ICAO aviation offset market talks yield little progress, but backtracking on previous agreement

ICAO has concluded 3 days of talks to try to achieve a deal on a market-based offsetting mechanism for international aviation emissions from 2020.  It has not made much progress.  The industry has expressed the hope of “carbon neutral growth” after 2020, which means continuing to grow and emit more carbon, but buying offsets from other sectors that actually do cut CO2 emissions. Unless this is done, the prospect of the world achieving a limit of global temperature of 2 degrees C is remote.  However, there are difficult issues to be resolved, of how to divide up the offsetting responsibilities between fast-growing airlines in emerging economies, and established carriers often with older, less fuel-efficient fleets and based in the industrialised world. Neither side will accept being disadvantaged. There have been proposals to try out a “pilot” scheme, and delay the 2020 date.  Either way, the ICAO scheme only intends to cover international flights, not domestic – which form a large proportion in countries like the USA and China. That means only about  62% of the total aviation CO2, assuming the EU counts as a single bloc (more like 40% otherwise).  Airlines do not want a patchwork of different systems in different parts of the world. 

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ICAO aviation offset market talks yield little progress, seen backtracking on previous agreement

May 14, 2016

By Ben Garside – ben@carbon-pulse.com  (Carbon Pulse)

Three-day talks (11th to 13th May) on a deal to launch a market-based offsetting mechanism for international aviation emissions from 2020 wrapped up in Montreal Friday without any firm progress, with some nations even appearing to backtrack on a previous agreement by proposing a ‘pilot’ practice phase and a later start date.

The “high-level” negotiations at the headquarters of UN aviation body ICAO were one of the last opportunities to iron out key issues before a deal is due to be voted on at ICAO’s full assembly in October.

But two-and-a-half years spent poring over technical details has so far yielded little in the way of solid results, as this week’s session ended with governments failing to establish clear negotiating lines, including on the main issue of how to divide up offsetting responsibilities.

In response to the lack of progress, Singapore tabled a proposal for an “implementation phase” from 2020 to buy time to iron out the details and test infrastructure.

China also called for a pilot process, three sources at the talks said.

An EU source told Carbon Pulse that while the 28-nation bloc EU would welcome a pilot to test auditing rules and voluntary offsetting before 2020, it opposed any move that would delay the start of the global market-based measure beyond the beginning of the next decade.

That start date was agreed by ICAO’s assembly when it last met in 2013.

REACTION

Environmental campaigners were appalled that the process appeared to be rolling back from the agreement to attain carbon-neutral growth, and that draft design plans that have emerged contain too many loopholes to adequately address the sector’s climate impact.

Industry groups, on the other hand, keen to keep the process together rather than see it unravel into a patchwork of regional measures, took pains to remind governments that they were prepared to start the global offsetting measure in 2020.

“The industry is ready to play its role and we further encourage governments to deliver a deal with concrete parameters that allows us to start implementation from 2020,” said Michael Gill of cross-industry Air Transport Action Group.

**Read our analysis on how the ICAO deal is poised to cover less than 40% of airline pollution and do little to answer airlines’ pleas to avoid a patchwork of regional measures.** (See below).

FURTHER TALKS

Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, a Dutch member of the European Parliament observing the session in Montreal, took a more positive stance however.

“Experienced negotiators are saying they’ve never seen a more positive attitude here before. There are still a lot of points to be discussed, but generally I’m quite optimistic,” he told Carbon Pulse.

“It’s not yet clear how the Singapore proposal will be handled. It will be one of the issues on the table for further talks in June,” referring to another session of ICAO negotiations scheduled for next month.

On Thursday Egypt tabled a proposal, which was reportedly supported by the US, to outlaw any unilateral regional measures to address aviation emissions once ICAO’s global market-based mechanism was implemented.

But Gerbrandy said that proposal had since been amended so as to prove less of a threat to the EU’s ability to impose its own regulation on flights using European airports under the bloc’s carbon market.

“It would at least mean inter-European flights are not affected, and while the problem has not been overcome, it’s moving in the right direction,” he added.

By Ben Garside – ben@carbon-pulse.com

http://carbon-pulse.com/19970/

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See also

ANALYSIS: ICAO climate talks reach crunch time, but deal poised to exempt most aviation emissions

May 11, 2016

By Ben Garside (Carbon Pulse)

Deep divisions are emerging between global powers over a UN deal to curb aviation emissions that is set to cover less than 40% of airline pollution and do little to answer airlines’ pleas to avoid a patchwork of regional measures.

Government officials resume the negotiations today at a three-day session at the headquarters of UN aviation body ICAO in Montreal, their main opportunity to iron out key issues before the deal is due to be voted on at the body’s full assembly in October.

But after two-and-a-half years of polite positioning, major rifts have emerged between the US and China over an ICAO draft for a global offsetting mechanism that some carbon market proponents expect to save the ailing CDM and spur a surge in demand for REDD credits.

“Now we will see negotiating lines begin to harden. People have been pretty careful until now,” said Annie Petsonk of environmental campaigners EDF.

The draft ICAO proposal is aimed at meeting an earlier pledge by the industry to achieve carbon neutral growth from 2020.  However, under the plan’s current design it would only see flights between richer countries join the scheme when it launches in 2021, with flights linked to middle-income nations being phased in from 2026.

This, combined with ICAO’s remit of only covering international flights, would mean less than 40% of commercial aviation emissions worldwide are set to be regulated by the scheme from 2020, undermining efforts to curb emissions from the fast-growing sector currently responsible for as much as 5% of global greenhouse gas output.

In percentage terms it appears insignificant, but aviation’s share represents more than the total emissions of the world’s 129 least emitting countries.

FAIR SHARE

Underpinning those major shortcomings is a battle among nations over how to divide up the offsetting responsibilities between fast-growing airlines in emerging economies with established carriers often with older, less fuel-efficient fleets and based in the industrialised world.

China has already raised objections that the deal would “impose inappropriate economic burden on developing countries, where the international aviation market is still maturing,” according to a paper it submitted ahead of the talks urging all major airline emitters to enter from 2021 on a “nationally-determined” basis.

The US, on the other hand, is pushing for the measure to “achieve the widest possible coverage”, according to its submission, and is seeking for offsetting obligations to gradually move towards being determined by an airline’s individual growth rate rather than the industry average used in ICAO’s draft.

This would pile a much heavier offsetting burden on faster-growing carriers such as Turkish Airlines, China Southern, or Russia’s Pobeda, rather than established US carriers such as Delta and American Airlines.

The diplomatic manoeuvring centres around ICAO’s principle of treating all airlines equally on the same routes, and the guiding tenet of the UNFCCC, the UN climate body, of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) that mean developed nations with greater historical responsibility for emissions are required to take the lead.

“There’s a high risk that the ICAO talks will fail if countries can’t agree on CBDR,” one EU official told Carbon Pulse on condition of anonymity.

“Things haven’t advanced too much since Paris, as differentiation is still obstructing progress … The problem is that countries are taking the Agreement and reading what they want from it,” said another source familiar with the talks.

While generally in favour of the phase-in approach for poorer states, the EU stressed that any emissions left out from the start would create a ‘gap’ in the regulation.

“If left unaddressed, this gap would put at risk the achievement of the climate objective. Europe stresses the need to improve the design so that the emissions gap is minimised and addressed,” the EU said in its submission to the talks.

But Andrew Murphy of green group T&E said this would pile more pressure on countries to deepen emission reductions on their own territories to meet their collective goal in the Paris Agreement of keeping global warming to well below 2 degrees C and of striving to keep it below 1.5C.

“The UNFCCC’s analysis of national pledges assumes that aviation will achieve carbon neutral growth from 2020, so if international aviation doesn’t stick to that then we face the prospect of moving away from the 1.5C/2C goal,” he said.

GLOBAL PATCHWORK

Airline association IATA expects the offset measure to cost carriers up to $6.2 billion a year by 2025, rising to $23.9 billion by 2035. But it is pushing for an October deal as the sector’s most cost effective way of tackling climate change and to cut red tape for its globally-focused members.

“A market-based cost will be much more efficient, and much fairer than the alternative which is a patchwork of inefficient and ineffective charges and taxes which are cooked up primarily just to raise cash rather than to tackle climate change,” IATA chief Tony Tyler told an industry event ahead of talks in Montreal on Tuesday.

“We expect that the cost will be not insignificant, but it will be manageable,” he added.  “Industry is resolute. It is determined to do the right thing.  We are counting on ICAO states to enable us.”

Yet, ICAO’s remit is only to cover emissions from international flights, which accounts for just 62% of the total assuming the EU counts as a single bloc.

It is unclear how countries will address domestic aviation emissions should an ICAO deal be struck on the international portion, though analysts don’t expect governments to cede control to ICAO.

“We think it is likely it will be a patchwork of regulations with domestic policies in a way continuing what they do today, rather than using the ICAO regime domestically,” said Frank Melum, an analyst at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon.

The EU has since 2012 included intra-European flights in its Emissions Trading System.  South Korea covered airlines in its ETS in 2015, and China expects to regulate them when it launches its national carbon market in 2017.

The US, which accounts for two-thirds of all domestic aviation emissions, has no firm plans, yet its submission to the ICAO talks appears to lean towards uniting the regulation of aircraft pollution globally.

“Deciding to adopt a global market-based measure at ICAO is imperative to avoid a patchwork of approaches at the country or regional level that may be inconsistent, overlap and result in increased costs,” it said.

RESTART THE CLOCK

The EU also has an additional negotiating chip.

Should the 28-nation bloc deem the ICAO deal inadequate, it could opt to once again impose its ETS on international flights using most European airports, effectively ‘restarting the clock’ on a law it froze in 2012 amid an outcry from its major trading partners that the rules infringed on their sovereignty.

If ICAO agrees on a scheme that doesn’t ensure the aviation sector doing its fair share in limiting climate change, I see no reason why Europe shouldn’t include international flights as of the 1st of January 2017,” said Bas Eickhout, a Green party member of the European Parliament.

However, while the EU Parliament is eager to push the issue, member states are less keen on revisiting the diplomatic furore, and observers expect the bloc to set a high bar for re-establishing its law.

Regardless, airlines remain apprehensive over what sort of additional measures may await should governments deem whatever ICAO agrees as insufficient.

“If you’re an airline seeing different measures popping up around the world, this scares you.  For that reason, ICAO is feeling the pressure.  If it doesn’t get this done, that will provide impetus for additional regulations,” the second anonymous source said.

“The UNFCCC may take over on this if ICAO can’t reach an deal,” he added, noting that following failed efforts in Paris, some countries may once again try to regulate the sector’s emissions through the UN’s climate change secretariat.

By Ben Garside and Mike Szabo – ben@carbon-pulse.com

http://carbon-pulse.com/19810/

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Read more »

Heathrow senior executives would get large bonuses if they manage to get 3rd runway

The Guardian has revealed that Heathrow’s annual report (December 2015) show that its top executives would benefit personally if the airport gets a 3rd runway. This is despite past denials that there were any financial incentives, not least when senior executives at Gatwick were found in February to have huge financial incentives if they manage to get a 2nd runway. Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd states: “During the year a new bonus scheme was launched based on EBITDA, passenger service (as measured by independent ASQ – Airport Service Quality – scores) and airport expansion over the Q6 period….” [Q6 is the 5 year regulatory period 2014 – 2019].  A Heathrow spokesman said the runway bonus would only be a small part of a payout for meeting the strategic requirements of the business, hitting the profit targets etc. CEO John Holland-Kaye earned £2.06m last year, more than doubling his basic salary of £885,000. However, he could add even more to that should a 3rd runway be approved. The annual report states that while a bonus scheme linked to expansion was launched in 2015, “as the performance in respect of this scheme is so uncertain at this stage, no value in relation to these awards is included” in his 2015 earnings package. The Guardian says John Holland-Kaye is believed to be the architect of the new bonus scheme. The airport cut its wider wage bill by cutting 300 jobs last year (6,714 compared to 7,047 in 2014) but directors’ pay rose. Directors’ remuneration rose by £366,000 in 2015, to £3,555,000 from £3,189,000 in 2014.
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Heathrow Airport bosses to net bonus if third runway awarded

Owner’s annual report shows executives would benefit personally from any expansion despite past denials

Heathrow bosses will stand to gain from bonus payouts if the airport gets permission to build a £17.6bn third runway, it has emerged.

Although  the west London airport has previously denied the existence of any such financial incentives – not least when senior executives at rival Gatwick were found to have incentives to win a second runway – the annual report of Heathrow Airport Holdings states that during 2015 “a new bonus scheme was launched based on EBITDA, passenger service and airport expansion over the Q6 period”(pdf), which runs from 2014 to 2020.

A Heathrow spokesman said the runway bonus would only be a small part of a payout for meeting the strategic requirements of the business, and rests on first hitting the profit targets and independently monitored customer satisfaction scores.

Chief executive John Holland-Kaye earned £2.06m last year, more than doubling his basic salary of £885,000. However, he could add even more to that should a third runway be approved. The annual report states that while a bonus scheme linked to expansion was launched in 2015, “as the performance in respect of this scheme is so uncertain at this stage, no value in relation to these awards is included” in his 2015 earnings package.

Holland-Kaye, who refused to confirm any such bonus existed in a Guardian interview earlier this year, is believed to be the architect of the new scheme.

The airport cut its wider wage bill by cutting 300 jobs last year.

Owned by a consortium of foreign interests, including Qatar and China’s sovereign wealth funds, Heathrow would hope to become Europe’s predominant hub with an extra runway, raising landing charges significantly to fund its expansion.

Heathrow last week abandoned its opposition to conditions laid down by the Airports Commission when it recommended a third runway. The airport agreed to a ban on night flights for a six-and-a-half-hour period and said it would abide by any government decision to rule out a fourth runway.

A decision on whether to grant permission for the airport’s expansion plan is expected from the government in the summer, although Holland-Kaye last week conceded that the definition of summer was likely to be stretched.

Further work into air quality problems in west London, one ostensible reason given for the delay, is expected to be concluded in the coming months by the Department for Transport.

Sixty-five MPs have signed an early-day motion urging the government to make a decision before the recess, while the transport select committee recently demanded a clear timetable be set out by transport secretary.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/may/15/heathrow-airport-chiefs-bonus-third-runway?CMP=twt_a-environment_b-gdneco

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and

“Even now, though, the disclosure is minimal. The accounts don’t reveal how much Holland-Kaye and colleagues could receive if a third runway is approved. This is a poor show. Bonuses for building a new runway on time and on budget would be easy to understand. But payments for successful lobbying of government feel very different, especially if their size is not revealed in advance. The principle here ought to be simple: if you are going to talk rousingly about the national interest, tell us how much you stand to gain directly.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/nils-pratley-on-finance/2016/may/16/heathrow-airport-executives-bonuses-third-runway


The Annual report and financial statements for the year ended  31 December 2015 states:

Page 52:

Employee numbers

The average number of employees of the Group was 6,714 (2014: 7,047 for continuing operations).

At Heathrow

Year ended 31 December 2015 – 6,104

Year ended 31 December 2014  – 6,441

Other operations

Year ended 31 December 2015  – 610

Year ended 31 December 2014  – 606

Totals

Year ended 31 December 2015  –  6,714

Year ended 31 December 2014   – 7,047


But during that time, the amount of  Management and Directors’ remuneration increased:

Year ended 31 December 2015  – £10,130,000

Year ended 31 December 2014 –  £ 9,252,000


During that time, the amount spent on Directors’ remuneration increased:

Year ended 31 December 2015  – £ 5,330,000 (£3,555,000 as “aggregate emoluments 1 & 2*”)

Year ended 31 December 2014 –  £ 4,269,000 (£3,189,000 as “aggregate emoluments”)

* 1. For the year ended 31 December 2014 aggregate emoluments includes salaries, allowances, director fees, accrued bonuses and amounts payable under long term incentive plans (‘LTIP’).
2. £1,252,000 of bonus was paid in cash in 2015 (2014: £1,354,000).

 

That means the increase on Director’s remuneration between 2014 and 2015 was £366,000. That is well over 10% more.


Annual report and financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2015

states (P 53):

“During the year a new bonus scheme was launched based on EBITDA, passenger service (as measured by independent ASQ scores) and airport expansion over the Q6 period, as the performance in respect of this scheme is so uncertain at this stage, no value in relation to these awards is included above.  [ASQ means Airport Service Quality.  EBITDA means Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization].

“The highest paid director participates in various Long Term Incentive Performance Cash Plans. In respect of the Plans, a cash amount is granted which could vest in future periods contingent on achieving or surpassing EBITDA, Return on Equity and other operational targets over a three year period. The highest paid director‟s remuneration includes £476,000 payable in 2016 (2014: nil paid in 2015) in respect of the 2013 LTIP Plan after certain targets were met over the three year period from 2013 to 2015. As the financial performance in respect of the 2014 and 2015 Plans is so uncertain at this stage, no value in relation to these awards is included above.”

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See earlier:

Top Gatwick bosses stand to make personal fortunes if airport price raised by 2nd runway

The Sunday Times has found that several of Gatwick’s senior bosses are signed up to a bonus scheme that should pay out handsomely if the airport is sold.  In small print in Gatwick’s 2011 accounts the bonuses of “certain members” of its board are directly linked to the amount GIP gets from sale of the airport.  It has long been suspected that Stewart Wingate, Nick Dunn (and others?) would stand to gain significantly, themselves, if they could raise the value of the airport by getting a 2nd runway.  Now the disclosure has proved it.  The cap on how much they could make is not revealed. Gatwick lent the executives £2.8m to buy into the share scheme, with the interest-free loans repayable once they sell their shares.  GIP owns 42% of the airport, with much of the rest held by investors from Abu Dhabi, California, Korea and Australia. Gatwick have been doing all they can to block a Heathrow runway, to get their own.  They are also doing all they can to increase the maximum number of flights per hour through flight path changes – again to raise the airport’s price. GIP bought Gatwick for £1.5 billion in 2009, and has just sold London City airport for almost x3 what they paid for it – and almost x32 its annual underlying profits.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/02/top-gatwick-bosses-stand-to-make-person-fortunes-if-airport-price-raised-by-2nd-runway/

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Anger at revelation that Gatwick bosses to personally profit (millions of £s) if 2nd runway allowed

The Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) has expressed anger at the revelation in the Sunday Times that Gatwick bosses are set to benefit personally by several million pounds if permission is given for a 2nd runway. GACC says a 2nd runway would bring misery to tens of thousands of people. There would be three times as many people affected by serious amounts of aircraft noise, and new flight paths over peaceful areas. About 50,000 people would suffer from worse air quality. A new runway would mean traffic jams on motorways and local roads, overcrowding on the trains and an influx of new workers with a need to build 40,000 new houses on green fields. But with all these negative impacts on ordinary people, Gatwick bosses would walk away with huge bonuses. GACC chairman, Brendon Sewill, commented: “Until now Gatwick Airport Ltd have tried to persuade the public that a 2nd runway would be in the national interest. Now the cat is out of the bag!  There is no real need for a new runway at Gatwick.” GACC will be investigating how far these new bonus payments will be subject to the normal full 45% rate of income tax.  Despite making large profits, Gatwick Airport has paid no corporation tax since being bought by GIP due to tax fiddles similar to those operated by Starbucks or Google.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/02/anger-at-revelation-that-gatwick-bosses-to-personally-profit-millions-of-s-if-2nd-runway-allowed/

Read more »

Heathrow’s commitment on 4th runway – what is Heathrow really saying?

The Airports Commission said, in giving its recommendation that a 3rd Heathrow runway should be built, that a firm condition was that no 4th runway should ever be built there. The Commission’s wording in its Final Report (1.7.2015) was: “A fourth runway should be firmly ruled out. The government should make a commitment in Parliament not to expand the airport further. There is no sound operational or environmental case for a four runway Heathrow.” And  “This may be as part of a National Policy Statement or through legislation.” What Heathrow has now said is that it will: “Accept a commitment from Government ruling out any fourth runway.”  This does not say this ban on a 4th runway would be in legislation. It merely says there would be a commitment. But the coalition government made a commitment not to build a 3rd runway, in 2010. That commitment was then overturned in the next Parliament.  It scarcely encourages trust.  A commentator in the Huffington Post says (as well as the long history of Heathrow’s broken promises)  that allowing the 3rd Heathrow runway would effectively say Heathrow is now and ever will be the UK’s hub airport.  Hub airports actually “need at least four runways and preferably room to expand further.
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What the Airports Commission’s Final Report said (P 11):

“A fourth runway should be firmly ruled out. The government should make a commitment in Parliament not to expand the airport further. There is no sound operational or environmental case for a four runway Heathrow.”

and

(Page 32)

“Government should make a firm commitment in Parliament to rule out any fourth runway at Heathrow, for which there is no operational or environmental case. This may be as part of a National Policy Statement or through legislation.”

and

(Page 309)

“14.117   In addition, the physical geography challenge of fitting a fourth runway in at Heathrow would be increasingly great. The Commission considered the extent to which the shortlisted schemes might be able to accommodate further significant expansion, but it was not possible to identify any option for a fourth runway at the Heathrow site that could be delivered without incurring both reduced benefits and substantially increased financial and environmental costs.

14.118   Moreover, while there is a potential demand case for a second additional runway in the South East by 2050, it does not follow that there would necessarily be an economic or environmental case for such a development.

14.119   Nonetheless, given the history of development at Heathrow, the Commission recognises that the local communities may be mistrustful of such statements, particularly if coming from the airport itself. That is why the Commission recommends that the Government make a firm ruling in Parliament on the matter. A statement that there should be no fourth runway at Heathrow made as part of a National Policy Statement or through legislation would be the best way to give lasting reassurance to communities.”

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The wording of what Heathrow now proposes:

FOURTH RUNWAY:

“Ruling out any fourth runway. The government should make a commitment in Parliament not to expand the airport further.”

Heathrow’s proposal

Meeting the Airports Commission

Accept a commitment from Government ruling out any fourth runway.

 

On 11th May:

Heathrow makes guarded, carefully worded, offers to meet Airports Commission conditions for 3rd runway

Heathrow knows it has a difficult task in persuading the government that it can actually meet the (unchallenging) conditions put on its runway plans by the Airports Commission. Now John Holland-Kaye has written to David Cameron, setting out how Heathrow hopes to meet some conditions. They make out they will even exceed the conditions, in some cases. On Night flights, they say they will introduce a “legally binding ban on all scheduled night flights for six and a half hours (as recommended by the Airports Commission) from 11 pm to 5:30 am when the third runway opens.” [Note, scheduled – not late arrivals etc]. And they will “support the earlier introduction of this extended ban on night flights by Government as soon as the necessary airspace has been modernised after planning consent for the third runway has been secured.” [ie. full of caveats]. They dodge the issue of agreeing not to build a 4th runway, saying it they government makes a commitment in Parliament not to expand Heathrow further, then Heathrow will “Accept a commitment from Government ruling out any fourth runway..” [Words carefully chosen]. On noise and respite, Heathrow say “We will ensure there will be some respite for everyone living under the final flight path by using advances in navigational technology. We will consult and provide options on our proposals to alternate use of the runways.” [ie carefully chosen words, avoiding giving much away].

Click here to view full story…


Comment in the Huffington Post:

Heathrow Concessions Fail to Hide Stark Flaws in Expansion Proposal

11.5.2016

By Keith Prince, who is Conservative London Assembly Member for Havering & Redbridge

This morning Heathrow Airport announced a number of suggested concessions that they believe should enable them to build a third runway. Some of these, such as a reduction in night flights, would be welcome, but the list was striking for its significant flaws.

Heathrow has promised that it would not seek to build a fourth runway should it be allowed to build a third. However this is a highly dubious promise for two reasons:

First, Heathrow has a long history of promising (see below) that its next expansion will be its last expansion. Over the years Londoners have been told that the fourth terminal would be the last time Heathrow expanded. We were told the same thing when Heathrow gained permission to build a fifth terminal. There is no reason to believe that a third runway would mean the end of the line for Heathrow expansion.

Secondly, is what a third runway at Heathrow would mean for London’s hub capacity. Allowing a third runway would effectively be a statement saying that Heathrow is now and ever will be London’s and the UK’s hub airport. Hub airports, as we have seen around the world, need to have at least four runways and preferably room to expand further. At the moment there is the opportunity to recognise that Heathrow was built in the wrong place and that we should build a new airport, ideally in the Thames Estuary. If a third runway is approved then the Government will be almost closing the door on the most sensible alternative to an ever-expanding Heathrow.

Nevertheless the dubious promise of an end to expansion if the third runway could just be granted was not the most extraordinary suggestion this morning.

The idea that extending the Ultra-Low Emission Zone – which is currently due to be introduced with the same boundaries as the Congestion Charge Zone in 2020 – to the M25 would enable the expansion of Heathrow is truly ridiculous. What they are effectively saying is that every single car, van or black cab driver in London would need to buy a new low-emission vehicle in order to make the Heathrow expansion conceivable.

Heathrow is facing air quality issues that simply cannot be overcome. If the best they can offer is a ham-fisted proposal that would severely impact small businesses and drivers across London then today should be the day that the idea of a Heathrow expansion is knocked on the head for good.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/keith-prince/heathrow-expansion_b_9905442.html

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That 1999 Sir John Egan “Dear Neighbour” letter

The “Dear Neighbour” letter dated April 1999, from Sir John Egan (then Chairman of BAA, the owner of Heathrow) setting out a range of claims about how Terminal 5 would not make the situation worse for residents. This included the promise there would be no new runway.

Sir John Egan Dear Neighbour April 1999

See the letter, saved on the HACAN website:

http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/BAA-1999-letter-to-residents.pdf

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The History of broken promises over Heathrow’s 3rd runway 

In 1995 Heathrow denied it would want a 3rd runway. It persisted in denying this until 2003, when it came out as lobbying for one.
This Friends of the Earth briefing gives the history, up to 2008, of the broken promises.   http://www.foe.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/heathrow_broken_promises.pdf
FoE says that in 2001 “BAA echoes BA’s denial and says it is not pushing for a third runway at Heathrow. “It is the company’s view that the local communities around Heathrow should be give (sic) assurances. BAA would urge the government to rule out any additional runway at Heathrow.”
In November 2001, having sat on the Terminal 5 Inquiry Inspector Vandermeer’s report for almost a year, the Government announces its decision on T5 and releases the inspector’s report. The inspector says that a 3rd runway could have “unacceptable environmental consequences”. He recommends a cap on the number of flights at 480,000 a year in order to prevent the need for a third runway.
Then FoE says: “On 13 May 2003, BAA plc admits publicly that it wants third runway at Heathrow.  In its response to the Government’s airport consultation BAA short-lists a third runway at Heathrow and claims that this is part of the company’s approach of ‘responsible growth’. “
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During the 2010 election, local election campaign material in west London said:

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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The  Coalition’s “Programme for Government” written in May 2010 states:

• “We will cancel the third runway at Heathrow.   • We will refuse permission for additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted.”

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100919110641/http://programmeforgovernment.hmg.gov.uk/files/2010/05/coalition-programme.pdf

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Beryl Wilkins, a retired teacher, questioned why past promises were allowed to be broken, including an inspector who had said in a consultation meeting that Terminal 4 would be the last.

Nigel Milton, director of policy and political relations for Heathrow, said: “The people who made those promises weren’t in a position to make these promises.”

http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/pollution-concerns-raised-heathrow-expansion-7778746

John Holland-Kaye also made a similar comment at an Airports Commission public meeting on 3.12.2014 :

Heathrow Airport boss apologises for ruling out Third Runway in 1990s, saying: ‘We got it wrong’

3 DEC 2014

Heathrow’s CEO has apologised for broken promises that he said have ‘hung over the airport’s relationship with local communities’.

John Holland-Kaye made the apology at the Airports Commission’s consultation conference today (Wednesday, December 3), where options for expanding either Heathrow or Gatwick are being discussed.

He said he was sorry for the airport’s past commitment, made almost 20 years ago, to permanently rule out building a third runway.

He said: “I am shocked by that commitment. It should never have been made. And it could never be kept. That is not an excuse. It is an apology. I am sorry Heathrow made that commitment. It has hung over the relationship with local communities, and has led to a deficit of trust that can only be repaired by demonstrating we are a different company from the past.”

Details at  http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/local-news/heathrow-airport-boss-apologises-ruling-8219853

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Willie Walsh reiterates that he will fight Heathrow runway, due to cost; content with 3 hub system for IAG instead

Willie Walsh has reiterated his determination not to pay the exorbitant costs of a new Heathrow runway (and that’s without the costs that the taxpayer would have to pick up for surface access improvements – which could be £20 billion).  He said the current proposal to build a 3rd Heathrow runway is “indefensible” from a cost point of view and he will fight it.  BA holds over 50% of Heathrow’s slots. Walsh said he was worried about the current Heathrow proposal because there was now “desperation by the airport to get a third runway and they are willing to do anything to get it.”  He commented: “So the airport is incentivised to spend money while I am incentivised to save money.”  Because the coalition government blocked a 3rd runway in 2010, in January 2011 BA and Iberia were merged to form IAG.  Then IAG bought UK airline BMI, to get hold of its Heathrow slots, gaining an extra 42 pairs.  That  ensured IAG  had enough Heathrow slots to secure its ability to compete from its hub base.  Since then Walsh has made his plans to use  a 3 hub strategy – with Madrid and Dublin as its two others, not depending so much on Heathrow.  IAG also owns Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus. Dublin will be adding a new runway – probably by 2020.
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IAG’s Walsh: ‘I will fight’ current Heathrow third runway plan

By Karen Walker (Air Transport World)
May 11, 2016

The current proposal to build a third runway at London Heathrow Airport is “indefensible” from a cost point of view and the head of British Airways’ parent company will fight it.

International Airlines Group (IAG) CEO Willie Walsh, speaking as a panelist  on May 11 at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Aviation Symposium, said he was worried about the current Heathrow proposal because there was now “desperation by the airport to get a third runway and they are willing to do anything to get it.”

Walsh said that has led to a proposal that would cost £18 billion ($26 billion), but just 1% of that would go to building the runway. The rest of the money, he said, would go to all other things at the airport.

“So the airport is incentivized to spend money while I am incentivized to save money,” Walsh said. “I will not support what would be the world’s most expensive runway. I will fight against it and I refuse to pay for it because the cost will be passed on to me and my customers.”

Walsh added, “The proposal that’s on the table now is completely indefensible from a cost point of view.”

Building a third runway at Heathrow was declared the best option for extra runway capacity in the crowded southeast of England after a two-year investigation by a government-backed commission.

Walsh explained that when he first joined British Airways in 2005, the company campaigned for an additional runway at Heathrow, but the new UK government that came into power in 2010 had made denying permission for the third runway a platform of its election campaign.

As a result, IAG acquired UK airline BMI so that it could secure that airline’s Heathrow’s slots and ensure its ability to compete from its hub base.

“Since then, there has been a realization by politicians that there was no magic solution [as an alternative to a third runway] and when they asked me what we were going to do, I said the alternative was to grow somewhere else,” Walsh said.

IAG, which owns Spanish carriers Iberia and Vueling and Irish airline Aer Lingus, operates a three-hub strategy—Heathrow, Dublin and Madrid.

http://m.atwonline.com/airports-routes/iag-s-walsh-i-will-fight-current-heathrow-third-runway-plan

 


“Alternatively, there is a respectable case for deferring this difficult political decision, to see how a very competitive aviation sector copes with the growth of demand for air travel.

“As I have suggested previously, market forces could mean that priority would be given to business travellers at Heathrow, displacing leisure travellers to other airports – such as Stansted – which have plenty of spare capacity.”

David Metz,  honorary professor of Transport Studies at UCL


See also

 

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

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

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/04/2nd-runway-at-dublin-airport-threatens-heathrows-position-as-main-iag-hub/

 

 

 

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Lord True, Richmond Council leader and Conservative peer, describes Heathrow promises as ‘worthless’ and asks David Cameron to deny expansion immediately

The leader of Richmond Council, Lord True, has called Heathrow’s pledge to ban night flights a “feeble attempt to bribe London.”  He described Heathrow’s promises as “worthless” and said on the ending of night flights:  “This so-called pledge falls short of what the Davies Commission requests and the Heathrow PR men simply cannot be believed. If they can stop pre-5.30am flights, why don’t they do it now? Rather than spending billions of pounds doing it?”  On Heathrow’s claims about air quality improvements, Lord True commented:: “They cannot comply with EU air quality limits and their ‘jam’ promises are worthless…..if people’s health comes first – big Heathrow is dead in the water.”  He said Heathrow had just made some token alterations to their original proposals.  Richmond Council, along with Wandsworth, Hillingdon and Windsor & Maidenhead councils, have already made it clear that should the Government give a 3rd Heathrow runway the go-ahead – they would together launch legal action opposing the plans. Lord True: “I say to Mr Cameron – hundreds of thousands of Londoners remember your promise – “no ifs, no buts,” ….We expect our Prime Minister to keep his promise….”
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Lord True, Richmond Council leader and Conservative peer, describes Heathrow promises as ‘worthless’ and asks David Cameron to deny expansion immediately

By George Odling, (Senior Reporter – Richmond & Twickenham Times)
The leader of Richmond Council has called Heathrow’s pledge to ban night flights a “feeble attempt to bribe London.”

The airport’s chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, announced measures that would “exceed Airports Commission conditions”, including banning night flights from 11pm to 5.30am once a proposed third runway opens.

Heathrow agrees no fourth runway [only with rather odd wording: “Accept a commitment from Government ruling out any fourth runway.”] in attempt to secure third as it “meets or exceeds” Airports Commission conditions

But Richmond’s Lord True described the airport’s promises as “worthless.”

The Conservative peer said: “This so-called pledge falls short of what the Davies Commission requests and the Heathrow PR men simply cannot be believed.

 

“If they can stop pre-5.30am flights, why don’t they do it now? Rather than spending billions of pounds doing it?”

Among Heathrow’s responses to the Airport Commission report, which recommended the airport for expansion over Gatwick in July last year, included creating an ultra-low emissions zone for airport vehicles by 2025 and not releasing new capacity until it can do so without delaying the UK’s compliance with EU air quality limits.

Lord True disputed these claims, however, and said: “They cannot comply with EU air quality limits and their ‘jam’ promises are worthless.

“The recent Volkswagen scandal has only highlighted public concern about the issue and if people’s health comes first – big Heathrow is dead in the water.”

The council leader has previously made it clear that should the Government give expansion the go-ahead – a decision that was expected to be made earlier this year but delayed – the council would launch legal action opposing the plans.

 

He said: “Put plain and simply, this is a feeble emotional bribe from Heathrow. They have cherry-picked one of the many valid reasons against expansion and made token alterations to their original proposals.”

Lord True added: “We have now waited long enough for this decision. We have already made our feelings clear to the Government. Should they rule in favour of a Heathrow expansion – we will fight it in the courts.

“I say to Mr Cameron – hundreds of thousands of Londoners remember your promise – “no ifs, no buts,” and your personal commitment to our air quality.

“We expect our Prime Minister to keep his promise, listen to the people of London and say no to any expansion of the airport today.”

http://m.richmondandtwickenhamtimes.co.uk/news/14485548.Richmond_Council_s_Conservative_peer_leader_describes_Heathrow_promises_as__worthless__and_asks_David_Cameron_to_deny_expansion_immediately/?ref=twtrec

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See also

Heathrow makes guarded, carefully worded, offers to meet Airports Commission conditions for 3rd runway

Heathrow knows it has a difficult task in persuading the government that it can actually meet the (unchallenging) conditions put on its runway plans by the Airports Commission. Now John Holland-Kaye has written to David Cameron, setting out how Heathrow hopes to meet some conditions. They make out they will even exceed the conditions, in some cases. On Night flights, they say they will introduce a “legally binding ban on all scheduled night flights for six and a half hours (as recommended by the Airports Commission) from 11 pm to 5:30 am when the third runway opens.” [Note, scheduled – not late arrivals etc]. And they will “support the earlier introduction of this extended ban on night flights by Government as soon as the necessary airspace has been modernised after planning consent for the third runway has been secured.” [ie. full of caveats]. They dodge the issue of agreeing not to build a 4th runway, saying it they government makes a commitment in Parliament not to expand Heathrow further, then Heathrow will “Accept a commitment from Government ruling out any fourth runway..” [Words carefully chosen]. On noise and respite, Heathrow say “We will ensure there will be some respite for everyone living under the final flight path by using advances in navigational technology. We will consult and provide options on our proposals to alternate use of the runways.” [ie carefully chosen words, avoiding giving much away].

Click here to view full story…

eathrow’s vague proposal on no night flights – what is Heathrow really saying?

Heathrow currently, under current night flight controls that are due to be re-considered in 2017, is allowed 5,800 night flights per year. That’s an average of 16 arriving each morning, typically between 4.30am and 6am. The latest flights should leave by 11.30pm but there are many that are later, almost up to midnight. Heathrow has been very reluctant to agree to a ban between 11.30pm and 6am, which was the condition imposed by the Airports Commission. Heathrow claims the early arrivals are vital for businessmen catching early flights – especially those from the UK regions. But now, desperate to be allowed a 3rd runway, Heathrow mentions [very careful, rather odd wording]: “The introduction of a legally binding ban on all scheduled night flights for six and a half hours (as recommended by the Airports Commission) from 11 pm to 5:30 am when the third runway opens.” and “We will support the earlier introduction of this extended ban on night flights by Government as soon as the necessary airspace has been modernised after planning consent for the third runway has been secured.” Heathrow only mentions scheduled flights. Not late ones. It is widely recognised that for health, people need 7 – 8 hours of sleep per night. Not 6.5 hours. Heathrow makes no mention of the inevitable concentrated landings and take offs at the shoulder periods, in order to keep 6.5 hours quiet. Apart from insomniacs and shift workers, who else regards the end of the night as 5.30am?

Click here to view full story…

Heathrow’s commitment on 4th runway – what is Heathrow really saying?

The Airports Commission said, in giving its recommendation that a 3rd Heathrow runway should be built, that a firm condition was that no 4th runway should ever be built there. The Commission’s wording in its Final Report (1.7.2015) was: “A fourth runway should be firmly ruled out. The government should make a commitment in Parliament not to expand the airport further. There is no sound operational or environmental case for a four runway Heathrow.” And “This may be as part of a National Policy Statement or through legislation.” What Heathrow has now said is that it will: “Accept a commitment from Government ruling out any fourth runway.” This does not say this ban on a 4th runway would be in legislation. It merely says there would be a commitment. But the coalition government made a commitment not to build a 3rd runway, in 2010. That commitment was then overturned in the next Parliament. It scarcely encourages trust. A commentator in the Huffington Post says (as well as the long history of Heathrow’s broken promises) that allowing the 3rd Heathrow runway would effectively say Heathrow is now and ever will be the UK’s hub airport. Hub airports actually “need at least four runways and preferably room to expand further.”

Click here to view full story.


See earlier:

 

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

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

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

Heathrow makes guarded, carefully worded, offers to meet Airports Commission conditions for 3rd runway

Heathrow knows it has a difficult task in persuading the government that it can actually meet the (unchallenging) conditions put on its runway plans by the Airports Commission. Now John Holland-Kaye has written to David Cameron, setting out how Heathrow hopes to meet some conditions. They make out they will even exceed the conditions, in some cases. On Night flights, they say they will introduce a “legally binding ban on all scheduled night flights for six and a half hours (as recommended by the Airports Commission) from 11 pm to 5:30 am when the third runway opens.” [Note, scheduled – not late arrivals etc].  And they will “support the earlier introduction of this extended ban on night flights by Government as soon as the necessary airspace has been modernised after planning consent for the third runway has been secured.” [ie. full of caveats]. They dodge the issue of agreeing not to build a 4th runway, saying itf the government makes a commitment in Parliament not to expand Heathrow further, then Heathrow will “Accept a commitment from Government ruling out any fourth runway..” [Words carefully chosen]. On noise and respite, Heathrow say “We will ensure there will be some respite for everyone living under the final flight path by using advances in navigational technology. We will consult and provide options on our proposals to alternate use of the runways.” [ie carefully chosen words, avoiding giving much away].
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Heathrow exceeds Airports Commission’s package of conditions, so Prime Minister can make the “right choice” for Britain and approve a third runway

Heathrow airport press release

11.5.2016
– Airports Commission unanimously recommended Heathrow expansion
– Heathrow will exceed the overall package of conditions the Commission set
– Measures include support for an early introduction of ban on scheduled flights for six and a half hours every night after expansion planning consent received and the necessary airspace is modernised
– Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye writes to the Prime Minister with a plan which will enable the Government to make the right choice for Britain, delivering up to £211bn in economic benefit and 180,000 jobs by approving a third runway

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Heathrow has announced it will meet and, in most cases, exceed the conditions set out in the Airports Commission’s recommendation for Heathrow expansion.In July last year, the independent Airports Commission unanimously and unambiguously recommended expanding Heathrow, after a three year, £20 million study into the best option for maintaining the UK’s global aviation hub status.

Today, Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye has written to the Prime Minister setting out a world leading, ambitious and affordable plan which balances the huge national and local economic gain from expansion with the environmental impacts.

Highlighting Heathrow’s place as a “cornerstone” of Britain’s economic security for the last 70 years and a symbol of an outward looking country, he said:

“You set up the Airports Commission and it unanimously recommended expanding Heathrow.  You demanded ambitious plans from my team to deliver expansion with a bold and fair deal for our neighbours.  

“Today, I am proud to submit a comprehensive plan that meets and exceeds your demands.   This is a big commitment from us, but it is the right choice for the country, local communities and jobs across Britain.  

“We have acted now to let you and your government make the right choice, in the long term interest of our country.   It will enable you to choose Heathrow and secure a stronger economy and Britain’s place in the world.  

“Expanding Heathrow can help Britain win thousands more jobs and ensure that future generations have the same economic opportunity that we have enjoyed.”

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Heathrow is committed to working with airlines to deliver an expanded Heathrow that is affordable for passengers and airlines, whilst giving the fairest deal to local communities.  Its formal response to the Commission includes:

  • The introduction of a ban by Government on scheduled flights for six and a half hours between 2300 and 0530 – an increase from five hours today –  and supporting the earlier introduction of the ban after planning consent is received and the necessary airspace has been modernised.
  • A proposal for the Environment Agency to  be given the role of an independent aviation air quality authority, to provide transparent scrutiny of the measures Heathrow will introduce to enable it to expand only in accordance with air quality rules.
  • Establishing an Education and Skills Taskforce that will identify how best to develop the airport’s future skilled workforce and to create a legacy for UK infrastructure projects.

The response to all of the conditions:

Airports Commission conditions Heathrow proposal
NIGHT FLIGHTS.

“Following construction of a third runway there should be a ban on all scheduled night flights in the period 11:30 pm to 6 am”

Meeting the Airports Commission

The introduction of a legally binding ban on all scheduled night flights for six and a half hours (as recommended by the Airports Commission) from 11 pm to 5:30 am when the third runway opens.

Exceeding the Airports Commission

We will support the earlier introduction of this extended ban on night flights by Government as soon as the necessary airspace has been modernised after planning consent for the third runway has been secured.

NOISE ENVELOPE:

“A clear ‘noise envelope’ to be agreed, and legally enforced”

Meeting the Airports Commission

Consult on and establish a clear and legally binding noise envelope for the third runway that will give certainty to local people.

Exceeding the Airports Commission

We will support the introduction of an independent noise authority, and a system for the independent regular review of the noise envelope framework and targets to incentivise a reduction in aircraft noise over time.

RESPITE:

“Predictable respite to be more reliably maintained”

Meeting the Airports Commission

Maintain more predictable periods of respite and publish a publicly available timetable of respite for different areas under the flight path so local people know exactly when no planes will fly over their homes.

Exceeding the Airports Commission

We will ensure there will be some respite for everyone living under the final flight path by using advances in navigational technology.We will consult and provide options on our proposals to alternate use of the runways.

PROPERTY COMPENSATION:“Compensate those who would lose their homes at full market value plus an additional 25% and reasonable costs. Heathrow should make this offer available as soon as possible.” Meeting the Airports Commission

Compensate those who would lose their homes at full market value plus an additional 25% above their unblighted market value plus legal fees, stamp duty and moving costs.We will introduce the full scheme after receipt of planning consent.We will extend this offer to a further 3,750 properties close to the compulsory purchase zone, offering local residents the option to move to a new home.After a Government decision has been taken, we will introduce a Hardship Scheme.

COMMUNITY COMPENSATION:

“Heathrow should spend more than £1bn on community compensation. In addition, a new aviation noise charge or levy should be introduced to ensure that airport users pay more to compensate local communities”

Meeting the Airports Commission

Spend over £1bn on community compensation (noise and property) and support the introduction of a scheme to ensure that airport users pay to compensate local communities for the impacts of the airport.

Exceeding the Airports Commission

We will begin funding compensation for local communities from the day when planning consent is granted and we will work with local authorities to ensure we help those most severely affected.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT BOARD:

“Establishment of a Community Engagement Board, under an independent Chair, with real influence over spending on compensation and community support and over the airport’s operations

Meeting the Airports Commission

Establish an independent Community Engagement Board, under an independent Chair, which will have real influence over how Heathrow meets these conditions.

Exceeding the Airports Commission

We will set up this new Board after the Government approves Heathrow expansion. We would propose a number of the members are those who have campaigned for the best possible deal for local residents.

INDEPENDENT AVIATION NOISE AUTHORITY:

“Creation of an independent aviation noise authority with a statutory right to be consulted on flight paths and other operating procedures.”

Meeting the Airports Commission

Back the creation of an independent aviation noise authority with statutory powers.

PROVISION OF TRAINING AND APPRENTICESHIPS:

“Provision of training opportunities and apprenticeships for local people so that nearby communities benefit from jobs in constructing and operating the new infrastructure”

Meeting the Airports Commission

Provide training opportunities and apprenticeships for local people so that nearby communities benefit from jobs in constructing and operating the new infrastructure.

Exceeding the Airports Commission

Immediately following a Government decision to expand Heathrow, we will establish an Education and Skills Taskforce that will identify how best to develop the airport’s future skilled workforce and to create a legacy for UK infrastructure projects.We will double the number of apprenticeships at Heathrow to 10,000 by the time the runway is operational.We will work with local councils and communities to ensure that as many as possible of the 40,000 new jobs at the airport go to those living nearby, aiming to end youth unemployment in those Boroughs closest to the airport.

MODE SHARE:

“Incentivisation of a major shift in mode share for those working at and arriving at the airport, through measures including new rail investments and a continuing focus on employee behaviour change. A congestion charge should also be considered.”

Meeting the Airports Commission

Incentivise a major shift in mode share for those working at and arriving at the airport through measures including new rail investments and a continuing focus on employee behaviour change and including the consideration of a congestion or emissions charge.

Exceeding the Airports Commission

An increase in the number and frequency of trains; our commitment to increase the routes and regularity of bus and coach services serving local employees; and our support for local cycling will mean that there will be no more airport related traffic on the roads after the new runway opens than today.

AIR QUALITY:

“Additional operations at an expanded Heathrow must be contingent on acceptable performance on air quality. New capacity will be released when it is clear that air quality at sites around the airport will not delay compliance with EU limits.”

Meeting the Airports Commission

Additional operations at an expanded Heathrow will be contingent on acceptable performance on air quality and will be in accordance with air quality rules. New capacity at an expanded airport will not be released unless we can do so without delaying UK compliance with EU air quality limits.

Exceeding the Airports Commission

We will create an ultra-low emissions zone for airport vehicles by 2025.We will develop plans for an emissions charging scheme for all vehicles accessing the airport to encourage low-emission technology and fund sustainable transport.To provide further confidence, we propose that the Environment Agency be given the role of an independent aviation air quality authority, to provide transparent scrutiny of our plans.

FOURTH RUNWAY:

“Ruling out any fourth runway. The government should make a commitment in Parliament not to expand the airport further.”

Meeting the Airports Commission

Accept a commitment from Government ruling out any fourth runway.

 

http://mediacentre.heathrow.com/pressrelease/details/81/Expansion-News-23/6296


 

Full text of letter to the Prime Minister:

Dear Prime Minister,

For seventy years, Heathrow has been our global gateway; a cornerstone of our economic security.  Heathrow has been Britain’s airport, creating many thousands of jobs, connecting families and nations; a symbol of an outward looking country.  

We must now build new runway capacity at Heathrow to keep Britain’s economy strong in the next seventy years.  We know it is not enough to just hope for a stronger economy; you need to choose it. 

You set up the Airports Commission and it unanimously recommended expanding Heathrow.  You demanded ambitious plans from my team to deliver expansion with a bold and fair deal for our neighbours.  

Today, I am proud to submit a comprehensive plan that meets and exceeds your demands.   This is a big commitment from us, but it is the right choice for the country, local communities and jobs across Britain.  

We have acted now to let you and your government make the right choice, in the long term interest of our country.   It will enable you to choose Heathrow and secure a stronger economy and Britain’s place in the world. 

Expanding Heathrow can help Britain win thousands more jobs and ensure that future generations have the same economic opportunity that we have enjoyed. 

 

Yours 

John Holland-Kaye 

 

Read more »

After just a few days as Mayor, Sadiq Khan drops GLA objection to compulsory purchase of land for London City Airport expansion

 

Decision on London City Airport expansion does not rest with Sadiq Khan, but with the Planning Inspector and Secretaries of State

Sadiq Khan, the new Mayor of London, in one of his very first acts, has instructed the Greater London Assembly’s GLA Land to withdraw its objection to London City Airport’s Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) of Royal Docks Land, following ‘new’ evidence supplied by the Airport. However, a final decision on the airport’s expansion is not in the Mayor’s hands. The decision rests with the Planning Inspector, who will make a recommendation to both Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Communities Secretary Greg Clark, following the main planning inquiry into expansion of City Airport that concluded on 5th April. A decision is not expected till the summer. The airport wants to CPO 26.4 hectares of GLA land to facilitate their CADP1 expansion programme which includes parts of the London Plan protected Blue Ribbon Network. of waterways and bodies of water. GLA Land was one of four remaining objectors to the expansion plans. However, its change of heart is not critical. The current Inquiry into the CPO has been adjourned until Tuesday 17 May as negotiations between the airport and the DLR continue, with agreement considered likely. The previous Mayor, Boris Johnson, refused permission for expansion on noise grounds.

Click here to view full story…

Within the first few days as London Mayor, Sadiq Khan has re-opened the possibility of expansion at London City Airport. He has dropped the GLA objection to a compulsory purchase order of 26.4 hectares in the Docklands, owned by City Hall.  The airport will get the result of its recent appeal against refusal of expansion plans, by Boris Johnson, later this year.  The GLA said: “The Mayor continues to support the case for improved noise mitigation measures that will be considered by the Secretary of State when he decides on the planning appeal in due course.” Khan had said in November 2015, during his election campaign, that he would look again at the prospect of the airport expanding. Boris had rejected it, on noise grounds.  Meanwhile the owners of London City Airport paid themselves a £27.7m dividend payout last year after the airport attracted its highest ever number of passengers, increasing profits by almost 20%. The airport, while being considered to have the largest proportion of business passengers, in increasingly for leisure trips.  London City’s higher customer numbers last year were in part driven by its new travel routes including Berne, Hamburg, Mykonos and Santorini (all just holiday destinations) and extra flights to Edinburgh, Luxembourg, Geneva and Guernsey.
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Sadiq Khan drops GLA objection to London City Airport land purchase

10 May 2016

By Mark Shales (London 24)

The newly-elected Mayor of London has re-opened the door for a possible expansion of City Airport.

Sadiq Khan dropped a Greater London Authority (GLA) objection to a compulsory purchase order of 26.4 hectares in the Docklands following an inquiry earlier today.  Although the decision only relates to the specific purchase order, the firm will learn if its appeal against previous Mayor Boris Johnson’s decision to block its expansion was successful later this year.

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “The Mayor has decided to withdraw the objection to this proposed compulsory purchase of land owned by City Hall following new evidence recently submitted by London City Airport and ongoing negotiations.

“The Mayor continues to support the case for improved noise mitigation measures that will be considered by the Secretary of State when he decides on the planning appeal in due course.”

Activists Hacan East oppose the expansion on various grounds, including noise pollution.

http://www.london24.com/news/sadiq_khan_drops_gla_objection_to_london_city_airport_land_purchase_1_4529860

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Sadiq Khan claimed, wanting to get elected as Mayor, that he wanted a “greener, cleaner” London.

He said: “I want to be the Mayor who makes London one of the world’s greenest cities. Environmental checks are not simply a side concern to be weighed up against economic and social benefits.”

“A greener future is central to my vision for London, to the kind of city I want my children to live in. I want, for all of our children, a city in which the air is clean, green space is accessible, and the energy we consume is increasingly drawn from renewable and local sources. And I want them to work in an economy which leads the world in the new low-carbon technologies and industries that represent the jobs and businesses of the future.”

Cleaning our air

Our most pressing environmental challenge is cleaning up London’s air. I know from personal experience that the city’s air is damaging people’s health, as I suffer from adult-onset asthma. So many pollution hotspots in the city are around schools, exposing our children to dangerously polluted air, and putting them at greater risk of respiratory conditions like mine.”

………. and so it goes on.

Seems he could very quickly forget that, once into the job.  Hypocrisy?

http://www.sadiq.london/a_greener_cleaner_london

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See also:

Decision on London City Airport expansion does not rest with Sadiq Khan, but with the Planning Inspector and Secretaries of State

Sadiq Khan, the new Mayor of London, in one of his very first acts, has instructed the Greater London Assembly’s GLA Land to withdraw its objection to London City Airport’s Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) of Royal Docks Land, following ‘new’ evidence supplied by the Airport. However, a final decision on the airport’s expansion is not in the Mayor’s hands. The decision rests with the Planning Inspector, who will make a recommendation to both Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Communities Secretary Greg Clark, following the main planning inquiry into expansion of City Airport that concluded on 5th April. A decision is not expected till the summer. The airport wants to CPO 26.4 hectares of GLA land to facilitate their CADP1 expansion programme which includes parts of the London Plan protected Blue Ribbon Network. of waterways and bodies of water. GLA Land was one of four remaining objectors to the expansion plans. However, its change of heart is not critical. The current Inquiry into the CPO has been adjourned until Tuesday 17 May as negotiations between the airport and the DLR continue, with agreement considered likely. The previous Mayor, Boris Johnson, refused permission for expansion on noise grounds.

Click here to view full story…

 

See earlier: 

London City Airport considering a Compulsory Purchase of Royal Docks Waterway and land

London City Airport have notified the GLA and the Planning Inspectorate they are considering Compulsory Purchase Order against the Mayor of London to own the nearly 20 hectares of land and Royal Docks Waterway, which it needs for its huge expansion plans. The airport has discussed these plans with the DfT with a view that any CPO be considered at the Planning Inspectorates Public Inquiry into the Mayor’s expansion refusal. That inquiry is due to be heard in the first quarter of 2016. The enquiry could be extended to consider the CPO. The publicly owned land is the responsibility of the London Mayor.  The Docks are part of the Blue Ribbon Network protected by the London Plan. A 3-week consultation into the purchase would also have to be carried out. An attempted land grab by London City Airport’s hedge fund owners, GIP, would be unprecedented – if approved  -and could see all the Mayor’s Public land assets under attack from private developers. GIP is understood to be keen to sell London City Airport soon, but want planning consent for expansion first, to increase the price to perhaps £1.25 billion. [It actually sold for £2 billion]. GIP also want a 2nd Gatwick runway. Both would raise the price at sale.   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/06/london-city-airport-considering-a-compulsory-purchase-of-royal-docks-waterway-and-land/


Also

London City airport sold to Canadian Pension funds, for £2 billion (bought by GIP in 2006 for £760 million)

A Canadian-led consortium of pension funds has beaten rivals to buy London City airport, from GIP, which paid £760 million for it. So that is a hefty profit. The valuation has proved controversial because the largest airline at City airport, BA, threatened to pull most of its aircraft out of the airport if the new owner raised airline charges to cover the high sale price. Willie Walsh, CEO of BA’s owner IAG, considers £2 billion a foolish price. GIP owns 75% of the airport, and Oaktree Capital own 25%. The consortium that has bought the airport is led by the Ontario Teachers’ pension fund. It includes Borealis Infrastructure, which manages funds for one of Canada’s largest pension funds, and also Japanese pension funds. The consortium also includes AimCo and Kuwait’s Wren House Infrastructure Management, which is an investment vehicle owned by the Kuwait Investment Authority. The Canadian Teachers’ pension fund has $160bn in assets, and already owns 4 airports (share of Birmingham, Bristol, Brussels and Copenhagen). HS1 Ltd is jointly owned by Borealis Infrastructure and Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, both Canadian pension funds. GIP bought the airport for an estimated £750m in 2006 from Dermot Desmond, the Irish financier, who paid just £23.5m for it in 1995 from Mowlem.

Click here to view full story…


London City Airport pays directors £28m as profits soar 20%

London City Airport’s 2015 profits soared in line with rising passenger numbers

By Jillian Ambrose  (Telegraph)
8 MAY 2016

The owners of London City Airport paid themselves a £27.7m dividend payout last year after the airport attracted its highest ever number of passengers, increasing profits by almost 20%.

London City Airport recorded pre-tax profit of £33.2m for 2015 compared to £27.7m the previous period after passenger numbers climbed 18.4% to 4.3m, up sharply from 3.6m in 2014 and 3.3m in 2013.

The bumper year just weeks after a consortium of Canadian pension funds and the Kuwait Investment Authority snapped up the airport from equity firm Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) in a deal said to be worth around £2bn.

The airport’s growth outstripped all other major London airports last year, according to data from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

London Luton’s passenger numbers grew by 16.8% in 2015 compared to the year before while passengers using Stanstead increased by 12.9pc, Gatwick increased numbers by 4.6% and Heathrow passenger numbers grew by 2.1%.

City’s higher customer numbers were in part driven by its new travel routes including Berne, Hamburg, Mykonos and Santorini; and extra flights to Edinburgh, Luxenbourg, Geneva and Guernsey.

City said it has extended its contracts with CityJet, Swiss, Lufthansa, Flybe, Alitalia and Sunair.

But the airport’s future growth could be hampered by the decision by former London mayor Boris Johnson to block City’s plans for expansion which would see the airport’s capacity rise to 6m by 2023. City is appealing his decision.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/05/08/london-city-airport-pays-directors-28m-as-profits-soar-20pc/

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Earlier: 

London mayoral election 2016: Labour candidate Sadiq Khan says he would reconsider City Airport

4.11.2015
City AM

Labour mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan has suggested that he would reverse Boris Johnson’s decision to block expansion at London City Airport, saying today that as mayor he would “reconsider” plans to enlarge the East London airport.

Khan, a former transport minister, said that if elected he would “look again” at the decision “in detail”.

“City Airport is very small in comparison to major airports like Heathrow and Gatwick, with a fraction of the number of flights, and would remain so even after this expansion,” Khan said. “We need to make sure that key environmental and noise tests are met, but the proposals would provide the City with a capacity boost and I’m willing to look again at this.”

“London needs more airport capacity to support business to create the growth and jobs of the future. Without more flights, there is a real risk London will be left behind,” he added.

In an interview with City A.M. last month, Khan’s Conservative opponent, Zac Goldsmith, said that he would “be very strongly inclined to support Boris” in opposing City Airport expansion.

“I think that the idea of increasing traffic over that part of London, over a very densely-populated part of London, when it doesn’t seem to me to offer a solution to our capacity issues, I think goes against the grain,” Goldsmith said, adding, “I don’t see it as part of a solution to London’s aviation capacity problem.”

While City Airport is significantly smaller than the likes of Heathrow and Gatwick, its passenger numbers have been grown rapidly in recent years, from 2.8m in 2010 to 4.1m this year.

There are currently around 70,000 take-offs and landings each year, but in 2009 the airport’s owners were granted permission to increase capacity to 120,000 flights.

But the airport’s growth prospects depend largely on its £200m exp­ansion plans, which hit a wall earlier this year when Johnson ordered Newham council to veto the application over fears it would create a “noise ghetto” for people living under the flight path. The council had initially approved the plans, which include extending the terminal, creating extra parking spaces for larger planes and building a new parallel taxi lane to make more efficient use of the existing runway.

http://www.cityam.com/227930/london-mayoral-contest-labour-candidate-sadiq-khan-says-he-would-reconsider-city-airport

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Emirates expects reducing demand for domestic flights to Heathrow, as regional airports increase long-haul routes

The Times reports comments by Laurie Berryman, of Emirates, predicting that the demand for domestic flights in the UK will drop markedly in future. He considers that flights between London and Manchester could end altogether within ten years, because of HS2.  The demand for internal flights is reducing each year, except for trips that take too long by train, such as to Glasgow, Edinburgh or further north in Scotland.  This combines with the increase in long-haul flights from regional airports. Passengers in the regions have no desire to transfer via Heathrow, but would rather go direct.  Or they are happy to transfer in Dubai or another airport – not necessarily via Heathrow.  The HS2 rail line may be able to connect Manchester to London in under an hour and a quarter, which is about the same time as flying.  Virgin’s Little Red domestic airline closed in 2015, due to insufficient demand for its flights into Heathrow.  Mr Berryman said: “People who live in Manchester who want to go to Mumbai go via Dubai, not via London.”  If Heathrow got another runway, it  would damage the profitability of long haul flights from the regional airports. If it does not have another runway, its slots are too valuable to use on domestic routes. Emirates is increasing its long haul routes from Manchester and Birmingham.
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Cancelled: all domestic flights in the UK

By Graeme Paton, Transport Correspondent  (The Times)
May 9 2016,

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/cancelled-all-domestic-flights-in-the-uk-k79bmjrmt

Flights between London and Manchester could end altogether within ten years because of HS2

Domestic flights in Britain will all but disappear over the next decade because of falling demand, a senior airline boss has warned.

Laurie Berryman, UK vice-president of Emirates, said that existing routes would continue to be squeezed because of a lack of space at Heathrow, combined with the rise of long-haul flights directly from regional airports.

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Full Times article at 

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/cancelled-all-domestic-flights-in-the-uk-k79bmjrmt

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Earlier:

Emirates Airbus takes off from Birmingham as demand increases

29.3.2016

Birmingham Post 

Airline strengthens its commitment to the Midlands with first ever daily A380 service.

Emirates, a global connector of people, places and economies, welcomed its iconic Airbus A380 to Birmingham Airport yesterday. The airline’s inaugural flight on its new daily A380 service from Dubai touched down at 12:20pm.

This is the first time that the double-decker aircraft will operate a regular service from the airport, with the A380 replacing the Boeing 777 on the daily EK39/40 service. Emirates will now offer three daily flights to Dubai from Birmingham, with the A380 complementing the two already existing 777 services on the route. The introduction of the A380 increases daily capacity between the Midlands and Dubai by 15%, with a total of 1,471 seats now available every day.

………………..

Passengers flying from the Midlands with Emirates can travel to Dubai and beyond, across an ever expanding global network. New destinations launched by Emirates include Yangon, Hanoi and Bologna. Popular destinations on the Emirates network from Birmingham include Dubai, Bangkok, Mauritius, Hong Kong and Delhi.

………… and it continues …………

http://thebirminghampress.com/2016/03/emirates-airbus-takes-of-from-birmingham-as-demand-increases/

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Earlier:

Virgin scraps its unsuccessful, loss-making “Little Red” domestic services from 2015

Virgin Atlantic has announced plans to scrap its heavily loss-making domestic airline, Little Red, after just over 18 months. It has struggled to fill seats on its services linking Heathrow with Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Manchester, and finally admitted defeat after weeks of speculation. Virgin’s daily services to Manchester will end in March 2015, while the Scottish services will cease next September 2015. Little Red, which was operated by Aer Lingus for Virgin on a “wet lease”, ie with the Irish airline’s planes and crew in Virgin colours, could never make money. It was started in March 2013 after competition authorities made BA relinquish Heathrow slots for domestic flying, in the wake of BA’s takeover of bmi. Its aim was to feed in passengers from the regions, to make Virgin’s long haul Heathrow flights more profitable. However, instead most passengers were just on point-to-point flights. Richard Branson complains that the slots they had for Little Red were inadequate. Its load factor was around 30 – 35%, which was about the lowest in the whole industry. Virgin Atlantic has made losses for years, requiring cuts in flights to (business?) destinations to focus on the profitable tourist ones to North America.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/10/virgin-scraps-its-unsuccessful-loss-making-little-red-domestic-services-from-2015/


 

Airlines like Emirates keen to fly from regional airports – reducing future demand at Heathrow and Gatwick

Heathrow Airport has been saying recently that, though it is desperate to get a third runway, even they realise that there is not the demand for a 4th runway. The DfT has consistently over-estimated the amount of passenger demand over the last decade.  In reality, passengers from parts of the UK other than the south east can get long haul flights from regional airports. The UK Vice President of Emirates says he wants to expand flights from UK’s regional airports, rather than Heathrow or Gatwick, and has a direct flight from Newcastle to Dubai, for transfers on from there.  With that happening more and more in future, the south east airports’ dreams for expansion in the south east, requiring a massive hub airport, look less and less probable. Forecasts more than a few years ahead are based on so many uncertainties and unknowns as to be almost without value. Making best use of existing airports is more efficient than grandiose new infrastructure projects which run the risk of being white elephants. Had a second Stansted runway been built by 2012, it would now be standing idle.  

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2013/03/emirates/

 

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Recent opponent of Heathrow runway, Sadiq Khan, appoints pro-Heathrow runway, Lord Adonis on transport

Until June 2015, Sadiq Khan (now London Mayor) backed a 3rd Heathrow runway.  He was Transport Minister under Gordon Brown, pushing for it. He then appreciated that he could not be elected Mayor if he backed the runway as it is so unpopular with millions of Londoners, who are adversely affected by it.  Ministers are saying his election, and his opposition to a 3rd runway, will not influence their runway decision.  The Mayor’s opinion on a runway carries some weight, though they cannot make the decision.  Worryingly, Sadiq will appoint former Transport Secretary Lord Adonis, who strongly backs a Heathrow runway,  to run transport in London.  The Labour peer also heads the government’s National Infrastructure Commission.  Sadiq backs a 2nd runway at Gatwick to increase airport capacity, as people in areas adversely affected by Gatwick did not get to vote in the Mayoral election.  He also backs improved rail links to Stansted.  It would be easier for a Conservative government to resist the opposition of a Labour mayor, than a Tory one, to a Heathrow expansion. Transport Professor, David Metz, said: “There is a respectable case for deferring this difficult political decision, to see how a very competitive aviation sector copes with the growth of demand for air travel” … seeing how market forces displace leisure travellers from Heathrow to Stansted in future.
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Sadiq Khan’s election ‘will not sway decision on Heathrow’

By Joe Murphy (Evening Standard)

9.5.2016

Ministers today indicated that a decision on Heathrow expansion will not be swayed by the election of opponent Sadiq Khan as Mayor of London.

In a blow to anti-runway campaigners, they said his victory cannot be seen as a mandate from voters against the West London airport because both of the frontrunners were opposed.

“Bearing in mind that both the candidates had the same policy on Heathrow, I don’t think that is going to alter our thinking very much,” said a senior Government figure.

“I don’t think we can read anything into airport expansion from the election. It is always controversial and would have been whoever was elected as mayor.”

At the same time, Mr Khan shocked environmental campaigners after his victory by signalling that he plans to appoint former Transport Secretary Lord Adonis to run transport in the capital. The Labour peer, who heads the government’s National Infrastructure Commission, was a leading champion of a third runway.

Green peeress Jenny Jones, who gave her second preference vote to Mr Khan, told the Standard: “I am really alarmed by the appointment of Andrew Adonis.

“He is a very backward person when it comes to dealing with traffic congestion – he is a man who thinks building more roads is the answer. In my view he would add to London’s problems, not cure them.”

Mr Khan originally backed a third runway when he was a transport minister and changed sides when he ran for mayor.

However, he supports a second runway at Gatwick to increase capacity.

David Cameron last year postponed the long-delayed decision on Heathrow until July, partly to avoid a clash between the Government and Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith.

Mr Goldsmith, the Richmond Park MP, has repeatedly made clear he will carry out his 2008 pledge to resign his seat and force a by-election if Mr Cameron gives the go-ahead to an extra runway, which he says would breach a “no ifs, no buts” pledge given by the Tory leader to voters in the area.

However, No 10 does not think it should be influenced by a by-election threat when it comes to a major national infrastructure decision.

Whitehall insiders think the decision on Heathrow faces yet another delay because of a “logjam” caused by the EU referendum.

There is only a one-month window between the vote on June 23 and the summer parliamentary recess, meaning it could slip back to September or later.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/sadiq-khans-election-will-not-sway-decision-on-heathrow-a3243291.html

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Mr Khan was a Transport Minister under Gordon Brown when the third Heathrow runway was Labour policy. In June 2015  he said things had moved on with the recent Supreme Court ruling that the UK was breaching air quality limits.

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See also

Sadiq Khan’s City Hall team takes shape … with transport guru tipped as the first big signing

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/mayor/sadiq-khans-city-hall-team-takes-shape-with-transport-guru-tipped-as-the-first-big-signing-a3243531.html


See also – written before the election (extracts)

 

London elects: What will a new mayor mean for Heathrow Airport?

2.5.2016 (City Metric)
By David Metz (Honorary professor of transport studies at UCL)

With Heathrow already operating at 98% capacity, airport expansion will be one of the biggest issues facing the next mayor of London.

Whoever is elected to the position won’t have the final say – that power lies with the UK government – but their opinion carries the weight of the largest electoral mandate of any UK politician.

Given that neither of the two main contenders – Labour’s Sadiq Khan and the Conservatives’ Zac Goldsmith – support the expansion of Heathrow airport, both will need to think carefully about how they’d like to address the problem.

Airport capacity has been an issue in London at least since the government initiated a consultation in 2000. In 2012, the government set up the Airports Commission to evaluate the evidence on the matter and propose a way forward. The commission rejected outgoing mayor Boris Johnson’s proposal for a whole new airport in the Thames Estuary as too costly.

……..

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee later argued that the government should not approve Heathrow expansion unless the project can be reconciled with legal air pollution limits, and would be less noisy than a two-runway airport.

……..

The new mayor would make his views felt ahead of the government’s announcement. If the go-ahead is given for Heathrow, the new mayor may also intervene in the public inquiry to address local impacts that would precede the granting of detailed planning consent.

Both the main mayoral candidates are against more runway capacity at Heathrow. Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmth is MP for Richmond and North Kingston – a constituency under Heathrow’s flightpath. As such, he has long campaigned against expansion. Labour’s Sadiq Khan opposes a third runway at Heathrow too. Instead, Khan advocates a second runway at Gatwick, and he has also pledged to improve rail links to Stansted airport.

It would be easier for a Conservative government to resist the opposition of a Labour mayor to a Heathrow expansion. But Conservative MPs for West London constituencies affected by noise and air pollution would put up a vocal challenge to the plans, too.

Alternatively, there is a respectable case for deferring this difficult political decision, to see how a very competitive aviation sector copes with the growth of demand for air travel.

As I have suggested previously, market forces could mean that priority would be given to business travellers at Heathrow, displacing leisure travellers to other airports – such as Stansted – which have plenty of spare capacity.The Conversation

David Metz is honorary professor of Transport Studies at UCL.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

http://www.citymetric.com/politics/london-elects-what-will-new-mayor-mean-heathrow-airport-2043

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NATS suggests change to “stacking” system, with priority given to the largest planes with transfer passengers

NATS have proposed a different method by which planes queue to land, in order to get even more flights safely using crowded UK airspace.  At present, if planes arrive early and have to wait for a landing slot, they enter a stack about 10 nautical miles wide and spiral downwards from about 11,000 feet till called in to land, leaving the stack at around 7,000 feet. The plan would be for planes to circle at perhaps 13,000 feet or more, in a stack about 20 – 25 nautical miles wide, and be called off that, to come in to land. The plan is also to give planes with more passengers, and with more transfer passengers priority, if the airline requests this, so they land earlier – than those without transfer passengers. Currently they get landing slots on a first come, first served basis.  NATS says there are around 2.4 million UK flights now, but they expect this number to rise to 3 million in 15 years, and they need to accommodate them all. Without the changes there might be delays. NATS also suggest use of more flight routes, giving the potential for noise to be shared out. However, this means people not currently overflown being affected for the first time, and would significantly increase the numbers affected.  There will be a DfT consultation on elements of aircraft noise policy and airspace change, probably in the 2nd half of 2016.
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London’s infamous plane ‘stacking’ system may be abolished: Aircraft could queue to land in straight lines – with priority given to the largest planes

  • New system has been proposed by Nats, which handles air traffic control
  • It would bring an end to the current stacking system with an orderly queue
  • Instead, planes would hold in a linear pattern and jump the queue
  • Priority would be given to planes with higher passenger counts, said Nats 

Heavily congested airspace around London could be reformed under an ambitious proposal that aims to cut down on the number of missed connecting flights by giving priority to larger planes – and it would mean the end of the infamous ‘stacking’ system.

The proposal by Nats, which handles the UK’s air traffic control services, would boost the number of flight paths and change the way aircraft circle over south-east England once they’ve joined a queue to land at airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick.

Landing priority would be given to planes with higher passenger counts – usually international flights with travellers who have onward connections – at the request of airlines, allowing them to jump the queue and land ahead of aircraft that have been waiting longer.

Under a linear stack system, planes would circle at an identical altitude and be able to jump the queue

Nats also wants to significantly increase the number of flight paths over south-east England – a move that will likely be met by people who have concerns about noise and pollution.

Its proposal would see the end of a stacking system that many passengers have experienced before landing at one of London’s busier airports, the Times reported.

In that system, planes fly in circles, around 10 nautical miles wide, while descending from an altitude of around 11,000ft. Planes must be at least 1,000ft apart vertically, and they land in the order the joined the queue.

However, under the proposed holding system, planes would fly in a linear pattern at an identical altitude, around 13,000ft.

A new holding pattern for incoming flights would give priority to planes with a large number of passengers

The circle would be wider – at 20 to 25 nautical miles – and air traffic controllers would choose the next plane to land, regardless of when it entered the queue.

If a modern system isn’t adopted in the next decade, said Martin Rolfe, chief executive of Nats, the average delay to each plane caught in congested airspace will increase to 15 or 20 minutes, coinciding with an increase in air traffic.

He told the Times: ‘We are trying to run 2.5million flights a year through B-roads in the sky.

‘The airspace that we have over the UK really was designed in the ‘50s and ‘60s for the sort of aircraft that you now go to a museum to look at.’

Last year, Nats revealed that it was considering a new air traffic system that would impose speed limits in the sky to manage traffic flows and avoid jams.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-3571495/London-s-infamous-stacking-abolished-Aircraft-set-queue-straight-lines-priority-given-largest-planes.html

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Comments by AirportWatch members:

This looks like a perverted version of “point merge”, but I can see some “issues” with it since the suggested radius of the horizontal non-stack is 25 nautical miles it’ll be an interesting exercise for ATC to decide which of the various aircraft to bring in first.  If there’s a big heavy plane wanting to land – but it’s the furthest from the runway it would, surely, make better sense to bring in one or more of the stack members which are closer to the runway.
And such fun arbitrating between the pressing claims of the pilots in the stack, each of which will be keen to get on the ground ASAP.
It’d also be illuminating to see the suggested descent profile from a stack at the suggested 25,000 feet (or is it 13,000 feet?) and how that maps onto continuous descent approaches. I see, too, a cunning plan to spread the noise possibly more thinly but over far more people.
Does not make sense to have all aircraft stacking throughout the day.  Timed arrivals will eliminate need for stacks.
It  is usual to float ideas in the press before issuing a full consultation, so this is all just a taster for the press, to see what people say.

Curious that the industry hopes there will be 25% more planes in 15 years, since the number of flights has only gone up 3% in the past 15 years.


and

End of stacking as jets form orderly queue

By Graeme Paton, Transport Correspondent, The Times
April 30th  2016,

Aircraft would queue in a straight-line pattern, enabling controllers to prioritise certain flights

……………

The government is expected to publish a strategy document this year setting out the basic parameters governing airspace redesign.

[The CAA consultation on their proposals for revising the airspace change process ends on 15th June. Details.   Then the Department for Transport will hold a formal consultation on changes to the noise elements of the Aviation Policy Framework, and the principles behind changes to flight paths – some time in /after summer 2016, “to coincide with a further announcement on runway capacity in the south east”  ie. after a runway decision. In 2nd half of 2016.    AW note]

NATS is pushing for clear direction that will allow it to redraw flight paths without leaving them open to legal challenges.

A previous reform to routes out of Gatwick was dropped after local residents objected. A new consultation on the modernisation of airspace across the southeast of England could begin next year.

 

Full Times article at

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/end-of-stacking-as-jets-form-orderly-queue-95z3sn5s8?acs_cjd=true

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