Heathrow is urging the Government to scrap Air Passenger Duty on domestic flights. It has written to the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, before the Budget on 22nd November, arguing for this.. Air Passenger Duty is £13 per person (aged over 18) per flight leaving a UK airport. Therefore while a passenger on a return flight to a European airport only pays £13, on a domestic return flight they pay £26. Heathrow says if APD on domestic fights was scrapped, it would result in a £24m “annual saving” for those flying from that airport. [That means a £24 million loss to the Treasury]. Domestic air tickets tend already to be cheaper than rail for the same journey, and this would make them even cheaper. Consultancy Frontier Economics reckons removing APD on domestic flights would increase GDP growth and boost tax receipts to offset the loss to the Treasury from the abolition of the tax. That would mean there would have to be a lot more domestic passengers. Heathrow has promised there will be more domestic links, if it gets a 3rd runway. Many of those would need to be subsidised. Removing APD could make these domestic links viable, without costing Heathrow anything. That results in the taxpayer losing tax, and Heathrow saving itself money.
Heathrow urges Chancellor to scrap air tax on domestic flights in Budget
By Bradley Gerrard (Telegraph)
20 SEPTEMBER 2017
Heathrow is urging the Government to scrap a punitive travel tax on domestic flights to support economic growth as part of a nine-point Brexit plan.
The airport has written to the Chancellor Philip Hammond ahead of the Budget in November with a plea for air passenger duty (APD) to be removed on domestic routes, arguing that UK passengers pay an extra £225m each year compared to those in Europe.
The UK’s rate of APD is the highest in Europe and the second highest globally, behind only the central African country Chad.
Passengers on a return domestic flight from Heathrow pay £26 in APD. Scrapping the charge would result in a £24m annual saving just for those flying from that airport.
The airport said the tax acts as a brake on the number of domestic flights offered by airlines and that removing it would be a sensible move post-Brexit given that most European countries have little or no tax on internal flights to support their domestic industries.
Consultancy Frontier Economics reckons removing APD on domestic flights would increase GDP growth and boost tax receipts to offset the loss to the Treasury from the abolition of the tax.
In addition to the aviation industry, the Conservative Party’s partners in government, the DUP, support getting rid of ADP on overseas routes as well.
Research commissioned by Manchester Airports Group showed that in the past 12 years, UK APD to non-European destinations had grown by 265pc – from £20 to £73 per departing passenger – and that this had been a major factor in long-haul seat growth in the UK lagging behind rivals in Europe
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “Abolishing air passenger duty on domestic flights is a bold move that would supercharge British competitiveness, make it cheaper for British businesses to get to London and beyond, and ensure every part of our country can prosper in the future.”
The DUP were told they would be given a report on “the impact of VAT and APD on tourism” in Northern Ireland in exchange for their comfort and support agreement with Theresa May’s government.
The comments came as the airport released its Bringing Britain Closer report, a nine-point strategy it believes offers “practical, deliverable and binding plans” to connect more of the UK to global growth and prepare the economy outside London for Brexit.
Heathrow has called on the Government to ring-fence a number of slots at the airport once it is expanded for domestic use but ministers can only do this once the UK leaves the EU because the bloc’s competition rules currently prohibit such a move.
Getting rid of APD has the support of some airlines, especially those with large domestic networks. Flybe chief executive Christine Ourmières-Widener claimed APD could account for as much as 50pc of a total ticket price on her airlines when based on its lowest fares.
Heathrow urges chancellor to scrap air passenger duty
September 20 2017 (The Times)
Air taxes should be scrapped on UK domestic flights to stimulate growth, according to Heathrow.
Britain’s biggest airport said that passengers paid £225 million more in taxes on domestic flights compared with peers in other parts of Europe.
In a letter to the chancellor today, it calls for air passenger duty (APD) to be dropped on domestic flights to increase the number of routes.
Ministers have long insisted that Heathrow’s plans for a third runway will create more domestic routes, gaining support for the policy from Scottish and Northern Irish MPs.
The letter will be seen as a warning that expansion could be under threat unless APD, which adds £26 to the price of a domestic return flight, is scrapped. The intervention comes ahead of the budget on November 22.
Walsh says Heathrow charges rule out more UK domestic links, and he will not be told where to fly
November 23, 2016
Chris Grayling and the DfT were eager to point out how a 3rd Heathrow runway would increase links to the regions, and increase the number of routes from Heathrow from 8 now to 14 in future. And these links might have to be ensured by payments. Heathrow, in trying to persuade government this was possible, said it would create a new £10m Route Development Fund. The Airports Commission said there should be a Public Service Obligations on an airport-to-airport basis, to encourage these unprofitable routes. Now Willie Walsh has confirmed that there is “zero chance” of British Airways operating any new domestic flights from an expanded Heathrow. He will not be told, by government or an airport, where to fly. He says the high landing charges, inevitable to pay for the expansion, made it impossible to deliver an increase in domestic air links. He would refuse to run these links even if Holland-Kaye “begs me to do it” because it would not be profitable. He said Heathrow was “fat, dumb and happy” and that it attracted large numbers of airlines but that many failed to make a profit. He also said with a 3rd runway, Heathrow would price out most airlines. Holland-Kaye is hoping he can get easyJet, Flybe and BMI Regional to take on potential regional routes. Mr Walsh said the current charge of £40 for a return trip would double to £80 per passenger with a new runway.
“Heathrow already links eight cities to the world – Aberdeen, Belfast City, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Leeds, Newcastle and Manchester. An expanded Heathrow would add flights to new domestic routes to Jersey, Isle of Man and Belfast International. [These are the routes EasyJet suggested it might add, if it started operations at Heathrow, with a 3rd runway. See below]
“Heathrow will be establishing a special £10m Route Development Fund, providing start-up support for new domestic destinations. This will support up to five new routes from Heathrow with airports like Liverpool, Humberside and Newquay on the shortlist.” [Newquay already has a PSO funded route to Gatwick. The Government’s Regional Air Connectivity Fund (RACF), is a £20 million fund set aside by the coalition Government, to pay for routes such as Newquay].
Heathrow also says:
“A third runway will lead to better connections from Wales to the rest of the globe – enhanced by the fast Western Rail Link that is backed by the Welsh Assembly.” [Scarcely a direct consequence of a runway …. Cardiff is not on the list of airports mentioned above. AW note].
Heathrow actually says that much of the connection to the regions will be by better rail links, getting people to Heathrow. [ link Page 12]. November 2016. Heathrow has now taken down that page.
In the High Court Mrs Justice Lang DBE granted permission for Plane Justice’s Judicial Review case against the Civil Aviation Authority to proceed to a full trial hearing on all grounds.In granting permission, Mrs Justice Lang said Plane Justice’s grounds of claim merited full consideration. Gaining permission to proceed is a vital first step that all JR cases have to go through, and only a minority of JR cases achieve it. Plane Justice is trying to get changes to Gatwick\s Route 4 departure route, which was altered in May 2016 and now overflies (or in some cases vectors over) new populations to the north of the airport in Newdigate, Capel, Leigh, Norwood Hill, Sidlow, Salfords, Outwood and Horley. The route was changed to avoid overflying other areas, and a different group, Plane Wrong, fought hard to get the route change that badly affected them in 2013 altered. Plane Justice wants the route to revert to how it was before 2013. The case is now likely to be listed for a full hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London in the new year. Salfords & Sidlow Parish Council, affected by Route 4, has made a substantial donation towards the legal costs, and Plane Justice has to date raised 82% of its budget to fund the High Court action.
Plane Justice Ltd -v- CAA:Route 4 Court Case passes its first big test
18.9.2017 (Plane Justice press release)
In the High Court on Thursday, Mrs Justice Lang DBE granted permission for Plane Justice’s Judicial Review case against the Civil Aviation Authority to proceed to a full trial hearing on all grounds.In granting permission, Mrs Justice Lang said Plane Justice’s grounds of claim merited full consideration.
The case is now likely to be listed for a full hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London in the new year.Meanwhile earlier in the week, the case had received a dramatic boost from a substantial donation from Salfords & Sidlow Parish Council towards the legal costs. In a strong show of support, the Parish Council said it believed Plane Justice had made significant progress in trying to achieve what the Council had originally stated as their primary objective, of returning Route 4 to its pre-2013 location.Through the generosity of its supporters, Plane Justice has to date raised 82% of its budget to fund the High Court action.-
1) Route 4 is a departure route from Gatwick Airport. The Route was altered in May 2016 and now overflies (or in some cases vectors over) new populations to the North of the airport in Newdigate, Capel, Leigh, Norwood Hill, Sidlow, Salfords, Outwood and Horley.
2) Judicial review (JR) is where a Court reviews a decision made by a governmental or public/regulatory body, in this case the CAA, and decides whether it has been made correctly and lawfully. The Court can decide to nullify (quash) the decision and require the decision-maker to reconsider its decision in light of the Court’s ruling.
3) Gaining permission to proceed is a vital first step that all JR cases have to go through, and only a minority of JR cases achieve it.
4) Further details, including how to donate to our legal action fighting fund, can be found on our website www.planejustice.org
CAA confirm Route 4 changes to be permanent – local group calls it the “Route to Misery”
April 18, 2017
Early in April the CAA approved the current P-RNAV design of Gatwick’s Route 4 (the take off route towards the west, that turns north and heads east). This was altered in 2016 in response to the complaints about the way it has recently been altered. Now, dismissing the outpouring of complaints to the current route “as expected”, the CAA says the route will continue. The CAA has concluded that modified Route 4 “has delivered the aim of the airspace change to an acceptable standard and this change will now be made permanent.” They recognise that this has an impact on communities and has asked Gatwick to “investigate the potential of meaningful respite” by “alternating or switching a proportion of Route 4 departures onto another route.” Local group, Plane Justice, deeply opposed to the current Route 4, comments that the CAA appears indifferent to the misery of the people who wrote in complaining about the route. They are angry that the complaints are considered just “AS EXPECTED” rather than real expressions of genuine concern and annoyance. The group has a Route 4 Legacy Pledge, which calls on the CAA to revisit its decision and return Route 4 to the geographical position and dispersion pattern it occupied before 2013 (the ‘legacy Route’). They are asking people to sign up to this.
6 month trial of change to Gatwick Route 4 ends, with widespread criticism and opposition
December 7, 2016
Route 4 from Gatwick (taking off towards the west, curving north and then going east) was changed in 2013 to fly slightly further to the north. This caused huge upset and opposition from those newly, and intensely, overflown. Finally in May 2016, the route was changed to be further south, but instead of relatively spread out across the NPR, it is concentrated. This has caused further upset and opposition from those now finding they have far worse noise than before. This changed route was “amended” (not a trial, technically) for 6 months, and that ended on 26th November. However, the altered route will continue for another 3 months, while the CAA evaluates their feedback on how the route has performed. The CAA will in due course produce their PIR (Post Implementation Review) of the changed route. Gatwick had more than 15,000 complaints from the public during the consultation. Some of the towns and villages badly affected by high levels of plane noise include Leigh, Salfords, and Horley. The route involves a very tight turn, and to stay within the 3km wide NPR, planes should not be accelerating too fast (to avoid swinging out too far, and being outside the NPR). People say planes are making more noise, as pilots use flaps in order to make the tight turn, and planes are lower than they need to be. An affected resident said “The planes should be flying a shallower turn with a slightly more northerly trajectory afterwards – just as they did with no significant problems for over 20 years up to 2012.”
Gatwick Route 4 finally re-routed as local MP warns about noise misery dangers of a 2nd runway
May 29, 2016
On 26th May, the amended Gatwick departure flight path named “Route 4”, taking off towards the west from Gatwick, went in to operation. This route turning north and then east – to fly towards the east. With the implementation of precision-area navigation (PR-NAV) at Gatwick in 2014, changes were made to Route 4 which made it more concentrated, and slightly to the north of the main NPR (Noise Preferential Route). This resulted in thousands of people suffering intense and frequent plane noise, for the first time. The local group, Plane Wrong, was formed to fight the changes. The PIR (Post Implementation Review) by the CAA in 2015 showed that the change to Route 4 was not “compliant” with regulations, and it should revert to how it was before early 2014. However, it has taken a long time for this reversion to actually happen. The route that has now started means the SID (Standard Instrument Departure) turning circle is a little tighter so planes avoid the densely populated urban areas of Reigate and Redhill. It is regrettable that it took so long for an unacceptable flight path, that could be introduced so quickly without warning, could take so long to reverse. Local MP Crispin Blunt warned that the noise situation with a 2nd Gatwick runway would be completely unacceptable, with no noise mitigation measures in prospect.
“Plane Wrong” critical of CAA’s PIR decision to permit new easterly take-off route to continue
December 20, 2015
The CAA published its long-awaited Post Implementation Review report in early November. Gatwick is required by the CAA to change one westerly departure route (Route 4) that affects people in many villages to the South of Dorking and across to Reigate and Redhill. This has to revert back to being within the NPR (noise preferential route) as before. Local group, Plane Wrong, set up in response to the noise problems caused, says it welcomes the decision and wants this to be implemented rapidly so that residents do not have to suffer the noise for another summer. Plane Wrong is, however, dismayed at the CAA decision in respect of Route 3, which is not to be changed despite the fact that many more people are significantly affected by the change. This appears to have been entirely ignored. Plane Wrong has considerable doubts about some of the methodologies employed by the CAA to reach both these decisions. On the change to Route 4, Plane Wrong says the changes should be completed quickly, though the CAA has to test the change in simulators for Boeing and Airbus. They do not yet know when this work will take place. There is also a 2 month period that has to elapse after that, and there is no indication yet of when this will end.
The City of London Corporation has taken the opportunity of the Lib Dem Party Conference to urge the party “to not stand in the way of Heathrow expansion”. The Corporation’s policy chair Catherine McGuinness, said: “Increased airport capacity at Heathrow is near the top of the list when we speak to firms about what can do to help them trade more, create jobs and invest for the future.” (Many other surveys of businesses over the years do not show this – but it depends on which firms are sampled). Speaking at the party conference yesterday, Lib Dem leader Vince Cable (a long term opponent of the runway) said: “I want our party to remain where we were, which is opposed to Heathrow expansion, strong on the environment, protective of our climate change obligations, but committed to support business, but in a practical way that rebalances the UK.” The Labour party is also known to be very divided on the issue of Heathrow, with a lot of opposition. Some Labour MPs have been misled by inaccurate forecasts of jobs that the runway might create. Big business tends to stand with its colleague, Heathrow. The CBI wants progress on the runway quickly, and the Institute of Directors said after waiting years, they want to see “spades in the ground” at Heathrow.
City ramps up pressure on politicians to push ahead with Heathrow expansion after fresh jitters over delays
By Rebecca Smith (City AM)
The City has issued a rallying cry to MPs to push ahead with Heathrow airport’s expansion, warning that delays could hamper financial and professional services firms’ ability to do business globally.
The City of London Corporation today urged the Liberal Democrats, whose party conference is currently underway, “to not stand in the way of Heathrow expansion”.
The Corporation’s policy chair Catherine McGuinness, said: “Increased airport capacity at Heathrow is near the top of the list when we speak to firms about what can do to help them trade more, create jobs and invest for the future.”
Speaking at the party conference yesterday, Lib Dem leader Vince Cable said: “I want our party to remain where we were, which is opposed to Heathrow expansion, strong on the environment, protective of our climate change obligations, but committed to support business, but in a practical way that rebalances the UK.”
The Labour party is also reportedly mulling a vote against the third runway at Heathrow airport.
Meanwhile, Lord Adonis, head of the National Infrastructure Commission, said last week he thought the chances of a final decision on expansion materialising next year is “no more than 50:50”.
Adonis told the London Infrastructure Summit that a combination of factors including foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who has been a vocal opponent of Heathrow expansion, “will conspire against a decision being taken next year”.
The former transport secretary also warned that a review into air quality could delay the process by another five years.
The fresh jitters over delays come after transport secretary Chris Grayling announced earlier this month there would be yet another consultation on Heathrow expansion plans, delayed due to the General Election in June.
A final national policy statement (NPS) is now to go before the House of Commons in the first half of next year, a push back from the original plan of winter 2017-18.
Despite this, Grayling is adamant the new consultation will not hamper Heathrow’s timeline.
“This government remains committed to realising the benefits that airport expansion could bring, and I can confirm that we do not expect this additional period of consultation to impact on the timetable for parliamentary scrutiny of the NPS,” he said earlier this month.
But business groups remain concerned over delays to an already drawn-out process.
A spokesperson for the Confederation of British Industry warned: “We can’t allow progress to stall on this, or other major infrastructure projects, if we want to set ourselves up for success post-Brexit.”
Meanwhile, Edwin Morgan, interim director of policy at the Institute of Directors, said: “Businesses have already been waiting years for this and so are keen to see spades in the ground.”
The Institute of Directors want government to allow two new runways – not just Heathrow
May 17, 2017
The Institute of Directors (IOD) are firmly convinced that people should fly more, and so the south east needs more runway capacity. They appear to be entirely convinced by the publicity Heathrow has put out about the alleged benefits a 3rd runway would bring. But they want more than just one runway. The IODs wants the government, after the 8th June election, to build two more runways, and a follow-up Airports Commission be established. They want a fast-track commission be set up immediately to recommend locations for two additional runways within a year. Plans for a 3rd Heathrow runway need the draft National Policy Statement to be voted through parliament, perhaps early in 2018 and then several years of planning process. At the earliest the runway might be in use some time after 2025. Numbers of air passengers are rising quickly, as flying is so cheap and the moderately affluent in the UK get richer. The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also called for the next government to enable a 2nd runway at Gatwick to help create a “megacity”. While Gatwick was shortlisted as a candidate for a new runway by the Airports Commission, other airports such as Stansted and Birmingham would be likely to push hard should a future opportunity emerge.
Group of business people, led by London First, again lobby Transport Secretary for airport expansion
February 14, 2014
More lobbying by big business backers of aviation expansion continues, as the try to persuade the government that everything must be done to expand current capacity, even before the runway they want gets built. They claim this is important for the UK economy, and necessary for the UK to “stay internationally competitive.” Some 52 business people have signed a letter to the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, published in the Telegraph (where else ?) putting their demands. They want ministers to act on interim recommendations made by the Airports Commission, such as more Heathrow flights, and improving rail access to Stansted and Gatwick. They want action quickly and presume that adding more runway capacity for more people to take more leisure flights will somehow boost “UK’s global competitiveness”.They also want an independent ombudsman to oversee changes to restrictions on the timing of flights at Heathrow, to try and get over opposition to more flights, and night flights, which is partly what prevents another Heathrow runway. They want more flights, regardless of the impacts on those overflown or living near airports.
Labour MP Gareth Thomas (Harrow West) says military base, Northolt Airport, in west London near Heathrow is hosting 10,000 passenger flights a year and this number could quintuple. It is used by many VIP passenger flights and by the royal family. It is not supposed to be a commercial airport, but it seems to have become one “by stealth” and it is “increasingly apparent that it is a commercial airport in all but name”, with military status used “as a smokescreen”. While it is a military airfield, the number of commercial flights has dramatically increased in recent years. The number of passenger journeys, mostly involving VIP jets, dwarfs the 3,800 military flights. In a report commissioned by the Ministry of Defence, consultants suggested increasing the number of commercial flights to 50,000 a year, with the regional airline Flybe among those campaigning for commercial passenger flights to start operating there. Local residents had not been consulted over further changes including the proposed increase to 50,000. Some enthusiasts for Northolt hope it could become “an alternative to London City airport” for regional flights with up to 100 seats and a “key access airport” for Heathrow. It is unsuitable for larger planes. Gareth Thomas said the number of flights was already having a major impact on local people’s quality of life, including noise pollution, poor air quality and concerns about safety.
A military airport used frequently by the royal family has become a commercial hub by stealth, hosting 10,000 passenger flights a year, a Labour MP has said.
Gareth Thomas, the MP for Harrow West, said local residents had not been consulted over further changes at RAF Northolt in west London, including a proposal that would increase the number of commercial flights to 50,000 a year.
Thomas said residents were concerned and it is “increasingly apparent that it is a commercial airport in all but name”, with military status used “as a smokescreen”.
RAF Northolt is a military airport, but the number of commercial flights has dramatically increased in recent years. The number of passenger journeys, mostly involving VIP jets, dwarfs the 3,800 military flights. It is used by the royal family as well as VIPs.
The project ark report, authored by the accounting company EY, suggested RAF Northolt could be “an alternative to London City airport” for regional flights with up to 100 seats and a “key access airport” for Heathrow, but said it was unsuitable for larger planes.
Thomas said the number of flights was already having a major impact on local people’s quality of life, including noise pollution, poor air quality and concerns about safety.
The MoD is to spend £45m resurfacing the runway, which the MP said was a significantly higher cost for than for the same work at other airports and had been approved without a public consultation. The runway will be closed from spring 2018 for the work.
“It is not hard to see why my constituents are worried where this is all leading,” Thomas said. “It is clear that at every turn, the government have sought to hide what is happening at Northolt from my constituents by using its military status as a smokescreen.
“This has meant a gradual worsening of quality of life and an important discussion about safety swept under the carpet.”
RAF Northolt’s classification as a military base means it does not have to comply with the rules of a civilian airport, including the need to get planning approval for changes to the runway and increasing the number of commercial flights.
This week, the London assembly passed a motion expressing concern about the airport’s future, calling on the mayor, Sadiq Khan, to do “everything possible to campaign against RAF Northolt becoming a commercial airport”.
Tobias Ellwood, a defence minister, said there were “stringent conditions” for using the spare capacity at RAF Northolt for commercial flights.
“It is used and needed by the military every single day, but it has for a number of decades been underutilised in this role,” he said in his reply to a Westminster Hall debate.
Ellwood said the government was committed to sharing information about the airport with local residents “when it seems pertinent as decisions and options are considered”, but added that commercial use ensured value for money for taxpayers.
Passenger flights “offset the cost of the station’s military operations to the taxpaying public”, he said, and ministers would meet Thomas and local councillors to discuss concerns.
Thomas said he wanted the government to commit to a full and open consultation on the renovation work. “The simple fact of the matter is that Northolt is no longer, in practical terms, a military airport. The vast majority of flights there are now commercial ones,” he said.
“It is not right to continue hiding behind military status, making small changes each time that add up to the very thing they publicly deny.”
Heathrow funded report suggests using RAF Northolt as an interim 3rd runway for domestic flights
March 30, 2015
Heathrow airport set up and funds a body called the “National Connectivity Task Force” (NCTF). This produced a report in March, looking at regional connectivity – and putting arguments that suit Heathrow. (Gatwick airport, unsurprisingly strongly disagrees with it). As well as saying how important links to regional airports are from Heathrow, though these have progressively been cut as long haul flights are more profitable, the NCTF report says RAF Northolt airport, just a few miles north of Heathrow, should be used as an extension to Heathrow, for smaller planes to regional airports. As this news broke about the same time as the Germanwings plane tragedy, it did not get press attention. What Heathrow wants is to have Northolt brought into service, as an interim measure, before it can get a new runway. If Gatwick was chosen for a runway, Heathrow could use Northolt for domestic flights it has been promising regional airports, in order to get their backing for a Heathrow runway. Heathrow says the Northolt runway could not be used at the same time as a Heathrow north-west runway. RAF Northolt does not comply with the safety standards required for a civilian airport. Its runway ends just short of the busy A40.
Residents fight against ‘noisy neighbour’ RAF Northolt over changed flight path
June 18, 2015
South Ruislip residents are desperately calling on recently-elected MP Boris Johnson to get RAF Northolt to stop allowing planes to fly over their houses. A local resident has collected over 520 signatures,asking that the planes and helicopters stick to the designated flight path. People know for certain that aircraft are flying over areas they did not fly over before. RAF Northolt is said to use one runway with a designated flight path but residents who signed the petition regularly see planes taking off over their houses. In 2013, the decision to keep RAF Northolt as a military airfield included an instruction from defence ministers that it should aim to increase its revenue from commercial aircraft. The increase was set to rise from 7,000 flight movements, taking off or landing, to 12,000 a year. But an RAF spokesman admitted: “Military and government movements are uncapped but expect to remain constant with the total number of movements in 2016 not expecting to exceed 17,500.” Not the 12,000. John Stewart (HACAN) said the “flight paths seem to have changed without any thought of the impact of local communities.” Residents say they have not been listened to by Northolt in the past and a letter to them was “dumped in the bin.” They hope Boris will step in and do something.
High Court decision that RAF Northolt must have same safety standards for private jets as civilian airports
January 23, 2015
A legal judgement, brought by rival airports (Oxford and Biggin Hill) against RAF Northolt, says the CAA is the statutory regulator required to determine safety standards for civilian aircraft using government owned military aerodromes. This means Northolt will have to meet higher safety standards for business jets than those in place for military flights, and this will be expensive for them. As the number of military flights has fallen from Northolt, there have been more business jets – up to a total of 12,000 per year. The trigger for the current proceedings came in April 2012 when the MOD decided to increase the limit on civil flights at RAF Northolt from 7,000 to 12,000 movements. Ministers had repeatedly argued before that they didn’t need to meet stricter, costlier civilian safety standards and the CAA had no regulatory powers at military aerodromes. This meant that smaller private airports reliant on business jets were being significantly undermined, as RAF Northolt became a competitor without incurring the higher costs of complying with civilian safety standards. Although the arguments in the case have been about the application of safety standards, the motivation for the challenge is the claimant airports’ commercial interests as competitors.
A British Airways flight was forced to turn back to Heathrow on Weds 6th September after witnesses reported seeing flames coming out of the engine. The Boeing 777, bound for Athens, headed back to Heathrow within minutes of taking off. Flight tracking website FlightRadar24, showed a graphic of the aircraft departing from Heathrow, circling around Maidstone in Kent and then returning. The plane had the engine on fire closed down, so flew right over London in order to land (landing from the east towards the west). Airlive tweeted: “British Airways Boeing 777 (reg. G-VIIH) returning to Heathrow with engine #2 shut down.The flight departed as scheduled at 1.44 this afternoon but was forced to declare an emergency and return to British Airways London hub.” British Airways had not confirmed the fire but said they were looking into the incident. Speaking to The Independent a British Airways spokesperson said: “The flight landed safely after returning to the airport, and our highly trained engineers are investigating what happened.” This is a reminder that is it very far from ideal for planes limping, damaged, back to Heathrow – across miles of densely populated London. This should remind people of the safety issues of the location of Heathrow – with the risk even higher with a 3rd runway.
BA flight returns to Heathrow after engine fire
The diverted jet was bound for Athens
BY RAVNEET AHLUWALIA
Wednesday 6 September 2017 (Independent)
A British Airways flight was forced to turn back to Heathrow after witnesses reported seeing flames coming out of the engine.
The Boeing 777, bound for Athens, headed back to the airport within minutes of taking off. Flight tracking website AirNav, showed a graphic of the aircraft departing from Heathrow, circling around Maidstone in Kent and then returning.
Airlive tweeted: “British Airways Boeing 777 (reg. G-VIIH) returning to Heathrow with engine #2 shut down.The flight departed as scheduled at 1.44 this afternoon but was forced to declare an emergency and return to British Airways London hub.
Social media users took to twitter to share their eyewitness accounts. KaiOelfke wrote: “I saw flames coming out of the right engine a few times. I could see the takeoff from the Cathay lounge.”
Krisbob added: “It was covering a flight to Athens, flames seen coming from engine 2 and returning to Heathrow now.”
British Airways have not confirmed the fire but have said they are looking into the incident. Speaking to The Independent a British Airways spokesperson said: “The flight landed safely after returning to the airport, and our highly trained engineers are investigating what happened.
“The safety of our customers and crew is always our priority.
“We are currently looking after the affected customers and are organising a replacement flight for them to continue their journey to Athens later on Wednesday afternoon.
“We are sorry for the delays they have faced.”
Plans have been published for a new railway connecting the Great Western Main Line with Heathrow and Waterloo – via Windsor, which could be a link creating a future ‘M25 rail route’ encircling Greater London. It is considered to be feasible. Most of the rest of such a route either exists or is already being built, such as East West Rail between Oxford and Bedford. The Windsor project includes a new railway in tunnel connecting the two existing stations at Windsor, with Riverside being replaced by a new central station and transport interchange. A new railway would be built connecting the present Windsor Riverside line with Heathrow Terminal 5, with several possible routes identified. The cost is being put at £375 million, to be funded by the private sector. Investors would also bear the risk of any cost overruns. Promoters of the Windsor Link Railway have published a strategic case, and a formal feasibility study – a ‘GRIP 2’ report – has now been submitted to Network Rail. The Windsor Link report was prepared by engineering consultants Pell Frischmann in collaboration with Network Rail, with support from Skanska Infrastructure Development. This scheme is separate from the other privately funded scheme called – Heathrow Southern Railway – which like the Windsor Link would use the two vacant platforms at Terminal 5 station.
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PLANS have been published for a new railway connecting the Great Western Main Line with Heathrow Airport and London Waterloo via Windsor, which could be a link creating a future ‘M25 rail route’ encircling Greater London. Windsor Link Railway
Most of the rest of such a route either exists or is already being built, such as East West Rail between Oxford and Bedford.
The Windsor project includes a new railway in tunnel connecting the two existing stations at Windsor, with Riverside being replaced by a new central station and transport interchange. The result would also be an improvement to the urban environment in Windsor, according to its promoters.
A new railway would be built connecting the present Windsor Riverside line with Heathrow Terminal 5, and several possible routes have been identified for this.
The cost is being put at £375 million, to be funded by the private sector. Investors would also bear the risk of any cost overruns.
Promoters of the Windsor Link Railway have published a strategic case, and a formal feasibility study – a ‘GRIP 2’ report – has now been submitted to Network Rail.
The scheme was included in the recent Hansford Review, which was commissioned by Network Rail and recommends more private investment in the rail industry.
The Windsor Link report was prepared by engineering consultants Pell Frischmann in collaboration with Network Rail, with support from Skanska Infrastructure Development.
The conclusion is that the scheme is ‘eminently feasible’, and that viable options exist for the route, but that further investigations are now necessary before the design process can progress to GRIP3, the stage known as ‘option selection’.
The report says: “While there are areas of complexity within the scheme, they are all capable of being solved by more than one solution, each of which are long-standing and recognised construction practices. This means that the risk of the scheme from an engineering design and construction perspective is low. The scheme is therefore eminently feasible.”
The man behind the scheme is George Bathurst. He said: “I am pleased to have reached this important milestone. The next stage for us will be ‘option selection’. This chooses the best alignment of the tunnel through Windsor and the location of the new station.”
The report comes on the heels of a separate proposal for another privately funded scheme called Heathrow Southern Railway, which like the Windsor Link would use the two vacant platforms at Terminal 5 station.
“Heathrow Southern Railway”: The new £1.2 billion train line which could link Heathrow with Guildford and Waterloo
August 26, 2017
Plans have been unveiled for a new £1.2bn railway line which could finally link Heathrow Airport with trains from Guildford, Farnborough, Woking and London Waterloo. The Heathrow Southern Railway (HSR) proposal aims to greatly improve rail access to the airport. It is not part of Heathrow Ltd. A new route could see trains from Woking go direct to Heathrow at the same fares to those if you were going to Waterloo. The project could also see direct access to the airport from towns such as Weybridge, Egham, Guildford, Woking and Farnborough too. Though still in its extremely early stages, the HSR team have given some consideration thought to how the project could be achieved. Easier rail travel to and from Heathrow for those to the south and in Surrey has been needed for a long time. The proposal includes an additional 8 miles of rail to be constructed along the M25. The HSR scheme hopes to deliver fast, direct and frequent rail access to Heathrow from the south and south west where services are not offered by rail. Also frequent service to Waterloo via Richmond and Putney and links to south London, Sussex and Kent through Clapham Junction and Waterloo East. It could also provide direct trains to Paddington from the south and south west via Heathrow creating an alternative London terminal to Waterloo and with Elizabeth Line providing connections to the West End, the City and Docklands.
Because Heathrow hopes to get support from the Newcastle area for its hoped-for 3rd runway, it held one of its “business summits” there. The airport has elaborate projections, based on extremely weak and shaky premises, of the economic benefit – and the jobs – that its runway would bring to the north east. However, the No 3rd Runway Coalition has pointed out (which came as news to the local press, that has been starved on the real facts) just how few jobs the runway would probably bring, and how Heathrow has used unreliable estimates based on out of date, discredited, numbers. While Heathrow takes one figure (all the UK over 60 years) of economic benefit of £147 billion, the DfT downgraded this figure in 2016 to £61 billion. Even that is hugely inaccurate, with the actual number taking all costs into account, more like £1 – 2 billion at most. Heathrow implies (based on the incorrect £147 bn) that the north east region would get some 5,000 jobs The other harsh reality is that a 3rd runway is unlikely to do much to increase domestic links to Heathrow, as these are only maintained if subsidised. What is much more likely to happen is that Newcastle airport would have fewer long haul flights, with even more of a concentration of these at Heathrow. The Coalition said that for good connections between the north east and international markets, the Government should be working to get direct flights into airports such as Newcastle.
Could Heathrow expansion hurt the North East and Newcastle Airport?
One campaign group say that a third runway and too much focus on the North East could hurt airports such as Newcastle
BY SEAN SEDDON (Chronicle Live – Newcastle)
13 SEP 2017
A campaign group opposed to the expansion of Heathrow Airport has cast doubt on projections it could boost the North East economy.
The No 3rd Runway Coalition accused the Government of playing fast and loose with the future of regional airports with their focus on the South East.
One of the Government’s arguments for expanding Heathrow, despite vocal opposition, has been that the financial benefits would be felt across the country.
But the anti-expansion group rubbished these claims, saying any benefit would be “negligible” and that focusing on Heathrow rather than supporting domestic routes could actually cause harm to airports such as Newcastle in the long-term.
Paul McGuinness, chair of No 3rd Runway Coalition, said: “If economic growth in the North East is to come through connections with international markets, the Government should be working to get direct flights into airports such as Newcastle.
“Instead, they’re using the largesse of taxpayers from across the UK, including the North East, to subsidise Heathrow’s expansion, to the benefit of Heathrow’s shareholders and the South East, yet again.”
A report by the Airport Commission in July 2015 said Heathrow’s expansion could create a £147bn economic benefit over 60 years.
But in October 2016, that was downgraded to a maximum of £61bn by the Department for Transport (DfT), leading the No 3rd Runway group to dismiss initial estimates that expansion could create more than 5,000 jobs in the North East by 2050.
The July 2015 report also found that, despite claims Heathrow’s expansion would increase the number of domestic links, routes between the South East and the regions could actually vanish if support wasn’t provided by to make them economically competitive.
Mr McGuinness said: “Rather than relying on the discredited figures that Heathrow continue to quote, politicians and business people from the North East will want to ask serious questions of Heathrow about how they can come anywhere close to delivering the jobs and investment, that they continue to promise, based on the now trusted, downwardly revised economic benefit figures.
“The Government needs to be more ambitious and ensure that regional airports receive significant investment, to deliver an internationally well-connected North East.
“Flights from Heathrow effectively compete with those from regional airports, so boosting Heathrow’s near monopoly position can only advance the interests of the South East, to the further detriment of the North of the country.”
A Newcastle International Airport spokesperson said connectivity was important for the region’s economy and are supportive of the third runway, signalling they hope it increases existing links between the two.
They added: “Newcastle Airport acts as an international gateway and we will continue to seek additional routes to help ensure the region remains well connected.
“We currently enjoy good connectivity to Heathrow, with up to 6 British Airways flights per day and approximately 0.5million passengers using the service each year.
“We were pleased the government supported a third runway, and hope that through the increased capacity our connections can not only be safeguarded but increased.”
The DfT defended its position, pointing to a recently-launched a review into the aviation industry which will address how links between London and airports such as Newcastle can continue.
A spokesperson said: “A new runway at Heathrow would boost economic growth throughout the whole of the UK.
“Regional airports also help connect people to global destinations – both via Heathrow and directly – creating jobs and boosting local economies.
“The Government supports growth of aviation across the country where there is demand and where environmental impacts can be managed.”
SNP misled by Heathrow inflated claims of number of jobs for Scotland due to a 3rd runway
November 4, 2016
The SNP decided to give its backing to a Heathrow runway, rather than one at Gatwick – having been led to believe that the only choice on offer was between these two. They were led, by Heathrow PR, to believe there would be greater benefits for Scotland. The SNP hoped to get exports from Scotland (salmon and razor clams) shipped through Heathrow. The Airports Commission came up with a figure of economic benefit from a Heathrow runway of UP TO £147 billion to all the UK over 60 years. Heathrow got a consultancy called Quod to work out the number of jobs. They came up with the figure of 16,100 jobs for Scotland (over 60 years) from the runway. The DfT has now downgraded the £147 billion figure, as it included various speculative elements, and double counted benefits. The new figure (also still far higher than the reality) from the DfT is UP TO £61 billion for the UK over 60 years. That, pro rata, would mean up to about 9,300 jobs for Scotland – not 16,100. It is unfortunate that the SNP were misinformed, as were other MPs, Chambers of Commerce etc across the regions. Heathrow also pledged benefits for Scotland such as using its steel for construction, and using Prestwick as a base. The Scottish Green party see the SNP backing of a Heathrow runway as a betrayal of those badly affected by it, and of Scotland’s climate commitments.
Airports Commission report shows fewer, not more, links to regional airports by 2030 with 3rd runway
July 31, 2015
The Times reports that analysis by Transport for London (TfL) of the Airports Commission’s final report shows that, with a 3rd runway, Heathrow would only serve 4 domestic destinations by 2030, compared to the 7 is now serves. It would serve only 3 with no new runway by 2030. (The Gatwick figures are 7 domestic destinations by 2030 with a 2nd runway, compared to 10 now). Heathrow has been claiming that its runway will be important for better links to the regions, and improved domestic connectivity by air. The Heathrow runway has been backed by Peter Robinson, the first minister of Northern Ireland, Derek Mackay, the Scottish transport minister, and Louise Ellman, the chairwoman of the transport select committee – on the grounds that it would help the regions. The Commission’s reportsays: (Page 313) “15.8 ….without specific measures to support domestic connectivity even an expanded Heathrow may accommodate fewer domestic routes in future….” The Commission cannot see effective ways to ensure domestic links are not cut in future, as less profitable than long haul, but they suggest public subsidy by the taxpayer for these routes. This is by using PSO (Public Service Obligations) which could cost £ millions, is a bad use of public money, and may fall foul of EU law. So if the taxpayer has to pay, that means the runway costs us even more.
Government needs to provide clarity on possible jobs across the UK created by 3rd runway
February 27, 2017
When the Government announced Heathrow as its preferred option in October 2016 it downgraded the economic benefits of a 3rd runway substantially. The Airports Commission Final Report assessed the economic benefit to the whole of the UK, over 60 years, might be up to £147 billion (their assessment of need scenario). Heathrow often uses a much higher figure of “up to £211 billion” and omit to say it is for all the UK, over 60 years. In October, the DfT, calculating the possible economic benefits in a different way, thought a more likely figure was £61 billion. This is benefits only. But if the costs are taken off, the benefit falls to something more like £6 billion (£2 – 11 billion or so range). Heathrow, and the DfT, say there will be huge benefits to the regions, and large numbers of future jobs. The figures Heathrow has on its website are based on the £147 billion estimate. These have not been corrected, in the light of the reduced DfT estimate. So what is the actual value of a third runway to the English regions, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland? All that we do know is that it will be considerably less than the promises made by Heathrow to so many MPs and local councillors. The onus is on Heathrow and the DfT to come up with revised estimates of the employment benefits to the regions. So far, it has failed to do so.
However, all these estimates were based on a presumption of about £147 billion of economic benefit (which does not deduct costs to the UK of the runway).
The actual regional benefits, and the actual number of extra jobs that might – or might not – materialise in the regions has not been amended, even though the DfT reduced the assessment of benefit from £147 to £61 billion.
The Government has not provided a break-down for the English regions, Scotland,
Wales or Northern Ireland.
The government estimates that, overall, the aviation sector currently contributes around £18bn – £21bn per annum to the UK. Even if the 3rd runway contributed £61 billion (over 60 years) rather than just the NPV of £6 billion, that comes to all of £1 billion per year.
That is an increase of 5%.
New DfT report indicates number of local jobs from Heathrow 3rd runway about 37,700 by 2030 – not “up to 77,000”
October 27, 2016
The Airports Commission’s Final Report said the Heathrow NW runway would lead to an additional 59 – 77,000 jobs [direct, indirect and induced jobs – ie. supply chain etc] in 2030 for local people. Indeed, Heathrow “astroturf” lobby group got membership partly on the strength of the jobs claims. But now, having looked at the details, the DfT has come up with much lower figures. While the statement on the DfT website on 25th October still says “up to 77,000” local jobs, its more considered assessment “review and sensitivities” document accepted these figures were exaggerated. Instead they now say, using a more accurate method, the number of local jobs might be 37,740 by 2030, not 77,000. By 2050, the DfT now estimate the number of jobs might be 39,100 – while the Commission expected 78,360. The DfT say the 2050 figure is the cumulative total, and cannot be added to the number of jobs created by 2030. The DfT “assessment and sensitivities” report states that it had “identified a number of uncertainties with the approach taken” to assessing jobs by the Commission, which used job multipliers from the airports. These “could lead to significantly different results”. The new DfT figures use Berkeley Hanover Consulting Ltd (BHC) and Optimal Economics Ltd survey data rather than airport assumptions to generate estimates of the indirect job multipliers, which are likely to be more robust.
The boss of Gatwick, Stewart Wingate (in line for huge bonuses if he can get a 2nd runway approved) is repeating his claim that he will get the runway, and build it instead of – or in addition to – a 3rd runway at Heathrow. Gatwick has managed to considerably grow its passenger numbers this year, as affluent citizens have plenty of spare spending money and flying is so dirt cheap (especially with the oil price being very low). Gatwick is increasingly adding long-haul destinations in the US, Florida and the Caribbean to its tourist customers. Gatwick says it has had an 11% rise in long-haul passengers this summer compared to 2016. Stewart Wingate said: “Later this year, we’ll be further adding to our more than 60 long-haul connections with routes to Denver, Seattle, Austin, Chicago, Taipei and Singapore … As Gatwick continues to grow beyond 45 million annual passengers, we remain ready and willing to build our financeable and deliverable 2nd runway scheme ….” His comments came as Labour peer Lord Blunkett claimed that the party will support building a 3rd runway at Heathrow because it fears the anger of powerful trade unions if it does not. He said the unions would “not countenance” the parliamentary Labour party being told to vote down the plans due to the sheer number of jobs involved. He has been persuaded by the job numbers put about by Heathrow.
Gatwick vows to build a second runway
by Phil Davies (Travel Weekly)
Sep 11th 2017
The boss of Gatwick today vowed to build a second runway instead of or in addition to a third runway at Heathrow.
The comments from chief executive Stewart Wingate came as Gatwick reported that August was the busiest month in its history with 2.1% year-on-year growth to 4.9 million passengers – boosted by a surge in long-haul travel to destinations such a Florida and the Caribbean.
Total numbers over the school holiday period also rose by more than 2% to reach 8.1 million passengers, including long-haul growth of 11.1%.
Wingate said: “Gatwick has just had its biggest-ever month during its busiest-ever summer holiday period. This clearly demonstrates the passenger demand for the growing global connectivity offered by Gatwick.
“Later this year, we’ll be further adding to our more than 60 long-haul connections with routes to Denver, Seattle, Austin, Chicago, Taipei and Singapore starting.
“As Gatwick continues to grow beyond 45 million annual passengers, we remain ready and willing to build our financeable and deliverable second runway scheme instead of, or in addition to, Heathrow should the government give us the green light.”
His comments came as Labour peer Lord Blunkett claimed that the party will support building a third runway at Heathrow because it fears the anger of powerful trade unions if it does not.
Unions would “not countenance” the parliamentary party being told to vote down the plans due to the sheer number of jobs involved.
Heathrow said that the mega-project would create 180,000 jobs in construction, airport services, the wider supply chain and the knock-on boost to the economy. This includes 10,000 apprenticeships by 2030.
Airport bosses have established a 14-strong task force to make sure that the jobs are shared across Britain. It is claimed that 100,000 could be created outside London and the south-east.
The group launched a six-week consultation at the TUC congress in Brighton, aimed at shaping the airport’s employment policy.
Lord Blunkett, the former education and employment secretary who is the task force’s chairman, said that the job opportunities made it almost inconceivable that a Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn would oppose a third runway.
It was reported last month that Labour was almost certain to vote against Heathrow when the plans were put to a vote of MPs in the first half of next year, citing environmental concerns.
However, Lord Blunkett insisted that union support for the £16.8 billion scheme would swing Labour behind the project. Unite, Britain’s biggest union, which is led by Len McCluskey, a key Corbyn ally, has campaigned in favour of a third runway.
He told The Times: “I would be very surprised if the major trade unions were to countenance the Labour Party opposing the kind of job creation, skills development and apprenticeship programmes that go hand-in-hand with the development and expansion of Heathrow.
“If we don’t have the expansion of Heathrow, it’s not just the jobs and the apprenticeships and training that will be lost; it’s an opportunity to present Britain post-Brexit as a country that’s going somewhere.
“I would be surprised if the trade union movement countenanced the Labour Party in parliament being asked to vote down a project that is so crucial to job creation.”
The new runway would be built by 2025 under the airport’s present plans. It is expected to boost capacity by 50%, allowing Heathrow to handle 740,000 flights a year.
The task force has been founded to make sure that suppliers invest in skills and apprenticeships while promoting careers in local schools and providing opportunities to job returners or older workers.
….. and it continues about Heathrow ….. see full article at
Bargain-hunting tourists lift Heathrow and Gatwick
By MICHAEL BOW (Evening Standard)
London’s biggest airports hailed a record-breaking August on Monday as tourists flooded to Britain to take advantage of the cheap pound.
Heathrow and Gatwick separately said they had their busiest ever August, with 7.5 million passengers and 4.9 million coming and going.
The relatively low value of sterling against international currencies has made Britain a bigger hotspot for bargain-hunting tourists, although Brits travelling abroad are feeling the pinch.
Heathrow said passenger numbers were up 2% in August, crowning it as the second-busiest month in the airport’s history. New flights to Scotland launched by Flybe in March helped drive UK destinations up 6% and 7% more people also went to the Middle East.
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said demand to travel from Heathrow had “never been stronger”. “Heathrow is firing on all cylinders and showing the world our country is open for business,” he added of the airport which wants a third runway.
Rival Gatwick said August was the biggest month in the airport’s history, with passenger numbers up 2.1% on last year.
Long-haul flights were especially popular, with passengers travelling to far-flung destinations up 11.1%.
Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said the airport, which opened a new Jamie Oliver restaurant in the South Terminal, had put greater focus on service.
“We have worked closely with our airlines and ground handlers to help ensure that more planes depart on time,” he said.
Cargo climbed 13% to 139,000 tonnes at Heathrow, with Latin America cargo volumes up 30% in August. Gatwick’s cargo numbers rose 25.6% year on year.
Gatwick passenger numbers boosted by low-cost long-haul carriers
by Phil Davies (Travel Weekly)
Aug 23rd 2017
The low-cost, long-haul flying revolution from Gatwick is boosting August bank holiday passenger numbers as the airport continues to push for a second runway to meet the growing demand.
The airport has seen a 14% rise in long-haul passengers over the holiday weekend compared to last year.
More than 300,000 passengers are due to fly out as part of a record 631,000 expected to use the airport this weekend – an increase of almost 1%.
Three of the 10 biggest-growing long-haul routes are to the US – Oakland up 124.8% year-on-year, New York up 54.9% and Los Angeles up 28.9%.
Boston is in 11th place with a 16.2% increase on the same weekend in 2016.
However, Dubai will be the most popular long-haul destination this weekend, up 10.7% year-on-year.
Almost a third of the airport’s leisure passengers (31.9%) will be heading off on four-day trips.
Head of airline relations Stephen King said: “As more American destinations are added to our growing long-haul route network, it’s clear that passengers are making the most of it with thousands heading across the pond for the bank holiday weekend.
“Later this year we’re set to give our passengers even more choice with the launch of new routes to Denver, Seattle, Austin and Chicago.
“Gatwick is already the world’s busiest single-runway airport and we are exploring new and innovative ways to make best use of our existing facilities so we can continue to forge new connections and increase Britain’s global connectivity when it’s needed most.”
He added: “Our August bank holiday figures demonstrate that, while we continue to provide new services for our growing number of passengers, we are also keen to expand.
“We stand ready to build our financeable and deliverable second runway scheme instead of, or in addition to, Heathrow should the government give us the green light.”
[THIS IS SHOCKING. EVER MORE PEOPLE GOING ON LONG-HAUL FLIGHTS FOR JUST A BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND. THIS IS TRULY A WORLD GONE MAD, AND A SOCIETY THAT HAS LOST ANY SORT OF MORAL DIRECTION – LET ALONE THE VITAL ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY THAT THE WORLD (AND THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY ITSELF) NEEDS].
Gatwick’s top ten biggest-growing August Bank holiday long-haul destinations
• Oakland, San Francisco
• Punta Cana
• New York
• Cape Verde
• Los Angeles
Top ten biggest-growing August bank holiday short-haul destinations
Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye, has again said the airport may need to build its 3rd runway and associated airport infrastructure in phases, to spread the massive £17 billion cost over many years. It will be interesting to see the latest government air travel demand forecasts when they are finally published later this year. It is likely they will show more demand at Gatwick than the Airports Commission had assumed, when it pressed for a 3rd Heathrow runway. There may be less strong demand for Heathrow than originally suggested, with impacts on Heathrow’s finances. Holland-Kaye says he is not in favour of the cheaper runway plan by hotel tycoon Surinder Arora, which could be some £7 billion cheaper than Heathrow’s own. Not otherwise very bothered about the extra noise caused by his 3rd runway, Holland-Kay says …”I’m most concerned about the idea that the runway might move closer to London – that means more homes lost, more people hit by aircraft noise.” He says: ‘We can expand the airport with fewer new buildings. We can do the construction on a phased basis so we can smooth out the price. Originally we were going to expand Terminal 2 early on which would have given us an extra 20 million passengers a year. …Now we’re going to do that in phases, adding enough for 5 million at a time.”
Extracts from the Mail on Sunday article:
Airport boss John Holland-Kaye speaks out ahead of new probe
By Jon Rees, Financial Mail on Sunday
But Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye urgently needs to convince politicians of his green credentials, at the same time as fending off a cheaper rival.
The Labour Party’s leadership is understood to be preparing to vote against his plans for a third runway when it comes to a Commons vote amid concerns over air quality.
Now the Government has said there will be a ‘short period of further consultation’ in the autumn to allow the public to consider new evidence on Heathrow – including, crucially, ‘revised aviation demand forecasts and the Government’s final air quality plan’.
The Airports Commission opted for Heathrow over rivals like Gatwick because it said extending Heathrow would bring greater economic benefits.
But if revised figures show Gatwick expanding faster than previously thought, then it might have the edge on future economic benefits, too.
…. hotel tycoon Surinder Arora has come up with his own plan to build a new runway at Heathrow, backed by US building giant Bechtel and ex-British Airways boss Sir Rod Eddington. It claims to be nearly £7 billion cheaper than Holland-Kaye’s £16.5 billion scheme.
Heathrow’s biggest customer, British Airways, and Virgin Atlantic have both welcomed the Arora proposal.
But can business leaders really be trusted? After all, it was Sir John Egan, chief executive of Heathrow’s then owner BAA, who assured local residents that ‘Terminal 5 will not lead to a third runway’. And car maker Volkswagen cheated over its diesel emissions on a grand scale.
Holland-Kaye: “We will add up to 40,000 new jobs and 10,000 apprenticeships – we’ll need pilots, engineers, construction workers, customer service people, IT staff.”
As for the Arora plan, which includes an option of shifting the new runway so that work on the M25 motorway is not required, Holland-Kaye is coolly damning ….. “I’m most concerned about the idea that the runway might move closer to London – that means more homes lost, more people hit by aircraft noise,” he says.
He points out, too, that one of Heathrow’s earlier proposals included building the new runway in a position that avoided the necessity of working on the M25 – and that was rejected by the Airports Commission.
Holland-Kaye admits the task of delivering the world’s biggest private investor-backed construction project without increasing passenger charges – currently £22 a time – as he has promised, is a tough one but ‘deliverable’.
Willie Walsh, boss of British Airways owner IAG, insists Heathrow cannot deliver expansion and stay competitive without hiking prices.
But Holland-Kaye, 52, says: ‘We can expand the airport with fewer new buildings. We can do the construction on a phased basis so we can smooth out the price. Originally we were going to expand Terminal 2 early on which would have given us an extra 20 million passengers a year. ” “Now we’re going to do that in phases, adding enough for 5 million at a time. We’ve seen a big appetite from the airlines to increase their business here, much faster than we had planned. New airlines, too, who couldn’t get into Heathrow are very interested. It looks like growth in the early years might be faster than we had assumed.”
It is why he supports the smoothest possible transition post-Brexit for whatever replaces the EU’s customs union, noting that the red tape involved in coping with new customs barriers would be a huge extra cost for very little gain.
He is also after a long-term contract with the Civil Aviation Authority over charges. It is understood he wants a 15-year contract though nothing has yet been decided.
He is in line for an as yet unquantified bonus on delivery of the runway – on top of his basic pay thought to be £896,000, plus bonuses taking that to £1.9 million last year.
University pension scheme, 10% owners of Heathrow, have £17.5 deficit in pension fund
July 30, 2017
Universities face a new blow to their finances after the main pension fund deficit has risen to £17.5bn. The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) now has the largest pensions deficit of any UK pension fund after it increased by £9 billion last year. One expert said student fees may have to rise or be diverted from teaching. But a USS spokesperson said the pensions were “secure, backed by a solid investment portfolio and the strength of sponsoring employers.” The USS funds pensions for academics who are mostly based in the pre-1992 universities, and has more than 390,000 members. The pensions deficit has grown rapidly since 2014, when benefits were reduced for new entrants to plug a £5,3bn deficit. The USS bought an 8% stake in Heathrow in 2014 and has since increased that to 10%. They also bought, in 2013, a nearly 50% stake in the Airlines Group, which owns almost half of air traffic controller, NATS. USS said: “USS pensions are secure, backed by a solid investment portfolio and the strength of sponsoring employers.” The owners of Heathrow are expected to put up money for the very expensive Heathrow expansion scheme, and will be needing large returns on their investment if the runway is ever built. Heathrow is having to cut the costs of its scheme, now saying it will delay a terminal + underground rail link, which it cannot afford.
Heathrow plans to cut building costs of its runway plan, to keep fares low, by not adding new terminal
July 28, 2017
Heathrow has said it will – allegedly – guarantee to effectively freeze passenger landing fees when [if] a 3rd runway is built, by scrapping plans for a new terminal. The cost for the whole planned expansion is about £17.6 billion, and Heathrow knows it will have trouble raising all this and paying for changes to surface access transport. The government does not want air fares to get any more expensive. So Heathrow now says it will knock “several billion” pounds off the cost of its plan by abandoning facilities such as an additional terminal. The terminal would require a huge subsurface baggage handling system and an underground passenger metro system, which was estimated to cost £1 billion alone. They instead suggest extending Terminals 5 and 2 and phasing the expansion work over as long as 20 years, to control costs. The main airline at Heathrow, IAG, is not prepared to pay higher charges to fund inefficient expansion, that is unnecessarily expensive. The amended expansion plans by Heathrow will be put out for a public consultation later in 2017. The publication of the final Airports National Policy Statement [the consultation on it ended in May 2017] setting out the Government’s position, and a subsequent House of Commons vote, are expected in the first half of 2018 with the vote not before June. Heathrow hopes to cut costs in every way it can, and get in the necessary funds by attracting many more passengers, even if paying hardly more than they do now – about £22 landing fee – each.
Heathrow produced a plan it calls “Heathrow 2.0” in an attempt to persuade MPs that its hoped for 3rd runway would be environmentally “sustainable” and its carbon emissions would all be offset, producing a “carbon neutral” runway. In a masterful rebuttal of the Heathrow 2.0 document, the AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) sets out clearly why this plan falls very far short of its ambition. It is likely that Heathrow hopes its document will be enough to give MPs who are poorly informed on UK carbon emissions the assurance they need, to vote for a 3rd runway. However, AEF points out that even if the airport itself tries to be “zero carbon”, that is only around 3% of the total carbon emitted by all Heathrow flights – so a sideshow. AEF explains how offsetting CO2 emissions by Heathrow planes is not an acceptable way or effective way to deal with the problem. Indeed, this is the advice given consistently by the government’s climate advisors, the CCC. Offsets will just not be available in future decades. The Heathrow 2.0 document pins its hopes on the UK plan, CORSIA, but this does not achieve actual cuts in aviation carbon and Heathrow has no plans to do anything practical to cut emissions. The key problem is that the UK has no strategy for limiting aviation emissions to a level consistent with our obligations on climate change, though the CCC and the EAC have repeatedly asked for one.
Why Heathrow’s sustainability strategy doesn’t quite cut it
11.9.2017 (AEF – Aviation Environment Federation)
Earlier this year, sustainability strategy agency, Futerra, announced ithad been working with Heathrow Airport on its latest sustainability strategy, Heathrow 2.0.
AEF responded to the news with its concerns, which was previously available on Futerra’s blog, and this can now be read below:
We appreciate the work you’ve done in the past to highlight the challenge that aviation growth poses to climate ambition, and to show that it’s possible to cut down on flying while still connecting with people around the world and enjoying a good life. But your description of Heathrow’s latest sustainability strategy has left us wondering if we’ve read the same report as you, and your claim that Heathrow has made a “huge, bold and courageous aspiration” on climate change is baffling us.
In terms of the airport’s own emissions, we’re pleased that Heathrow wants to become, like many other airports, ‘zero carbon’. But as these emissions will account for only about 3% of the total once flights are factored in, this is obviously a bit of a sideshow that a cynic might regard as being designed to confuse hapless MPs who will soon be voting on the issue of runway expansion and who want reassurance that the ideal of sustainable growth is within reach.
Rightly, then, Heathrow also tries to cover off the issue of the emissions from departing aircraft – at least partially – with its aspiration for a ‘carbon neutral runway’. As you imply, though, this aspiration appears to have no substance beyond a kind of moral support for the UN carbon offsetting scheme for aviation, CORSIA, a scheme that applies to airlines, not airports (let alone runways), and which will be required by law. No action whatsoever is required, or proposed, from Heathrow, to deliver the scheme.
The message Heathrow seems to want to convey, of course, is that offsetting means that climate change concerns need not be a barrier to expansion. In terms of CORSIA, AEF has worked pretty doggedly over the years, partly as an active participant in discussions, for the scheme to be as effective as possible. In a global context, particularly for countries with no climate policies, we see last year’s agreement as a step towards ending the attitude of ‘aviation exceptionalism’ that you describe, but it’s not a long-term solution and certainly not a reason to think that uncontrolled growth is now OK.
In particular, CORSIA is woefully inadequate for meeting the scale of the challenge here in the UK. We’ve written a briefing, setting out the detail on this. But it’s probably quicker to check out the advice of the UK’s official experts on climate policy, the CCC, who, while remaining fiercely neutral on the question of runways, have told Governmentas explicitly as possible that it should not be giving approval to expansion before it has a credible plan to limit aviation emissions in line with the Climate Change Act. Offsetting, they say, has no bearing on this issue since by 2050 – the target date for the Act – we’ll need to be making emissions cuts domestically, not relying on increasingly scarce and expensive offsets. (The EU has meanwhile concluded, for similar reasons, that international credits won’t count towards its climate ambition.)
This brings us to the crux of the matter.
You suggest that some ‘i’s remain to be dotted and some ‘t’s have yet to be crossed. If only that was the case. In fact, the UK has no strategy for limiting aviation emissions to a level consistent with our obligations on climate change.The CCC has persistently asked for one, as has the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), and the Government has persistently ignored them.
Why? Because all the evidence shows that a new runway at Heathrow can’t be compatible with such a plan. As the EAC has recently pointed out the Government’s approach to tackling emissions while expanding Heathrow appears to be based on ‘magical thinking’.
Our primary target on this is clearly not Heathrow but the Government, but ‘Heathrow 2.0’ confuses the debate by suggesting that somehow the airport can both solve the aviation climate problem and build a new runway. If instead, Heathrow wants to make a meaningful contribution, it should start by publicly supporting the advice of the CCC that UK aviation emissions must be no higher than 37.5 Mt in 2050 without recourse to offsetting, and join the calls on Government to set out a plan – urgently – for delivering it.
Without this framing, unless it’s planning to close one of its other two runways, Heathrow’s aspiration to make a third one ‘carbon neutral’ misses the point.