European Commission approves state aid for the construction of French airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes

There are plans for a new airport for Nantes, in western France, to be built some 12 miles to the north of the town, at Notre Dame des Landes. The new airport has been fiercely opposed. The proponents of the new airport claim the existing one is now full, with over 3.5 million passengers, and planes over-fly Nantes. The European Commission has decided that it is suitable to give a public subsidy of €150 million to the company to develop the new airport, Société Aéroports du Grand Ouest. The EC says this is compatible with the EU rules on State aid, and they say it will help improve regional connectivity and links with the rest of the EU, without unduly distorting competition in the internal market. This appears to be a very bad decision on the use of public money. The Commission seems to have believed everything it has been told by the authorities who want to build the airport. There is, in reality, no congestion at the existing airport and the economic benefits were hotly challenged in a report by CE Delft, commissioned by the local campaign. It is also worrying that the Commission is agreeing to State Aid for an airport in what is generally quite a wealthy area.
.

 

State aid: Commission approves aid for the construction of French airport Notre-Dame-des-Landes

Brussels.

20.11.2013 (Europa)

The European Commission considers that the public subsidy granted by France to Société Aéroports du Grand Ouest, a company situated in Nantes in western France, for the construction of the Notre-Dame-des-Landes Airport, is compatible with the EU rules on State aid. The project will help improve regional connectivity without unduly distorting competition in the internal market.

The Aéroport du Grand Ouest project will relocate Nantes Atlantique Airport, situated near the city of Nantes, to the site of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, a little over 20 km to the north of Nantes. The main aim of the project is to meet regional development requirements and to resolve the congestion problem at the existing airport. Following the tender procedure, the contract for implementing the project was awarded to Société Aéroports du Grand Ouest, a subsidiary of the Vinci group.

The French authorities notified a subsidy of EUR €150 million to the Commission in July 2013. The Commission assessed the measure in the light of the EU guidelines for State aid in the aviation sector, adopted in 2005. The investigation carried out by the Commission showed that the infrastructure project helped achieve an objective of common interest by tackling the congestion of the existing infrastructure. Furthermore, the French authorities presented a business plan for the project, which showed that the public subsidy was necessary to implement the project and in proportion to the objective pursued.

The assessment of the measure in question in accordance with State aid legislation is without prejudice to the procedure currently under way to ensure that the project complies with European environmental law.

nantes airport

Current airport some 3 miles south west of Nantes. Proposed site of new airport at Notre Dame des Landes, some 12 miles north west.

Background

Nantes Atlantique Airport is located some ten kilometres from the city of Nantes. Over the last five years its passenger traffic has risen by 40%, reaching a total of 3 631 693 passengers in 2012, compared with the airport’s estimated annual capacity of 3 500 000 passengers. The nearest airports (Rennes, Angers, Vannes) are mainly national in scope and/or do not allow for the development of aeronautical infrastructure.

Certain regions are hampered by poor accessibility from the rest of the European Union, and the major hubs are facing increasing levels of congestion. Regional airports play an important role in ensuring the accessibility of Europe’s regions. Against this backdrop, the Commission’s aim is to establish more equitable conditions of competition in the aviation sector, while at the same time allowing regional authorities to meet accessibility and transport needs. The application of State aid rules to the aviation sector is part of the Commission’s efforts to improve the competitiveness and growth potential of the European Union air transport sector. The European Commission has launched a procedure to revise the current rules (seeIP/13/644).

Today’s decision concerns one of around 60 on-going cases in the aviation sector relating to the financing of airport infrastructure and operations and airport/airline agreements.

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.37125 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website, once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

New publications of State aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News.

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-1125_en.htm

Nantes area map airports

Map showing location of airports in the area from http://www.mapsofworld.com/international-airports/europe/france.html

.

.


.

Earlier:

Consultation on rules for European Commission state aid to airports and airlines

18.9.2013Under the European Commission, state aid is granted to various sectors of the economy. However, a key issue is the impact it has on distorting the market, and giving an unfair advantage to those companies or organisations receiving it. Airports and airlines are one sector that receives large amounts of state aid through the EC. The Commission’s DG Competition is tasked with overseeing state aid. There have been earlier sets of guidelines on state aid to airports and airlines, but there is a current consultation – due to end on 25th September (which may be extended). The exact amount of state aid given to the aviation sector is somewhat shady, but is at least €3 billion, for those subsidies that are fully notified.There have been widely publicised cases, such as that of Ryanair at Charleroi airport. Transport & Environment have produced an easy-to-read briefing on the state aid situation, and people are urged to respond to the consultation. The state aid gives the aviation industry unmerited subsidy, and helps to encourage very high carbon travel.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=17424

.

and

.

Economist: Proposed EU rules on state aid aim to stem the flow of money from taxpayers’ pockets to Ryanair

18.10.2013Article in the Economist gives a useful set of insights into airport subsidies at small airports across Europe, which are now due to be reduced after consultation. The Economist says Europe has over 450 airports, mostly small and loss-making. About 85% are publicly owned. Local politicians’ enthusiastic sponsorship of airports, to boost regional economies, has in turn contributed to the rapid growth of low-cost airlines, since the airports have used their subsidies to offer cheap landing fees and other sweeteners to persuade the cheap carriers to fly there.  Ryanair is the sole or dominant carrier at many of the airports under investigation, and has been getting effective subsidies of as much as €11 per passenger. There may be as much as €3 billion of taxpayers’ money given in EU-approved aid to small airports each year, and more that is not sanctioned.  EU laws ban state aid if it seriously distorts markets and though there have been many investigations into this, none has yet reached a conclusion. Some smaller airports will find it hard to pay Ryanair and other budget airlines enough to keep them flying there. With tighter rules, some of the 80-odd European airports with under 1m passengers will be at risk of closing.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=18014

.

.

and

Bankrupt Alitalia to get € millions of state aid from Italy’s state postal service

10.10.2013

The near-bankrupt Italian airline Alitalia is to receive an emergency capital injection from Italy’s state-owned post office. Italy’s government did not say how much Poste Italiane SpA, the Italian postal service, would be investing – but it might be up to €100 million.  The Italian government hope the link between  Poste Italiane and Alitalia would lead to a synergy of logistics, in passengers and cargo.  Italy’s civil aviation authority had warned just hours earlier that the airline risked being grounded if new financing was not found urgently. Alitalia needs some €455 million to stay afloat. The Italian government justified what amounted to state intervention saying Alitalia was considered a national asset.   It filed for bankruptcy in August, as high staff costs, industrial relations issues and surging oil prices further dented its finances. It is being suggested that Alitalia might be able to merge with Air France-KLM to help get it out of its financial problems. Alitalia went bankrupt in 2008, and was re-launched in 2009.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=17904

.

 

 

Read more »

“Let Britain Fly” taken to task for exaggerating and wrongly claiming London’s economy is being damaged by any lack of runway capacity

In a blog, John Stewart pours some cold water on the infant “Let Britain Fly” campaign launched today.  Its proud parent, London First, surrounded by a glittering array of big names from the business world, overdid the hyperbole.  Baroness Jo Valentine, chief executive of London First, said that it was not acceptable for politicians “to dither” over new runways “and let our economy wither.”   She even went on to ask somewhat over-dramatically, “Do we really want to become an also-ran in the global race?” Baroness Valentine must know this is exaggeration, even scaremongering. Whatever the pros and cons of expansion in the longer term, the facts are clear: there is no rush for a decision to be taken.  The DfT has said that there is enough spare runway capacity in London and the South East until nearly 2030.  And survey after survey shows that London remains the top city for business in Europe because of its unparalleled air connections to the rest of the world.  Let Britain Fly – and London First – will lose credibility if they continue to exaggerate the urgency of the need for expansion. Giving the impression that London’s economy is in crisis because of a lack of runways is simply not true.
.

 

19/11/2013

Hype and exaggeration mark the birth of Let Britain Fly

Blog on Let Britain Fly, By John Stewart

Let Britain Fly had a difficult birth today.  Its proud parent, London First, surrounded by a glittering array of big names from the business world, overdid the hyperbole.  Baroness Jo Valentine, chief executive of London First, said that it was not acceptable for politicians “to dither” over new runways “and let our economy wither.”   She even went on to ask somewhat over-dramatically, “Do we really want to become an also-ran in the global race?”

Baroness Valentine must know this is exaggeration, even scaremongering.  Whatever the pros and cons of expansion in the longer term, the facts are clear: there is no rush for a decision to be taken.  The Department for Transport has said that there is enough spare runway capacity in London and the South East until nearly 2030.  And survey after survey shows that London remains the top city for business in Europe because of its unparalleled air connections to the rest of the world.

The annual, and influential, survey, carried out by global property consultants Cushman & Wakefield, The European Cities Monitor rates London the top city in which to do business in Europe.  In 2011, it found London topped the league for the 22nd year out of 22.Cushman & Wakefield commented: “London is still ranked – by some distance from its closest competitors – as the leading city in which to do business. Paris and Frankfurt remain in second and third place respectively.”  The survey found London owes its position to its excellent links to the rest of the world. It has the best external transport, best internal transport and top telecommunications.  The 2012 survey produced the same result.

Despite the alleged “dithering” more passengers fly in and out of London than any other city in the world.  Paris, its nearest European competitor, is in 5th place.

There is a genuine debate to be had about future airport capacity but Let Britain Fly – and its parent body London First – will lose credibility if it continues to exaggerate the urgency of the need for expansion.

London First and its backers also face another challenge. It is easy for London to make general calls for airport expansion without exploring its impacts on local communities.

We hear the obligatory words that the needs of local residents must not be overlooked.   But it has never publically faced up to the question: is there any occasion when the environmental and social impacts of expansion at any particular airport are so unacceptable that expansion should be ruled out, whatever the economic benefits?  It needs to do so if it is to engage fully in the debate.

Let Britain Fly will have a gilded childhood.  £500,000 is going to be spent over the next two years.  But its parent body and supporters need to get over the excitement of its birth, calm down and stop giving the impression that London’s economy is in crisis because of a lack of runways.  It is simply not true.

.


.

Campaign – ‘Let Britain Fly’ – launched by London First, calls for urgent action to increase airport capacity

Date added: November 20, 2013

On 10th October, business lobby group London First announced it would be launching a new campaign called “Let Britain Fly”. It has now had its blast of publicity, with a splurge of media coverage. The campaign will cost £250,000 and London First is seeking £25,000 each from businesses, trade unions and London boroughs to fund it. They have got a number of Britain’s large companies, including Aberdeen Asset Management, Land Securities, Lloyds Banking Group, Next, Associated British Foods, WPP and many others to sign up. They want a new runway built somewhere, complaing the UK has not built a new one in the south east for 70 years. They want politicians of all parties to agree on the principle that airport capacity must be expanded in the South East “to ensure Britain remains competitive”. They want there to be no delays in getting a new runway built. The campaign stems from the questionable belief that airport capacity constraints threaten “to hamper the UK’s success as a global business centre and at the same time the ability to forge a lasting economic recovery”.

Click here to view full story…

 

.


.

Business leaders demand action on airport expansion

Virgin founder, Sir Richard Branson, believes that delays mean ‘airlines, the public and the economy are all suffering’
19 November 2013
 

Business leaders and senior backbenchers have lambasted politicians past and present for failing to expand airport capacity in South East England.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin empire, said: “While MPs from all parties kick airport capacity around like a political football, airlines, the public and the economy are all suffering.

“The UK can’t afford any more wasted opportunities. It must make sure that any solution is just that – a solution to the UK’s chronic capacity shortage, not an expensive, politically expedient white elephant.

Louise Ellman, chair of the Transport Select Committee, told The Independent: “Over past years, governments have failed to actually take a decision. They might have said what they thought should happen, but it’s never actually gone ahead. Time is now running out. If we don’t do something about expanding our hub capacity, our rivals will continue to expand to our detriment.”

The criticisms were made at the launch of a pro-expansion campaign funded by UK industry, called “Let Britain Fly”. More than 100 business leaders are demanding that the next government acts on the recommendations of the Airport Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies.

Interim proposals are due in December, with the full Davies Commission report expected shortly after the 2015 general election. Sir Howard has already indicated that his commission will favour at least one additional runway, but no political party has agreed to be bound by his recommendations.

John Allan, chairman of Dixons Retail, said “For too long, this issue has been placed in the ‘too difficult’ box. We can’t afford to be gifted amateurs in the world economy – we’ve got to become more professional. We need to come together on this issue and forge a cross-party agreement.”

Graham Brady MP, chairman of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee, said: “I meet business people in all parts of the north of England who are ‘muddling through’ by hubbing at airports on the Continent. I’d rather they were changing planes in London rather than in then Holland or Germany or Paris.”

But anti-expansion campaigners accused the new campaign of lacking focus. John Stewart of HACAN Clear Skies, which opposes a third runway at Heathrow, said: “It is too easy simply to make general calls for airport expansion without exploring its impacts on local communities. Let Britain Fly needs to do this if it is to become a serious player in the debate.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/business-leaders-demand-action-on-airport-expansion-8950427.html

.

.

 

 

 

Read more »

Campaign – ‘Let Britain Fly’ – launched by London First, calls for urgent action to increase airport capacity

On 10th October, business lobby group London First announced it would be launching a new campaign called “Let  Britain Fly”.  It has now had its blast of publicity, with a splurge of media coverage. The campaign will cost £250,000 and London First is seeking £25,000 each from businesses, trade unions and London boroughs to fund it. They have  got a number of Britain’s large companies, including Aberdeen Asset Management, Land Securities, Lloyds Banking Group, Next, Associated British Foods, WPP and many others to sign up. They want a new runway built somewhere, complaing the UK has not built a new one in the south east for 70 years. They want politicians of all parties to agree on the principle that airport capacity must be expanded in the South East “to ensure Britain remains competitive”. They want there to be no delays in getting a new runway built. The campaign stems from the questionable belief that airport capacity constraints threaten “to hamper the UK’s success as a global business centre and at the same time the ability to forge a lasting economic recovery”.
.

 

Expand Britain’s airports, top businesses urge

Leading British companies back a new campaign – ‘Let Britain Fly’ – calling for urgent action to increase airport capacity

Anti-austerity strikes cause flight cancellations

More than 100 businesses are backing a new campaign urging action on airport capacity. 
By , Leisure and Transport Correspondent (Telegraph)

19 Nov 2013

More than 100 of Britain’s leading companies, including Aberdeen Asset Management, Land Securities, Lloyds Banking Group and WPP on Tuesday joined forces to call for an end to almost 70 years of inertia over airport capacity in Britain.

A new campaign urging politicians to secure Britain’s future as a global business centre has attracted support from some of the biggest names in the City, including Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP, Rupert Soames of Aggreko, George Weston of Associated British Foods and Next chief executive Lord Wolfson.

The “Let Britain Fly” campaign will mark a significant development in the debate over new runways in the South East, which has so far been dominated by airports, airlines and business lobby groups.

While the campaign will stop short of backing a single solution, members hope politicians from across the spectrum will agree on the principle that airport capacity must be expanded in the South East to ensure Britain remains competitive.

A government-appointed commission examining where new runways should be built will not deliver its final recommendations until 2015, but it is understood business leaders are keen to avoid further delays which could be caused by a lack of political consensus.

In an article for The Telegraph ahead of today’s campaign launch, Sir Martin says capacity constraints threaten “to hamper the UK’s success as a global business centre and at the same time the ability to forge a lasting economic recovery”.

He adds: “We live in a world where connectivity is key – not only in digital but also in physical terms. This means we urgently need MPs to put our long-term national interest ahead of short-term politics”.

The campaign comes as Sir Howard Davies, chairman of the Airports Commission, prepares to publish a shortlist next month of the potential sites where extra runways, or even a brand new airport, could be built.

Britain has not opened a new full-length runway since the Second World War.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/10458373/Expand-Britains-airports-top-businesses-urge.html

.

The list of their signatories is at http://letbritainfly.com/our-signatories/


.

19/11/2013

Hype and exaggeration mark the birth of Let Britain Fly

Blog on Let Britain Fly, By John Stewart

 

Let Britain Fly had a difficult birth today.  Its proud parent, London First, surrounded by a glittering array of big names from the business world, overdid the hyperbole.  Baroness Jo Valentine, chief executive of London First, said that it was not acceptable for politicians “to dither” over new runways “and let our economy wither.”   She even went on to ask somewhat over-dramatically, “Do we really want to become an also-ran in the global race?”

Baroness Valentine must know this is exaggeration, even scaremongering.  Whatever the pros and cons of expansion in the longer term, the facts are clear: there is no rush for a decision to be taken.  The Department for Transport has said that there is enough spare runway capacity in London and the South East until nearly 2030.  And survey after survey shows that London remains the top city for business in Europe because of its unparalleled air connections to the rest of the world.

The annual, and influential, survey, carried out by global property consultants Cushman & Wakefield, The European Cities Monitor rates London the top city in which to do business in Europe.  In 2011, it found London topped the league for the 22nd year out of 22. Cushman & Wakefield commented: “London is still ranked – by some distance from its closest competitors – as the leading city in which to do business. Paris and Frankfurt remain in second and third place respectively.”  The survey found London owes its position to its excellent links to the rest of the world. It has the best external transport, best internal transport and top telecommunications.  The 2012 survey produced the same result.

Despite the alleged “dithering” more passengers fly in and out of London than any other city in the world.  Paris, its nearest European competitor, is in 5th place.

There is a genuine debate to be had about future airport capacity but Let Britain Fly – and his parent body London First – will lose credibility if it continues to exaggerate the urgency of the need for expansion.

London First and its backers also face another challenge. It is easy for London to make general calls for airport expansion without exploring its impacts on local communities.  We hear the obligatory words that the needs of local residents must not be overlooked.   But it has never publically faced up to the question: is there any occasion when the environmental and social impacts of expansion at any particular airport are so unacceptable that expansion should be ruled out, whatever the economic benefits?  It needs to do so if it is to engage fully in the debate.

Let Britain Fly will have a gilded childhood.  £500,000 is going to be spent over the next two years.  But its parent body and supporters need to get over the excitement of its birth, calm down and stop giving the impression that London’s economy is in crisis because of a lack of runways.  It is simply not true.

.


.

The “Let Britain Fly” campaign wrote to hundreds/thousands of people today to say:

http://letbritainfly.com

The Let Britain Fly founding statement has been signed by over 100 business leaders from Britain’s top companies, along with organisations including the British Chambers of Commerce, British Hospitality Association, Federation of Small Businesses, Institute of Directors, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and London First – you can view the full list and the statement on the website: http://letbritainfly.com

Let Britain Fly has successfully renewed the debate on how we secure Britain’s aviation future. It has received coverage in the FT, The Telegraph, BBC News online and ITV News, whilst figures including Sir Richard Branson, Sir Rod Eddington, Sir George Iacobescu and Sir Martin Sorrell have all written articles of support. Finally, the campaign has tonight been endorsed by a leader comment in the Evening Standard.

Whilst we are pleased with the coverage today, the launch of Let Britain Fly is merely the start of a programme of activity. Throughout this Parliament, in the run-up to the 2015 General Election and beyond, we will work hard to keep this issue at the top of the political agenda and maintain the pressure on our politicians to act in the national interest and take swift action to modernise our airports’ infrastructure.

With this in mind we hope you will join and support us in the coming months and years.

Gavin Hayes

Campaign Director, Let Britain Fly

c/o London First
3 Whitcomb Street, London WC2H 7HA
D: 020 7665 1435 T: 020 7665 1500 F: 020 7665 1537
gavin@letbritainfly.com  www.letbritainfly.com
Twitter: @LetBritainFly

 

.


.

Director, Gavin Hayes.

He has an interesting background. He joined London First on the 29th July as their Aviation Campaigns Director. He joined from a job as General Secretary of Compass, a left/green pressure group within the Labour Party. He’s a member of the Labour Party. He was formerly with an organisation called Policy Review Intelligence which seems to have been critical of the banking crises. Looking at his tweets on twitter, he is clearly a man of the left. Does all this mean, I wonder, if the main target of the London First campaign is Labour?

.


 

.

Earlier

London First getting businesses to fund campaign “Let Britain Fly” to press for airport expansion

10.10.2013London businesses are to fund a major campaign for airport expansion after Sir Howard Davies said the Airports Commission provisionally is backing new runways in the South-East. Business group London First will put pressure on the main political parties to heed the Commissions’s recommendations when published after the 2015 election. The “Let Britain Fly” campaign will cost £250,000 and London First is seeking £25,000 each from businesses, trade unions and London boroughs. The cash will be used to fund academic studies and advertising. The lobby group insists it will not campaign in favour of one particular airport. It believes extra flights can be put on at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick  in the next five years regardless of the outcome of a decision on runways. The City of London Corporation is set to contribute to the campaign, with Canary Wharf Group, Sir Robert McAlpine, the Berkeley Group, John Lewis and Segro also committed. “London First” is an aggressively pro-growth lobby organisation, whose stated mission is to “make London the best city in the world in which to do business.”http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=2653..


 

.

Their “founding statement” says:

Founding statement

Access to high quality international air travel is vital to attract new business to Britain and for the success of the wider economy. Yet unless action is taken in the near future to modernise our airport infrastructure our capital city could face an air capacity crunch. London Heathrow has been full for over a decade, whilst all of the capital’s airports, including Gatwick and Stansted are forecast to be full by the mid-2020s.Historically as a country we have always forged strong global connections and been at the forefront of harnessing the dynamism of new economies. For the last three centuries or more Britain has been home to the busiest port or airport, infrastructure that has played a strategic role in making us the economic power we are today.Now more than ever Britain’s economic competitiveness demands greater international connectivity. While trade patterns are dominated by traditional partners, global economic growth is increasingly being driven by emerging markets. Easy access to developing and developed markets is a key to boosting growth and creating jobs. Yet our capital city is already at a competitive disadvantage with fewer weekly flights than its European rivals to seven of the eight growth economies identified by the IMF. Over 20 emerging market destinations are served by daily flights from other European cities but not from London. Britain is quickly falling behind.If our economy is to flourish in the future it is vital we continue to be one of the best connected countries in the world. This is why we believe Britain remaining Europe’s most important aviation hub is of strategic national importance. If our politicians fail to act there is a real risk that our economy will lose its competitive edge. Aviation policy should form part of a wider transport and infrastructure plan which reconciles different economic priorities across Britain, with modernised aviation and transport infrastructure contributing to economic growth in all parts of the country.Whilst we support the Airports Commission in coming up with a sensible aviation policy, we have concerns that unless its solutions win cross-party support, the growing economic cost of deferring a strategy to deliver new runways – which is costing our economy billions in trade and investment every year – will not be halted.Our ask of politicians

Before the next general election we urge the three main party leaders to immediately acknowledge the need for more air capacity, commit to finding a cross-party solution to modernise our airport infrastructure; and in their manifestos commit to be guided by what the Airports Commission recommends for the long-term; pledging to maintain, protect and enhance Britain’s status as a global aviation hub.

It’s time to Let Britain Fly.

http://letbritainfly.com/founding-statement/

.


.

Media coverage of the launch on 19th November of “Let Britain Fly”

Read more »

Cameron pledges to tackle RAF’s ‘unacceptable’ noise at Brize Norton

David Cameron has pledged to tackle the “unacceptable level” of noise from RAF Brize Norton. The Prime Minister and Witney MP spoke over concerns about an increase in aircraft noise from the base.  It is now a main RAF destination after the closure of Wiltshire’s RAF Lyneham in 2011.  It has also seen the arrival of the C130 Hercules Force from Lyneham which residents say has increased noise levels still further.  Last year RAF Brize Norton said sorry after it emerged that some Hercules tests broke the Ministry of Defence noise guidelines.   Noise complaints have risen from 23 a year to 958 since Hercules aircraft were transferred to Brize Norton.   In November 2012 Brize Norton committed about £1.6m to reducing noise levels, and high power engine test runs near Black Bourton village, the worst affected, were banned. The Hercules has been the main cause for complaint. 

.

 

 

Cameron pledges to tackle RAF’s ‘unacceptable’ noise

RACKET: Villagers protest outside RAF Brize NortonRACKET: Villagers protest outside RAF Brize Norton
19 November 2013 (Lancashire Telegraph)

 by Thomas Burrows

DAVID Cameron has pledged to tackle the “unacceptable level” of noise from RAF Brize Norton.

The Prime Minister and Witney MP spoke over concerns about an increase in aircraft noise from the base.

It is now a main RAF destination after the closure of Wiltshire’s RAF Lyneham in 2011.

It has also seen the arrival of the C130 Hercules Force from Lyneham which residents say has increased noise levels still further.

Last year RAF Brize Norton said sorry after it emerged that some Hercules tests broke the Ministry of Defence noise guidelines.

Noise complaints have risen from 23 a year to 958 since Hercules aircraft were transferred to Brize Norton.

In November last year the air base committed about £1.6m to reducing noise levels, and high power engine test runs near Black Bourton village, the worst affected, were banned.

Mr Cameron said: “This is a serious issue, which I have been closely monitoring.

“My office and I have been in regular contact with the station to ensure that everything can be done to mitigate the unacceptable level of noise. I have also met with residents.”

Brize Norton Parish Council chairman Keith Glazier said: “I have the greatest regard for the RAF but we never had reason to complain until the arrival of the Hercules.

“The problem is noise in the middle of the night which means people are losing sleep.

“People can’t open their windows in the summer and are having to take time off work because they are not getting enough sleep.”

Mr Glazier fears the noise could get worse when the Airbus A400M Atlas aircraft start to replace the Hercules fleet late next year.

Station Road resident Clive Homer said: “Noise is a real problem which makes the planned development of 700 houses in Carterton East near the air base even more ridiculous.”

A base spokesman said there was no “silver bullet” solution but it will offer free triple-glazed windows if noise is not cut to a tolerable level.

http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/10817583.Cameron_pledges_to_tackle_RAF___s____unacceptable____noise/
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

Read more »

In response to the frequently asked question: “If not Heathrow, what….?” John Stewart sets out the arguments

Often asked, when campaigning against a third (or even fourth) runway at Heathrow, what are the alternatives, John has set some out. The options are not just to push the expansion to another site, like Gatwick or Stansted. The main points, replying to “If not Heathrow, what…?” are:  1. No new runways would be a viable solution if government chose to manage future air travel demand (through taxation on aviation) to meet existing capacity but at present there are no signs of that happening and it might need international or at least European agreement.  2. Even without demand management, there is enough capacity at airports in London and the South East for about the next 20 years.  With capacity restricted, market forces would kick in: airlines would choose to concentrate their long-haul, intercontinental flights at Heathrow, with some of the short-haul currently using the airport being moved elsewhere to take up existing spare capacity at those airports.  3. If a new runway is required, it is not essential for the health of London’s economy that it is built at Heathrow – because of the power of the attractiveness of London as an international destination.
.

 

 

If not Heathrow, what…….

Posted on 

Blog by John Stewart

HACAN’s opposition to Heathrow expansion is well-known.  However, people often ask us, what’s out alternative?  It is a legitimate question which I’m going to try to answer in this blog.

First, though, to restate our opposition to expansion and why it is at the root of everything we do.

We believe that Heathrow expansion is so damaging that it should not even be considered as an option, whatever its economic merits.

The figures are well-known.  According to the European Commission, over 725,000 people live under the Heathrow flights paths (astonishingly, 28% of all people impacted by aircraft right across Europe).  And even that is an underestimate: it excludes vast swathes of South East and East London where many of our members live.  In 2007 HACAN commissioned a report from the well-respected acoustics consultants Bureau Veritas which found that in places 20 miles from Heathrow “aircraft noise dominated the local environment.”http://www.hacan.org.uk/resources/reports/hacan.flight.paths.study.pdf.  In separate surveys, HACAN recorded more than 40 planes an hour flying over somewhere like the Oval Cricket Ground, about 18 miles from Heathrow and outside the area measured by the European Commission.

Heathrow Airport understands that noise is the biggest barrier to expansion.  In its submission to the Airports Commission, it has come up with many welcome measures to try to reduce noise levels but I don’t believe that any of the measures can get round the stark fact that a third runway is likely to bring at least 150,000 new people under a flight path.

Noise, so often the Cinderella pollutant, is, in our view, the insurmountable barrier to expansion at Heathrow.

What of the other impacts?  Air pollution already exceeds EU legal limits in a limited number of places around Heathrow. Heathrow Airport correctly points out that the levels are also exceeded in very many areas across London, with road traffic being the main culprit.  The future is difficult to predict but it is, at the very least, a leap of faith to argue that pollution levels will fall as a result of the introduction of cleaner planes and cars despite an increase in flight numbers from round 476,000 today to 760,000 with a third runway in place.

Climate change emissions would soar if a third runway was built at Heathrow.    According to the World Development Movement, flights from Heathrow’ s 3rd runway would emit same CO2 emissions in one year as the entire economy of Kenya:http://www.wdm.org.uk/flights-heathrows-third-runway-will-emit-same-greenhouse-gas-emissions-kenya ….

Of course a new runway anywhere would produce similar levels of CO2.  Sir Howard Davies, the chairman of the Airports Commission, has said that the Commission will be guided by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the official advisers to the Government.  The CCC argues that there could be a 55% increase in flights and still enable a future Government to meet its 2050 CO2 targets.  That would allow one new runway to be built in the UK but it assumes heavy CO2 cuts will take place in all other sectors of the economy.  Many leading environmental groups argue that the CCC has underestimated the impact of climate change and that Davies should rule out any future runways anywhere:   http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Joint-NGO-response-to-the-Airports-Commissions-emerging-thinking-on-airport-capacity-in-the-UK.pdf.

No new runways would be a viable solution if government chose to manage future demand to meet existing capacity.  An end to tax-free airline fuel and the imposition of VAT on tickets or a carbon tax would cut demand, particularly for leisure travel which is much more price-sensitive than business travel, and could end the need for new runways.  But Howard Davies is right to point out that is not Government policy and he is required to work within the current policy framework.

So what are the options?

When the current Government dropped plans for new runways in London and the South East in 2010, the Department for Transport worked on the assumption that market forces would kick in: that, over time, airlines would choose to concentrate their long-haul, intercontinental flights at Heathrow, with some of the short-haul currently using the airport being moved to take up the spare capacity at some of the other airports.  (At present, over 20% of flights at Heathrow are domestic or to near-Europe destinations).  This would allow for more direct flights from the BRIC countries to use Heathrow.  This option would clearly work in the short to medium term since the Department for Transport estimates there is enough capacity at existing airports in London and the South East for the next 20-25 years.  If, during that time, there were serious moves to tax aviation fuel or introduce a carbon tax (or if the price of oil shot up), the subsequent levelling off in demand may mean there would not be a call for future runways.

HACAN would acknowledge that Heathrow Airport Limited make a good economic argument for a third runway at Heathrow (though don’t quote that out-of-context!) : http://mediacentre.heathrowairport.com/Press-releases/One-hub-or-none-390.aspx.  But to us the more interesting debate, given our view that Heathrow should be ruled out of consideration, is whether Heathrow expansion is essential to the future health of the economy.

There are strong arguments to suggest that it is not.  In an independent survey of small and large businesses, 95 per cent of them said a third runway would make little or no difference to them (Survey by Continental Research, November 2008).  But the main reason the health of the London economy doesn’t depend on Heathrow growing as a hub is this:  more passengers (business people and tourists) terminate in London than in any other world city (Transport Statistics Great Britain 2011).  On the whole, they do not mind which London airport they use.  The Dutch economists CE Delft argued that a third runway was not required at Heathrow because, for business as a whole, other factors, such as the vibrancy of London’s financial centre, were of greater importance than the size of Heathrow (The economics of Heathrow expansion,2008).  Camilla Cavendish made the same point writing (about tax) in The Times (10/3/11):  London is attractive as a base to international companies because of “our open economy, time zone and language.”

This mass of people coming to London potentially provides the market for regular flights to be operated to the key cities of the world from any of London’s airports.  The economic vitality of Londonis not dependent on a third runway at Heathrow.  It is a point made forcefully by Gatwick Airport.  A two-hub solution is workable for a city like London because of its importance as an international destination.

HACAN has an agreement with our campaigning friends at Gatwick (and Stansted) that we don’t advocate expansion at their airports.  The only point we are making here is that, if a new runway is required, it is not essential for the health of London’s economy that it is built at Heathrow.

What of Boris Island?  HACAN members are divided over it.  In that, they reflect attitudes inWest London.  Some favour it because it would remove the noise from their areas.  Others are concerned that, if it were to be built, Heathrow, which employs 76,000 people directly, would need to close. BorisIsland, unless perhaps it was the option built far into the sea, would create noise problems for many people living in North Kent and intoSE London.  Indeed, according to evidence given by NATS (National Air Traffic Control) to the Transport Committee of the Greater London Authority, its noise footprint would stretch as far asCentral London.

There is also a debate over whether two new runways would be required.  The Mayor makes the point that a brand new airport could become the mega-hub for Europe on a par with mega-hubs, such asDubai, in other parts of the world.  He’s undoubtedly right that only a new off-shore airport (or an expanded Stansted) could fulfil that function.  Heathrow Airport, by contrast, argues that the UK should not look beyond one new runway given the uncertainty in predicting demand levels 30/40 years hence.   They maintain it is too difficult to gauge what will happen to oil prices, aviation taxes, climate change targets etc.

So, in conclusion, if not Heathrow, what….

1. No new runways would be a viable solution if government chose to manage future demand (through taxation on aviation) to meet existing capacity but at present there are no signs of that happening and it might need international or at least European agreement.

2. Even without demand management, there is enough capacity at airports in London and the South East for about the next 20 years.  With capacity restricted, market forces would kick in: airlines would choose to concentrate their long-haul, intercontinental flights at Heathrow, with some of the short-haul currently using the airport being moved to take up the spare capacity at some of the other airports.  (about 35% of  passengers using Heathrow are on short haul flights  link )

3. If a new runway is required, it is not essential for the health of London’s economy that it is built at Heathrow because of the attractiveness of London as an international destination.

 

http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=163

.


.

.

.

.

.

 

Read more »

Stop Stansted Expansion challenge to Airports Commission on apparent bias going to High Court on Friday 22nd Nov

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) will go to the Royal Courts of Justice on Friday 22 November to present its case that a key element of the work carried out by the Airports Commission has been tainted by apparent bias and needs to be done afresh. SSE’s legal challenge stems from the involvement of Geoff Muirhead, who was appointed to the Airports Commission. He had retired as MAG’s chief executive in October 2010 after 22 years with the Group but he was then immediately appointed as their highly paid ambassador, a role he continued to fulfil even after he was appointed to the Commission.  Mr Muirhead resigned from the Commission on 20 September 2013, shortly after SSE began its legal challenge. He was directly involved in determining the Commission’s ‘sift criteria’ for deciding the most suitable airport expansion options and SSE believes that these are clearly skewed to favour expansion at Stansted. SSE will be asking the High Court to order the Commission to re-determine the ‘sift criteria’ and to delay the publication of any short-list of options until the sift criteria have been re-determined.
.

 

JUDGE OUSELEY TO HEAR SSE’S HIGH COURT CHALLENGE

18.11.2013 (SSE)

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) will go to the Royal Courts of Justice on Friday 22 November 2013 at 10.00am  to present its case that a key element of the work carried out by the Airports Commission has been tainted by apparent bias and needs to be done afresh.

The Honourable Mr Justice Ouseley will hear the case.

SSE’s legal challenge stems from the involvement of Geoff Muirhead, former chief executive of the Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which owns Stansted Airport. Mr Muirhead was one of five commissioners appointed to the Airports Commission last year. He had retired as MAG’s chief executive in October 2010 after 22 years with the Group but he was then immediately appointed as a highly paid ambassador to MAG, a role he continued to fulfil even after he was appointed to the Airports Commission.

Mr Muirhead resigned from the Commission on 20 September 2013, “by mutual consent” with the Secretary of State for Transport, shortly after SSE began its legal challenge.

Mr Muirhead was directly involved in determining the Commission’s ‘sift criteria’. These are, in effect, the selection criteria for deciding the most suitable airport expansion options and SSE believes that these are clearly skewed to favour expansion at Stansted Airport.

SSE will be asking the High Court to order the Commission to re-determine the ‘sift criteria’ for assessing airport expansion options and to delay the publication of any short-list of options – due to be published next month – until the sift criteria have been re-determined.

SSE Chairman Peter Sanders said: “We first expressed our concern about Mr Muirhead’s role on the Commission on 4 February 2013, and subsequently sent a further five letters to the Chairman of the Commission and the Secretary of State re-iterating our concerns. All of this was completely ignored until we began our legal challenge but by that time Mr Muirhead’s involvement had tainted the work of the Commission. That is why it is not enough just to remove Mr Muirhead from the Commission at this advanced stage and that is why we will be asking the High Court to order the Commission to re-visit certain key decisions made by the Commission during the time that Mr Muirhead was involved.”

Mr Sanders concluded: “This is a fight for fairness and with proposals before the Airports Commission to make Stansted the world’s biggest airport, it is a fight that we cannot shirk.”
NOTES

· MAG has asked the Airports Commission to endorse the development of a second runway at Stansted and also to consider the option of Stansted becoming the UK’s future hub airport, to replace Heathrow and grow to handle up to 160 million passengers per annum (mppa). By way of comparison, Stansted handled 17.5 mppa last year, Heathrow 70 mppa, and the world’s busiest airport, Atlanta, USA, 95 mppa.

· Mr Muirhead was paid £82,000 in his first six months as MAG’s ‘ambassador’ and subsequently received consultancy fees of £150,000 per annum, in addition to his £95,000 annual pension.

· Acting for SSE in this matter are barristers Paul Stinchcombe QC and Ned Helme of Thirty Nine Essex Street Chambers and solicitors Richard Stein and Ugo Hayter of Leigh Day LLP.

www.stopstanstedexpansion.com

.


.

Earlier:

Stop Stansted Expansion lodged papers at High Court alleging Airports Commission criteria “infected by apparent bias” due to Geoff Muirhead

Brian Ross, the economics advisor for Stop Stansted Expansion, with a solictor colleague outside the Royal Courts of Justice today

October 15, 2013       The Stop Stansted Expansion group (SSE) have lodged papers at the Royal Courts of Justice alleging that the criteria being applied to decide on possible options for new runway sites in England are “infected by apparent bias”. SSE want High Court judges to order the Government-appointed Airports Commission to delay the publication of any shortlist of options until the “sift criteria” have been re-determined. They argue that there was apparent bias because Geoff Muirhead, a recently-resigned member of the Commission, had a conflict of interest. Mr Muirhead is a former chief executive of Manchester Airports Group (MAG), the owners of Stansted since February. He stepped down from the Commission three weeks ago after SSE warned Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin they would take legal action if he stayed. “For almost a year, Mr Muirhead was allowed to play a pivotal role on the Commission.” The High Court is being asked to order the Commission “to re-visit certain key decisions made by the Commission during the time that Mr Muirhead was involved”. Brian Ross, from SSE, said: “With proposals on the table from MAG to make Stansted the world’s busiest airport with four runways handling up to 160 million passengers a year, there is far too much at stake to allow the issue of apparent bias to go unchallenged.”         Click here to view full story…

 

 

Stop Stansted Expansion says of the Airports Commission: A tainted process – a dubious conclusion

October 9, 2013      Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) is disappointed that the Airports Commission has formed the preliminary view that extra runway capacity is needed in the south east of England. In his speech on 7th October 2013, the chairman of the Airports Commission, Sir Howard Davies said that his Commission had not been persuaded by the arguments against expansion. In SSE’s view, the arguments for more runway capacity in the south east are dangerously weak and they will be taking up Sir Howard’s invitation to comment on his preliminary conclusions. SSE believes the UK, as a whole, already has more than enough runway capacity to meet the DfT forecasts to 2050, and well beyond. Regarding the recent resignation of Geoff Muirhead from the Commission, due to ties with MAG, SSE said they are mounting a legal challenge on bias – due to Mr Muirhead’s influence – in formulating the “sift criteria” and there will be more information on that next week.     Click here to view full story…

 

.

.

.

.

.

 

Read more »

Opinion (LibDem Robin Meltzer): “Heathrow expansion: big money versus public health”

Robin Meltzer is the prospective LIb Dem candidate for the Richmond Park seat (current incumbent is Zac Goldsmith). In a blog in Liberal Democrat Voice he says the LibDems are strictly against any 3rd Heathrow runway, and against all night flights at  Heathrow. He reiterates the fact that over 725,000 people are already affected by noise from Heathrow, making it the airport the noise from which affects more than any other in Europe. This causes health problems.  He says: “A 3rd or 4th new runway ….. would lead to the destruction of homes and entire villages. It would be an environmental outrage and a noise pollution disaster for hundreds of thousands of residents, including people not currently affected. Yet the whole pro-expansion side of the issue, which is rolling in money and spending it furiously, is able to get its views across forcefully and frequently in the media. So it is important to challenge the assumptions and myths.”….”It’s not exactly rocket science to realise that the massive industry that has grown up around lobbying for expansion serves well the people who would benefit from it. “
.

 

AirportWatch is non-political, and does not support any political party.  The blog is copied below, for information.

 

Robin Meltzer

Opinion: Heathrow expansion: big money versus public health

14th November 2013  (Liberal Democrat Voice)

This week’s ‘advertorials’ from Heathrow Hub were just the latest example of the role big money plays in the so-called aviation ‘debate’ in West London.  [Heathrow Hub had very expensive full page adverts in the major broadsheet newspapers – costing well over £200,000 in total.  AW].

Heathrow Hub, by the way, is not Heathrow airport. In fact the Heathrow Hub website is run by the Maitland PR firm on behalf of business men who have an option on the land around Heathrow.

Heathrow [airport]’s rival PR team accuse Heathrow Hub (following so far?) of coming up with plans which fail to “provide respite from noise for local residents.” Which may well be true but would probably receive more sympathy from people in my neck of the woods if it did not come from a company which itself was investing so heavily in lobbying for more night flights and up to two new runways.

For those who do not live in London or the South East, it is worth quickly recapping the facts – the sort of things you won’t find mentioned in the advertorials from Heathrow hub, the massive adverts from Heathrow plastered around London, or the sponsored events at party conferences.

Before any expansion option is even considered, over 725,000 people are already affected by noise from Heathrow. [Heathrow’s own info at link ]. 

No airport in Europe comes even close to that level of noise pollution. In fact, half of all the people in Europe affected by aircraft noise live under the Heathrow flight path.

Yes, you read that correctly. Of all the citizens in all of Europe who suffer from aircraft noise, half of them live near me!

This is not some NIMBYish complaint or simply an irritant. People close to the airport are more likely to suffer health problems and high levels of stress and anxiety due to exposure throughout the day from aircraft noise.

Just last month, a study in the British Medical Journal became the latest to address the issue.  It found the risks of stroke, heart and circulatory disease are higher in areas with a lot of aircraft noise. The study of 3.6 million residents near Heathrow Airport suggested the risks were 10-20% higher in areas with the highest levels of aircraft noise.

The health impacts of living with constant aircraft noise are particularly serious when it comes to Heathrow because of the night flights regime which currently sees thousands of people living under the flight path woken up before 5am. These night flights rid residents of their few hours of respite from aircraft noise.

The Liberal Democrats passed a new resolution at our conference in Brighton in 2012, explicitly committing the party to a policy of no night flights at Heathrow (except, of course, for emergencies). It is very difficult to imagine any business-case for jet-lagged trans-continental commuters arriving in London for a working day beginning at 5am.

A third or fourth new runway at an airport positioned so close to a residential part of our capital city would lead to the destruction of homes and entire villages. It would be an environmental outrage and a noise pollution disaster for hundreds of thousands of residents, including people not currently affected.

Yet the whole pro-expansion side of the issue, which is rolling in money and spending it furiously, is able to get its views across forcefully and frequently in the media. So it is important to challenge the assumptions and myths.

London already has more runways than any European city with the exception of Paris (and far more passengers fly in and out of London than Paris link). There is existing capacity in the UK which is under-used, not least because the airlines are still using the slots at Heathrow for small planes which are not even full. And passengers from regional airports are travelling through Heathrow to get to the continent, on planes which take up slot space, with no incentive to change.

But what about the economy, the pro-expansion lobby ask. How can we continue to compete without better connectivity?

Of course London must be connected to the world – and especially to the fast growing emerging markets. But Heathrow expansion is not the answer. Richmond Heathrow Campaign (RHC) is a non-partisan anti-expansion pressure group which has made a series of proposals to the Davies Commission looking into aviation capacity. RHC point out that figures from 2010 show that UK business long-haul accounts for just 2% of the UK’s total 182m passengers. Foreign business long-haul passengers coming into the UK is also at just 2%. Foreign leisure long-haul (eg. Chinese tourism which benefits our economy) is at 5% and UK leisure long-haul (so people leaving the UK) is 11%. So longhaul represents 20% of the market, excluding transfers. When you then factor in how badly used our city’s and country’s existing airport capacity is, the real picture starts to emerge.

It doesn’t suit all the players in this game to highlight the inefficiencies. Why, for example, does Heathrow say it is full at 70m passengers a year when Terminal 5 was supposed to provide capacity for 90m a year? Does it suit Heathrow more to just continually push for expansion rather than to help manage the UK’s existing capacity properly?

Heathrow is a company; it naturally wants to expand.

It’s not exactly rocket science to realise that the massive industry that has grown up around lobbying for expansion serves well the people who would benefit from it. But let’s not forget that any proposals from either Heathrow or Boris Johnson for large-scale aviation expansion could only ever be made good with lots of money from the public purse.

However cynical the lobbying has become, though, let us be in no doubt why the Heathrow expansion issue is back as a clear and present danger. It’s because the Conservatives are divided and chaotic on an issue that affects hundreds of thousands of residents. The Conservative Mayor of London says he would like Heathrow to shut down altogether. Meanwhile, senior Conservatives in Parliament say we should actually be building not just a third but a fourth runway there. This constant confusion is unfair on residents who were told at the last election that the Tories had seen the light and would oppose expansion at Heathrow.

We need a strategy combining the existing and under-used capacity of Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick – and indeed regional airports so that passengers stop having to go via Heathrow to get to Europe. Investing in transport infrastructure to link our existing airports is the sustainable way to go.

The Liberal Democrats continue to provide the only rational and consistent approach: we are opposed to a third runway, we have blocked it in this Parliament, we were the only Party to vote against it in Select Committee this year, and we continue to oppose all night flights.

To join our campaign, visit www.no3rdrunway.org.uk

* Robin Meltzer is the Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Richmond Park, North Kingston & New Malden.  [Constituency currently the seat of Conservative Zac Goldsmith]. 

http://www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-heathrow-expansion-big-money-versus-public-health-37185.html

.

.


Zac Goldsmith’s  page on Heathrow is at
.
.
.
.
.

Read more »

BA fears cuts to early morning Heathrow flights before 7am – says cuts would have “dramatic impact” on business travellers

British Airways wants to keep as many flights into Heathrow in the early morning as it can. It is saying it does not want restrictions on flights before 7am.  BA’s head of sales and marketing Richard Tams said any further restrictions on landings at Heathrow between 04.30 and 07.00 each day could have a “dramatic impact on business travellers.” Currently only 16 flights are allowed to land at Heathrow between 04.30 and 06.00 with a total of 65 take-offs and landings allowed between 06.00 and 07.00 each day. The current night flights regime will remain in place till October 2017.  BA says “These early morning flights are critical because a lot of flights from the US and the Far East land during this period – they are critical for people transiting through London.” Not letting BA have these flights – which are deeply unpopular with thousands of Londoners, who get woken up too early – would, says BA, “dramatically impact the schedule we could offer out of London.”  Usual situation – it’s a question of the health and quality of life (and sleep) for thousands, up against t he ability of BA to make more money.

 

.


BA fears cuts to early morning Heathrow flights

by Rob Gill

14 Nov 2013 (Buying Business Travel)

British Airways has warned of the impact of any attempt to increase restrictions on early morning flights into Heathrow.

BA’s head of sales and marketing Richard Tams said any further restrictions on landings at Heathrow between 04.30 and 07.00 each day could have a “dramatic impact” on business travellers.

Currently only 16 flights are allowed to land at Heathrow between 04.30 and 06.00 with a total of 65 takeoffs and landings allowed between 06.00 and 07.00.

Tams said this was still a major issue for BA, despite the current night flights regime being extended until October 2017 by the Department for Transport earlier this week.

“These early morning flights are critical because a lot of flights from the US and the Far East land during this period – they are critical for people transiting through London,” said Tams during the Carlson Wagonlit Travel Exchange for the TMC’s clients in London.

“Any attempt to restrict these flights further would have a very dramatic impact on Heathrow and major carriers at the airport. It would dramatically impact the schedule we could offer out of London.

“It’s still a concern to us – despite the regulators extending the current regime a couple of days ago – because they were going to extend the existing restrictions and still seem to be open to more restrictions at Heathrow.”

The DFT has also extended current night flight regulations at Gatwick and Stansted until 2017.

The decision has been made not to make any changes to night flight regulations until after the Airports Commission has reported on whether the UK needs more runway capacity in the south-east and where any extra runways should be built.

Tams repeated BA’s fears about the impact the government’s Air Passenger Duty was having on business travel and trade to the UK.

He also called for a relaxation in some of the UK’s visa rules – particularly the requirement for nationals of 50 countries to acquire transit visas even though they will not enter the UK.

.
.
Heathrow live flight arrivals can be seen at 
.

.

This article has come from a re-hash of a report by Oxford Economics (nothing to do with Oxford University) that routinely produces work that is very pro-aviation expansion – for aviation clients.
This story is about their report done in 2011, for BA and BAA called The economic value of night flights at Heathrow

Abstract

​This report prepared by Oxford Economics for British Airways and BAA (now Heathrow Airport Ltd) in 2011 reviewed the economic value of flights operated during the Night Quota Period (NQP) and flights operated during the overall Night period at Heathrow. The report looked at direct, indirect and induced economic impacts of night flights and included modelling the impact of banning flights during the NQP and the Night period. It also provided a detailed critique of a previous cost-benefit study on the topic.

(104 pages)

http://www.oxfordeconomics.com/my-oxford/projects/245739

 

One of the paragraphs in the report’s “executive summary” states: ”

When these “indirect” and “induced” impacts are taken into
account, we estimate, conservatively, that the total economic
impact of NQP flights across the UK (i.e. direct, indirect and
induced) was some £342 million in value added in 2011,
supporting 6,600 jobs and contributing £64 million in UK tax
revenue.” 

This is fairly typical of the Oxford  Economics style, hugely over-estimating and even double counting jobs and economic benefits. (see http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=2597 for examples of previous exaggerations by Oxford Economics0).

 

Read more »

“Have regional airports had their day in the sun?” Plans by some for business parks, housing etc in future

The Northern Echo writes: “Have regional airports had their day in the sun?” They look at loss-making regional airports, after the news that Manston and Prestwick are to effectively be sold for £1 each.  Others are surviving on bail-outs from taxpayers.  From Prestwick to Newquay, numbers of passenger at UK regional airports plummeted after 2007 as airlines withdrew flights and consolidated services at the major hubs in response to a reduction in both leisure and business traffic. Durham Tees Valley has been particularly badly hit, and continues to lose money – perhaps £4 million this year. Its owner, Peel, are proposing a business park with housing for the airport, and that sort of plan is becoming commonplace. Peel have launched similar plans at Robin Hood Airport, which includes a pub, offices, and industrial buildings. Newcastle airport’s masterplan aims to include 2 business parks. Cambridge has a scheme to build up to 1,500 homes on land adjacent to the airport, and Manston wants to develop a campus with student accommodation.
.

 

Loss making airports sold for £1, but will to see them survive is out there

14th November 2013   (Northern Echo)

By Andy Richardson

Have regional airports had their day in the sun?
Have regional airports had their day in the sun?

LOSS-MAKING regional airports are changing hands for as little as £1 and surviving on bail-outs from taxpayers.  Business Editor Andy Richardson looks at the race to keep the regions flying.

REGIONAL airports took a battering during the recession.

From Prestwick to Newquay passenger numbers plummeted after 2007 as airlines withdrew flights and consolidated services at the major hubs in response to a reduction in both leisure and business traffic.

The controversial UK flight tax Air Passenger Duty (APD) had a disproportionate effect on regional operations.  [The airlines and airports like to blame Air Passenger Duty, which is not a  realistic claim as APD is only £13 for any short haul return flight to European destinations (£26 for a domestic return flight). This always ignores the way in which airlines try to add charges to the cost of travel for anything they can think of, and also bump up the cost of fares in popular times such as school holidays – they don’t show the same concern about the iniquity of a £13 tax in relation to those. ] 

Larger regionals, such as Newcastle International, Leeds/Bradford and Manchester managed to weather the worst effects of the downturn, but Durham Tees Valley (DTV) was among the hardest hit, suffering a 77 per cent drop in passenger numbers.

It will record losses of about £4m this year, and owners Peel expect the operation will continue to haemorrhage cash unless its latest rescue bid takes off.

Peel has repeatedly insisted that it regards DTV as a long-term investment. Other regional operators have lost patience and cut their losses.

This week, New Zealand firm Infratil wrote-off the assets of its UK airports, Glasgow Prestwick and Manston in Kent.

The company said it had reduced the value of both sites from £14.5m a year ago to zero.

The announcement came as the Scottish government entered talks with Infratil over buying the unprofitable Prestwick operation.

Manston Airport is being bought for £1 by Ann Gloag, who co-founded the Stagecoach Group.

Prestwick, where Elvis Presley touched UK soil for the first and only time, in 1960, is also expected to be sold for £1.

Ministers hope to conclude negotiations with the company next week in a deal that will re-nationalise a piece of Scottish infrastructure that possesses strategic and economic significance.

Official figures predict that passenger numbers will recover slowly as the economy edges into recovery mode, prompting regional airports to look for other means of generating income.

The model that Peel is proposing at DTV, which incorporates a business park with housing, is becoming commonplace.

Peel has already launched similar plans at Robin Hood Airport near Doncaster, which includes a pub, offices, industrial buildings, along with new roads and footpaths.

Manchester’s proposal for an airport city is well underway.

Backed by investment from the Chinese government it will create more than 400,000 sq m of business space as well as a hotel, conference centre and shops.

Newcastle International’s masterplan aims to almost double passenger numbers, and create thousands of jobs by 2030 via two business parks.

Cambridge International has a scheme to build up to 1,500 homes on land adjacent to the airport,  (see link) and Kent International has plans to develop a campus with student accommodation.  (see link).  [Manston say there would be an airport campus outside the airport and adjacent to it, with ” a combination of student accommodation – 500 units, 300 low cost houses for rent and 700 houses for sale;” ]

Southend Airport, backed by a £100m cash injection from owners the Stobart Group, is one of the few regional operations which has seen an increase in passenger numbers. Peel has insisted that a mixed use site is the best way forward for DTV, and that no Plan B is in reserve if its latest rescue bid fails to get off the ground.

 http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/business/news/10807077.Loss_making_airports_sold_for___1__but_will_to_see_them_survive_is_out_there/?ref=rl
.
.

.

Housing at heart of Durham Tees Valley Airport blueprint for future

14th November 2013

By Joe Willis, Regional Chief Reporter  (Northern Echo)

A BLUEPRINT to secure the long-term future of Durham Tees ValleyAirport (DTVA) will be unveiled today – with the sale of land for housing at the heart of the rescue plan.

Bosses say the development of up to 400 homes would generate millions of pounds for investment back in the airport.

The money would be used to pay for nine new hangars, 9,600 sq m of office space and industrial units covering 16,820 sq m to expand the existing Northside Employment Park.

According to DTVA strategic planning director Peter Nears, author of the DTVA Master Plan 2020 and Beyond, rent from the new occupants would make the airport viable and protect existing scheduled flights to Aberdeen and Schiphol, in Holland.

“The airport has land assets, which provide the development opportunities we must pursue if we are to improve the whole DTVA operation.”

The 180-page plan could be used to convince the Government to approve funding towards the first phase of the long-awaited Southside industrial park after two previous bids for regional growth fund money failed.

Delivery of the plan would create up to 3,800 new jobs, plus a further 450 jobs during construction phases and add more than £348m to the regional economy, the airport claims.

As well as protecting existing routes, bosses say it could help secure new routes to other UK and European destinations.

The publication of the plan comes after DTVA confirmed the airport was cancelling the majority of its holiday charter services in a bid to cut costs – a move which will lead to an unconfirmed number of redundancies.

The plan proposes between 250 and 400 homes on land to the west and north of the terminal, including a field previously earmarked for a business park.

The housing would include areas of open space and children’s play areas on site.

The terminal building will be reduced in size and remodelled. An extension to St George’s Hotel is also proposed.

The two-month consultation begins today and runs until January 10.

Doris Jones, Darlington Borough Council member for Middleton St George, has immediately expressed concern about the houses.

She said developers had already targetted the village for more than 700 homes.

“People are fed up with developers wanting to build houses upon houses and no services to go with them and now the airport wants to build 400 more.

“The school can’t cope with one more child and the surgery is bursting at the seams.”

Stockton South MP James Wharton also spoke out last night criticising the consultation process, with no consultation event proposed outside Darlington or the airport.

However, Darlington MP Jenny Chapman welcomed the master plan.

“This wouldn’t have been anyone’s first choice as a way forward for the airport, however if we want to keep DTVA open we need to be flexible and we have to settle for a compromise,” she said.

Sedgefield MP, Phil Wilson said he would like to hear the views of his constituents.

But he added: “It would seem that Peel and DTVA have come up with a plan which would secure the future of the airport in the long to medium term with the potential of creating many more jobs in the area to complement those created in Newton Aycliffe by Hitachi.”

North East Chamber of Commerce chief executive, James Ramsbotham, also backed the rescue plan, describing it as “bold and ambitious”.

To view the master plan, visit dtva-master-plan.co.uk

Consultations events will be held at the St George Hotel at DTVA on November 21 and at the Dolphin Centre, in Darlington, on November 28. More events are planned, the airport said.

 http://www.darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk/news/10807005.Housing_at_heart_of_Durham_Trees_Valley_Airport_blueprint_for_future/
.

.


.

CAA data showing the regional airports where passenger numbers have fallen:

All of 2012

From CAA data December_2012_Airport_Statistics

AIRPORT Number of flights in 2012 % change in flights from 2011 Terminal passengers in 2012 % change in passengers  from 2011
TOTAL OF UK AIRPORTS that have reported so far (20.1.2013)  1,880,730 -1.5 200,331,803217,787,803 +0.9
HEATHROW          471,390 -1     69,983,174 +0.9
GATWICK          240,456 -1.7     34,220,418 +1.7
MANCHESTER          160,490 +1.6     19,655,333 +4.5
STANSTED (from Heathrow website) 131,409 - 4 17,456,700 - 3.2
LUTON            71,792 -0.5      9,614,423 +1.1
EDINBURGH          102,905 -2.1      9,194,434 -2
BIRMINGHAM            84,090 +0.3      8,916,209 +3.6
GLASGOW            72,319 +3.4      7,150,231 +4.3
BRISTOL            50,664 -3.8      5,916,286 +2.6
LIVERPOOL            35,856 -21.4      4,458,638 -15
NEWCASTLE            43,666 -2.2      4,354,730 +0.4
EAST MIDLANDS            54,757 +0.6      4,067,915 -3.3
ABERDEEN            98,823 +4.2      3,328,602 +8
LONDON CITY            64,310 +5.3      3,016,664 +0.8
LEEDS BRADFORD            30,227 -8.6      2,968,708 +1.1
BELFAST CITY            35,921 -11.4      2,246,202 -6.3
SOUTHAMPTON            38,645 -5.5      1,693,478 -3.9
JERSEY            37,040 -2.3      1,441,780 -1.3
PRESTWICK 8,156 -18.3      1,066,917 -17.6
CARDIFF            13,966 -13.1      1,013,386 -16.1
GUERNSEY            33,964 -9.7         862,369 -4.2
ISLE OF MAN            22,996 -2.7         695,610 -0.7
EXETER            12,106 1.4         695,058 -2
DONCASTER SHEFFIELD 4,381 -24         693,129 -15.6
BOURNEMOUTH  7,196 15         689,913 +12.6
SOUTHEND 7,268 477.3         616,974 +1353.8
CITY OF DERRY (EGLINTON) 3,114 -18.9         398,209 -1.8
SCATSTA            13,626 4.6         304,426 +5.6
BLACKPOOL  9,607 8         235,191 -0.2
HUMBERSIDE            12,523 -2.5         233,687 -14.4
NEWQUAY 4,747 -31.3         166,272 -20.7
DURHAM TEES VALLEY  4,202 -17.9         164,826 -13.4
ISLES OF SCILLY (ST.MARYS)            10,157 -4.5           97,012 -13.6
ALDERNEY 6,652 -10.4           64,165 -7.7
DUNDEE  2,706 -4.8           54,642 -11.4
LANDS END (ST JUST) 5,785 5.3           31,964 -3.4
MANSTON (KENT INT)  687 -53.3             8,262 -77.8
OXFORD (KIDLINGTON) 723 963.2             6,599 +342.6
LERWICK (TINGWALL) 1,547 0.5             5,042 -2.7
SHOREHAM  435 -22.7               480 -24.3
LYDD   97 -4.9               445 -10.3
COVENTRY   738 276.5                  - 0
.

.

Marshall plans 1,500 homes near Cambridge airport

The owner and operator of Cambridge airport, Marshall Group, will shortly submit plans for a mixed residential and commercial development on a 125 acre site north of Newmarket Road and High Ditch Road.

4 Feb 2013

As well as the new homes, the plans are likely to include a school, a commercial hub, a new petrol filling station, playing fields and open space amenity land, the Marshall Group said in a statement. The new development will be named ‘Wing’.

The development land is owned by Marshall of Cambridge, which is part of the Marshall Group.

“Since our foundation in Cambridge in 1909, Marshall has been a cornerstone of the local community and we are very proud of our contribution to the skills base and the creation of employment which has been of benefit to the local economy,” said Marshall Group chief executive Robert Marshall.

“We are also very aware of the shortage of good quality housing to support the needs of Cambridge’s growing economy, and our employees.  This long term project represents the start of an exciting period of investment in the growth of our businesses,” Marshall said.

“Marshall has a good track record of community involvement and listening to residents and we will be encouraging them to continue doing this,” said Councillor Lewis Herbert to a local newspaper when Marshall first revealed its plans in November.

“The site is on one of the most congested and difficult roads in the city and ensuring that it is a high quality development with excellent transport links will be key to its success, especially in making sure that it fits in with the existing and strong communities in Abbey and Fen Ditton,” Herbert said.

Subject to approval of the planning application, construction of the site is likely to begin in 2015.

http://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2013/february/marshall-plans-1500-homes-near-cambridge-airport/

Read more »

Prestwick Airport to be sold to Scottish Government for £1 – and other failing regional airports look to business parks and housing

Infratil, which currently owns Prestwick Airport, has said the airport is expected to be sold to the Scottish Government for £1.  The sale is due to be completed by Wednesday, 20 November. Infratil said the airport’s value had been “fully impaired” – effectively written off – after Prestwick and sister airport Manston in Kent were collectively valued at £11 million in March.  Infratil bought Prestwick from Stagecoach in 2001 for £33m.  Manston is being sold to Stagecoach founder Ann Gloag for an expected £400,000. Scottish Ministers are taking over Prestwick airport, which is losing £7m a year, to avert its closure and safeguard 1,400 jobs, including 300 at the airport. Infratil described its investment in the airports to have been “unsuccessful for Infratil” and that while such regional airports looked like a good investment 5 years ago, they now are not as  they are reliant on “robust air traffic growth driving demand.” Other failing airports are looking to  create business parks on their land, and housing – to try and make money out of them.
.

 

Prestwick Airport set to be sold for £1

  • by ALASTAIR DALTON (Scotsman)
  • 12th November 2013

PRESTWICK Airport is expected to be sold to the Scottish Government for £1, owner Infratil said today.

The sale of the loss-making Ayrshire airport is due to be completed by Wednesday, 20 November.

Infratil said the airport’s value had been “fully impaired” – effectively written off – after Prestwick and sister airport Manston in Kent were collectively valued at £11 million in March.

The firm bought Prestwick from Stagecoach in 2001 for £33m.

Ministers are taking over the airport, which is losing £7m a year, to avert its closure and safeguard 1,400 jobs, including 300 at the airport.

In a statement, the New Zealand firm said: “The Scottish Government notified Infratil of its intention to pursue an acquisition of Prestwick Airport by 20 November. It is expected that the sale price will be £1.”

Manston is being sold to Stagecoach founder Ann Gloag for an expected £400,000.

Infratil described its investment in the airports to have been “unsuccessful for Infratil”, which showed the potential for “game changing” events.

The firm said: “Five years ago, such airports were much sought after by investors, but the global financial crisis and onerous green taxes on airlines materially changed the prospects of ‘edge of city’ airports, which were reliant on robust air traffic growth driving demand.

“While the financial outcomes were very poor, Infratil has shown it is a responsible owner, even during very lean times.

“The airports were kept operational and will be sold in better condition than they were purchased.

“Best wishes are extended to the new owners and the management and staff who have done a great job through a trying period.”

http://www.scotsman.com/news/transport/prestwick-airport-set-to-be-sold-for-1-1-3185181

.


 

.

 Earlier:

Glasgow Prestwick Airport may be given to the Scottish Government for nothing

October 11, 2013

The owners of Glasgow Prestwick, New Zealand company Infratil, have suggested they may give away the airport for nothing. The Scottish government has announced it is negotiating to buy the unprofitable airport, and hopes to conclude detailed negotiations with the company by 20 November. Scottish government said it was the “only realistic alternative to closure”. In a statement on its website, the company said it did not expect any transaction “to give rise to material proceeds”. Prestwick was put up for sale last March after heavy annual losses. Several investors expressed interest but no offers were made. Infratil has also been trying to sell its other unprofitable UK airport, Manston. In May 2013, Infratil announced that it had written down the value of both airports to £11m. Infratil has agreed to ensure the airport is kept fully open and operational during the negotiation process. In 2012 Prestwick had around 1 million passengers, compared to 2.4 million at its peak in 2005.

Click here to view full story…

 


 

Loss making airports sold for £1, but will to see them survive is out there

14th November 2013

By Andy Richardson

Have regional airports had their day in the sun?
Have regional airports had their day in the sun?

LOSS-MAKING regional airports are changing hands for as little as £1 and surviving on bail-outs from taxpayers.  Business Editor Andy Richardson looks at the race to keep the regions flying.

REGIONAL airports took a battering during the recession.

From Prestwick to Newquay passenger numbers plummeted after 2007 as airlines withdrew flights and consolidated services at the major hubs in response to a reduction in both leisure and business traffic.

The controversial UK flight tax Air Passenger Duty (APD) had a disproportionate effect on regional operations.

Larger regionals, such as Newcastle International, Leeds/Bradford and Manchester managed to weather the worst effects of the downturn, but Durham Tees Valley (DTV) was among the hardest hit, suffering a 77 per cent drop in passenger numbers.

It will record losses of about £4m this year, and owners Peel expect the operation will continue to haemorrhage cash unless its latest rescue bid takes off.

Peel has repeatedly insisted that it regards DTV as a long-term investment. Other regional operators have lost patience and cut their losses.

This week, New Zealand firm Infratil wrote-off the assets of its UK airports, Glasgow Prestwick and Manston in Kent.

The company said it had reduced the value of both sites from £14.5m a year ago to zero.

The announcement came as the Scottish government entered talks with Infratil over buying the unprofitable Prestwick operation.

Manston Airport is being bought for £1 by Ann Gloag, who co-founded the Stagecoach Group.

Prestwick, where Elvis Presley touched UK soil for the first and only time, in 1960, is also expected to be sold for £1.

Ministers hope to conclude negotiations with the company next week in a deal that will re-nationalise a piece of Scottish infrastructure that possesses strategic and economic significance.

Official figures predict that passenger numbers will recover slowly as the economy edges into recovery mode, prompting regional airports to look for other means of generating income.

The model that Peel is proposing at DTV, which incorporates a business park with housing, is becoming commonplace.

Peel has already launched similar plans at Robin Hood Airport near Doncaster, which includes a pub, offices, industrial buildings, along with new roads and footpaths.

Manchester’s proposal for an airport city is well underway.

Backed by investment from the Chinese government it will create more than 400,000 sq m of business space as well as a hotel, conference centre and shops.

Newcastle International’s masterplan aims to almost double passenger numbers, and create thousands of jobs by 2030 via two business parks.

Cambridge International has a scheme to build up to 1,500 homes on land adjacent to the airport, and Kent International has plans to develop a campus with student accommodation.

Southend Airport, backed by a £100m cash injection from owners the Stobart Group, is one of the few regional operations which has seen an increase in passenger numbers. Peel has insisted that a mixed use site is the best way forward for DTV, and that no Plan B is in reserve if its latest rescue bid fails to get off the ground.

 http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/business/news/10807077.Loss_making_airports_sold_for___1__but_will_to_see_them_survive_is_out_there/?ref=rl
.
.

.

Housing at heart of Durham Tees Valley Airport blueprint for future

14th November 2013

By Joe Willis, Regional Chief Reporter

A BLUEPRINT to secure the long-term future of Durham Tees ValleyAirport (DTVA) will be unveiled today – with the sale of land for housing at the heart of the rescue plan.

Bosses say the development of up to 400 homes would generate millions of pounds for investment back in the airport.

The money would be used to pay for nine new hangars, 9,600 sq m of office space and industrial units covering 16,820 sq m to expand the existing Northside Employment Park.

According to DTVA strategic planning director Peter Nears, author of the DTVA Master Plan 2020 and Beyond, rent from the new occupants would make the airport viable and protect existing scheduled flights to Aberdeen and Schiphol, in Holland.

“The airport has land assets, which provide the development opportunities we must pursue if we are to improve the whole DTVA operation.”

The 180-page plan could be used to convince the Government to approve funding towards the first phase of the long-awaited Southside industrial park after two previous bids for regional growth fund money failed.

Delivery of the plan would create up to 3,800 new jobs, plus a further 450 jobs during construction phases and add more than £348m to the regional economy, the airport claims.

As well as protecting existing routes, bosses say it could help secure new routes to other UK and European destinations.

The publication of the plan comes after DTVA confirmed the airport was cancelling the majority of its holiday charter services in a bid to cut costs – a move which will lead to an unconfirmed number of redundancies.

The plan proposes between 250 and 400 homes on land to the west and north of the terminal, including a field previously earmarked for a business park.

The housing would include areas of open space and children’s play areas on site.

The terminal building will be reduced in size and remodelled. An extension to St George’s Hotel is also proposed.

The two-month consultation begins today and runs until January 10.

Doris Jones, Darlington Borough Council member for Middleton St George, has immediately expressed concern about the houses.

She said developers had already targetted the village for more than 700 homes.

“People are fed up with developers wanting to build houses upon houses and no services to go with them and now the airport wants to build 400 more.

“The school can’t cope with one more child and the surgery is bursting at the seams.”

Stockton South MP James Wharton also spoke out last night criticising the consultation process, with no consultation event proposed outside Darlington or the airport.

However, Darlington MP Jenny Chapman welcomed the master plan.

“This wouldn’t have been anyone’s first choice as a way forward for the airport, however if we want to keep DTVA open we need to be flexible and we have to settle for a compromise,” she said.

Sedgefield MP, Phil Wilson said he would like to hear the views of his constituents.

But he added: “It would seem that Peel and DTVA have come up with a plan which would secure the future of the airport in the long to medium term with the potential of creating many more jobs in the area to complement those created in Newton Aycliffe by Hitachi.”

North East Chamber of Commerce chief executive, James Ramsbotham, also backed the rescue plan, describing it as “bold and ambitious”.

To view the master plan, visit dtva-master-plan.co.uk

Consultations events will be held at the St George Hotel at DTVA on November 21 and at the Dolphin Centre, in Darlington, on November 28. More events are planned, the airport said.

 http://www.darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk/news/10807005.Housing_at_heart_of_Durham_Trees_Valley_Airport_blueprint_for_future/

Read more »