How Heathrow’s new runway would be funded, (higher landing costs, more costs to taxpayer) – all unclear

Heathrow’s plans for a 3rd runway, and associated building, are due to cost the airport at least £18 billion (not including unexpected over-runs and engineering problems etc). Heathrow now wants the right to make airlines and passengers contribute to any unexpected higher costs. The CAA controls the amount Heathrow can charge airlines. Heathrow has asked the CAA to factor in a huge array of risks from building the 3,500 metre runway across the M25 into the charges it is allowed to claw back from carriers. Heathrow keeps insisting its landing charges would remain close to current levels, aviation experts said there are few credible alternatives to charging users more. IAG believes the huge construction costs will lead to charges doubling to landing charges per passenger, from about £40 now to £80 for a return ticket. Heathrow is mainly owned by overseas investors. As well as higher than expected costs of construction, there are risks such as lack of interest from airlines in taking up the new landing slots; financial markets turning against the airport, leading to a downgrade of its credit rating; higher debt costs; and politics. There is real fear that if the Heathrow expansion project was allowed, the costs – many £ billion – might fall on the taxpayer – if the enterprise becomes a bit of a white elephant. The Airports Commission and DfT have said little about this massive risk to the public finances.
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Passengers face risk for Heathrow’s new runway

Airport demands right to raise landing fees if £18bn expansion goes awry

By John Collingridge (Sunday Times)
August 13 2017

Europe’s busiest airport wants higher charges to help cover risks

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Heathrow’s demand was contained in a document submitted earlier this year. The CAA is attempting to tackle one of the big questions ignored by the Airports Commission, which examined how to raise aviation capacity: who should bear the risks of the hugely complex project?

The airport said in the submission that its investors were not “seeking special treatment or risk-free rewards. However, unlike a private enterprise in an unfettered market . . . these risks do need to be addressed or compensated for in the regulatory return.”

Heathrow was told to keep charges “close to current levels” when the government gave permission for the runway in October. While the airport insists it is cutting costs to adhere to this demand, experts said that shifting risks onto travellers would inevitably force up charges.

Martin Blaiklock, an independent infrastructure expert, said the only way Heathrow could keep charges flat would be to significantly increase the number of people going through its terminals. “Anyone using Heathrow today will view such a boast with some scepticism,” he said.

“The responsibility for delivering the expansion to time, cost and specification should be left to Heathrow alone, with no payment from passengers for the expansion until the project is available for use.”

Full Times article at:

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/passengers-face-risk-for-heathrows-new-runway-npg2xnqmn

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See also:

Heathrow plans to cut building costs of its runway plan, to keep fares low, by not adding new terminal

Heathrow has said it will – allegedly – guarantee to effectively freeze passenger landing fees when [if] a 3rd runway is built, by scrapping plans for a new terminal. The cost for the whole planned expansion is about £17.6 billion, and Heathrow knows it will have trouble raising all this and paying for changes to surface access transport. The government does not want air fares to get any more expensive. So Heathrow now says it will knock “several billion” pounds off the cost of its plan by abandoning facilities such as an additional terminal. The terminal would require a huge subsurface baggage handling system and an underground passenger metro system, which was estimated to cost £1 billion alone. They instead suggest extending Terminals 5 and 2 and phasing the expansion work over as long as 20 years, to control costs. The main airline at Heathrow, IAG, is not prepared to pay higher charges to fund inefficient expansion, that is unnecessarily expensive. The amended expansion plans by Heathrow will be put out for a public consultation later in 2017.  The publication of the final Airports National Policy Statement [the consultation on it ended in May 2017] setting out the Government’s position, and a subsequent House of Commons vote, are expected in the first half of 2018 with the vote not before June. Heathrow hopes to cut costs in every way it can, and get in the necessary funds by attracting many more passengers, even if paying hardly more than they do now – about £22 landing fee – each.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/07/heathrow-plans-to-cut-building-costs-of-its-runway-plan-to-keep-fares-low-by-not-adding-new-terminal/

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Arora’s plan for a cheaper 3rd Heathrow runway means putting it further east. ie. more noise for London

Surinder Arora, a hotel magnate, wants to get the 3rd Heathrow runway built quickly, and has made some suggestions of how it could be done more easily – and at least £5-6 billion more cheaply. But his scheme, for a shorter northern runway, means there would be even more noise pollution over London than from Heathrow’s own £17.6bn proposal. Heathrow airport did not, apparently, know of his plans till he went public with them.  If the new runway was shorter (3.2km not 3.5km) and moved a bit east, to Sipson, there would be cost savings. But this could mean noisier flights over London as aircraft may have to fly slightly lower over London by something like 300 feet or so (at a guess). One of Heathrow’s reasons for its own location for the runway was to get this 300 ft or so height gain, claiming it would make all the difference to noise levels.  The 2009 scheme, by Heathrow, for a much shorter 2.2km runway failed in part because of noise concerns, as did a plan for a 2.8km runway rejected by the Airports Commission. Willie Walsh of IAG, and Craig Keeper of Virgin Atlantic, want the cheapest scheme possible, to keep their costs down, and avoid having to increase the cost of their air fares. Amusingly, the Heathrow airport runway plan involves demolishing one of Mr Arora’s 5 hotels at the airport, two of which are under construction. Mr Arora says he was not informed by Heathrow (Willie Walsh claimed the same, for his head office building).

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/07/aroras-plan-for-a-cheaper-3rd-heathrow-runway-means-putting-it-further-east-ie-more-noise-for-london/

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The worries set out above are just for the cost to Heathrow of building its runway, terminal etc.   Not for all the associated work that would be needed to improve surface access infrastructure, that would be needed by an airport 50% more busy than now.


Shock £17bn taxpayer’s bill for Heathrow expansion revealed through Freedom of Information request by Greenpeace

Environmental and transport groups have used FoI to obtain details from Transport for London (TfL), of their estimates of the amount of money the UK taxpayer would be expected to pay, for Heathrow’s 3rd runway. This comes to a staggering £17 billion, to cover the costs of transport links needed to deal with a massive traffic surge from a 3rd Heathrow runway.  TfL say the actual cost would be around £18.4 billion – which is 4 times as high as estimated by the Airports Commission.  Heathrow’s John Holland-Kaye reiterated, to the Environmental Audit Committee (4.11.2015) that the airport would pay only about £1 billion. The government made it clear (Oct 2015) that it expects aviation expansion promoters to cover any surface access costs.The vast amount of money required throws into question both the financing and feasibility of a crucial part of the project. The documents, released to Greenpeace through FoI, contain the first detailed comparison of the contrasting estimates by the Airport Commission and TfL. They show the figures published in the Commission’s report failed to take into account the costs of key rail schemes, extra buses, additional operational spending and road traffic management. The Treasury needs to properly assess the real costs of expanding Heathrow and guarantee taxpayers won’t be left to pick up the bill.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/04/shock-17bn-taxpayers-bill-for-heathrow-expansion-revealed-through-freedom-of-information-request-by-greenpeace/

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No confirmation by government that taxpayer won’t have to fund surface access transport for Heathrow 3rd runway

Transport for London calculated the costs of upgrading and improving surface access, to deal with the extra passengers using a 3 runway Heathrow could be up to about £18 billion, over several years. Heathrow has only offered to pay a total of £1.1 billion. Stephen Hammond, a former transport minister, (2012 – 14) asked Chris Grayling about the costs, as did other MPs. The responses were evasive. Stephen Hammond believes the transport work is likely to cost the taxpayer (= us) at least £5-10 billion, and the government is misinforming the public by announcing that: “Expansion costs will be paid for by the private sector, not by the taxpayer.” Asked about the costs, Grayling replied that Heathrow …”will be held to a plan that: first, does not increase the current level of road transport to the airport; and, secondly, increases public transport access to the airport to 55% of those using it. Those will be obligations that it will have to fund. The Government’s financial advisers have said that that is viable and investible. There are question marks about what schemes are actually part of the surface access. Some of them we have to do anyway. For example, we are about to start improvements to the M4, which will benefit Heathrow and improve access, but they are not solely about Heathrow.”  ie. no clarity at all, and sounds as if government realise Heathrow cannot even build the runway etc without raising landing charges, let alone all this work. So is not insisting on it …?    

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/10/no-confirmation-by-government-thattaxpayer-wont-have-to-fund-surface-access-transport-for-heathrow-3rd-runway/

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

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

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/09/times-reports-that-heathrow-plans-to-offer-to-cut-costs-and-build-runway-scheme-faster/

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Planes are flying too low, say residents – but Bournemouth Airport say flight path hasn’t changed

Bournemouth Airport says its flight paths are ‘set in stone’ and have not changed in any way,. But some West Parley residents complained of low flying aircraft, and believe the planes flying over their homes are lower than they were before. People have complained to local officials about ‘changed flight paths’ at the airport, also believe noisier aircraft are flying late at night. The airport’s managing director said there are no changes to the ILS for landings, or the times planes fly and “The last commercial aircraft comes in around 2300, sometimes a little bit later, but that is it.” A local councillor said: “Some of these planes are operating on the red eye flights and late at night, and one or two of the planes, in particular, are considered to be considerably noisier than normal flights. If this is the case, then it is quite antisocial for people living nearby.”  At other airports there has been a problem of terminology. Airports and the air traffic control services have their own definitions of what “change” is. That does not include changes to flight mix, changes to times of day, heights, or how accurately planes follow a flight path.  What residents who are overflown consider change is often not considered significant by the industry.
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Planes are flying too low, say residents – but Bournemouth Airport bosses say flightpath hasn’t changed

9.8.2017 (Daily Echo)

FLIGHT paths at Bournemouth Airport are ‘set in stone’ and have not changed in anyway, airport bosses say.

Paul Knight, managing director of Bournemouth Airport, told the Echo no flight path changes have taken place after some West Parley residents complained of low flying aircraft.

Residents believe a number of aircraft are now flying over nearby houses lower than ever before.

Neighbours, who have complained to local officials about ‘changed flight paths’ at the airport, also believe noisier aircraft are flying late at night.

However, Mr Knight said: “There have been no changes to the flight paths anywhere around the airport at all, no changes at all. The last commercial aircraft comes in around 2300, sometimes a little bit later, but that is it.

“With regards to flight paths, approaches on the ILS – which is the one close to Parley – are set in stone, and they’ve been set in stone for many, many years.”

ILS, or instrument landing system, is a ground-based system enabling aircraft to land if pilots are unable to see the runway in instances of bad weather.

East Dorset District Council’s Parley ward member, Cllr Andrew Parry, said: “I’ve received a number of reports from residents.

“Their belief is that planes have changed their flight paths to fly at low levels across residential areas in West Parley.

“Some of these planes are operating on the red eye flights and late at night, and one or two of the planes, in particular, are considered to be considerably noisier than normal flights.

“If this is the case, then it is quite antisocial for people living nearby.”

Now the councillor says he’s working to establish whether or not flight paths have changed in any way, and if they have, why? New Road resident Anne Torrens, 74, said the planes always seemed to fly low over New Road towards the airport.

She said: “It’s a bit disconcerting but what is more of a pain is the noise. There definitely seems to be more planes flying at unsociable times.” Meanwhile neighbour Carol Wilkins said the noise was a “problem”.

http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/15461932.Planes_heading_to_Bournemouth_Airport_are_flying____too_low_____say_residents__but_flightpath_hasn__39_t_changed_/

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Luton Airport plans further growth to 25 million passengers (not just 18 million) within 10 years

Luton Airport is planning to expand to 25 million passengers, in a move campaign groups are arguing could increase noise pollution above Hertfordshire. Luton is planning significant expansion, while NATS says the skies over south east England are overcrowded and close to saturation. Neil McArthur of local group, Harpenden Sky, submitted a Freedom of Information Request which revealed that the LLAL planning strategy is for steady growth to 25 million passengers within 10 years. This represents nearly a 40% increase over the current planning limit of 18 million passengers, which was agreed by Luton borough council.  Residents who live under flight paths in St Albans, Harpenden and elsewhere in Hertfordshire have made multiple complaints to the airport about plane noise, due to a new routing system which has narrowed the flight paths and concentrated the noise over a smaller area. Over the past year, noise complaints have increased from 191 in the first quarter of 2016, to 1,849 in the first quarter of 2017. Neil said the airport is not being properly managed, and changes are being rushed through too fast. Andrew Lambourne, from campaign group LADACAN (Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise) said the airport’s focus is entirely on growth for airlines, giving no mention of making the :airport a better neighbour to local communities.
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Luton Airport plans further growth to 25 million passengers within 10 years

4 August 2017 (Herts Advertiser)

Luton Airport is planning to expand to 25 million passengers, in a move campaign groups are arguing could increase noise pollution above Hertfordshire. 

London Luton Airport Limited (LLAL), a subsidiary of Luton borough council, is planning an expansion of passenger numbers despite the National Air Traffic Service (NATS) stating this month that the skies over south east England are overcrowded and close to saturation.

Neil McArthur of Harpenden Sky submitted a Freedom of Information Request which revealed that the LLAL planning strategy is for steady growth to 25 million passengers within 10 years. This represents nearly a 40 per cent increase over the current planning limit of 18 million passengers, which was agreed by Luton borough council.

Residents who live under flight paths in St Albans, Harpenden and elsewhere in Hertfordshire have made multiple complaints to the airport about aeroplane noise, due to a new routing system which has narrowed the flight paths and concentrated the noise over a smaller area. Over the past year, noise complaints have increased from 191 in the first quarter of 2016, to 1,849 in the first quarter of 2017.

Neil said: “The pace of change at Luton Airport is outstripping the airport’s capability to deal with a lot of other issues including alleviation of noise from air traffic.

“Luton Airport is simply not being properly managed. They are rushing through too much too quickly and as a result they make mistakes.”

Neil also argued that passenger costs have escalated, and the airport’s ‘drop-off’ roadway is inadequate for passenger volume.

Andrew Lambourne, from campaign group LADACAN (Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise) said: “LLAL’s document clearly prioritises making Luton the go-to airport for airlines, so that market demands can be met. There’s no mention at all of making the airport a better neighbour to local communities.

“LLAL’s commercial interest is best served by avoiding any kind of restrictions on noise, types of aircraft or hours of operation. People who live in the area around Luton Airport take a different view when they are trying to get to sleep at night, enjoy their gardens, have a conversation or get some rest from the noise. That’s why we’re insisting that the increased profits should be balanced by stricter noise controls aimed at driving noise down, not just letting it increase.”

Andrew urged those affected by noise pollution to contact either the airport or their local MP with their concerns, and to join local campaign groups.

He said: “The more different people who take the time to complain, the more chance we have of pushing back against this incessant dash for cash regardless of the noise pollution it causes.”

A Luton Airport spokesman said: “As the airport operator we are focused on delivering our plans to transform LLA and increase capacity to 18m passengers a year.

“We appreciate the patience of our passengers during the redevelopment work, many of whom are already seeing the benefits. We’ve made significant progress in easing congestion on our roads and are working hard to improve public transport links to the airport.

“The overall cost of a trip is often less when compared to other major London airports.”

A spokesman for Luton borough council said: “In its response to a recent Government consultation on the National Aviation Planning Strategy, London Luton Airport Ltd demonstrated the theoretical potential of growth at London Luton Airport.

“It is the responsibility of every airport in the country to look at demand projections and how facilities and resources may potentially be optimised in line with planning policy to best serve the aviation and economic interests of the UK.”

http://www.hertsad.co.uk/news/passenger-expansion-plans-for-luton-airports-raise-concern-of-noise-pollution-over-hertfordshire-1-5129151

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Freedom of Information request reveals Luton Airport could expand to 25 million passengers

Play video     Video report by ITV News’ Dani Crawshaw
8.8.2017

Luton Airport could expand to 25 million passengers within the next 10 years, according to newly released documents.

London Luton Airport Limited (LLAL), a subsidiary of Luton Borough Council, are thought to be keen to push on with plans to expand passenger numbers despite the UK’s National Air Traffic Control Service warning that the country’s skies are already overcrowded.

The campaign group ‘Harpenden Sky’ submitted a Freedom of Information request which suggested that the LLAL want to gradually increase the capacity of the airport to 25 million passengers over the next decade.

The news has been met with disapproval by residents living under the flight paths in Hertfordshire who believe that the extra planes would significantly increase noise pollution in the area.

However, the current planning limit stands at 18 million, and the airport insists they are fully focussed on reaching this milestone first before even thinking about increasing that number further.

“In its response to a recent Government consultation on the National Aviation Planning Strategy, London Luton Airport Ltd demonstrated the theoretical potential of growth at London Luton Airport,” an airport spokesman said.

“It is the responsibility of every airport in the country to look at demand projections and how facilities and resources may potentially be optimised in line with planning policy to best serve the aviation and economic interests of the UK.”

http://www.itv.com/news/anglia/2017-08-08/freedom-of-information-request-reveals-luton-airport-could-expand-to-25-million-passengers/

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See earlier:

Parliamentary question. 13.10.2016

Lord Berkeley, Labour.  To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in the light of the planned expansion of Luton Airport from 10 million to 18 million passengers a year, they intend to include in the specification for the new Midland Main Line longer-distance passenger service a requirement that four trains per hour per direction should call at Luton Parkway in order to increase the percentage of air passengers arriving by rail.

Reply by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Transport) (Jointly with the Home Office), Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The next East Midlands franchise is due to start in July 2018 and we are currently undertaking a process of information gathering to develop the high-level view of the franchise specification. We are due to begin a public consultation later this year to inform the specification. Until the views submitted through the public consultation are understood and further analysis is conducted on the options for the franchise, a firm decision cannot be taken at this stage. I would encourage the noble Lord to make his views known through the formal public consultation process when it opens.     Link to They Work For You.

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Luton Airport flight path changes “unfair to Hertfordshire residents”

Luton Airport’s change in flight paths are affecting residents throughout Herts, including those living in Stevenage, Harpenden, Welwyn Garden City and St Albans – but avoids Luton itself.  Complaints about plane noise from Luton Airport have leapt by 78%, with residents saying their lives have been “devastated” by detrimental flight path changes. The latest edition of the airport’s quarterly monitoring report has also revealed a 60% rise in the number of complainants.  Flight movement maps in the report, recording westerly and easterly movements over a 24 hour period in March, show a concentration of planes flying over many urban areas in Herts, including St Albans district, Stevenage, Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City.   Yet, the skies above Luton, and the immediate area around the town – apart from the airport’s location in the south – appear to be mostly devoid of aircraft by comparison.  Between January and March this year, there were 191 noise complaints, compared to 107 in the first quarter in 2015. The airport has been expanding rapidly since its owner, and prime beneficiary, Luton borough council, controversially approved its bid to near double passenger throughput to 18 million a year in December 2013.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/07/luton-airport-flight-path-changes-unfair-to-hertfordshire-residents/

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Edinburgh Airport flight path plans altered slightly after public consultation with negative responses

Edinburgh Airport said it has modified its proposals for changes to its flight paths following its latest public consultation. It has submitted these revised airspace change proposals to the CAA. Residents living under the new routes said they were concerned about increased aircraft noise and the impact on their communities.  Campaign group Edinburgh Airport Watch said: “We call on the airport to halt this flawed process now. The CAA must scrutinise this application very carefully, and understand that there is no community support for these changes….We call on our government to intervene and ask serious questions about whose interests are being served by such radical proposals for change to flight paths that will have life-altering consequences for the health and wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of people across east central Scotland.”  The airport said it would only use any new routes when “they are required, and that we should explain very clearly when that is and why”. It said it had also restricted the routes to peak hours. Campaigners said the airport had only published “vague information” about the changed plans. The airport’s CEO said they will do a phased approach, and the new routes will help the airport handle more planes during the short peak periods. The airport is not busy enough at other times to need them. There have been two public consultations held into the proposals.
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Edinburgh Airport flight path plans altered after public consultation

3.8.2017 (BBC)

Edinburgh Airport said it has modified its proposals for changes to its flight paths following its latest public consultation.

Residents below the new routes said they were concerned about increased noise and the impact on communities.

The airport said it would only use any new routes when “they are required, and that we should explain very clearly when that is and why”.

It said it had also restricted the routes to peak hours.

However, campaigners said the airport had only published “vague information” about the changed plans.

Edinburgh Airport submitted its revised Airspace Change proposal to the Civil Aviation Authority on Thursday.

‘Strike balance’

Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: “The listening exercise we embarked upon has been crucial to our thinking and we have altered our application following the feedback we received, demonstrating the importance of that public engagement.

“We are now favouring a phased approach based on the premise that we should only use any new routes when they are required, and that we should explain very clearly when that is and why.

“We’ve also restricted these routes to peak hours, substantially reducing any potential impact on communities whilst delivering the capacity when it is required.

“We believe this application will deliver future economic growth for Edinburgh and Scotland, and strikes the best possible balance between those benefits and our communities’ requirements, our operational requirements and the requirements of our regulator, the CAA.”

Edinburgh Airport said the changes were necessary to cope with increasing numbers of passengers.

There have been two public consultations held into the proposals.

The results of the first consultation were published in November.

It ended a week later than planned after the airport was forced to apologise for losing almost 200 responses.

Almost 4,000 people responded to a second public consultation proposal.

‘Flawed process’

Campaign group Edinburgh Airport Watch said: “We call on the airport to halt this flawed process now.

“The CAA must scrutinise this application very carefully, and understand that there is no community support for these changes.

“With 52% of responders being ‘negative’, we do not accept that there is any evidence that these changes have any ‘broad support’ among communities as the airport claims.

“Noise complaints to Edinburgh Airport are at record levels, the daily misery being caused to people in their homes, schools and businesses by the airport and its Air Traffic Controllers, NATS, cannot be allowed to continue.

“We call on our government to intervene and ask serious questions about whose interests are being served by such radical proposals for change to flight paths that will have life-altering consequences for the health and wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of people across east central Scotland.”

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See also:

Edinburgh airport unveils plan for major new home and business complex

Edinburgh Airport has unveiled plans for a massive (over 100 acres) business, industrial and housing complex to be built on part of the airport. They are describing it as “one of the best-connected developments in Scotland.”  The buildings would extend from south-east of the passenger terminal to nearly as far as the Gogar roundabout. Chief executive Gordon Dewar said an adjacent development area south of the airport which had sought to attract major companies had failed to get off the ground because of the lack of such key infrastructure. He agreed the airport’s plans would provide “a degree of competition” with the proposed International Business Gateway scheme, where he said “nothing has happened” for years. The site will occupy much of the crosswind runway, which the airport said was rarely used. It runs south-east to north-west and cannot be used at the same time as the adjacent main south-west to north-east runway.  However, the crosswind runway is used during runway maintenance and resurfacing. Mr Dewar admitted: “It will make it harder to avoid disruption, but we believe we have solutions that will address it.” Land for a planned 2nd runway, which the airport hopes would be needed around 2050, has already been reserved to the north of and parallel with the main runway.

Click here to view full story…

MSP motion lodged at Holyrood about Edinburgh Airport flawed flight path consultation

Neil Findlay MSP (Labour Party) is a firm opponent of the changes to flight paths, overflying many areas that were previously unaffected, that Edinburgh airport is planning. He has lodged a motion at Holyrood about the airport’s current consultation on airspace change. It the motion gets sufficient support from MSPs across at least 3 political parties, it becomes eligible to be debated in the Chamber. Neil Findlay was able to lead a previous members’ debate in September 2015 which led to the scrapping of the airport’s TUTUR flight path trial. Neil has now put down a motion in the Scottish Parliament (Motion S5M-04708) saying: “That the Parliament notes what it sees as the growing concerns about Edinburgh Airport’s plan to introduce new flight paths; and asking “Edinburgh Airport scraps what is considered this flawed consultation and begins the process again with up-to-date information and a more robust and credible consultation process.” People in Scotland are encouraged, by Edinburgh Airport Watch, to contact their MSP by email to ask them to sign his motion. The consultation by Edinburgh airport is inadequate, contains incorrect information, and is based on faulty data. But the altered routes would inflict noise on new areas, and for huge numbers of those sensitive to noise, have life changing consequences.

Click here to view full story…

Edinburgh airport flawed and inaccessible consultation on airspace changes condemned by opponents

On 2nd February, Edinburgh Airport launched its second consultation, which closes on 30th April, on its airspace change programme. The consultation is very hard for a layperson to understand, with voluminous documents. The aim is to make more “efficient” use of airspace – ie. fit in more planes, especially at the few times of day when Edinburgh airport is particularly busy, like early morning. People are asked to comment on various route options, many of which mean new areas overflown, and some areas newly intensely overflown, under narrow PBN routes. Hundreds of local people, who will be badly affected by some of the proposed changes, have attended packed public meetings. The local group Edinburgh Airport Watch (EAW) are very worried about the lack of justification for the plans. There are no projected numbers on flights, types of planes, the times of day that planes may fly. EAW say the noise shadows created by the proposed flight paths will be enormous, and will affect hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom will not have been exposed to aircraft noise before. Areas excluded from the initial stage consultation were excluded from the published swathes, told they would not be affected and now find flight paths directly over them. Not surprisingly, they are furious. Neil Findlay MSP has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament, asking that the consultation be re-done, with proper information.

Click here to view full story…


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550% increase in complaints to City Airport following introduction of concentrated flight paths

Complaints to London City Airport have gone up by 550% since the introduction of the new concentrated flight paths.  The figures were revealed in the airport’s 2016 Annual Performance Report, just published.  Last year there were nearly 400 complaints, up from 95 in 2015.  In its report, London City admits the increase is down to the concentrated flight paths which were introduced on 4th February 2016, as part of the implementation of Phase 1a of the London Airspace Management Plan (LAMP).  The release of the complaint figures comes a week after the London Mayor Sadiq Khan called for an end to the concentrated flight paths.  In an answer to a question from Green London Assembly member Caroline Russell, he said, “It is clear that the concentrated flight paths introduced by London City Airport are not working.  We will continue to raise the issue with London City Airport.  We also continue to make the case to the CAA that there must be a fairer distribution of flight paths that will address the severe noise impacts.”  At present the CAA is assessing a report from London City into the operation of the concentrated flight paths.  It is expected to make its recommendations in the next month or two.
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550% increase in complaints to City Airport following introduction of concentrated flight paths

3.7.2017  (Hacan East press release)

Complaints to London City Airport have gone up by 550% since the introduction of the new concentrated flight paths.  The figures were revealed in the airport’s 2016 Annual Performance Report, published yesterday (1).  Last year there were nearly 400 complaints, up from 95 in 2015.  In its report, London City admits the increase is down to the concentrated flight paths which were introduced in February 2016: “The spike in complaints, particularly from areas outside Newham, can likely be attributed to the implementation of Phase 1a of the London Airspace Management Plan (LAMP) which occurred at London City Airport from 4 February 2016.”  LAMP was the plan which concentrated the flight paths.

John Stewart, chair of HACAN East which gives a voice to residents under the flight paths, said “This dramatic jump in complaints comes as no surprise to us.  It reflects what we have been hearing.  It is essential that the airport reconsiders its decision to concentrate all its flight paths”.

The release of the complaint figures comes just a week after the London Mayor Sadiq Khan called for an end to the concentrated flight paths.  In an answer to a question from Green London Assembly member Caroline Russell, he said, “It is clear that the concentrated flight paths introduced by London City Airport are not working.  We will continue to raise the issue with London City Airport.  We also continue to make the case to the CAA that there must be a fairer distribution of flight paths that will address the severe noise impacts.

At present the Civil Aviation Authority is assessing a report from London City into the operation of the concentrated flight paths.  It is expected to make its recommendations in the next month or two.

Notes for Editors:

(1). Link to the report:  https://www.londoncityairport.com/content/pdf/LCY%20Annual%20Performance%20Report%202016%20AW.pdf

 

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See earlier:

London City Airport campaigners do cake stunt outside CAA offices, as Sadiq Khan backs calls to end concentrated flight paths

On Friday 28th July campaigners against London City Airport’s concentrated flight paths, introduced last year, staged a colourful stunt outside the headquarters of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in Kingsway. The campaigners from HACAN East highlighted the impact the concentrated flight paths are having on local communities. The stunt was timed to coincide with a review the CAA is conducting into the operation of the flight paths.  Campaigners have won the backing of London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, in their bid to get rid of the concentrated flight paths. In written answer to a question from Green London Assembly member Caroline Russell, he said; “It is clear that the concentrated flight paths introduced by London City Airport are not working. We will continue to raise the issue with London City Airport. We also continue to make the case to the CAA that there must be a fairer distribution of flight paths that will address the severe noise impacts.”  Campaigners from a wide range of places affected by the flight path changes each brought along a cake with the name of their area indicated. A cake was also presented to the CAA, along with a letter. Campaigners want the CAA to require London City Airport to replace concentrated flight paths with multiple routes, rotated, so that each community gets some relief from the noise.

Click here to view full story…

Sadiq Khan backs campaigners HACAN East, fighting concentrated flight paths in east London

Residents fighting the concentrated flight paths to and from London City Airport have welcomed the backing of Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. People who have been fighting concentrated flight paths, introduced in February 2016, which have turned their communities into “noise ghettos” with much more traffic over certain areas, badly affecting the homes below. The number of noise complaints rose four-fold since then.  Residents in Leytonstone have been hit particularly hard by the paths, with some saying they are considering selling their houses.  Caroline Russell, Green Party Member of the London Assembly, raised the issue with Sadiq Khan on behalf of residents. Sadiq said: “It is clear that the concentrated flight paths introduced by London City Airport are not working. We will continue to raise the issue with London City Airport. We also continue to make the case to the CAA that there must be a fairer distribution of flight paths that will address the severe noise impacts.” HACAN East will stage a protest outside the CAA headquarters on Friday, July 28th to coincide with a review the authority is conducting into the changed paths.  They will provide cakes, with the names of all the areas affected, and give a suitable cake to the CAA. Protesters want the CAA to make City Airport scrap the new paths and replace them with multiple routes which are rotated to ensure each area gets periods without the noise.

Click here to view full story…

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Stansted had 25m passengers this year – finally well above levels in 2007 after years of declines

Stansted airport had 25 million passengers in the past year, its highest number ever. Numbers of passengers using Stansted have been growing rapidly in recent years following its acquisition in 2013 from the former BAA group by Manchester Airports Group (MAG) – and the end of the recession that started in 2008. There are now some new operators, as well as increased activity by established airlines, including Ryanair. Stansted says it now has 190 destinations, and a growing route network. They are now having their busiest summer ever, and hope to get to 26.5 million passengers by the end of 2017. Ryanair said that since its first Stansted flight in 1989, it has carried over 230 million passengers through Stansted with over 140 Stansted routes.  The airport has recently given formal notification of its intention to submit a planning application later this year to seek permission to grow to an annual throughput of 44.5 million passengers and 285,000 flights. This compares to last year’s throughput of 24 million passengers and 180,000 flights. Stansted only got back the number of passengers it had in 2007 by 2016 – after years of declines.
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Stansted Airport celebrates breaking through the 25m passenger a year barrier

31.7.2017 (East Anglia Daily Times – EADT)

By Duncan Brodie

London Stansted celebrates 25 million passengers by surprising two holidaymakers with free flights with Ryanair.  The annual passenger total at Stansted Airport has passed the 25m mark for the first time.

Numbers at Stansted have been growing rapidly in recent years following its acquisition in 2013 from the former BAA group by Manchester Airports Group (MAG).

Growth has been helped by a multi-million pound transformation of the main terminal building, agreements with several new operators and increased activity by established airline customers including Ryanair.

Andrew Cowan, chief executive at Stansted Airport, said: “To welcome 25m passengers to Stansted in the last year is a fantastic achievement and a clear reflection of the significant and sustained growth we have experienced at the airport in the four years under MAG’s ownership.

“I’d like to thank all 25m passengers for choosing Stansted in the last 12 months and for helping us achieve this historic milestone, and our highly successful and valued airline partners for driving the growth through their commitment to the airport.

London Stansted celebrates 25 million passengers by surprising two holidaymakers with free flights with Ryanair: from left, Millie Hughes from Braintree and Thea Towers from Chelmsford.

“I’d also like to pay tribute to our hard-working and loyal staff who have all played their part in helping make Stansted the huge success story it is today.”

Mr Cowan added: “With over 190 destinations now available across our extensive and growing route network, and our busiest ever summer season well underway, we expect to welcome around 26.5m passengers by the end of the financial year as even more passengers choose to fly from Stansted.”

To help celebrate reaching the major landmark, two holidaymakers were surprised with two free flights from Stansted with Ryanair.

The lucky recipients were Millie Hughes from Braintree and Thea Towers from Chelmsford who were presented with a pair of return tickets with Ryanair to any destination on its route network when they checked in for their flights to Palma Majorca last Thursday.

Friends Thea and Millie are regular users of Stansted and were thrilled to be the airport’s milestone passengers. Thea said: “We are truly gobsmacked to be Stansted’s 25millionth passengers, and to win two free flights has really made this a brilliant day and a fantastic way to start our week away.”

Kenny Jacobs, chief marketing officer at Ryanair, said: “As London Stansted’s largest airline, Ryanair is pleased to help the airport deliver record passenger numbers and celebrate carrying 25m annual passengers the first time.

“Since our first Stansted flight in 1989, Ryanair has carried over 230m passengers through the airport and we currently offer over 140 Stansted routes. We look forward to continuing to grow our traffic and network at our largest airport base.”

http://www.eadt.co.uk/business/stansted-airport-celebrates-breaking-through-the-25m-passenger-a-year-barrier-1-5128717

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CAA airport statistics

Terminal Passengers

2016 –  24 million
2015    22,513,000 (up 13% on 2014)
2014    19,958,000
2013    17,844,355   (up + 2.2% on  2012)
2012    17,464,792  (down – 3.2% on 2011)
2011    18,042,400  (down – 2.8 % on 2010))
2010    18,562  (down – 7% on 2009)     link to 2010 data
2009    19,951.7  (down -10.7% on 2008)
2008    22,340   (down -6% on 2007)
2007    23,759  (no increase)
2006    23,680
2005    21,992
2000    11,858
1996     4,808

See also

Stop Stansted Expansion warn people not to be hoodwinked by deceptive displays about airport’s growth plans

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has issued a warning to residents across the region not to be hoodwinked by Stansted Airport’s smoke-and-mirror exhibition and biased consultation survey on its further expansion plans. Both appear designed to trick people into thinking that further Stansted expansion in passenger number will be painless and sustainable. They make these claims, even before the environmental impacts have been assessed. The displays are deliberately misleading, and SSE says people should be very sceptical. Brian Ross, SSE’s deputy chairman, said the displays are all about spinning the positives and saying nothing about the negatives.” People attending the exhibitions need to ask searching questions, like explanations about the proposed increase in flight lights compared to today. And  and passenger movements compared to the position today.  This, say SSE, reveals a very different picture from the one being put forward by Stansted’s bosses who have been making the false claim that the extra passenger numbers will only lead to “approximately two extra flights an hour”.  In reality the proposal would mean an extra 2,000 flights a week compared to today’s levels – 285 per day.  That means an increase from on average of a plane every 2¼ minutes, to a plane every 85 seconds.  Stansted current has permission for 35 million passengers per year, while it currently has about 25 million. But the airport says it ‘urgently’ needs the cap to be raised to 44.5 million.  And see this link too. 

Click here to view full story…          

Stop Stansted Expansion brands airport expansion plans as premature and opportunistic

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has condemned Stansted Airport for insulting the intelligence of Uttlesford District Council (UDC) and the community at large by claiming that its latest expansion proposals will have “no significant adverse environmental effects”.  SSE’s Chairman Peter Sanders has further stressed the need for the council not to be hoodwinked by the airport’s spurious claim and to ensure a comprehensive, honest and thorough assessment of all the environmental impacts that would result from major expansion.  The statement comes following the airport’s formal notification of its intention to submit a planning application later this year to seek permission to grow to an annual throughput of 44.5 million passengers and 285,000 flights. This compares to last year’s throughput of 24 million passengers and 180,000 flights.  If approved, this would mean an extra 20 million passengers and an extra 104,000 flights every year blighting the lives of thousands across the region. Stansted hasn’t even started to make use of its 2008 permission to grow from 25mppa to 35mppa.  Even by its own projections, the airport doesn’t expect to reach 35mppa until 2024 although the credibility of its forecasts is questionable given its wildly inaccurate record on this front.

Click here to view full story…

 

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University pension scheme, 10% owners of Heathrow, have £17.5 deficit in pension fund

Universities face a new blow to their finances after the main pension fund deficit has risen to £17.5bn. The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) now has the largest pensions deficit of any UK pension fund after it increased by £9 billion last year.  One expert said student fees may have to rise or be diverted from teaching.  But a USS spokesperson said the pensions were “secure, backed by a solid investment portfolio and the strength of sponsoring employers.”  The USS funds pensions for academics who are mostly based in the pre-1992 universities, and has more than 390,000 members.  The pensions deficit has grown rapidly since 2014, when benefits were reduced for new entrants to plug a £5,3bn deficit.  The USS bought an 8% stake in Heathrow in 2014 and has since increased that to 10%. They also bought, in 2013, a nearly 50% stake in the Airlines Group, which owns almost half of air traffic controller, NATS.  USS said:  “USS pensions are secure, backed by a solid investment portfolio and the strength of sponsoring employers.”  The owners of Heathrow are expected to put up money for the very expensive Heathrow expansion scheme, and will be needing large returns on their investment if the runway is ever built.  Heathrow is having to cut the costs of its scheme, now saying it will delay a terminal + underground rail link, which it cannot afford.
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University finances face £17.5bn pensions squeeze

29 July 2017 (BBC)

Universities face a new blow to their finances after the main pension fund deficit soared to £17.5bn.

The Universities Superannuation Scheme now has the largest pensions deficit of any UK pension fund after it increased by £9bn last year.

One expert said student fees may have to rise or be diverted from teaching.

But a USS spokesperson said the pensions were “secure, backed by a solid investment portfolio and the strength of sponsoring employers.”

The USS funds pensions for academics who are mostly based in the pre-1992 universities, and has more than 390,000 members.

‘Less money for teaching’

To ensure the fund remains solvent, the USS will have to submit a plan to the pensions regulator to reduce the size of the deficit, which was first reported in The Financial Times.
That could mean cutting the value of future pay-outs, increasing staff contributions or raising employer contributions, putting pressure on university budgets.

John Ralfe, an independent pensions consultant, said: “It seems inconceivable to me that student fees will not have to be diverted into plugging the pension deficit.

“That means either they go up or there is a smaller amount of money that can be dedicated to teaching and research. And obviously the student fees that are paid are for teaching and research, not to pay for the folly of USS betting on equities over the last few years.”

The pensions deficit has grown rapidly since 2014, when benefits were reduced for new entrants to plug a £5,3bn deficit.

John Ralfe, independent pensions consultant, says tuition fees could be used to plug the pensions gap

Mr Ralfe said poor management of the fund was to blame.

“I think the root cause of this is the USS trustees going down to the casino and betting the money that they had been given by universities, betting it on [the stock market],” he said.
Lord Adonis, who helped increase university tuition fees to £3,000 as head of the Number 10 policy unit under Tony Blair, agreed there were “big questions” over the schemes management and it was time for vice chancellors to “get their acts together”.

However, he said there was “no reason” for students to fear another rise in tuition fees to cover the costs.

‘Backed by universities’

A spokesperson for the USS said investments had outperformed their five-year target by more than £1bn, but the deficit was caused by liabilities growing even more quickly.
“USS pensions are secure, backed by a solid investment portfolio and the strength of sponsoring employers,” the spokesperson said.

The USS said that it was backed by universities which had net assets of more than £50bn.
University lecturers balloted for strikes in 2011 and 2014, when earlier changes were made to pensions.
Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said: “Recent years have not been good ones for members of USS as twice they have seen the value of their pensions reduced and been asked to pay more for the privilege.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40763577

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The Universities Superannuation Scheme is a pension scheme in the United Kingdom with over £50 bn under management. Its members include academic and academic-related staff (including senior administrative staff) in many United Kingdom universities, mainly those that were universities prior to 1992. (Staff in the post-1992 universities are mostly members of the Teachers Pension Scheme.)

It is the largest private sector pension scheme in the UK by fund size.  The headquarters of Universities Superannuation Scheme Limited (USS) are in Liverpool. 

The scheme formerly owned Telford Shopping Centre in Telford, Shropshire, prior to its sale to Hark Group and Apollo Real Estate. Other commercial properties in which it has been involved include the Grand Arcade development in Cambridge and Forestside Shopping Centre, Belfast. The latter was bought from Sainsbury’s for £50 million in 1998 and sold in 2001 for £70 million. They currently own Moto Hospitality.

In 2013, Australian train operator Airtrain Citylink was purchased.

Deficit
The scheme reported a deficit of £17.5 billion in July 2017, the largest such shortfall in the UK at that time. During the previous financial year, its assets had reached £60 billion (a one-fifth increase), but its liabilities were £78 billion (a one-third increase over the previous year).


 

USS invests in Heathrow Airport

March 2014

[Later increased to 10%]

The Universities Superannuation Scheme Limited (“USS”), one of the largest pension schemes in the United Kingdom, representing academic and related staff in the higher education sector, today announced that it will invest £392m in the UK’s largest airport on 24 October 2013. USS has reached an unconditional agreement with Ferrovial to acquire 8.65% of FGP Topco Limited, the holding company which owns Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited.

The transaction was arranged by USS Investment Management Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of USS and its principal investment manager and advisor, which will manage the investment on USS’s behalf. The investment will form part of USS’s infrastructure portfolio and is its largest investment in UK infrastructure to date. As a UK pension fund with a long-term commitment to provide high quality pensions for the higher education sector, USS finds UK infrastructure attractive for its members as it can provide inflation-linked, steady cash flows over a long time horizon, which match USS’s long-term liabilities.

Roger Gray, Chief Executive Officer, USS Investment Management Ltd said: “This is a significant investment for the scheme and its members in a premier UK infrastructure asset. We believe that investment in UK infrastructure is a win-win; promoting economic growth and jobs whilst providing attractive investments for the trustee board in meeting its commitments to members. This transaction represents a long term investment by USS in the future of London and the UK.”

Heathrow Airport is a national asset of key strategic importance. The airport has been redeveloped significantly over the last 10 years to become a leading European airport, and the airport of choice for passengers, businesses and airlines. Terminal 5 has been voted the best terminal in the world over the last two years and Terminal 2 is expected to be opened next year.

Michael Powell, Head of Private Markets, USS Investment Management Ltd said: “While the Civil Aviation Authority’s final Q6 regulatory proposals are very challenging, USS is investing for the long term. We have confidence that the right incentives will be set in place to encourage the investment that Heathrow and the UK needs. Heathrow Airport has a bright future as the UK’s only hub airport and we look forward to the outcome of the Davies Commission.”

https://www.uss.co.uk/news/all-news/2014/03/uss-invests-in-heathrow-airport

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Heathrow ownership now:

Our company, Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited (formerly BAA) owns and runs London Heathrow Airport, Britain’s aviation hub.

Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited is in turn owned by FGP Topco Limited, a consortium owned and led by the infrastructure specialist Ferrovial S.A. (25.00%), Qatar Investment Authority (20.00%), Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) (12.62%), GIC (11.20%), Alinda Capital Partners of the United States (11.18%), China Investment Corporation (10.00%) and Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) (10.00%)

http://www.heathrow.com/company/company-news-and-information/company-information

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USS invests £143m in NATS

March 2014

Universities Superannuation Scheme Limited (“USS”), one of the largest pension schemes in the United Kingdom, representing academics and related support staff in the higher education sector, today announced that it will acquire a 49.9% non-controlling stake in The Airline Group Limited (“Airline Group”).

The Airline Group is a 41.9% shareholder in NATS Holdings Limited, the holding company for NATS which is a world leader in the provision of air traffic management, including ensuring the safety of aircraft flying in UK airspace and over the eastern North Atlantic. Completion of the transaction remains subject to clearance from the European Commission.

The transaction was arranged by USS Investment Management Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of USS and its principal investment manager and advisor, which will manage the investment on USS’s behalf. The investment will be managed by USS Investment Management Ltd’s infrastructure team which substantially reduces the overall cost to USS of investing in infrastructure. As a UK pension fund with a long-term commitment to provide high quality pensions for the higher education sector, USS finds UK infrastructure attractive for its members as it can provide inflation-linked, steady cash flows over a long time horizon, which match USS’s long-term liabilities.

Mike Powell, Head of Private Markets, USS Investment Management Ltd said: “This is another significant investment for the scheme and its members in a high quality infrastructure company. The growth of our infrastructure portfolio by our in house team is a compelling model for the trustee board in meeting its long term commitments to members.”

NATS is the UK’s leading provider of air traffic control services operating since 1962 (originally NATCS). Last year the company handled 2.1 million flights, carrying some 220 million passengers in the UK, which has some of the most complex airspace in the world. This depth of experience, combined with innovation that has driven significant performance improvements over the past decade has led to NATS providing services to 15 UK airports and in more than 30 countries around the world spanning Europe, the Middle East, Asia and America.

Gavin Merchant, Senior Investment Manager, Infrastructure, USS Investment Management Ltd said: “NATS is the global leader in air traffic control and is a strong example of where private and public ownership has worked together to build a national asset of strategic importance. NATS is well positioned to maintain its high level of safety performance and to drive operational improvement through innovation. We look forward to working with the existing shareholders and the management team in delivering these objectives.”

https://www.uss.co.uk/en/news/all-news/2014/03/uss-invests-in-nats

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USS buys stake in air traffic control business NATS

The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) has bought a nearly 50% stake in the Airline Group, marking further growth in its infrastructure portfolio.

The £143m (€170m) deal will see the UK’s second-largest pension fund acquire a 49.9% stake in the Airline Group and, through the stake, also a 41.9% share in NATS Holdings, the holding company for the air traffic control service.

NATS currently oversees UK and eastern North Atlantic airspace and became a public-private partnership in 2001.

In a statement, the company said interest from the £38.6bn USS was “testament to the strength of the business”, while the fund’s head of private markets Mike Powell saw the deal as a further significant investment in high-quality infrastructure.

Powell added: “The growth of our infrastructure portfolio by our in-house team is a compelling model for the trustee board in meeting its long-term commitments to members.”

Gavin Merchant, senior investment manager for infrastructure at USS Investment Management, said NATS was a good example of where private and public ownership had worked well together to “build a national asset of strategic importance”.

“NATS is well positioned to maintain its high level of safety performance and to drive operational improvement through innovation,” Merchant said. “We look forward to working with the existing shareholders and the management team in delivering these objectives.”

USS acquired its nearly 50% stake in Airline Group from travel companies TUITravel and Thomas Cook Group, with airlines Lufthansa and Virgin Atlantic also agreeing to part with the majority of their respective stakes in the firm.

In a statement, TUI added that, following the sale to USS, it would retain only a 1.8% stake in Airline Group and a further 1.8% of loan notes – down from 13.9% – issued by the group.

Two airlines – British Airways and easyJet – as well as the Monarch Airlines Retirement Benefit Plan, will retain their existing shares of the remaining loan notes.

USS has, over the past year, made a number of notable infrastructure investments, acquiring an airport rail link in Australia and recently buying an 8% stake in Heathrow Airport.

https://www.ipe.com/uss-buys-stake-in-air-traffic-control-business-nats/www.ipe.com/uss-buys-stake-in-air-traffic-control-business-nats/10000439.fullarticle#.WX2BV-ha5ho.twitter

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Bristol region bidding to become one of 4 construction partners in Heathrow expansion

Heathrow announced in April that it planned to have four construction hubs to allow components of its 3rd runway expansion project. These logistics hubs would pre-assemble components for the proposed building work before transporting them to the airport. Heathrow claims this will make the project cheaper, and provide some jobs and some economic benefits to other parts of the country.  Now Bristol is hoping to be one of these hubs.  The West of England Combined Authority (Weca) – which includes Bristol, B&NES and South Gloucestershire – has placed a bid to be one of the hubs. The announcement was made by Metro Mayor Tim Bowles at a Weca meeting on 26th July where he revealed he had recently met with CEO of Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye. The earliest that work on the 3rd runway expansion could start would be 2020, and there are many hurdles for the project to get through first. Bristol hopes it has a good chance of being selected, as it is not too far from London and has strong port, rail and road links. The Metro Mayor is keen for the potential partnership to be about more than just physical materials, he would also like the West of England to contribute to the technological development of the airport.  A shortlist of candidates to be hubs is expected to be published later this year.
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Bristol region bidding to become partner in Heathrow Airport expansion

If secured, the hub status could bring hundreds of jobs to the West of England

26.7.2017
BY ESME ASHCROFT

The Bristol region is vying to become a key partner in the expansion of Heathrow Airport – which could bring hundreds of jobs and millions of pounds to the local economy.

The West of England Combined Authority (Weca) – which includes Bristol, B&NES and South Gloucestershire – has placed a bid to become one of four ‘regional logistic hubs’ to help service works at the county’s largest airport.

The announcement was made by Metro Mayor Tim Bowles at a Weca meeting on Wednesday where he revealed he had recently met with CEO of Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye.

Mr Bowles said: “The development of Heathrow will take place over years and years and years and be billions of pounds. We are trying to drive some of that money in to our region so that we can see a benefit from that work that is going on.”

Central government decided to back plans for a third runway at Heathrow last summer and is expected to vote on the proposal by the end of the year. If approved, the airport aims to start the £16 billion project in 2020 to be completed by 2025.

Bristol region bidding to become Heathrow Airport ‘logistics hub’

As part of the expansion airport bosses have said they would look to secure four regional construction hubs which would be responsible for making and building pre-assembled components to be transported to the capital.

The Bristol region is in a strong position to win one of the contracts thanks to its close proximity to London and strong port, rail and road links.

Mr Bowles said: “When I was with [Mr Holland-Kaye] we got talking about his ambitious plans for the development and within that we started talking about the literal infrastructure which it is building and the work that needs to go on and how they are not going to be able to develop Heathrow out by having all of that operation right there.

“Here in the West of England we are doing this type of work already with the port and as a regional hub and with our brilliant infrastructure network – road, rail and so on – we have the ambition to be an area that can start helping with that construction of Heathrow.”

And the Metro Mayor is keen for the potential partnership to be about more than just physical materials, he would also like the West of England to contribute to the technological development of the airport.

He added: “Bear in mind we are not just talking bricks and motor, we keep talking about how we are innovation leaders. Think about how an airport of the future might look. We have got loads of innovation aspects that we can drive through it by making the region a partner in how that development takes place.”

The deadline for areas to apply to be considered as a regional logistics hub for the Heathrow expansion is Monday, July 31.

A shortlist of candidates is expected to be published later this year.

http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/bristol-region-bidding-become-partner-240939

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See earlier:

Heathrow plans 4 regional construction hubs for proposed runway, to give the impression of spreading jobs around UK

Four UK construction hubs are being sought by Heathrow to allow components of its £16bn expansion project to be built away from the airport. The logistics hubs will pre-assemble components for the proposed 3rd runway before transporting them to the airport. Heathrow claims this will make the project cheaper, and provide some jobs to other parts of the country. This form of construction may have been used in the housebuilding sector but had only had a “limited” role in major British infrastructure projects. The areas to have these construction hubs need to have good connectivity (road, rail?), have “a relevant supply chain and strong local skills”.  Areas need to apply by July 31st, with a list of potential sites expected to be announced later this year.  The airport can only start submitting its development consent order if the NPS is voted for in Parliament, and if the government wins the legal challenges. That could not be before spring 2018. Heathrow hopes, perhaps unrealistically, to have its runway built and working by 2025. Heathrow says it has used off-site locations before, with large parts of the structural steelwork for Terminal 2 building constructed in Yorkshire and Lancashire. In October 2016 the Scottish government said: “Heathrow will work with the Scottish Government to investigate Glasgow Prestwick Airport as a potential site for a logistics hub to support the building of the third runway.”  No mention of that now?   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2017/04/heathrow-plans-4-regional-construction-hubs-for-proposed-runway-to-give-the-impression-of-spreading-jobs-around-uk/

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London City Airport campaigners do cake stunt outside CAA offices, as Sadiq Khan backs calls to end concentrated flight paths

On Friday 28th July campaigners against London City Airport’s concentrated flight paths, introduced last year, staged a colourful stunt outside the headquarters of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in Kingsway. The campaigners from HACAN East highlighted the impact the concentrated flight paths are having on local communities. The stunt was timed to coincide with a review the CAA is conducting into the operation of the flight paths.  Campaigners have won the backing of London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, in their bid to get rid of the concentrated flight paths. In written answer to a question from Green London Assembly member Caroline Russell, he said; “It is clear that the concentrated flight paths introduced by London City Airport are not working. We will continue to raise the issue with London City Airport. We also continue to make the case to the CAA that there must be a fairer distribution of flight paths that will address the severe noise impacts.”  Campaigners from a wide range of places affected by the flight path changes each brought along a cake with the name of their area indicated. A cake was also presented to the CAA, along with a letter. Campaigners want the CAA to require London City Airport to replace concentrated flight paths with multiple routes, rotated, so that each community gets some relief from the noise.
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London City Airport campaigners stage colourful stunt outside CAA offices as London Mayor backs their call for an end to concentrated flight paths

28.7.2017 (HACAN East)

On Friday 28th July campaigners against London City Airport’s concentrated flight paths, introduced last year, staged a colourful stunt outside the headquarters of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in Kingsway. The campaigners from HACAN East highlighted the impact the concentrated flight paths are having on local communities. The stunt was timed to coincide with a review the CAA is conducting into the operation of the flight paths.

Campaigners have won the backing of London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, in their bid to get rid of the concentrated flight paths. In written answer to a question from Green London Assembly member Caroline Russell, he said; “It is clear that the concentrated flight paths introduced by London City Airport are not working. We will continue to raise the issue with London City Airport. We also continue to make the case to the CAA that there must be a fairer distribution of flight paths that will address the severe noise impacts” (1).

Campaigners from a wide range of places affected by the flight path changes each brought along a cake with the name of their area indicated. A cake was also presented to the CAA, along with a letter.

Campaigners are calling on the CAA to require London City Airport to get rid of the practice of concentrating all its flights over certain areas. They want these flights replaced with multiple routes, rotated, so that each community gets some relief from the noise. London City has seen a four-fold increase in complaints since the concentrated routes were introduced in February 2016.

HACAN East chair John Stewart, said “We welcome the Mayor’s remarks. Friday’s stunt was a fun action with a serious purpose. We want to get across to the CAA just how much grief has been caused by the concentrated flight paths.  In effect, noise ghettos have been created.”

London City was required to submit a report on the first year of operation of the new flight paths to the Civil Aviation Authority. The CAA is currently studying the report and is expected to come up with its recommendations in September.


Notes 

(1). The text of the question and answer

London City Airport – noise complaints  – Question No: 2017/2794

Caroline Russell

According to London City Airport’s statistics, presented to its Consultative Committee, since City Airport introduced concentrated flight paths, noise complaints from residents have increased four-fold in 2016, compared with the previous year. Will you press London City Airport to review their concentrated flight paths and clarify the steps they are taking to guarantee communities a break from aviation noise?

Written response from the Mayor

It is clear that the concentrated flight paths introduced by London City Airport are not working. Valerie Shawcross, my Deputy Mayor for Transport, met with London City Airport to raise these concerns with the Airport directly and press them on steps they can take. As part of the statutory airspace process, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is scheduled to undertake a review of the changes this year. We will continue to raise the issue with London City Airport. We also continue to make the case to the CAA that there must be a fairer distribution of flightpaths that will address the severe noise impacts.

http://www.hacaneast.org.uk/press-releases/

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See also

Sadiq Khan backs campaigners HACAN East, fighting concentrated flight paths in east London

Residents fighting the concentrated flight paths to and from London City Airport have welcomed the backing of Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. People who have been fighting concentrated flight paths, introduced in February 2016, which have turned their communities into “noise ghettos” with much more traffic over certain areas, badly affecting the homes below. The number of noise complaints rose four-fold since then.  Residents in Leytonstone have been hit particularly hard by the paths, with some saying they are considering selling their houses.  Caroline Russell, Green Party Member of the London Assembly, raised the issue with Sadiq Khan on behalf of residents. Sadiq said: “It is clear that the concentrated flight paths introduced by London City Airport are not working. We will continue to raise the issue with London City Airport. We also continue to make the case to the CAA that there must be a fairer distribution of flight paths that will address the severe noise impacts.” HACAN East will stage a protest outside the CAA headquarters on Friday, July 28th to coincide with a review the authority is conducting into the changed paths.  They will provide cakes, with the names of all the areas affected, and give a suitable cake to the CAA. Protesters want the CAA to make City Airport scrap the new paths and replace them with multiple routes which are rotated to ensure each area gets periods without the noise.

Click here to view full story…

Flood of complaints from people upset by newly concentrated flight paths at London City airport

London City Airport’s decision to concentrate all its flights paths earlier this year, with changes from 4th February, has resulted in a flood of complaints. HACAN East, which speaks for residents under the flight paths, has launched a short report outlining some of the complaints they received in just one month. With hot summer weather and people being outdoors more, or opening their windows more, the problem of aircraft noise is at its worst as people are most aware of it. HACAN East said the newly concentrated flight paths have brought complaints from many areas for the first time. The complaints have come from vast swathes of east and south east London. Hundreds of people have said they did not have flights in the past, but now get them sometimes as often as every 3 minutes. People who moved to the area are now subjected to a level of noise they could not have expected, and they are affected by Heathrow arrivals as well as London City flights. People are especially upset if they moved from a noisy area, hoping they had moved to a quieter one. John Stewart said that HACAN East has met airport representatives who said they “have not closed their mind” to looking again at the concentrated flight paths but will not do so until next year after the Government (DfT) has issued its forthcoming consultation on national airspace policy.

Click here to view full story…

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Heathrow plans to cut building costs of its runway plan, to keep fares low, by not adding new terminal

Heathrow has said it will – allegedly – guarantee to effectively freeze passenger landing fees when [if] a 3rd runway is built, by scrapping plans for a new terminal. The cost for the whole planned expansion is about £17.6 billion, and Heathrow knows it will have trouble raising all this and paying for changes to surface access transport. The government does not want air fares to get any more expensive. So Heathrow now says it will knock “several billion” pounds off the cost of its plan by abandoning facilities such as an additional terminal. The terminal would require a huge subsurface baggage handling system and an underground passenger metro system, which was estimated to cost £1 billion alone. They instead suggest extending Terminals 5 and 2 and phasing the expansion work over as long as 20 years, to control costs. The main airline at Heathrow, IAG, is not prepared to pay higher charges to fund inefficient expansion, that is unnecessarily expensive. The amended expansion plans by Heathrow will be put out for a public consultation later in 2017.  The publication of the final Airports National Policy Statement [the consultation on it ended in May 2017] setting out the Government’s position, and a subsequent House of Commons vote, are expected in the first half of 2018 with the vote not before June. Heathrow hopes to cut costs in every way it can, and get in the necessary funds by attracting many more passengers, even if paying hardly more than they do now – about £22 landing fee – each.
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There is no Heathrow press release on this.  Heathrow press releases


Heathrow to freeze prices despite expansion costs

27.7.2017  (ITV)

Travellers using Heathrow Airport shouldn’t expect to pay more for their flights despite costs of expansion.

Heathrow said it’s confident it can keep landing fees close to existing rates and not affect ticket prices. That’s despite the costs implicated in building a new terminal.The Department for Transport has said it expects the industry to “drive down costs” and aim to keep charges “close to current levels”.

£246m Heathrow’s profit after tax in its half-year results

Willie Walsh, the boss of British Airways’ parent company IAG, has repeatedly warned that expansion must be cheaper than the £17.6 billion budget estimated by the Government-commissioned Airports Commission.

He fears that landing fees could be raised and has insisted airlines “are not going to pay for inefficient expansion”.

Although specific plans will not be released until a consultation is launched later this year, the airport is proposing to delay some of the more expensive aspects of the work.

The publication of the final Airports National Policy Statement [the consultation on it ended in May 2017] setting out the Government’s position and a subsequent House of Commons vote is expected to take place in the first half of 2018.

http://www.itv.com/news/meridian/update/2017-07-27/heathrow-to-freeze-prices-despite-expansion-costs/

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Heathrow scraps new terminal plan to control expansion costs

by Phil Davies  (Travel Weekly)

July 27th 2017

Heathrow scraps new terminal plan to control expansion costs

Heathrow will guarantee to effectively freeze passenger landing fees when a third runway is built by scrapping plans for a new terminal.

The London hub today pledged to knock “several billion” pounds off the cost of its expansion plan by abandoning facilities such as an additional terminal, new baggage handling systems and an underground train.

Heathrow will instead suggest extending Terminals 5 and 2 and phasing the expansion work over as long as 20 years to control costs.

The airport hopes that the plan will cut the £16.8 billion price tag for a third runway while easing concerns that a hike in passenger landing charges will price many carriers out of Heathrow.

The proposals will go out for consultation later this year.

Willie Walsh, the head of British Airways’ parent company International Airlines Group, had predicted that landing charges, which add £21.75 to the price of each ticket, could double under a third runway as the airport’s private backers seek to recoup investments.

However, Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye pledged to keep fees “as close to current charges as possible” when the runway opens, possibly by 2025.

Speaking ahead of the airport publishing its latest financial results today, Holland-Kaye told The Times: “We will be reducing the terminal costs by several billions of pounds. When you think about HS2 and other big national projects the costs tend to go up rather than go down, so if we can bring the costs down it will be remarkable.

“We have been working for some time on bringing the absolute costs down and we are getting to a very good position. Having passengers paying pretty much the same amount as today while getting a world-class airport with better public transport is a remarkable achievement.”

The two-mile runway is set to be built to the northwest of the airport, allowing it to boost annual passenger numbers to 130 million a year.

Heathrow originally suggested building one additional terminal between its northern runway and the new runway. It would require a huge subsurface baggage handling system and an underground passenger metro system, which was estimated to cost £1 billion alone.
Holland-Kaye insisted that this could be replaced by an expansion of Terminal 5.

Over coming years, Heathrow’s other main terminal, Terminal 2, would also be expanded, he said.

Announcing a 36% hike in half year pre-tax profits to £102 million for the period to June 30, Holland-Kaye said: “Heathrow’s strong start to 2017 is a boon for Britain – our passengers are getting better value and service, more British trade is flying high on new trading links and our expansion plans are on track.

“The government set us the challenge to expand Britain’s hub while keeping airport charges close to current levels.

“Working with airlines, we are making good progress to meet this challenge whilst delivering all our local commitments and the global connections our country needs.”

Passenger charges fell by 2.3% in the six months as passenger numbers rose by almost 4% to 37.1 million in the half year. Revenue was up by 4.2% to 1.37 billion.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has insisted that keeping landing charges flat would be a condition of building a third runway. The plan still has to pass a parliamentary vote next year and be approved by planners in the early 2020s.

The airport said: “Continuing to work with airlines, neighbours and wider communities, we are making good progress to meet the secretary of state’s challenge to expand Britain’s hub while keeping charges close to current levels and meeting our local commitments.

“We have identified potential further savings through this work by looking at the location and configuration of the terminals along with different phasing options.

“We will continue refining our plans and release various options at our first planning consultation later this year.”

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, which represents carriers, said: “Heathrow is the most expensive airport in the world and, post-Brexit, the UK will need to compete even more with other hubs. Airlines are clear that the cost of expansion that they and their customers pay for is a key factor.”

Alderslade added: “We need the right solution at the right price, at the right time, in order to meet the needs of customers, and over time the aim should be for charges to come down as the number of movements increase.”

He said that airlines agree with Grayling that expansion at Heathrow must be delivered while keeping charges flat.

“The secretary of state’s statement was an important acknowledgement that extra capacity must not just be waived through under any circumstances, at any cost.”

http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/284482/heathrow-scraps-new-terminal-plan-to-control-expansion-costs

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Heathrow’s tweaked expansion plans could mean airlines avoid huge rise in charges

27.7.2017 (Telegraph)

By  Bradley Gerrard

Airlines look set to avoid huge hikes in charges at an expanded Heathrow on the back of revised plans aimed at cutting the cost of the project.

Heathrow said it had been working with airlines to help it meet the Government’s challenge to complete the expansion scheme while maintaining airport charges close to current levels.
Chief executive John Holland-Kaye said initial plans had proposed the construction of an entirely new terminal – which would have been the sixth at the site – but now it was likely the existing Terminal 5 would be expanded instead.

Some airlines bosses, notably Willie Walsh from British Airways owner IAG, have criticised the proposed costs of the new runway project because the the potential to push air fares up.
“This reduces the cost of the project and improves passenger service and so we can deliver an expanded hub with a better passenger experience at a more affordable price,” Mr Holland-Kaye said.

“Airlines have always been clear they support expansion but not at any cost and we are working with them to bring costs down.”

IAG chief Willie WalshIAG boss Willie Walsh has urged Heathrow not to crank up charges at an expanded siteMr Holland-Kaye said the airport had renegotiated contracts with some of its service supplies, including air traffic service NATS, and cut the cost of its debt by issuing longer-dated bonds with a lower interest rate.

These initiatives helped it cut the charges passengers pay as part of their ticket price. Mr Holland-Kaye said such charges fell 2pc to an average of £21.92.

This month the airport also reached a deal with Transport for London and the Department for Transport to make sure Crossrail serves all Heathrow terminals from 2019, an upgrade on the previous plan to only link the new rail service to Terminal 4 up to four times an hour.
The airport chief also said the deal would see the proposed frequency of trains increased to six an hour and potentially eight, which alongside the existing Heathrow Express would mean a train to the airport every five or six minutes.

The developments come as the airport reported a 4pc rise in revenue to £1.37bn for the six months to June 30 and reversed the comparable period’s £232m loss to make a £311m profit. A key factor in the swing was a £135m gain on currency-related financial derivatives it holds, which lost £295m in the comparable 2016 period.

Passenger numbers also rose 3.9pc to 3.71m, an all-time record high for a half-year period.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/07/27/heathrows-tweaked-expansion-plans-could-mean-airlines-avoid/

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Heathrow Airport say no to new underground station

27.7.2017 (Radio Jackie)

Heathrow Airport has announced they would not support a new underground station on the Piccadilly Line.

The station would be built to cope with extra demand on a new runway if it secures the backing of Parliament next year.

It would have been paid for by Transport for London not the airport- who have refused to pay for more than 1.1 billion pounds of the total surface access costs associated with a new runway.

http://news.radiojackie.com/2017/07/heathrow-airport-say-no-to-new.html

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