When new Prime Minister Theresa May left Downing Street for her first Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday 20 July, she couldn’t miss the gathering of campaigners protesting against a 3rd Heathrow runway. This was just a reminder to the Maidenhead MP that residents currently living under the threat of a bigger Heathrow, want an announcement that a 3rd runway will never be built. A banner urged Theresa May to “Save us from a third runway.” People living in the villages of Harmondsworth and Sipson also want Theresa May to appreciate that they have spent decades under threat. Each new plan for expansion at Heathrow puts homes at real risk of demolition. The last proposal (2002-2010) would have flattened Sipson and part of Harmondsworth. This time round almost all of Harmondsworth would be under concrete with Sipson initially on the boundary but quickly engulfed by airport development. People in the Heathrow villages say though politicians decry the lack of human rights in other countries, they ignore the fact that the British government has repeatedly ill-treated people living near Heathrow. Robert Barnstone, Campaign Co-ordinator for Stop Heathrow Expansion, said: “We are sending Theresa May a reminder that she should not change her views on a third runway at Heathrow.” Residents around Heathrow want the threat of the 3rd runway ended for good.
Theresa May’s First PMQs Prompts Runway Protest
20.7.2016 ( Stop Heathrow Expansion)
When new Prime Minister Theresa May left Downing Street for her first Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday 20 July, she couldn’t miss the gathering of campaigners protesting against a third runway at Heathrow.
This was just a reminder to the Maidenhead MP that residents currently living under the threat of a bigger Heathrow, want an announcement that a third runway at the airport will never be built.
A banner urged Theresa May to “Save us from a third runway.
People living in the villages of Harmondsworth and Sipson also want Theresa May to appreciate that they have spent decades under threat. Each new plan for expansion at Heathrow puts homes at real risk of demolition.
The last proposal (2002-2010) would have flattened Sipson and part of Harmondsworth. This time round almost all of Harmondsworth would be under concrete with Sipson initially on the boundary but quickly engulfed by airport development. In the past the Heathrow village of Harlington was earmarked for bulldozing, this time round it would be overflown as aircraft take off and land only metres away. Longford village, which has also been under threat before, was significantly impacted by Terminal 5 and now faces being wiped off the map if either the third runway or Heathrow Hub options are approved.
When politicians decry the lack of human rights in other countries, they ignore the fact that the British government has repeatedly ill-treated people living near Heathrow. If Theresa May announces a third runway at Heathrow she knows that a legal case against it is guaranteed.
Communities in the Heathrow Villages to the north have been starved of investment in favour of more airport development. None of the villages has a library, four out of five villages have no doctor or dentist, the only leisure facility (a small swimming pool built for children) is managed as a charity by volunteers. A council park with sports pavilion in Harlington has been taken over by Heathrow private hire vehicles that have made it a no-go area for locals.
Other areas suffer in different ways, particularly because they have had little or no say about being overflown. It has been proved that, although Heathrow claims aircraft are quieter, the way that aircraft are flown is actually increasing noise and annoyance for thousands of people.
In parliament, Theresa May’s responses to questions shocked political commentators. Mrs May appeared to have adopted a Margaret Thatcher-style aggression. Our new PM has strongly opposed Heathrow expansion in the past so it is hoped that, like Mrs Thatcher, the lady’s not for turning.
Robert Barnstone, Campaign Co-ordinator for Stop Heathrow Expansion, said: “We are sending Theresa May a reminder that she should not change her views on a third runway at Heathrow.
“Now, as prime minister, it is for her government to deliver the verdict that so any residents around Heathrow want; to end the threat of the third runway for good.”
The chair of HACAN (Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise) John Stewart added: “We know from her past statements that Theresa May is no fan of Heathrow expansion. We are gathering to remind her that she now has the power to stop it.”
A decision on a new runway in the southeast could be made “within weeks” after the new transport secretary, Chris Grayling, who replaces Patrick McLoughlin, said the government had to “move rapidly” on the issue. Given the strength of feeling on the issue, it is unlikely that a decision will be taken during the parliamentary summer recess. MPs start their summer break on Thursday and return on September 5th. So a decision could be made between 5th and 15th September. Mr Grayling, interviewed yesterday on BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend, said: “I am very clear that I want to move rapidly with a decision on what happens on airport capacity. It is a decision that will be taken collectively by the government. “We have a quasi-judicial role so I’m not going to say today whether I prefer Gatwick or Heathrow … I’m going to look at this very carefully in the coming weeks.” He added: “What I’ll be saying to the business community today is I think we need to take a rapid decision to provide certainty on what’s going to happen and that will be my objective.” Patrick McLoughlin had said last month that a final decision was unlikely to be taken before October, but that was in the expectation of there being no new Prime Minister until September. Logically, it would take the new Transport Secretary many weeks to fully understand the brief, and the highlycomplex issues involved.
With the arrival of Theresa May as the new Prime Minister, a new Cabinet, and a new Transport Secretary (Chris Grayling replacing Patrick McLoughlin) the battle of Heathrow and Gatwick is hotting up. Even further than before. There is a new flurry of announcements, and spurious polls, and surveys of various sorts – as well as just plain spin. Both airports are attempting to capitalise on uncertainty about Brexit and its (as yet unknown) consequences, and rather than suggest a sensible delay to consider how Brexit pans out, are trying to make out that their runway will be even more vital in a post-Brexit Britain. Especially threatened by Theresa May’s record of statements against a 3rd runway, Heathrow is pulling out all the stops. It has produced research proving how inferior Gatwick would be in terms of “connecting the UK to the world” and global growth and emerging markets etc etc. Heathrow says, as is quite true and well known, that Gatwick has few long-haul flights, those it has are largely for leisure purposes, and many of its long-haul flights are not frequent. Many airlines start long-haul routes at Gatwick, and transfer to Heathrow as soon as the chance arises. Heathrow says in the last 6 years, Gatwick lost 7 long haul routes to emerging markets, and gained 2, but in that time Heathrow lost 3 and gained 9 routes to emerging markets.
Heathrow’s press release:
New research confirms Heathrow expansion is essential for post-Brexit Britain
Frequent*, long-haul connections have increased at Heathrow since 2010 despite capacity constraints – whilst Gatwick has seen a net loss
Gatwick has consistently struggled to sustain frequent flights to emerging markets, despite having spare capacity
** ‘Frequent’ is defined as more than 100 flights a year or around twice weekly on average.
New research by Frontier Economics confirms that only Heathrow can sustain the frequent, long-haul routes to emerging markets that will be key to the UK’s strong economic future and the Government’s Brexit plan.
Gatwick Airport has long claimed it can provide the global connectivity needed to boost the British economy, heralding new emerging market connections as evidence that it is “in the premier league of long-haul airports”.
Yet the new research shows that it would be a gamble for the UK to stake its future connectivity on those claims. While Gatwick can sustain some frequent long-haul routes, mostly to leisure destinations, it cannot sustain the frequent long-haul routes to emerging markets that businesses in Britain needs for trading in a post-Brexit era.
Both Gatwick and Heathrow have lost and gained new long-haul routes in the period between 2010 and 2016:
Gatwick made a total net loss of four, frequent long-haul routes – despite having spare capacity.
By contrast, Heathrow, with capacity constraints, made a net gain of six new, frequent long-haul connections.
But it is the type of routes won and lost by Gatwick which shows it cannot adequately sustain routes to emerging markets. Between 2010 and 2016:
Gatwick lost 12 routes, seven of which were to emerging markets including Mexico City, Beijing and Jakarta. And while it gained eight new long-haul routes only two were to emerging markets: Lagos and Lima.
By contrast, Heathrow lost 10 long-haul routes, of which three were to emerging markets but it gained 16 new long-haul routes of which nine were to emerging markets including Jakarta, Guanghzhou and Chengdu.
Another clear differential is the frequency of services. Of the 83 long haul destinations served by Heathrow, 52 are daily connections, compared to Gatwick’s nine. Research has shown that one of the key factors to increasing trade with emerging markets is a direct air flight, which helps deliver up to 20 times more trade possible when there is a one.
The findings paint a clear picture as to why long-haul airlines overwhelmingly choose to operate from a hub airport like Heathrow. The demand created by a combination of direct and transfer passengers with freight makes such routes viable and more frequent. That’s why as the UK’s global hub, Heathrow’s connections allow British exporters to trade with all the growing markets of the world, strengthening Britain’s position as one of the great trading nations.
Commenting on the figures, Heathrow’s Director of Strategy Andrew MacMillan said:
“A global, outward looking, nation needs Heathrow expansion now more than ever. Even with Heathrow at capacity, this analysis clearly shows that Gatwick is unable to sustain long-haul, emerging market routes.
Whilst Gatwick is a great point-to-point airport, only Heathrow has the passenger demand and freight infrastructure that makes trading routes to Asia, Africa and the Americas viable long-term.
At a time of uncertainty, Heathrow expansion would create up to 180,000 jobs and up to £211bn in economic benefit, [These figures are very questionable. AW comment] which is why a third runway is key to the Government’s Brexit plan. Any other option would be a high-risk gamble with Britain’s economic future.”
Many of the airlines providing new connections and with an increased frequency have waited years for available slots at Heathrow and some have switched from Gatwick because of the demand the hub provides. For example:
Garuda Indonesia switched its service from Gatwick to Heathrow in 2016 after a seven-year wait. In doing so it was able to increase its service frequency from three to five flights a week and introduced the UK’s first non-stop flight to Indonesia because of demand at Heathrow;
Charlotte Douglas, a major US financial centre and energy business centre and one of the fastest growing areas in the USA, was only served daily from Gatwick but it is now served in twice-daily in a joint venture between American Airlines and BA, since moving to Heathrow;
Hanoi was a twice-weekly service but is now served three times a week since Vietnam Airlines moved to Heathrow from Gatwick.
Critical to Heathrow’s success in winning and sustaining long-haul routes is air freight – carried in the cargo hold of passenger aircraft.
As the Airports Commission report stated:
“Heathrow is by far the largest and most important UK airport for freight.”
It went on to state that Heathrow is “better placed to accommodate high frequencies of less thick long-haul connections and … thus more attractive for freight handling. Another attractive feature of Heathrow for the freight sector is its central position on the strategic road network.”
By comparison “as there currently is only a limited freight-handling operation at Gatwick, any significant growth in the cargo sector at Gatwick would require a significant investment by third parties to develop freight-handling facilities. The scheme’s masterplan does not explicitly provide for additional freight-handling capacity”.
Only Heathrow has plans to significantly increase its cargo-handling capacity to exploit the opportunities that greater connectivity brings for British businesses trading with existing and new markets.
Andrew MacMillan added: “Quite simply, this new research confirms the same conclusion that the Airports Commission came to, that increased connectivity is best served by expanding Heathrow.”
Notes to editors:
The research is based on the industry standard Official Airline Guide (OAG) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) data between 2010 and 2016. Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) bought Gatwick in 2010.
‘Frequent’ is defined as more than 100 flights a year or around twice weekly on average.
During the period 2010 to 2016:
Gatwick lost 12 long haul routes, of which 7 were to emerging markets, they were:
Seoul, South Korea
Mexico City, Mexico
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Gatwick gained 8 new long haul routes, of which 2 are to emerging markets:
Lagos, Nigeria and
Heathrow lost 10 long haul routes, of which 3 were to emerging markets:
Heathrow gained 16 new long haul routes, of which 9 were to emerging markets:
Britain’s airport war gets dirty: Heathrow releases dossier of rival’s failures, as Gatwick woos new London mayor
By RUPERT STEINER FOR THE DAILY MAIL
15 July 2016 (This is Money)
Gatwick struck a blow in its bid to win the war for a second runway as it secured £200m from investors and the support of the London Mayor.
Britain’s second busiest airport announced it would pump cash in to expanding its north and south terminals, bring in new shops, bigger immigration halls and have more gates for airplanes.
The investment was unveiled by the capital’s mayor Sadiq Khan who gave Gatwick a further boost by calling on the Government to choose the airport as the home to a new runway.
It escalates the war between Gatwick and Heathrow over which should be expanded to boost the UK’s airport capacity.
A report by Sir Howard Davies recommended building at Heathrow to improve the UK’s airport capacity. It was hoped the publication of the Davies report would solve the crisis.
In February former Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said that he hoped the Government would finally make its choice by the summer.
Asked this week about the decision, new Chancellor Philip Hammond suggested no decision would be made until the Cabinet had reviewed the report.
The announcement by Gatwick comes a day after Heathrow launched an attack on Gatwick that attempted to torpedo its case for a second runway.
It produced a 20-page presentation in which it claimed Gatwick had lost 12 long-haul routes in six years, seven of which were to emerging markets including Mexico City, Beijing and Jakarta.
In that time Gatwick had only gained eight, Heathrow’s report claimed. Gatwick dismissed the claims.
Backing Gatwick, Khan said: ‘The new Prime Minister [Theresa May] has a very important decision to make regarding new airport capacity, and I urge her to rule as swiftly as possible in favour of a second runway at Gatwick, which would bring substantial economic benefits.’
The funding for Gatwick comes from private equity backer Global Infrastructure Partners. It brings the total investment over the coming five years to £1.2billion.
A quick decision on expanding the UK airport capacity is considered crucial to ensure continued economic growth following Brexit. The battle between the two airports is fierce.
Heathrow looked like it was a shoo-in following the Davies report but they face a new hurdle as the Prime Minister’s constituency is in Maidenhead under the flight path of Heathrow.
Gatwick might have the support of the mayor but it will have to overcome some hurdles. Heathrow will invest over £3billion at the airport, which is three times what Gatwick will spend over the same period.
Gatwick’s railway station is also bursting at the seams. Commuters already suffer one of the worst railway lines in the country, the Brighton main line.
Gatwick expansion will add 90,000 extra passengers a day to a line that is already at capacity.
A Heathrow spokesman said: ‘Britain leaving the EU means that Heathrow expansion is more vital than ever. ‘It will allow British exporters to trade with all the growing markets of the world, strengthening Britain’s position as one of the great trading nations.’ The spokesman added: ‘It’s essential we get this decision right and Heathrow is the right choice for a stronger economy.’
Campaign group HACAN has unearthed archive material, from Theresa May’s website, which reveals that the new Prime Minister has been a fierce opponent of a third runway at Heathrow, for many years. Her comments on Heathrow since 2008 are copied here. For example, in January 2009 in response to the decision by the Labour Government to give the go-ahead to a 3rd runway, she said: “I know from all the letters and emails I get that many local people will be devastated by the Government’s decision. A third runway will result in thousands of additional flights, increased noise and more pollution for thousands of people. The Government’s promises on the environmental impact of this are not worth the paper they are written on – there are no planes currently on the market that would allow them to meet their noise and carbon dioxide targets. …. We need a better Heathrow, not a bigger Heathrow.” And “my constituents face the prospect of a reduction in their quality of life with more planes flying overhead, restriction in driving their cars locally and a far worse train service in Crossrail. I hope that the Secretary of State recognises that as a result of today’s announcement, nobody will take this Government seriously on the environment again.” In March 2008 she said: “The Government needs to show that expansion is consistent with national targets for tackling climate change and cutting CO2 emissions,” She has also consistently expressed concern about night flights.
Archive material reveals the extent of new Prime Minister’s opposition to a 3rd runway at Heathrow
By John Stewart, HACAN
Campaign group HACAN has unearthed archive material which reveals that the new Prime Minister Theresa May has been a fierce opponent of a third runway at Heathrow. The information comes from material posted on the Prime Minister’s old website (1).
In response to the decision by the Labour Government to give the go-ahead to a third runway in 2009, May said:
“I know from all the letters and emails I get that many local people will be devastated by the Government’s decision. A third runway will result in thousands of additional flights, increased noise and more pollution for thousands of people. The Government’s promises on the environmental impact of this are not worth the paper they are written on – there are no planes currently on the market that would allow them to meet their noise and carbon dioxide targets. As I suspected all along, the Government paid no attention to the opinions expressed by members of the public and have decided to push ahead with expansion despite all the environmental warnings. We need a better Heathrow, not a bigger Heathrow.”https://web.archive.org/web/20130103045701/http://www.tmay.co.uk/news/111/theresa-speaks-out-against-governments-decision-to-approve-a-third-runway-at-heathrow
The archives also show that May has consistently expressed concern about night flights.
HACAN chair John Stewart said, “There must now be a real question mark over a third runway. Heathrow will argue that its proposals now offer more to residents than the 2009 plan but these archives make very clear that we have a Prime Minister who has expressed strong opposition to Heathrow expansion.”
Notes for Editors:
(1). The key links (See the actual content on these links, copied below)
Theresa May has been praised by the Executive Director of ‘Friends of the Earth’, Andy Atkins, for playing her part in driving the Climate Change Bill through Parliament and into law. The Bill establishes a legally-binding set of carbon budgets which run until 2050 when the UK must have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 80% below 1990 levels.
Theresa said, “I am thrilled to see that after years of Conservative pressure, we have finally passed a necessary and ambitious piece of legislation on Climate Change. Britain is the first country in the world to formally bind itself to cut greenhouse emissions and I strongly believe this will improve our national and economic security.”
“To stay reliant on fossil fuels would mean tying ourselves to increasingly unstable supplies which could endanger our energy security and the Climate Change and Energy Bills mark an important step for both the health of our economy and the health of our nation. It is now vital that we stick to these targets. I will continue to put pressure on the Government over the third runway at Heathrow as an extra 222,000 flights a year would undermine our national targets and seriously damage the health of the local community.”
May’s hostility to new Heathrow runway revealed in deleted files
By Graeme Paton (The Times)
The prime minister’s attacks on airport expansion have been unearthed years later, writes Graeme Paton
A third runway at Heathrow would devastate the lives of thousands of people living under the flight path, Theresa May warned while in opposition.
A deleted web archive shows that the prime minister made repeated attacks on plans for development of the airport, in west London, while serving in the shadow cabinet under David Cameron in the late 2000s. In one statement she predicted that a third runway would result in “additional flights, increased noise and more pollution”, insisting that the country needed a “better Heathrow, not a bigger Heathrow”.
The comments underline the scale of opposition to Heathrow previously voiced by Mrs May, the MPfor Maidenhead, which lies 15 miles to the west of the airport.
The revelation will create further speculation that the new leadership may be hostile to the £17.6 billion third runway scheme, in the face of mounting pressure to expand Gatwick airport instead.
Yesterday it emerged that Philip Hammond, the new chancellor, has previously called for Gatwick to be expanded and given a super-fast rail link to Heathrow, creating a “Heathwick” hub.
Other key figures in the new cabinet such as Boris Johnson, foreign secretary, and Justine Greening, education secretary, are openly hostile to the Heathrow proposal.
The disclosure was made as Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, used a speech yesterday to urge Mrs May to approve a second runway at Gatwick instead, insisting that it was the better option for London.
He made the appeal despite the fact that expansion of Heathrow was the overwhelming recommendation of the government-created airports commission last year. It found that Heathrow would generate far greater economic benefits and would link Britain to a better range of profitable long-haul destinations.
Airlines have also strongly backed the expansion of Heathrow.
Sources close to the airport have insisted that Mrs May’s views on the subject are more nuanced than those of other critical Conservative MPs — suggesting that she would be swayed by the commission’s recommendation when a final decision is taken on expansion in the months ahead.
However, anti-Heathrow activists unearthed a web archive yesterday that revealed her to be a fierce opponent of the airport while in opposition in the mid-to-late 2000s. Pages from the MP’s website, which appear to have been archived, contained one press release from early 2009 voicing anger over the previous Labour government’s decision to approve a third runway.
She said her constituents faced the “prospect of a reduction in their quality of life with more planes flying overhead” from Heathrow.
“I know from all the letters and emails I get that many local people will be devastated by the government’s decision,” she said.
“A third runway will result in thousands of additional flights, increased noise and more pollution for thousands of people.”
In 2008, before Labour made its decision on the matter, she said: “I hope that the government will recognise the widespread hostility to Heathrow expansion and say no to a third runway.”
When the new coalition government cancelled the third runway she released a further statement saying: “Like many local residents, I strongly welcome cancellation of the third runway at Heathrow. Expanding Heathrow in this way would have had a detrimental effect.”
The material was obtained by the Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise.
Heathrow supporters insist that any criticism of the airport in the past is irrelevant, as the third runway scheme now envisaged is very different to plans submitted under Labour.
Yesterday Mr Khan threw his weight behind a second runway at Gatwick in his first big speech on airport expansion since winning the mayoral election in May. It came as the West Sussex airport announced a £200 million investment in the airport to expand its north and south terminals, upgrade its shopping facilities and create larger immigration halls.
“There’s now one obvious choice for Theresa May to take: a second runway here at Gatwick,” he said.
A Heathrow spokesman countered: “The airports commission disagree with Sadiq Khan and Gatwick. Following an independent, £20 million, two-and-a-half-year deep-dive into the issue of airport capacity, they confirmed that Heathrow expansion could provide the capacity the UK needs more easily and quickly than any other option.
“Brexit makes the commission’s conclusion that, with Heathrow expansion ‘the benefits are significantly greater, for business passengers, freight operators and the broader economy’, even more persuasive.”
Sadiq Khan, as well as being Labour Mayor of London, is the MP for Tooting. He has backed a new runway at Gatwick since June 2015. Before that he backed Heathrow, but realised the negative impacts of it would be too great (and his support of it would make him unelectable). He now says Theresa May should allow Gatwick a runway, as soon as possible. In November 2015, Sadiq announced that a second runway at Gatwick would create 20,000 extra jobs in Croydon and the surrounding area, (Tooting is next door to Croydon). So that would all be very convenient, to get some local popularity. That would be especially as nobody in London would be in any way inconvenienced (or have their quality of life reduced) by the 200,000 or more annual flights overhead per year – and the increased local air pollution. Other south London boroughs have been enthusiastic, in a frighteningly NIMBY manner, about a Gatwick runway, for the prospects of jobs, and avoiding any more noise from Heathrow flights. Sadiq appears not to appreciate that Gatwick does not help show the “UK is open for business”; it is primarily a leisure airport. It is in entirely the wrong place to help the whole of the UK, and its expansion will merely serve to facilitate the tourism deficit, as Londoners and those in the south east spend more abroad.
London mayor Sadiq Khan joins Gatwick bosses in call for new runway
Key political figure shares stage with airport executives and calls for Theresa May to rule out controversial Heathrow expansion
Gatwick’s campaign to win approval for a second runway has been boosted as the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, joined executives at the airport calling on the new prime minister to back expansion at Heathrow’s rival.
Khan said Gatwick had “put together a formidable plan that is a fantastic display of their confidence in London”. [Odd words ?]
While Khan had already made his support for Gatwick known, the event marks the first time since the Airports Commission was established in 2012 that a key political figure has shared a stage with executives at the contending airports to declare their partisan support.
Gatwick’s chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said: “As Gatwick rapidly approaches full capacity, this increased investment paves the way for our second runway project. It is now clear that only Gatwick can deliver the runway Britain needs to boost international competitiveness and trading links at a time when it is most needed, and we can do that before 2025.”
The debate over where to build a new runway around densely populated Londonhas been raging for more than 25 years, with environmental opposition to expansion at Heathrow preventing earlier proposals being developed there.
David Cameron had promised to make a decision by the end of last year on whether a new runway should be built at Britain’s largest airport, Heathrow, or Gatwick, but then backed away from a controversial issue that divided the Conservatives.
The Airports Commission recommended in July last year that a third runway at Heathrow should be built, but in December the Department forTransport (DfT) announced that further investigation into noise, pollution and compensation was needed.
Last month the DfT said the decision had been deferred until “at least October” following Cameron’s resignation as prime minister.
A Heathrow spokesman said the Airports Commission had disagreed with Khan, adding that Brexit loaded the dice further in favour of the west London location.
“Following an independent, £20m, two-and-a-half-year deep dive into the issue of airport capacity, they confirmed that Heathrow expansion could provide the capacity the UK needs more easily and quickly than any other option.
“Brexit makes the commission’s conclusion that, with Heathrow expansion, ‘the benefits are significantly greater for business passengers, freight operators and the broader economy’ even more persuasive.”
However, campaigners believe that the tide has turned against Heathrow. The campaign group Hacan republished archive material which showed that the new prime minister fiercely opposed the third runway in 2009, telling constituents: “We need a better Heathrow, not a bigger Heathrow.”
The chancellor, Philip Hammond, declared his support for Gatwick in an article in his local constituency newspaper in 2013, while the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, and the education secretary, Justine Greening, have long opposed Heathrow expansion.
Hacan’s chair, John Stewart, said: “There must now be a real question mark over a third runway. Heathrow will argue that its proposals now offer more to residents than the 2009 plan, but these archives make very clear that we have a prime minister who has expressed strong opposition to Heathrow expansion.”
Sadiq Khan: Second Gatwick runway could create 20,000 extra jobs in Croydon
25 Nov 2015
A second runway at Gatwick would create 20,000 extra jobs in Croydon and the surrounding area, Sadiq Khan has claimed. Sadiq Khan is Tooting Labour MP and London mayoral candidate. [If all those people want to get down to Gatwick to work, they will have to endure the crowded trains and traffic congestion on the roads, along with the extra passengers. The transport infrastructure at Gatwick is not up to that pressure of numbers].
Labour’s London mayoral candidate used a visit to the airport on Friday to reaffirm his support for expanding Gatwick, rather than building a third runway at Heathrow.
Mr Khan said: “Not only is expansion at Gatwick crucial for our future prosperity as a global city, it will be a major catalyst for job and growth in Croydon and south London. 20,000 jobs would be created in Croydon and the surrounding area – there’s no excuse for not getting on with expansion as soon as possible.”
Gatwick has fewer frequent, long-haul routes flying from its runways today than it did in 2010, leading rival Heathrow to claim that allowing the Sussex airport to build a new runway would be a “high-risk gamble”.
Heathrow’s claims were immediately dismissed by Gatwick as “increasingly desperate”. But the new figures from Frontier Economics, commissioned by Heathrow, show that in the past six years Gatwick has lost 12 long-haul routes that airlines were flying at least twice weekly on average, seven of which connected the UK to emerging markets such as Mexico City, Beijing and Jakarta.
In that time it has only gained eight new frequent long-haul routes, meaning a net loss of four, despite its runway having spare capacity.
Not to be outdone by the hopes of Heathrow and Gatwick to get another runway, Stansted is getting in on the act, and saying they will be wanting a runway in due course too. Stansted was not assessed by the Airports Commission, as Stansted had no need of a new runway, being far below capacity. The Airports Commission partly understood that, to even try to keep within the carbon cap for aviation of 37.5MtCO2 by 2050, the addition of one runway would be difficult [it risks UK carbon targets] but it still suggested that by 2040, even if building a runway by 2030, another would be “needed.” Stansted has said in the past that it would like a 2nd runway some time after 2035. Its owners, MAG, are now saying that it will “need” another runway earlier than that. Though they appreciate that there is likely to be a dip in demand for air travel for several years, due to Brexit, they are still keen on adding a runway. MAG’s CEO Charlie Cornish has told the Times: “We will be at capacity some time between 2025 and 2030, so in the next two to three years we will need to start having the appropriate dialogue with the government over the need for a second runway [at Stansted].” MAG repeatedly says the existing runway capacity at Stansted must be fully utilised, including improving its rail links.
Stansted has sights on second runway
By Robert Lea, Industrial Editor (The Times)
July 14 2016
Two of Britain’s busiest airports [Manchester and Stansted] expect to suffer a Brexit-related slowdown in growth over the next couple of years, but their owner argues that one of them will still be so congested by 2030 that it will need a new runway. [Manchester already has a 2nd runway, which is scarcely used as there is not enough demand for it at present].
Charlie Cornish, chief executive of MAG, the owner of Manchester and Stansted airports, said that the post-EU referendum devaluation of the pound and the expected slump in GDP growth would hit operations.
“Airlines tend to grow in step with GDP,” Mr Cornish said. “Sterling versus dollar will have an impact on passenger numbers because the money you have will not go as far and that will translate into an impact on demand.”
He said that a British withdrawal from the European Union would not in itself affect the group, but the impact on the exchange rate and the slowing economy would. “We will see a blip for between 12 and 24 months,” he said. “We’ll continue to grow but behind where we had expected to be.”
Stansted, London’s third airport, has rapidly accelerated out of the global financial crisis, during which it lost a third of its passenger numbers. Its mixture of sunseeking and short-break holidaymakers and its attraction to business people for flights to continental capitals means that it is particularly exposed to economic vacillations.
During the recession its woes were exacerbated by Ryanair, its main airline tenant, being in dispute with its former owner, Heathrow Airport Holdings, formerly BAA. Manchester Airports Group bought Stansted for £1.5 billion in 2013. In the 12 months to the end of MAG’s March financial year, Stansted passenger numbers grew 11 per cent to 23 million. That puts Stansted on course this year to overtake Manchester as Britain’s third largest airport.
“We will be at capacity some time between 2025 and 2030, so in the next two to three years we will need to start having the appropriate dialogue with the government over the need for a second runway [at Stansted],” Mr Cornish said.
He was speaking as MAG reported a 21 per cent surge in underlying operating profits to £186 million on revenues of £778 million, 5 per cent higher, much of that due to Stansted’s recovery.
• Luton airport said that 1.4 million passengers went through its terminal in June, up 17 per cent. Birmingham reported a record-breaking 1.1 million passengers during the month.
MAG’s full year results, 1st April 2015 to 31st March 2016
said (no mention of another runway)
Stansted is now handling 5.7m more passengers per year than when MAG acquired the airport in early 2013, an increase of 32.6%. The airport still has spare runway capacity and is well-placed to meet future growth in London’s aviation demand, prior to any new runway being built.
London Stansted remains the UK’s fastest growing airport in terms of passenger volumes and has played a key role in providing runway capacity in the South East as other airports fill up. Manchester Airport, meanwhile, has seen a record breaking year. August was the busiest month in the airport’s 77 year history and its success has driven up aviation income across the Group by 2.3% to £387.4m.
MAG notes another year of delay in deciding where a new runway should be built in the South East. MAG believes that this decision should be dictated by competitive market forces rather than Government, and that it is vital that existing runway capacity at Manchester and London Stansted is fully utilised, including improving rail links to Stansted and encouraging new long haul connectivity across the country.
The case to expand London Stansted has been strengthened after the business behind the Essex airport posted a surge in revenues and profits, according to the company’s chief executive.
A 5.7pc rise in passenger numbers across its airports to a record 29.7m helped to send first-half revenues at Manchester Airports Group (MAG) by the same proportion to £445.5m and operating profits 16.5pc higher to £137m. The strongest growth at the company, which also owns Bournemouth and East Midlands airports, was at Stansted, where passengers swelled by 10.6pc to 12.5m in the six months to the end of September.
The debate over how best to avert the impending aviation capacity crisis in the south east has so far centred on the choice between new runways at Heathrow or Gatwick. The Prime Minister is expected to announce within days whether Heathrow is allowed to build a third landing-strip, after the Government-appointed Airports Commission recommended in July that the west London hub should be expanded.
However, Charlie Cornish, the boss of MAG, said that expanding Stansted, including the possibility of a second runway, will also become a more pressing issue if the Essex airport keeps up its current growth rate.
“The Airports Commission did say Stansted could be an option for a second runway around about 2040,” Mr Cornish said. “We think it’s probably 15 to 20 years earlier than that, given our forecasts relative to the Commission’s forecasts.”
A planning cap limits Stansted to 35m passengers a year, which Mr Cornish said would “easily” be reached in the next decade.
If the limit were to be lifted, Stansted could carry up to 45m passengers per annum on a single runway, but further growth would require a second landing strip. The MAG boss conceded that Stansted still needed to make the economic case for another runway first, however.
“Stansted’s got a way to go in terms of demonstrating that it can cater for not just very strong low-cost airlines but equally legacy, full-service carriers,” he said. “Over the next five years we’re expecting to bring a richer mix of airlines.”
The introduction of 31 new routes have driven growth at MAG during the first-half, including flights from Manchester to Boston and Stansted to Los Angeles. At Manchester, passengers were up 4.5pc to 13.8m. They were flat at 500,000 at Bournemouth and fell 6.5pc to 2.9m at East Midlands after troubled airline Monarch scrapped its flights from the airport.
A 3rd Heathrow runway appears increasingly unlikely after Theresa May appointed to her Cabinet a series of opponents to it. Justine Greening, the new Education Secretary, has said building another runway at Heathrow is not a “smart decision” while Philip Hammond and Boris Johnson have also been opposed. Chris Grayling, who is now the Transport Secretary, replacing Patrick McLoughlin,has voiced few public opinions on airport expansion in recent years – though probably privately backed Heathrow in 2009. He will now help oversee the decision on whether Heathrow or Gatwick is chosen for expansion. Whether the option of not choosing either, which would be the sensible decision, is also being reconsidered is not known. Both David Cameron and George Osborne were keen on a Heathrow runway – indeed it was likely that a decision to approve it would have been taken days after a “Remain” vote in the EU Referendum – are now both just backbenchers. Boris Johnson, who has said he would “lie down in front of the bulldozers” if Heathrow built a runway, would face calls to resign if he remained in a Cabinet that backed the project. Philip Hammond, the new Chancellor, said last year: “London’s role as an international air transport hub can be maintained without additional runways at Heathrow. A second runway at Gatwick, plus enhanced transport links between the airports and better transport links to London will create a ‘virtual’ hub airport, maintaining Heathrow’s role in the local economy without expanding it.”
Heathrow Airport expansion in doubt after Theresa May promotes critics to top cabinet posts
By Ben Riley-Smith, political correspondent (Telegraph)
14 JULY 2016
Expansion of Heathrow Airport appears increasingly unlikely after Theresa May appointed to her Cabinet a series of opponents to a third runway.
Justine Greening, the new Education Secretary, has said building another runway at Heathrow is not a “smart decision” while Philip Hammond and Boris Johnson have also been opposed.
Chris Grayling, who was named Transport Secretary, has voiced few public opinions on airport expansion in recent years – though was reported to have privately backed Heathrow in 2009.
He will now help oversee the decision on whether Heathrow or Gatwick is chosen for expansion after years of delay under David Cameron.
Mr Grayling, who was Commons Leader before the promotion, will also have to ensure High Speed Two (HS2) is rolled out over the coming years, despite criticism in some Tory heartlands.
Mr Cameron had said a decision on airport expansions in the South East would be taken this summer after a series of delays, but the timetable is now unclear after a change in leadership.
The former prime minister and George Osborne, the former chancellor, were said to be supportive of the Heathrow bid but have now returned to the backbenches.
However critics of Heathrow have now been handed some of the most senior roles in government by Mrs May, raising questions about whether the airport will be chosen.
Boris Johnson, the new Foreign Secretary, repeatedly campaigned against expansion during his eight years as London Mayor and would face calls to resign if he remained in a cabinet that backed the project.
When asked about a third Heathrow runway last year, Mr Hammond, the new Chancellor, said: “London’s role as an international air transport hub can be maintained without additional runways at Heathrow.
“A second runway at Gatwick, plus enhanced transport links between the airports and better transport links to London will create a ‘virtual’ hub airport, maintaining Heathrow’s role in the local economy without expanding it.”
John Stewart, the chair of the campaign against Heathrow expansion, also claimed Mrs May had attended a meeting and criticised the project in 2008.
“I will continue to put pressure on the Government over the third runway at Heathrow as an extra 222,0000 flights a year would undermine our national targets and seriously damage the health of the local community,” she said at the time, according to Mr Stewart.
Ms Greening spoke out against Heathrow as recently as March, when she told The Telegraph: “I don’t believe that this government will proceed with a third runway decision. I just don’t think it is a smart decision.
“Trying to expand Heathrow is like trying to build an eight bedroom mansion on the site of a terraced house. It is a hub airport that is just simply in the wrong place.”
She added: “The sooner that we can move onto working out a long term airport strategy for Britain the better.”
Theresa May has been urged to quickly rule out a third runway at Heathrow by the leader of Hounslow Council ‘s Conservative opposition group. She has already made radical changes to her Cabinet, and had demands to show her hand over airport expansion. Councillor Peter Thompson, leader of Hounslow Conservative Group, said: “I hope that the new PM will quickly rule out a third Heathrow runway. As a local MP she knows only too well that Heathrow expansion would be noisy, polluting and damaging to local communities.” Ms May’s Maidenhead constituency is close to Heathrow and she has previously raised concerns about noise, night flights and pollution. But she recently told the Evening Standard she would not declare her preference ahead of a formal Cabinet decision on the matter. Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin [replaced on 14th July by Chris Grayling] said following the EU referendum that a decision on airport expansion would now have to wait until October. The arrival in the Cabinet of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary, as well as the movement of Philip Hammond to Chancellor, and Justine Greening to Education, may make approval of a Heathrow runway more difficult. The likely abolition of the DfT and the inclusion of transport in a future infrastructure department instead mean uncertain times ahead.
Theresa May urged to ‘quickly rule out’ Heathrow expansion by Hounslow Conservatives
13 JUL 2016 (Get West London)
BY ROBERT CUMBER
The new Prime Minister’s role as a local MP means she knows all about the ‘noise and pollution’ expansion would bring, councillors argue
Theresa May has been urged to quickly rule out a third runway at Heathrow by the leader of Hounslow Council ‘s Conservative opposition group.
The new prime minister was barely given time to get her foot in the door of Number 10 before she faced demands to show her hand over airport expansion.
Councillor Peter Thompson, leader of Hounslow Conservative Group, said: “I hope that the new PM will quickly rule out a third Heathrow runway.
“As a local MP she knows only too well that Heathrow expansion would be noisy, polluting and damaging to local communities.”
Ms May’s Maidenhead constituency is close to Heathrow and she has previously raised concerns about noise, night flights and pollution.
But she recently told the Evening Standard she would not declare her preference ahead of a formal Cabinet decision on the matter.
Her views on the matter are certainly more equivocal than those of Boris Johnson, the initial bookies’ favourite for the top job, who supported closing Heathrow and building a new Thames Estuary airport.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin [replaced on 14th July by Chris Grayling] said following the EU referendum that a decision on airport expansion would now have to wait until October.
Although Mr Thompson wasted no time in pressing the new prime minister over Heathrow, he didn’t dispense with the niceties altogether.
“I congratulate Theresa May MP on becoming Prime Minister today. She will provide us with the strong leadership we need to negotiate the best deal for Britain as we leave the European Union and to make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every single one of us,” he said.
“Theresa May started her political life as a local councillor, serving on the London Borough of Merton for eight years – so she knows the vital role that councillors play in building a better Britain.
“It will be wonderful to have a strong advocate for local government at the highest level of government.”
A London Assembly Member recently became embroiled in a row when he was accused of “betraying” Hillingdon residents by attending a Heathrow event.
[And here is the pitch by Back Heathrow:
‘Out of touch’ However, Back Heathrow campaign director Rob Gray responded to Cllr Thompson’s comments by saying: “Sadly, I fear Mr Thompson is out of touch with many Hounslow residents on this issue. I hope that the new Prime Minister will quickly endorse Heathrow expansion.
“As a local MP, Mrs May knows only too well that a new runway at Heathrow would be an enormously valuable asset to local communities who would benefit from more jobs, investment, skills, training and transport links.
“Unlike Mr Thompson, she should appreciate the significant commitments the airport has made to reduce noise and pollution.
“For too long the government has dithered and delayed making a decision on aviation capacity in the south east.
“Mrs May should now make that decision in both the national and local interest, based on the independent Airports Commission’s unanimous recommendation for a bigger and better Heathrow.”
Chris Graying has been appointed Transport Secretary.
EU Referendum: Supported Leave
Grayling made a principled case for Brexit while avoiding personal attacks on colleagues.
Constituency: Epsom and Ewell since 2001
Education: Royal Grammar School, followed by a degree in history from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge
Worked in media, joining BBC News in 1985 as a trainee, becoming a producer in 1986. He subsequently worked at Channel 4 before moving back to the BBC, and later ran several television production companies
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons (2005)
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport (2005-2007)
Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (2007-2009)
Shadow Home Secretary (2009-2010)
Minister of State for Employment (2010-2012)
Lord Chancellor, Secretary of State for Justice (2012-2015)
Leader of the House of Commons (2015-2016)
Transport secretary (2016)
AN: Do you agree with the Prime Minister that what he now calls climate change – used to call global warming – is one of the most serious threats facing mankind?
CG: Well, there’s no doubt that the whole issue of energy, carbon emissions… I mean the truth is what Ed Miliband was trying to do today was to drive wedges between those who believe strongly in climate change and those who are less sure.
AN: I didn’t ask you about Mr Miliband; I asked you did you agree with the Prime Minister that climate change is one of the most serious threats facing mankind?
CG: Climate is clearly a very real issue for us and it’s something where we need to take steps…
AN: Is it one of the most serious threats facing mankind?
CG: Well, around the world climate is clearly having a major impact upon different societies and therefore investment in this country in things like flood defences, but also the use of the foreign aid budget…
AN: Do you believe that manmade climate change is one of the most serious threats facing mankind?
CG: There’s no doubt that climate change is an issue around the world.
AN: An issue?
CG: Well, it’s a very serious issue around the world.
AN: Lots of things are issues: Ukraine’s an issue; price of bread’s an issue.
Theresa May is carrying out a whole scale reconstruction of the Government by axing three departments, The Telegraph understands.
The changes – if they come to pass – appear to be the biggest since 2007 when Gordon Brown became Labour Prime Minister.
Multiple sources have told me that the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, the Department for Energy and Climate Change and the Department for Transport are set to be shut down. They could be replaced with two new departments – one for Infrastructure and one for Industry.
One minister told me: “This is not a reshuffle, this is a reconstruction. This is a new Government. It is complicated and it will take time.”
Already civil servants from other departments are at the Business department ahead of the carve up.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change would see its briefs split between the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the new Infrastructure department.
A source at the Department for Transport said the changes would “make sense”.
Patrick McLoughlin has said Theresa May must get on and make a runway decision quickly, if the timetable to get the runway built – by 2030 – is not to slip. He said: “So long as we can get a decision as quickly as we can in October, we can still stick to the timetable that was set out in Davies.” He said the decision was for the Prime Minister, and “Parliament rises next week so in all honesty I still think we’re probably looking at around about the October period. I don’t think this is a decision that could be made when Parliament is not sitting.” Parliament does sit from 5th to 15th September. On 30th June he had said: ‘Clearly any announcement on airports capacity would have to be made with the House in session and, being realistic given recent events, I cannot now foresee an announcement until at least October.’ He said in February: “Basically, there are 6 months for the planning inquiry and examination in public; 3 months for the planning inspector to report to the Secretary of State; 3 months for the Secretary of State to consider, report and announce a decision; a 6-week period for any potential judicial reviews; and within that period there are also parliamentary occasions when Parliament can take a vote on the issues.” The timetable the government is working to is a runway by 2030, though Heathrow and Gatwick would prefer it to be by 2025.
Transport Secretary urges quick decision on South East runway
13.7.2016 (Press Association)
The expansion timetable set out by the Airports Commission might be met only if incoming prime minister Theresa May makes a decision on which project to back by October, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has warned.
The commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, published its final report in July last year stating that a new runway was needed in south-east England by 2030 and recommending that Heathrow’s plan should go ahead.
But in December the Department for Transport announced that further investigation into noise, pollution and compensation was needed and last month Mr McLoughlin said the decision had been deferred until “at least October” following David Cameron’s resignation.
In an interview with the Press Association, the Transport Secretary stressed the importance of the decision being made as soon as possible.
Mr McLoughlin said: “So long as we can get a decision as quickly as we can in October, we can still stick to the timetable that was set out in Davies.”
The timing of the decision was “a case for the Prime Minister”, he said, adding: “Parliament rises next week so in all honesty I still think we’re probably looking at around about the October period.
“I don’t think this is a decision that could be made when Parliament is not sitting.”
Mr Cameron was expected to confirm whether projects at Heathrow or Gatwick would be supported shortly after the EU referendum, but the victory for the Leave campaign means the decision has been left for successor Mrs May. [It was expected that a decision, favouring Heathrow, would be made on 7th or 8th July, after a Leave victory in the Brexit Referendum. But the result in favour of Leave changed all that. AW note].
Business leaders have criticised the delay, with the British Chambers of Commerce claiming the Government was “missing a golden opportunity to stimulate business confidence”.
Patrick McLoughlin evidence to Transport Cttee – he “very much hoped” to give runway location decision by July
February 11, 2016
The Commons Transport Committee held an oral evidence session on 8th February, inviting Transport Secretary of State, Patrick McLoughlin, to comment on the decision by the government to delay a statement on the location of a possible new runway. The tone of the session was that the Committee was eager for a decision to be made rapidly, with concern that undue time was being taken. Mr McLoughlin explained that even an EU referendum in June would not rule out a decision before Parliament’s summer recess. He said though there has been a delay, partly due to air pollution problems and the VW “defeat” scandal, he hoped the government was ensuring all necessary research had been done, to minimise the chance of legal challenges causing yet further delays. The timetable the government is working to is a runway by 2030, though Heathrow and Gatwick would prefer it to be by 2025. Mr McLoughlin said he “very much hoped” there would be a statement to Parliament at least several days before summer recess (starts 21st July) to allow time for MPs to comment etc. He stressed how the 2008 Planning Act would make pushing a runway through fast, and gave the various timings, with only 6 months for a planning inquiry and examination in public.
Transport Select Committee wants rapid decision on runway location – then sort out the problems later …..
May 4, 2016
The Commons Transport Select Committee, chaired by Louise Ellman (for years a strong advocate of a larger Heathrow) has published a report that wants the government to make a rapid decision on the location of a new south east runway. Ms Ellman says Patrick Mcloughlin should set out a clear timetable of the decision making process. He should also set out what research the government has already done and what remains to be done. The Committee wants a decision in order to, in its view, remove uncertainty for business so companies can be planning and investing. The report is entirely of the view that a runway is needed for links to emerging markets. It ignores the reality that most journeys are for leisure, and it ignores the huge costs to the taxpayer, of either scheme. The Committee wants a location decision, and somehow believes that all other environmental and infrastructure problems will then (magically?) be sorted out. They say: “… we believe that the noise and environmental effects can be managed as part of the pre-construction phase after a decision has been made on location, as can the challenge of improving surface access.” So decide first – with what is likely to be a bad decision – and work out how to deal with the intractable, and inevitable, problems later. Is that a sensible course of action for a responsible government?
The Scottish Government bought the loss-making airport for £1 in 2013, and is trying to find ways for it to make money. Prestwick now has hopes of becoming a “space hub” delivering small satellites and tourists into low-level orbit. The Scottish Government will provide a funding package, for 2 years, of £240,000 from South Ayrshire Council and Scottish Enterprise. This will cover “infrastructure, business development, energy reduction and supply chain development.” The Queen’s Speech in May confirmed aims to drive through the complex legislation needed to certify the safe operation of space vehicles through the Modern Transport Bill. The DfT is setting up a regulatory framework to license individual sites, with Prestwick and two other Scottish locations – Campbeltown on the west coast and Stornoway in the Western Isles – among those short-listed last year. There are hopes of jobs, if the project goes ahead. Prestwick has now signed a memorandum of understanding with California-based space launch vehicle designer XCOR Aerospace, and space plane design and operating company Orbital Access Limited, setting out an action plan. This would be a competitor to the Virgin Galactic sub-orbital passenger flights, taking 2 passengers at a time into an orbit of 350,000 feet for a short time, at immense cost.
Prestwick’s spaceport ambitions boosted by deal with US spaceplane designer
13.7.2016 (Herald Scotland)
By Helen McArdle
Space tourism from Prestwick is a step closer after a US firm at the cutting edge of spaceflight design struck a deal with the Ayrshire base to bring manned launch services to Scotland.
The spaceport has signed a memorandum of understanding with California-based space launch vehicle designer XCOR Aerospace and space plane design and operating company Orbital Access Limited, setting out an action plan for operations at Prestwick.
The move takes it closer to launching manned flights using XCOR’s Lynx, a two-seater supersonic spacecraft which is vying with Virgin Galactic to become the first firm to launch sub-orbital passenger flights.
XCOR has already sold more than 200 tickets at $95,000 (£72,000) each for the inaugural flights, which promise give passengers a view of Earth from a gravity-defying altitude of 350,000ft.
The tie-up between XCOR and Glasgow Prestwick comes as the taxpayer-owned airport ramps up its efforts to become the UK’s first spaceport, a venture that would also allow it to become a major base for scientific research and satellite launches.
Mike Stewart, business development director at Glasgow Prestwick, said: “We already have the vast majority of the infrastructure in place and with as little as £1million investment we could be up and running.
“Having a pipeline of partners, customers and suppliers in place will be hugely helpful in pulling together the business case for the investment required to get up and running.
“The progress that we are making now that the UK Government has decided to make this a licensing regime rather than a bidding process demonstrates that this was the right decision for the industry and the UK economy.
“This has allowed the market to accelerate the process and decide where it feels that launches can be best delivered. We are delighted that Orbital Access and XCOR have decided that the best place for them is Glasgow Prestwick Spaceport and that they are establishing operational bases onsite.”
XCOR president and CEO, Jay Gibson, added: “Strategic aerospace industrial partnerships and strong routes to market characterise our approach to bringing this ground breaking system to fruition.
“Our unique reusable rocket motor technology is at the core of the Lynx and we are looking forward to working with partners in the Scottish aerospace and space sector.”
The collaboration, which is supported by Scottish Enterprise, was unveiled yesterday at Farnborough International Airshow.
Stuart McIntyre, the chief executive of Orbital Access, said: “The Lynx represents a highly versatile manned spacecraft to service space research missions in zero gravity, and provide academics and industry with a unique and responsive research environment. It can also support leisure sub-orbital flights.
“This will complement our satellite launch systems, which are in development, and complete the suite of launch services Orbital Access will be offering at spaceports globally.”
The development comes after doubts over the future of the Lynx project when XCOR began laying off US staff involved in designing the spaceplane, which was first announced in 2008.
In March, there were also reports that XCOR might divert resources into other research after it signed a deal with United Launch Alliance, the Boeing-Lockheed partnership that launches lots of military satellites, to develop a new rocket engine powered by liquid hydrogen.
The prospects for space tourism generally suffered a blow when Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo crashed during a test flight over the Mojave desert in 2014, killing co-pilot Michael Alsbury.
Officials say a spaceport at Prestwick could deliver 1,450 jobs.
Plans to create a space hub around Government-owned Prestwick Airport have received a fresh funding package of £240,000 from local government and economic development authorities.
The money, supplied equally by South Ayrshire Council and Scottish Enterprise, will fund a two-year support package covering infrastructure, business development, energy reduction and supply chain development.
It includes the appointment of a new “programme manager” to be based out of the airport’s administrative offices. The move comes as the struggling operation competes to become one of the UK’s first “spaceports” delivering small satellites and tourists into low-level orbit.
Last month’s Queen’s Speech confirmed aims to drive through the complex legislation needed to certify the safe operation of space vehicles through the Modern Transport Bill.
The Department for Transport is setting up a regulatory framework to license individual sites, with Prestwick and two other Scottish locations – Campbeltown on the west coast and Stornoway in the Western Isles – among those short-listed last year.
Should Prestwick get a licence, officials say the project could deliver as many as 1,450 jobs within ten years, with £320 million of additional economic activity. The new programme manager will work alongside a variety of organisations through the Prestwick Aerospace partnership.
Eileen Howat, chief executive of South Ayrshire Council, said it is now the right time to push forward ambitious plans for Prestwick. The Scottish Government bought the loss-making airport for £1 in 2013, and is seeking to re-build its fortunes under newly-appointed chief executive Ron Smith.
Scotland leading race to host UK’s first spaceport
4 January 2016 (Scotsman)
Campbeltown, Stornoway and Prestwick among Scottish contenders Scottish spaceport ‘could be operational by 2019’ Cornwall and Gwynedd also in running SCOTLAND is leading the race to host the UK’s first space port, with a new report suggesting it could be operational by 2019.
All of the potential Scottish space sites are in step with a government checklist of base requirements – with their remote nature helping allay safety and noise pollution fears over bids south of the Border.
Spaceports have previously only been seen in films like Star Wars, but the government is keen to establish one in the UK to allow regular space tourism flights and to send satellites into orbit.
With firms like Space X and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic expressing an interest in launching flights from the UK as soon as 2018, the reality of space tourists and commercial rocket launches is tantalisingly close.
The Department of Transport published a list of criteria for any site bidding last week.
Key among them was a clear flight path north, over the sea, into a polar orbit.
The government also made it clear it preferred a coastal site with low population density.
The demands put the Scottish contenders, Campbeltown, Stornoway and Prestwick, ahead of competitors in England and Wales.
Newquay in Cornwall and Llanbedr airport in Wales are also being considered, but Tom Millar, director of the Campbeltown-based Discover Space UK bid, said he was ‘confident’ of a Scottish victory.
He said: “I’d be surprised if our bid doesn’t finish top of the league. The more detail we get of what the government wants, the more convinced I am that our bid is the best.
“The driver from our point of view is that we are suffering depopulation and unemployment. This could be a game-changer.”
Howie Firth of the Spaceport Scotland group added: “Economically, a spaceport is not a luxury – it’s a vital investment.
“It would be a tremendous prize to come to Scotland. It would attract industries, create jobs and it would be the most incredible inspiration. The potential is huge.”
The UK’s space industry is still relatively small, with firms looking to launch satellites having to wait for a slot on rockets launching from South America or Kazakhstan.
Mr Firth added: “The current situation is like having a shipbuilding industry thousands of miles from the sea.
“If instead of having to package up a satellite and send it miles away you could simply put it in a van and drive to a spaceport it would make a tremendous difference.”
A final list of technical specifications for the spaceport will be published next year before the official bidding process opens.