US Department of Transportation (DOT) denies Norwegian Air UK foreign carrier exemption

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has dismissed an application by the UK subsidiary – Norwegian Air UK (NUK) – of Norwegian Air Shuttle to operate flights to the United States on “procedural grounds.”  NUK applied for an exemption and permit to operate flights to the US from Gatwick in December, and the DOT refusal means a set back for Norwegian flying to the US. The DOT cited overlapping issues with Norwegian’s Ireland subsidiary—Norwegian Air International (NAI) —which also sought an exemption to begin operating to the US. The DOT dismissed the NAI exemption in September 2014, but indicated in April that it was inclined to approve it. Opponents of Norwegian being allowed permits to operate flights in the US say the airline seeks to evade both Norwegian and international labour laws and pay pilots less by establishing “flag of convenience” subsidiary airlines. This is seen as a threat to jobs and pay in US airlines. The US Transportation Trades Department, a coalition of unions representing airline staff, say Norwegian’s business model is ‘novel and complex’. They say Norwegian should not be allowed to create shell subsidiaries designed to undermine labour standards etc. Gatwick airport needs Norwegian to be able to fly extensively to the US, to claim it has important long haul (leisure) routes.



U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Denies Norwegian Air UK Foreign Carrier Exemption

by Bill Carey  (AIN)
July 1, 2016

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has dismissed an application by the UK subsidiary of Norwegian Air Shuttle to operate flights to the United States on “procedural grounds.” While airline industry unions praised the decision, Norwegian Air said the DOT continues to review the subsidiary’s foreign air-carrier permit.

In an order released on June 30, the DOT cited overlapping issues with Norwegian’s Ireland subsidiary—Norwegian Air International (NAI)—which also sought an exemption to begin operating to the U.S. while the DOTconsiders its permit application. The DOT dismissed that exemption in September 2014, but the department indicated in April that it was inclined to approve the foreign air-carrier permit.

The British subsidiary—Norwegian Air UK (NUK)—applied for an exemption and permit to operate flights to theU.S. from London’s Gatwick Airport in December. The DOT’s latest action was to dismiss the exemption, which would have expedited NUK’s proposed service.

“As we have previously stated, the Department typically reserves its exemption powers in awarding foreign air carrier authority to situations where the circumstances of a case are sufficiently clear-cut to permit acting, at least for a limited term, without the additional procedural protections of show-cause procedures and (regulatory) review,” the DOT stated in the order. “The parties opposing the Norwegian UK application have raised a number of significant issues, in many instances directly overlapping the types of issues before us in the still pending proceeding involving the permit application of Norwegian Air International Limited. The Department has already characterized those issues as novel and complex in the NAI context, and it reaches the same conclusion as to the present proceeding.”

Opponents allege that Norwegian Air Shuttle seeks to evade both Norwegian and international labor laws and pay pilots less by establishing “flag of convenience” subsidiary airlines. The Air Line Pilots Association described the DOT’s latest finding as “a significant milestone in the drive to ensure fair competition for U.S. airlines in the global marketplace. NUK is a UK airline, and its employment structure for its pilots and flight attendants is unclear, as are as its potential effects on U.S. jobs and the international airline industry.”

The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), a coalition of unions representing pilots, air traffic controllers, flight attendants and other transportation workers, also welcomed the “sound decision” by the DOT. “Now that Norwegian Air’s exemption application has been dismissed, the company’s business model—described by DOT as ‘novel and complex’—will face the careful scrutiny it deserves,” said Edward Wytkind, TTDpresident. “Norwegian Air should not be permitted to create shell subsidiaries designed to undermine labor standards and take advantage of lax employment and tax laws.”

In its own statement reacting to the DOT finding, Norwegian Air said the permit application by NUK remains pending, and that it is confident the subsidiary “will receive its permanent authority” to operate to the U.S.

“Norwegian UK should be entitled to a foreign carrier permit under the terms of the Open Skies Agreement,” the group stated. Norwegian’s U.S. flights currently operate under the Norwegian Air Shuttle air operator certificate, which allows the airline to operate between the U.S. and Europe. With U.S. approval for Norwegian UK, the airline will be able to more effectively utilize its long-haul fleet and establish a seamless operation, including the use of the same aircraft on both U.S. and other long-haul routes… which currently all other European airlines can.”


DOT deals setback to Norwegian Air, but broader battle remains

July 1, 2016 (USA Today)

WASHINGTON – A Norwegian airline’s attempts to have subsidiaries fly low-cost routes to the U.S. is in the news again this week.

The Transportation Department on Thursday rejected an application from Norwegian Air United Kingdom to serve the U.S. But the dispute isn’t over yet, as the department noted in saying that the application rejected on procedural grounds had many overlapping issues with a broader, earlier application from Norwegian Air International.

The complicated case involves Norwegian Air Shuttle, the third-biggest discount carrier in Europe, and various subsidiaries that the parent company has organized in countries such as Ireland, the United Kingdom and Singapore. For now, the airline’s long-haul subsidiary serves several U.S. cities.

But the airline applied in December 2013 for permission to serve the U.S. with another subsidiary, Ireland-headquartered Norwegian Air International.

This set off a firestorm of opposition from rival airlines and their unions. The critics argue that the corporate arrangement would allow Norwegian to hire Asian crews at below-market rates, in a “flag-of-convenience” model that allows cruise ships to skirt labor and safety laws.

But the parent airline strongly rejects the criticism. The airline hired hundreds of U.S. workers for its existing routes, and insists Asian crews are used on Asian routes. The Federal Aviation Administration trusts Irish officials to ensure that its airlines fly safely and maintain their planes.

The Transportation Department hasn’t decided what to do on that big fight. But as that dispute has lingered, the subsidiary Norwegian Air United Kingdom asked in December 2015 for permission to fly to the U.S.

Officials from the United Kingdom and London’s Gatwick airport strongly supported the application, saying Norwegian employs 800 workers in that country. U.S. airports such as Orlando and Oakland, which are scheduled to receive new Norwegian routes this year, also supported the application.

“Norwegian UK is a recognized British airline, with a large UK base and the support of the British government,” said Anders Lindström, an airline spokesman. “Given Norwegian UK’s clear and legitimate right to a foreign-carrier permit, we therefore remain confident we will receive final approval.”

But Jenny Rosenberg, acting assistant secretary of transportation for aviation and international affairs, rejected the application on procedural grounds by saying “novel and complex” issues of the case overlapped with the pending application of Norwegian Air International.

“In these circumstances, the department does not find that grant of a temporary exemption to Norwegian UK is appropriate or in the public interest,” she wrote in the three-page decision.

U.S. pilots and flight attendants welcomed the rejection, but agreed that the bigger decision involves Norwegian Air International.

Capt. Tim Canoll, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, a union with 53,000 members, said U.S. airlines “will struggle to compete if the U.S. government does not stop foreign airlines that attempt to use unfair business practices to gain a marketplace advantage.”

“Aviation workers deserve strong job protections in foreign trade agreements,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which has 50,000 members.








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Biggest destruction of British heritage since the Blitz if Gatwick expands – new report

Campaigners against Gatwick expansion have highlighted the extent of the devastation that a 2nd Gatwick runway would cause to important buildings of great British heritage value, as well as demand to local history and environment. Unveiling a new report, the groups say Gatwick’s own submission to the Airports Commission detailed 17 listed buildings which would be destroyed. These include some of Britain’s finest examples of medieval architecture. The launch of the report was held at Rowley, a former residence of Henry VIII’s fifth wife, Catherine Howard, which is among those “requiring removal”, according to airport plans. The new runway would require the irreversible loss of the last remnant of the ancient village of Lowfield Heath, which was recorded in the Domesday Book in 1068. The groups behind the new report are CPRE (Sussex, Surrey and Kent branches), the Woodland Trust, the GACC and CAGNE.  Duncan Leslie, from Hever, and Sir Charles Burrell from the Knepp Estate spoke about the impact of plane noise on their historic sites.  Bendon Sewill commented: “Gatwick seek to wallpaper over the sheer level of destruction it would cause to our British heritage.  This is a major stand against Gatwick on one of the historical sites that its proposal would destroy.  It would be far more damaging than HS2.”



Biggest destruction of British heritage since the Blitz if Gatwick expands

Gatwick heritage launch 1.7.2016

1.7.2016 (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

The report is The Gatwick threat to heritage

Short video (4 mins 50)

Campaigners against Gatwick expansion have united to hold a rally today at the ancestral farm of one of Henry VIII’s wives to highlight the devastation Gatwick expansion would wreak on British heritage in the southeast. At today’s rally, the campaign groups unveiled a new document outlining the irreversible impact Gatwick expansion will have on British heritage, local history and the environment.

Gatwick’s own submission to the Airports Commission detailed 17 listed buildings all heading for the chop* – some of Britain’s finest examples of medieval architecture – and the last remnant of the ancient village of Lowfield Heath which was recorded in the Domesday Book in 1068.  [ Reference * in Gatwick’s own submission    See page 53 onwards.]


Brendon Sewill, Chairman of GACC, said:

“Gatwick seek to wallpaper over the sheer level of destruction it would cause to our British heritage.  This is a major stand against Gatwick on one of the historical sites that its proposal would destroy.  It would be far more damaging than HS2.”

The planned development will result in the mass destruction of heritage sites, triple the amount which will be destroyed by the new HS2 rail link between London and the North.

 Henry Smith MP for Crawley said:

“Gatwick Airport is an important economic contributor but we must also have respect for our local environment and heritage.

“I believe we can see a successful airport in harmony with the importance of maintaining countryside strategic gaps for the wider community good.

“For both economic and area environmental reasons I am convinced that Gatwick should not see runway expansion.”

15 hectares of ancient woodland which have stood undisturbed continuously since at least 1600 will also get the axe as new car parks and terminal buildings fill almost the entire space between the current airport and the town of Crawley. These complex ecosystems have taken hundreds, if not thousands, of years to establish and form a critical part of local history and biodiversity.

Brenda Smith, West Sussex County councillor for the area, said: 

“Not only does the Gatwick runway involve demolishing 17 ancient buildings but the boundary of the airport would come to within a hundred yards of Crawley, a town with 110,000 inhabitants.  All the problems of noise and health which apply at Heathrow would be equally bad at Crawley.  Our infrastructure is already almost at a standstill; we have the highest level of asthma in children.  A second runway would be intolerable.”

In the midst of a housing crisis which is crippling communities across the UK, Gatwick are proposing to double their airport putting impossible demands on the local housing stock. West Sussex County Council’s consultants estimate that an additional 40,000 new houses will be needed to house the workers needed to fill the posts at an expanded Gatwick, representing the biggest risk to local countryside.

At full capacity, an expanded Gatwick would operate almost twice as many flights. They’ve committed to using both runways all day every day seven days a week, offering no respite for local communities and threatening areas of outstanding natural beauty such as the South Downs National Park.

Sally Pavey, Chair of CAGNE and Trustee of CPRE Sussex said:

“The Conservative Party leadership candidates need to make it clear: they won’t betray the Home Counties, destroy our livelihoods and be responsible for the biggest destruction of British heritage since the Blitz.

Expansion at Gatwick won’t just be a temporary disruption, it would see the irreversible destruction of Britain’s heritage and the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of people in Kent, Surrey and Sussex. The candidates have a duty to stand up to Gatwick and protect the lifestyle and culture for our future generations of years to come.” 

 Beccy Speight, Woodland Trust Chief Executive, said:

“What must be recognised is that ‘environmental impact’ should not only be used, as has consistently been the case as part of the expansion debate, as a term to refer to noise and vibration in relation to people and their homes, with damage to the natural environment seemingly just a secondary complication. Any risk of loss or damage to the natural environment, and especially to irreplaceable habitats like ancient woodland or ancient trees, must be taken just as seriously, and every possible avenue investigated to avoid it if we are to adapt to threats such as climate change, and so that communities can exercise their right to a healthy lifestyle…….remembering that this is not just about the footprint of a new runway, but all the surrounding development likely to be required that will add more strain on the UK’s natural environment in the long term.”

Keith Taylor, MEP for the South East,was unable to attend the event at Rowley due to emergency debates in the European Parliament, but commented :  “The case for airport expansion is built on sand.  It is, and always has been, a myth that the UK faces an airport capacity crisis; we already fly more than any other country.  Despite this, the airport and the pro-expansion lobby are spending millions of pounds trying to convince people otherwise.  All but one UK airport is under-capacity and demand is likely to fall, rather than rise, following Britain’s decision to leave the EU.

We cannot hope to meet vital climate change targets while building major new runways – the two policies are wholly incompatible.  Gatwick expansion not only threatens the South East with more noise, more traffic, and more pollution but also directly threatens the unprecedented demolition of our heritage and countryside.”

The campaign groups are CPRE Surrey, CPRE Sussex, CPRE Kent, the Woodland Trust, the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, and Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions.


The report is at 

Sally Pavey 07831 632537/



Second Gatwick runway ‘threat to heritage’, campaigners warn

1.7.2016 (BBC)

The Sussex branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) warned 17 historic buildings – including several Grade II-listed ones – were threatened.

A former residence of Henry VIII’s fifth wife is among those “requiring removal”, according to airport plans.

Gatwick said many buildings would be retained or relocated.

‘Irreversible destruction’

A decision on additional runway capacity has been put back until “at least October” while the Conservative leadership race takes place.

Sally Pavey, of CPRE Sussex, said expansion “would see irreversible destruction of Britain’s heritage and quality of life for hundreds of thousands of people in Kent, Surrey and Sussex”.

She called on the Tory leadership candidates to rule out expansion and “not betray the Home Counties” if they are chosen.

“The candidates have a duty to stand up to Gatwick and protect the lifestyle and culture for our future generations,” she said.

Rowley HouseImage copyright GACC.  Rowley House near Gatwick Airport was once the home of Henry VIII’s fifth wife


Several conservation and campaign groups are to meet with a local MP at Grade II-listed Rowley House – one of the buildings identified in runway design documentsfor “complete removal” or demolition – to oppose the plans.

The 16th Century farmhouse was once owned by the Culpeper family, a member of whom was Joyce Culpeper. Her daughter Catherine Howard – Henry VIII’s fifth wife – was beheaded in 1542.

Henry Smith, MP for Crawley, said he was “convinced Gatwick should not see runway expansion” for both economic and environmental reasons.

The Woodland Trust has also backed the campaign, having previously warned“irreplaceable habitat” would be destroyed.

Grade II-listed buildings which “require removal”

  • Rowley Farmhouse, Brighton Road, Crawley
  • Charlwood House (formerly Ticcaradges), Charlwood Road, Lowfield Heath
  • Gatwick Manor Inn (Hyders Hall), London Road, Crawley
  • Church of St Michael and All Angels, Church Road, Crawley

Gatwick Airport said many of the buildings identified in its plans were timber-framed, making them “viable to move and relist” at new locations.

A spokesman said: “If we build a new runway everything possible will be done to retain listed buildings within the scheme, or use experienced experts to relocate them to suitable new sites nearby.

“We have a good track record when it comes to managing our local environment. Gatwick has been referred to as the airport in the countryside and we will ensure that it stays that way.”

The airport has committed to retaining a Grade II-listed 1930s terminal building and control tower previously earmarked for relocation.

Known as “The Beehive”, the circular building will remain in its original location.

The airport said the building was “important not only in the history of British aviation but also in terms of world airport design”.

Latest Gatwick expansion imageImage copyright  GATWICK AIRPORT. Gatwick released new images of what an expanded airport would look like



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Government announces runway decision is postponed, till at least October, and left to next Prime Minister

The government has announced that the decision on whether to build a new south east runway will be left to Cameron’s successor as Prime Minister. It is believed that this means Heathrow will not be getting a 3rd runway, any time in the foreseeable future. Downing Street sources say David Cameron sees no point in making a runway decision that would almost certainly be overturned by a successor. Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, said in the Commons:  “Being realistic, given recent events, I cannot now foresee that there will be an announcement until at least October.” He and George Osborne wanted David Cameron to take the decision in favour of Heathrow before leaving office. Boris had been expected to stand as a candidate to be Prime Minister, but has not done so. The most likely next PM may be Theresa May, whose position on Heathrow is described as “nuanced.”  The Times understands that civil servants in the DfT recommended a Heathrow runway, having believed the (flimsy and guarded) promises by Heathrow on noise and NO2. Gatwick may feel it has a slightly better chance, but with Brexit the demand for air travel may be lower in coming years.  There will be several years of negotiation to establish arrangements for  UK airlines with the EU, and Gatwick deals mainly with cheap European holiday flights. Replies  were made in the Commons to MPs’ questions, by Patrick McLoughlin.



Heathrow loses out as decision on runway is left to next leader

The Times


Extracts below:


David Cameron will announce today that the decision on airport capacity will be left to his successor in a move that effectively spells the end of plans to build a third runway at Heathrow.


Mr Johnson, the former London mayor and Uxbridge MP, has long been a diehard opponent of Heathrow expansion. Mrs May, the MP for Maidenhead, has expressed concerns over noise and has previously been portrayed as an opponent of expansion. However, her position is believed to be more nuanced.


Civil servants in the Department for Transport are believed to have recommended in favour of a £17.6 billion northwest runway at Heathrow after being won over by the airport’s promises in May to curb noise and pollution. Speaking at a conference this week, John Holland-Kaye, the Heathrow chief executive, said: “Now more than ever, Britain needs to underpin its globally recognised economic strength by delivering privately funded infrastructure projects like a third runway, to protect growth and underpin investor confidence.

“Constraints at Heathrow risk us falling behind our European counterparts and if Heathrow falls behind,Britain falls behind.”

Stewart Wingate, chief executive of Gatwick, said: “It is now clearer than ever that only Gatwick can deliver the new runway Britain needs.”

Full Times article at

30 June 2016
  • 8. What plans he has to expand airport capacity. [905576]

  • 10. When he plans to make a decision on the construction of an additional runway in south-east England. [905578]

  • I had hoped that we would be able to announce a decision on airport capacity this summer. Clearly, any announcement on airport capacity would have to be made when the House was in session. Being realistic, given recent events, I cannot now foresee that there will be an announcement until at least October. We aim to publish the further analysis on air quality soon. Separately, promoters have announced undertakings that would increase the compensation available for residents living near the airports and the connectivity between other UK airports. The Government are fully committed to delivering the important infrastructure projects that they have set out, including the delivery of runway capacity on the timetable set out by the Davies report.

  • It is another boring day at Westminster, and I was rather hoping that the Secretary of State might inject some excitement into it for me. Nobody can accuse him of rushing this decision. Post-Brexit, with a number of countries banging on the door of the UK to do trade deals, does he agree that increasing airport capacity at London City, London Heathrow and London Gatwick will be vital to British businesses throughout the UK?

  • I would have liked to be in the position of asking the House to make a decision, and endorsing a decision. We are not going to be in that position, and we have to be realistic. My hon. Friend may regard it as a boring day in the House of Commons, but it is certainly not a boring day in Westminster.

  • The Secretary of State will know that I am going to make the case for Birmingham airport. Is there still time, whenever the report comes out, for Birmingham airport to make the case for the 250,000 jobs that could flow from a second runway there?

  • Looking at the hon. Lady’s question, I did not realise that she was going to mention Birmingham, because her question specifically talks about south-east England. To the best of my knowledge, Birmingham has not moved since I knew it as a boy, 20 miles away from where I lived. Birmingham airport is a fantastic airport, which serves an important role as far as Birmingham and the midlands are concerned, and it has just had a runway extension.

  • We are greatly reassured by the Secretary of State’s geographical knowledge.

  • Does my right hon. Friend accept that even if he had been able to make an announcement on this subject today, the earliest that extra runway capacity could be provided would be 2023, and at worst probably 2030? Does that not point up the need to improve connectivity to Stansted, which is the only airport in the London area with the capacity to deal with the strain of extra demand?

  • That is one of those questions that one cannot really disagree with, and my right hon. Friend has a habit of asking such questions in Transport questions. Although I agree with the point he makes, the delivery of what he is asking for is somewhat more difficult than he suggests.

  • Yet more dithering on the decision whether to expand hub capacity at Heathrow will harm the regions of this country and the United Kingdom. What recommendation will the Secretary of State make to the next Prime Minister?

  • Well, one step at a time. If the hon. Lady does not mind my saying so, she is assuming a number of events, which I am not going to do. In all seriousness, I would say to the hon. Lady, who is Chair of the Transport Committee, that this is a very important and big decision for the United Kingdom and it is not an easy one. The simple fact is that whichever option we choose will impact on people’s lives. It is therefore right to make sure we do all the preparatory work on air quality and the other issues. However, I very much hope that a decision can be made later this year.

  • It is inconceivable that either the Home Secretary or the former Mayor of London would at this time put their constituency interests ahead of the national interest. I know that had the Secretary of State sought an assurance from the former Mayor of London that he would support this decision if the Government went ahead with it, he would have received it. Did he seek such an assurance, and if not, why not? This is not in the national interest, and it is not in the interests of people around Gatwick who will have to live with further uncertainty.

  • I am very sorry that my hon. Friend is disappointed by my announcement this morning. As I have said, however, given the parliamentary timetable and when the House will rise, I do not see how it would be possible to come to the House for a statement with a recommendation and possibly a vote before the summer recess.

  • I thank the Secretary of State for his earlier comments, but his answer is exacerbating the profound uncertainty about the future of essential transport projects, including HS2 and a new runway at Heathrow. Hundreds of thousands of jobs and apprenticeships are in the balance. Does he not understand that delaying these plans will add to the wider economic shock that was triggered last week, and that public and private investment in our transport networks must be delivered?

  • We are now back on familiar ground and I do not need to repeat what I said earlier. The simple fact is that I am very proud of the investment that this Government are putting into infrastructure. Infrastructure investment is 50% higher than it was during the last Parliament, and it is much larger than the amount put in by the previous Labour Government, so this Government are very committed to infrastructure investment. The hon. Lady talks about airport capacity, but there were airport capacity issues during the 13 years her party was in government, when it did nothing.

  • With the political and economic uncertainty following last week’s referendum vote, infrastructure projects have become more, not less, important for the future of this country. That is particularly true of our airports, which will have renewed importance in ensuring that the UK is a global, outward-looking trading nation. The comments made by the Prime Minister and, indeed, by the Secretary of State today have cast doubt on that. Does the Secretary of State not accept that kicking this decision into the long grass yet again is simply utterly unacceptable?

  • We are accused of kicking something into the long grass, but I have said that I hope to see a decision by the end of the year, and Opposition Members have not yet expounded which option they actually support.

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Joint statement by the Nantes anti-airport movement at Notre-Dame-des-Landes

Common position of the anti-airport movement following the results of the consultation

Here is the joint statement of the anti-airport movement on Sunday night following the results of the consultation.

“As was shown the various components of the movement, the setting, the process and the content of this consultation were fundamentally biased . This was based on a series of government lies and was radically unfair. There was no question for us that this is just one step in the long struggle for a future without an airport at Notre Dame des Landes. This struggle continues tonight. We know that the attacks of the government and pro-airport side will be strengthened. On our side, we will not cease to live, grow and protect this farmland. It will continue to be defended with great energy because it carries the ineradicable hopes today against the destruction of the living and the commodification of the world. We call on all supporters and committees throughout France and beyond to mobilize and be vigilant in the weeks and months ahead. There will not be an airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes.

We call in this sense, and in the first instance, for a massive convergence at Notre Dame des Landes for a summer anti-airport gathering, on 9th and 10th July.”

The original French: 

Position commune du mouvement anti-aéroport suite aux résultats de la consultation

Publié dans Communiqués de presse  (ACIPA)

Voici la déclaration commune du mouvement anti-aéroport lue à la Vache Rit ce dimanche soir suite aux résultats de la consultation.

« Comme l’avait démontré les différentes composantes du mouvement, le cadre, le processus et le contenu de cette consultation étaient fondamentalement biaisés. Celle-ci était basée sur une série de mensonges d’État et radicalement inéquitable. Il ne s’agissait pour nous que d’une étape dans la longue lutte pour un avenir sans aéroport à Notre Dame des Landes.

Cette lutte se poursuit dès ce soir. Nous savons que les attaques du gouvernement et des pro-aéroport vont se renforcer. De notre coté, nous n’allons pas cesser pour autant d’habiter, cultiver et protéger ce bocage. Il continuera à être défendu avec la plus grande énergie parce qu’il est porteur d’espoirs aujourd’hui indéracinables face à la destruction du vivant et à la marchandisation du monde. Nous appelons tous les soutiens et comités partout en France et au-delà à se mobiliser et à redoubler de vigilance dans les semaines et mois à venir. Il n’y aura pas d’aéroport à Notre-Dame-des-Landes.

Nous appelons en ce sens, et dans un premier temps, à converger massivement à Notre Dame des Landes pour le rassemblement estival anti-aéroport, les 9 et 10 juillet.»

Our determination remains intact after a cleverly-oriented consultation!

Press Release – Notre-Dame-des-Landes, (ACIPA)

June 27, 2016

[Imperfect translation into English below].

The ACIPA, despite his reservations, chose to campaign for the NO vote alongside other organizations opponents of Coordination. It was naturally unthinkable to leave the field open to project leaders and not to take advantage of this media window to denounce constantly their lies and continue to bring to the attention of as many as possible fair arguments in this long and complicated case.

What would the vote have been without the voice of the two camps?

We noted already that only 27.84% of registered voters said YES and 22.65% said NO or a 5-point gap …

As soon as we learned of the launch of this consultation, we denounced the boundary, that was shamefully reduced to one department only, while they have sold us for decades the idea this is a “Great Western” airport and the state and the regions of Brittany and Pays de la Loire, largely contribute to the financing and should bear the economic and ecological consequences of the project.

We denounce now the method of its implementation.

Public funding was used in the campaign (display campaign funded by the Region, for example, the blue color is not by chance). The CCI  bore the cost of the mailings, enterprises, posters, stickers. The President of the Loire Atlantic Mayors Association has abused its mandate to campaign …

We denounce the partiality of the public information document prepared by the CNDP (Commission National of Public Debate). A precise analysis of this document made by the Citizen Workshop, pointed out defects. To the question on the adoption of the document unanimously by the Committee, Mr. Leyrit, its president, has also entrenched behind supposedly secret deliberations. One can easily deduce that this unanimity was not achieved.

We would of course have liked the outcome of the polls, despite all these handicaps, to have been favourable to us, however, we do not feel bitter, instead.

A quick analysis of results by geographic segment is instructive.

In Nantes, the tidal wave in favour of YES that proAGO were called for, did not take place: it failed by 100 votes for Nantes switched to the No camp. The center of the city did not praise the transfer of Nantes-Atlantique. The lies of the holders of the project have not been taken on board by Nantes citizens.

On the territory of the Community Commons and Erdre Gesvres, the one where should implement the project, it is clear that the scurrilous campaign chairman for Region the “zadistes” need to “release” was not approved because the NO wins in 8 towns out of 12. The silent majority living near the project is opposed to it and knows the reality of the people who live in Notre-Dame-des-Landes.

In the South Loire also has NO contrasting scores. Bouguenais does not want much as you would have us believe the departure of the airport since the result is extremely tight on this county.  And what about Rezé, Saint-Sébastien-sur-Loire, Le Pellerin, Saint-Jean-de-Boiseau or La Montagne who refuse the transfer.

The Northern Department by contrast, a forgotten sector and probably deluded by false promises of jobs has blindly followed notables favouring “transfer”.   We must therefore strengthen our information activities in this area in the future.

Finally, we will return to the outstanding campaign which was conducted by the Coordination. We thank all the volunteers for their tireless energy and all the groups that have allowed this tremendous mobilization and thank the voters for their confidence in the action of the ACIPA daily.

The domestic support (and even international) continue to stand with us by sending messages of support. We have said from the beginning, this “consultation” was only a step.

The No side emerges strengthened from this new test, the opposition believes. Support committees are at work and are ready to come to the site.

The next steps are the summer gathering of opponents of Coordination on 9 and 10 July in Montjean (Notre-Dame-des-Landes), monitoring of the process call on water law remedies and protected species, pending the response from France to the issues brought by the European Commission within the framework of environmental litigation, studied in SCoT Nantes-Saint-Nazaire in a few weeks.

We will also be vigilant that suites the record begun by the experts of the Ministry of the Environment in February did not go unheeded.

The ACIPA continue the fight, including legal on the merits of the case and continuing to give information to the citizens, to respect the planet and future generations in the spirit carried by the COP 21.

The ACIPA continue to oppose the evictions of the inhabitants of the area defined in the DUP and requires that that President of the Republic honours his local commitments “no work or expulsion, as legal avenues are all exhausted.”

There will be no airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes.

The original French below:

Notre détermination reste intacte après une consultation savamment orientée !


L’ACIPA, malgré ses réserves, avait choisi de faire campagne pour le NON aux côtés des autres organisations de la Coordination des opposants. Il était naturellement impensable de laisser le champ libre aux porteurs du projet et de ne pas profiter de cette fenêtre médiatique pour dénoncer sans cesse leurs mensonges et continuer à porter à la connaissance du plus grand nombre les justes raisons de son long combat sur un dossier si complexe.

Qu’aurait-on entendu si l’écart des voix avait été bien supérieur par absence d’un des deux camps ?

Notons déjà que seuls 27,84% des électeurs inscrits ont dit OUI et que 22,65% ont dit NON, soit 5 points d’écart…

Dès que nous avons eu connaissance du lancement de cette consultation, nous avons dénoncé le périmètre honteusement réduit à un seul département alors qu’on nous vend depuis des décennies un aéroport « du Grand Ouest » et que l’État, ainsi que les Régions de Bretagne et Pays de la Loire, contribueraient largement au financement et devraient assumer les conséquences économiques et écologiques du projet.

Nous dénonçons à présent la méthode de sa réalisation.

Du financement public a été utilisé dans la campagne (campagne d’affichage financées par la Région par exemple, dont la couleur bleue ne doit rien au hasard). La CCI a submergé les entreprises de mails, affiches, autocollants, le président de l’Association des Maires de Loire Atlantique a abusé de son mandat pour faire campagne…

Nous dénonçons la partialité du document d’information au public rédigé par la CNDP (Commission Nationale de Débat Public). Une analyse précise de ce document, faite par l’Atelier Citoyen, en pointe les défauts. A la question sur l’adoption du document à l’unanimité de la commission, M. Leyrit, son président, s’est d’ailleurs retranché derrière un soi-disant secret des délibérations. On peut en déduire facilement que cette unanimité n’a pas été atteinte.

Nous aurions bien sûr aimé que le résultat des urnes, malgré tous ces handicaps, nous soit favorable, néanmoins, nous ne ressentons pas d’amertume, au contraire.

Une rapide analyse des résultats par secteur géographique est riche d’enseignements.

À Nantes, le raz de marée en faveur du OUI que les proAGO appelaient de leurs vœux, n’a pas eu lieu : il s’en est fallu de 100 voix pour que Nantes bascule dans le camp du NON. Le centre-ville n’a pas plébiscité le transfert de Nantes-Atlantique. Les mensonges des porteurs du projet n’ont pas eu prise sur les Nantais.

Sur le territoire de la Communauté des Communes Erdre et Gesvres, celle où devrait s’implanter le projet, force est de constater que la campagne ordurière du président de Région concernant les « zadistes » qu’il fallait « dégager », n’a pas été approuvée puisque le NON l’emporte dans 8 communes sur 12. La majorité silencieuse vivant à proximité du projet est bien opposée à ce dernier et connaît la réalité de ce qui se vit à Notre-Dame-des-Landes.

Au Sud Loire aussi le NON a fait des scores contrastés. Bouguenais ne souhaite pas autant qu’on veut bien le dire le départ de son aéroport puisque le résultat est extrêmement serré sur cette commune. Et que dire de Rezé, Saint-Sébastien-sur-Loire, Le Pellerin, Saint-Jean-de-Boiseau ou La Montagne qui refusent le transfert.

Le Nord du département par contre, secteur oublié et sans doute illusionné par les fausses promesses d’emploi a, lui, suivi aveuglement ses notables favorables au « transfert ».  Nous devrons donc renforcer nos actions d’information dans ce secteur à l’avenir.

Pour conclure, nous reviendrons sur la campagne exceptionnelle qui a été menée par la Coordination. Nous remercions tous les bénévoles, pour leur énergie inépuisable, ainsi que tous les collectifs qui ont permis cette formidable mobilisation et nous les remercions les électeurs pour leur confiance dans  l’action de l’ACIPA au quotidien.

Les soutiens nationaux (et même internationaux) continuent de se tenir à nos côtés en envoyant des messages de soutien.

Nous l’avons dit dès le début, cette « consultation » n’était qu’une étape. Le camp du NON sort renforcé de cette nouvelle épreuve, l’opposition a convaincu. Les comités de soutien sont au travail et sont prêts à venir sur le terrain.

Les prochaines étapes sont le rassemblement estival de la Coordination des opposants les 9 et 10 juillet à Montjean (Notre-Dame-des-Landes), le suivi de la procédure d’appel sur les recours loi sur l’eau et espèces protégées, l’attente de la réponse de la France aux questions portées par la Commission Européenne dans le cadre du contentieux environnemental, étudiée dans le SCoT Nantes- Saint-Nazaire dans quelques semaines.

Nous serons aussi très vigilants à ce que les suites du dossier entamé par les experts du Ministère de l’Environnement en février ne restent pas lettre morte.

L’ACIPA continue le combat, notamment juridique sur le fond du dossier, ainsi que l’information continue en direction des citoyens, pour le respect de la planète et des générations futures dans l’esprit porté par la COP 21.

L’ACIPA  continuera de s’opposer aux expulsions des habitants de la zone définie dans la DUP et à exiger que le Président de la République honore ses engagements locaux : « pas de travaux ni d’expulsion, tant que les recours juridiques ne sont pas tous épuisés ».

Il n’y aura pas d’aéroport à Notre-Dame-des-Landes.

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Stansted management changes, under new CEO Andrew Cowan

In March, Stansted airport announced that its CEO, Andrew Harrison, would be moving to the role of Chief Strategy Officer at MAG, based in Manchester. The new CEO is Andrew Cowan, who had been Chief Strategy Officer of MAG, started in the role on 1st April 2016.  Andrew Harrison led Stansted since MAG’s acquisition of the airport in March 2013. Andrew Cowan will lead a team of over 1,400 employees at Stansted. Prior to becoming Chief Strategy Officer at MAG, Andrew was Chief Operating Officer of MAG and Managing Director of Manchester Airport. Stansted has now appointed Martin Jones as commercial director responsible for retail, car parking and business development. He previously worked as MAG interim retail director having joined the business from Marks and Spencer in 2015. Stansted has now also appointed Daniel Gallo as customer service and security director, having been MAG HR director and takes over from Karen Smart who moves to the position of Stansted’s assets management director responsible for developing the airport’s future infrastructure needs. Stansted wants better rail links, and soon. Charlie Cornish is the Chief Executive Officer of MAG overall, which owns Stansted, Manchester, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports.


Stansted announces senior management shake-up

Stansted has announced a number of changes to its senior management team following the recent appointment of new CEO Andrew Cowan (pictured).

Martin Jones has been appointed commercial director responsible for retail, car parking and business development. He previously worked as MAG interim retail director having joined the business from Marks and Spencer in 2015.

Daniel Gallo joins the Stansted team as customer service and security director having been MAG HR director and takes over from Karen Smart who moves to the position of Stansted’s assets management director responsible for developing the airport’s future infrastructure needs.

Martin Lyall, who previously held the position of assets management director, is now Stansted’s transformation programme director while James Dix has joined as finance director from Drax Group plc, having worked in the USA for three years as senior vice president for finance.

Andrew Cowan, Stansted’s CEO, said: “I am delighted to welcome the new members of our management team that not only strengthen the expertise of the senior leadership team at the airport but allow us to really focus on the key areas of the business: continuing to grow our passenger numbers; transform the airport’s infrastructure; enhance the customer experience and leverage existing and future commercial opportunities.”

“It’s vital we continue to attract the best talent to Stansted to enable us to successfully deliver our ambitious plans for the airport so I’m delighted welcome the new team members and very much look forward to working together in what promises to be an exciting and successful new chapter for Stansted.”




Andrew Cowan Appointed As New Divisional CEO Of London Stansted Airport

9 March 2016

Stanste Airport Press release
Andrew Cowan, currently Chief Strategy Officer of MAG, has been appointed Divisional CEO of London Stansted Airport.

Andrew Cowan will take up his role at the UK’s fourth largest airport on 1 April 2016 and lead a team of over 1,400 employees. Prior to becoming Chief Strategy Officer at MAG, Andrew was Chief Operating Officer of MAG and Managing Director of Manchester Airport.

Andrew Harrison, who has led Stansted since MAG’s acquisition of the airport in March 2013, will assume the role of Chief Strategy Officer at MAG, based in Manchester.

In this new role, one of Andrew’s key responsibilities will be to spearhead a new function tasked with defining MAG’s digital strategy and e-commerce business model. This “MAG-online” proposition will also enable the improvement of customer service and airport efficiency, and expand MAG’s profitable products and services portfolio outside of the Group. Commercial trading, e-commerce and CRM will sit within this function in addition to Group Strategy and Corporate Development.

Under Andrew Harrison’s leadership, London Stansted Airport has become one of the UK’s fastest growing airports; adding 5 million passengers and now offering more European destinations than any other UK airport.

During the last three years, £80 million has been spent on transforming London Stansted’s terminal and British Airways has recently announced plans to begin flights from the airport. Earlier this month, London Stansted was named the ‘Best London Airport’ at the 2016 London Transport Awards.

Announcing the appointments, Charlie Cornish, Chief Executive Officer of MAG, said: “Since MAG acquired London Stansted, Andrew Harrison has done a fantastic job of driving growth at the airport and integrating it into the wider Group.

“Andrew Cowan is hugely experienced and I am confident that he will continue to build on the great foundations that exist at Stansted. The airport has even greater potential and there is a clear and pressing need to improve its rail links in order to enable it to take the strain as other London airports reach capacity and before any new runway can be built in the south east.”

Andrew Cowan said: “It’s a hugely exciting time in the aviation industry and I feel privileged to be taking on the role of Divisional CEO at London Stansted Airport. Andrew Harrison has delivered phenomenal growth and a significant investment programme which has seen passengers and airlines voting with their feet and choosing Stansted. I’m looking forward to building on the strong foundations left by Andrew, continuing the drive to attract new airlines to serve the vibrant London market and burgeoning Eastern England region and further improving the customer experience.”

Andrew Harrison said: “I’m very proud of what the Stansted team has achieved over the last three years. We have taken the airport through a significant transformation programme, returned passenger numbers back close to their previous peak and rebuilt our relationships with the local community. The airport has a very promising future ahead and I wish Andrew every success in taking forward the next chapter in Stansted’s journey.

“I am delighted to have been appointed Chief Strategy Officer and lead MAG’s push into new markets. The opportunities for innovative companies like ours are endless and we have a great opportunity to become a leader in airport management, digital products and services.”






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Heathrow aircraft noise must be cut says Henley MP, John Howell

The MP for Henley, John Howell, has called for a “significant reduction” in noise from aircraft over the Henley area.  With other MPs from Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Surrey he had a meeting with representatives from Heathrow and NATS about the increased noise problem they are experiencing. Mr Howell has had complaints from constituents about increased noise from aircraft coming into land at Heathrow, particularly when there was an easterly wind, when planes circled over Henley. Martin Rolfe, chief executive of NATS, “accepted that increased aircraft noise was a problem for some people” and agreed to investigate individual issues of serious disturbance if they were reported to him by the MPs. [Whatever that will achieve].  Mr Rolfe said there had been no changes to routes but that the flight patterns within controlled airspace changed almost daily. This is the standard thing the airspace management bodies say. People overflown know they experience a change. The CAA etc use semantics to say this is not technically a change, but just a difference in how a route is flown. One of the key improvements in how the airspace change is managed is to recognise and accept that changes to fleet mix, intensity of use of a route, height of planes and times of day are all changes. They have to in future be acknowledged as such, and taken into account fully in the process.


Aircraft noise must be cut, says Henley MP, John Howell

27.6.2016 (Henley Standard)


JOHN HOWELL has called for a “significant reduction” in noise from aircraft over the Henley area.

The Henley MP was speaking after a meeting between a group of MPs from Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Surrey with representatives from Heathrow Airport and NATS, which is responsible for air traffic control.

Mr Howell said it had to be acknowledged that there had been an increase in the amount of air traffic.

He had received complaints from constituents about increased noise from aircraft coming into land at Heathrow, particularly when there was an easterly wind which meant the planes circled over Henley.

Martin Rolfe, chief executive of NATS, accepted that increased aircraft noise was a problem for some people and agreed to investigate individual issues of serious disturbance if they were reported to him by the MPs.

He said there had been no changes to routes but that the flight patterns within controlled airspace changed almost daily.

Apart from wind direction, there were many reasons why flights paths varied, including weather, industrial action overseas and pressure on airspace.

Mr Rolfe said a review of airspace across the South-East was being carried out and would include asking pilots to fly aircraft higher more quickly and to move to holding points higher and further out.

The review would take several years and would include public consultation. [See timetable of CAA consultation etc below]. 

Airlines were being incentivized to invest in quieter planes. More noisy planes at Heathrow paid higher landing charges.

The meeting heard that the aviation industry was working on new technologies to help reduce noise but updating fleets took years due to the cost and lead times.

Heathrow already imposes higher landing charges on noisier planes as an incentive with the result that airlines tend to use their quieter planes going to and from the airport.



Mr Howell said: “NATS gave a good explanation but what we really want to see is a return to the former situation or, better still, a significant reduction in noise over the Henley constituency.

“Of course the aircraft passing over the constituency are not only going to and from Heathrow. A complex web of many flights passes over the area every day.

“In order to get a better understanding of this and the issues around it, I will be visiting the air traffic control tower in the near future.

“This is an important issue and one which we will need to watch as we seek to balance environmental concerns with the increasing demand for travel.”


Below is the CAA’s anticipated timeline of changes to UK airspace

from P.111 of   CAA consultation document

Anticipated timelines for reviewing the airspace change process 2016

March to June 2016

CAA public consultation on proposed changes to the airspace change process. Responses to the consultation are published on the CAA website.

June to July 2016

The CAA assesses the responses to the consultation and develops a plan for implementation of any changes to the process that we have decided on.

September 2016

The CAA announces the outcome of the consultation and will commence the work that needs to be done prior to the future implementation of a revised process. This will include our public response to the consultation and evidence received, and the development of guidance and other documentation or processes as necessary.

November 2016

The CAA sets out in its annual charging scheme consultation the way it intends to recover costs for administering the airspace change process in the form of charges for 2017/18.

January to March 2017

The CAA consults on the text of a draft replacement for CAP 725 CAA Guidance on the Application of the Airspace Change Process. This will include the additional guidance material on different aspects of the process referred to in Chapter 5. We will at the same time indicate when any changes to the process will take effect, and how we will manage transition arrangements between the old and new process.

April 2017

Earliest that a new CAA charging scheme to finance a revised airspace change process will come into effect. The CAA publishes a final version of the replacement for CAP 725 CAA Guidance on the Application of the Airspace Change Process

April or later in 2017

Implementation date of any new process.



CAA and airspace change clarification

Some comments by the Aviation Environment Federation, in their response to the CAA consultation on CAP 725 on airspace change, and on how what constitutes a change in airspace needs to be clarified. 

The AEF says:

…”the way in which flight paths are used, and when they are flown, is at least as important as the position of those flight paths on a map in terms of noise impacts. These factors – such as numbers and type of aircraft and, to a lesser extent perhaps, the use of the use of continuous climb and continuous descent operations – are largely outside the CAA’s control. We are concerned that a flight path change could be approved on the basis of a particular forecast in terms of traffic movements being considered acceptable in terms of noise impact without any clear mechanism for the CAA to enforce such usage (in contrast to the way planning conditions on aircraft infrastructure operate), or to repeal approval of a flight path if, for example, usage is more intensive than originally anticipated.

Some of the changes on which information should be included are:

Intensity and nature of flightpath use

• Anticipated numbers of aircraft under a range of possible scenarios.

• Height of aircraft.

• An indication where the aircraft are going to fly within the boundaries of the route.

• Runway and flight path respite; any runway alternation (with information where relevant on historical alternation patterns).

• Anticipated aircraft types.

• Operational procedures assumed (continuous climb/descent for example); any nonstandard procedures being considered eg curved approaches.

• Impact of different weather conditions (notably wind direction) on how a route is likely to be flown. 



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Notre-Dame-des-Landes referendum: 55% majority in favour of new airport – ACIPA fights on

There was a referendum in the Loire-Atlantique département on 26th June, with the question whether people backed the moving of the current Nantes-Atlantique airport south of Nantes, to a site north of Nantes, at Notre-Dame-des-Landes. Finally the voting was 55% in favour of the move.  The area to be destroyed for the new airport is good farm land and valuable wetland habitat, and there has been fierce, determined opposition to the project for years. The local opposition, focused through ACIPA, was deeply critical of the way the referendum was organised. They believe areas other than just those in Loire-Atlantique should have been consulted.  Some of these areas would be opposed to the move, and some have to contribute public funds towards it. The government wanted the poll as early as possible, as there is a “declaration of public utility” lasting till October, so work has to start by then. The prime minister, Manual Valls, made a statement as soon as the referendum result was known, that “the government will implement the verdict.” Those backing the new airport want to clear the protesters living illegally on the ZAD, some of the land on which the airport would be built, moved away soon, so clearing work can start.  ACIPA said this result was just one step in their long struggle against the airport, and their struggle now continues.


Notre-Dame-des-Landes: The referendum result was a 55% majority in favour of the new airport

[Imperfect translation into English below]

CONSULTATION Voters in Loire-Atlantique were asked to vote on the transfer of the Nantes-Atlantique airport (south of Nantes) to Notre-Dame-des-Landes (north of Nantes)

26.6.2016 (20 mins. France)

The counting in Loire-Atlantique poll on 26 June 2016.
The counting in Loire-Atlantique poll, 26 June 2016 – L.Venance / AFP

FB and JU

“Do you support the transfer of the Nantes-Atlantique airport in the municipality of Notre-Dame-des-Landes?”. This is the question put to the Loire-Atlantique voters on Sunday. If the “no” had won, the project would suffer a blow of almost irreversible cessation. If it was ‘yes’, the state is committed to continue.

Participation is quite high, at about 51% especially in the municipalities concerned.

Several hours after the polls closed, and the verdict was clear:: Manuel Valls assured that “the government will implement the verdict of the polls”

The Prime Minister has responded through a press release. He assured that “the government will implement the verdict of the polls” and that preparatory work will start from “next autumn” “The people illegally occupying the new airport site will have to move from there at the start of the work” he added. .

Supporters transfer request “starting work”

After the victory of “Yes”, airport transfer supporters are likely to react. If they welcome the result, they also require the evacuation of the ZAD and construction began.

In Nantes, the results are super tight

The latest results were those that were missing from Nantes (about a third of voters in the Loire-Atlantique), longer to count.. And the reviews are very mixed: 50.06% for Yes and  49.94% for No, or 100 votes difference out of of about 83,700! Crazy.

By 11:10 p.m the result was in. The Loire-Atlantique majority of voters voted for “yes” to transfer from the airport. The results in detail are that 55.17% voted Yes,  (268,981 votes) – and 44.83% voted No (218,537 votes). The participation amounts to 51.08%

Surprise,  the Rezé district, to the south of Nantes city, voted “no”. The main south-Loire city voted    53% against the proposed new  Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport.

The mayor of Nantes is satisfied.  Johanna Rolland (Partie Socialiste) said: “I welcome this result and voter mobilization in the department. I call on each and everyone, regardless of belief, to take note of this result. The democratic will that has been expressed should enable the realization of this transfer in the serenity, security and respect for the rule of law. The state must now carry out this vital project for the West. ”

Philippe Grosvalet, PS Chairman of the County Council, requested the start of work. “Democracy has spoken, the vote of the inhabitants of the Loire-Atlantique should be recognized and respected.”

Shortly before the final count was finished, the main local campaign against the new airport, ACIPA, said they would continue the fight: “The process and content of this consultation were fundamentally biased.  This was based on a series of lies by the State, and radically unfair.  It was for us just one step in the long struggle for a future without an airport at Notre Dame des Landes. This struggle continues tonight,” they said in a  statement.

Bruno Retailleau (a French politician, a member of the Senate of France, representing the Vendée department, and also President of the General Council of the Vendée) said on Twitter:  “Il est temps que la zone de non-droit qu’est la de puisse cesser.”  ie. it is time that the illegal ZAD zone at NDDL is ended.  And  “Je demande donc au gouvernement l’évacuation de la et le commencement des travaux de l’aéroport.”   ie. I demand now that the government evacuates the ZAD and the start of work on the airport.”


Several areas did vote NO in the referendum.


The original French at



English translations of some videos explaining arguments against a new Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport

The local opposition around Nantes, to the building a new airport north of Nantes, have produced a series of short videos, setting out some of the issues. There will be a referendum on 26th June, for people in the area, on whether the existing airport, Nantes-Atlantique, should be closed and a new airport constructed at Notre Dame des Landes (NDDL). The opponents of the NDDL airport say, among other things: – The number of flights at Nantes has hardly grown in 10 years. – It is possible to slightly grow the current Nantes-Atlantique airport (just south of Nantes) and slightly extend the runway by 60 metres. – It is possible to take measures to slightly reduce the noise at the Nantes-Atlantique airport. – The new NDDL airpot would cost the taxpayer about €280 million. – There would be no more destinations from the new NDDL airport than from the Nantes-Atlantique airport. Germany has 45 airports, and France has 156 airports. – The NDDL airport would mean the destruction of 700 hectares of wetland and about 900 hectares of farmland. – Many protected species would be lost. – About 200 agriculture-associated jobs would be lost, and most of the alleged new jobs would just move from the old airport. – The costs to passengers will be higher at the NDDL airport. And there is a lot more. With English translations here.

Click here to view full story…

Local referendum on whether to move Nantes-Atlantique airport to Notre-Dame-des-Landes – 26th June

On 26th June there will be a consultation/referendum on the issue of whether the existing airport, Nantes-Atlantique, just south of Nantes should be moved to a site north of the town at Notre-Dame-des- Landes (NDDL). The government announced this referendum back in March.The question that will be asked is: “Do you support the proposed transfer of Nantes-Atlantique airport to the municipality of Notre-Dame-des-Landes?” The referendum is open to voters of the municipalities of Loire-Atlantique. Opponents are running an active campaign, to provide information to every potential voter and attending public meetings, with their spirit of quiet determination. Opponents, including local campaign ACIPA, say nobody asked for this referendum, and it does not in any way legitimize the airport project at NDDL, which they consider to be illegal, ruinous and destructive. They say the conditions for real democratic debate are not met; the area chosen for the referendum excludes some important local communities; the question is biased; and there is no guarantee of fair treatment of the opposition. They are not impressed that the Prime Minister has announced the start of work in the autumn, despite the referendum. They say the airport cannot proceed until various legal matters have been sorted out. There will be another huge anti-NDDL gathering on 9th and 10th July. “On a tous une bonne raison de voter NON.” (We all have a reason to vote NO.)

Click here to view full story…

Public referendum on Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport likely to be in June, and only for Loire-Atlantique département

Manuel Valls, Prime Minister of France, confirmed this week that the referendum on whether the new Nantes airport should go ahead, will only for the voters in the département of Loire-Atlantique. It would also be before the summer, in June. Two key issues about the referendum have been key: the date and the area covered. Keeping it only to Loire-Atlantique suits the government, backing the new airport plan, as it is believed there is more support for the airport there. One poll showed 51% support for the plan, 39% against and 10% undecided. Another poll showed 58% opposition across France as a whole. Opponents of the plan, and others involved, believe areas other than just Loire-Atlantique should be consulted, as they would be affected by environmental, economic and social impacts of the possible airport. The leaders of neighbouring departments such as Mayenne, Morbihan and the Maine-et-Loire have recently criticised the prospect of the consultation’s scope being limited to only the Loire-Atlantique. The Minister of Ecology, Ségolène Royal, defended the idea of the area being extended to the whole of the region Pays de la Loire. The government wants the poll early, so building work and evictions from the ZAD can be started by October. Work needs to start by then as there is a “declaration of public utility” lasting till October. It is likely that the referendum will be either on Sunday 19th or Sunday 26th June.

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With referendum awaited, 10 – 15,000 attend another massive protest against new Nantes airport

On the 9th January, there were estimated to have been 20,000 people at huge protests against the planned new airport for Nantes in countryside at Notre-Dame-des-Landes. Then on 26th January, the local court confirmed that 11 families would be evicted from their homes on the ZAD (zone à défendre) within about two months. On 13th February, President Hollande declared there would be a referendum on whether the airport should be built. This has caused local concerns. But neither the date nor the exact questions, nor the scope of the consultation’s geographical area, have been settled. In response to the referendum proposal, the local campaign organised another massive demonstration (manifestation), to show the authorities the strength of feeling against the airport. Around 10,000 to 15,000 people came, from all across France. There are over 100 support committees across the country. They filled all 4 lanes of two local dual-carriageways, for many hours – in a peaceful protest, with a festival atmosphere. Two of the Heathrow 13 (spared prison on 24th February, with suspended 6 week sentences for their Heathrow runway occupation) attended the protest, showing solidarity from the London campaign. Campaigners in Turkey, against the new Istanbul airport, also sent messages of support.

4 lanes blocked near zad nddl 27.2.2016

Click here to view full story…



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Early decision on a new south-east runway thought unlikely, due to Brexit and Cameron resignation

There is much speculation and uncertainty about what will happen on the runway situation, and whether – or how much – it will be delayed. A leak was inadvertently made to PoliticsHome on 22nd (not intended to go out till after a Remain vote) indicating that the government would make a runway announcement on 7th or 8th July. That now seems very unlikely indeed. Heathrow put out a bland statement, realising that the rapid decision in their favour is not looking likely, and making out that their runway is of great national importance. Nobody knows what future role Boris may play, but he promised in May 2015 to “lie down in front of bulldozers” to stop a Heathrow runway. Gatwick is no more likely to succeed. There are also fears for infrastructure projects like HS2,and future investment in other rail services. In short, there is immense uncertainty about almost everything. Many of the UK’s rail franchises are controlled and operated by European state-owned companies from Germany, the Netherlands and France. What happens with them?  Business likes to plan ahead, and does not like uncertainty or being in limbo. The extent to which air travel will grow in future is now in doubt, with a recession likely – and UK air passenger numbers fall in recessions. The weakness of the currency will make many foreign leisure trips more expensive for Brits.



EU referendum: Heathrow runway decision left up in the air

Britain’s vote to leave the EU will potentially have far-reaching implications for the country’s transport system.

Perhaps, most pertinently from a timing point of view, is what happens to Heathrow?

The west London airport was favourite to be picked as the site for a new runway, with the government talking about making a final decision this year, possibly even this summer.

But that was when David Cameron was in charge. Boris Johnson has promised to lie down in front of bulldozers to stop expansion.

It is bound to form part of the Conservative leadership campaign. If so, you can forget an early decision.

If Mr Johnson is the new PM, that would seem to kill off Heathrow’s chances. Rival Gatwick is very much back in the game.

Also vulnerable, though much further along in terms of process, is the promised investment in high speed rail (HS2).

A government source has suggested that this vote won’t affect funding. However, HS2 is yet to be voted through Parliament and the new prime minister will have her or his own spending priorities.

Investment in Britain’s train services is also open to question.

Many of the country’s rail franchises are already controlled and operated by European state-owned companies from Germany, the Netherlands and France.

They all got the chance to bid for the business because of EU competition rules. In future, however, will that still be the case?

I asked the transport secretary that question a few months ago. He wasn’t quite sure.

It is also unclear what will happen with the car industry.

New cars currently have to pass a European emissions test before they can go on sale.

Frankly, it’s done a poor job of protecting the air in recent years, even carmakers say it’s too weak, which is why it’s being tightened up considerably, starting in 2017.

So will our future cars have to pass the new, tougher EU pollution test?

One expert told me it’s likely to stay in some form, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to sell UK-built cars across the rest of Europe.


Heathrow statement on EU referendum result


A Heathrow spokesperson said:
“With today’s result, the case for expansion at Heathrow is stronger than ever before. Only Heathrow can help Britain be the great trading nation connecting all regions of the UK to the world. It is the keystone that connects businesses of every size to markets across the world as the UK’s only global hub airport.
“Global connections are critical for a new outward-looking UK to help our businesses and economy to thrive – and with expansion we can deliver up to 40 new destinations on top of the 83 we serve now.
“We are confident that the Government will make the right choice for the future of the UK, putting the interests of the country first.
“We look forward to working with the Government and its agencies on next steps.”

Decision on second runway at Gatwick Airport set to be delayed due to EU Referendum result

June 24, 2016

By Thomas Macintosh (Surrey Mirror)

A decision on whether or not a second runway should be built at Gatwick Airport is likely to be delayed again, due to the result of the EU Referendum.

The Surrey Mirror understands a decision on the controversial plan will now be put back even further, after Britain voted to leave the EU.

It was recommended, in July last year by the Sir Howard Davies Commission, that Heathrow should be allowed to build a third runway, rather than Gatwick be allowed to build a second.

But delays since then had raised hopes from those supporting Gatwick’s expansion that the Government could ignore this recommendation. And in the light of today’s events, a spokesman for the Sussex airport said it was “still very much in the game”.

A decision had initially been expected by the end of 2015 but was then pushed back to this summer.

However, the United Kingdom’s decision to leave Europe, and David Cameron’s subsequent resignation this morning, mean that decision is expected to be pushed back again.

Jeremy Taylor, chief executive of Gatwick Diamond Business, was a strong advocate for remaining in the European Union, and agrees the referendum result is likely to lead to another delay.

“It is going to be interesting to see the economic impact [of leaving the EU],” he said. “In business we like a plan. Instability and no plan [on Gatwick] is obviously disconcerting.

“I think that the bigger picture is that this decision [to leave the EU] jeopardises all infrastructure throughout the country, one of which is increase in runway growth and capacity.

“The Prime Minister has made the decision to stand down, so any decision that was going to be made [this summer] will likely be pushed back. Then it depends on who is the next Prime Minister, each one will have their own views on runways and how much of a priority it is. Some are very anti-Heathrow, but that is going to be a decision which will likely be taken at a later date.

“Once again we are in limbo.”

Gatwick has not issued an official statement on Brexit. However, airport spokesman William Boyack told the Mirror: “We haven’t had an indication [that the decision will be delayed] but it was always a possibility. The political situation has changed quite significantly. We need to keep a close eye on that and how it affects the campaign.”

Apparently referring to Boris Johnson’s strong opposition to Heathrow expansion, he added: “Looking at the likely Prime Ministerial candidates, Gatwick is very much still in the game.” [Boris has, in fact, often said he does not back a Gatwick runway].

Mr Johnson is favourite [not entirely ….] to be the next Prime Minister. He famously advocated a new airport, dubbed Boris Island, an idea slammed by critics as “financially, geographically and environmentally wrong”.

Reigate MP Crispin Blunt [who wants a Heathrow runway, in order to protect his constituents from the horror of a Gatwick runway] said this morning’s seismic developments should have no impact on the runway decision and when it is delivered. “This decision should be made as soon as possible,” he said. “We need to get on with it. I am hoping we will get an announcement before the summer recess [of Parliament on July 21].”

He also said the potential installation of Mr Johnson as Prime Minister should make no difference, as his opinions should hold no more sway than those of any other constituency MP.

In October 2015 George Osbourne, who may be Mr Johnson’s main rival for the role, was understood to be ready to back a new runway at Heathrow and is believed to have ruled out a second runway at Gatwick.

Theresa May, who is also seen as possible contender, is understood to be against expansion at Heathrow as she represents many constituents who would be affected by any extra flightpaths.

Brendon Sewill, chairman of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, which has long fought against a second runway, said the group’s committee would be discussing Mr Cameron’s decision to resign over the next week.

He added: “This obviously raises a situation of great confusion and uncertainty and it makes it more possible that the runway decision will be postponed.”

The Department for Transport has been approached for a comment.



Simon Calder: What does Brexit mean for British tourists travelling to Europe?

With Britain, somewhat unexpectedly, voting for Brexit there may be changes in the way airlines operate between the UK and the EU, and there may be other implications for air travel from currency changes. Simon Calder, in the Independent, sets out some of the issues and what might happen. The exchange rate of the £ against the $ or the € may not only make holidays, to the EU or elsewhere, more expensive – but an increase in the price of jet fuel could happen if the £ weakens against the $. Through the “Open skies” agreement, since since 1994, any EU airline has been free to fly between any two points in Europe. This allowed easyJet and Ryanair to flourish, and forced “legacy” carriers such as BA, Air France and Lufthansa to cut fares. The UK may have to negotiates a similar arrangement to Norway, within the European Economic Area (EEA), in which case little would change. But if Britain does not join the EEA, every route between the UK and the EU might need to be renegotiated on a bilateral basis. The bureaucratic logjam would be immense. Similarly, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have easy access to America because of an EU-US treaty on open skies. The freedom for British airlines such as easyJet to fly within and between EU countries could be curtailed; nations such as France and Italy have in the past been protectionist of their home airlines. And much more …..

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BA chief, Willie Walsh, threatens to reduce Gatwick flights if it got a 2nd runway

The boss of International Airlines Group ( IAG), which owns British Airways, has threatened to reduce its flights at Gatwick if the airport is given permission to expand with another runway. Willie Walsh warned that the cost of building a second runway at would result in charges that are too high.   He said: “We struggle to see any business case for the expansion of Gatwick and will consider our position at the airport if the Government backs expansion there, principally because the cost of that expansion when translated into airport charges would likely wipe out the profit we make.”  He claimed Chancellor George Osborne and the Treasury are “clearly excited about a large infrastructure project that requires no Government spending”, but urged them to consider the options “as if it was funding the project”. He added: “If there is expensive, inefficient airport expansion at Gatwick or Heathrow, then we will expand through other airports and hubs.”  Willie Walsh has repeatedly said he is not prepared to pay very high landing charges at an expanded Heathrow, and would instead move his IAG planes to Dublin and Madrid instead.



BA chief threatens to reduce Gatwick flights over expansion plans

Thursday 23 June 2016

(Crawley & Horley Observer)

The boss of the firm which owns British Airways has threatened to reduce its flights at Gatwick if the airport is given permission to expand.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group, warned that the cost of building a second runway at the West Sussex airport would result in charges that are too high.

He said: “We struggle to see any business case for the expansion of Gatwick and will consider our position at the airport if the Government backs expansion there, principally because the cost of that expansion when translated into airport charges would likely wipe out the profit we make.”

The Government has said it is still considering giving the go ahead for the £9.3 billion project at Gatwick or to expand Heathrow.  [That was before the referendum].

…….. and it continues on Heathrow  ….

He claimed Chancellor George Osborne and the Treasury are “clearly excited about a large infrastructure project that requires no Government spending”, but urged them to consider the options “as if it was funding the project”.

He added: “If there is expensive, inefficient airport expansion at Gatwick or Heathrow, then we will expand through other airports and hubs.”


…..   and it continues  …..


and in the Independent


“Mr Walsh also warned that IAG might abandon Gatwick if the Sussex airport is awarded a new runway: “We struggle to see any business case for the expansion of Gatwick and will consider our position at the airport if the Government backs expansion there, principally because the cost of that expansion when translated into airport charges would likely wipe out the profit we make.” ”



Willie Walsh tells AOA conference Heathrow’s runway is too expensive, and at that price, would fail

The Airport Operators Association is holding a two day conference on the runway issue, and Willie Walsh (CEO of IAG) was its key speaker. He said Heathrow should not get a 3rd runway, if the Airport Commission’s calculation of the cost of building it is correct. He said: “The Commission got its figures wrong – they are over-inflated. If that is the cost [of a new runway], it won’t be a successful project.” He described the assumption that airlines would pay for the new runway through increases in fares as “outrageous”. British Airways is by far the biggest airline at Heathrow, with 55% of the slots. He said of the Commission’s report: ” … I have concerns about the level of cost associated with the main recommendation and the expectation that the industry can afford to pay for Heathrow’s expansion.” He does not believe the cost is justified, and “If the cost of using an expanded airport significantly exceeds the costs of competitor airports, people won’t use it.” It was not realistic for airlines: “You have to see it in terms of return on capital. ….Either the figures are inflated or you are building inefficient infrastructure. I do not endorse the findings. I definitely don’t support the costs of building a runway. If those costs are real, we should not build it.” On the cost of £8 billion to build a 6th terminal he commented: “How many chandeliers can you have in an airport terminal?

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

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

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Walsh hits out at runway costs – “Doing nothing is better than doing the wrong thing”

Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG, speaking at an ABTA conference, has reiterated his opposition to an expensive Heathrow north west runway.  His airlines are not prepared to pay high landing costs upfront for years before a runway is operational.  He also says there is no business case for a Gatwick runway, and he would not pay higher charges there either.  Walsh said  “Heathrow is already the most-expensive hub airport in the world, with a history of inflating costs.” … He questions the potential cost of £17.6 billion: “Only £182 million is for the runway. The new car park would cost £800 million.” …  “You cannot trust Heathrow to deliver anything in a cost-effective manner. Customers have been ripped off by Heathrow for years and leopards don’t change their spots.” …  Walsh claimed “the majority of the money” Heathrow raises from airport charges “doesn’t go towards upgrading facilities but straight into the pockets of the airport’s shareholders”…  “Heathrow paid £1.4 billion to its shareholders in the last two years and only invested £1.3 billion in the airport. The average charge for each departing passenger is slightly more than £44.” He is more in favour of the Heathrow Hub option, and wants Heathrow expansion in phases with the runway first, using the existing terminals.  “Doing nothing is better than doing the wrong thing.”


Walsh hits out at runway costs and says Heathrow ‘rips off customers’

by Ian Taylor  (Travel Weekly )

Jun 23rd 2016
Willie Walsh hit out at the cost of a proposed new Heathrow runway and called on the government to phase construction yesterday.

Addressing the Abta Travel Matters conference in London, Walsh – chief executive of British Airways’ parent IAG – said: “Heathrow is already the most-expensive hub airport in the world, with a history of inflating costs.”

He slammed the price of the proposed runway, now being considered by ministers, saying: “According to the Davies Commission, a new runway would cost £17.6 billion. Only £182 million is for the runway. The new car park would cost £800 million.”

The Government is poised to decide between Heathrow and Gatwick as the site of a new runway for the southeast.

But Walsh dismissed Gatwick saying: “We struggle to see any business case for expanding Gatwick.  We will consider our position at the airport if the Government backs expansion there. The cost in airport charges would wipe out the profits we make at the airport.”

BA is the second largest operator at Gatwick and IAG carriers Aer Lingus and Vueling also operate from the airport.

Focusing on Heathrow, Walsh said: “You cannot trust Heathrow to deliver anything in a cost-effective manner. Customers have been ripped off by Heathrow for years and leopards don’t change their spots.”

He added: “I’ll give you one example. We expressed interest in installing self-service bag drop. The airport estimated the cost at just under £150,000 per unit. We’ve been able to price the same unit at less than £15,000. That is one hell of a mark-up.

“To make matters worse, Heathrow estimated it would take four years to complete when we believe we could complete this by September.”

Walsh claimed “the majority of the money” Heathrow raises from airport charges “doesn’t go towards upgrading facilities but straight into the pockets of the airport’s shareholders”.

He said: “Heathrow paid £1.4 billion to its shareholders in the last two years and only invested £1.3 billion in the airport.

“The average charge for each departing passenger is slightly more than £44. The airport’s investors get three times the financial returns of an average FTSE 100 company.”

Walsh called on the government to examine both options for expanding Heathrow – “a new runway or extension of the existing northern runway” – and said: “If the Government chooses Heathrow’s proposal [of a new runway], we want to see shareholders shoulder the risk and the burden.”

He also insisted Heathrow not be allowed to use “suppliers and parties related to the airport’s major shareholder and construction firm Ferrovial”.

Walsh argued: “Any new runway should be phased in to keep down costs. There is no need to build all the facilities at once.

“Construct the new runway first, using the existing terminal facilities. This would provide Heathrow with the resilience needed to recover from disruption, which everyone knows is the biggest problem.

“Extra flights should be introduced gradually, with growth only as aircraft become quieter.”  [That probably means BA does not want the extra competition].

He said: “There is no justification for pre-funding investment in infrastructure. Today’s customers should not be expected to pay for a development that will not be operational for 10 years.”

Walsh added: “IAG will only support expansion where it is financially viable and where there is no increase in costs.

“If there is expensive expansion at Heathrow or Gatwick we will expand through our other hubs.”

Questioned by the Travel Matters audience, Walsh insisted: “I’m not against expansion. [But] I am vehemently opposed to expensive infrastructure that can’t be justified.”

And he told the conference: “Doing nothing is better than doing the wrong thing.”



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