bought by IAG (International Airlines Group) – which owns British Airways. As part of IAG’s takeover there was the benefit of new routes and more long-haul flights from Dublin, where Aer Lingus is one of the two main airline customers, along with Ryanair. Willie Walsh, IAG’s CEO, said in 2015 that owning Aer Lingus would allow IAG “to develop our network using Dublin as a hub between the UK, continental Europe and North America, generating additional financial value for our shareholders”. Willie Walsh believed that buying Aer Lingus was a wise move, as it was “inevitable” that Dublin would get a 2nd runway in the next few years. IAG believes that it can expand the group’s flights via Dublin or Madrid – especially if there is no new runway at Heathrow. It could have the impact of removing business from Heathrow – British Airways is the largest airline there with around 50% of the slots.

Click here to view full story…

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Walsh hits out at runway costs – “Doing nothing is better than doing the wrong thing”

Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG, speaking at an ABTA conference, has reiterated his opposition to an expensive Heathrow north west runway.  His airlines are not prepared to pay high landing costs upfront for years before a runway is operational.  He also says there is no business case for a Gatwick runway, and he would not pay higher charges there either.  Walsh said  “Heathrow is already the most-expensive hub airport in the world, with a history of inflating costs.” … He questions the potential cost of £17.6 billion: “Only £182 million is for the runway. The new car park would cost £800 million.” …  “You cannot trust Heathrow to deliver anything in a cost-effective manner. Customers have been ripped off by Heathrow for years and leopards don’t change their spots.” …  Walsh claimed “the majority of the money” Heathrow raises from airport charges “doesn’t go towards upgrading facilities but straight into the pockets of the airport’s shareholders”…  “Heathrow paid £1.4 billion to its shareholders in the last two years and only invested £1.3 billion in the airport. The average charge for each departing passenger is slightly more than £44.” He is more in favour of the Heathrow Hub option, and wants Heathrow expansion in phases with the runway first, using the existing terminals.  “Doing nothing is better than doing the wrong thing.”
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Walsh hits out at runway costs and says Heathrow ‘rips off customers’

by Ian Taylor  (Travel Weekly )

Jun 23rd 2016
Willie Walsh hit out at the cost of a proposed new Heathrow runway and called on the government to phase construction yesterday.

Addressing the Abta Travel Matters conference in London, Walsh – chief executive of British Airways’ parent IAG – said: “Heathrow is already the most-expensive hub airport in the world, with a history of inflating costs.”

He slammed the price of the proposed runway, now being considered by ministers, saying: “According to the Davies Commission, a new runway would cost £17.6 billion. Only £182 million is for the runway. The new car park would cost £800 million.”

The Government is poised to decide between Heathrow and Gatwick as the site of a new runway for the southeast.

But Walsh dismissed Gatwick saying: “We struggle to see any business case for expanding Gatwick.  We will consider our position at the airport if the Government backs expansion there. The cost in airport charges would wipe out the profits we make at the airport.”

BA is the second largest operator at Gatwick and IAG carriers Aer Lingus and Vueling also operate from the airport.

Focusing on Heathrow, Walsh said: “You cannot trust Heathrow to deliver anything in a cost-effective manner. Customers have been ripped off by Heathrow for years and leopards don’t change their spots.”

He added: “I’ll give you one example. We expressed interest in installing self-service bag drop. The airport estimated the cost at just under £150,000 per unit. We’ve been able to price the same unit at less than £15,000. That is one hell of a mark-up.

“To make matters worse, Heathrow estimated it would take four years to complete when we believe we could complete this by September.”

Walsh claimed “the majority of the money” Heathrow raises from airport charges “doesn’t go towards upgrading facilities but straight into the pockets of the airport’s shareholders”.

He said: “Heathrow paid £1.4 billion to its shareholders in the last two years and only invested £1.3 billion in the airport.

“The average charge for each departing passenger is slightly more than £44. The airport’s investors get three times the financial returns of an average FTSE 100 company.”

Walsh called on the government to examine both options for expanding Heathrow – “a new runway or extension of the existing northern runway” – and said: “If the Government chooses Heathrow’s proposal [of a new runway], we want to see shareholders shoulder the risk and the burden.”

He also insisted Heathrow not be allowed to use “suppliers and parties related to the airport’s major shareholder and construction firm Ferrovial”.

Walsh argued: “Any new runway should be phased in to keep down costs. There is no need to build all the facilities at once.

“Construct the new runway first, using the existing terminal facilities. This would provide Heathrow with the resilience needed to recover from disruption, which everyone knows is the biggest problem.

“Extra flights should be introduced gradually, with growth only as aircraft become quieter.”  [That probably means BA does not want the extra competition].

He said: “There is no justification for pre-funding investment in infrastructure. Today’s customers should not be expected to pay for a development that will not be operational for 10 years.”

Walsh added: “IAG will only support expansion where it is financially viable and where there is no increase in costs.

“If there is expensive expansion at Heathrow or Gatwick we will expand through our other hubs.”

Questioned by the Travel Matters audience, Walsh insisted: “I’m not against expansion. [But] I am vehemently opposed to expensive infrastructure that can’t be justified.”

And he told the conference: “Doing nothing is better than doing the wrong thing.”

http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/62089/walsh-hits-out-at-runway-costs-and-says-heathrow-rips-off-customers

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New petition demanding real action to address global aviation CO2 – not ineffective use of “REDD” offsets

The group REDD-Monitor and other organisations have a petition asking people to sign up, to oppose the use by the global aviation industry, through ICAO, of “offsets” for its emissions using forestry.  These offsets, through REDD or REDD+ (meaning (‘Reduce Deforestation from Deforestation and Forest Degradation’) would be very cheap and available in huge numbers. They would not be an effective way to compensate for growing aviation carbon emissions. The industry’s only plan to control its CO2 emissions, while doubling them, is buying credits from other sectors. In April 2016, more than 80 NGOs put out a statement opposing the aviation sector’s carbon offsetting plans through use of REDD credits. There are many really serious problems with REDD credits.  Some are: They would only use large forestry institutions, or monoculture farming, not small landowners or forest peoples.  Most REDD projects are not those that tackle the real drivers of large-scale deforestation – extraction of oil, coal, mining, infrastructure, large-scale dams, industrial logging etc.  REDD credits carry the additional risk of becoming null and void when wildfires, storms or natural decay cause uncontrollable release of carbon stored. There are serious risks of lack of monitoring, and of fraud. REDD offsets should not be allowed for aviation carbon credits.
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Sign the petition: “No aviation growth! No false climate solutions!”

2016-06-20-150058_1225x1026_scrotThe International Civil Aviation Authority is currently considering how it can continue to expand while appearing to address greenhouse gas emissions from flying. Predictably, for a massively polluting industry with huge plans to expand, buying cheap offsets looks very attractive.

Of course, offsets will not help address climate change. It’s a recipe for burning the planet – cooked up with help from Kevin Conrad and the usual bunch of BINGOs and vested interests.

In April 2016, more than 80 NGOs, including Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, put out a statement opposing the aviation sector’s carbon offsetting plans.

Now Finance and Trade Watch, an Austrian organisation, is coordinating a petition against the aviation sector’s plans. The petition is supported by around 40 NGOs, including Attac, Friends of the Earth International, La Vía Campesina Europa, Transnational Institute, FERN, and several groups struggling against airport construction projects.

The petition demands real action to address climate change that will reduce emissions from aviation rather than giving aviation a licence to pollute through carbon offsets.

http://www.redd-monitor.org/2016/06/20/sign-the-petition-no-aviation-growth-no-false-climate-solutions/

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Note from a large number of civil society organisations, concerned with climate, environment, forest, indigenous peoples etc, in April 2016  

“Aviation industry plan to offset emissions is serious distraction from need to reduce emissions from the sector”

http://www.fern.org/sites/fern.org/files/briefingnote_airplane_1.pdf
This states:

Forests and soils do not offset fossil fuel emissions

Land-based carbon offsets, such as from REDD+ type projects or from agriculture are particularly contentious, with greater risks for the climate.
By nature, REDD+ projects place restrictions on existing land use – that is how they generate the carbon savings sold as offset credit. Because the large majority of REDD+ projects (wrongly) blames deforestation on small-scale peasant farming, in particular where it involves shifting cultivation, such restrictions have a detrimental impact on peasant livelihoods and forest peoples’ way of life.
By contrast, REDD+ projects that tackle the real drivers of large-scale deforestation – extraction of oil, coal, mining, infrastructure, large-scale dams, industrial logging and international trade in agricultural commodities – are by and large absent.7
With the challenges of counting emissions reductions and distributing offset payments to multiple small-scale farmers, there is a risk that agricultural offsets would favour large-scale farmers or monoculture farming practices, creating one more driver of land dispossession of smallholder farmers, particularly in the Global South. Offset credits from forest conservation, tree plantation or soil carbon sequestration carry the additional risk of becoming null and void when wildfires, storms or natural decay cause uncontrollable release of carbon stored in the trees, soils or other natural habitats. This is one of the reasons why the CDM excludes all offset categories related to forest or agriculture land use except for afforestation, reforestation and biomass energy projects. Even then, credits from these tree planting offset projects are sold as temporary carbon credits that need to be bought again in a matter of years because credits from tree planting projects cannot be considered to permanently store carbon.

In short, land-based offset credits are controversial, and experience from REDD+ has shown that certification standards or safeguards cannot prevent conflicts.8

We, the undersigned, call on the members of ICAO to ensure measures adopted at the 39th ICAO meeting will make an adequate and fair contribution to the global effort to limit global warming to well-below 2 degrees Celsius. Any measure adopted at the 39th ICAO meeting must make a serious proposal to reduce emissions. It must also exclude land based offset credits, such as REDD+ type projects for the reasons given in this letter.

http://www.fern.org/sites/fern.org/files/briefingnote_airplane_1.pdf


See also

NGOs call on ICAO not to use REDD+ carbon credits – forests & soils cannot offset aviation CO2

The organisation, FERN* has published a letter signed by around 82 environmental NGOs around the world, calling on the global aviation sector through ICAO to actually reduce carbon emissions, rather than just the proposed use of carbon offsetting. The NGOs say plans to offset most of the sector’s growth in emissions are a significant distraction from real measures to reduce aviation emissions.  Under business-as-usual, aviation is projected to increase emissions by between 300 – 700% by 2050, despite only being used by well below 10% of the world’s population. The NGOs are particularly concerned that carbon offsets that are inappropriate and unreliable would be used, as  ICAO is considering a carbon offset system called REDD+ (‘Reduce Deforestation from Deforestation and Forest Degradation’). The NGOs say REDD+ credits should not be used, as they do not even meet ICAO’s own standards, and include double counting. REDD+ projects that tackle the real drivers of large-scale deforestation – extraction of oil, coal, mining, infrastructure, large-scale dams, industrial logging and international trade in agricultural commodities – are largely absent. There is also a risk that agricultural offsets would favour large-scale farmers or monoculture farming practices. These are not suitable offsets for aviation. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/04/ngos-call-on-icao-not-to-use-redd-carbon-credits-forests-soils-cannot-offset-aviation-co2/


REDD:

An introduction http://www.redd-monitor.org/redd-an-introduction/

REDD, or reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, is one of the most controversial issues in the climate change debate. The basic concept is simple: governments, companies or forest owners in the South should be rewarded for keeping their forests instead of cutting them down. The devil, as always, is in the details.

The first detail is that the payments are not for keeping forests, but for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. This might seem like splitting hairs, but it is important, because it opens up the possibility, for example, of logging an area of forest but compensating for the emissions by planting industrial tree plantations somewhere else.

The idea of making payments to discourage deforestation and forest degradation was discussed in the negotiations leading to the Kyoto Protocol, but it was ultimately rejected because of four fundamental problems: leakage, additionality, permanence and measurement.

  • Leakage refers to the fact that while deforestation might be avoided in one place, the forest destroyers might move to another area of forest or to a different country.
  • Additionality refers to the near-impossibility of predicting what might have happened in the absence of the REDD project.
  • Permanence refers to the fact that carbon stored in trees is only temporarily stored. All trees eventually die and release the carbon back to the atmosphere.
  • Measurement refers to the fact that accurately measuring the amount of carbon stored in forests and forest soils is extremely complex – and prone to large errors.

Although much has been written about addressing these problems, they remain serious problems in implementing REDD, both nationally and at project level.

REDD developed from a proposal in 2005 by a group of countries lead by Papua New Guinea calling themselves the Coalition for Rainforest Nations. Two years later, the proposal was taken up at the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in Bali (COP-13). In December 2010, at COP-16, REDD formed part of the Cancun Agreements, in the Outcome of the Ad Hoc Working Group on long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention.

REDD is described in paragraph 70 of the AWG/LCA outcome:

“Encourages developing country Parties to contribute to mitigation actions in the forest sector by undertaking the following activities, as deemed appropriate by each Party and in accordance with their respective capabilities and national circumstances:

(a) Reducing emissions from deforestation;
(b) Reducing emissions from forest degradation;
(c) Conservation of forest carbon stocks;
(d) Sustainable management of forest;
(e) Enhancement of forest carbon stocks;”

This is REDD-plus (although it is not referred to as such in the AWG/LCA text). Points (a) and (b) refers to REDD. Points (c), (d) and (e) are the “plus” part. But each of these “plus points” has potential drawbacks:

  • Conservation sounds good, but the history of the establishment of national parks includes large scale evictions and loss of rights for indigenous peoples and local communities. Almost nowhere in the tropics has strict ‘conservation’ proven to be sustainable. The words “of forest carbon stocks” were added in Cancun. The concern is that forests are viewed simply as stores of carbon rather than ecosystems.
  • Sustainable management of forests could include subsidies to industrial-scale commercial logging operations in old-growth forests, indigenous peoples’ territory or in villagers’ community forests.
  • Enhancement of forest carbon stocks could result in conversion of land (including forests) to industrial tree plantations, with serious implications for biodiversity, forests and local communities.

There are some safeguards annexed to the AWG/LCA text that may help avoid some of the worst abuses. But the safeguards are weak and are only to be “promoted and supported.” The text only notes that the United Nations “has adopted” the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The text refers to indigenous peoples’ rights, but it does not protect them.

But perhaps the most controversial aspect of REDD is omitted from the REDD text agreed in Cancun. There is no mention in the text about how REDD is to be funded – the decision is postponed until COP-17 that will take place in Durban in December 2011.

There are two basic mechanisms for funding REDD: either from government funds (such as the Norwegian government’s International Forests and Climate Initiative) or from private sources, which would involve treating REDD as a carbon mitigation ‘offset’, and getting polluters to pay have their continued emissions offset elsewhere through a REDD project. There are many variants and hybrids of these two basic mechanisms, such as generating government-government funds through a “tax” on the sale of carbon credits or other financial transactions.

Trading the carbon stored in forests is particularly controversial for several reasons:

  • Carbon trading does not reduce emissions because for every carbon credit sold, there is a buyer. Trading the carbon stored in tropical forests would allow pollution in rich countries to continue, meaning that global warming would continue.
  • Carbon trading is likely to create a new bubble of carbon derivatives. There are already extremely complicated carbon derivatives on the market. Adding forest carbon credits to this mix would be disastrous, particularly given the difficulties in measuring the amount of carbon stored in forests.
  • Creating a market in REDD carbon credits opens the door to carbon cowboys, or would be carbon traders with little or no experience in forest conservation, who are exploiting local communities and indigenous peoples by persuading them to sign away the rights to the carbon stored in their forests.

Yet many REDD proponents continue to argue that carbon markets are needed to make REDD work. Environmental Defense Fund, for example,on its website states that,

“Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), which EDF helped pioneer, is based on establishing economic incentives for people who care for the forest so forests are worth money standing, not just cleared and burned for timber and charcoal. The best way to do this is to allow forest communities and tropical forest nations to sell carbon credits when they can prove they have lowered deforestation below a baseline.”

While there has not yet been any agreement on how REDD is to be financed, a look at some of the main actors involved suggests that there is a serious danger that it will be financed through carbon trading. The role of the World Bank is of particular concern, given its fondness for carbon trading.

The World Bank’s main mechanism for promoting REDD is a new scheme, launched in Bali in 2007: the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). The FCPF was set up with the explicit aim of creating markets for forest carbon, as the Bank announced in a press release on 11 December 2007:

“The facility’s ultimate goal is to jump-start a forest carbon market that tips the economic balance in favor of conserving forests, says Benoit Bosquet, a World Bank senior natural resources management specialist who has led the development of the facility.”

Carbon markets are not included in the Cancun REDD text. Yet in December 2010, the World Bank’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, Andrew Steer, wrote that one outcomes of Cancun was that “Forests [are] firmly established as a key for addressing climate change, and to be included in a future carbon trading system.”

There is a serious risk of REDD leading to increased corruption, if large sums of money start to flow – particularly for unregulated trade in REDD carbon credits in poorly governed countries. Forestry departments are among the most corrupt departments in some of the most corrupt countries in the world. The complexity of carbon markets combined with poor regulation leads to the increased risk of fraud and corruption in the rich countries. Billions of dollars have already been lost from carbon markets in Europe through fraud.

Peter Younger at Interpol is already concerned. “Alarm bells are ringing. It is simply too big to monitor,” he said in October 2009, adding that “Organised crime syndicates are eyeing the nascent forest carbon market.”

“Fraud could include claiming credits for forests that do not exist or were not protected or by land grabs. It starts with bribery or intimidation of officials, then there’s threats and violence against those people. There’s forged documents too. Carbon trading transcends borders. I do not see any input from any law enforcement agency in planning REDD.”

Without monitorable and enforceable safeguards, and strict controls and regulation, REDD may deepen the woes of developing countries – providing a vast pool of unaccountable money which corrupt interests will prey upon and political elites will use to extend and deepen their power, becoming progressively less accountable to their people. In the same way that revenues from oil, gold, diamond and other mineral reserves have fuelled pervasive corruption and bad governance in many tropical countries, REDD could prove to be another ‘resources curse’. Ultimately, this will make protection of forests less likely to be achieved and will do nothing to ameliorate carbon emissions.

http://www.redd-monitor.org/redd-an-introduction/

 

This Introduction was updated in February 2011.

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Manchester Airport rubbishes claims Heathrow expansion is crucial for Northern Powerhouse to succeed

The boss of Manchester Airport, Ken O’Toole, has rubbished Heathrow’s claims that a new London runway is crucial to the Northern Powerhouse. He argues that Manchester is an international airport in its own right with many direct long-haul routes.  He says Manchester airport could make up any long haul capacity gap over the next 15 years and beyond “if the country adopts a culture of healthy competition.”  Manchester started a direct service to Beijing last week, giving the North its first ever non-stop flight to mainland China. But Heathrow continually tries to persuade that, without a third Heathrow runway, northern businesses would lose “up to £710m” per year.  Manchester airport believes it can have a range of long haul flights, not only to tourist destinations – mentioning important markets like “Singapore, Hong Kong, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Boston and, from next March, San Francisco.”  If people can get flights to these destinations direct from Manchester, they do not need to – inconveniently – travel via Heathrow.  Ken O’Toole says some 22 million people live within two hours’ drive of Manchester Airport.  They have a huge amount of spare capacity on their two runways.  Heathrow is very nervous of losing the transfer traffic it cannot manage without, to either other hubs like Schiphol or Dubai – or the growth of airports like Manchester.
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Manchester Airport rubbishes claims Heathrow expansion is crucial for Northern Powerhouse to succeed

20 JUN 2016
BY CHARLOTTE COX (Manchester Evening News)

Heathrow boss has said without a third runway, Northern businesses would lose up to £710m

The boss of Manchester Airport has rubbished Heathrow’s claims that a new London runway is crucial to the Northern Powerhouse.

Heathrow’s chief executive John Holland Kaye last week warned that without a third runway Northern businesses would lose up to £710m per year.   Heathrow press release.  [Heathrow claims the “Increase in trade that could be facilitated if passengers who are currently forced to travel via an internationally located hub could fly via an expanded Heathrow instead (per annum) would be £420 million per year for Manchester. (A figure that Manchester would doubtless question.)  Heathrow says “Additional import/export trade facilitated for the Northern Powerhouse (per annum): £710 million for Manchester, plus Newcastle + Leeds Bradford]. 

He argued that ‘unrestrained’ international hubs such as Dubai would sap passengers and trade from the UK – and that only Heathrow could compete as the ‘domestic hub’ for the UK.

However, Ken O’Toole, CEO Of Manchester Airport , has hit back, arguing that Manchester is an international airport in its own right with many direct long-haul routes.

Manchester, he said, could fill the capacity gap over the next 15 years and beyond if the country adopts a culture of healthy competition.

He said: “The strength of Manchester Airport’s catchment area was demonstrated as recently as last week, when Hainan Airlines’ direct service to Beijing was launched, giving the North its first ever non-stop flight to mainland China.

“There are numerous other examples of long-haul carriers choosing Manchester to launch routes to key markets around the world, including destinations like Singapore, Hong Kong, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Boston and, from next March, San Francisco.”

He said such routes give the north direct access to global destinations – WITHOUT having to travel to London. All, he said, brought significant trade benefits – with the new China flight to bring at least £250m into the economy over the next decade.

Manchester Airport is an international airport in its own right, says Ken O’Toole
He added: “With 22m people living within two hours’ drive of Manchester Airport and spare capacity on our two existing runways, there is ample scope to grow our route network further and drive a re-energised Northern economy by attracting yet more long haul services to key global markets.

“That is particularly pertinent in the context of a congested south east, with no new capacity due to be delivered for at least 15 years, regardless of where a new runway is built.

“The best outcome for business and leisure passengers in the short, medium and long term will be to create a strong network of competing airports across the entire UK.”

Speaking at the International Festival of Business, Mr Holland-Kaye said the government would ‘struggle with the foundations’ of the Northern Powerhouse if a third runway isn’t built.

[Heathrow’s press release, with its claims about the benefits of its 3rd runway, can be seen here. ]

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/manchester-airport-rubbishes-claims-heathrow-11498229

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Frontier Economics:  

Heathrow’s press release, from which the £710 million figure is derived, is work done for the airport by Frontier Economics.  This is an organisation that has worked with Heathrow before, to further its aims:  “Frontier (Europe) had a significant input into the submissions made by Heathrow Airport to the Airports Commission.”   Link 

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Earlier:

Manchester Airport says it is the main airport for the north – Heathrow expansion is not needed for the regions

Charlie Cornish, the CEO of Manchester airport and MAG, says “it is just plain wrong to say that only Heathrow can connect the UK to global growth.”  His comments were in response to a report by a body called the National Connectivity Task Force NCTF), that is pushing for a 3rd Heathrow runway, in the belief it would be the best option for regional airports like Newcastle and Durham Tees Valley, if they get more Heathrow slots for their flights. The NCTF are submitting their report to the Airports Commission, hoping to influence them. Mr Cornish said Manchester Airport, the only UK airport other than Heathrow to have 2 runways, was thriving as an international hub in its own right.  He said: “It is just plain wrong to say that only Heathrow can connect the UK to global growth, or that businesses in the UK’s regions need to fly through Heathrow to reach these markets….“Manchester Airport is truly the international gateway for the North, demonstrated by the fact that it serves over 4 million long haul passengers a year, up by 20% over the last 5 years….The north does not need another runway at Heathrow to connect to global markets….The biggest economic benefit will come from new services direct from the regions, with passengers not having to fly through a London airport to reach their final destination.” 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/03/manchester-airport-says-it-is-the-main-airport-for-the-north-heathrow-expansion-is-not-needed-for-the-regions/

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Owner of Manchester and Stansted airports, MAG, unsurprisingly wants airport growth outside the south-east

The Manchester Airports Group (MAG) which owns/runs Manchester, Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports) says a new strategy is needed to promote local airports rather than investing in a megahub in the south-east. MAG wants a nationwide network of competing airports rather than investing all energies — and taxpayer funding — in an even larger airport in the south-east. While Heathrow claims it would provide a significant net benefit to northern England, allegedly “with the creation of up to 26,400 manufacturing jobs”, the Airports Commission’s own figures show negative impacts of a 3rd Heathrow runway on the UK’s regional airports. MAG believes that the expansion of local airports would provide a greater boost to the nation, and provide “an important catalyst for rebalancing UK plc.” So unsurprisingly Heathrow and MAG are both speaking from a position of self interest. While the Airports Commission ended up, misguidedly, just looking at whether they should be a runway at Heathrow or Gatwick, the main question of whether there should be a new runway in the south east at all still needs a convincing answer. MAG believes there is more likelihood of a successful “Northern Powerhouse” if northern airports get successful long haul routes, rather than Heathrow.  

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/10/owner-of-manchester-and-stansted-airports-mag-unsurprisingly-wants-airport-growth-outside-the-south-east/

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In the event of Brexit, easyJet might need to set up a new European operation

If Britain votes to leave the EU, there would be impacts on airlines. The EU agreements that have been in place since the 1990s have fostered a huge expansion of air travel in Europe. Outside the EU, flying rights between two countries, including how many airports a carrier may fly to and how often, are typically negotiated in bilateral treaties. But currently in Europe with its single aviation market, an airline can fly between any EU countries. For example, an Irish Ryanair plane can fly between Britain and Spain, or a Spanish airline can operate flights within France.  EasyJet is particularly worried about a Brexit vote.  EasyJet is the second largest airline in France.  Brexit could mean that the UK is excluded from the common aviation area. One thing EasyJet might have to do, in the event of Brexit, would be to obtain an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) in an EU country, which would require it to establish a local holding company. However,  the holding company would have to be 51% owned by local investors and would have to comply with local regulations.  Ryanair and British Airways already have AOCs in Ireland and Spain, while EasyJet does not.  Brexit might have the effect of forcing Ryanair to set up a formal British business by obtaining a UK AOC.  A Brexit vote could affect all pan-European carriers, not just British ones.
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easyJet eyes new European operation if Britain flies solo

By Ben Martin and Ben Marlow  (Telegraph)

11.6.2016

Budget airline easyJet has examined setting up a separate European business in case Britain leaves the European Union.

Obtaining an air operator’s certificate (AOC) in an EU country, which would require it to establish a local holding company, is one of the options the FTSE 100 carrier has looked at as part of contingency planning in the event of a Brexit.  

It is also thought that easyJet has  examined making better use of  its Swiss AOC and its easyJet Switzerland subsidiary if Britain secedes from the EU.

Should the UK vote to leave on  June 23, the worst-case scenario for airlines would be if Britain was subsequently pushed out of the European common aviation area. Obtaining an operating licence in  an EU country would help easyJet to fly in Europe.

An AOC would require the airline to have a subsidiary in that country, but that would not be an obstacle as easyJet already has bases and operations across Europe.  The holding company would have to be 51% owned by local investors and would have to comply with local regulations.

It would not require easyJet to move its Luton headquarters abroad. A Brexit is seen as being more problematic for easyJet than for Irish rival Ryanair or British Airways parent  International Airlines Group, which owns Iberia and Aer Lingus and which has AOCs in the UK, Ireland and Spain.

“Of those three, [easyJet are] the ones that have to do the most contingency planning,” said one analyst. “They are a pan-European airline, they make maximum use of the traffic rights that allow UK airlines to fly to points within Europe.”

Brexit may also force Ryanair to set up a formal British business by obtaining a UK AOC.   A spokesman for easyJet, which is a vocal supporter of the UK staying in the EU, said it was focusing on that campaign and lobbying to ensure the country remained part of the  common aviation area.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/06/11/easyjet-eyes-new-european-operation-if-britain-flies-solo/

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On 22nd June: 

“Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has warned the airline will put fewer aircraft in the UK if it votes to leave the EU.

O’Leary, a vocal support of the Remain campaign, said if there is a vote to exit on Thursday, Ryanair will look to move some of the aircraft currently in its 26 UK airports to other countries.   He said this would, of course, lead to job losses.  If it stays, it will continue to invest very heavily in its UK operations.” Link 


UK Referendum Could Affect European Airline Traffic Rights

June 20, 2016 (Industries Reuters)

(Fox Business)

A British vote to leave the European Union in Thursday’s referendum would call into question EU agreements on open airspace that have fostered a huge expansion of air travel, creating uncertainty for both British and other EU airlines.

Flying rights between two countries, including how many airports a carrier may fly to and how often, are typically negotiated in bilateral treaties.

But by creating the single aviation market in the 1990s, the EU allowed the region’s airlines unlimited access to the skies of fellow member states, doubling traffic growth in the four years after liberalization.

Liberalization means an Irish carrier can fly between Britain and Spain, or a British carrier can operate domestic flights within France, opportunities seized upon by low cost carriers.

A Brexit vote in Thursday’s British referendum on EU membership would therefore affect all pan-European carriers, not just British ones.

The biggest market for Ireland’s Ryanair is Britain while UK-based easyJet is the second largest airline in France, and they have campaigned for Britain to stay in the EU.

In the immediate future, airline bosses are worried about the impact a Brexit could have on travel demand.

KPMG says the number of passengers carried between Britain and the EU increased to over 130 million in 2015 from 69 million passengers in 1996, while the top eight UK-based airlines made over 10.5 billion pounds ($15.4 billion) in revenue from travel between Britain and other EU states.

Here are some of the scenarios for aviation. Britain’s access to the single market is unchanged while an EU exit is formally negotiated:

ECAA (European Common Aviation Area)

Industry experts say one way to ensure nothing changes for airlines is for Britain to agree access to the European Common Aviation Area, which comprises all EU member states, plus some non-EU states including Norway, Iceland and Albania.

Tony Tyler, head of the International Air Transport Association, said this would be a plausible outcome. “If that were to happen, there would not be much impact, but nobody can make predictions.”

To rejoin as a non-EU country, Britain will likely have to ensure its aviation laws and standards comply with EU regulations, according to law firm Eversheds.

Analysts at CAPA-Centre for Aviation have said Britain might not be guaranteed ECAA membership, because other signatory nations could object to protect their own national carriers.

But James Stamp, UK head of Transport at KPMG, said he didn’t think European states would restrict access to their markets, because they benefit from access to Britain’s large travel market.

 

SWITZERLAND STYLE OR BILATERALS

As an alternative, Britain could negotiate bilateral deals with the EU as a whole, as Switzerland has done, or with individual EU countries.

As with the ECAA, any Swiss-style deal with the EU as a whole would likely mean adopting EU law and principles.

“It is important to note that negotiating such an agreement with the EU could be very complicated and time consuming, particularly if the UK government wishes to derogate (seek exemption) in any way from EU law,” Eversheds wrote of this option.

On the possibility of bilateral deals with each individual member state, airlines are skeptical.

“We think it would be very difficult for our government to negotiate with 27 other member states to get the flying rights that we have today within the EU,” easyJet CEO Carolyn McCall has said.

 

U.S. ROUTES

It is not only European routes that would be affected. Britain’s airlines enjoy unlimited flying rights to the United States, including on lucrative trans-Atlantic routes, thanks to the EU-U.S. Open Skies agreement.

Britain could either negotiate joining the Open Skies deal, or seek its own bilateral agreement with the United States.

 

IF TIME RUNS OUT

If no agreements are finalised during the two-year exit period, Andrew Meany, head of transport at consultancy Oxera, said airlines could use code shares and alliances to get partners to operate flights they were no longer permitted to make.

London-listed IAG, comprising British Airways, Irish Aer Lingus and Spanish Iberia and Vueling and which has various code share arrangements, has been relaxed. CEO Willie Walsh said he did not expect any material impact.

EasyJet, which like other budget carriers does not operate code share flights for cost reasons, is reported to have looked at setting up a separate holding company to get an air operator’s certificate in an EU country.

However, Oxera said that may not be possible due to restrictions on ownership rules, which do not allow non-EU investors to own a controlling stake in an EU airline.

http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2016/06/20/uk-referendum-could-affect-european-airline-traffic-rights.html

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Earlier:

EasyJet CEO says UK should stay in the EU for low fares and airline benefits

easyJet will campaign for Britain to stay in the European Union, with its chief executive telling consumers that membership encourages low cost travel between European cities.  easyJet ‘s CEO, Carolyn McCall, said the EU was good for its business and its customers. “We will do everything we can to make sure that consumers understand that they are far better off within the EU when it comes to connectivity and low fares,” she said.  Ms McCall is part of the pro-European lobby group, “Britain Stronger in Europe”, headed by former Marks & Spencer chief executive Stuart Rose. EasyJet would not be shy about its support. easyJet operates over 600 routes, most of which are in the EU. Ms McCall said: “We think it would be very difficult for our government to negotiate with 27 other member states to get the flying rights that we have today within the EU.” EasyJet has detailed contingency plans in place for if the UK votes to leave the EU, but they are not making these public. Ryanair has also urged Britain to stay in the EU.  Though several large British businesses favour staying in the EU, often due to the benefits of tariff-less trade, many smaller firms feel the EU imposes what they argue are costly regulations. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/01/easyjet-ceo-says-uk-should-stay-in-the-eu-for-low-fares-and-airline-benefits/

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Brexit up in the air: implications for aviation if the UK votes to leave the EU

CAPA, the Centre for Aviation, has set out some of the issues that UK aviation might face, if the UK chose to leave the EU – Brexit.  CAPA says the biggest source of benefits to UK aviation from EU membership is in the area of traffic rights and the nationality of airlines. Any airline owned and controlled by nationals of EU member states is free to operate anywhere within the EU without restrictions on capacity, frequency or pricing. The European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) covers 36 countries and 500 million people. CAPA believes if the UK were to leave the EU, its airlines would no longer enjoy automatic access to this market, although the UK might negotiate continued access. The most obvious way for the UK to do this would be to participate in the ECAA Agreement in the same way as countries such as Norway currently do. CAPA says it would be questionable whether continued pan-European access would be popular in the EU for easyJet  which has caused significant competitive damage to European legacy airlines. Being Irish, Ryanair would continue to have access to the European market, but if the UK had left the EU, this could cause Ryanair difficulties operating in what is its largest country market. Hence Michael O’Leary is backing the UK’s continued EU membership.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/01/brexit-up-in-the-air-implications-for-aviation-if-the-uk-votes-to-leave-the-eu/

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Willie Walsh says Brexit will not have ‘material impact’ on IAG’s business

A Brexit vote would not have a material impact on the airline business, according to Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group (IAG).  Last year, he said he was “pro-Europe”, adding that he believed the UK is better off within the EU from a business point of view. On Radio 4’s Today programme he said IAG had taken advice from a number of sources, looked at it within the company and done a risk analysis. Though there is a lot of uncertainty, the view of IAG is that leaving the EU would not have much impact on them. The low cost airlines fear Brexit could mean higher air fares. Ryanair apparently plans a poster campaign on his own planes, encouraging customers to vote to stay in the EU. Heathrow and Gatwick airports are in favour of Britain staying in the EU, for their businesses. Willie Walsh had previously spoken out about the impact of a possible Brexit on Ireland’s economy, but urged fellow Irish chief executives to stay out of the debate.  IAG has announced profits of €2.34bn for the year ending 31 December 2015 – a year-on-year increase of 125%.  Helped by the low price of jet fuel, (and savings not passed on to passengers?)

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/02/willie-walsh-saysbrexit-will-not-have-material-impact-on-iags-business/

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English translations of some videos explaining arguments against a new Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport

The local opposition around Nantes, to the building a new airport north of Nantes, have produced a series of short videos, setting out some of the issues. There will be a referendum on 26th June, for people in the area, on whether the existing airport, Nantes-Atlantique, should be closed and a new airport constructed at Notre Dame des Landes (NDDL).  The opponents of the NDDL airport say, among other things:  – The number of flights at Nantes has hardly grown in 10 years.  – It is possible to slightly grow the current Nantes-Atlantique airport (just south of Nantes) and slightly extend the runway by 60 metres.  – It is possible to take measures to slightly reduce the noise at the Nantes-Atlantique airport.  – The new NDDL airpot would cost the taxpayer about €280 million.  – There would be no more destinations from the new NDDL airport than from the Nantes-Atlantique airport.  Germany has 45 airports, and France has 156 airports. – The NDDL airport would mean the destruction of 700 hectares of wetland and about 900 hectares of farmland. – Many protected species would be lost. – About 200 agriculture-associated jobs would be lost, and most of the alleged new jobs would just move from the old airport. – The costs to passengers will be higher at the NDDL airport.  And there is a lot more.  With English translations below.  https://www.acipa-ndl.fr/
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The four videos are on the ACIPA website, in French.  https://www.acipa-ndl.fr/actualites/divers/item/669-4-videos-virales-a-partager

Below are translations of what they say,

Video 1.  General

One of the short videos produced by the campaign to prevent the building of a new airport for Nantes, at Notre Dame des Landes (NDDL)  north of Nantes – to replace the existing airport of Nantes-Atlantique, which is south of Nantes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlaJTirwlMI   2 mins 30 secs long

on the Referendum on 26th June.   Lots of text, so if anyone can speak even a bit of French, it is relatively easy to understand.

Just a few facts from the film:

The NDDL project has been dragging on since 1967.

The number of landings and take offs has hardly grown in 10 years.

It is possible to slightly grow the current Nantes-Atlantique airport (just south of Nantes) and slightly extend the runway by 60 metres.

It is possible to take measures to slightly reduce the noise at the Nantes-Atlantique airport.

The new NDDL airpot would cost the taxpayer about €280 million.

There would be no more destinations from the new NDDL airport than from the Nantes-Atlantique airport.

Germany has 45 airports, and France has 156 airports.

The NDDL airport would mean the destruction of 700 hectares of wetland.

One one shuttle bus service is planned from Nantes to NDDL.

It is 29 km from Nantes to NDDL.

There are 109 protected species in the area of NDDL that would be destroyed by the new airport.

The new airport would be more expensive for the passengers.

The shuttle bus would be more expensive and the parking would be more expensive.

The runways are not planned to be as long as the current runway at Nantes-Atlantique.

The boss of Vinci, the company planning to build the airport, has said the movement to NDDL is not a response to aviation issues.

Saying the current airport is too small for the traffic is FALSE.

Geneva airport has 13 million annual passengers, and the site is 340 hectares.

San Diego airport has 17 million annual passengers, and the site is 270 hectares.

Nantes airport has 3.2 million annual passengers, and the site is 320 hectares.

Geneva and San Diego airports transport 4 – 5 times as many passengers.

An airport in Spain was inaugurated in 2008 and cost a million €s.

That Spanish airport accumulated a debt of €300 million over 4 years.

The airport has been abandoned for several years.  Don’t let’s make the same mistake with NDDL !

Would you rather your tax money went to something more useful

Would you rather €280 million of your tax money went to a year of free transport for everyone

Then vote NO on 26th June.

Watch the video in French at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlaJTirwlMI

 


Video 2   Employment

Short video in French (1 min 45 secs) on the employment situation for a new NDDL airport:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MG8DJ0G0Z5E

Just a few facts from the film:

The airport promises 3,000 jobs.

That would be 700 people for 4 years.

There would be the loss of about 30 agricultural jobs, before the start of the airport work, and others in the following  years.

For each agricultural employee, you can count 5 or 6 who are (?) employed indirectly.

The building of NDDL airport would the loss of about 200 jobs.

We are told the creation of NDDL airport would mean the creation of 2,500 jobs in airport work with 5 million annual air passengers.

But in reality there might be 2,000.

But these would just be jobs transferred from the existing Nantes-Atlantique airport to the south, moved up to the NDDL airport to the north.

That will just make a loss of jobs and consequent employment problems to the south of Nantes.

Watch the video in French at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MG8DJ0G0Z5E 


Video 3  Environment

One of the short videos by the campaign opposing the new NDDL airport.

Short video (2 mins 48 secs) on the Environment.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3QuldSEWbU

Just a few facts from the film:

Proponents of the NDDL airport say it would be best for the environment.

They say there would be lots of plants around and the airport buildings would be much more energy efficient than the current airport.

In reality, it would only be a bit better.

And when the huge amount of energy needed to build the new airport is taken into account, the NDDL airport would account for massively more energy. (Around 33 units ? size for Nantes-Atlantique and 110 for NDDL).   Almost 4 times as much in carbon emissions.

There is also the huge loss of land, the loss of wetlands and the loss of agricultural jobs.

There would be the destruction of 900 hectares of agricultural land.

The concept of the NDDL airport was formed back in 1963 when nobody had any idea of the importance of conserving wetlands.

Wetlands are areas where there is very rich biodiversity.

The NDDL airport site is situated entirely in wetland.

Lots of protected species are present on the site. Including a loriot, a kingfisher, an orchid, the great crested newt and a bat species.

Measures to compensate for the loss of wetland are suggested. But it is not possible to re-create such a complex ecosystem.

Only a tiny number of individuals from 3 species could be transferred to new habitats.  That’s about 1% or 10 species pre thousand.

The EU is in the process of a procedure against France because of its treatment of environmental issues.

It means the destruction of an area that is very rich in biodiversity, without serious compensation.

Watch the video in French at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3QuldSEWbU

 


Video 4   Safety

One of the short videos produced by the campaign to prevent the building of a new airport for Nantes, at Notre Dame des Landes (NDDL)  north of Nantes – to replace the existing airport of Nantes-Atlantique, which is south of Nantes.

On Security.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zztLQ9vSWW4

Just a few facts from the film:

Supporters of the new airport at NDDL say the existing airport at Nantes-Atlantique is one of the most dangerous in France.

Several aviation trade bodies (BEA and USAC-CGT) have said the location so near Nantes is not safe. [They should take a look at Heathrow, by contrast, with it  480,000 flights mainly coming right over London !]

They say the airport does not offer the best conditions for security.

No other organisation has said Nantes-Atlantique is unsafe.

There is no report from the BEA implying that Nantes-Atlantique is dangerous.

Of the 5 airports the BEA says have problematic approaches, Nantes is not one.

In reality, Nantes-Atlantique is placed in Category A  at the safest group of airports.

The level of over-flights is no worse than at Toulouse or Marseilles, Paris, London or Brussels.

There can in future be a more safe [CDA] landing system so planes are a bit higher over Nantes, as at other European airports.

Watch the video in French at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zztLQ9vSWW4


Video 5   Noise nuisance

One of the films by the opponents of a new airport at Notre Dame des Landes  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSMvcWZ-ijM 

Just a few facts from the film:

One reason for wanting to build a new airport at NDDL is the noise problem.

42,000 people around Nantes are exposed to aircraft noise nuisance.

That noise figure is calculated based on their being 75,000 movements per year, when in fact there are 49,000.

The film explains the numbers in the various average noise contours.

Most people get noise at around the level of the spin of a washing machine.

Those suffering more than 55 dB  (Lden ?) are only around 5,000 people.  That’s at 75,000 flights per year.

There are ways to limit the noise, used at many airports.

There can be higher charges for more noisy aircraft. This is not yet done.

It would be possible for planes to land and take off, not overflying Nantes so much.

They could also come in to land from a greater height, on CDA, so not flying so low, in stepped descents, over the built up area.

And there should be much stronger limits on night flights.

There are better ways to reduce the noise burden than building a new airport at NDDL.

Watch the video in French at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSMvcWZ-ijM

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Translation from the French of the  350.org petition against the new airport at

http://350.org/fr/nddl-non/

Notre Dame des Landes consultation on 26th June

We all have a good reason to say NO!


Because the Notre Dame des Landes project, which is now over 50 years old, no longer suits the needs of our territories
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Because no airline has asked for the current Nantes Atlantique airport to be transferred, because it won the award for the best European regional airport in 2012 and because, as the current airport is not saturated, it can be rapidly optimized and modernized (lobby and car parks) as acknowledged by the Ministry for the Environment;

Because new facilities do not create business and a simple transfer from the south to the north of Nantes will not create 3000 lasting jobs, as announced by the promotors of the project, but will accentuate more than anything the economical unbalance in the agglomeration of Nantes;

Because the transfer would artificialize over 900 hectares of land and would eliminate at least 200 agricultural and associated jobs;

Because if the agricultural land disappears, we shall not be able to feed our children tomorrow (the equivalent of one “département” disappears every 7 years in France).  At the rate of 20 million hectares urbanized each year all over the world, in 100 years’ time we shall have consumed the equivalent of all the arable land on the earth (source FAO) ;

Because the site at Notre Dame des Landes is located entirely on wetlands, rich in biodiversity and protected by several international conventions ;

Because the European Union has filed a suit against France for breach of the environmental aspects of this issue;

Because keeping Nantes Atlantique will mean generating four times less greenhouse gas and that  modernizing would cost between twice and ten times less than building a new airport at Notre Dame des Landes;

Because aircraft noise is dropping, in Nantes just like elsewhere, as the latest planes are less noisy and noise can be reduced further through various measures (flight paths, penalizing the noisiest planes…);

Because Nantes Atlantique is classed category A for safety, without restriction, and that flying over Nantes is done with the same guarantee of safety as Toulouse, Marseille, Paris, London, Brussels… ;

Because we want the taxpayers’ money to be used for the public interest, because every euro spent should be a useful euro and that an expertise assigned by the Ministry for the Environment concludes that the project for the new airport at Notre Dame des Landes is oversized;

Because everyone is concerned by the imperative to preserve our planet;

Because, in the same way as the other stages in this business, this consultation is tainted by a lack of democracy, i.e. a local consultation for a national project, lack of information, unequal means…

Because, even outside the département of Loire-Atlantique, we all feel concerned about this project of national interest led by the State;

 

For all these reasons, we are against this project

And incite the inhabitants of Loire-Atlantique to vote NO on 26th June!

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AirportWatch calls on the Advertising Standards Authority to take action to remove misleading ads speedily

A bizarre court case has seen two environmental campaigners landed with a bill for more than £2,600 after they “corrected” a Heathrow Airport billboard promoting a new runway – even though the Advertising Standards Authority subsequently ruled that Heathrow’s claims were indeed incorrect. Lawrence Rose and Joseph McGahan were found guilty of defacing Heathrow billboards near the airport, and in their view correcting misinformation on the adverts in March 2015. The adverts about local support and about benefits to the UK economy were referred – in March or April 2015 –  to the Advertising Standards Authority, which ruled in September 2015 that these adverts were misleading. Larry and Joe were given suspended sentences, after a jury trial, and fines including a cost of £1,200 to Heathrow airport for the cost of  tidying up the damage to their incorrect and misleading adverts. They were also fined £1,440 of court costs.  For  many months in 2014 and 2015, Heathrow placed these misleading advertisements in very public places. Thousands or hundreds of thousands of people will have seen the ads. Though the Advertising Standards Authority eventually ruled against them, the process took many months so by that time Heathrow had had extensive publicity and been able to convey misinformation. AirportWatch believes this is wrong. The process by which incorrect adverts are removed should be improved to ensure unsubstantiated claims by huge companies, like airports, are not left in place for months after being challenged.
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AirportWatch calls on the Advertising Standards Authority to take action to remove misleading ads speedily

16.6.2016  (AirportWatch press release

A bizarre court case has seen two environmental campaigners landed with a bill for more than £2,600 after they “corrected” a Heathrow Airport billboard promoting a new runway – even though the Advertising Standards Authority subsequently ruled that Heathrow’s claims were indeed incorrect.

Lawrence Rose 32, and Joseph McGahan 29, (1) were charged by the CPS and have been found guilty (2)at Isleworth Crown Court of defacing Heathrow billboards near the airport, in March 2015.

Using spray paint, they modified one billboard reading “Those living around us are behind us” to say “Those living around us are CHOKING” referring to the illegal levels of air pollution in places near Heathrow.  (Image of the altered billboard below).

The other billboard read “Expand Heathrow and the economy grows by up to £211 billion” and they spray painted that to read “Expand Heathrow and you grow the economy by destroying homes.”  (Image of the billboard before being altered, below).

The adverts about local support and about benefits to the UK economy were referred – in March or April 2015 –  to the Advertising Standards Authority, which ruled in September that these adverts were misleading. (3).

The two defendants were today given suspended sentences, after a jury trial, and fines including a cost of £1,200 to Heathrow airport for the cost of  tidying up the damage to their incorrect and misleading adverts. They were also fined £1,440 of court costs. (4)

The background to the case is that, for many months in 2014 and 2015, Heathrow placed these misleading advertisements up in very public places.  Thousands or hundreds of thousands of people will have seen these adverts, either in the media, on the transport network, or driving around Heathrow.

Though the Advertising Standards Authority eventually ruled against them, the process took many months so by that time Heathrow had had extensive publicity and been able to convey misinformation.

The defendants defaced the adverts because they were untrue and their court defence was one of “immediate necessity”, as they considered the Heathrow adverts to be contributing to environmental and social damage being done by Heathrow, and especially by a potential 3rd runway.  They hoped their minor crime of defacing the advertisements would help to prevent the larger ‘crimes’, of increased local air pollution, the destruction of homes in the Heathrow villages, and rising carbon emissions from increasing UK aviation.

Heathrow had a range of possible figures on their various billboards around March 2015.  Indeed at the end of March 2015, two different billboards were spotted near Terminal 5.  One said the economic benefit would be “£100 billion” and the other said it would be “up to £211 billion.”  (5) This glaring discrepancy gave the impression that the figures were speculative and exaggerated.

The judge was aware of the sincerity of the beliefs of the defendants, and awarded the lowest sentences available for the charges, by the CPS, of criminal damage and intent to do criminal damage.

Joe and Larry commented after the sentencing:  “We honestly believed we acted to protect the lives and property of those affected by Heathrow. We will not be deterred by this punishment and will continue to campaign against injustice.”

The case highlights a major anomaly in the system for regulating advertisers which is that most advertising campaigns last weeks or a few months while the ASA complaints process lasts many months.

It means that even when an advertisement makes blatantly false claims, it is normally able to remain in place for the full duration of a campaign because the ASA is incapable of acting fast enough to remove it. It means that the system is of little use in protecting the public from misinformation and lies of the kind peddled by Heathrow.

Sarah Clayton, AirportWatch co-ordinator commented: “Heathrow has spent an unknown sum, but many million pounds, on advertising and PR to promote its aims.  Several of its adverts have been ruled against by the ASA. This has not prevented months of incorrect information being continually put before the public.  With so much at stake, for many thousands of people, who are negatively impacted by Heathrow, this is completely unacceptable. The way advertisements by powerful, rich organisations are monitored and controlled needs radical overhaul.”

A complaint has been sent to the ASA.

ENDS

 

 

Notes for Editors:

(1). The defendants both live near Reading.  One works in market gardening growing organic vegetables, and one works growing hemp for low energy buildings.

(2). There were 4 charges. The first three are criminal damage, or intent to commit criminal damage.   The charges were:

 

i). Damage to both sides of a Heathrow billboard on one of the roads near the airport.

ii). Removal of a poster from a bus stop, and spraying (I think) Stop Heathrow Expansion on the shelter.

iii. Defacing another billboard – that might be the one about knocking down homes.

iv). Possession of items (spray paint can (s), hi-viz jackets etc)  intending to use it without lawful excuse to damage property belonging to another person.

The two were initially accused of conspiracy.  Hence the trial was put for the Crown Court.  The police then decided it was not conspiracy, but the case has remained in the Crown Court.

 

(3).   “Advertising Standards Agency rules Heathrow ads claiming “Those living around us are behind us” are misleading”.  16th September 2015   http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/09/advertising-standards-agency-rules-heathrow-ads-claiming-those-living-around-us-are-behind-us-are-misleading/

 

(4).  The judge gave both Lawrence Rose and Joseph McGahan suspended sentences, for one year. There was a fine of £1,200 to pay Heathrow for the costs of tidying up after the billboards were defaced.  The total cost, including the Court costs was £ 2,640 between the two.  As Lawrence has a small amount of savings, he will he have to pay part by the end of July.  Joseph will have to pay part by the end of June 2017.

 

(5).  Both the advertising hoardings, carrying widely different figures of economic benefit, were seen on 30thMarch 2015.   Heathrow display 2 versions of their “economic benefit” poster – one saying £100 billion, the other “up to £211 billion” … (Over 60 years)

The Airports Commission later came out with a figure of possible benefit of up to £147 billion for the UK, over a period of 60 years.  Some of the Commission’s own advisors questioned this figure. The Government Department for Transport have a method, called Webtag, to cost transport projects. This indicated there could even be an overall loss, over a period of 60 years. http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/08/analysis-by-aef-shows-60-year-impact-of-heathrow-runway-likely-to-be-minimal-or-negative-not-147-billion-over-60-years/

 

(6). Below is a (low quality) photo of one of the billboards near Heathrow carrying the advert.

Heathrow poster destroying homes

Below is an image of the billboard having been changed to add “CHOKING”

Those lving around us ar CHOKING

 

(7).  The two defendants were initially spotted defacing a billboard by a local bus driver. He reported it to the police. The police then arrived and arrested them.

 

(8). The Judge did ask is any of the jury members were financially dependent on anyone working at Heathrow.  They were not allowed to continue on the jury.  He is not believed to have asked if anyone had any other connections.

 

(9). The Judge said as all the jury were from west London, they would be well aware of the Heathrow issue (not sure the exact words – but colleagues in the court believed this assumption was not fully justified, as many people may know only the arguments put forward by Heathrow, with the advertising and PR budget of many million ££s, while the arguments and facts contradicting the Heathrow ads etc do not get anything like as much public media coverage).

 

(10). The Judge was at pains to find out whether the two sincerely held their beliefs when they acted. He accepted that they did.  The Judge, in his summing up, referred to the death from asthma of a daughter of one of his friends from somewhere around Heathrow, which Joe believed was associated with Heathrow pollution.

When asked about the property which he believed to be in need of protection (in reference to the lawful excuse for damage) Jo had mentioned as examples homes in Bangladesh at risk from sea-level rise from climate change as well as the homes in the Heathrow villages that would be knocked down for expansion..

 

(11).  The police made the charge of intent to commit a crime, having found a note in the back pocket of the jeans of one of the defendants and the key to a van. The van contained a bus stop poster that had been removed , spray paint cans and a camera that contained videos of posters being “modified”.  They initially charged the two with conspiracy. This warranted a Crown Court trial.  Normally mere criminal damage would be tried in a Magistrates Court.

 

(12). Below are links to 3 stories showing where the ASA has ruled against Heathrow advertisements:

 

Advertising Standards Authority rules against misleading “Back Heathrow” ad claiming 60% support for runway

April 20, 2016

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned an advert from “Back Heathrow” claiming that most local people back Heathrow expansion. “Back Heathrow” is a lobby group, funded through Heathrow with the aim of pushing for the 3rd runway. Back Heathrow ran a regional press ad headlined “Rallying for the runway” with the line “Don’t believe the hype. Most people living in communities near Heathrow Airport support its expansion.”  They claimed from polls there was 60% support.  The ASA says the claim was misleading, and the 60% figure had only been massaged up from 50% to that level by omitting the 15% who did not express an opinion. The ASA considered most consumers were likely to understand it to mean that a clear majority of those surveyed in the poll (the original sample) were in support of expansion. They ruled that removing the 15% was “not a suitable methodology by which to draw such a conclusion, and was misleading. The ad must not appear again in its current form, and “Back Heathrow” must not repeat these claims ” unless it held robust substantiation for them.”  This is a blow to “Back Heathrow,” the strategy of which has been to try to convince decision-makers that a majority of local people back a 3rd runway.  That claim looks flimsy. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/04/advertising-standards-authority-rules-against-misleading-back-heathrow-ad-claiming-60-support-for-runway

 

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Earlier:

Advertising Standards Authority finds Heathrow advert about increased trade breaches their code and is ‘misleading’

February 4, 2015

In October 2014 about 13 people send in official complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority, on claims being made by Heathrow in its adverts. The ASA looked at 7 different complaints, and considered that 6 passed their standards. However, on the claim by Heathrow in its ads headed:”Expand Heathrow and its’s the economy that takes off” the statement “Direct flights to long-haul destinations build twenty times more trade with them than indirect flights” was found to breach the ASA code. The ASA say the claim was not adequately substantiated and that the ad therefore breached the Code, both by being misleading and by not having proper substantiation. The ASA say the advert “must not appear again in its current form.” They have told Heathrow “to ensure that they held robust substantiation for absolute claims made in their future advertising.”  The ASA ruling also says the claim was presented as objective facts rather than an educated assumption and that Heathrow’s own report “One Hub or None”itself cautioned that direct flights would not automatically lead to more trade and that multiple factors could influence the amount of bilateral trade.  

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/02/advertising-standards-authority-finds-heathrow-advert-about-increased-trade-breaches-their-code-and-is-misleading/
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Advertising Standards Agency rules Heathrow ads claiming “Those living around us are behind us” are misleading

September 16, 2015

Heathrow Airport has been told by the ASA that its adverts claiming that “Those living around us are behind us”.  Eight people had challenged whether the adverts were misleading and if they could be substantiated.  The ASA concluded that the claim exaggerated the level of support for expansion, had not been substantiated and was misleading. They noted that the claims “Those living around us are behind us” and “Locals support it” were not qualified.  The ASA considered that most readers would interpret the claims to mean that a clear majority of those living in close proximity to Heathrow Airport supported expansion. The evidence provided, however, showed that only 50% of those surveyed from ten constituencies close to the airport supported expansion. The ASA say the ads must not appear in their current form again. They told Heathrow Airport Ltd to ensure they held sufficient evidence to substantiate their objective marketing claims in future, and to ensure their claims were adequately qualified, without contradiction. John Stewart, chair of HACAN, said: “This judgement is not good news for Heathrow. It undermines a key plank of their campaign that they have strong local support for a third runway.” The ASA ruled against other Heathrow ads in February 2015.   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/09/advertising-standards-agency-rules-heathrow-ads-claiming-those-living-around-us-are-behind-us-are-misleading/

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There was also:

Heathrow display 2 versions of their “economic benefit” poster – one saying £100 billion, the other “up to £211 billion” … (Over 60 years)

March 30, 2015

Heathrow airport has two different versions of its massive poster near Terminal 5. They have the same text,  with claims of the alleged economic benefits to the UK of a new runway.  One poster says “Expand Heathrow and you grow the economy by £100 billion.” And other nearby says “Expand Heathrow and you grow the economy by up to £211 billion.”  They cannot both be right.  Is this merely a matter of picking wildly different figures out of the air?  Heathrow airport responded that:  “£100bn was our conservative estimate. When the Airports Commission analysed it they estimated up to £211bn across UK.”  What the massive posters fail to say it these purported benefit are not for one year. They are over a 60 year period, 2026 to 2086. ie. not a huge amount per year, (£2 – 3 billion maximum, on a generous estimate) bearing in mind the huge tourism deficit (perhaps £10 – £13 billion per year); or the loss to the Treasury as air travel pays no VAT and no fuel duty, (amounting to perhaps £10 billion per year). But the Airports Commission estimate of £211 billion economic benefit from a new NW Heathrow runway comes with many caveats – by the Commission itself.  They say the “results should be interpreted with caution, given the innovative methodology used…”  So more that are difficult to substantiate.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/03/heathrow-display-2-versions-of-their-economic-benefit-poster-one-saying-100-billion-the-other-up-to-211-billion-over-60-years/

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Government decides not to devolve APD to Wales

The UK government has confirmed that there would be no devolution of APD to Wales. APD has been fully devolved to Scotland, and SNP has the intention of halving it and eventually scrapping it.  Some in the Welsh Assembly wanted devolution of APD to Wales, so it could be cut – in the vain hope that would boost the profitability of struggling Cardiff airport. Airports in England, and Bristol in particular, were deeply opposed to APD in Wales being cut, in case that encouraged people to use Cardiff airport rather than Bristol. The local Bristol MP said that would cause unfair competition between airports. The impact of abolishing APD would only be at most £13 per return flight for anywhere in Europe, (£26 for a return flight within the UK) – with no difference for a child under 16, so hardly worth the trip all way over to Cardiff.   In a Commons debate on the Wales Bill, parliamentary under secretary of state for Wales, Conservative MP Guto Bebb, said: “Air Passenger Duty has been raised during the debate, and the fact that we are not proposing to devolve it has been criticised, although I think that that is right and proper.”  The loss of income from the removal of APD would in all likelihood be larger than any benefit from more inbound tourism etc, causing a net loss to the Welsh economy.
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Government decides not to devolve APD to Wales

by Phil Davies  (Travel Weekly)
Jun 15th 2016

A government decision not to devolve Air Passenger Duty to Wales will ensure fair competition between Bristol and Cardiff airports, an MP claims.

Bristol South Labour MP Karin Smyth has been campaigning against devolution of the air tax to the Welsh government as it would have made flying from Cardiff “significantly cheaper” with a reduction or abolition of APD in Wales.

The government yesterday confirmed that there would be no devolution of APD to Wales.

Cardiff airport is owned by the Welsh government and devolving APD powers would have allowed the tax to be cut, potentially drawing thousands of passengers away from Bristol.

In a Commons debate on the Wales Bill, parliamentary under secretary of state for Wales, Conservative MP Guto Bebb, (Conservative MP for Aberconwy) said: “Air Passenger Duty has been raised during the debate, and the fact that we are not proposing to devolve it has been criticised, although I think that that is right and proper.”

An argument had been put forward that there was a need to devolve provisions for long haul passengers, but there has been no consensus on that issue, he added.

“I also ask what benefits such a measure would bring to north Wales in terms of the impact on the Welsh devolution financial settlement. At this time I think it is the right decision not to devolve air passenger duty, and I am happy to stand by that,” said Bebb.

He was responding to a question from Smyth, who highlighted the economic impact to the local area of Bristol airport, which employs 11,000 people and handles seven million passengers a year.

Smyth said: “Bristol airport wants to continue investing in facilities and creating jobs.

“APD devolution would have broken up the level playing field on which it currently operates, so the government’s decision not to devolve these powers to Wales is very welcome news for the south-west’s economy.

“Aviation has long been part of Bristol’s economic success story and our local airport’s capacity is central to further growth.”

http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/62005/government-decides-not-to-devolve-apd-to-wales

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