The Airports Commission’s consultation on their short-listed runway options contains a lot on the economics. While Gatwick airport has said their runway would cost the taxpayer nothing, and only cost about £7.4 billion, the Commission puts the cost higher. They estimate the work for the 2nd runway, with a 3rd terminal and all associated infrastructure, would cost up to £9.3 billion. The Commission’s higher figure reflects “in large part differing views of optimism bias and differing construction profiles.” Gatwick already has current debt of about. £1.5 billion made up of Class A bonds. It also has £300 million of revolving credit facilities. The Commission estimates Gatwick would need to raise additional equity of up to about. £3.7 billion and additional debt of up to about. £14.3 billion. “This level of finance is not unprecedented for infrastructure projects and airports. It is, however, significantly larger than the company’s financing to date and may be challenging.” Gatwick would also have to substantially raise its landing charges from £9 per passenger to up to £15-18 or up to £23. Like expensive Heathrow. Commission’s Gatwick document.
Below are some extracts from this long document, focusing on the cost and financing.
Gatwick Airport is currently privately owned and operated by Gatwick Airport Limited. It is predominantly financed through the long term bond market, with current debt of c. £1.5 billion made up of Class A bonds. It also has £300 million of revolving credit facilities. It has equity of c. £336 million in ordinary share capital. Its current capital structure is summarised in the Literature Review and Funding and Financing Report.
The construction of a second runway at Gatwick, together with a third terminal and all associated infrastructure, is estimated to cost up to £9.3 billion. This is higher than Gatwick Airport Ltd’s estimate of £7.4 billion, reflecting in large part differing views of optimism bias and differing construction profiles. These costs are, however, significantly lower than those of either of the Heathrow expansion schemes, both in quantum and in terms of cost per additional ATM of capacity.
The Gatwick Airport Second Runway scheme has been designed in such a way that the supporting infrastructure can be constructed in phases in line with increases in passenger demand. This spreads the cost over a longer period and allows for flexibility to manage differing levels of demand. In the Commission’s lower end scenarios, the final phase of construction may not be required to accommodate passenger demand before 2050. This would reduce the cost over this period by just under £2 billion.
Investment of this scale would entail increases in the airport’s charges to airlines. Gatwick Airport Ltd has estimated, for example, that per passenger charges would rise from £9 currently to £12-15 as a result of expansion. This is lower than the charges predicted by the Commission’s analysis, which indicate average charges rising to between £15 and £18, with peak charges of up to £23. As can be seen, the Commission’s estimates show significant potential variation reflecting the variation in passenger demand across its scenarios. In the upper end demand scenarios, charges would be close to Gatwick Airport Ltd’s own estimates, although still slightly higher, reflecting higher costs and a more conservative view of how the infrastructure delivery might be phased. Conversely, the higher end of the Commission’s predicted range of charges reflects lower estimated levels of demand leading to peak charges above £20 (roughly the current level of charges
The Commission’s assessment of potential financing approaches across a range of scenarios and sensitivities suggests that Gatwick Airport Ltd may have to raise additional equity of up to c. £3.7 billion and additional debt of up to c. £14.3 billion. This level of finance is not unprecedented for infrastructure projects and airports. It is, however, significantly larger than the company’s financing to date and may be challenging in a context where there is uncertainty around passenger demand forecasts and where the airport may need to raise its aero charges from £9 per passenger to up to c. £15-18 or more within a competitive environment.
“The RAB [Regulatory Asset Base] based approach under which Gatwick currently operates
provides a level of certainty to credit rating agencies and investors and would to an extent facilitate attraction of lower cost and longer term finance. The Commission’s cost and revenue estimates suggest that GAL [Gatwick Airport Ltd] may have to raise an additional c. £2.4 billion in equity and c. £10.4 billion of debt (under the Commission’s AoN-CC scenario) [which means Assessment of Need Carbon Capped], and potentially up to c. £3.7 billion additional equity and c. £14.3 billion additional debt. Taking into account the level of maturity of its current bonds this will require debt issuances of up to £2 billion in any given
year. This is significantly larger than the company’s bond issuances to date, and may require the airport to issue bonds in a number of currencies rather than just GBP [ £ ] bonds. However, this level of finance is not unprecedented for infrastructure projects and airports. The UK’s largest individual bond issuance for 2013 was £3.5 billion by Vodafone and the funding requirements for Gatwick Airport’s Second Runway are well within this range.”
Airports Commission Consultation
The Airports Commission’s consultation on their 3 short listed runway options has now been launched. It closes on 3rd February.
Heathrow and Gatwick new runway costs ‘underestimated’
Plans to build new runways at Heathrow and Gatwick will cost substantially more than the bidders have estimated, a report says.
The Airports Commission says a second runway at Gatwick would cost £2bn more than the bid suggests.
Two separate plans to expand Heathrow are predicted to cost £3-4bn more.
The commission has been tasked with weighing up where a new runway should be built to meet rising capacity demand in the South East of England.
However, the report does suggest that all three bids have underestimated the costs involved.
It also suggests that landing charges to airlines would need to increase in order to pay for the expansions.
The BBC’s transport correspondent Richard Westcott said higher landing charges could mean higher fares for passengers.
According to the commission’s analysis, Gatwick’s plan to add a second runway is the quietest and easiest to deliver.
But, expanding Heathrow is seen as more likely to deliver a bigger boost to the economy, and create more jobs
………(lots of the usual stuff )…………………….
Analysis: Richard Westcott, transport correspondent, BBC News @BBCWestcott
This report goes into a lot of technical detail about the pros and cons of each runway scheme. But, what it doesn’t do, what it can’t do really is quantify the politics of it all.
Heathrow splits MPs. Cabinet members like Justine Greening, Phillip Hammond and Vince Cable have spoken against expansion in the past. Officially, the Liberal Democrats don’t want any new runways at all, not unless another one is closed elsewhere.
Then, there’s the rumour that the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, was once prepared to resign as energy secretary over plans to expand Heathrow. Although, it’s thought his thinking may have changed recently.
Meanwhile, many business leaders support Heathrow and have told the chancellor as much.
And I haven’t even mentioned Boris Johnson, who’s regularly called Heathrow expansion a disaster… and he could well be one of the airport’s neighbouring MPs after the election.
Whatever Sir Howard Davies recommends, it’s the politicians that will have to deliver it. And, that’s the hard part.
The Airports Commission has released its consultation. There is a “Business Case and Sustainability Assessment” for Gatwick (137 pages), and there are also some 50 long technical documents. GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) will study all these carefully in due course, but at first sight the documents confirm that a new runway would make Gatwick bigger (more passengers) than Heathrow today. That would be an environmental calamity. The consultation paper shows 30,000 people affected by noise from Gatwick, compared to 10,000 today (54 leq). And 560,000 aircraft a year compared to 250,000 at present. This would mean urbanisation of large chunks of Sussex; new flight paths over many towns and villages across the area, loss of tranquillity to AONB areas, gridlock on roads, and a worsening of the north-south divide. The Commission reckons that Gatwick landing charges would need to rise from £9 to £19, or £23 at peak – more than at Heathrow today. Would such a runway be used, especially with others like Stansted, Luton and Birmingham under capacity?
We will study carefully the consultation paper and the mass of important supporting documents. But at first sight –
The paper confirms that a new runway would make Gatwick bigger (more passengers) than Heathrow today. That would be an environmental calamity.
The Commission paper shows 30,000 people affected by noise compared to 10,000 today (54 leq). And 560,000 aircraft a year compared to 250,000 at present
We believe it would mean the urbanisation of large chunks of Sussex; new flight paths over many towns and villages across Surrey, East and West Sussex, and Kent; loss of tranquillity in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty; a record number of historic buildings demolished; gridlock on the M25; and a worsening of the north-south divide.
The Commission estimate of 90,000 new jobs (including new firms) would mean mass inward migration either from the north or from the EU. The Commission estimate 18,400 new houses would be required – we think this estimate is too low.
The Commission raises serious concerns about Gatwick’s ability to raise the funding required to deliver its plans. The benefit for the whole country is estimated at half that for a new runway at Heathrow.
The Commission reckons that landing charges at Gatwick would need to double, from £9 per passenger to £19, or £23 at peak. More than at Heathrow today – one of the most expensive airports in the world.
Would passengers and airlines choose to use Stansted instead where landing charges would remain at £9?
It is absurd to think of building a wholly unnecessary new runway at either Gatwick or Heathrow when Stansted and Birmingham airports are less than half full.
The Airports Commission is expected to publish, this week, its initial appraisal of Heathrow and Gatwick’s runway plans, and their consultation on the three options. The Express reports that: “a source close to the Commission …..expects Gatwick and other opponents of airport expansion in general to launch a judicial review, potentially delaying the project.” The source also said: “We spend a lot of money on lawyers but we are surprised that we have only had one judicial review so far.” Heathrow wants to build a 3rd runway at the cost of £17 billion. Gatwick wants a 2nd runways, costing £7.8 billion. Gatwick says that its project could be built by 2025, and Heathrow that theirs could be by 2030. However, whichever airport the Commission recommends in summer 2015 will face inevitable judicial review – from the rival airport, and many others. Both plans are facing widespread opposition from residents and local politicians. As the Commission has a limited brief, with vital issues such as carbon emissions, noise measurement, taxation of air travel etc decided by others, their recommendations cannot be comprehensive.
Runway plans for Heathrow stalled
HEATHROW’S proposed expansion is set to be delayed, as the Airports Commission believes that a judicial review of its plans to build a third runway is “inevitable”.
By: Geoff Ho (Express)
November 9, 2014
The commission will publish its initial appraisal of Heathrow and Gatwick’s expansion plans this week and it is understood that it favours the West London hub.
Heathrow plans to either build a third runway or extend its north runway and divide it in two, while Gatwick wants to build a second landing strip.
However, a source close to the commission, which is headed by former Financial Services Authority chairman Sir Howard Davies, expects Gatwick and other opponents of airport expansion in general to launch a judicial review, potentially delaying the project.
We spend a lot of money on lawyers but we are surprised that we have only had one judicial review so far
Source close to the commission
“We spend a lot of money on lawyers but we are surprised that we have only had one judicial review so far. It’s inevitable that there will be more,” he said.
Last December, the High Court threw out a judicial review claim against the Airports Commission brought by the Stop Stansted Expansion group.
Last month Heathrow’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye claimed that the airport has had to turn down 30 airlines that wish to start new routes or increase the frequency of existing services due to capacity constraints.
He said the waiting list includes airlines from North America, South America and Asia and that a quarter of British exports go through the hub, which is operating close to its capacity.
Heathrow wants to build a third runway at the cost of £17 billion, while Gatwick wants the Government commission to give the nod to its £7.8 billion scheme to construct a second airstrip.
Gatwick says that its project could be built by 2025, five years ahead of a third runway at Heathrow.
In its submission, Gatwick says that only 14,000 people would be affected by noise, compared with 240,000 for the Heathrow scheme. Both plans are facing widespread opposition from residents and local politicians.
However, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and business figures, such as Sir Richard Branson, believe the expansion plans being considered do not go far enough.
Chicago O’Hare airport has a new 4th runway that opened in October 2013 as well another new 5th runway that is due to open in late 2015. Others are planned. Since the start of 2014 there has been a distinct change in the flight paths, and huge opposition to the change. The number of complaints to the airport have risen sharply, month after month. However (and how often this has been heard from UK airports too) the authorities claim the numbers are false, as some people complain multiple times. This masks the fact that some don’t complain at all, being unsure how to, and being unconvinced that the airport will take any notice whatsoever. There is now a ballot of residents in 7 affected suburbs of Chicago, but all such referendums in Illinois are only “advisory.” The questions being asked are on whether the FAA should create and enforce mandatory “fly-quiet” hours around O’Hare. The restrictions would replace the existing voluntary guidelines that ask airlines and pilots to try to reduce noise impacts after 10 pm. Another asks if aircraft noise should be reduced after 7pm, and people are also asked about more noise insulation being available. Airport had about 66.9 million passengers in 2013. Chicago O’Hare on Wikipedia.
Chicago and suburban voters sent a clear message to federal aviation officials and Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday that a combination of strict controls and remedies including more residential soundproofing is needed to address increasing noise over many communities from jets at O’Hare International Airport.
On an advisory referendum proposal that would require the Federal Aviation Administration to create and enforce mandatory nighttime “fly-quiet” hours around O’Hare, the “yes” votes were 92 percent in Bensenville, 82 percent in Bloomingdale, 90 percent in Itasca, 90 percent in Norridge and 92 percent in Wood Dale, according to final election returns.
In addition, 90 percent of voters in Harwood Heights said an O’Hare “fly-quiet” period is necessary to safeguard the quality of life in that suburb.
O’Hare-related ballot questions were presented to voters roughly a year after the opening of a new runway that changed air traffic patterns and shifted the noise impacts heard on the ground. Most planes now take off and land to the east and to the west.
In Tuesday’s election, 90 percent of Bensenville voters also said action should be taken by the state legislature to reduce airport noise between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. in the suburb bordering O’Hare.
And 92 percent of Bensenville voters said Congress should direct Chicago to implement noise-mitigation measures to alleviate the effects of a new runway that opened in October 2013 as well as the next new runway set to open in late 2015.
Eighty-four percent of voters in Bloomingdale and 94 percent in Wood Dale supported asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enforce a 1972 airport noise control law.
On a proposal to expand the existing FAA noise contour map so more homeowners would be eligible for government-funded soundproofing, the yes vote was 78 percent in Chicago, 95 percent in Harwood Heights and 93 percent in Itasca.
Seventy-nine percent of voters in Bloomingdale and 95 percent in Wood Dale said they support more residential soundproofing to abate the impact of aircraft noise.
In Park Ridge, 85 percent of voters said the FAA should review existing criteria setting noise- and air-pollution standards related to O’Hare flights, and that the federal agency should consider “local community input” from areas affected by new air-traffic patterns.
Complaints about O’Hare jet noise reached an all-time high of 30,249 in August, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.
Chicago officials noted that many of the complaints filed online (forms are at oharenoise.org) or to a hotline (800-435-9569) each month come from “repeat complainers,” perhaps signaling that the majority of residents are not feeling adversely affected by the changes in jet noise patterns.
But many residents have told the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission that they simply haven’t made the effort to file complaints, in part because they believe it wouldn’t do any good.
“I have never called the complaint line because I’m not sure when I should be complaining,” Park Ridge resident Cindy Grau said in an email to the Tribune. “Should I call every time a plane flies over? After every 25 planes? Every 50? When planes fly over before 7 a.m.? After 11 p.m.?
“How about the night I was awakened in the middle of the night by a plane that sounded close enough to shear the roof of our house off?” Grau asked. “Would it matter if I complained? Are my complaints investigated and resolved?”
Regarding noise complaint data that Chicago receives, the city’s aviation commissioner, Rosemarie Andolino, told the City Council last week: “I can’t say that information is going to change the result of anything.”
Meanwhile, on a separate referendum issue, 72 percent of voters in three precincts of Chicago’s 44th Ward said the CTA has not “sufficiently justified” plans for a $320 million rail bypass bridge on the North Side near the Belmont station. The proposed flyover bridge would carry Brown Line trains over Red Line and Purple Line/Evanston Express tracks, to unclog a busy intersection called Clark Junction and expand capacity along the entire Red Line, CTA officials said.
But some residents have complained that the bridge, which would extend as high as 45 feet, would hurt the quality of life in central Lakeview.
Voters get chance to be heard on O’Hare noise problem
Jon Hilkevitch (CHICAGO TRIBUNE)
Advisory referendum proposals are on the ballot in Chicago and seven suburbs asking the electorate to weigh in on possible remedies to ease jet noise from O’Hare International Airport. (Chuck Berman, Chicago Tribune)
Actions to cut O’Hare jet noise are on the ballot Tuesday in Chicago and seven suburbs.
As the number of complaints about jet noise from O’Hare International Airport have set new records nearly every month over the past year, Chicago officials have responded that only a relatively few households are the sources of those gripes.
On Tuesday, voters will have the opportunity to put to the test the city’s contention that the majority of residents are not all that upset about recent changes in flight patterns at O’Hare.
Advisory referendum proposals are on the ballot in seven suburbs and the city of Chicago asking the electorate to weigh in on possible remedies — including mandatory measures that would need action by elected officials — to ease jet noise from planes departing and approaching O’Hare.
In addition, in three precincts in Chicago’s 44th Ward, voters will be asked whether the Chicago Transit Authority has provided adequate justification for its plan to build a controversial rail flyover bridge for Brown Line trains to cross over Red Line and Purple Line/Evanston Express tracks near the Belmont station.
All referendums in Illinois, while representing the opinions of the voting public, are advisory.
The O’Hare-related ballot questions are being presented to voters a little more than a year after the opening of a new runway that changed air-traffic patterns. Most planes now take off and land to the east and to the west. There has been a corresponding shift in jet noise that’s heard on the ground.
The referendum questions include asking voters whether they support:
• Requiring the Federal Aviation Administration to create and enforce mandatory “fly-quiet” hours around O’Hare. The restrictions would replace the existing voluntary guidelines that ask airlines and pilots to try to reduce noise impacts after 10 p.m. Questions are on the ballot in Bensenville, Bloomingdale, Harwood Heights, Itasca, Norridge and Wood Dale.
An additional question in Bensenville proposes state legislation to reduce airport noise starting at 7 p.m. daily.
Also, Bloomingdale and Wood Dale are asking voters whether they support asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enforce a noise control law that covers aircraft noise and has been on the books since 1972.
• Calling on the FAA to expand the existing noise-contour map so more homeowners would be eligible for government-funded soundproofing. Variations on the question are on the ballot in Chicago, Harwood Heights and Itasca.
Resident near O’Hare not happy about aircraft noise
Dawne Morong, of Wood Dale, says airplanes landing at O’Hare International Airport create days and nights filled with loud noises. She files dozens of noise complaints each day. In addition, voters in Bloomingdale and Wood Dale will be asked whether the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission, which was created by the city of Chicago to represent noise-weary communities, should increase residential sound-proofing in the municipalities to remediate aircraft noise.
• Advising Congress to direct Chicago to implement noise-mitigation measures to address the noise changes resulting from the new runway that opened in October 2013 as well as the next new runway set to open in late 2015. The question is on the ballot in Bensenville.
• Requiring the FAA to review existing criteria setting noise- and air-pollution standards related to O’Hare flights; and requiring that the FAA consider “local community input” from areas affected by new air-traffic patterns. The question is on the ballot in Park Ridge.
Complaints about O’Hare jet noise reached an all-time high of 30,249 in August, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. Chicago officials noted that 44 percent of the complaints came from 11 addresses, including in Bensenville, Itasca, Norridge and Wood Dale.
Voting on the O’Hare issues will come four days after Chicago Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino re-stated the Emanuel administration’s opposition to expanding fly-quiet hours, making the fly-quiet program mandatory or supporting use of more O’Hare runways during overnight hours as a way to spread out jet noise effects by reducing the number of flights over specific communities.
“People are experiencing noise, I understand that,” Andolino testified Friday at a city council budget hearing for 2015. “However, there are limited things we can do. I can’t just magically make something happen.”
Andolino, who is expected to leave her post this month after serving as aviation commissioner since 2009, has tried to walk a political tightrope, carrying out the $10 billion O’Hare expansion plan for two mayors while also trying to portray the airport as a good neighbor and a steward of the environment.
On Monday, Andolino will host for the last time the national Airports Going Green conference, which the aviation department began during her tenure.
As Andolino prepares to leave City Hall to take a higher-paying job in the private sector, critics say Mayor Rahm Emanuel risks a fierce public backlash by appearing to care more about the economic benefits of more flights at O’Hare than he does about the quality of life of residents. The criticism is even coming from his allies.
At Friday’s budget hearing, Ald. Margaret Laurino, whose 39th Ward on the Northwest Side is below a heavily used O’Hare flight corridor, said her constituents are frustrated and angry “and I don’t blame them because I feel the same way.”
The city’s hard line is “a mistake,” added U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, a Chicago Democrat running for re-election Tuesday who also said he has had numerous fiery conversations with Emanuel — to no avail — about helping to provide noise relief.
“There are things the administration can do right now to alleviate the problem, if they wanted to,” Quigley, whose congressional district includes the O’Hare area, said in an interview Friday. “The mayor is not without the ability and the access to the administration in Washington to reach an accord.”
Quigley said he hopes Emanuel will soon “understand that he doesn’t have to hurt the economic engine we call O’Hare in order to address the legitimate concerns from the neighbors.”
“Frankly, I don’t think she (Andolino) has made any effort,” he said
Residents in Chicago, fed up with O’Hare airport jet noise, take to the streets to fight it
July 14, 2014
O’Hare airport in Chicago has been upsetting residents to the northwest of the city, by changing flight paths, so some people are being over flown a great deal than before. This is the result of the O’Hare Modernization Project that took effect in October 2013. The changes mean that 85% of O’Hare arrivals and departures between 11 pm and 6am will fly over homes in certain suburbs. Those living under these flight paths face not only the noise, the annoyance, the potential impacts on their health and the loss of sleep, but also a decrease in their property prices. The local community campaign, FAiR (Fair Allocation in Runways) has been touring affected neighbourhoods giving out door hanger signs encouraging people to get active and fight the flight paths, or else “kiss your property values goodbye.” They plan to hand out door hangers to 50,000 homes. They also have “yard signs” (placards to stick in the front garden) for the campaign, selling these to raise campaign funds. Just as in London and near other UK airports, people are devastated by the new noise pollution. One commented that even with noise insulation, it was impossible to avoid the noise in the neighbourhood, even by going shopping, going swimming, going to the park. It cannot be avoided.
Chicago O’Hare airport new runway & flightpaths creating huge opposition by those now over-flown
May 26, 2014
Chicago O’Hare airport currently has many runways but not all can be used simultaneously. The airport has been building more, reducing the lengths of others, to get three parallel runways can be used together. There has been a lot of controversy about the plans over many years, with compulsory purchase of land, from residents who did not want to move. There is now huge protest against the noise. A group representing city and suburban home-owners, the Fair Allocation in Runways Coalition (FAiR), is asking the Chicago Aviation Commissioner to resign or for the Mayor to fire her. FAiR say there is “mounting frustration over the lack of response from the Mayor on possible remedies concerning “the ceaseless airplane noise” since air-traffic patterns were changed last autumn. The Aviation Commissioner has refused to consider altering the use of runways at night to spread out jet noise instead of concentrating it over one or two air corridors. FAiR says she has made up her mind that there will be no change at O’Hare no matter how many citizens demand change, no matter what solutions are proposed and no matter how devastating the impact of her decisions on families, children and seniors, and even entire neighbourhoods.
There is growing anger in areas affected by London City Airport flight paths, because of the inadequate consultation they have launched – it ends on 27th November. On 3rd November, there was a packed meeting in Wanstead, which called on the airport to re-consult. Over 200 people crammed into Wanstead Library and gave London City Airport a very tough time over its failure to consult local people, and even their local councillors, over its plans. The airport wants to concentrate departing flights in a narrow band over Bow, Leyton, Leytonstone, Wanstead, Collier Row and Havering. Planes arriving over South London will also be concentrated. Most councillors knew nothing about the plans until contacted by HACAN East. The plans are on the airport website, but the airport has not put out leaflets or held any public information sessions. Roger Evans, the GLA member for Redbridge and Havering said, “The decent thing to do is to re-run this consultation.” The CAA has been criticised for allowing this poor consultation. People have been encouraged to write to the CAA and the Government calling for a fresh consultation, and sign a petition against concentrated flight paths.
Petition launched to halt increased flights over Collier Row and Hornchurch
3.11.2014 (Romford Record)
A petition has been launched to halt plans for increased air traffic over parts of Havering.
London City Airport wants to have more planes flying over Collier Row and Hornchurch by making flight corridors narrower.
But while the plans are detailed in a document on the airport’s website, critics say there has been a lack of public consultation.
Romford MP Andrew Rosindell said: “Clearly it is going to have a big impact on our area and they shouldn’t do this without all those being affected having their chance to give their views.
“I will be investigating it further and will take this up with the secretary of state for transport.”
The airport launched a consultation last month but Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (HACAN), which represents residents living under flight paths, said bosses had failed to organise meetings over the plans.
The action group has now organised its own meeting to address the issue at Wanstead Library, in Spratt Hall Road, on Monday, starting at 7.30pm.
HACAN’s east division chairman John Stewart said: “The airport is concentrating all its flights over particular areas and, to run salt into the wound, is not telling residents what is in store for them.
“It is being disingenuous when it argues that the routes are not changed significantly. They most certainly are for the people who will get all the planes.”
The airport was given permission in 2009 to increase the number of flights, which is still being implemented.
Under the proposals, there could be up to 45 flights per hour – one flight every 80 seconds – at peak times over Collier Row and Hornchurch.
An airport spokeswoman said it was fulfilling its obligation to consult over the transition. She said existing paths were being replicated to meet regulations coming into force in 2019.
“In real terms, this means that aircraft will follow the same paths that they do today, but more accurately,” she said.
Packed public meeting calls on London City to reconsult over flight path changes
4.11.2014 (HACAN East)
Packed meeting calls on London City to reconsult over flight path changes
A packed meeting last night called on London City Airport to reconsult on its controversial flight path changes. Over 200 people crammed into Wanstead Library gave London City Airport a very tough time over its failure to consult local people and their local councillors over its plans to concentrate flight paths in a narrow corridor.
Roger Evans, the Greater London Assembly member for Redbridge and Havering said, “The decent thing to do is to re-run this consultation.”
HACAN East Chair John Stewart echoed his words, “As far as common sense in concerned, this is not a consultation.”
London City Airport is planning to concentrate departing in a narrow band over Bow, Leyton, Leytonstone, Wansrtead, Collier Row and Havering. Planes arriving over South London will also be concentrated. Lambeth Councillor Jennifer Braithwaite who attended the meeting said that she and fellow councillors knew nothing about the plan until contacted by HACAN East.
London City have put their plans on their website and told their consultative committee but refused to hold their own public meetings or leaflet the areas most affected. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) also came in for a lot of criticism for allowing such a consultation to go ahead.
People at the meeting were urged to respond to the consultation which closes on 27th November. But the meeting also resolved to write to the CAA and the Government calling for a fresh consultation. People were also encouraged to sign the petition urging the airport not to concentrate the flights (1).
One local resident got a sustained round of applause when she said “I’m not a nimby, equity would be a fair share of this burden.”
Send email objecting to City Airport’s flight path consultation
4.11.2014 (HACAN East)
At last night’s public meeting in Wanstead London City came under fire for the poor quality of its consultation. So did the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) which is overseeing the consultation (see press release on the meeting as the next post).
We are looking for a fresh consultation.
Here is a letter you can email to the airport and the the Civil Aviation Authority who have overseen the consultation – this one email address takes it to both organisations:email@example.com. Feel free to adapt it as you wish and to encourage others to also email in.
I strongly object to the way you intend to concentrate the flight paths in and out of London City Airport over particular areas. It is creating noise ghettos and is deeply unfair.
I also object to the fact that you are refusing to tell directly the communities that will be affected what is in store for them. You are holding no public meeting and are doing no leafleting. Most people don’t even know what is on your website.
London City Airport is planning to concentrate its flight paths over certain areas. But it has not told anybody. The areas particularly in the line of fire are Bow, Leytonstone, Wanstead, Colliers Row, Dagenham, Hornchurch, Catford, Dulwich, Brixton, Stockwell and Vauxhall. It is deeply inequitable.
There was serious concern, in September, about a proposed new incinerator in Stanwell – which was planned if Heathrow got its new north-west runway. The existing Colnbrook incinerator would have to be moved, if there was a new runway – as it would be right in its path. People in Stanwell were very concerned about it planned location in the Bedfont Road area, in Stanwell. Heathrow now says it is altering its plans, and moving the incinerator very slightly further north due to the concerns raised by residents. A Labour county councillor said: “It’s a big expansion in a very cramped area. It’s like moving pieces around a chess board – whatever we don’t like around Stanwell will be just as massive somewhere else.” There is considerable opposition to any Heathrow expansion, which would be highly negative for most areas nearby. Heathrow’s press release implies that “some of the £16 billion of private money being invested will also be used to support the Environment Agency in developing flood prevention schemes” and it has “plans to fund a new bypass to replace the existing A3044 at Colnbrook and Poyle to ease congestion issues.” [Note “will” not “might”!]
Changes to the plans include introducing a 15 mile ‘green corridor’ which will increase the amount of recreational space between the town and a new car park south to the airport – which has also been reduced in size.
A new park and an all-weather sports pitch is being mooted for the area, as well as the potential building of ‘balancing ponds’ to help control the release of floodwater.
Roberto Tambini, chief executive of Spelthorne Borough Council, said: “We are delighted that Heathrow has listened to and acted upon our feedback in creating its updated expansion plans and that the residents of Spelthorne have been offered an improved deal as a result.
“I am sure that we can work together and that Heathrow will continue to listen to Spelthorne residents and demonstrate a flexible approach to future proposals.”
Some of the £16 billion of private money being invested will also be used to support the Environment Agency in developing flood prevention schemes to protect homes and property in the surrounding areas.
The airport has also announced plans to fund a new bypass to replace the existing A3044 at Colnbrook and Poyle to ease congestion issues.
John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow said: “The expansion of Heathrow can bring significant benefits for local people as well as the UK economy.
“As well as bringing 50,000 new jobs and 10,000 apprenticeships, we can also improve the environmental landscape around the airport and mitigate some of today’s problems including road congestion and flooding. We continue to improve our plans based on the feedback we receive.”
The Airports Commission is currently assessing the case for expansion of either Heathrow or Gatwick.
Heathrow Airport’s consultation process is still on-going and those wishing to comment should contact the airport by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Building a new bypass in Colnbrook and creating parkland four times the size of London’s Hyde Park are among the features of revised plans to expand Heathrow Airport.The raft of new features was announced today by the airport after it consulted with nearby residents about its plans to add a third runway.
Under the new changes Colnbrook and Poyle would see the creation of a new bypass to replace the existing A3044, which would re-route traffic around the villages in a bid to ease congestion.
Heathrow says: An investment of £16 billion of private money would also be used to address flooding concerns, with the airport pledging to support the Environment Agency in developing better flood alleviation schemes and providing investment for flood defence schemes. [Presumably only if Heathrow gets its runway, and can get the funding for those additional benefits, from its investors – all wanting a good financial return].
The option to add a third runway at Heathrow has already been submitted to the Airports Commission with a decision expected to be announced next year.
It could either see a new 3,500m runway added at the north-west of the airport or extend the existing northern runway to at least 6,000m.
Existing plans to surround the airport with a ‘green ring’ of landscaped recreational parkland would also be extended to the south of the airport, providing a 15-mile corridor of publicly accessible green space for residents.
Chief Executive of Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye, said: “As well as bringing 50,000 new jobs for local people and 10,000 apprenticeships, we can also improve the environmental landscape around the airport and mitigate some of today’s problems including local road congestion [sic] * and the impacts of flooding. We are listening and continue to improve our plans based on the feedback we receive.”
Contact email@example.com to offer your feedback on the plans.
* That is a bit impertinent, coming from an airport that wants to add 30% more passengers, with the accompanying increase in road traffic that would bring …
A local resident comments:
The incinerator (Energy from Waste plant) is shown close to the M25/M4 interchange and due west of what remains of Harmondsworth. The previous air quality modelling showed Harmondsworth receptors suffering the highest increases in NO2 levels from the extra runway operations (perhaps around 6ug/m3 increase in the annual average compared with a base case). Will moving the incinerator closer to them make that worse ?
Concerns raised at Stanwell meeting on Heathrow expansion plans for incinerator, flood pit and car park
September 17, 2014
Proposals for a new flood pit, car park and incinerator in Stanwell as part of Heathrow’s expansion plans were lambasted by over 60 residents at a public meeting on 15th September. The meeting focused on issues surrounding a car park dominating the biodiversity area north of the village hall and west of Oaks Road, an incinerator in the Bedfont Road area and a flood pit in Stanwell Moor. The feeling was that residents are not against progress, not against air travel, but they do not want unsuitable developments in the borough. Spelthorne already has one of the highest rates of deaths attributable to air pollution in the South East. Residents fear the effects of the polluted water from Heathrow being stored in the flood pit, especially after the problems with flooding this spring. Jonathan Deegan, chief planner at Heathrow, said: “All this has to go somewhere.” A resident asked 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 terminal. 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.” So any promises could be broken again then?
Heathrow 3rd runway would mean demolishing Colnbrook incinerator and relocating it – maybe to Stanwell?
July 4, 2014
The Heathrow airport plan for a 3rd runway to the north-west of the airport, demolishing most of Harmondsworth and making Sipson impossible to live in, also demolishes the current incinerator at Colnbrook, run by Grundon. In Heathrow’s expansion plans they propose that a new incinerator should be built just south of the airport, in Stanwell -between Long Lane and Stanwell Farm. This is, at best, controversial. Residents are concerned about the prospect of an incinerator so close to their homes and with the spectre of the eco-park in Shepperton also looming, questions of just how much Spelthorne can take are being asked. The hope it, by advocates of locating a new incinerator there, that the prevailaing wind from the west would blow any pollution away from Stanwell, and towards the east or north east. Incinerators are unpopular in most areas, as people fear not only dioxins in air pollution, but also the associated heavy traffic from lorries. People in Spelthorne are not convinced they want to host two large incinerators.
Gatwick has produced yet another study, hoping to enhance its runway chances. It looks at the amount of noise that a 3rd Heathrow runway would – undeniably – bring. Gatwick hopes to show that far more people would be affected by a Heathrow runway than by a Gatwick runway, which is true if just the number of homes over-flown is considered. The study somewhat backfires on Gatwick, as it shows clearly just how much noise and environmental damage is done by an airport with two runways (which is what Gatwick is lobbying for). Having found, from their own consultation locally there is very little support for a new runway, Gatwick has taken to getting surveys done of Londoners, who (surprise, surprise) would prefer not to have yet more noise misery from Heathrow. Gatwick appears to completely ignore the very real issue that aircraft noise, in rural or semi-rural areas with low ambient noise, needs to be considered differently. There are separate noise standards for rural places, with noise being regarded as intrusive about 10dB lower. This is predictably just a very self-serving study, ignoring any inconvenient facts for Gatwick.
Gatwick Airport’s PR says: “Londoners say environment is key to airport expansion debate, as new report highlights Heathrow’s noise impact”
3 November 2014 (Gatwick Airport press release)
New poll shows environmental impact as important as economic benefits of a new runway
Londoners continue to choose Gatwick over Heathrow for expansion
Research shows 487 schools would be affected by Heathrow expansion – more than 10 times number affected by two runway Gatwick
As the Airports Commission prepares to launch its public consultation on airport expansion, [maybe starting next week ?? … it has been delayed…] a new YouGov poll [carried out in September] has revealed that a majority of Londoners say the impact on the local environment is as important as the economic benefits a new runway would bring.
More than half of Londoners (55%) polled said that aircraft noise and fumes are among the most important factors to consider when choosing which airport to expand, equivalent to the number (56%) who said economic benefits were important.
The results highlight the careful balance between economic benefit and environmental impact that any decision over airport expansion must strike.
An expanded Gatwick would generate £90 billion of economic benefit at an environmental cost that can be afforded, because:
Gatwick has never breached UK or EU air quality guidelines because it is located in a largely rural, sparsely populated area, and also has one of the cleanest aircraft fleets in Europe. This means Gatwick would still operate within legal air quality limits with a second runway
The number of people most impacted by noise at Gatwick with a second runway would be just 5 per cent (37,000) of the people affected at Heathrow today (725,000) – an airport that impacts more people than all major European airports combined [Gatwick figure is 42,800 in Gatwick’s own document – page 31/39 Table 8 – and 48,000 if around 5,000 new homes being built in Crawley are included].
The results come as Gatwick publishes a new report on the noise impacts a third runway at Heathrow would have on schools, hospitals and places of worship across London and the South East. Gatwick commissioned the report to assess the noise impact of Heathrow’s third runway plans compared to Gatwick’s own proposal for a second runway.
The report outlines that:
By 2040, a total of 819 schools, hospitals and places of worship would be adversely affected by noiseif Heathrow were to expand – nearly double the 421 affected today
Noise from Heathrow already affects 261 schools – a Heathrow third runway would nearly double the number affected to 487 schools by 2040
Gatwick’s separate analysis submitted to the Airports Commission has already concluded that if a second runway were built at Gatwick, noise would affect 33 schools in the local area by 2040 –ten times fewer than Heathrow’s expansion plans
Stewart Wingate, Gatwick CEO, said:
“Our expansion plans strike the right balance between delivering the extra airport capacity the UK needs, while taking the right steps to protect the environment.
“We have always recognised that expansion should not come at an unacceptable cost to the environment. We have an industry-leading environmental record and, unlike Heathrow, have met air quality standards for more than a decade.
“We would still operate within these standards with a second runway and we would also pay £1,000 annually to residents most affected by noise, something Heathrow cannot begin to do because so many people live under its flight path.
“An expanded Gatwick would deliver more competition, more flights and lower fares at an environmental cost the UK can afford.”
The YouGov poll also shows that nearly half of Londoners (46%) continue to think Gatwick should be expanded when given a straight choice between airports, compared to 37% who selected Heathrow.
More than half of Londoners (53%) also said that disruption to the M25 was an important issue to them – the motorway would be tunnelled under if Heathrow built a new runway.
Similarly, more than half (52%) said that congestion charging airport was an important issue.
If it built a new runway, it is predicted that Heathrow could only begin to meet air quality standards if there was no more airport-related road traffic than there is today. This is why Heathrow has been forced into proposing a pollution-limiting congestion charge which could see people paying £40 just to drop friends and family off at the airport.
Notes to Editors
The research was commissioned by Gatwick and carried out by YouGov – full results are available on YouGov’s website.
Total sample size was 1,007 adults across the 32 boroughs of Greater London. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17th and 21st October. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of London adults (aged 18+).
Unfortunately Gatwick do not appear to have yet issued the Appendices which outline what flight route assumptions they have used – but reading the text of the report indicates that they have not bothered with the multiple options (reducing total noise, reducing noise affecting those newly overflown and maximising respite) that the Heathrow report tempts us with and it seems doubtful that they have attempted to model the curved landing approaches etc.
Different noise perception in areas affected by Heathrow, and those affected by Gatwick – due to quiet, rural or semi-rural locations
Whereas in an urban area, with constant low level noise from vehicles and other human activity, the background noise may be at 50 decibels or more, routinely. Compared to a country area, with only natural wildlife sounds, the background level there might be only, say, 30 decibels. Therefore when there is aircraft noise overhead, it is perceived as far more noisy and intrusive, when the difference from the background noise is greater.
In a noisy city, with cars and trucks, emergency vehicles, air conditioning units, music, car radios etc, a plane flying overhead adding to the noise may hardly be noticed.
It is very different in a small village, or in a semi-rural area – where every plane is more noticeable. Therefore, it has long been acknowledged that the sound level at which disturbance or annoyance is caused is different between rural and urban locations, and the level of disturbance has to be assessed differently.
If noise levels that are 10 decibels are considered, taking account of the more rural surroundings of Gatwick, in order to do a fair comparison with the noise at Heathrow, the figures given by Gatwick are dramatically underestimated.
Birmingham Airport says it will have a daily service to JFK New York, by American Airlines, from next spring. It hopes to have nearly 100,000 seats on the route, per year. There is already a route from Birmingham to Newark, by United Airlines. The route is likely to be used by more people on leisure trips, than business, though some American tourists may come to places like Stratford and further afield. But the airport CEO Paul Kehoe said: “Last year, the West Midlands exported £4.5 billion worth of goods to North America and has the largest trade surplus with North America of any UK region… etc etc.” This is seen as the first test of the business model of the runway extension. The route will be operated by a Boeing 757 aircraft with 22 Business Class seats and 160 Main Cabin seats. Whether or not this new service actually needs the new runway extension, or could have managed on the old runway, is a moot point. 757s can use Luton’s runway (2160 metres), and Birmingham’s was 2,650 metres before the recent 400 metre extension, to now be 3,050 metres long. So justifying the extension?
American Airlines to launch direct flights to New York from Birmingham
Nov 3, 2014
By Tamlyn Jones (Birmingham Post)
The daily service will commence next spring and is expected to provide nearly 100,00 seats on the route
American Airlines to launch direct flights to New York from Birmingham
New direct daily flights between Birmingham Airport and New York will run from next spring.
American Airlines will commence the flights on May 8 to John F. Kennedy Airport with the route expected to provide nearly 100,000 seats a year.
It will complement the existing route between Birmingham and Newark operated by United Airlines.
Through the American Airlines and British Airways joint business and oneworld airline alliance, they will offer a British Airways code share, allowing customers to earn and redeem BA air miles and Avios points.
Birmingham Airport chief executive Paul Kehoe said: “This new route will not only create more capacity to this vibrant US business and tourist destination, it will also broaden connectivity and choice from the Midlands with American Airlines across North America and Canada and see the return of a British Airways flight code to Birmingham.
“Last year, the West Midlands exported £4.5 billion worth of goods to North America and has the largest trade surplus with North America of any UK region, and with global brands such as JLR, JCB, Cadbury and Kraft trading both locally and in the US, this is an important link for Midlands’ business.
“The region is also a major tourist destination for Americans, with attractions such as Stratford, Warwick and Birmingham drawing in thousands of visitors every year so we look forward to welcoming many of these tourists into Birmingham next summer and thank the team at American Airlines for recognising the region’s vast market opportunities.”
The American Airlines flight will operate daily, arriving from JFK into Birmingham at 7.10am and depart for the return leg at 10am.
Suzanne Boda, American Airline’s senior vice-president for Asia, Canada and Europe, said: “Adding Birmingham to American’s growing global network is an exciting development.
“Tourists from the US will have closer access to a wide range of attractions in the Midlands while business travellers will also be rewarded with greater choice when flying across the Atlantic.
“Departing passengers from Birmingham will have direct flight to New York, one of the world’s most renowned business and leisure destinations, while connecting passengers will have excellent access to key business and leisure markets up and down the East Coast.
“We look forward to starting this new route in 2015 and I’m confident of its success.”
Birmingham Airport takes a bite out of the Big Apple as American Airlines announces JFK route
3rd November 2014 (The Business Desk)
by Duncan Tift, Deputy Editor, West Midlands
DIRECT flights between Birmingham Airport and New York’s JFK Airport will begin next May, the airport has announced.
It has secured a deal with American Airlines which will see the US company start daily routes to and from the Big Apple, beginning on Friday May 8.
The route, expected to provide nearly 100,000 seats between and Birmingham Airport and JFK, will also see the return to Birmingham of a British Airways code share as the service will be operated through the American Airlines and British Airways joint business, oneworld airline alliance.
The route has the added advantage of allowing customers to earn and redeem BA air miles and Avios points.
Paul Kehoe, Birmingham Airport’s chief executive, said: “This new route will not only create more capacity to this vibrant US business and tourist destination, it will also broaden connectivity and choice from the Midlands with American Airlines across North America and Canada and see the return of a British Airways flight code to Birmingham.
“Last year, the West Midlands exported £4.5bn worth of goods to North America and has the largest trade surplus with North America of any UK region, and with global brands such as JLR, JCB, Cadbury and Kraft trading both locally and in the US, this is an important link for Midlands’ business.
“The region is also a major tourist destination for Americans, with attractions such as Stratford, Warwick and Birmingham drawing in thousands of visitors every year so we look forward to welcoming many of these tourists into Birmingham next summer and thank the team at American Airlines for recognising the region’s vast market opportunities.”
The American Airlines flight will operate daily, arriving from JFK into Birmingham at 0710 local UK time. It will depart for its return leg at 1000, arriving into New York JFK at 1255 local US time.
“Adding Birmingham to American’s growing global network is an exciting development,” said Suzanne Boda, American’s senior vice president – Asia, Canada & Europe. “Tourists from the US will have closer access to a wide range of attractions in the Midlands while business travellers will also be rewarded with greater choice when flying across the Atlantic.
“Departing passengers from Birmingham will have direct flight to New York, one of the world’s most renowned business and leisure destinations while connecting passengers will have excellent access to key business and leisure markets up and down the East Coast. We look forward to starting this new route in 2015 and I’m confident of its success.”
The new flights, which are now on sale, will be operated by a Boeing 757 aircraft with 22 Business Class seats and 160 Main Cabin seats.
It is the second airline to offer the route to customers using Birmingham Airport.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines announced last year that it would be offering direct flights to JFK from Birmingham as part of its New York to Dhaka service.
The twice-weekly service, using Boeing 777s, was due to have started earlier this year but the introduction has been delayed.
Wandsworth Borough Council recently voted unanimously in favour of backing a 2nd Gatwick runway, and opposing a runway at Heathrow. In this blatant nimbyism, the Council has shown no regard for the well-being of the people living near Gatwick – in attempting to pass on the noise (and other) misery that a new runway would bring anywhere. An open letter from the people of Gatwick to the people of Wandsworth – not mincing its words – sets out why the Council decision is irresponsible. Wandsworth will soon be holding a public meeting, to be addressed by Gatwick senior management – who will be pushing their runway plans. But the Gatwick staff have not bothered to find time to speak to local Gatwick residents, refusing to attend half a dozen meetings recently. The letter says: “Wandsworth, NIMBY capital of Europe. Nowhere else in Europe do the citizens vote unanimously to bring misery to their neighbours. “Not in My Backyard” should be inscribed as your Borough motto.” And it concludes: “But, sorry, we forgot: your council has no concern for the next generation. So long as you don’t get any more aircraft over Putney the next generation can get stuffed.”
An open letter to the people of Wandsworth from the people of Gatwick
Thank you. Thank you for sending us the noisy aircraft which keep you awake at night. Thank you for sending us the planes that fill the sky during the day. So kind!
You are lucky. Gatwick can’t find time to speak to local residents – refused to attend half a dozen meetings recently.
You apparently don’t care about us. You don’t worry about the 50,000 people around Gatwick who will be affected by aircraft noise from a new runway. Bugger them you say, so long as we don’t get the planes. So kind!
You don’t care about the Sussex countryside to be destroyed by the huge number of new houses for the Gatwick expansion. Never seen a green field? We will show you one sometime!
You don’t care about the damage to the Gatwick Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You don’t care about the historic villages whose character will be ruined and whose houses devalued by new Gatwick flight paths. So long as you don’t get more aircraft over Battersea Park, you couldn’t care less.
You don’t care that eighteen listed buildings would be demolished by a new Gatwick runway. So long as no more planes come over Putney, to hell with the heritage!
Welcome to Wandsworth, NIMBY capital of Europe. Nowhere else in Europe do the citizens vote unanimously to bring misery to their neighbours. Not in My Backyard should be inscribed as your Borough motto.
If you want to save your souls, try expressing support for the RSPB, WWF, Friends of the Earth, HACAN and the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign who all campaign for no new runway. Not at Heathrow. Not at Gatwick.
Why? Because the number of passengers per plane is increasing. And because if we
wish to take climate change seriously a new runway is just plane irresponsible.
But, sorry, we forgot: your council has no concern for the next generation. So long as you don’t get any more aircraft over Putney the next generation can get stuffed.
City Diary: Putney house prices the ‘business case’ for Gatwick growth
Wandsworth Council has been accused of being the “nimby capital of Europe”, after it voted against a new runway at nearby Heathrow.
By Harriet Dennys, City Diary Editor
Some high-flying mischief-making as the two-horse race between Gatwick and Heathrow to build Britain’s next runway enters the final furlong.
Conservation campaigners tell Diary that Wandsworth Council in west London is “the Nimby [not in my backyard] capital of Europe”, after it recently voted to block expansion at nearby Heathrow in a unanimous show of hands.
“You don’t care about the damage to the historic villages whose character will be ruined by the new Gatwick flight paths,” says the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign pressure group. “So long as you don’t get any more aircraft over Putney, the next generation can get stuffed.”
Over to Wandsworth Council, which defends its “cross-party” decision to support expansion at Gatwick because it will “generate valuable new jobs and growth for south London”, and “trigger long-term investment in our region’s rail network”. “One of our main rail stations, Clapham Junction, goes direct to Gatwick,” says a source.
Next Thursday, Gatwick’s finance chief, Nick Dunn, will present his business case for a second runway to Wandsworth locals at a public meeting organised by Putney MP Justine Greening, the former transport secretary. It seems he will be preaching to the converted.
City Spy: Gatwick bosses’ ‘snub’ upsets expansion foes
Local opponents claim Gatwick bosses are turning a deaf ear to their interests
31 October 2014 (Evening Standard)
Gatwick Airport’s campaign for a new, second runway — instead of Heathrow getting a third — is going down badly with local opponents of the West Sussex airport’s expansion.
They claim Gatwick bosses are turning a deaf ear to their interests while spending a small fortune on schmoozing the great and the good in the capital.
Opponents say the airport’s representatives have been notable by their absence at a series of local community meetings whereas the MPs of such nearby constituencies as Reigate and Mole Valley — Crispin Blunt and Sir Paul Beresford — have attended.
Yet Gatwick was happy to sponsor political blogger Guido Fawkes’ 10th birthday party last week at the Institute of Directors in London, when the venue was bathed in Gatwick-branded turquoise lighting.
Big cheeses from London have also been asked to a fancy Christmas drinks at the Victoria & Albert Museum on December 1, but local councillors from the Gatwick area do not appear to have got their invitations.
And in what could be an awkward snag, Gatwick’s bash clashes with Heathrow’s festive drinks party. Whoops!
A Gatwick spokesman said: “We regularly engage with the local community, and have met with over 30 local groups and representatives over the past three months alone.
Invitations for our December event have been sent to more than 50 local representatives including MPs and councillors from local county, district and parish councils.”
Classic council nimbyism: Wandsworth Council backs Gatwick expansion – anything to avoid more Heathrow noise misery
October 22, 2014
Wandsworth Council has been a vociferous opponent of expansion at Heathrow, because its residents are badly affected by Heathrow aircraft noise. But now a motion has been voted on – unanimously – by the full Wandsworth Council, backing a new runway at Gatwick. This is a stunning example of Council nimbyism, and irresponsible self interest. Gatwick has spent a lot of money in lobbying west London councils, and this has paid off in Wandsworth. The Council rightly praises itself on its battle against Heathrow, expansion which “would deliver a devastating blow to hundreds of thousands of Londoners whose lives would be blighted by noise and pollution.” They appear not to appreciate that they are advocating inflicting the same misery on other people, in Sussex, Surrey and Kent. Wandsworth even hopes Gatwick expansion will benefit them financially. Their view is based on the opinions of their unfortunate residents, who suffer significantly from Heathrow, but Wandsworth also unquestioningly backs the myth of airport expansion in the south east being “badly needed.” You can email them your views: firstname.lastname@example.org
The UK Government has said the Virgin Galactic crash will not hinder efforts to establish Europe’s first commercial spaceport in the UK, with a likely base in Scotland. SpaceShipTwo broke apart shortly after being released at altitude on 31st October, providing another setback for Richard Branson’s plans. The problem appears to be in the form of rocket used, with nitrous oxide fuel – about which there had been many previous safety warning. One pilot was killed and the other badly injured. Ailing Prestwick airport seems desperate to cling to any available straw, so hence the hope of economic resurgence by becoming a spaceport. Prestwick was shortlisted in July 2014 among 8 potential sites – 6 in Scotland – to locate a launchpad for sub-orbital tourist flights. The plan is ultimately, if anyone wants to risk their lives, for “holidaymakers” to cross the Atlantic from Scotland to New York in around 45 minutes. The latest setback raises more questions about the viability of commercial spaceflight. And that ignores its desirablilty … as about the highest carbon, unnecessary, activity humans could indulge in.
Prestwick still set on role as UK spaceport despite Virgin Galactic flight catastrophe
2.11.2014 (Herald Scotland)
Virgin Galactic crash will not hinder efforts to establish Europe’s first commercial spaceport in the UK, with a likely base in Scotland, a Government spokesman has said, as Sir Richard Branson vowed to continue his space tourism enterprise.
SpaceShipTwo broke apart shortly after being released at altitude on Friday, providing another setback for Richard Branson’s efforts to provide commercially viable space travel
SpaceShipTwo broke apart shortly after being released at altitude on Friday, providing another setback for Richard Branson’s efforts to provide commercially viable space travel
The pilot killed in the crash was last night named as 39-year-old Michael Alsbury. The second pilot, who was seriously injured, has not yet been named.
The fatal test flight explosion over the Mojave desert in California came as a report on the future of Prestwick Airport pinned hopes of economic resurgence for the ailing base on a successful bid as the UK’s first spaceport.
The UK Government has already entered talks with the US Government to pave the way for future commercial transatlantic spaceflights and is determined to establish Europe’s first spaceport in the UK by 2018. Prestwick was shortlisted among eight potential sites – six of them in Scotland – to locate a launchpad for sub-orbital tourist flights. In a report published by the Scottish Government on Friday, the possibility of securing spaceport status was described as a “catalyst for transformational change”. It has been estimated that if scientists could master the technology for commercial spaceflight, holidaymakers could cross the Atlantic from Scotland to New York in around 45 minutes – the time it currently takes to commute by train from Glasgow to Edinburgh.
The failure of Virgin Galactic’s test flight on Friday has been seen as a major blow to Branson’s space tourism project, coming on the back of successive delays to its inaugural passenger flight, which was originally due for take-off in 2007.
The incident has also raised questions about the viability of commercial spaceflight.
However, the Department for Transport said the Virgin Galactic tragedy would not derail its plans for a UK spaceport. “Our thoughts are with the families affected by this,” said a spokesman for the DfT. “But it has not affected our overall plans. This is a sector we wish to encourage. These are very early days, as we all know. But it will be part of future travel at some point.”
The shortlisted spaceport sites are in the process of compiling and submitting bids, with the winner expected to be announced at some point next year.
Besides Prestwick, Campbeltown Airport, Kinloss Barracks, RAF Leuchars, RAF Lossiemouth and Stornoway Airport are in the running, alongside Newquay Cornwall Airport in England and Llanbedr Airport in Wales.
Speaking of the spaceport bid, Glasgow Prestwick chief executive Iain Cochrane said: “We satisfy – and in some cases exceed – all the essential criteria such as infrastructure, weather and airspace, and securing spaceport status would be the catalyst for transformational change at the airport – from boosting revenue from space-related flight testing, establishing an attractive modernised hi-tech image and bringing in visitors and tourists. It will also bring significant economic benefits to both Ayrshire and Scotland. Our team is therefore firmly focused on winning the bid.”
The Scottish Government bought the loss-making airport for £1 in 2013 and has vowed to return it to profitability, but has faced the challenge of Ryanair – its only passenger airline – cutting flights.
Meanwhile, Branson said he would persevere with his space tourism venture despite the “devastating loss” on Friday. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket was said yesterday to have “suffered a serious anomaly” minutes after it was released by the WhiteKnightTwo jet, which carried it to altitude. It was the first time the rocket had been flown using a new fuel formulation.
Branson said: “We’ve always known that the road to space is extremely difficult. Space is hard – but worth it. We will persevere and move forward together.”
Former Nasa astronaut Leroy Chiao said: “This is a serious setback. I want to stress in this case this was a development programme of a new spacecraft and in the history of developing high-performance aircraft and spacecraft, the risks are higher than operational vehicles so mishaps like this do occur.
“As for the impact on commercial space, we will get through this.”
Virgin Galactic has been the frontrunner in the race to send paying customers into space and Branson said last month that he hoped to travel with his son on the first flight next spring.
Seats have been sold for over £150,000, with physicist Stephen Hawking, singer Justin Bieber, and Hollywood stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie among the ticket-holders.
8 sites shortlisted for UK’s first commercial spaceport – Newquay, Llanbedr + 6 in Scotland
July 17, 2014
At the Farnborough Air Show, plans to build a dedicated launch facility were unveiled. The UK government has expressed its enthusiasm for this unlikely project. Of the sites revealed by he CAA, one site is in England, at Newquay. One site is in Wales at Llanbedr airport in Snowdonia national park. The other six are in Scotland: Campbeltown airport; Prestwick airport; Kinloss barracks; RAF Lossiemouth; RAF Leuchars and Stornoway airport on the Isle of Lewis. Publication of the shortlist has led to a scramble among the sites to win government backing. The Scottish government in keen on the idea, for the kudos of being seen to be a space nation. Operators now enter three months of consultation before the decision is made.The airports considered have to have long runways and have airspace that can be easily segregated to allow spaceplane flights to operate alongside normal aviation. Sites have to be remote from population, on the coast to minimise the risks from “down-range abnormal occurrences” – meaning spaceplanes crashing or bits falling off. Space travel is the highest carbon activity known to man; worse even than Formula One racing or using private jets.
…And it happened again to VirginGalactic‘s SpaceShipTwo. In the past decade, the space industry has tried to go from risky and government-run to routine private enterprise – so routine that if you have lots of money you can buy a ticket…