Gatwick airport announces first profits for years and returns for its investors … UK tax?

Gatwick airport has announced its results for the year to 31st March 2014. It has made a profit, for the first time in 4 years. Gatwick says its passenger numbers reached 35.9 million in 2013/14 (4.8% up on 2012/13). Their turnover is up 10.2% to £593.7 million and EBITDA is up 14.2% to £259.4 million, with a resulting profit of £57.5 million. This compared to a loss in the financial year ending 31 March 2013 of £29.1 million. The airport has spent a great deal improving the airport, and so made losses – and paid no tax to the UK government for years. Gatwick says their investments and more marketing is being effective in attracting more passengers. It now has more aircraft movements at peak times (a cause of the noise nuisance being caused from new flight paths). Gatwick now claims 20% are travelling on business, largely on EasyJet. The figure was 17.5% in 2012. Gatwick says it will now be paying dividends to its investors, though it has not in recent  years. It expects to pay £125m to investors in the current financial year,  £65m return in the 2015/16 financial year and £60m in 2016/17. [Maybe also pay some UK tax?] 
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Gatwick Airport’s press release is at   http://www.mediacentre.gatwickairport.com/News/Record-breaking-year-strengthens-case-for-second-runway-918.aspx

Gatwick claims there are now 20% of its passengers flying on business. Data from 2012 show it was 17.5%. (CAA air passenger survey 2012).


See earlier:

Gatwick Airport paid no Corporation Tax in three years

25.6.2013
Gatwick Airport has a £1.2 billion capital investment programme to improve its infrastructure and facilities. But it paid no corporation tax for three consecutive years despite making £638m in profit before tax. Gatwick tried to defend this position, saying: “Whilst year on year we have lessened our financial losses we have yet to make a profit after tax. As a result the airport has not paid corporation tax …Our current £1.2bn capital investment programme and existing asset base, together with the associated debt structure, result in depreciation and interest costs which reduce our operating profits to a loss before tax.”  In the 2012/13 year, Gatwick Airport made £227.1m profit before tax, a 2.5% increase, as it benefited from flights to new destinations in China, Russia, Indonesia, and Turkey. Despite this, it reported a net financial loss of £29.1m, citing asset depreciation and £226.7m of capital investment in the year. Corporation tax is only levied on a company’s net profit. In the UK the corporation tax rate is 23%. Under UK tax law, corporations can claim tax allowances on certain purchases or investments made on business assets. Campaign group UK Uncut estimates that clever accounting rules and complex tax avoidance schemes cost Britain £12bn annually.

Gatwick to return £250m to shareholders

West Sussex airport expects to increase dividend payments over the next three years as it benefits from record passenger numbers

A 21-year-old man suspected of undergoing terror training in Syria was arrested at Gatwick airport

 By , Leisure and Transport Correspondent (Telegraph)

Gatwick Airport has told its shareholders, including Global Infrastructure Partners and Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, that it expects to pay £250 million in dividends over the next three years, after flying back into the black in 2013.

The West Sussex airport, which is currently battling for the right to build a second runway, will significantly ramp up returns to investors by April 2017; it expects to pay £125m in the current financial year, compared to £10m for the year to March 31. Gatwick has also guided towards a £65m return to investors in the 2015/16 financial year and £60m in the following 12 months.

Gatwick’s shareholder register is dominated by Global Infrastructure Partners, with 41.95%, followed by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority with 15.9%.  US pension fund, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) owns 12.78%.

Gatwick’s chief executive, Stewart Wingate, revealed the dividend guidance alongside the airport’s results for the 12 months to March 31, which showed a 10% jump in turnover to £593.7m as a record 35.9m passengers passed through its doors, up 4.8%.  This helped Gatwick return to the black, posting an £85.8m pre-tax profit from a £28.3m loss previously.

“In the previous period what we have been doing is paying down the shareholder loan we had in place. Now we are moving into starting to pay dividends through the business,” said Mr Wingate.

In the last year, the vast majority of passenger growth came from short-haul carriers to Europe. The number of people flying to destinations in Europe rose 6% to 29.7m while Emirates’ decision to introduce larger planes on routes out of Gatwick helped to grow traffic on routes to the Middle East and Central Asia to more than 807,000 passengers from almost 689,000 previously. However passenger numbers to North America; the Caribbean and Latin America; Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa and the Far East and South Asia all declined in the year.

Mr Wingate insisted Gatwick still had the strongest case for expansion – it is in a head-to-head battle with rival Heathrow to persuade the Government-appointed Airports Commission that it should have the right to build the next runway in the south east of England.

Gatwick will publish next month a more detailed report setting out the economics of its case for a second runway, after a recent claim that its contribution to the UK economy would be £40bn greater than that of an expanded Heathrow was called into question by rivals.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/10927984/Gatwick-to-return-250m-to-shareholders.html

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Gatwick airport’s 31st March 2014 results:

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Gatwick tax payments

Gatwick’s Financial Statements for last year, dated 31st March 2013, showed Gatwick Airport paid no UK tax. It also paid no tax in the previous few years.

http://www.gatwickairport.com/Documents/business_and_community/investor_relations/Gatwick_Airport_Limited_Financial_Statements_31March2013.pdf.

Like most large companies, Gatwick Airport Ltd has complicated accounts, and uses many (perfectly legal in current UK tax law) devices by which to reduce its tax burden.

Gatwick’s Financial Statement says:

“The Company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ivy Holdco Limited, a United Kingdom (“UK”) incorporated company, and is ultimately owned by a consortium through a number of UK and overseas holding companies and limited liability partnerships.

Gatwick Airport Limited owns 100% of the share capital of Gatwick Funding Limited, a company incorporated in Jersey but resident in the UK for tax purposes. The primary purpose of Gatwick Funding Limited is to raise external funding and provide it to Gatwick Airport Limited. This is done through the issuance of external bonds and the use of external interest rate and index-linked derivatives, the terms of which are then replicated in a “back-to-back” agreement with Gatwick Airport Limited. “

Separate companies based in Luxembourg and in the Channel Islands deal with foreign investments, lend money to each other, and a variety of complicate financial dealings. The net effect is that no UK corporation tax is paid. However, some of the tax avoidance is by improvements to the airport and investment in facilities, which government tax law allows to be offset against taxation.

Two pages from the March 2013 Financial Statement:

(Page 37 link)

Gatwick tax profit and loss

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and

Gatwick tax 2013

 


 

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Gatwick’s Financial Statement for March 2012:

Gatwick airport tax 2012.


 

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Earlier:

 

Gatwick Airport sees profits and passenger traffic rise26 November 2013 (BBC)

Profits and passengers numbers are up at the UK’s second-largest airport, Gatwick.

Pre-tax profits in the six months to 30 September were £127.3m, up from £107.2m in the same period last year.

The number of passengers using Gatwick rose 4.4% to 20.8 million.

The figures were boosted by continued strong growth from budget European airline Easyjet, although Gatwick has also seen the start of several new international services.

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick’s chief executive, renewed calls for a new runway to be sited at the airport, arguing that the figures confirmed the increasing popularity of the facility.

The government has commissioned a report into airport capacity in south-east England. Several business groups and airlines have called for expansion at Heathrow airport.

But Mr Wingate told the BBC that building a new runway at Gatwick would be substantially cheaper than expanding at Heathrow.

Gatwick was owned by the former BAA until private equity fund consortium Global Infrastructure Partners took over in December 2009.

Mr Wingate said: “Gatwick will celebrate four years of new ownership in December. In this time we have turned around decades of under-investment to enable Gatwick to emerge as a competitive, world-class airport.

“A new runway here would deliver the routes that passengers actually want at a better price, more quickly and with significantly less environmental impact. The UK’s next runway has got to be at Gatwick.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25099984

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Increased profits for Gatwick Airport

28 November 2012 (BBC)
Almost 20 million passengers used Gatwick Airport between April and September

Gatwick Airport has announced increased half-yearly profits of £172m and a growth in passenger numbers.

Profits increased by 4.8% over the same April to September period in 2011.

Gatwick was sold in 2009 after the Competition Commission ruled BAA must also sell Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports.

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick’s chief executive, said: “Three years of competition has seen Gatwick grow its European short-haul business.”

He added that the airport was also opening up new long-haul routes to Russian, China, Vietnam and Korea.

‘Exploring second runway’

During the same six-month period, turnover was up by 3.6% to £325.8m and passenger numbers also increased by 1.2% to 19.9 million.

Mr Wingate said: “This proves passengers are best served by allowing airports to compete.

“It is why we recently announced our plans to explore second runway options as we believe growth at Gatwick is the best option for increasing connectivity for the next generation”

A legal agreement currently prevents a second runway being built at the West Sussex airport until 2019.

In June, Gatwick announced plans to handle up to 40 million passengers a year by 2021, increasing to 45 million annually by 2030.

Mr Wingate said: “Over the next three years we will continue to transform the airport, maximising the opportunities in the short-haul market while stepping up our efforts to attract airlines that serve markets of strategic importance to the UK.”

Gatwick said about 23,000 people were employed at the airport, with a further 13,000 jobs in related businesses in the South East.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-20525800

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Reading University research indicates the extent of non-CO2 aviation emissions on climate

Some research from the University of Reading, published in Environmental Research Letters, indicates just how much of the impact of aircraft is not only from the CO2 they emit, but also from the water vapour they emit. This will form contrails, in some weather conditions. These contrails can then expand and create a layer of high cloud, which has significant climate effects as it traps heat below it. The exact extent of the climate impact of the non-CO2 emissions from planes at high altitude is not established. It is likely to have around double the climate impact of the CO2.  The research implies that it may be better for some planes to fly longer distances, burning more fuel and emitting yet more CO2, in order to avoid areas where contrails will form the most, and be the most long lasting. Contrails form where the air is very cold and moist, which is often in the ascending air around high-pressure systems. On average, 7% of the total distance flown by aircraft is in such areas. However, it is hard to compare the climate impacts of contrails and short term warming, and CO2 because the former can last just hours while the latter is irreversible and will last decades.
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The research is at 

http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/9/6/064021/article

A simple framework for assessing the trade-off between the climate impact of aviation carbon dioxide emissions and contrails for a single flight

E A Irvine1, B J Hoskins1,2 and K P Shine1

e.a.irvine@reading.ac.uk

1 Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, UK
2 Grantham Institute for Climate Change, Imperial College London, London, UK

Abstract

Persistent contrails are an important climate impact of aviation which could potentially be reduced by re-routing aircraft to avoid contrailing; however this generally increases both the flight length and its corresponding CO emissions. Here, we provide a simple framework to assess the trade-off between the climate impact of CO emissions and contrails for a single flight, in terms of the absolute global warming potential and absolute global temperature potential metrics for time horizons of 20, 50 and 100 years. We use the framework to illustrate the maximum extra distance (with no altitude changes) that can be added to a flight and still reduce its overall climate impact. Small aircraft can fly up to four times further to avoid contrailing than large aircraft. The results have a strong dependence on the applied metric and time horizon. Applying a conservative estimate of the uncertainty in the contrail radiative forcing and climate efficacy leads to a factor of 20 difference in the maximum extra distance that could be flown to avoid a contrail. The impact of re-routing on other climatically-important aviation emissions could also be considered in this framework.

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Introduction

Persistent contrails are a climate impact of aviation whose radiative forcing may be comparable with that from aviation carbon dioxide (CO) emissions (Burkhardt and Kärcher 2011). There are few viable technological options for reducing contrail formation (Haglind 2008, Gierens et al 2008), meaning that the easiest way of mitigating this climate impact is to avoid routing aircraft through regions where contrails can form. As the ice-supersaturated regions (ISSRs) where contrails form frequently occur in relatively shallow layers (Rädel and Shine 2007), much of the previous work in this area has concentrated on avoiding contrail formation by altitude changes (Williamset al 2002, Fichter et al 2005, Mannstein et al 2005, Rädel and Shine 2008, Schumann et al 2011, Deuber et al 2013). Reducing the cruise altitude of the entire global fleet of aircraft by 6 000 ft can substantially reduce contrail formation (Fichter et al 2005); however this requires aircraft to fly at a sub-optimal altitude, leading to an increase in fuel burn and CO emissions. Assessing the viability of such a strategy requires calculating the trade-off between CO emissions and contrails. Zou et al (2013) use a monetization approach, which involves making value judgements on the relative ‘cost’ of each climate impact. Deuber et al (2013) use climate metrics which are based on the response of the atmosphere to the relative forcings, providing a framework which is useful in a policy context. For an individual flight, however, a framework is required which can be adapted to take into account the characteristics of the aircraft and the prevailing weather conditions since the altitude at which contrails are formed is highly dependent on the weather pattern (Irvine et al 2012).

Moreover, less attention has been paid to re-routing aircraft without altitude changes; such a strategy might be preferable where the increase in flight distance is small, since it allows an aircraft to remain at the altitude where it is most fuel-efficient. As motivation for this approach we provide an idealised example. Figure 1 shows a circular ISSR of radius 2 degrees, located along the great circle route between two airports. As shown on figure 1 the shortest alternative route avoiding the ISSR (in zero wind conditions) is to fly great circle routes from LON-A, and A-NY. This increases the flight distance by 22.5 km, 0.4% of the original route. We note also that since the increase in flight distance is dependent on how wide the ISSR is in the direction perpendicular to the original flight, it is independent of the contrail length. Together this implies that if regions in which contrails may be formed can be predicted, and routes recalculated to avoid them, then the added flight distance and therefore the CO penalty may be small.

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Conclusions

We have developed a simple framework to enable the trade-off between contrail and CO climate impacts to be estimated for a single flight. The framework currently considers re-routing without altitude changes, which has the advantage of allowing the aircraft to fly at its most fuel-efficient altitude. The trade-off calculation depends on aircraft parameters such as fuel flow rate which are known a priori, and meteorological parameters such as the contrail size, lifetime and radiative forcing, which would be required to be known a priori were such a strategy to be implemented operationally.

The framework calculates the maximum extra distance that can be added to a flight, before the additional CO emissions outweigh the benefit of not contrailing. As the quantity of CO emissions depends on aircraft type, any decision to avoid making the contrail would be highly dependent on aircraft type. For example, using the AGWP metric with 100 year time horizon, the extra distance that a small jet can fly is more than ten times the avoided contrail length, whilst for a very large jet this reduces to three times. As discussed by Deuber et al (2013), it is important to choose a suitable metric, depending on the required outcome. Here, we find a factor of 3–10 difference between the AGTP and AGWP results, depending on the time horizon used.

This framework is useful to show where the major uncertainties are. Joos et al (2013) find that calculations of the atmospheric COresponse agree within 15%, thus the climate impact of the flightʼs CO emissions can be calculated with a relatively small uncertainty, given knowledge of aircraft fuel burn. The calculation of the climate impact of the contrail has a much larger uncertainty. The uncertainty chiefly arises from two sources: an inability to estimate, a priori, the eventual size and therefore climate impact of the contrail that would be formed, and second the radiative forcing (which has a potential dependence on the time of day, not taken into account here) and climate efficacy of that forcing. Even if the radiative forcing were calculated operationally within a forecast model, there would still be an uncertainty in the size of the calculated radiative forcing due to the radiative forcing codes (Myhre et al 2009), and also due to uncertainty in the contrail characteristics. Taking into account the uncertainty in the eventual climate impact of a contrail of 100 km length, the estimate of the maximum diversion distance varies by a factor of 20.

The application of such a strategy in the real world would require highly accurate forecasts of ISSRs where potential contrails form, and the ability to know a priori the climate impact of a potential contrail, as well as being highly dependent on air traffic control and other operational and economic considerations. In addition, the overall climate impact of the flight should take into account the chemical forcings from aircraft  emissions; detailed calculations of such ‘climate optimal’ routings are currently being performed by the REACT4C project. We note here that for small horizontal diversions it is possible that the chemical forcings between the two routes would be comparable; however since the impact depends on where the  emissions are advected, small diversions could potentially result in large differences in impact (Grewe et al 2014). The impact of black carbon and other aerosol emissions may also be important and could be incorporated in more detailed estimates (Jacobson et al 2012).

Nevertheless, despite the uncertainties, the calculations presented here indicate that once a metric (and time horizon) choice has been made, guidance can be given as to whether it is beneficial to divert to avoid contrails. So for example, adding 100 km distance to a flight to avoid making a contrail would seem beneficial for many of the cases presented here, and other parameter choices, such as the extreme high values in Haywood et al (2009), could allow significantly longer diversions.

Full research paper at

http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/9/6/064021/article

 


 

Longer flights could cut global warming caused by contrails

by BEN WEBSTER (THE TIMES £)
JUNE 23, 2014

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Passengers may be forced to spend longer in the air because their aeroplane’s flight path could be altered at short notice to reduce the formation of condensation trails, or contrails.
Contrails disperse into wispy clouds which trap heat in the atmosphere, a study showed. These clouds, which can be 1600km long, could contribute more to global warming than the carbon dioxide in the fuel burnt by the aircraft which formed them.

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Dr Irvine said it was difficult to compare the climate impacts of contrails and CO2 because the former can last hours while the latter can last decades.

She said that governments needed to consider the impacts of aviation when setting green targets because a measure designed to reduce fuel use could be counterproductive for some flights.
“Current mitigation targets do not yet address the non-CO2 climate impacts of aviation, such as contrails, which may cause an impact as large, or larger, than aviation CO2 emissions.”

Full article at

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/environment/article4127003.ece

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Re-routing flights could reduce climate impact, research suggests

18-Jun-2014

By Pete Castle (EurekAlert)
p.castle@reading.ac.uk    44-011-837-87391
Institute of Physics

Aircraft can become more environmentally friendly by choosing flight paths that reduce the formation of their distinctive condensation trails, new research suggests.

In a study published today, 19 June 2014, in IOP Publishing’s journal Environmental Research Letters, researchers from the University of Reading have shown that aircraft contribute less to global warming by avoiding the places where the thinly shaped clouds, called contrails, are produced – even if that means flying further and emitting more carbon dioxide.

Contrails only form in regions of the sky where the air is very cold and moist, which is often in the ascending air around high pressure systems. They can sometimes stay in the air for many hours, eventually spreading out to resemble natural, wispy clouds.

The findings suggest that policymakers need to consider more than carbon emissions in discussions about how to make aviation less environmentally damaging. Recent research has shown that the amount of global warming caused by contrails could be as large, or even larger, that the contribution from aviation CO2 emissions.

The work was carried out by Dr Emma Irvine, Professor Keith Shine, and Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, at the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading.

Dr Irvine said: “If we can predict the regions where contrails will form, it may be possible to mitigate their effect by routing aircraft to avoid them.

“Our work shows that for a rounded assessment of the environmental impact of aviation, more needs to be considered than just the carbon emissions of aircraft.”

Just like natural clouds, contrails reflect some of the Sun’s incoming energy, resulting in a cooling effect, but also trap some of the infrared energy that radiates from Earth into space, therefore having a warming effect. Detailed calculations indicate that generally the warming effect wins over the cooling effect.

The researchers estimate that smaller aircraft can fly much further to avoid forming contrails than larger aircraft. For example, for a small aircraft that is predicted to form a contrail 20 miles long, if an alternative route adds less than 200 miles onto the route (i.e. 10 times the length of contrail that would have been produced) then the alternative route would have a smaller climate impact.

For larger aircraft, which emit more CO2 than smaller aircraft for each mile flown, the alternative route could still be preferable, but only if it added less than 60 miles (i.e. 3 times the contrail length) onto the route.

Dr Irvine added: “Comparing the relative climate impacts of CO2 and contrails is not trivial. One complicating factor is their vastly differing lifetimes. Contrails may last for several hours, whilst CO2 can last for decades. In terms of mitigating these impacts, air traffic control agencies would need to consider whether such flight-by-flight re-routing is feasible and safe, and weather forecasters would need to establish if they can reliably predict when and where contrails are likely to form.

“The mitigation targets currently adopted by governments all around the world do not yet address the important non-CO2 climate impacts of aviation, such as contrails, which may cause a climate impact as large, or even larger, than the climate impact of aviation CO2 emissions.

“We believe it is important for scientists to assess the overall impact of aviation and the robustness of any proposed mitigation measures in order to inform policy decisions. Our work is one step along this road.”

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Fast Facts

  • Aviation CO2 emissions accounted for 6% of UK total greenhouse gas emissions in 2011.
  • Global CO2 emissions from aviation were estimated at 630 million tonnes of CO2 for 2005. This is 2.1% of the global emissions of CO2 in that year.
  • Previous research by scientists at the University of Reading has shown that, on average, 7% of the total distance flown by aircraft is in cold, moist air where long-lasting contrails can form (2.4 billion km out of a global total of 33 billion km flown in 2005).
  • Aircraft engines emit a number of other gases and particles that can alter climate (such as oxides of nitrogen and sulphur gases) and their effects might also depend on the route taken.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-06/iop-rfc061814.php

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Aviation now contributes 4.9% of climate change worldwide

Work by the IPCC now estimates that aviation accounted for 4.9% of man-made climate impacts in 2005. This contrasts with the 2% figure that is constantly quoted by aviation lobbyists, and 3% which the same authors quoted two years ago. They have now revised their estimates with 2 important changes: including for the first time estimates of cirrus cloud formation and allowing for aviation growth between 2000 and 2005. The effect of these is to increase aviation’s impacts to 3.5% without cirrus and 4.9% including cirrus. 23.5.2009

More  …

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Work by the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) has been updated by
the same authors. They estimate that aviation accounted for 4.9% of man-made climate
impacts in 2005.   This contrasts with the 2% figure that is constantly quoted
by aviation lobbyists.

Just two years ago the authors came up with a figure of 3% for aviation’s worldwide
contribution to climate change.   They have now revised their estimate for 2005
(David Lee et al ‘Aviation and global change in the 21st century’). There are
two important changes:

* Including for the first time estimates of cirrus cloud formation

* Allowing for aviation growth between 2000 and 2005

The effect of these is to increase aviation’s impacts to:

3.5% without cirrus

4.9% including cirrus

In quite a long and complex paper, the authors estimate the radiative forcing or RF due to aviation emissions and express these as a % of worldwide RF from
all sectors.   Several gases have climate impacts (some cause cooling rather than
warming) and there are considerable uncertainties about the exact impacts and
thus wide error limits.   The range of uncertainly around the 3.5% figure (excluding
cirrus) is given as 1.2% to 10%.

The uncertainties about cirrus formation are particularly great, which is why
scientists have previously been reluctant to quote figures.   The range of uncertainty
around the 4.9% (including cirrus) is 2% to 14%.

The figure of 3.5% (excluding cirrus), includes CO2, O3, CH4, NOx, H2O vapour,
contrails, SO4 and soot.   The total impact of these is 1.96 times greater than
CO2 alone.   This illustrates how important it is it to assess the full RF and
not just the effect of CO2.

The figure of 4.9% includes cirrus as well as all these other substances.  
 
The total impact is then 3.06% greater than CO2.   This illustrates even more
the importance of looking at all aviation’s emissions
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All the figures quoted are for 2005.   Because of the high rate of aviation growth,
the %s would be higher if re-calculated for 2009.

The relative impact of aviation in the UK is much higher.   The government (Department
for Transport) estimates that CO2 accounts for 6.3% of total UK emissions and
9.8% of all greenhouse gases, but excluding cirrus.   These figures are not on
the quite the same basis as the RFs of Lee et al, but they illustrate that aviation
is a specially important issue for the UK.

Note – Radiative forcing (RF)

There is no one measure or ‘metric’ that expresses climate or global warming
impacts. Different metrics have different roles and different pros and cons. Radiative
forcing (RF) is a measure of the amount of atmospheric warming in a period, eg
a year, caused by historical emissions up to that year.   Thus the RF due to aviation
in 2009 is a function of emissions from aircraft up to 2009. The relationship
between emissions and RF is complex because different substances last a different
amount of time in the atmosphere.   For example, CO2 can last a hundred years or
more whereas H2O may only last a matter of days.

 

http://aef.org.uk/?p=479

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EasyJet CEO still has no details of the practical economics of a Heathrow or Gatwick runway

 In an interview, by Buying Business Travel, with Caroline McCall, the CEO of EasyJet she said Heathrow is an expensive airport, which is why they do not fly from there. On Gatwick’s and Heathrow’s bids for runway expansion she says:  “We’ve seen none of the economics behind either of those visions. Inevitably it will be the airlines and therefore the passengers, that will fund this. Therefore, it’s a very, very big decision for Easyjet – because any increase in passenger fares is something that affects our low-fare proposition”….”We make £7 profit per seat – that’s it. We’ve raised that from £4.50 over the last four years. I think Heathrow are talking around £15 billion, Gatwick are talking around £7-8 billion. If you think about the price per passenger for that, you can see we have to be really, really careful about any capacity going into either airport, and before we take a view on it, we have to understand the economics.”  And they want to focus on more  business travellers: “because we know we get higher yields.”
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The interview: Carolyn McCall, CEO, Easyjet

 By Paul Revel  (Buying Business Travel – BBT)
18 June 2014

Easyjet CEO Carolyn McCall spoke to BBT journalists when she addressed the business travel industry at the GTMC [Guild of Travel Management Companies ] conference in Marrakech, and at ACTE’s [Association of Corporate Travel Executives] travel buyer event at Gatwick airport.

Easyjet’s low-cost model underpins its successful growth, according to Easyjet boss Carolyn McCall.

“What does ‘low-cost model’ mean? It means we have new engines, high fuel efficiency. Our plane utilisation, turn-time and load factors are very high, we use our assets really well. We don’t have fancy offices, we have a hanger – open plan offices, and we share space with plane maintenance. It’s very important to us, we’ll never lose sight of it – without that low-cost model, we wouldn’t be able to do the low fares.

McCall said she was not concerned about Ryanair’s recent moves to attract corporate travel business. “Ryanair only flies to a few primary airports – but not many. It’s an entire change to their network strategy if they’re going to really be relevant to business travellers.

“All our research confirms that business travellers want convenience, primary airports, speed – often they want to get there and back in a day, and don’t want a 1.5 to two-hour transfer  city centres.”

McCall said Easyjet had considered flying its Moscow service from Heathrow, before deciding on Gatwick. The airline has also applied to join a key committee, which represents operational and strategic interests of carriers operating out of Heathrow.

“There’s been quite a lot of rumours that Easyjet would never fly from Heathrow, which is baffling, because we have 10 aircraft at Charles de Gaulle, we fly out of lots of hubs already, we’re the number two airline at Schiphol,” she said. “It all depends on cost, and Heathrow is an expensive airport.”

In a similar vein, she doesn’t give a definitive view on Gatwick’s and Heathrow’s bids for runway expansion.

“We’ve seen none of the economics behind either of those visions. Inevitably it will be the airlines and therefore the passengers, that will fund this. Therefore, it’s a very, very big decision for Easyjet – because any increase in passenger fares is something that affects our low-fare proposition.

“We make £7 profit per seat – that’s it. We’ve raised that from £4.50 over the last four years. I think Heathrow are talking around £15 billion, Gatwick are talking around £7-8bn. If you think about the price per passenger for that, you can see we have to be really, really careful about any capacity going into either airport, and before we take a view on it, we have to understand the economics.”

This scrutiny of the bottom line is key to Easyjet’s relationship with business travel buyers, said McCall – and why she’s not looking at traditional volume-based corporate deals.

“For us, it’s all about the fact that we save corporates a minimum of 30% on their travel budget” – Easyjet says this claim is backed by independent TMC benchmarking for routes in 2013.  “Legacies need the volume – we get a load of volume.

“The reason we want business travellers is because we know we get higher yields.”

http://buyingbusinesstravel.com/news/1822662-interview-carolyn-mccall-ceo-easyjet

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Earlier:

Airlines also questioned whether expanded airports would mean lower fares. EasyJet, the major airline at Gatwick, said its calculations suggested that increased landing charges would exceed profit margins on existing fares. Carolyn McCall, easyJet’s chief executive, said that passengers should only pay for what they use and need, and not subsidise future infrastructure now. Instead of lower fares, she said, “we are nervous that the opposite could happen”.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/13/heathrow-tunnel-m25-under-third-runway

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And:

easyJet gets heebie-jeebies

In case anyone might still be tempted to think that these figures are an exaggeration, it is good to find that they are lower than the estimate made by easyJet, Gatwick’s largest airline. In October 2013 Carolyn McCall, Chief Executive of easyJet, said:

‘Our greatest concern is [that] the CAA has handed GAL a licence to print 
money and has significantly enhanced the value of the future sale of GAL by 
private infrastructure fund GIP. Using GAL’s own figures passengers could be 
paying £28 more per flight for years in advance of the opening of a new £9 
billion runway without any real oversight by the CAA.’

£28 more, i.e. on top of the present charges of £8 per passenger. And what is giving Ms McCall the heebie-jeebies is not only the prospect of a four-fold increase in airport charges but also the thought that GAL is to be allowed to put up the price before they build the new
runway.

No wonder easyJet has not been jumping up and down with enthusiasm.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=20374

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A new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick would mean big increases in passenger fees – New report

10.3.2014   (Aviation Environment Federation)

The Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) has submitted a new report to the Airports Commission. It casts doubt on the feasibility of building a new runway at either Gatwick or Heathrow.  So far there has been little realistic discussion about who will actually pay for the proposed runways.  The new study, “Who Would Pay for a New Runway” by Brendon Sewill, shows that a new runway at Heathrow would be likely to mean an increase in landing fees and other airport charges from £19 per passenger now, up to £31.  At Gatwick there would be a larger increase, up from £8 now to £33.60.   The study points out that with all the London airports separately owned, unlike in the days of BAA, the cost will have to fall only on the passengers using that airport.  If an expensive runway (and terminal) is built, the options are either that the passengers pay for it – or that it has to have public subsidy. A report for the Airports Commission, by KPMG, concluded that a new Heathrow runway would need a subsidy of around £11 billion, and a new Gatwick runway a subsidy of nearly £18 billion. However, the Government is reluctant to commit public funds, and new EU guidelines ruling out subsidies to major airports.  That leaves landing charges – will passengers put up with that, or vote with their feet by using cheaper airports? 
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Who pays

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=20374

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Court rules passengers can claim for flight delays for up to 6 years, not just 2 years

An airline passenger has won his case at at the Court of Appeal over flight delays, despite waiting 6 years to bring a case against the airline. The court rejected an appeal by Thomson Airways against an earlier county court decision to award James Dawson £1,488.73.  He was delayed for 6 hours back in December 2006, going from Gatwick to the Dominican Republic. Thomson argued the claim fell outside a 2-year time limit.  Legal experts said the ruling could lead to more than 11 million passenger claims and cost airlines up to £4 billion. The judgement means airline passengers now have 6 years to bring a flight delay claim in England and Wales. There are “hundreds of litigated cases which have been stayed pending the outcome of the Dawson case, and thousands more ready to issue proceedings”. Mr Dawson sought to recover €600 euros per person from the airline, which is payable as compensation for a flight of that length under EU regulations. These do not stipulate a time limit for compensation to be claimed, leaving it up to national governments to set time limits.  It is the 2nd court case in a week over flight delays, after the Court of Appeal found in favour of a passenger over a flight delay due to a technical fault.

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Airline loses flight delays appeal

19.6.2014 (BBC)

Thomson Airlines claimed Mr Dawson’s compensation claim was outside a two year time limit

An airline passenger has won his case at at the Court of Appeal over flight delays, despite waiting six years to bring a case against the airline.

The court rejected an appeal by Thomson Airways against an earlier county court decision to award James Dawson £1,488.73.

Thomson argued Mr Dawson’s claim fell outside a two-year time limit.

Legal experts said the ruling could lead to more than 11 million passenger claims and cost airlines up to £4bn.

Mr Dawson’s solicitors said the judgement meant that airline passengers now had six years to bring a flight delay claim in England and Wales.

In a statement, the firm said it had “hundreds of litigated cases which have been stayed pending the outcome of the Dawson case, and thousands more ready to issue proceedings”.

The claim by Mr Dawson, from Peterborough, was brought over a delay to a flight from London’s Gatwick airport to the Dominican Republic in December 2006.

His flight was held up by a crew shortage caused by sickness and the flight eventually arrived at its destination more than six hours late.

Time limit

Mr Dawson sought to recover 600 euros per person from the airline, which is payable as compensation for a flight of that length under European Union regulations.

The EU regulation does not stipulate a time limit for compensation to be claimed, leaving it up to national governments to set time limits. In the case of the UK, the courts have interpreted this to mean that the six-year statute of limitations rule applies.

But the airline argued that a separate regulation known as the Montreal Convention applied.

The convention, which is also law in the UK, sets a two-year time limit for compensation claims, but crucially does not limit the amount of compensation that can be awarded.

As a result, the legal argument centred on whether Mr Dawson’s claim had to be brought within the two-year Montreal Convention set limit or the six-year limit statute of limitations.

Mr Dawson began proceedings in December 2012, just before the six-year period elapsed.

Thomson accepted it would have been liable to pay Mr Dawson compensation, but argued his claim was “out of time”.

Extraordinary circumstances

It is the second court case in a week over flight delays, after the Court of Appeal found in favour of a passenger over a flight delay.

Ronald Huzar, whose flight arrived 27 hours late, won a compensation fight with an airline which said the delay was caused by “extraordinary circumstances”.

Mr Huzar said he was entitled to compensation under EU regulations after suffering “no little inconvenience” when his flight from Malaga, Spain, to Manchester left a day late in October 2011.

But Jet2.com bosses claimed an exemption, claiming the problem which caused the delay – a technical fault on an airliner – was unforeseeable and amounted to an “extraordinary circumstance”.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27920902

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Thomson ruling could lead to ‘higher airfares’

By Tom Newcombe  (Buying Business Travel)
19 June 2014

Travellers can now claim compensation from flight delays up to six years ago, after a landmark court ruling today.

In the case Dawson V Thomson Airways the court ruled in favour of traveller James Dawson, who was denied compensation for his delayed flight to Dominican Republic in 2006, because he failed to bring the claim within two years.

The Court of Appeal, dismissed Thomson Airways’ appeal, which had argued that airlines are governed by the Montreal Convention that gives passengers only two years to make a claim.

Thomson has warned the decision could result in higher airfares for travellers.

Under EU law passengers delayed for more than three hours are entitled up to  €600 compensation.

It’s estimated passengers on almost 60,000 flights delayed flights over the 2009 – 2011 period are potentially entitled to compensation.

Package holiday firm Thomson has warned that today’s judgment could lead to higher air fares.

In a statement, it said:
”As the UK’s most on-time holiday airline, at Thomson Airways our focus continues to be ensuring that our customers reach their destination safely and promptly.

“We believe that it is reasonable to expect that those who perceive they have suffered a real loss as a result of an unfortunate delay should be able to make their claim within two years.

“We also continue to believe that the law stipulates this and we are therefore surprised by today’s judgment.

“If unchallenged, this judgment could have a significant impact on the entire airline industry and specifically upon the price that all air travellers would need to pay for their flights. We therefore confirm that it is our intention to seek an appeal to the Supreme Court.”

The announcement follows a decision last week in a case involving Jet2.com, in which the Court of Appeal ruled a technical fault which causes a delay could not be classed as an “extraordinary circumstance”, and carriers would still have to pay compensation.

This means that from now on, airlines can only cite technical faults as a reason for not paying compensation, if the fault was originally caused by an event that was “out of the ordinary”.

http://buyingbusinesstravel.com/news/1922667-thomson-compensation-ruling-could-lead-higher-airfares

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See earlier:

Ruling: Jet2 were unsuccessful in their appeal against a court ruling that could pave the way for millions to claim flight delay compensation.

Passengers denied payouts for flight delays caused by technical faults CAN have their case reviewed, regulator says

By ADAM UREN (This is Money)

Passengers denied compensation by airlines for lengthy flight delays caused by technical faults can have their case retrospectively reviewed in the wake of a landmark court case, the UK’s air regulator has said.

The Civil Aviation Authority has said that passengers can ask airlines to review their compensation claims in the wake of a Court of Appeal ruling last week that states airlines cannot reject claims for delays of longer than three hours caused by technical defects.

It followed Jet2 denying passenger Ron Huzar compensation when his flight from Manchester to Malaga was delayed by 27 hours because of a wiring defect.

Jet2 had claimed that under EU laws setting out compensation guidelines, this defect constituted ‘extraordinary circumstances’ that allows them to deny claims. However, the judges ruled that such faults are ‘inherent in the running of an airline’ and as such cannot be considered extraordinary.

The case could open the door to hundreds of thousands of claims for up to €600 being submitted by passengers previously turned down by airlines.

However, Jet2 has already announced its intention to appeal again against the decision, this time by taking it to the Supreme Court, and the CAA has warned that airlines might delay processing claims until the outcome of that case.

A CAA statement said: ‘The Court of Appeal ruled that ordinary technical problems that cause flight disruption, such as component failure and general wear and tear, should not be considered “extraordinary circumstances”.

‘This means that airlines can only cite technical faults as a reason for not paying compensation if the fault was originally caused by an event that was “out of the ordinary”.

‘So technical faults such as a part on the aircraft failing before departure will generally not be considered extraordinary circumstances.

‘The effect of the judgement is that new claims should be assessed by airlines in the light of the judgement; claims previously put to an airline can be reconsidered in the light of the judgement, if the passenger wishes, unless the passenger agreed a settlement with the airline.

‘However, claims that have already been decided by a court cannot be taken back to court unless they are within the time limit for an appeal.’

The CAA initially caused consternation among passenger representatives on Friday when they said that rejected claims could not be retrospectively reviewed in the wake of the Huzar case.

However, after checking the law again, it changed its stance.

A spokesman said: ‘The CAA apologises that our earlier advice was not clear. We will contact passengers who have previously sought our help to provide advice on the matter. The CAA will also provide guidance on the judgment to airlines.’

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/holidays/article-2658979/Passengers-denied-payouts-flight-delays-case-reviewed.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

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Standard reports that “Lib-Dems ready to drop Gatwick runway ban from election plans”

The Evening Standard reports that the LibDems are set to use their election manifesto to open the door to a 2nd runway at Gatwick while still opposing a 3rd runway at Heathrow. The Standard says the party is moving towards scrapping its blanket ban on airport expansion in the South-East. “It could be replaced with a series of tests on climate change and local pollution, as well as on levels of noise suffered by communities around airports.”  (Whatever that is meant to mean). The process of writing their election manifesto is being overseen by MP David Laws. It is still at the committee stage of drawing up key policies to be put to members for approval at the LibDem conference in the autumn. A “senior LibDem” is quoted as saying: “We will not endorse an expansion in airport capacity which would increase current noise pollution for the hundreds of thousands of residents living beneath the flight path, or which would break the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendations on aviation, which are needed to meet our carbon reduction targets.” (The CCC targets are rather weak and permit a new runway, with various provisos).

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Lib-Dems ready to drop Gatwick runway ban from election plans

The Lib Dems are moving towards scrapping its blanket ban on airport expansion in the South-East

The Liberal Democrats are set to use their election manifesto to open the door to a second runway at Gatwick while still opposing a bigger Heathrow.

The party is moving towards scrapping its blanket ban on airport expansion in the South-East. It could be replaced with a series of tests on climate change and local pollution, as well as on levels of noise suffered by communities around airports.

The manifesto process, being overseen by senior MP David Laws, is still at the committee stage of drawing up key policies to be put to members for approval at the party’s annual conference in the autumn.

“We will announce our policies in due course but I cannot envisage the circumstances in which we drop our opposition to the expansion of Heathrow,” said a senior Lib-Dem source.

“We will not endorse an expansion in airport capacity which would increase current noise pollution for the hundreds of thousands of residents living beneath the flight path, or which would break the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendations on aviation, which are needed to meet our carbon reduction targets,”

Lib-Dem leader Nick Clegg is likely to face opposition from some members to ditching the ban.

However, maintaining it would be a snub to Sir Howard Davies, the former London School of Economics boss who is chairing a commission into Britain’s future airport needs.

In an interim report in December it shortlisted Gatwick or Heathrow as expansion options and is still considering the case for a “Boris island” hub airport in the Thames Estuary. Sir Howard also concluded that the South East needs one new runway by 2030.

The Deputy Prime Minister has hinted he may support a second runway at Gatwick, highlighting “the case” for expansion of the airport.

The Conservatives are also expected to drop their opposition to a third runway at Heathrow, which was part of their green agenda in 2010.

Three young Londoners have won a £10,000 prize for their short film raising environmental concerns over a third runway at Heathrow.

Anti-expansion campaigner Hugh Grant praised the “beautiful and powerful” film.

The top 15 films chosen from 50 entries were screened to 800 people at the Richmond Theatre last night.

The 60-second film Heathrow Won’t Listen, created by Tom Murray, 22, Andy Chan, 25, and Dan Grant, 22, follows a family in their back garden as the sounds of piano music, children’s laughter and genteel conversation are gradually drowned out by the roar of an aeroplane overhead.

It will now be used as a viral campaign video to raise public awareness.

To see the winning submissions, visit http://www.no-ifs-no-buts.com/

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/libdems-ready-to-drop-gatwick-runway-ban-from-election-plans-9548600.html

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Earlier:

Does Lord Bradshaw reflect Lib Dem aviation policy?

28.4.2014 
The Evening Standard has reported that Lord William Bradshaw, who co-chairs the little known Liberal Democrat  parliamentary committee on transport has said he backs a Gatwick 2nd runway.  Lord Bradshaw, who is a former railwayman, has said Gatwick should be allowed a 2nd runway if “it pays for an upgrade of the Brighton-to- London rail line” … and because it offers  “real improvements on the rail journey to London” for the residents of Sussex.   Eh?  A runway to improve rail services??  The Liberal Democrats have traditionally said they would not back a new runway at  Heathrow or Gatwick. Their policy has been somewhat muddled and confusing over the past few years, with talk of a hub, and no net new runways. However, in the past they have been consistent in saying that the UK’s carbon targets are at risk if aviation is allowed to expand. They may now be wavering, and no longer to be trusted in their rejection of new runways. Nick Clegg’s party now says it wants to see reassurances about environmental considerations – whether carbon emissions or local air and noise pollution – written into the final Davies report.  A much weaker position.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=21117.


 The LibDem website states:

“For Labour and the Conservatives, the environment is just an after-thought, something to support when times are good but to abandon as soon as it becomes unpopular.

The Liberal Democrats will never abandon our commitment to the environment. We are the only party that can be trusted to deliver green jobs and green growth in Government.”

http://www.libdems.org.uk/environment


 

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Nick Clegg is reported as saying, on 19.12.2013, on the LibDem website:

“My point of view has always been why I’ve always opposed certainly the plans that I’ve seen in the past for the expansion of Heathrow is because of the environment effects.  I’m not going to endorse any plan of airport expansion which would increase the existing levels of noise and air pollution and would breach the climate change targets that we’ve all signed up to.”  

http://www.libdems.org.uk/transcript_call_clegg_19th_december_2013


 

The LibDem website says of Lord Bradshaw:

William Bradshaw – Baron Bradshaw, of Wallingford

Bill Bradshaw started his career as a railwayman in the 1950s, rising through the ranks to become Operations Superintendent of the West of England Division, Divisional Manager Liverpool, Chief Operations Manager at Crewe, Director of Operations and General Manager at Paddington. On leaving the railway he became successively Professor of Transport Management at Salford University, a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford and Chairman of Ulsterbus. Latterly he had been a Board member of Lothian regional Transport, a member of the Strategic Rail authority and the Commission for Integrated Transport. He has been interested in politics from an early age, becoming an Oxfordshire County Councillor in 1993. He is Vice-Chairman of the Thames Valley Police Authority and served on the Thames Valley Police Authority for thirteen years.

Bill is currently Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Committee on Transport.

http://www.libdems.org.uk/william_bradshaw

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Plans for second runway at Gatwick airport are backed by Liberal Democrat peer

 28.4.2014 (Evening Standard)

Support: Lord Bradshaw has said he is in favour of the expansion at Gatwick airport (Picture: PA)

Gatwick is winning growing Liberal Democrat backing to build a second runway to boost Britain’s links to the rest of the world.

Lord Bradshaw, who co-chairs the Lib-Dem parliamentary committee on transport, argued that the Sussex airport should be allowed to expand if it pays for an upgrade of the Brighton-to- London rail line.

Lib-Dem leader Nick Clegg has hinted he may support another Gatwick runway if the Davies Commission into the UK’s airports recommends it instead of a third runway at Heathrow.

But he faces a battle persuading Lib-Dems to overturn their party’s policy, which opposes airport expansion in the South East.

Former railwayman Lord Bradshaw said Gatwick was “the best option”. He added: “Go for Gatwick because they have something to offer the residents of Sussex — real improvements on the rail journey to London.

“The environmental pollution is a problem wherever but it’s a lot worse at Heathrow.” He said many Lib-Dems could be persuaded to support a runway at Gatwick if the economic arguments were properly made.

It could be built in three or four years, he added, quicker than a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary, as proposed by Mayor Boris Johnson.

Former Lib-Dem minister Jeremy Browne has also backed a second runway at Gatwick as an interim solution before a longer-term plan for a new hub airport on the north Kent coast.

The airports commission is due to publish its verdict in September.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/plans-for-second-runway-at-gatwick-airport-are-backed-by-liberal-democrat-peer-9295624.html

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Scottish government outlines nearly £10m of public funding for failing Prestwick airport

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Prestwick Airport: Nicola Sturgeon outlines nearly £10m of new investment

The Scottish government bought Prestwick Airport from Infratil for £1 in November

Prestwick Airport is to receive nearly £10m of investment from the Scottish government, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The funding will go towards operating costs, a repairs backlog and to make improvements to the terminal building.

Ms Sturgeon rejected calls to rename it Robert Burns Airport, saying this could cause confusion.

Labour accused of her of “keeping taxpayers in the dark” over how the money would be spent.

Rival airports voiced concerns about competition from publicly-subsidised Prestwick.

The Scottish government bought the struggling airport for £1 last year amid fears it would be forced to close.

Ms Sturgeon told Holyrood’s infrastructure committee the airport would be operated under public ownership “on a commercial basis”.

She said the Scottish government investment would be made “in the form of loan funding”.

She added that there was “no quick fix solution for Prestwick” and the airport may not be profitable for several years.

The airport had a pre-tax loss of £9.77m in its final full year under previous owners Infratil.

Ms Sturgeon is also the Scottish government’s infrastructure, investment and cities secretary.

She said the airport would operate as a public corporation on a commercial basis” at arms’ length from government.

She added that £5.5m had been provided already since acquisition. and the Scottish government would be required “to provide a further £3m in operating support”.

There will be nearly £7m in capital investment – £4.5m for repairs and £2.4m to make improvements to the terminal building, including refurbishment of the duty free area.

Lack of investment

Ms Sturgeon argued that Prestwick had suffered from a lack of investment and there was a “backlog of essential maintenance”.

The committee evidence session came after finance executive Romain Py completed a three month review of the airport, including options for ownership, on behalf of the Scottish government.

Ms Sturgeon described Prestwick as a “non-typical airport”, with only about half of its revenue dependant on passenger traffic.

She suggested that future revenue could come from freight and retail development.

The airport’s executive directors would be tasked with developing commercial opportunities.

A business plan would include an assessment of a reduced Ryanair schedule for summer 2014 and passenger numbers will be monitored.

Ms Sturgeon ruled out renaming the airport after Robert Burns. Apetition lodged with the Scottish Parliament by The Robert Burns World Federation earlier this year had called for a name change, with supporters arguing it would boost tourism.

The deputy first minister told the committee: “On balance I have concluded there are strong commercial reasons for retaining the Glasgow Prestwick airport name.”

She acknowledged the decision would disappoint some local people but the airport had to be marketed internationally.

She did not rule out a “Burns-related theme” for the airport.

‘Business case’

Scottish Labour’s infrastructure spokesman, James Kelly, said: “Nicola Sturgeon had the opportunity today to set out the Scottish government’s plans for Prestwick Airport, unfortunately she has failed to do so in any detail, and Scottish tax-payers remain in the dark.

“Last year Prestwick Airport was losing nearly £1 million a month.

“It is a nonsense that it will be close to a year since the Scottish government bought the site before a credible plan is put to the people of Scotland, especially when the Scottish government has blocked the publication of analysis they commissioned on the airport.

“Key information is available now, but it is being denied to the Scottish public.”

He added: “Nicola Sturgeon should make a statement before parliament on Prestwick, and publish the business case so that taxpayers can see how £15m of public money is being invested and when the airport will return to profitability.”

Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Alex Johnstone said: “By refusing to publish the report into the work by consultants Romain Py, on the grounds of commercial confidentiality, the Deputy First Minister has left many unanswered questions.”

‘No public subsidy’

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “Scotland’s main airports create jobs and attract routes with no public subsidy and we believe that the market should not be distorted. Competition should be allowed to flourish.”

A statement from Glasgow Airport said: “We have previously received assurances that Glasgow Airport will not be placed at a competitive disadvantage, but will continue to seek clarity on how the Scottish government intends to develop its asset.”

Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: “We believe that any strategy designed to increase passenger numbers at Prestwick must not be at the expense of Glasgow International Airport.”

A spokesman said the Robert Burns World Federation would continue the campaign to rename the airport.

“If George Best, Robin Hood and John Lennon are deemed worthy of being remembered, the iconic Robert Burns should be remembered in Scotland as he is revered the world over,” he said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-27897006

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Related BBC Stories

Report on financial viability of Prestwick Airport to be kept confidential by government

A taxpayer-funded report on the future viability of Prestwick Airport will not be published, to protect commercially confidential information, despite at least £5 million of public money having been pledged to ensure its survival. This has led to accusations that ministers are expecting “blind faith” from the public when it comes to justifying spending taxpayers’ money. The report follows a review that took 3 months. The airport has been losing millions of pounds under its previous owners. Although the full document is being withheld, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to report key findings to the parliament’s Infrastructure Committee in June. The Scottish Government bought Prestwick for £1 in November 2013. Labour’s infrastructure spokesman has said it was unacceptable for the report to be kept secret, and the public deserves to know how the £5 million will be repaid. The CEO of Edinburgh Airport, Gordon Dewar has claimed Government ownership of Prestwick was distorting competition in the Central Belt of Scotland. . Glasgow Airport chiefs are also said to be uneasy over the arrangement. Prestwick lost £9.7 million last year.

Click here to view full story…


Prestwick Airport reveals spiralling losses – almost £10 million in 2013

March 7, 2014

The full scale of Prestwick Airport’s financial problems are revealed in the latest accounts, which show a pre-tax loss of almost £10 million in its final full year of private ownership. Its financial problems have escalated with a pre-tax loss of £9.77m in the 12 months to March 31, 2013. The airport made a £2.3m pre-tax loss in the year to March 2012. Last March its owners, Infratil, put the airport up for sale, but as no buyer could be found, the Scottish Government stepped in and bought Prestwick for a £1 on November 22 2013. Prestwick had a 20% fall in the number of passengers in July 2012 compared to the same month in 2011 – the busiest time of the year with the school holidays. The airport’s accounts state that Prestwick is only a going concern if its owner is willing to continue funding deficits. Such an undertaking has been made by Transport Scotland on behalf of Scottish ministers ie. public subsidy. Only Ryanair is operating scheduled flights, and a significant percentage of the airport’s aviation revenue is derived from freight and other aircraft activity.

Click here to view full story…

 


 

Prestwick Airport to be sold to Scottish Government for £1 – and other failing regional airports look to business parks and housing

12.11.2013

Infratil, which currently owns Prestwick Airport, has said the airport is expected to be sold to the Scottish Government for £1.  The sale is due to be completed by Wednesday, 20 November. Infratil said the airport’s value had been “fully impaired” – effectively written off – after Prestwick and sister airport Manston in Kent were collectively valued at £11 million in March.  Infratil bought Prestwick from Stagecoach in 2001 for £33m.  Manston is being sold to Stagecoach founder Ann Gloag for an expected £400,000. Scottish Ministers are taking over Prestwick airport, which is losing £7m a year, to avert its closure and safeguard 1,400 jobs, including 300 at the airport. Infratil described its investment in the airports to have been “unsuccessful for Infratil” and that while such regional airports looked like a good investment 5 years ago, they now are not as  they are reliant on “robust air traffic growth driving demand.” Other failing airports are looking to  create business parks on their land, and housing – to try and make money out of them.                                 http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=18387 
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Heathrow film competition presents 15 impressive anti-3rd-runway campaigning films

At a packed event held in Richmond Theatre, organised by MP Zac Goldsmith, with some 800 people present (free seats), Hugh Grant, Holly Willoughby and Rachel Johnson were the celebrities judging the competition for short films, of 2 minutes or less, opposing a 3rd Heathrow runway. The evening was ably and entertainingly compered by Giles Brandreth. The first prize was £10,000, the second prize £3,000 and the 3rd prize £2,000. Some 50 short films were entered into the competition. The 15 considered the best were shown at the gala event, for the judges to select the top three. The audience then voted on these three. All the 15 films shown were of a very high quality; any one of the 15 films could have been the winner. They all showed a high level of film expertise; there was a wide range of styles and approaches; all showed great originality and creativity, and put the message across powerfully. Anyone present at the gala event would be left in no doubt about just how determinedly people in the areas badly affected by Heathrow will do whatever it takes to ensure no new Heathrow runway gets built.
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Winners:

1. “Heathrow Won’t Listen”  http://t.co/zVLEimwmZv

2. “Say NO”  http://t.co/AAE881fkGU

3. “Life under the Flightpath”  http://t.co/h5G2Ddr20w


 

The other 12 videos (from the top 15) can be seen at 

http://www.no-ifs-no-buts.com/brief/winning-submissions/runners-up/

 


 

“No Ifs No Buts” film contest selects winning No Third Runway short films

18.6.2014

About 800 guests packed out Richmond Theatre on the evening of June 18, for the “No Ifs No Buts” short film gala competition, organised by Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith and Hacan chairman John Stewart.

Hugh Grant, Holly Willoughby and Rachel Johnson were the celebrities judging the competition for short films, of 2 minutes or less, opposing a 3rd Heathrow runway. The evening was ably and entertainingly compered by Giles Brandreth. The first prize was £10,000, the second prize £3,000 and the 3rd prize £2,000.

Some 50 short films were entered into the competition. The 15 considered the best were shown at the gala event, for the judges to select the top three. The audience then voted on these three.

The judges had a very hard time in choosing a winner. They, and the audience, were impressed by every one.

All the 15 films shown were of a very high quality; the judges had hoped there would be some less good films, making their task easier. In the event, any one of the 15 films could have been the winner. They all showed a high level of film expertise; there was a wide range of styles and approaches; all showed great originality and creativity, and put the message across powerfully.

It was agreed that Zac Goldsmith would get copies of the 3 top films to the party leaders, and senior members, of all the main political parties. It was also suggested, by Rachel Johnson, that copies of all the 15 film entries should be put together and given to all the politicians taking leading roles in the next parliament. They indicate the strength of the arguments against Heathrow expansion, and leave no one in any doubt how difficult politically a 3rd Heathrow runway would be, however strong the business and foreign investment lobbies.

The contest is a direct response to the Prime Minister, David Cameron’s comments in 2009 when as leader of the opposition, he made a pledge to Richmond residents there would be no third runway at Heathrow. Some of his election literature clearly set out the pledge, of “No if, no buts, there will be no third runway”. Within months, he had gone back on his word, setting up the Airports Commission to look into the matter of whether the UK should have a new runway, and if so, where it should be. In order not to completely contradict pre-election pledges, the Commission is to give its recommendation only after the next election, so it will not be during this parliament.

There is considerable anger in areas affected by Heathrow about this u-turn by the Conservatives.

The film competition was an encouraging, and heart-warming event, in assembling so many people who shared the same keenly felt wish – to block a new Heathrow runway.

Anyone present at the gala event would be left in no doubt about just how determinedly people in the areas badly affected by Heathrow will do whatever it takes to ensure no new Heathrow runway gets built.

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No Ifs No Buts

http://www.no-ifs-no-buts.com/

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The 3 films that won the Heathrow “No Ifs No Buts” competition, organised by Zac Goldsmith.

First:

This is the link to the winning “No Heathrow 3rd Runway” film on YouTube.

“Heathrow Won’t Listen”  http://t.co/zVLEimwmZv

winning film

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Second:

This is the link to the YouTube film of the film that came 2nd.

“Say NO”  http://t.co/AAE881fkGU

2nd film

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Third:

This is the YouTube link for the film that came 3rd.

“Life under the Flightpath”  http://t.co/h5G2Ddr20w

3rd film

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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No ifs No buts

 

Actual text from Conservative election leaflet for the May 2010 election.                                   Full leaflet at  http://www.electionleaflets.org/leaflets/full/b58fa8c95aec5d810bfe2ebb16bcbf91/

 

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Surrey and Sussex MPs oppose Gatwick runway ‘disaster’

Five MPs have begun a campaign against the building of a 2nd Gatwick runway. The Conservative MPs, who represent Sussex, Surrey and Kent constituencies, said the scheme for the airport near Crawley would be “a disaster” for communities and the environment – and there was “serious local concern” at the plan. Reigate MP Crispin Blunt, one of the members of the newly-formed Gatwick Coordination Group, said: “If Gatwick expands in the way that’s planned, it will need many tens of thousands of new people working there, and they are all going to need somewhere to live. The airport at the moment are providing a preposterous suggestion that these people are largely going to come from existing communities in Croydon and Brighton. Well I’m afraid that’s just simply not the case.” Mr Blunt also said no new railway line had been proposed and the London to Brighton commuter line was already “the busiest commuter line in the country” and at capacity. The other 4 MPs behind the campaign are Sir Paul Beresford, Sir Nicholas Soames, Sir John Stanley, and Charles Hendry, MP for Wealden.  Crawley Conservative MP Henry Smith said he declined to endorse the press release.

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Surrey and Sussex MPs oppose Gatwick runway ‘disaster’

17.6.2014 (BBC)

Gatwick Airport has said 120,000 jobs will be created by the second runway

Five MPs have begun a campaign against the building of a second runway at Gatwick Airport.

The Conservative MPs, who represent Sussex, Surrey and Kent constituencies, said the scheme for the airport near Crawley would be “a disaster” for communities and the environment.

They said there was “serious local concern” at the plan.

Gatwick said it had sought to engage with communities and politicians and would continue to do so.

‘Preposterous suggestion’

Reigate MP Crispin Blunt, one of the members of the newly-formed Gatwick Coordination Group, said: “If Gatwick expands in the way that’s planned, it will need many tens of thousands of new people working there, and they are all going to need somewhere to live.

“The airport at the moment are providing a preposterous suggestion that these people are largely going to come from existing communities in Croydon and Brighton. Well I’m afraid that’s just simply not the case.”

Mr Blunt also said no new railway line had been proposed.

He said the London to Brighton commuter line was already “the busiest commuter line in the country” and at capacity.

The other four MPs behind the campaign are Sir Paul Beresford, who represents Mole Valley, Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames, Sir John Stanley, who represents Tonbridge and Malling in Kent, and Charles Hendry, MP for Wealden.

‘Premature move’

Crawley Conservative MP Henry Smith, whose constituency includes the airport, said he was invited to join the group but declined to endorse the press release.

He said: “Whilst I think Gatwick needs to make a stronger case on how it would invest in upgrading Crawley’s infrastructure if the airport were to expand, I think it premature to rule out an additional runway until the Davies Commission investigating aviation capacity has reported next year.”

Gatwick has submitted three plans for a new runway to the Airports Commission.

Airport bosses have set out improved public transport plans including new train platforms, new rolling stock and improvements to junction nine on the M23, and have suggested 120,000 jobs would be created by the building of a second runway.

A statement issued by the airport said: “We believe an expanded airport at Gatwick is in both the local and national interest and look forward to working with all our stakeholders to demonstrate that.”

East Sussex and West Sussex county councils have backed Gatwick expansion because of job creation, the economic boost and as a solution to providing UK aviation capacity.

Surrey County Council opposed the plans over concerns about the impact on the environment.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-27886412

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See also:

MPs initiate “Gatwick Coordination Group” – saying 2nd runway is not in the local or national interest

MPs Crispin Blunt, Sir Paul Beresford, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames, Rt Hon Sir John Stanley, and Charles Hendry have formed the Gatwick Coordination Group. The Group is established to represent the serious local concern at the plan for a 2nd runway. The MPs’ group released a statement saying they believe a 2nd Gatwick runway would be a disaster for the surrounding communities and environment. They say the level of development, associated with an airport serving nearly three times as many passengers as it does now, would devastate the local environment and leave the UK with its major airport in the wrong place. Also that there is no adequate plan yet presented to provide the necessary infrastructure, of all types, to support this development. “The size of the Gatwick site only lends itself to a single runway airport, serving as a sensible, competitive alternate to London’s main hub airport. While they pursue that objective, Gatwick Airport Limited will have our support, but this proposal is not in the local interest, nor is it in the national interest, and this group will work to prove that case.”

Click here to view full story…

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MPs initiate “Gatwick Coordination Group” – saying 2nd runway is not in the local or national interest

MPs Crispin Blunt,  Sir Paul Beresford,  Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames,  Rt Hon Sir John Stanley, and Charles Hendry have formed the Gatwick Coordination Group.  The Group is established to represent the serious local concern at the plan for a 2nd runway. The MPs’ group released a statement saying they believe a 2nd Gatwick runway would be a disaster for the surrounding communities and environment. They say the level of development, associated with an airport serving nearly three times as many passengers as it does now, would devastate the local environment and leave the UK with its major airport in the wrong place. Also that there is no adequate plan yet presented to provide the necessary infrastructure, of all types, to support this development. “The size of the Gatwick site only lends itself to a single runway airport, serving as a sensible, competitive alternate to London’s main hub airport. While they pursue that objective, Gatwick Airport Limited will have our support, but this proposal is not in the local interest, nor is it in the national interest, and this group will work to prove that case.”
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MPs initiate “Gatwick Coordination Group”

 MONDAY 16th JUNE 2014 (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

MPs Crispin Blunt, Sir Paul Beresford, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames, Rt Hon Sir John Stanley, and Charles Hendry have formed the Gatwick Coordination Group following a meeting at the House of Commons on Wednesday 11th June 2014.

The Gatwick Coordination Group is established to represent the serious local concern at the plan for a second runway at Gatwick Airport which has been shortlisted by the Davies Commission.

Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL) has made its submission to Sir Howard Davies, which is yet to be published.  Sir Howard’s Commission will make its recommendation on airport capacity to the Government in 2015.

The MPs’ group released the following statement:

“We believe that the building of a second runway at Gatwick airport would be a disaster for the surrounding communities and environment. The level of development, associated with an airport serving nearly three times as many passengers as it does now, would devastate the local environment and leave the UK with its major airport in the wrong place.

“There is also no adequate plan yet presented to provide the necessary infrastructure, of all types, to support this development.

“The size of the Gatwick site only lends itself to a single runway airport, serving as a sensible, competitive alternate to London’s main hub airport. While they pursue that objective, Gatwick Airport Limited will have our support, but this proposal is not in the local interest, nor is it in the national interest, and this group will work to prove that case.”

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Notes to Editors

 

As a local constituency MP who serves in the Government, Francis Maude is not able to endorse the above statement but wishes to be kept informed of the progress of the group.

The group is chaired by Crispin Blunt MP – Office: 0207 219 2254; Mobile: 07921039891.

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See also:

Surrey and Sussex MPs oppose Gatwick runway ‘disaster’

17.6.2014 (BBC)

Gatwick Airport has said 120,000 jobs will be created by the second runway

Five MPs have begun a campaign against the building of a second runway at Gatwick Airport.

The Conservative MPs, who represent Sussex, Surrey and Kent constituencies, said the scheme for the airport near Crawley would be “a disaster” for communities and the environment.

They said there was “serious local concern” at the plan.

Gatwick said it had sought to engage with communities and politicians and would continue to do so.

‘Preposterous suggestion’

Reigate MP Crispin Blunt, one of the members of the newly-formed Gatwick Coordination Group, said: “If Gatwick expands in the way that’s planned, it will need many tens of thousands of new people working there, and they are all going to need somewhere to live.

“The airport at the moment are providing a preposterous suggestion that these people are largely going to come from existing communities in Croydon and Brighton. Well I’m afraid that’s just simply not the case.”

Mr Blunt also said no new railway line had been proposed.

He said the London to Brighton commuter line was already “the busiest commuter line in the country” and at capacity.

The other four MPs behind the campaign are Sir Paul Beresford, who represents Mole Valley, Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames, Sir John Stanley, who represents Tonbridge and Malling in Kent, and Charles Hendry, MP for Wealden.

‘Premature move’

Crawley Conservative MP Henry Smith, whose constituency includes the airport, said he was invited to join the group but declined to endorse the press release.

He said: “Whilst I think Gatwick needs to make a stronger case on how it would invest in upgrading Crawley’s infrastructure if the airport were to expand, I think it premature to rule out an additional runway until the Davies Commission investigating aviation capacity has reported next year.”

Gatwick has submitted three plans for a new runway to the Airports Commission.

Airport bosses have set out improved public transport plans including new train platforms, new rolling stock and improvements to junction nine on the M23, and have suggested 120,000 jobs would be created by the building of a second runway.

A statement issued by the airport said: “We believe an expanded airport at Gatwick is in both the local and national interest and look forward to working with all our stakeholders to demonstrate that.”

East Sussex and West Sussex county councils have backed Gatwick expansion because of job creation, the economic boost and as a solution to providing UK aviation capacity.

Surrey County Council opposed the plans over concerns about the impact on the environment.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-27886412

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Huge mobilisation planned at Notre Dame des Landes on 5/6 July with hope the airport project can be withdrawn

The campaign at Notre Dame des Landes, against the planned new Nantes airport, continues. On the weekend of 5th and 6th July, a huge mobilisation is planned, with people coming from areas across France to show their opposition and resistance to the plans.  The campaign is adamant they want nothing less than the abandonment of the airport plan.  The project is held up still, because of legal appeals and EU Directives on water and threatened species, but it has not yet been cancelled. More people are now living on the ZAD, and more of it is now being cultivated, with a farm saved.  Some delay is due to an environmental assessment being needed on the whole project, rather than separate bits of it.  The Socialist and Green Parties, and the new Minister for Environment, Ségolène Royal, agreed after the recent election that no work can start till all the legal processes are completed. Local campaigners want farmers and residents to be able to plan their futures, free of the airport threat.  They hope this project, and other “Grands projets inutiles et imposés” that are land-hungry, biodiversity destructive, guzzling aquatic and fossil fuel resources as well as public subsidies, can be stopped.
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NOTRE DAME DES LANDES 2014

Rassemblement contre le projet d’aéroport


5 & 6 JUILLET 2014

www.notredamedeslandes2014.org

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NOTRE DAME DES LANDES : WITHDRAW THE PROJECT NOW

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Go ahead towards the final withdrawal of the project!

Whilst preparing our summer event we are at a turning point. Although we have progressed: works have been delayed, the withdrawal of the project which is the aim of our struggle, has not yet been obtained.

We hold our ground! We hold it on our three pillars!

We hold our ground on Zone!

After the autumn upheaval of 2012 and the ‘Cesar’ police action, resisting farmers, newcomers and supporting citizens, all together, have preserved the land of the ZAD [Zone à Défendre].

Life is getting on, long term agricultural projects take shape with ‘Sème ta ZAD’ [Sow the ZAD] and ‘COPAIN’ on the farm at Bellevue and on threatened lands. The Fighting Naturalists have run various field studies, enriching our knowledge and expertise and reducing to little the « compensations » planned by AGO Vinci. Links have been created, the ZAD counts more inhabitants and is now better cultivated than it has ever been.

Farmers as well as ordinary people showed their enormous support towards the defence of the threatened land through the demonstration on February 22nd.  The flash mobilization for Saint-Jean du Tertre saved the farm and gave us guarantees for the future.

We hold our ground on the legal level!

After the EU Committee on Petitions in Brussels decided to keep open our petitions, in September 2013, in spite of the promoters’ will to empty the ZAD, the decrees allowing works to begin were delayed until the end of December:  the Prefect might have been conscious of their weakness in regard to the law…They were immediately contested, while different appeal procedures concerning expropriations are going on persistently before the courts at all levels. We heard recently that the EU Committee started a penal procedure against France about the preliminary studies being cut into parts and the insufficient work on the impact on environment of the project as a whole!

We hold our ground on the political level!

Although the local promoters of the project have not been shaken on their (wrong) bases, the national political actors cannot ignore the subject any more. A major political agreement was wrought from the socialist party through a 28 days hunger strike in May 2012.  It said that no one could be expelled as long as some recourses had not been definitively judged.

In February this year, Jean-Marc Ayrault who was still PM had no other choice but to say that no works would start as long as all ongoing recourses had not been judged. This was confirmed by the Socialist and Green Parties agreement for the March local elections in Nantes and Rennes and again by the new Minister for Environment, Ségolène Royal.

The expressed political will to respect the current legal proceedings is a first step. Therefore, resolutely and serenely, we are looking forward to the closure of all the recourses especially those concerning water and threatened species regulations both on national and European levels.

In the meanwhile we do not give up on anything on the ground. The announced delays are not by themselves signs of the final victory, nevertheless they are quite a positive point. As time goes by it becomes more and more obvious that this project is absurdly outdated if we take into account existing knowledge and legislation!

 

What we want is outright abandonment of the project!

This would allow farmers and inhabitants to look ahead to their future and draft new long term plans. This would allow to achieve optimal operation of the existing airport when necessary.

Dropping the project would reinforce the determination and hope of all those committed to the fight against Big useless imposed Projects which are land-hungry, biodiversity destructive, guzzling aquatic and fossil resources and public subsidies.

Before the July 5th and 6th gathering on the lands of Bellevue in Notre-Dame des Landes, protest caravans will converge from all over France, starting where symbolic struggles are taking place. Join them massively on their way!

In 2012, we said « Now is the time for fighting! »

In 2013, « We are still here, still resisting, more legitimate than ever. Let’s bury the project! »

In 2014, we dare say: « Withdraw the project now! »

The final victory is within reach of our efforts!

Once again we must succeed in making this 2014 gathering-convergence a time of outstanding mobilization!

http://www.notredamedeslandes2014.org/component/k2/item/119-notre-dame-des-landes-withdraw-the-project-now#.U572lPolmxQ.twitter

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