Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports call for end to Air Passenger Duty in Scotland

The 3 airports have made a joint submission to the Smith Commission (looking into extra powers for the Scottish Parliament) calling for Air Passenger Duty (APD) to be devolved to Holyrood, and eventually abolished.  The airports claim APD is a significant barrier to growth and damaging to tourism, though this ignores the outflow of Scots abroad – facilitated by cheap flights – taking their holiday money to spend elsewhere. Of the £2.9 billion raised by APD in 2013-14, approximately £200m came from Scotland. APD is charged by the Treasury as a means of, partially, compensating for the tax loss caused by aviation paying no VAT and no fuel duty.  Scotland is more dependent on flying than the south of the UK, as rail journeys to Europe take much longer.  A report by York Aviation for the airports in 2012 suggested that having to pay APD means the country loses (?) some 2 million passengers per year, and could cost the Scottish economy up to £210m in lost tourism spend by 2016. The report is completely silent on the cost of outbound tourism, which is not even mentioned. Airports in the north of England fear APD being dropped in Scotland.


Three Scottish airports call for end to Air Passenger Duty

28.10.2014 (BBC)

Edinburgh is one of three Scottish airports to call for Air Passenger Duty to be devolved to Holyrood

Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports have made a joint submission to the Smith Commission calling for Air Passenger Duty (APD) to be devolved to Holyrood and eventually abolished.

The Smith Commission is looking into extra powers for the Scottish Parliament.

The three airports claim the tax is a significant barrier to growth and damaging to tourism.

Four other countries in Europe levy a passenger departure tax.

The tax raised £2.9bn in 2013-14, with approximately £200m coming from Scotland.

The airports made the case for the devolution of the tax, an excise duty set by the UK government, to Holyrood. This would allow for its reduction and eventual abolition in line with the Scottish government’s commitment.

APD has been increased and restructured by the UK government since 2007, with long haul rates increasing more than short haul.

The submission stated that Scotland’s location and the fact its economy is particularly reliant on aviation meant that any loss of connectivity would have “a significant impact on the country’s competitiveness”.

Their joint submission argued that the tax costs Scotland two million passengers every year. The 2012 report [ by York Aviation ]  also warned that APD will cost the Scottish economy up to £210m in lost tourism spend by 2016.

Zero rate
APD rates on direct long haul flights from Northern Ireland were devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly (NIA) in 2012, which then set the rates at £0. The Republic of Ireland scrapped its equivalent of the tax in 2013, meaning the UK is one of five European countries to levy a tax on passenger departure.

Gordon Dewar, the chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: “Scotland’s airports unanimously agree that air passenger duty is hugely damaging to our industry. We’ve argued long and hard for its reduction or abolition and have been ignored but now the evidence for its devolution to Scotland speaks for itself.”

Mr Dewar said that Ryanair had already committed to delivering over one million new passengers if APD were to be abolished.

In published proposals, the Conservative party said that APD “should be devolved”, while the Liberal Democrat party said APD for flights from Scottish airports should be allocated to the Scottish Parliament.

Labour said it was “not now convinced that devolution should be progressed until further consideration is given to the environmental impact and how else this tax might be reformed”.

Colin Keir, the SNP MSP whose constituency includes Edinburgh Airport, described the submission as “very welcome indeed”.

He said: “The case for the devolution of APD has been made – today’s submission from the airports has demolished any remains of Labour’s threadbare argument against it. Labour in Scotland could start to show that it is Scotland, not Westminster, in control by dropping its opposition and supporting the devolution of APD.

“Assuming this common sense submission is taken forward by the Smith Commission in its proposals – the pressure will be on David Cameron and the Westminster system to act immediately and devolve the powers over APD at once.”


Related BBC stories:

York Aviation report, which completely ignores any mention of the cost to Scotland of outbound tourism, is at


Scottish airports want APD lowered and control of it devolved to the Scottish government

6.12.2014 (BBC)

Scottish airport operators have said they are dismayed and disappointed that the control of air passenger duty (APD) will not be devolved to Scotland.

The UK government gave Northern Ireland the power to reduce the level of the tax because it said it had a special economic case.

That prompted calls from Scottish and Welsh airports for similar treatment.

The UK Treasury said it had not ruled out devolving APD to Scotland and Wales in the future.

A report published following a consultation on reform of APD said the government at Westminster would “continue to explore the feasibility and likely effects of devolution to Scotland and Wales”.

Earlier this year Chancellor George Osborne announced the duty would be cut for direct long-haul routes from Northern Ireland airports, and he would devolve control over the tax to the Northern Irish Assembly.

The move came in response to fears that some routes could be scrapped due to competition from Irish airports where APD is much lower.

Commenting on the UK Government’s decision not to grant the Scottish government similar powers for now, Jim O’Sullivan, managing director of Edinburgh Airport, said: “APD is already costing Scotland passengers and having an impact on tourism revenues.

“We know from discussions with our airline partners that it is a major factor in their decision to connect further routes to Scotland.

“We would urge the Westminster Government to see Scotland as it does Northern Ireland and understand the need to both reduce and devolve this unfair and damaging tax.”

Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport, said: “On the question of devolution of APD, Glasgow Airport has always been supportive of this proposal given the Scottish government’s more progressive approach to aviation and its greater appreciation of the role the industry plays in supporting the growth of the Scottish economy.”

Scottish Transport Minister, Keith Brown said the case for devolving APD was “compelling” and had been backed by all four of Scotland’s biggest airports, and recommended by the Calman Commission.

He added: “We need to be able to deal with the competitive and connectivity disadvantages that Scotland faces and if APD were devolved now we could provide the means to incentivise airlines to provide new direct international connections to Scotland, benefiting our aviation industry and our passengers and supporting the growth of the Scottish economy.

“The UK government needs to listen to the many voices in Scotland who clearly want to see full devolution of the policy on APD.”




See also

BA boss Willie Walsh backs Scottish independence if its government will then cut APD by 50%

Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG – owner of British Airways – has stirred up some publicity by declaring that Scottish independence could be a “positive development” for British Airways, if it cuts Air Passenger Duty (APD). He said the Scottish government “recognised the huge impact” air passenger duty” had on the economy and had in the past pledged to reduce, then possibly abolish, APD if there is a “Yes” vote for Scottish independence in the referendum in September. Willie Walsh has repeatedly lobbied against APD (which is charged as aviation pays no VAT and no fuel duty), and all airlines would prefer air travel to remain significantly under-taxed, to boost their revenues. In its White Paper on independence, the Scottish government said APD would cost Scotland “more than £200m a year” in lost tourism expenditure, and after a 50% cut they wanted complete abolition of APD “when public finances allow”, in a bid to make Scottish airports more competitive. That would have the effect of drawing potential air  passengers from northern English airports to Edinburgh and Glasgow airports instead.  A north-east MP said of Walsh: “For a man who leads a company that trades on its British identity, he has a very casual approach to the break-up of Britain.”




Newcastle and Manchester Airports oppose devolution of APD powers to Scotland

by DAMIEN HENDERSON Transport Correspondent EXCLUSIVE

MINISTERS are facing a backlash from English airports over plans to devolve power
on aviation taxes amid fears it could lead to an exodus of passengers travelling
north of the Border to catch flights.

The Scottish Government has promised to lower Air Passenger Duty (APD) to cut
fares and encourage the development of new routes. It has been pushing Westminster
to honour a commitment to hand over responsibility for the tax to Holyrood.

However, it has faced an angry response from Newcastle and Manchester airports,
which claim introducing a lower rate in Scotland would put them at a competitive
disadvantage as passengers would drive north to get better flight deals.

Airport sources say this would also potentially stem the flow of Scottish passengers
travelling south for cheaper flights.

Both English airports have pointed to the example of Belfast International, which
has lost a stream of passengers to Dublin since the republic decided this year
to scrap its aviation taxes.

There is no good reason why passengers in Scotland should have to travel in such
numbers through other UK airports Graeme Mason, Newcastle International’s planning
and corporate affairs director, said the devolution proposals, which are being
considered by the Treasury, would be “devastating”.

“The devolving of powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to vary APD
would be devastating to other UK regions,” he said. “The north-east would be particularly
damaged, with air services and passengers relocating north of the Border.”

Both airports have called for variable rates of APD to be considered for across

The UK Government had intended to devolve responsibility for APD but reversed
its position while it examined a Coalition commitment to replacing the per-person
tax with a more environmentally-friendly per-aircraft tax.

Chancellor George Osborne then dropped the APD reforms in his March Budget, saying
they would not be legal, but included proposals to devolve responsibility forr
the tax to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in a consultation which ended
last month.

An industry source said UK Government ministers were reluctant to put English
airports at a disadvantage and were also hostile to the idea of introducing a
two-tier tax system. The source said: “They were serious about reforming Air Passenger
Duty. But now that’s been dropped, there’s no way they want to see a variable
rate introduced between England and Scotland.”

A likely compromise would be to hand over power for collecting the tax – worth
£157m in Scotland – but not the power to vary it, the source claimed.

The Treasury insisted no decision had been taken on devolving APD but reforms
would be made on a “revenue-neutral basis”. A final decision is due in the autumn.

A spokeswoman for Manchester Airport Group said it was not against devolution
of APD but would object to reforms that disadvantaged English regions.

“We would be concerned if the Government were to devolve powers to Scotland without
taking into account the effect it would have on airports in the north of England,”
she said. “We have urged the Government to look at a differential rate of APD
more broadly if it is serious about stimulating airport growth, given the capacity
constraints in the south-east of England.”

A spokesman for Transport Scotland, the agency with responsibility for aviation
policy, said: “While we would not seek to displace services which operate from
other UK airports, there is no good reason why passengers in Scotland should have
to continue to travel in such numbers through other UK airports or should not
benefit from levels of connectivity enjoyed in other parts of the UK.

“The case for devolution is growing with Scotland’s four largest airports supporting
the Scottish Government’s call that Air Passenger Duty be devolved to ensure the
interests of passengers in Scotland are supported.”



Read more »

Keith Taylor MEP: “We don’t need a new runway at Gatwick – or Heathrow, or Stansted or anywhere else for that matter”

Keith Taylor, the Green Party MEP, has set out clearly why no new runway is needed. The Airports Commission will shortly publish their consultation options, for runway plans at Heathrow and Gatwick. Keith says the extensive evidence against there being a need for a new south east runway is being ignored. The massive advertising and PR budgets by the airports are attempting to persuade that a new runway is vital is described as a con. While in theory the Commission was set up to establish if there was a need for a runway, in reality it has just been a process of making the decision where to build one more politically acceptable. It has not been an issue of “whether” as it should have been – but just “where.” Keith comments: “… it seems the Commission’s sole purpose has become to choose where expansion will go despite the very strong existing evidence against all airport expansion.”  People in the UK already fly more than almost any other nation. Economic claims of  the benefits of a new runway and claims about jobs created are also grossly exaggerated.  The aviation industry is perpetrating a massive hoax, for their own purposes. 


SussexVoice “Talk Politics” – Green MEP Keith Taylor – We don’t need more runways

28.10.2014  (By Keith Taylor)

Keith Taylor is Member of the European Parliament for South East England and a Green Party member.

We don’t need a new runway at Gatwick – or Heathrow, or Stansted or anywhere else for that matter.

The overwhelming evidence presented against airport expansion in 2009/10 when the then Labour government was backing proposals for a third runway at Heathrow is being ignored.

The huge budgets of the pro expansion lobby are busy trying to convince people expansion is the only way to go.  It’s a con.

When Prime Minister David Cameron set up the Davies Commission in 2012 there was a rising crescendo of business pressure for new runways. Cameron effectively kicked the issue into touch until after the 2015 General Election, ostensibly with a brief to Davies to consider whether expansion in the South East was necessary.

Many people believe Cameron had already privately decided that new runway(s) would be built, and forming the Commission was a cynical attempt at delaying any decision and deferring any political responsibility for implementing their recommendations.

The reality now is that the Davies Commission will recommend not whether expansion will take place but where it will happen.

In fact, it seems the Commission’s sole purpose has become to choose where expansion will go despite the very strong existing evidence against all airport expansion.

Such evidence includes the fact that without the go-ahead for any new runways, Britain is already amongst the most frequent flyers in the world. And that already more passengers fly in and out of London than any other city in the world.

Furthermore, nine of the ten most popular destinations from Heathrow are short-haul flights. [ Details ]  Existing rail services could offer workable alternatives on most of these routes, thus freeing up landing slots for longer haul flights, addressing airport capacity problems. As trains are around ten times less polluting than planes this would also be better for the environment. [ Details of plane/train carbon by Seat 61 ].

The employment benefits of expansion have also been overplayed. Claims that airport expansion will help create thousands of new jobs to help the country through the recession are based on unreliable statistics and in fact, expansion results in more UK tourists going abroad which creates a ‘tourism deficit’, where tourists’ money is exported from UK.      [Tourism deficit ].

Economist Brendon Sewill said:

“The Government, aided by the aviation industry, is perpetrating a hoax that airport expansion is vital to the economy and will help us though the recession. Councillors and planning officers are being misled by exaggerated claims that the expansion of their local airports will create lots of extra jobs. For example, ten years ago Manchester Airport claimed that its second runway would create 50,000 extra jobs [ link ]  whereas in practice employment at the airport has increased by only 4,000.”  [See employment details below. Airport had 2,088 employees in 2013 and 2,585 in 2000]. 

As anti-aviation expansion campaigners, we must be more strategic. If residents of Gatwick and residents of Heathrow both oppose expansion on their own local impacts then this will just be seen as a NIMBY reaction and our chances of winning will be limited.

But if we can create a situation whereby all anti-aviation expansion campaigners are calling for no runway expansion anywhere – because of the very convincing arguments that we have at our disposal on the environment, climate change, noise, air pollution and community blight – then we’re in with a chance of winning.

That also means supporting the regional airport campaigns in their smaller battles to prevent expansion such as the successful campaign I recently supported at Redhill Aerodrome. [ link ]

The fight-back is already happening and will be strengthened when everyone starts saying ‘Stop All Airport Expansion’ to promote the issues further up the agenda.

I look forward to making these points at the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) conference on Saturday 22nd November.





Employment details for Manchester airport.

Its 2nd runway was built in 2001.
The average monthly number of persons (including the directors) employed by the Group during the year was:

In  2000

Administration  397

Operational  1,633

Baggage handling  555

Total   2,585


In  2001 

Administration 405

Operational 1,639

Baggage handling 619

Total 2,663$File/Annual+Report+and+Accounts+0001.pdf

That document said:

“With the Airport set to grow significantly over the next 15 years with the number of passengers forecast to more than double to nearly 41 million a year by 2015”

In reality, the number of passengers in 2013 at Manchester airport was 20,682,900


In   2007

The average number of persons (including executive directors) employed by the Group during the year was:


In 2008



In 2013

The average number of persons (including Executive Directors) employed by the Group during the year was:



In 2014

The average number of persons (including Executive Directors) employed by the Group during the year was:







Read more »

Monarch Airlines sold by Mantegazza family to Greybull Capital, trying to make a go of it

Monarch has been trying to compete against easyJet and Ryanair.  It has already axed 700 jobs out of its 3,000 employees and reduce its aircraft fleet to 34 from 42.  The airline will now re-focus solely on short-haul European flights and ditch charter flights. Monarch has now agreed a rescue deal that will result in Switzerland’s Mantegazza dynasty, who started the business with just two aircraft in Luton in 1968, selling up completely. The family is impatient with the airline’s financial troubles after Monarch asked for a third bailout in July despite already injecting £75m into the business in 2011, just two years after putting £45m into the business. Investment firm Greybull Capital has now agreed to pump £125m of permanent capital and liquidity facilities into Monarch. Greybull sees the deal as a “long-term investment”, and will own 90% of the airline. The remaining 10% is held by Monarch’s pension fund, which has a reported to have a deficit of more than £300m. Monarch had some 6,248,160 passengers in 2013 compared with Ryanair at 81,400,000  and EasyJet at 61,332,800. 


Monarch Airlines rescued as Mantegazzas take flight

Greybull Capital pumps £125m into struggling airline as Switzerland’s wealthy Mantegazza family, who founded the business in 1968, exit entirely

By Ashley Armstrong, M&A Reporter (Telegraph)

24 Oct 2014

Monarch Airlines has agreed a rescue deal that will result in Switzerland’s Mantegazza dynasty, who started the business with just two aircraft in Luton in 1968, selling up completely.

Family patriarch Sergio Mantegazza is understood to have become impatient with the airline’s financial troubles after Monarch asked for a third bailout in July despite already injecting £75m into the business in 2011, just two years after putting £45m into the business.

Investment firm Greybull Capital has now agreed to pump £125m of permanent capital and liquidity facilities into Monarch, which has been anchored by a £50m investment.

As a result Greybull, which sees the deal as a “long-term investment”, will own 90pc of the airline, with the remaining 10pc held by Monarch’s pension protection fund. The carrier’s pension fund reportedly has a deficit of more than £300m by some calculations.

Andrew Swaffield, Monarch chief executive, said: “I am delighted to welcome the Greybull team as the new owners of the Monarch Group. We have a shared vision for the strategic direction and prospects for the business, and I am looking forward to working with them to implement the exciting plans for building our future.”

Greybull’s investment was contingent on Monarch’s turnaround plan being sucessful. The airline has already axed 700 jobs out of its 3,000 employees and reduce its aircraft fleet to 34 from 42. The airline will now recfocus solely on short-haul European flights and ditch charter flights.

The terms were agreed on Friday night at law firm Freshfield’s offices, just hours ahead of Monarch’s licence with the Civil Aviation Authority expiring.

Monarch required as much as £60m to shore up its finances, but the situation was considered so dire that restructuring specialists KPMG were waiting in the wings in case a search for a new investor failed.

The search for a new financial backer by Dean Street Advisors, the boutique advisory firm founded by investment bankers Mervyn Metcalf and Graeme Atkinson, and aviation advisory firm Seabury Capital drew interest from private equity investors and venture capitalist Jon Moulton’s Better Capital.

Greybull Capital was founded in 2010 by financier brothers Nathaniel and Marc Meyohas, who were pushed into the spotlight as one of the backers of Comet, only for the electricals chain to collapse months later with 7,000 jobs lost. Greybull’s structured financing meant that it recouped most of its money after the collapse.

Sergio Mantegazza is worth $4.7bn (£2.8bn), according to Forbes magazine.
Commenting on behalf of the selling shareholders, Fabio Mantegazza said: “We are very proud to have created one of the most loved aviation brands in the UK over the past 46 years. We think that now is an appropriate time to allow new shareholders to take Monarch into the future, with secure financial backing and clear strategic goals and we wish the Group every success.”



Monarch had some 6,248,160 in 2013 compared with Ryanair at 81,400,000  and EasyJet at 61,332,800.

Anna Aero




Monarch airlines plans to slash workforce by 1,000 jobs, up to 30%, to compete with Ryanair and EasyJet

Up to 1,000 jobs, about one third of its work force, will be cut at Monarch as it tries an overhaul to reposition itself as a low-cost airline competing with easyJet and Ryanair. Monarch is currently controlled by a wealthy Swiss-Italian family,  and has been undertaking a strategic review of its business in order  to attract new investors. It will drop its charter flights and focus on short-haul scheduled flights. It will cut its fleet of aircraft from 42 to 30. It will keep its focus on holiday destinations like Spain, the Canary Islands and Turkey but add more European cities and skiing destinations. Overall, it will fly more frequently to fewer destinations. Monarch has its HQ at Luton airport, is made up of Monarch Airlines, tour operator Cosmos Holidays and an aircraft maintenance division. They will no longer fly from East Midlands Airport. Monarch’s MD said “We’re on a trajectory of changing from a charter airline to a scheduled European low-cost carrier.” They recently ordered new planes, at the Farnborough air show.  This is a £1.75bn order for 30 new Boeing 737 aircraft to be delivered by 2020. They carried about 6.8 million passengers in 2013.




Read more »

Will there soon be too much low cost airline capacity on core European city routes?

An interesting article by Aviation Economics looks at the European low cost airlines, and whether they will be able to keep up their relentless growth.  It says these airlines are trying to both lower seat costs and offer greater frequency to some destinations, for business travellers.  They have needed to do more on business travel, “as leisure markets reach saturation.” This is likely to lead to massive overcapacity on core city routes as large numbers of new aircraft are delivered over the next decade. EasyJet and Ryanair are both ordering new planes that can fit in slightly higher numbers of passengers, and these will continue to arrive past 2020.  Aviation Economics comments that there are a limited number of city pairs in Europe that can sustain twice-daily frequency with a 200-seat aircraft – which means about 250,000 passengers a year at 85% load factor. Currently there are only 665 routes in Europe with traffic of over 250,000 passengers per year. But Ryanair and easyJet combined will have a fleet of more than 800 aircraft by 2019, which may be more than there are profitable routes ….



Too much capacity for low cost airlines on core European city routes?

13 OCTOBER 2014 (Aviation Economics)

European low-cost carriers (LCCs) are trying to both lower seat costs and offer frequency for business travellers. This is likely to lead to massive overcapacity on core city routes as large numbers of new aircraft are delivered over the next decade.

The major LCCs  [low cost carriers) have been on a buying spree, securing large orders for the next-generation of single-aisle aircraft well into the 2020s.

A notable trend has been upward pressure on aircraft seat capacity, with easyJet replacing A319s with A320s and Ryanair launching the 197-seat 737 MAX 200. [See article below].

Alongside increases in seat capacity the airlines have simultaneously been focusing on higher-yield business traffic, as leisure markets reach saturation.

But how can these airlines possibly fill these larger aircraft whilst also offering the frequency needed by business travellers?

There are a limited number of city pairs in Europe that can sustain twice-daily frequency with a 200-seat aircraft.

This chart [ see link ] shows all European city pair traffic, above a threshold of 100,000 passengers a year (2014 Capstats data). The routes are ranked largest on the left to smallest on the right, with the total passenger traffic on the left axis. The average aircraft size on each route is shown on the right-hand axis.

A twice-daily flight on a 200-seat aircraft needs about 250,000 passengers a year at 85% load factor.

Currently there are only 665 routes in Europe with traffic of >250,000 passengers a year. To put this in context, Ryanair and easyJet combined will have a fleet of more than 800 aircraft by 2019.

If we project forward to 2024, assuming organic growth on these mature routes, we see around 900 routes achieving this 250,000/year threshold. These are the routes connecting major cities. The supply of these core routes is not unlimited and they are already mature, with multiple airlines (often LCCs) competing directly for passengers. There is limited potential for radical price stimulation. As such, high levels of growth are likely to be constrained to organic growth rates of 3%±0.5% a year.

The real potential in Europe lies lower down the long tail of routes, where next-generation regional carriers like Flybe can exploit markets too small for the major LCCs and vacated by the legacy feeder airlines. A (relatively) competitive cost base can be combined with frequent services from mid-sized airports to appeal to business travellers.

Perhaps the larger LCCs with a business focus will consider acquiring a smaller aircraft type, or collaboration/merger with these regional carriers.

By Mark Scourse




Ryanair orders up to 200 197-seat 737 Max jets


8 Sep 2014
Irish budget carrier Ryanair is ordering up to 200 Boeing 737 Max aircraft, which will be configured with a higher-density seat layout unveiled by the airframer earlier this year.

Ryanair is ordering 100 firm aircraft and placing options on another 100, the carrier says. The jets will be fitted with 197 seats.

The airline will take delivery of the jets – branded as the ‘Max 200’ – from 2019 to 2024.

All 737 Max variants are powered by CFM International Leap-1B engines.

Ryanair had already disclosed it was holding talks over a possible Max agreement, following its order for 175 Boeing 737-800s last year.

The 737-800 has a maximum capacity of 189 seats and Ryanair had expressed strong interest in a 200-seat version of the re-engined Max 8.

Boeing revealed during the Farnborough air show in July that it would offer such an aircraft, through modifications to the exit-door arrangement.







Airbus A319
The shortened version of A320 with less capacity (124-150 passengers) and extended range to 6 800 km.

Airbus A319 commercial aircraft


Airbus A320
The baseline model of the family which can carry 150-180 passengers and has typical range of 5 500 km.

Airbus A320 commercial aircraft


Airbus A321
The stretched version with capacity of 185-220 passengers and a maximum range of 5 500 km.

Airbus A321 commercial aircraft





With all one class, maximum passengers 189, and maximum range 5,400 km


Ryanair. Airline code, web site, phone, reviews and opinions.




Read more »

Thousands fear compulsory purchase of their land, and eviction, for massive Taiwan aerotropolis + 3rd runway

 A huge airport city, or Aerotropolis, is planned around Taiwan Taoyan airport. However, its construction needs a great deal of land (about 3,000 hectares), and that many thousands of people (about 12,000 households) are moved.  Residents who may face forced eviction, for inadequate compensation, have been battling against the threat since last year. Some of the land is earmarked for a new runway – the airport already has two runways, and only about 30 million passengers per year.  One person, in tears, facing expropriation said: “My family has been on the plot of land on which our two-story house now stands since my great-grandparents’ time. We got married in this house, we raised our children in this house ….We want to grow old in the house, and we want our children to get married and have their children in the house, too.” People question why good quality farmland would be destroyed, and whether corruption in high places has been a reason for the airport plans.


An aerotropolis is an urban plan in which the layout, infrastructure, and economy is centred on an airport, existing as an airport city. It is similar in form and function to a traditional metropolis, which contains a central city core and its commuter-linked suburbs. The Taoyuan Aerotropolis s a large urban planning development at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. The development is supported by the Taoyuan County government. It is to be zoned.  The development requires a total of 3,200 hectares land acquisition and over 40,000 people have to be relocated. Once the Aerotropolis has been completed, the Taoyuan International Airport will be expanded to 1,800 hectares from the current 1,200 hectares, and the third runway will also be built.



Residents protest Aerotropolis

REALLY NECESSARY?   Resident Lu Li-chin questioned whether it is necessary to take over private land, as there is a lot of idle government land close to the airport

By Loa Iok-sin  (Taipei Times)

Residents who may face forced eviction due to the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project demonstrated outside the Construction and Planning Agency in Taipei yesterday as a committee met to review the project, urging it to exclude them from the project.

With the aim of creating an industrial, commercial, residential and a free economic pilot zone around Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, as well as an expansion of the airport, the Aerotropolis project would require the expropriation of more than 3,000 hectares of private land, affecting more than 12,000 households.

“My family has been on the plot of land on which our two-story house now stands since my great-grandparents’ time. We got married in this house, we raised our children in this house,” Chien Li-chiu (簡麗秋), in tears, told the crowd. “We want to grow old in the house, and we want our children to get married and have their children in the house, too.”

Chien said that, although her family owns the land, she and her husband had to borrow money to build the house 20 years ago and have just finished paying the mortgage.

“An apartment in this area costs up to dozens of millions of NT dollars nowadays — how would we be able to get another place to live with compensation of a few million NT dollars after the government takes away our house?” Chien asked.

Another resident, Huang A-kuei (黃阿桂), also said that she had worked hard for 20 years to earn enough money to buy the house in which she lives.

“I put my lifetime savings into buying the house; I would defend it with my life if anyone tried to take it away from me,” she said.

Lu Li-chin (呂理欽), on the other hand, questioned whether it is necessary to take over private land, as there is a lot of idle government land in the area.

He said most of the land to be taken away is good quality farmland and it would be a pity if it was turned into industrial or commercial zones.

“Food and energy are the most important resources now, and there may be a World War III for food and energy,” Lu said. “In addition, farmland could provide another source of income for our children, so that they would not have to use social welfare resources when they are out of a job or retired.”

The villagers were permitted to speak at the beginning of the meeting, which continues today.



Wikipedia says of Taiwan Taoyuan airport:

Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is an international airport serving the capital city of Taiwan, Taipei, and the northern parts of the country. Located about 40 km west of Taipei the airport is Taiwan’s largest airport.

The runways and taxiways are set to be expanded by early 2015 to accommodate large planes (including the Airbus A380).

As part of the “Taoyuan Aerotropolis” plan (scheduled for completion in 2019/2020), existing terminals will be expanded, a new terminal will be constructed, an aerospace industrial park will be established, and special zones for cargo, passenger and logistic services will be developed.





Police, aerotropolis protesters clash outside meeting

By Loa Iok-sin (Taipei  Times)

Residents and activists against the Taoyuan Aerotropolis (桃園航空城) project clashed with the police outside the headquarters of the Construction and Planning Agency (CPA) in Taipei yesterday as they were refused admittance to a meeting that was to decide whether their land would be seized by the government.

Holding banners protesting against the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project while chanting slogans asking for the Urban Planning Review Committee to allow them to attend the meeting, local residents who are affected by the project and rights activists supporting them demonstrated outside the agency, as police officers formed a line to block them from entering the complex.

“This project will have a huge impact on our lives and properties. Why can’t we attend the meeting?” a resident asked police officers, but received no response.

After a brief standoff, some demonstrators decided to climb over the wall of the complex, but their attempt failed when police officers held on to their feet, preventing them from moving.

A few minutes later, the committee finally allowed representatives of the protesters to attend the meeting, but they were only given a few minutes to talk and were then told to leave, triggering another wave of protests.

“Thousands of hectares of private land is to be seized to build a third runway for Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, but we really doubt the necessity of it with the declining numbers of passengers and flights using the airport,” Chan Hsien-chang (詹憲章), spokesman for the Taoyuan Aerotropolis Self-Help Association, told the meeting.

“Even if it’s absolutely necessary, do we really need to pick an option that would affect the largest number of residents?” Chan asked.

Chan went on to allege that the entire project is to benefit big corporations with connections in the government, as the second phase of the project involves the construction of commercial and industrial centers, while some local politicians are also proposing building a casino resort.

“The details of the project are yet to be drawn up and it is not due to start for another 20 years, so why the hurry to take our land?” Chan asked.

Deputy Minister of the Interior Hsiao Chia-chi (蕭家淇), who presided over the meeting, did not offer a response.

Soon after Chan and the other representatives had spoken, they were asked to leave.
Another protester, Pan Chung-cheng (潘忠政), refused to leave the building and was forcibly removed by police officers.

The committee approved the project at about noon, but the residents only learned about it hours later when they were asked to comment by reporters.

They vowed to continue their resistance to the project.





Read more »

Biggin Hill and Oxford airports sue RAF Northolt over its expansion into commercial private jet flights

Two small UK airports that depend on business jets, Oxford and Biggin Hill, are suing the military airport, RAF Northolt because it has expanded into civilian flights. It has done this to make money for the MoD, after their budget cuts. They claim that, because Northolt is operated by the MoD and therefore taxpayer funded, it has an unfair competition advantage. The expansion at Northolt also affects the number of business jet flights that Luton and Farnborough can get, and their flight numbers have fallen in recent years.  In May 2013 Northolt said it would begin to more than double the number of civilian flights from a self-imposed cap of 7,000 to 17,500 by 2016. Of that total, military movements will remain at about 5,500 a year. Northolt is the closest private jet airport to central London. The MD of Biggin Hill said: “We, like Oxford, like Farnborough, have all been through a very tough time and they’ve pulled the rug from underneath us. It’s not a level playing field.” They claim Northolt has about 15% of the London market, and are cheaper as they don’t have to meet the same safety standards as commercial airports.


Airports sue RAF Northolt over expansion into commercial flights


Small airports have had a difficult time in the past few years after passenger numbers dropped sharply following the financial crisis.

Biggin Hill estimates it has lost business worth about £4m each year, a 5 per cent reduction in market share. It handled 11,411 commercial civilian flights in 2013. Oxford airport handled 8,025 flights in the same period.


As well as being granted a judicial review that will be heard next month, Biggin Hill and Oxford airports have also taken their case to the European competition authority.


To save money, the defence department has outsourced contracts worth billions of pounds, has been selling prime properties such as its Deepcut barracks estate in Surrey, and has cut the army from about 100,000 to 80,000.

It denied that it was operating unfairly in expanding Northolt. “We do not deliberately undercut private enterprise and RAF Northolt adheres to Treasury rules,” the MoD said.


Full FT article at





Reubens take on RAF in dogfight over Northolt

John Collingridge (Sunday Times)

1 June 2014

BILLIONAIRE property moguls David and Simon Reuben have launched a legal challenge to halt the soaring number of civilian flights at RAF Northolt, the airport used by the Queen and prime minister.


The cap on civil aircraft flights at the airport in northwest London was lifted by 5,000 to 12,000 by the Ministry of Defence under plans to raise more money, and the airfield has become a favourite with business people who want to land close to the centre of London. Warren Buffett’s NetJets aviation business is a big operator at Northolt, where at least 70% of flights are now civilian.

………. and it continues …..

Full article in the Sunday Times at







Read more »

Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports sold to Ferrovial and Macquaire, by HAH, in £1bn deal

Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports have been sold by Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH) in a £1 billion deal. All three will now be owned by a consortium formed by Spanish firm Ferrovial and Australia-based Macquarie, and managed locally.   The sale is expected to be completed in January 2015.  Ferrovial already part-owns Heathrow, and holds a 25% stake in HAH, which was previously known as BAA.  So from January 2015, HAH will only operate Heathrow, while some years back it owned and ran seven airports.  Heathrow itself is 25% owned by Ferrovial with other stakes controlled by investment vehicles from Qatar, Quebec, Singapore, the US, and China. (Nothing English).  By passenger number in the UK, Glasgow ranks 8th, Aberdeen 14th and Southampton 18th. The airports are not anticipating any particular changes due to the sale. The uncertainty over ownership has not been helpful for the airports, but the investors will be wanting a return on their billion pounds.


Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports sold in £1bn deal

16.10.2014 (BBC)

Glasgow Airport

Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports have been sold by owners Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH) in a £1bn deal.

The three airports will now be owned by a consortium formed by two companies – Spanish firm Ferrovial and Australia-based Macquarie.

The sale is expected to be completed in January of next year.

The three airports will be managed locally but supported by Ferrovial’s and Macquarie’s shared ownership.

Ferrovial already part-owns Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport, and holds a 25% stake in HAH, which was previously known as BAA.

The deal means HAH will now operate only its flagship London hub.

The company had previously operated seven airports but an inquiry by the Competition Commission ordered it to be broken up.

By the time of the ruling it had already sold Gatwick, before later disposing of Edinburgh and announcing the sale of Stansted last year.

Heathrow itself is 25% owned by Ferrovial with other stakes controlled by investment vehicles from Qatar, Quebec, Singapore, the US, and China.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “This sale enables us to focus on improving Heathrow for passengers and winning support for Heathrow expansion.

“Heathrow is the UK’s only hub airport, connecting the whole of the UK to the world and bringing economic benefits locally and nationally.”

Edward Beckley, Macquarie’s European head, said the firm had a “long and successful track record of investing in and developing airports around the world”.

He added: “We look forward to working with these airports over the long term to support route growth and enhance the passenger experience for the communities they serve.”

Ferrovial chief executive Inigo Meiras said: “We are committed to improve these facilities and their services looking to a better passenger experience and in order to grant access to further domestic and international destinations.”

  • Glasgow is the eighth busiest of the UK’s airports, with 7.4m passengers and 104,000 aircraft movements in 2013.
  • Aberdeen is 14th busiest, with 3.4m passengers and 73,000 aircraft movements.
  • Southampton is 18th busiest with 1.7m passengers and 36,000 movements.

Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport, said: “Clearly this is a landmark day for Glasgow Airport and whilst we will be sorry to leave the Heathrow group, we do so knowing we’re in an extremely strong position.

“We have benefited from considerable investment in recent years and have achieved a great deal of success in securing new routes and growing passenger numbers. Together with my team, I am looking forward to working with Ferrovial and Macquarie to further develop our airport and ensure it continues to deliver for Glasgow and Scotland.”

Carol Benzie, managing director of Aberdeen Airport work on the deal had been taking place behind the scenes for several months.

She added: “Locally things remain very much business as usual. Our passenger numbers continue to grow, and we will continue to operate as we have been with a focus on the safety and security of our customers, as well as on delivering an excellent standard of customer service.

“No changes to the way we operate are planned and we will keep striving to deliver on all our commitments in the run up to a formal handover by the end of the year.”

The deal was welcomed by local authorities, with Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson saying: “Glasgow Airport is of huge strategic importance for the city and the west of Scotland with over 5,000 jobs dependant on its continued success.

“Its success is vital to ensure that Glasgow and our city region continues to be an attractive location for investment and for local businesses to expand overseas.

“I’m encouraged to see that this deal is backed with a wealth of experience in both the air industry and public infrastructure – and my council will continue to work in close partnership with our airport to ensure it meets the needs of local business and leisure travellers.”

Mark Macmillan, the leader of neighbouring Renfrewshire Council, said the deal would give Glasgow Airport “security of ownership and more certainty for the future”.

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stuart Patrick said: “The existing management team has done an excellent job in promoting the airport’s assets and attracting in new flights over what have been rough times. There is still huge potential for growth and route development, and that has obviously influenced the attractiveness of Glasgow as an investment.”


Douglas Fraser

BBC Scotland business and economy editor

The sale of Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports has been some time coming. Since the competition regulator took aim at the formerly nationalised British Airports Authority, later BAA plc, the break-up of that empire has looked likely.

Gatwick was sold five years ago for £1.5bn, and is now fighting hard to get the planning nod for a new runway, instead of letting Heathrow expand.

Either Edinburgh or Glasgow had to be sold, BAA was told, so the capital’s airport went to the same infrastructure investors who own Gatwick for a whopping £807m.

Renaming itself Heathrow Airport Holdings plc, the parent company then had to shed Stansted, going for £1.5bn to council-controlled Manchester Airport. And that left the three smaller parts of the company awaiting their fate.

The uncertainty over ownership has not been helpful for them. New owners may be willing to invest in upgrading Aberdeen’s facilities, while helping Glasgow compete more effectively with both Edinburgh, its new rival, as well as the beleaguered Prestwick. But then, those investors will also want a return on their billion pounds.


Related BBC Stories




Ferrovial buys – and sells – three UK airports for $1.7bn

17 October 2014 | By Joe Quirke

A joint venture between Ferrovial Aeropuertos of Spain and Australian investment bank Macquarie  is to buy Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports at a cost of $1.7bn.

The consortium will purchase the airports from Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH), a company in which Ferrovial has a 25% stake.

Ferrovial bought HAH in 2006, at which time it was known as BAA and operated seven airports across Britain. Four of its facilities were sold off after a Competition Commission inquiry found that passengers were suffering as a result of BAA’s dominant position.

After the completion of this transaction, HAH will own only Heathrow airport, but the Spanish contractor will have increased its share of the UK airport sector.

Iñigo Meirás, the chief executive of Ferrovial, said: “We’re aware of the importance of these airports for the population in their surrounding areas. The transaction proves how valuable these assets are for Ferrovial.

“We’re committed to improving these facilities and their services looking to a better passenger experience and in order to grant access to further domestic and international destinations.”

He said the three airports would continue to be managed locally, but would have the additional support of Ferrovial and Macquarie.

Sir Peter Mason Chairman of Thames Water, will be appointed as chairman of the group on completion of the deal.

Macquarie’s half of the 50:50 joint venture is made up of its European Infrastructure Fund 4. Edward Beckley, the manager of the fund, said: “We look forward to working with these airports over the long term to support route growth and enhance the passenger experience for the communities they serve.”

Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton were repectively the eighth, 14th and 18th busiest airports in the UK in 2013.

The transaction is expected to completed no later than January next year.
CIOB Website of the Chartered Institute of Building




Glasgow, Aberdeen & Southamptom Airports put up for sale by owners Heathrow Airport Holdings by end of 2014

July 31, 2014

Heathrow Airport Holdings want to complete the sale of the three airports by the end of the year. Key staff at Glasgow Airport were given the news at a briefing this afternoon. Spanish-owned BAA later issued a statement through Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd. “Over recent months Heathrow Airport Holdings group shareholders and management have been considering their strategic position in relation to our three airports, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton. As a result the group is now formally entering a sale process. Whilst there is currently no certainty that a sale will be concluded, the group intends to work towards completing a transaction by the end of the year.” BAA’s sold Edinburgh airport for £807 million in May 2012 to Global Infrastructure Partners. A Glasgow Airport source said: “The feeling here is that BAA need to raise cash to invest in Heathrow, but they are carrying too much debt.”







Read more »

Eurocontrol publishes airport environmental guidance – for consultation

Eurocontrol is the European agency dealing with European airspace matters, funded by European governments. It oversees airspace matters, including those in the UK. It has now produced a very European, written-by-committee-of-bureaucrats sort of document,  (Specification for Collaborative Environmental Management (CEM)) on guidance to airports on managing noise and carbon emissions. It is very guarded, and contains a large number of  repetitions of the words “may”, “shall”, “should,”  to “monitor and assess.”  Its aim is to “formalize collaboration among “core” stakeholders—airport operators, airlines and air navigation service providers ” – and try to set out basics of communication with communities. But Eurcontrol said: “….is it is voluntary. There is no enforcement by Eurocontrol or the European Union.”  But while voluntary, the specification is an official Eurocontrol document, for consultation till 29th November. It is aware of the noise issues affecting a range of communities and trade-offs between communities, and between noise and emissions.


Eurocontrol Publishes Airport Environmental Guidance


Eurocontrol CEM specification
Compliance with Eurocontrol’s Collaborative Environmental Management specification is voluntary, the agency says. (Photo: Eurocontrol)

Eurocontrol has published a “high level, generic protocol” airport stakeholders can follow to jointly manage airport noise and emissions issues. The agency will formally launch the collaborative environmental management (CEM) specification at the Airports Council International 2014 Airport Exchange conference, which will be held November 3-5 in Paris.

Several years in development, the CEM specification serves to formalize collaboration among “core” stakeholders—airport operators, airlines and air navigation service providers (Ansps)—and sets out requirements and recommended practices necessary to establish working arrangements. It supports stakeholders’ “common awareness and understanding of the interdependencies and constraints facing each other’s business,” when confronted with the environmental impacts of air traffic operations.

The first thing to state about the specification is it is voluntary. There is no enforcement by Eurocontrol or the European Union,” said Andrew Watt, Eurocontrol head of environment. It would be difficult for a European-wide organization to impose requirements on airports for local noise and air quality issues, he added. What the CEMspecification does is lay out a “process” that stakeholders can follow, for example, to renew environmental permits, build new infrastructure or introduce new procedures such as continuous descent approaches.

We have fairly good anecdotal evidence that at times they don’t necessarily cooperate as well as they could,” Watt said. “That means that maybe one of them takes an initiative for very good reasons, but maybe forgets to inform (the others)” and the initiative fails. “We know that there are a number of airports in Europe in which the three organizations cooperate extremely well, and using that as an example we’ve developed this specification.”

Specific airports, Ansps, regulatory authorities and trade organizations including the International Air Transport Association and Airports Council International (ACI) support the specification, which complements ACI’s airport carbon accreditation scheme, Watt said.

While voluntary, the specification is nevertheless an official Eurocontrol document. Under the agency’s notice of proposed rulemaking process, it was subject to a formal comment period last year that extended from September 29 to November 29. The agency held a consultation workshop in May at which a negotiated text was agreed, becoming version 1.0 of the specification. “It’s gone through an official Eurocontrol process,” Watt said. “It’s out in the public domain and people can use it or not as they wish.”




The EUROCONTROL Specification for Collaborative Environmental Management  was submitted to a formal written consultation from 24 September 2013 to 29 November 2013 using the EUROCONTROL Notice of Proposed Rule-Making (ENPRM) mechanism.

Consultation package:



The document says:

“The Collaborative Environmental Management (CEM) Specification formalises collaboration among the core operational stakeholders at airports by setting out generic, high level requirements and recommended practices necessary to establish CEM working arrangements in a pragmatic protocol.

“CEM supports and benefits core operational stakeholders’ common awareness and understanding of the interdependencies and constraints facing each other’s business. This in turn can facilitate the development of shared environmental solutions, on which they can then collaborate in joint planning and implementation.”



Today Airport Operators, Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) and Aircraft Operators
are already investing significant effort in dealing with the environmental impacts resulting
from their combined operations at and around airports. However, these impacts, in general
noise and emissions, remain a significant constraining factor to efficient and sustainable
Sustainable airport development is essential for improving European ATM capacity and flight
efficiency. To facilitate and strengthen stakeholders’ actions in this respect, and also to
support the wider sustainable development of the aviation sector as a whole, this
EUROCONTROL Specification for Collaborative Environmental Management (CEM) has
been drafted together with them.
The CEM Specification formalises collaboration among the core operational stakeholders at
airports by setting out generic, high level requirements and recommended practices
necessary to establish CEM working arrangements in a pragmatic protocol.
CEM supports and benefits core operational stakeholders’ common awareness and
understanding of the interdependencies and constraints facing each other’s business. This
in turn can facilitate the development of shared environmental solutions, on which they can
then collaborate in joint planning and implementation.
In addition, the CEM working arrangements facilitate a robust and transparent dialogue that
benefits relations with National Regulators, local and regional authorities, land-use planning
authorities, local communities (including Residents’ Associations) and local businesses (Non-exhaustive list and depends on local culture and circumstances ).
Furthermore, CEM can support stakeholders in respect of contributing to the realisation of
the Single European Sky (SES) objective 9 Regulation EC No 549/2004 as amended by Regulation EC 1070/2009 Art.1 Objective and scope [1],[2]) on the sustainable development of the air transport system and improving the overall performance of air traffic management and air navigation services for air traffic in Europe, with a view to meeting the requirements of all airspace users.
CEM supports commitment both to regulatory and industry-led voluntary environmental
impact reduction schemes.
EUROCONTROL Specifications have a voluntary status and are developed to support
Member States and stakeholders. This specification may provide a possible means of
compliance with certain requirements related to SES and aviation environment-related




Some extracts:

“Up to 70% of medium to large airports across Europe are currently facing challenges to grow and/or capacity constraints for environmental reasons [11]. A higher number anticipate difficulties in securing planning approval to grow as a direct result of environmental concerns. Many airports are also facing increasing social and regulatory pressure when renewing environmental permits, the contents of which may lead to further limitations on airport capacity. The challenges facing larger airports are increasingly applicable to smaller ones due in part:

–  the decrease in public tolerance of environmental nuisance and potential health concerns; and
– to the growth of traffic during peak and off-peak hours.

Although numerous stakeholders operate at an airport, the public generally views the airport operator as the responsible entity for the environmental impacts. In many instances the airport operator also has legal responsibility for the airport’s impact. Ultimately an airport ill
aim to maximise its sustainable development as a fixed asset.”



“Typically, a compromise or balance is required to ensure that a negative impact in one area does not outweigh the value of a positive impact in another area. However, positive and negative impacts may also be found between different aspects of the same impact area. Examples include (but are not limited to):

Noise versus fuel burn/CO2 emissions: The development of Noise Preferential Routes  (NPRs) may reduce the population affected by noise but may increase fuel burn and CO2 due to the additional track miles to be flown.

Fuel burn/CO2 emissions versus capacity: Optimizing the route structure to enable flights to fly closer to the user-preferred trajectory may result in a complicated route structure which has a negative impact upon capacity.

–  Noise versus noise: The concentration of aircraft trajectories in a particular area due to advanced navigation performance may result in a reduction in the total population exposed to noise but increase the noise impact on the population that will be exposed.

 Noise versus noise: The use of Noise Abatement Departure Procedures (NADPs) may reduce the noise exposure on a certain community near to the airport but increase the noise concentration on communities further from the airport.

 Capacity versus fuel burn/CO2 emissions: An increase in airport capacity may result in a more efficient operation when measured by reduced emissions per flight; however, such an increase in capacity may inevitably lead to an increase in total emissions.

–  Fuel burn/CO2 emissions versus fuel burn/CO2 emissions: An optimisation of
trajectories in the TMA may result in reduced track miles to be flown in the TMA
(reduced fuel burn) but not necessarily lead to a more efficient transition to en-route
airspace outside of the TMA, which could result in an overall increase in trajectory
inefficiency and consequently to increased fuel burn.

Consideration of the interdependencies and trade-offs between the different impacts of an operational change can only be truly determined at the local level. The priorities of the stakeholders will differ according to local requirements, conditions and expectations. An acceptable compromise for all parties can only thus be achieved through effective collaboration among all the relevant stakeholders.”



What is Eurocontrol?

“The Agency’s operational expenditure is financed by EUROCONTROL’s Member States. It covers core and support functions of the Agency, logistics and performance improvement. Bank loans are contracted for additional capital expenditures.”

EUROCONTROL is an international organisation founded in 1960 and composed of Member States from the European Region, including the European Community which became a member in 2002.  We are involved in almost every aspect of air traffic management, in close cooperation with our stakeholders.

Our main activities

  • The Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre provides an air traffic control service for the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and northern Germany.
  • The Central Route Charges Office handles billing across Europe.
  • The Network Manager has built on the role of the former Central Flow Management Unit and now proactively manages the entire ATM Network (with nearly ten million flights every year), in close liaison with the air navigation service providers, airspace users, the military and airports.
    It is now using its experience to develop the Centralised Services initiative, which will open up some services to market competition at a Pan-European level, generating significant savings and operational efficiencies.
  • We support the European Commission, EASA and National Supervisory Authorities in their regulatory activities.
  • We are actively involved in research, development and validation, including a substantial contribution to the SESAR Joint Undertaking.  However our efforts are not limited to SESAR but rather are focused on delivering tangible results which will improve the ATM system performance in the medium and long term.
  • We have a unique approach to civil-military aviation coordination in Europe .

We have over 2000 highly qualified professionals spread over four European countries, who make sure that the appropriate expertise and resources are deployed to address ATM challenges. See what our scope of expertise covers.



Our role

We support our Member States to achieve safe, efficient and environmentally-friendly air traffic operations across the European region.
We work together with all aviation partners to deliver a Single European Sky that will help to meet the safety, capacity and performance challenges of European aviation in the 21st century.

Our role is quite unique in Europe, because:

  • we are the only organisation where EU and non-EU Member States come together to discuss Single European Sky implementation;
  • we provide the technical expertise for building the Single European Sky;
  • we offer a platform for civil-military coordination, building on decades of strong military involvement in our activities;
  • we support the day-to-day operations of the European air traffic management (ATM) network;
  • we help and coordinate the response to crisis situations in Europe;
  • we provide public service functions that only reap their full benefits if organised at a pan-European level, such as the collection of route charges.





Eight rungs on the ladder of citizen participation

Eight rungs on the ladder of citizen participation (Sherry Arnstein  1969)



Read more »

Heathrow article implies health of Scottish langoustine market depends on 3rd runway ….

An article by Bloomberg, put out as part of Heathrow’s attempts to lobby for a new runway, says (I kid you not) that we need a new runway because people have to be able to export Scottish langoustines more easily to Spain and the rest of the world. The claim the Scottish fishermen, who can make plenty of money out of the crustaceans, can’t get the flight connections from Heathrow for their exports.  They claim this high value product is vital for the UK economy, however unsustainable it is to air freight shell fish half way around the globe.  However, the Scottish langoustine exporters have managed quite adequately to use connections via Schiphol – from Inverness – rather than Heathrow. Heathrow cut many of its flights to regional airports, as more profit can be made from long haul flights elsewhere. The   Bloomberg article is largely written for them by  Heathrow, so trots out a lot of half truths and spin.  Not impressive for the local people who  have recently had their peace destroyed by a concentrated flight path trial – one symptom of which was the meeting attended by 1,000 + people in Ascot, leaving Heathrow in no doubt at all about their opposition to a new runway.


London’s Runway Crisis Puts Pinch on Langoustine Export

Restaurants from Spain to Hong Kong clamor for mini-lobsters caught off northern Scotland.

For the fishermen who sell the langoustines live for almost $30 a pound, there’s one problem: London’s overstretched airports don’t offer the flight connections needed to get the crustaceans fresh to the markets where demand is surging.

“It’s a logistical nightmare,” said Ben Murray, managing director at Keltic Seafare, Scotland’s biggest shellfish supplier. “If there was a secure network to the Asias and Dubais of this world from the Highlands it would open up all sorts of options.”

His travails encapsulate the economic stakes for Britain as Prime Minister David Cameron pushes for increased exports and less reliance on the financial industry. Few assets are more important in meeting those goals than a state-of-the-art airport, and London’s Heathrow hub falls short, adding urgency to officials’ expansion plans.

“Low-weight and high-value products like lobster or computer chips have become the modern incarnation of the 17th-century tulip,” said Adie Tomer, a senior researcher at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program in Washington, D.C. “There is a lot at stake in attracting that freight and making sure it doesn’t rot on the tarmac.”

Missing Link

The problem for exporters is that Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, is already at its limits. Increasing capacity by adding a third runway is controversial because it’s enveloped by urban sprawl. Growing Gatwick, London’s No. 2 airport, could dilute benefits of a single hub that make more routes viable, the Confederation of British Industry says.

Now Keltic Seafare delivers 35,000 kilos (77,162 pounds) of fresh langoustines a year to Spain, Europe’s biggest seafood market, via Amsterdam. There are no flights from the local Inverness airport to Heathrow.

Murray said Asian exports would become possible with the restoration of Heathrow services, which ended in 2008 when the former British Midland pulled out of the Scottish route.

Heathrow has flights to just seven other U.K. airports, down from 12 a decade ago as carriers led by British Airways (IAG) assign scarce operating slots to more profitable inter-continental services. Amsterdam’s Schiphol, by contrast, serves 27 U.K. cities including Exeter in southwestEngland and Durham in the north, as well as Inverness, where KLM passenger planes collect Murray’s cargo.

Freight Gap

Heathrow is struggling to keep up outside the U.K. too. A sample of 15 fast-growing emerging markets by the CBI shows Frankfurt’s airport serves 45 cities and Amsterdam 31; Heathrow has links to 22.

Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. founder Richard Branson last week complained that a lack of capacity at Heathrow forced the carrier to cut some flights to Asia and Africa when it wanted to add more services to the U.S.

“It’s impossible for us to get slots at Heathrow,” Branson said in an interview in Dallas. “In order to start a new route we have to close a current route.”

The hub’s cargo volumes are also trailing rivals. Frankfurt and Paris were the only European airports to make the global top 10 by air freight in 2013. Both handled more than 2 million metric tons of goods and mail, versus 1.6 million tons at Schiphol and barely 1.5 million at Heathrow.

Gatwick Pitch

“With our current hub capacity full, we are slipping behind,” said Mark Dittmer-Odell, the CBI’s head of infrastructure said in an interview. “If we’ve got a hub airport in the U.K., that’s a national resource that people should be able to draw into.”

Heathrow’s chief rival in the contest for expansion is London Gatwick, the world’s busiest single-runway airport; the two were shortlisted by a government-appointed commission as leading contenders for a new landing strip.

Gatwick, owned by U.S.-based Global Infrastructure Partners and located south of the city’s sprawl, says it could add a new runway for as little as 5 billion pounds ($8 billion), compared with a bill of at least 14 billion pounds for the construction of a third runway at Heathrow.

A new 2.2-mile runway west of existing terminals would boost Heathrow’s long-haul connections by almost 50 percent to 122, with capacity for 740,000 flights annually, 90,000 more than at Schiphol. Domestic destinations that could be added include Liverpool in northwest England, Newquay in the southwest and Cardiff, Wales, said John Holland-Kaye, who took over as the airport’s chief executive officer in July.

Mayor Opposed

“The choice between a flight to Inverness and a flight to China is a false economy,” he said. “We should have both. The airlines are having to choose and that’s one of the things we want to correct.”

The CEO has traveled the globe to press the case for Heathrow, which accounts for 65 percent of the U.K. international air freight by volume and a quarter of all exports by value, led by high-worth items such as pharmaceuticals.

He’s also courting U.K. media, seeking to win public support with the promise of 123,000 jobs that would result directly and indirectly from the expansion. And he’s lobbying London Mayor Boris Johnson to abandon his plans for a new hub in the River Thames estuary that were dismissed by a government committee last month as too costly and complex.

Johnson plans to seek a parliament seat next year, positioning himself as a possible successor to Cameron. He says he’s completely opposed to any growth at Heathrow because of the resulting aircraft noise over built-up areas.

Airport Poll

The mayor aside, the political landscape is changing to Heathrow’s benefit, according to Holland-Kaye. An Ipsos MORI survey released Sept. 7 found that 58 percent of U.K. lawmakers favor a third runway there, based on a survey of 38 MPs from Cameron’s Conservatives and 46 from theLabour Party.

The prime minister himself also opposed the hub’s expansion while in opposition five years ago, before softening his position in ordering a neutral assessment by the aviation commission underHoward Davies, a former head of the Financial Services Authority and London School of Economics.

“The two larger parties are sitting behind the Davies Commission,” Holland-Kaye said. “They understand this is a complex issue. If it was easy it would have been done a long time ago.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Kari Lundgren in London at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Hertling at; Benedikt Kammel at Christopher Jasper

  • Read more »

    MPs call for improved rail links to south-east airports

    A cross-party group of MPs has urged the government to improve public transport links to airports in the south-east.  The MPs, including Dame Tessa Jowell, Margaret Hodge, Zac Goldsmith and Julian Huppert, say excessive car journeys and the consequent pollution as one of the biggest barriers to the future sustainability of airports. [This is the carbon emissions of airports themselves, rather the emissions of the flights they facilitate, which is a massively higher number].   Tim Yeo and Caroline Spelman, Darren Johnson, and John Stewart, have also signed it, but Darren Johnson stressed that his endorsement of the letter did not imply conditional support for airport expansion. Heathrow is very well aware that it cannot build a new runway, unless the level of local air pollution (largely from road traffic) is hugely cut.  It is currently close to the legal maximum, and cannot legally be increased. Heathrow and Gatwick want better rail links, to keep their surface transport emissions down. But those links would largely be paid for by public funding.


    MPs call for improved rail links to south-east airports

    Petition identifies excessive car journeys as one of the biggest barriers to the future sustainability of airports 
    By , political editor  (Guardian)
    Wednesday 15 October 2014

    A cross-party group of MPs has urged the government to improve public transport links to airports in the south-east.

    The MPs, including Dame Tessa Jowell, Margaret Hodge, Zac Goldsmith and Julian Huppert, identify excessive car journeys and the consequent pollution as one of the biggest barriers to the future sustainability of airports.

    Other signatories include the former Tory ministers Tim Yeo and Caroline Spelman, as well as the Green party London assembly member Darren Johnson, and John Stewart, a campaigner against Heathrow expansion.  Johnson stressed that his endorsement of the letter did not imply conditional support for airport expansion.

    The government-appointed Davies commission is due to report after the election on how best to expand airport capacity in the south-east. It has shortlisted three options: a third runway at Heathrow, lengthening an existing runway at Heathrow, or a second runway at Gatwick.

    The petition by the cross-party group says: “Airports have become an integral part of modern life, however their environmental impacts should be effectively managed and over time brought down.”

    It says airports have a responsibility to reduce pollution, but it is also necessary for the government to guarantee better-quality rail access to help cut emissions.

    “For our major airports – Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted – the government must commit to a step-change improvement in rail access,” the MPs say.

    “This change will be brought about at Heathrow by new rail access from the west, by southern rail access longer term, and by efficient interaction with HS2; at Gatwick by material improvements to the Gatwick Express with the new Thameslink franchise; and at Stansted with new rail infrastructure to secure a world-class Stansted Express.”

    This month delegates at the Liberal Democrat autumn conference defied the party leadership by voting against any net expansion of airport capacity in the south-east.

    At the Labour party conference last month, Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, said: “We must resolve to finally make a decision on airport capacity in London and the south-east – expanding capacity while taking into account the environmental impact. No more kicking into the long grass, but taking the right decisions for Britain’s long-term future.”

    More than 1,000 people attended a meeting this week to protest over changes to flight paths at Heathrow airport.




    A conference by “Let Britain Fly” and “Runways UK” in London on 15th October (see agenda) focused partly on the desirability of increasing the proportion of passengers arriving at airports by public transport – rather than cars.  Everyone agrees this would be a good plan. However, air passengers are acknowledged to be “challenging” for public transport, as they tend to have luggage, so take up more space than non-airport travellers.

    There is also an existing problem of many train services already being crowded and approaching capacity, for much of the day. The line to Gatwick is a case in point. While the airports claim their air passengers would only add some 10% more people at peak morning rush hour, this time is already often at capacity with standing room only.

    It was stated that for many rail services in the crowded south east, there is no longer just a morning and an evening peak, but services are crowded for longer periods extending across the day.

    While airport passengers may get the benefit of better rail services, the cost of this is not paid by the airports. Better transport links to airports are likely to be paid for by the taxpayer.

    The “summit” was interesting, but not surprisingly, contained a number of very waffly and non-specific speeches, of each speaker pushing a predictable line. The conclusion that many would draw from the day was that there really are no workable, or persuasive, plans for either Heathrow or Gatwick to get a new runway, and meet environmental targets.

    Many supportive speeches were made, but all lacking any real substantive detail on how a new runway could be seen to be environmentally “sustainable.”  Fine hopes. Fine words. Nothing of real substance.








    Read more »