As widely leaked, the Airports Commission has decided against short listing an inner Thames estuary airport scheme, for further consideration. The Commission had intended not to short list the scheme back in December 2013, but were persuaded to give the concept further thought. The Commission’s report wording is unambiguous. They say, to take a few direct quotes: ” we are not persuaded that a very large airport in the Thames Estuary is the right answer to London’s and the UK’s connectivity needs.” “To roll the dice on a very risky project, where delays and overruns are highly likely, would be reckless.” “…Commission has concluded that the proposal for a new ITE airport has substantial disadvantages that collectively outweigh its potential benefits. Cumulative obstacles to delivery, high costs and uncertainties in relation to its economic and strategic benefits contribute to an assessment that an ITE airport proposal does not represent a credible option for short-listing.” And “…if UK carbon emissions are to be kept within the overall cap, concentrating a very high number of flights in one location could limit the scope for growth elsewhere and hence reduce the overall diversity of the UK airports system.” So a very definite NO.
The Airports Commission’s decision not to add an inner Thames estuary airport proposal to a shortlist for further appraisal.
Part of the introduction, by Sir Howard Davies, says:
The reasons for our decision are set out in detail in this document. In brief, we are not
persuaded that a very large airport in the Thames Estuary is the right answer to London’s
and the UK’s connectivity needs, and the airport would need to be very large to justify the
enormous costs involved, both for the airport itself and the surface transport connections
to it. While we recognise the need for a hub airport, we believe this should be a part of an
effective system of competing airports to meet the needs of a widely spread and diverse
market like London’s. One or more of those airports will need to grow: we will recommend
which of them should expand first in our final report. Our Interim Report argued that we
need one net new runway by 2030, and that additional capacity on that scale can be
reconciled with the country’s climate change commitments. That remains our planning
There will be those who argue that we have missed an opportunity for a Great Leap
Forward, and that the Commission lacks ambition and imagination. Our response is that
we are ambitious for the right solution. The need for additional capacity is urgent. To roll the dice on a very risky project, where delays and overruns are highly likely, would be reckless.
We need to focus on solutions which are deliverable, affordable, and set the right balance
for the future of aviation in the UK.
Some other extracts from the report:
Nonetheless, the Commission has concluded that the proposal for a new ITE airport
has substantial disadvantages that collectively outweigh its potential benefits.
Cumulative obstacles to delivery, high costs and uncertainties in relation to its
economic and strategic benefits contribute to an assessment that an ITE airport
proposal does not represent a credible option for shortlisting.
The Commission has identified relatively little support for such a proposal from the
aviation industry or business community, or from the local authorities nearby, and
some intended benefits, such as the scope for 24-hour operation, appear to be of
In contrast, the closure of Heathrow Airport would be expected to have a significant
negative economic impact on the surrounding local area, with the scope and
timing of any mitigation as a result of the redevelopment of the Heathrow site
A further benefit claimed by advocates of a new ITE airport is that it would be
able to deliver against the potential requirement for a further increase in runway
capacity by 2050. NATS have advised the Commission, however, that no more than
800,000 air traffic movements (ATMs) per annum would be likely to be achievable
at a four-runway airport, constraining the level of additional capacity provided.
While the construction of additional runways, if feasible, might enable a higher
number of ATMs to be accommodated, it would also increase the scheme’s costs,
environmental impacts, and airspace and delivery challenges
It is not clear, in any case, that an ITE ‘super-hub’ would present an attractive
solution to the UK’s long-term aviation capacity needs. It may be less flexible in
responding to changes in the aviation industry than other, more incremental options.
Also, if UK carbon emissions are to be kept within the overall cap, concentrating
a very high number of flights in one location could limit the scope for growth
elsewhere and hence reduce the overall diversity of the UK airports system.
To keep the option under consideration beyond this point, however, would prolong unnecessarily the associated costs and anxiety for nearby communities, unless it could be seen to be a credible proposal. The Commission’s judgement is that a balanced assessment does not favour such a conclusion.
3.6 In addition, it has been argued by some stakeholders that a significantly higher level of aviation connectivity would be provided by a single, large hub airport than by a more dispersed distribution of aviation capacity, and that an Estuary airport is best placed to facilitate this. The analysis carried out by the Commission for its Interim Report, however, indicated that, while a concentrated capacity model would deliver higher passenger and ATM numbers than a dispersed model, it only showed a small difference in destinations served. Therefore, it is not clear that any benefits of this kind would be as great as some advocates of such schemes contend.
These are the conclusions of the Airports Commission report:
4.1 The Commission appreciates the imaginative and considered designs put forward for a new airport in the inner Thames Estuary. Much high quality work has been
produced from all sides that has greatly enhanced the quality of the public debate on the UK’s international connectivity needs.
4.2 The scale of change associated with an ITE airport would be very great with major implications for passengers throughout the UK, thousands of direct employees
and others in associated jobs, businesses, wildlife, local communities around both Heathrow and the ITE site, the aviation industry and the UK taxpayer. The in-depth feasibility studies, and the submissions made to the Call for Evidence and consultations, have enhanced the Commission’s understanding of these effects, and of the broader costs, impacts and feasibility of such an option.
4.3 The Commission has concluded that the proposal for a new ITE airport has substantial disadvantages that collectively outweigh its potential benefits. Cumulative obstacles to delivery, high costs and uncertainties in relation to its economic and strategic benefits contribute to an assessment that an ITE airport proposal does not represent a credible option for shortlisting.
4.4 There will be scheme promoters and others who will be disappointed by this decision and who would wish to see further consideration of proposals for an ITE airport by the Commission. However, it should be remembered that such work is not without its costs. As set out in its Interim Report the Commission appreciates the potential for its work to cause unwelcome uncertainty for communities close to shortlisted schemes. These circumstances underline that it would be inappropriate for the Commission to continue to consider the option of an ITE airport unless it could be seen to be a credible proposal.
4.5 As such, the Commission will not be taking forward any further work on the option of an ITE airport, and will proceed to consultation in autumn 2014 on the three currently shortlisted options.
The Airports Commission’s decision not to add an inner Thames estuary airport proposal to a shortlist for further appraisal.
New flight paths introduced by Gatwick Airport Ltd (GAL) are causing a wave of protest across large parts of East and West Sussex, Kent and Surrey. MPs including Nick Herbert, Francis Maude, Paul Beresford, Crispin Blunt, John Stanley, Greg Clark, and Charles Hendry all report that they are overwhelmed with correspondence from upset constituents. New anti-noise groups, all welcomed and supported by GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign – the long established community group), have sprung up in Crowborough, Sevenoaks Weald, Tunbridge Wells, Penshurst, Chiddingstone, Beare Green, and Warnham. GAL called an emergency meeting of the airport noise committee (NATMAG) on 29th August to try to calm the situation – before it takes the shine off their extravaganza campaign for a 2nd runway. The public annoyance and anger have been caused not only by the ADNID flight path trial, but also new concentrated departure flight paths over Holmwood, Brockham and Reigate, and also over Penshurst and Tunbridge Wells. There have also been more, and lower, arrivals over parts of Kent and East Sussex – and fears there of a concentrated merge point in future.
Gatwick in a Spin over Angry Residents
New flight paths introduced by Gatwick Airport Ltd are causing a wave of protest across large parts of East and West Sussex, Kent and Surrey.
MPs, including Nick Herbert (Arundel), Francis Maude (Horsham), Paul Beresford (Dorking), Crispin Blunt (Reigate), John Stanley (Tonbridge), Greg Clark (Tunbridge Wells) and Charles Hendry (Wealden) all report that they are overwhelmed with correspondence from upset constituents.
New anti-noise groups, all welcomed and supported by GACC, have sprung up in Crowborough, Sevenoaks Weald, Tunbridge Wells, Penshurst, Chiddingstone, Beare Green, and Warnham.
Gatwick airport called an emergency meeting on Friday (29th August) of the airport noise committee (NATMAG) to try to calm the situation – before it takes the shine off their extravaganza campaign for a second runway.
The problem has been caused by a new route over Warnham and North Horsham, as well as the introduction of new concentrated departure flight paths over Holmwood, Brockham and Reigate, and also over Penshurst and Tunbridge Wells.
These new concentrated routes (PBN – Performance Based Navigation) are causing great distress compounded by a loss in house values of thousands of pounds.
In Kent and East Sussex anger at an increased number of flights has been magnified by fears of new flight paths for arriving aircraft (and concentration on a single merge point) announced by NATS but with the actual location of the new routes and the merge point kept secret.
GACC are monitoring the situation and advising members, and putting forward constructive solutions (see response to airspace consultation at www.gacc.org.uk).
Boris Johnson has rebuffed calls to back a 3rd runway at Heathrow, saying it would be a “disaster”. He said Heathrow’s plans were “desperately short-sighted” and “barbarically contemptuous of the rights of the population”, whose health he said would be put at risk. The Airports Commission is expected to announce this week if it will drop plans for a massive airport in the Thames estuary. A few days earlier, Heathrow’s new chief executive John Holland-Kaye wrote an open letter to Boris asking him to back a 3rd Heathrow runway, if the Commission rejected the estuary – quite an “ask” bearing in mind Boris’ forceful opposition to it in the past. Writing today in the Daily Telegraph Boris said: “We need scale and ambition to compete, and Heathrow is no answer.” He said a Heathrow 3rd runway would be “a disaster for hundreds of thousands of people living under new flight paths, who currently have no idea of the peril…..Heathrow is already by far the noisiest airport in Europe, about a hundred times worse than Paris. A 3rd runway will mean there are more than a million people in the city affected by noise pollution of more than 55db.”
The London mayor said the expansion plans were “desperately short-sighted” and “barbarically contemptuous of the rights of the population”, whose health he said would be put at risk.
The comments come ahead of an announcement by the chairman of the Airports Commission Sir Howard Davies, who is expected to dismiss Johnson’s proposals for a four-runway airport in the Thames estuary.
On Friday, Heathrow’s new chief executive John Holland-Kaye wrote an open letter to Johnson asking him to support the campaign to expand his airport. He said: “Britain definitely needs a successful hub airport if it is to compete in the global race. This leaves two choices: expand Heathrow or build a new solution in the Thames estuary.
“If your own proposal for a new Thames estuary airport is not shortlisted by the Airports Commission then Heathrow will be the only hub option left in the race.”
But, writing in the Daily Telegraph on Monday, Johnson said: “We need scale and ambition to compete, and Heathrow is no answer.”
He said a third runway would be “a disaster for hundreds of thousands of people living under new flight paths, who currently have no idea of the peril”.
Johnson added: “Heathrow is already by far the noisiest airport in Europe, about a hundred times worse than Paris. A third runway will mean there are more than a million people in the city affected by noise pollution of more than 55db.”
He said the expansion would mean a rise in medical problems linked to noise pollution, as well as more road congestion.
173 Comments(many of the comments very sensible and worth reading!)
There is no government in the Western world that would even contemplate an act so self-defeating, so short-termist, and so barbarically contemptuous of the rights of the population. That is why all three main parties have correctly ruled out expansion of Heathrow airport, in the form of a third runway.
So it is mystifying and depressing to learn that some in Whitehall want to use the cover provided by Sir Howard Davies to effect a colossal U-turn: by announcing that this option is back on the agenda – for consideration post May 2015.
It is of course true that such a runway would be a disaster for hundreds of thousands of people living under new flight paths, who currently have no idea of the peril. That means people in Kennington, Camberwell, New Cross, Deptford, Peckham; and yes, it means you, too, in Chelsea and Chiswick and Hammersmith and Pimlico.
Heathrow is already by far the noisiest airport in Europe, about a hundred times worse than Paris. A third runway will mean that there are more than a million people in the city affected by noise pollution of more than 55db – well over a third of all the victims of such aircraft noise in the whole of Europe.
It will mean more of the medical problems associated with such pollution – stress, heart disease, etc; more struggling in school; vastly more road congestion and pollution in west London: all the other problems that have made a new runway politically undeliverable in the past.
All that is true, but what frustrates me is that a third runway is so desperately short-sighted. You could not conceivably get it built before 2029, by the airport’s own admission – and as soon as it opened it would be full. Even with three runways, Heathrow would be lagging woefully behind our continental rivals. By 2050 the airport claims that with three runways Heathrow would serve 170 destinations – even though the number used to be more than 200. Well, Paris CDG already has four runways and serves 257 destinations; Frankfurt serves 291 from four runways; Amsterdam serves 277 from six runways.
In fact, it is one of the most shameful consequences of our failure to provide more hub capacity that Amsterdam now serves more UNITED KINGDOM destinations than Heathrow itself. As soon as a third runway opened, in other words – after the interminable judicial reviews and appeals – there would be instant pressure for a fourth; and we would be put through the whole miserable argument again.
Britain is haemorrhaging vital connectivity to growth markets. You cannot fly direct from London to Osaka, for heaven’s sake, or to Lima, or to Dar es Salaam. If we cannot connect swiftly to these markets, we will lose exports, and opportunities, and eventually we will lose our position as a great trading nation. The country needs not a third runway at Heathrow, but proper hub capacity of the kind that every single one of our competitors has now built or is building.
The fundamental problem with Heathrow is that it is situated in the western suburbs, so that unlike any other major hub airport it requires planes to land by flying over the heart of the city. The answer is not to keep compounding the mistake, but to look at a new site.
Gatwick can’t be the long-term solution, because you don’t get the hub capacity – a point the CBI has rightly identified this week. By far the best solution is to do what we should have done in the Sixties – locate the airport in the Thames estuary, sufficiently close as to be readily accessible but with a 95 per cent reduction in noise pollution.
The beauty of this project is that it helps us to address all the main challenges facing London. We are going through an era of vast population growth, heading for a staggering 11.3 million by 2050. We need 49,000 new homes per year. We can either send the bulldozers scything through the green belt and destroying the Home Counties, or we can build sensitively in the many post-industrial brownfield sites to the east of London.
That is why George Osborne has rightly identified Ebbsfleet, for instance, as a potential new city. But you won’t get Ebbsfleet going if there are no transport links and too few jobs.
Studies by the Greater London Authority and Transport for London have concluded that a new hub in the east would have a sensational and beneficial effect on the UK economy – creating 222,000 jobs for Londoners in the Thames Gateway, and supporting 336,000 jobs across the country as a whole.
By 2050 the airport would be contributing £92.1 billion per year to the UK economy – far more than Heathrow; a point the Davies Commission has already acknowledged. You would have a four-runway, 24-hour service and at last Britain would be able to stop our rivals eating our lunch. Finally we could re-connect London, by air, with other cities around the UK who have been seeing a steady reduction in services.
Every one of the objections can be despatched. Including risk, land acquisition and construction, the cost – £25.9 billion by 2030 – is not appreciably higher than Heathrow’s third runway. The connections to central London would be superb – 24 minutes to London Bridge; 28 minutes to Waterloo.
The road and rail improvements should be seen not as projects exclusive to the airport, but as essential to the homes and communities that will need to be built in the area. As for the existing hub at Heathrow, you could keep an Orly-style airport; but you could also release huge quantities of prime land as a wonderful new district for London.
In the estuary there are some technical difficulties, sure: but TfL and our consultants are certain that neither fog nor birds nor the SS Montgomery present anything remotely approaching a deal-breaker to a country that used to have a reputation as the greatest engineering nation on earth.
Plenty of other countries have by now built very similar projects. This year for the first time Dubai is overtaking Heathrow as the world’s busiest airport, and about a third of that country’s GDP now comes from aviation. We need the scale and ambition to compete, and Heathrow is no answer.
Blackpool Airport has been put up for sale by Balfour Beatty, which bought it in May 2008. The airport is saying the sale will not affect flights, and it hopes to get new routes. Balfour Beatty paid £14m for the airport, and has now has decided to sell its operating interests in the site as part of a wider decision to sell all its interests in regional airports. But it will continue to own the land on which the terminal stands. Alan Cavill, assistant chief executive at Blackpool Council, which sold the airport in 2004 for £13 million, welcomed the news. A London-based restructuring specialist is handling handle the sale and inviting expressions of interest from would-be buyers before September 10th, but no price has been put on the airport. Balfour Beatty has invested almost £30m in the site since 2008. But passenger numbers have dropped over the years from a peak of around 500,000 in 2007. It gets passengers from the North West of England, Southern Scotland, Cumbria and Cheshire. The airport makes an annual loss of about £1.5m per year. Three airlines are based at Blackpool including Jet2 with 13 destinations.
Investors sought for airport future
30.8.2014 (The Gazette)
Hopes are high a new owner will be found for Blackpool Airport who will invest in the future of the air hub.
As revealed in yesterday’s Gazette, Balfour Beatty has put the Squires Gate terminal up for sale as part of a wider decision to sell all its interests in regional airports.
Simon Menzies, managing director of aircraft charter firm Pool Aviation based at Blackpool Airport, said his company expected to play a part in encouraging a new investor.
He said: “The oldest airport in the UK actually has one of the brightest futures, with its established infrastructure, loyal customer base, highly trained specialist staff along with strong support from its established tenants, partners and passengers.
“We look forward to working with all parties, saving jobs, while protecting and developing one of the most special and historic airfields in the UK.
“This is at the same time as delivering a strong sustainable asset to all the people in the North West of England, Southern Scotland, Cumbria and Cheshire who have chosen Blackpool as their favourite and most friendly airport.”
Chris Mustow, of Air Ads, also based at the airport, said: “We will have to see what happens, but we would like to see an operator come on board who will put aviation at the core of everything they do.”
Around 100 workers are directly employed by the airport, but it is not yet known how jobs could be affected by the sale.
In a written reply to workers’ questions about possible job losses seen by The Gazette, airport bosses say it is too soon to comment, adding “the size and shape of the company would be determined by the new owners.”
Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden said: “This is a vital part of the infrastructure for Blackpool and the Fylde. We need to keep it as a vibrant airport and I look forward to a far more thorough and detailed briefing on how they intend to take this forward.”
Blackpool Airport sell-off bid sparks new route hopes
Going concern: Balfour Beatty is selling off its operating interests in Blackpool Airport. Council boss Alan Cavill has raised hopes the move could bring new operators to the terminal
29 August 2014 (The Gazette)
Blackpool Airport has been put up for sale – with hopes raised the move could bring even more new routes to the resort.
And bosses at the Squires Gate terminal today reassured passengers the sell-off would not affect flights.
Balfour Beatty, which bought the airport in 2008 for £14m, has decided to sell its operating interests in the site as part of a wider decision to sell all its interests in regional airports.
But it will continue to own the land on which the terminal stands. A statement issued by Blackpool Airport Ltd, the operating arm of Balfour Beatty at Squires Gate, said: “The directors of Blackpool Airport Limited have today commenced a process to sell the operating company of the airport.
“Services and flights to and from the airport will continue as normal during this sale process.”
Alan Cavill, assistant chief executive at Blackpool Council, which sold the airport in 2004, welcomed the news, saying it could bring new flights and operators to the Fylde coast.
London-based restructuring specialist Zolfo Cooper has been appointed to handle the sale and is inviting expressions of interest from would-be buyers before September 10.
A spokesman said: “We are pleased to have been appointed to this role and we will be working closely now with the management team of the airport to identify and evaluate appropriate expressions of interest.”
No price has been put on the airport.
Blackpool Airport Limited generates its income from aviation traffic, shopping, snack bar and other passenger facilities.
Blackpool Council sold the airport in a £13m deal in 2004 and, at the time, retained a five per cent stake.
Balfour Beatty has invested almost £30m in the site since it took it over.
But passenger numbers have dropped over the years from a peak of around 500,000 in 2007, and the terminal has continued to make an annual loss, currently running at about £1.5m a year.
Three airlines are based at Blackpool Airport including Jet2 which flies to 13 destinations.
Alan Cavill, assistant chief executive at Blackpool Council, said the council had been aware Balfour Beatty wanted to sell the terminal.
He added: “We await the outcome with interest.
“We hope a new owner could bring additional flights and operations to the airport which would be good for the Fylde Coast and the airport.”
TAG Farnborough Airport has released a feedback report following its 3 month consultation (ended 12th May) on controversial plans to chance its airspace. Farnborough wants the changes to be approved by the CAA, so it can have a “more predictable flow of traffic around the airport” which it claims could mean fewer flights at low altitude and aircraft flying fewer miles. TAG has now published a feedback document on the responses. This shows there were 13,000 comments, including around 2,500 from stakeholders. They are overwhelmingly negative, with 99% of responses from general aviation negative; 98% of responses to the justification of the changes negative; and 99% negative on the alleged environmental benefits. There was a high level of concern about the proposals, and the results they would have on non-Farnborough air traffic, having to re-route. There were also concerns about the environmental impact and safety. Many also fear the plans will facilitate an increase in number of flights. A 2nd feedback report is due to be published in early 2015, before an application is submitted to the CAA, after TAG has considered whether the objections and suggested alternatives can be incorporated into a refined airspace design.
More than 13,000 comments were submitted in response to TAG’s plans to change the airspace
TAG Farnborough Airport has released a feedback report following a consultation on controversial plans to chance airspace.
The airport wants to submit an Aerospace Change Proposal to the UK Civil Aviation Authority, so there is a more predictable flow of traffic around the airport, resulting in fewer flights at low altitude and aircraft flying fewer miles.
A public consultation was launched in February and was due to end on May 2 but was extended to May 12 after a technical fault meant comments left between 11.02am on April 11 and 10.08am on April 16 had been lost.
All comments were analysed and TAG has now published a feedback document, providing a summary analysis of the numbers and types of responses received.
The consultation generated more than 13,000 comments, including around 2,500 from stakeholders.
The feedback report from TAG states that stakeholders were concerned about access to the proposed airspace, justification for the proposed changes and safety issues caused by the compression of non-Farnborough aircraft around or beneath the airspace.
Stakeholders also raised concern about the environmental impact and safety of the proposal.
A total of 484 comments were submitted regarding the economic impact of the changes, of which 99% were negative.
TAG will now consider any changes to the airspace proposal, based on the responses received, and a second feedback report is due to be published in early 2015, before an application is submitted to the Civil Aviation Authority.
The report from TAG states: “An essential part of the consultation process is to take the areas of concern, the design ideas, and the alternatives proposed in the consultation responses and then consider whether these can be incorporated into a refined airspace design.
“An essential part of the consultation process is to take the areas of concern, the design ideas, and the alternatives proposed in the consultation responses and then consider whether these can be incorporated into a refined airspace design.
“This is a complex proposal and has generated a large number of responses, hence the time and amount of work required to consider those responses in the appropriate manner is considerable.”
TAG claims its proposal will mean planes would not disturb residents as frequently and passengers could travel more efficiently, however, the plans have come under fire from residents living nearby, councils and flying groups.
Kevin Daley, a member of the Farnborough Aerodrome Consultative Committee (FACC) and chairman of the Mytchett, Frimley Green and Deepcut society, said a number of constituents fought against plans to increase the airport’s traffic movements.
Matthew Evans, head of planning for Waverley Borough Council, also raised strong concerns about the plans.
The polarisation of responses probably did not come as a surprise !
For example, on Page 10 there was 99% opposition from General Aviation respondents, both general powered aircraft and gliders. That is the category of airspace users on which the changes would have most impact. Just 1% support. (Out of 1563 comments).
There was 98% negative comment on Justification, (total of 2896 respondents) with just 2% in favour.
On the environmental impact (out of 2859 responses) 99% were unfavourable, with just 1% in favour. (Page 11). Environment included noise, air quality, fuel use and carbon emissions, tranquillity and quality of life impacts.
This is the consultation’s question on Justification, to which 98% of responses were negative:
“Question B1 – Routes and airspace structures
This question is about justification for change.
In Section 3 above, we say that the more predictable aircraft flight-paths are, the
more efficient their safe management can be.
This applies both to Farnborough flights within CAS, and to GA flights outside CAS.
This proposal is seeking to introduce new departure and arrival routes, and airspace
structures to surround them, which would change some flight-paths below 4,000ft.
This would improve the consistency of aircraft flight-paths on those routes, using
modern navigational capabilities. Consistent flight-paths would be predictable and
more efficient to manage safely.
The use of CAS structures would help separate Farnborough aircraft from
recreational and military flights that also operate in the area. This means that
everything inside the structures would be known and predictable, which would also
be more efficient to manage safely. GA users outside CAS would fly more
predictable paths due to the presence of the CAS structures themselves, and could
make requests to cross them, again using predictable paths.
To what extent do you agree with our justification:
Introducing new routes and airspace would make aircraft flight-paths
more predictable. Making them more predictable makes them more
efficient to manage safely.
1 Strongly agree
2 Somewhat agree
3 No preference
4 Somewhat disagree
5 Strongly disagree
You are welcome to provide a statement to support your answer.”
Thousands of responses against Farnborough’s airspace change proposals – especially from gliding clubs
June 27, 2014
12 MPs, South Downs National Park Authority, Goodwood Airfield and more than 3,000 people have responded to Farnborough airport’s proposal to control a vast amount of airspace across the South Downs. The airspace consultation period is coming to an end, and there has been a high level of opposition. The proposal plans to lower and narrow the airspace spanning West Sussex, South Downs National Park and Hampshire, would allow private aircraft to make uninterrupted journeys across the designated area. Gliding clubs are very unhappy about the plans as the areas of sky available for them would change. They say the changes could ‘kill’ the activities of the club. They also claimed that this move will force other aircraft to fly lower increasing aircraft noise for residents living in the South Downs. Also that the proposals could significantly increase the risks of mid-air collisions by forcing general aviation aircraft to fly in much smaller ‘corridors’ of free airspace. “These proposals are just like a limousine company buying up two lanes of the M25 exclusively for the benefit of the wealthy and famous.”
Farnborough airport consultation on hugely expanding its airspace, for questionable reasons
April 13, 2014
Farnborough airport is consulting on its plans to hugely increase the amount of airspace it controls. This will have considerable impacts on general aviation fliers and helicopters in the area, as they would not be able to fly in the new Farnborough airspace, as at present, but would have to make large detours and fly lower, causing more noise to those living nearby. The aim of the airspace grab by Farnborough is thought to be to speed up the arrival of departure of the private jets and business jets which are the users of Farnborough, so the very few passengers per plane (about 2.7 on average, on planes designed to take hugely more) are spared any small delay. The airport has had declining numbers of flights in recent years, and is nowhere near to its target number. It is therefore surprising that the airport feels the need for such a large increase in its controlled airspace.There are real fears that this is in preparation for Farnborough attempting to expand into commercial aviation. ‘Sky grabbing’ for future use for a much bigger operation? TAG could make a nice profit if it sells an airport with attached airspace!
Heathrow’s chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, has appealed to the London mayor, Boris Johnson, to back its campaign for a 3rd runway, ahead of the possible dismissal of his own Thames estuary scheme from consideration by the Airports Commission. In an open letter to Boris, Holland-Kaye says he and Boris share the same belief that only a large, hub airport can (allegedly) provide the scale and range of global flights that – they claim – the economy needs. Neither of them believe a new runway at Gatwick would give what they claim the UK “needs.” Holland-Kaye’s letter says: “We have nothing against Gatwick but you have rightly identified that its claim that it can deliver the same benefits as a hub airport is ‘a sham, a snare and a delusion’.” Boris said, of Heathrow’s 3rd runway plans, last year: “Anyone who believes there would be the space to do that at Heathrow, which already blights the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners, is quite simply crackers.” The situation has been complicated by Boris’ decision to apply to become MP for Uxbridge. He said in May: “I will respect the findings of the Davies Commission but I will not abide by them.”
Heathrow boss urges Boris Johnson to back third runway
John Holland-Kaye appeals to London mayor, as Airports Commission prepares to decide fate of Thames estuary scheme
By Gwyn Topham, transport correspondent
29 August 2014
Heathrow has appealed to the London mayor, Boris Johnson, to back its campaign for a third runway, ahead of the possible dismissal of his own Thames estuary scheme from consideration by the Airports Commission.
In an open letter to the mayor, Heathrow’s recently appointed chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, reminds Johnson that they share the same belief that only a large, hub airport can provide the scale and range of global flights that the economy needs.
Johnson has repeatedly stressed the need for “hub airport capacity”, in contrast to the arguments of Gatwick – the rival contender for expansion.
Holland-Kaye wrote to Johnson: “We have nothing against Gatwick but you have rightly identified that its claim that it can deliver the same benefits as a hub airport is ‘a sham, a snare and a delusion’.”
While Johnson has been forthright on Gatwick, he has been at least equally outspoken on Heathrow’s claims to be able to expand enough to meet future demand. Last year he said: “Anyone who believes there would be the space to do that at Heathrow, which already blights the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners, is quite simply crackers.”
The Airports Commission, led by Howard Davies, is expected to announce next week whether it will add the Thames estuary plan to a shortlist of options, which currently contains the proposal for extra runways at either Heathrow or Gatwick.
The situation has been complicated by the decision of Johnson to apply to become MP for Uxbridge, near Heathrow in west London. Heathrow fears that if Davies finally gives an official rejection to the Thames estuary, the mayor could throw his weight behind Gatwick – although sources close to Johnson suggest that is unlikely.
Holland-Kaye’s letter reminds the mayor that an expanded Heathrow would “create over 100,000 new jobs, many of which will be in your proposed constituency of Uxbridge”.
He added: “I urge you to maintain your support for a successful hub airport. Any other choice would be a betrayal of the case that you have made so effectively over the last three years.”
A Gatwick spokesperson said the airport would await the outcome of the Airports Commission’s decision on the estuary option before commenting, and would write privately to the mayor if his plan was eliminated, “giving him the respect he deserves”.
However, she added: “Building a second runway at Gatwick will deliver two world-class airports and competition, which will lead to lower air fares and greater choice for passengers and business. It will also help make Heathrow better; their expensive charges would come down and they would be better incentivised to alleviate “Heathrow hassle”, which has blighted British travellers for years.
She continued: “We support competition, reduced fares and two world-class airports serving the UK as a whole. As the mayor himself said: ‘Why on earth entrench a huge planning error and expand Heathrow and consign future generations to misery?'”
A spokesperson for the mayor said: “The mayor is awaiting the decision of the Airports Commission on shortlisting an estuary airport. It is the only credible option and the only one that gives us both the global and national connectivity we need in the medium and longer term.”
Boris Johnson ‘will not surrender’ over Estuary airport
29.8.2014 (extracts below):
Heathrow on Friday fanned speculation that a Thames Estuary airport is about to be ruled out by publishing an open letter to Mr Johnson, asking for support. But a spokesman for the Mayor indicated he is not about to switch sides: “It [a Thames Estuary airport] is the only credible option and the only one that gives us both the global and national connectivity we need in the medium and longer term.”
Mr Johnson has stressed that he won’t give up on the idea of a new hub airport to the east of London, even if the Airports Commission rules in favour of either Heathrow or Gatwick. At a press conference in May he said: “I will respect the findings of the Davies Commission but I will not abide by them.”
Mr Johnson could refuse to back either of the shortlisted options and resurrect the fight for a new hub airport if he secures a seat in Parliament early next year. A new government is under no obligation to enact the Commission’s findings.
Gatwick Airport is also expected to seek Mr Johnson’s support and play on his opposition to expansion at Heathrow. In a dig at its rival, a spokesman for Gatwick said if the Thames Estuary hub is taken off the table, it will “write privately to the Mayor, giving him the respect he deserves”.
On 27th August, under the auspices of Gatwickobviouslynot.org, twelve groups from all over Kent and Sussex got together in Penshurst to discuss the next steps in dealing with problems relating to Gatwick. Main concerns were the recent Gatwick airspace consultation, that has been dubbed “not fit for purpose ” by Greg Clark MP, the situation with new and altered flight paths, and the threat of aircraft noise becoming substantially worse if Gatwick was able to build a second runway. The meeting noted that the CEO of Gatwick, Stewart Wingate, had that same day said ‘Expansion at Gatwick is the obvious choice” and can be delivered to our country “at an environmental cost it can afford” – a statement which those attending the meeting found most perplexing and very disturbing. The meeting demonstrated very clearly the determination of people in previously quiet areas of Kent and Sussex not to allow Gatwick to destroy their peace, and their quality of life. The new groups are articulate, determined and organised – and by working together, and with the older established campaign, they are a force to be reckoned with.
Penshurst meeting brings together new local groups formed in response to increased aircraft noise nuisance from Gatwick
29.8.14 (Press release from Gatwick Obviously Not.org)
On the evening Tuesday 27th August, under the auspices of Gatwickobviouslynot.org , twelve groups from all over Kent and Sussex got together in Penshurst to discuss the next steps in dealing with Gatwick’s recent “not fit for purpose ” (Greg Clark MP) Consultation on new flight paths and the situation over the second runway.
The meeting noted that the CEO of Gatwick, Stewart Wingate, had that same day said “‘Expansion at Gatwick is the obvious choice” and can be delivered to our country “at an environmental cost it can afford”- a statement which is most perplexing and very disturbing.
Sarah Clayton of AirportWatch said,
‘The degree of upset and concern about the increased over-flying of areas of Kent is very significant. The meeting demonstrated very clearly the determination of people in previously quiet areas of Kent and Sussex not to allow Gatwick to destroy their peace, and their quality of life. The new groups are organised and effective; the new opposition from east of Gatwick is a force to be reckoned with’.
Peter Barclay of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) said,
‘We are pleased to be associated with and to support the powerful voices that are coming together following Tuesday’s meeting in Penshurst. The aviation industry must recognise that imposition of new or increased noise on communities is simply not acceptable in today’s world and that the impact on people in rural areas is greater than in urban areas.”
Gatwick Obviously NOT was set up in July 2014, in response to the concern raised by hundreds, or thousands, of people in Kent about increased noise from Gatwick flights this summer.
The group was started as Planes Over Penshurst, but grew rapidly into Gatwick Obviously NOT. It is in the process of forming an umbrella group, incorporating the many other local groups that have also come into being this summer, due to the increased noise nuisance. It is a lively, active group that is keen to ensure that opposition in the area is focused, that demands are similar between different village/town groups, and that by working together, they are a more effective force than by working individually. As is the case with CAGNE, they are also members of GACC, the over arching and long established group working to oppose damaging plans by Gatwick airport.
[The group has emerged from BEAG - the Bidborough Environment Action Group].
CAGNE East is the sister group of CAGNE. CAGNE East is for all residents and local communities East of Gatwick Airport. Set up by concerned residents of Bidborough in Kent, it provides campaign support to a growing network of residents, communities, campaign groups, Parish Councils and NGOs who are all concerned about Gatwick expansion.
CAGNE East opposes a 2nd Gatwick runway, night flights and the proposed new ‘superhighway flightpaths’, which unchallenged, pose a grave threat to our way of life and our regional economy.
Enquiries – Simon Byerley and Kealey Castle
ESCCAN (East Susses Communities for Control of Air Noise).
Active residents group in Crowborough, called ESCCAN They want to keep a local focus for their concerns in the Crowborough area, and the protection of the Ashdown Forest.
WAGAN (Weald Action Group Against Noise)
Working very closely in support of HWAAG (High Weald Aviation Action Group). These groups are also working on blogs, and as with the case of CAGNE East, this depends on volunteers managing to fit in this work, unpaid, in already busy lives.
This has been formed to fight increasing noise and to oppose Gatwick’s bid for a 2nd runway. The group consists of eight parishes in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), which are all adversely affected by Gatwick aircraft noise. The group consists of the Parish Councils of Chiddingstone, Hever, Leigh and Penshurst and 4 other parishes.
Their chair is Richard Streatfield, who is the Chairman of Chiddingstone Parish Council. Email: email@example.com
To ensure that the views of Tunbridge Wells residents are taken into consideration, on the issue of Gatwick aircraft noise – and the airspace consultation – the Tunbridge Wells Action Group has been set up. Its informative website (www.tunbridgewells.weebly.com) sets out the local problem. The group is actively leafleting local residents to try and stimulate a response to the consultation. Several of the outlying villages have formed their own action groups but to date the town had been under-represented on the flight paths issue.
Nick Herber, the MP for Arundel and South Downs, has received numerous complaints from constituents in Kirdford, Wisborough Green, West Grinstead and other villages about noise from low flying aircraft from Gatwick. This has been due to the ADNID flight path trial, that lasted 6 months and ended on 8th August. He did not get aircraft noise complaints before ADNID. Though it has now ended, Mr Herbert says some constituents say the aircraft noise still continues. He has taken up the issue with Stewart Wingate, and has also been working with Francis Maude, the MP for Horsham, whose constituents are also affected. They have raised the matter with the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin. The MPs are challenging the assertion that there needs to be any new Noise Preferential Route (NPR) in order for Gatwick to achieve a modest potential increase in hourly movements as a single runway airport. They have also complained about the consultation, which was badly done. Mr Herbert is aware of the extent of local concern not only about the new flight paths becoming permanent, but the even worse prospect of the increased traffic from a 2nd runway. Other MPs in the area have also complained about the situation, and the poor consultation. See below.
Nick Herbert: Flight path trial provokes complaints
Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert
29th August 2014
I’ve received numerous complaints from constituents in Kirdford, Wisborough Green, West Grinstead and other villages about noise from low flying aircraft from Gatwick.
The cause was a six-month trial of new flight paths, partly as a result of a consultation about London airspace formulated by the Civil Aviation Authority.
The trial came to an end earlier this month, although some constituents tell me that aircraft noise continues.
I’ve met with constituents about this issue and continue to take it up with the Chief Executive of Gatwick Airport.
I’ve also been working closely with Francis Maude, the MP for Horsham, whose constituents are also affected. We’ve raised the issues with the Transport Secretary, and are now asking for a meeting with the Chief Executive of Gatwick so that we can re-emphasise our concerns.
We’re challenging the assertion that there needs to be any new Noise Preferential Route in order for Gatwick to achieve a modest potential increase in hourly movements as a single runway airport.
We’re also very unhappy about the consultation itself. The document was long and technical, and it was not known about. The Chief Executive has confirmed to me that residents were not advised about the trial routes.
He assures me that ‘no firm decision’ will be taken on permanent new routings until feedback has been evaluated. Any decision to implement airspace change will be taken by the Civil Aviation Authority.
The Government’s preference is to concentrate flightpaths rather than disperse them, so as to minimise disruption to communities. However, the trial route has clearly hugely increased disruption. I received no complaints about aircraft noise before.
Clearly local residents will be concerned that the trial route will become permanent, and I will argue strongly against it.
I think this issue foreshadows a longer-term concern, which is that further expansion at Gatwick could result in greater noise from flights over this part of West Sussex, as well as increasing development pressures on the County which are already a real problem.
Gatwick is running a high profile publicity campaign to promote a second runway. These issues are being considered by a Airports Commission led by Sir Howard Davies which will report next year.
I think that airport expansion is needed, and that it should be at Heathrow or, if the economics justify it, possibly ‘Boris island’, as the Thames estuary option has become known.
If you would like to get in touch with me, please write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Other MPs who have spoken out against Gatwick’s flight path trial, and against a second runway at Gatwick:
Nick Herbert – see above.
Mole Valley MP Sir Paul Beresford joins the battle over Gatwick aircraft noise
August 18, 2014
Sir Paul Beresfor, the MP for Mole Valley, has joined the battle against aircraft noise due to Gatwick airport, over the south of the district. Documents for the recent airspace consultation by Gatwick (closed on 15th August) show that one of Gatwick’s departure routes was changed in November 2013. This flight path had too tight a turn for modern aircraft (though they can climb faster than older planes) and planes were increasingly straying further north. As a result, the official route, the NPR (noise preferential route) was changed at the end of last year to allow for a wider turn, meaning 7,200 people who were previously unaffected are now under the flight path – including communities in Leigh, the Holmwoods, Brockham, Capel, Betchworth and Beare Green. Sir Paul said: “It’s quite a disaster. People who bought houses under the previous flight path knew what they were buying. People who have bought under the new flight path did not know. ….. the whole thing is totally unacceptable.” He is deeply opposed to a 2nd runway, partly due to the thousands of houses that would have to be built, on green field land, to accommodate workers. “They are actually bussing people in from the South Coast to do jobs” already.
Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark urges Gatwick CEO to “go back to the drawing board” on flight paths
August 10, 2014
Greg Clark, MP for Tunbridge Wells, has written to Gatwick asking them to reconsider the “flawed” consultation on aircraft flight paths and noise, and urging them to “go back to the drawing board.” He recently (14th July) met Gatwick and NATS staff about the problem. He tells Gatwick that the consultation has not only caused outrage among his constituents for what it proposes but also for how the consultation has been managed. There are serious concerns among local in the area about the “superhighway” overhead, though Gatwick says the increase in noise is just that more Brits are flying abroad this summer, (on cheap flights for holidays). Greg says that the noise disturbance has considerably worsened recently and many have been “disturbed and dismayed by much higher levels of aircraft noise this summer.” He adds: “… the consultation has been unfit for its purpose…..(its) ..purpose was to have been to gauge reaction to particular precise routes. Yet the exact route has not been disclosed to the public. Instead, a wide swathe has been marked on maps which make it exceedingly difficult to work out what is the exact route proposed…..the proposals being put forward (are) too ill defined to comment properly.” He believes the misguided proposal to increase flights over Langton Green, Speldhurst, Rusthall and Bidborough should be rethought.
Francis Maude says it is intolerable for some people to be very intensively overflown, “to the extreme detriment of their lives”
August 8, 2014
Francis Maude, MP for Horsham, wrote that the ADNID trial has been almost six months of intense misery for many of his constituents. He has been liaising with the airport, the CAA, NATS and the Secretary of State for Transport on the trial and its impacts. Gatwick is aiming to increase potential take-offs at peak times from 55 to 58 per hour from its single runway, and to do this it claims to need more focused flight paths, allowed by better aircraft on-board navigation systems. Gatwick says it needs to use new NPR routes, rather than the established ones. Government policy is that the decision about new routes, which rests with the Secretary of State, will be based on reducing the numbers of people overflown, in a simple headcount exercise. But there are local circumstances which allow for other considerations – background noise, altitude above sea level – to be taken into account, and Francis says “this is our best hope of seeing off this threat.” Sharing of the noise misery burden may be tolerable but ” What is intolerable is when fewer people are very intensively overflown, to the extreme detriment of their lives.” He adds: “I have sought reassurance that the consultation being run by IpsosMori will be independently scrutinised by the CAA, using the raw data if necessary.”
Crispin Blunt MP investigates recent increase in aircraft noise in Redhill area due to changes to Gatwick flight paths
August 8, 2014
Following a recent increase in complaints of increased aircraft noise over Redhill and Earlswood, MP for Reigate, Crispin Blunt has visited Gatwick Airport for an explanation. He has also met Heathrow and the MP for Mole Valley, Sir Paul Beresford, to identify the cause of the increase in over-flight noise, and investigate potential remedies and future trends in aircraft noise patterns. Crispin has set out a clear explanation of what has been happenning, and why people in his constituency are now being affected. Gatwick is trying out new routing patterns, that might come into effect in 18 months time, by which flights take off in a similar pattern as before, but follow a much narrower air corridor over Redhill and Earlswood. This has reduced the area in which people are overflown, but concentrated the amount of noise that a smaller number of residents on the narrower flight path have to suffer. Some Gatwick departure aircraft are being held low by NATS over Redhill, to avoid aircraft stacking prior to landing at Heathrow. These are tracking north closer to Redhill than before. This is part of the FAS (Future Airspace Strategy) which is being worked on, and which will not be completed till 2019. By then, the conflict with the Heathrow routes may be resolved.
Surrey and Sussex MPs oppose Gatwick runway ‘disaster’
June 18, 2014
Five MPs have begun a campaign against the building of a 2nd Gatwick runway. The Conservative MPs, who represent Sussex, Surrey and Kent constituencies, said the scheme for the airport near Crawley would be “a disaster” for communities and the environment – and there was “serious local concern” at the plan. Reigate MP Crispin Blunt, one of the members of the newly-formed Gatwick Coordination Group, said: “If Gatwick expands in the way that’s planned, it will need many tens of thousands of new people working there, and they are all going to need somewhere to live. The airport at the moment are providing a preposterous suggestion that these people are largely going to come from existing communities in Croydon and Brighton. Well I’m afraid that’s just simply not the case.” Mr Blunt also said no new railway line had been proposed and the London to Brighton commuter line was already “the busiest commuter line in the country” and at capacity. The other 4 MPs behind the campaign are Sir Paul Beresford, Sir Nicholas Soames, Sir John Stanley, and Charles Hendry, MP for Wealden. Crawley Conservative MP Henry Smith said he declined to endorse the press release.
MPs initiate “Gatwick Coordination Group” – saying 2nd runway is not in the local or national interest
June 17, 2014
MPs Crispin Blunt, Sir Paul Beresford, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames, Rt Hon Sir John Stanley, and Charles Hendry have formed the Gatwick Coordination Group. The Group is established to represent the serious local concern at the plan for a 2nd runway. The MPs’ group released a statement saying they believe a 2nd Gatwick runway would be a disaster for the surrounding communities and environment. They say the level of development, associated with an airport serving nearly three times as many passengers as it does now, would devastate the local environment and leave the UK with its major airport in the wrong place. Also that there is no adequate plan yet presented to provide the necessary infrastructure, of all types, to support this development. “The size of the Gatwick site only lends itself to a single runway airport, serving as a sensible, competitive alternate to London’s main hub airport. While they pursue that objective, Gatwick Airport Limited will have our support, but this proposal is not in the local interest, nor is it in the national interest, and this group will work to prove that case.”
Keith Brooks, the former chief executive of airports group TBI, said Cardiff Airport’s passenger forecast is “massively unrealistic” and that it needs to be more realistic in its expectations. Last week, in an unexpected move, it was announced that the airport’s chief executive Jon Horne will stand down next week after only 18 months in the role. The airport’s director of operations will be interim managing director. While Cardiff airport has not published any specific short to long-term passenger growth targets, since being taken over by the Welsh Government for £52m last year it has arrested year-on-year decline. Annual passenger numbers now stand marginally up at just over one million. Keith Brooks said: “They have had massively unrealistic expectations of what they can do in this period [since acquisition]…..Aviation is a very slow moving industry and negotiations with airlines take a long time.” Getting a significant low-cost carrier, like Ryanair, to expand routes from very low levels would require “significant subsidy” inducements. That means government subsidy, and tax payers’ money. The Welsh government “will not just be able to turn things around in a short period of time.”
Cardiff Airport’s passenger expectations ‘massively unrealistic’ says former boss Keith Brooks
By Sion Barry (Wales online)
Keith Brooks, the former chief executive of airports group TBI, [TBI bought Cardiff Airport in 1995, and sold it to the Welsh Government in 2013] said Cardiff Airport’s passenger forecast is “massively unrealistic” and that it needs to be more realistic in its expectations.
The former chief executive of airports group TBI, Keith Brooks, believes that Cardiff Airport needs to be more realistic in its expectations for passenger growth. Last week, in an unexpected move, it was announced that the airport’s chief executive Jon Horne will stand down next week after only 18 months in the role.
The airport’s director of operations Debra Barber will take up the role as interim managing director.
The airport’s board has yet to draw up a recruitment timetable to find a new permanent chief executive.
Mr Brooks worked closely with Mr Horne during his time at TBI – with Mr Horne being chief executive of one of the listed company’s portfolio of airports in Cardiff.
While the airport has not published any specific short to long-term passenger growth targets, since being taken over by the Welsh Government for £52m last year it has arrested year-on-year decline. Annual passenger numbers now stand marginally up at just over one million.
Mr Brooks said: “They have had massively unrealistic expectations of what they can do in this period [since acquisition].
“It is not like a widget factory where you can go in and see what had been produced at the end of the day and improve things.
“Aviation is a very slow moving industry and negotiations with airlines take a long time.”
The former TBI chief executive said that convincing a low-cost carrier, whether that be Ryanair to increase its presence from one flight from Cardiff – with a service after an eight year gap to Tenerife from this autumn – or Veuling to expand on its existing routes would require “significant subsidy” inducements.
The airport’s board is chaired by former chairman of the Welsh Development Agency Lord Rowe-Beddoe.
Mr Brooks said: “If you look at the board they all have great CVs in business, but there isn’t a great deal of aviation expertise there.
“They have to focus on the macro picture and really understand the economics from a customer perspective (airlines).
“The Welsh Government paid a lot of money for what was a loss-making airport. However, despite the expectations you just cannot turn things around in a short period of time.
“Cardiff needs a low cost carrier, whether that is Ryanair or a major expansion by Vueling which is already at Cardiff. However, that is going to require a major subsidy.”
Mr Brooks said he believes that Mr Horne achieved success for the airport, despite only being in the role for 18 months.
During Mr Horne’s first tenure as chief executive of the airport, when owned by TBI, it achieved a high point of 2.2 million passengers in 2007.
Mr Brooks said: “I think Jon did a great job in rebuilding the credibility of the airport with the airlines and also starting the process of rebuilding relationships with the tour operators.
“When he was chief executive back with TBI Jon has profit and loss responsibilities and did a superb job in building strong relationships with all the stakeholders, including the airlines. He knows the industry very well.”
Cardiff Airport declined to comment.
In a statement last week confirming Mr Horne’s departure Lord Rowe-Beddoe said: “Jon has very successfully steered the airport through the first phase of our path to re-establishing its fortunes.
“This includes halting the decline in passenger numbers, establishing good and improving customer service and overseeing the physical transformation of the terminal as well as securing CityJet and the return of Ryanair to the airport.
“The board is grateful to Jon for all that he has done in laying the foundations for our future, we have agreed that whilst he will not continue his executive role, he will be available to the board as an advisor.”
Welsh Economy Minister says Cardiff Airport likely to return to profit only in ‘long-term’
March 21, 2014 The Welsh Economy Minister, Edwina Hart, has said that Cardiff Airport – now in public ownership – is likely to return to profit eventually, but not in the short term. She said its downward spiral is no longer continuing. The airport finally becoming profitable is a “long-term” strategy. She was giving evidence to the National Assembly’s Enterprise and Business Committee on the airport, which was bought by the Welsh Government for £52m at the end of 2012. Ms Hart suggested there wouldn’t be a quick sale of the airport back into the private sector, which the Scottish Government is seeking for the newly-nationalised Prestwick Airport in Ayrshire. Pressed by the Plaid Cymru economy spokesman on when the government expected the taxpayer to recoup its investment. She said the Budget announcement for support for regional airports to set up new routes would apply to Wales and that they would “wait for the detail of it”, but confirmed the Welsh Government is likely to bid in for funding. Chancellor George Osborne announced a £20m annual fund will be used to encourage new routes from regional hubs like Cardiff.
Cardiff Airport is bought by the Welsh government for £52m (over-priced?)
March 27, 2013
The current owner of Cardiff Airport, Abertis, which bought the airport from local councils in 2005, has now managed to sell it to the Welsh Government for £52 million. That price is well above market value when compared to recent transactions involving UK airports. The airport was valued at about £34 million in 2010. It has been making large losses and losing passengers for many years. The Government is desperate that it gets more passengers and gets back to making a profit. Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said it would not be operated by the government and would be managed “at arm’s length” and “on a commercial basis”. Cardiff’s passengers have declined from around 2 million in 2007 to just over 1 million in 2012, as many have chosen Bristol airport instead. Bristol airport is now concerned that Cardiff would now unfairly benefit from state support. Cardiff was hit by the loss of bmibaby in 2011. The airport’s board will try and get in a commercial operator and hopes to attract long haul and transatlantic flights. Only recently there was news that Swiss airline Helvetic will pull out of Cardiff, 2 years after the Welsh government spent £500,000 marketing Wales in Switzerland.
Welsh government buying Cardiff airport from Abertis in £50m cash deal by the end of March
February 21, 2013
The Welsh Government is expected to complete its acquisition of Cardiff Airport by the end of March in a straight cash deal understood to be around £50m with current owner Abertis. A due diligence process is being undertaken on behalf of the Welsh Government. The deal will not see the Welsh Government taking on any debt at the airport – which posted pre-tax losses of just over £300,000 in 2011. In the short to medium term the Welsh Government would need to inject about £6m a year in capital expenditure and airline route development support – including agreeing to underwrite any losses in the first few years accrued by airlines establishing new routes out of Cardiff. ie public subsidy. It is understood that representatives of the Welsh Government have already sounded out a number of low cost airlines over setting up operations, including Ryanair – which was asking too much. Discussions are continuing. It is unlikely that the airport, post deal, would be directly owned by the Welsh Government but by some special purpose vehicle instead.
NATS has signed a 10-year deal with Manchester Airports Group (MAG) to provide air traffic control and engineering services at Manchester and Stansted airports, both owned by MAG. By number of passengers, they are the 3rd and 4th largest in the UK. The contract starts on April 1, 2015. MAG hopes both Manchester & Stansted will be growing rapidly. Earlier in August it was announced that NATS had signed an agreement with Luton Airport (the 5th largest in the UK) to extend the current contract for air traffic provision by two years, so it now ends in November 2017. This was agreed after a competitive tendering process. “NATS will also continue to provide approach services as part of its management of the London Terminal Manoeuvring Area, one of the most complex and busiest areas of airspace in the world.” NATS also hopes to make money out of its growth in air traffic, which is plans to increase to 18 million passengers per year by 2031. NATS makes more money the larger the number of planes using the airports it works for, and en route using any UK airspace. NATS lost the contact for Gatwick to German rival, DFS in July.
Stansted: MAG and NATS agree 10-year air traffic control deal
National Air Traffic Service (NATS) has signed a 10-year deal with Manchester Airports Group (MAG) to provide air traffic control and engineering services at Manchester and London Stansted airports, which are owned by MAG.
The NATS (National Air Traffic Services) air traffic control centre at Swanwick, in Hampshire.
NATS has a long standing relationship with Manchester and Stansted Airports, built up over many years, and begins the new contract on April 1, 2015.
Andrew Cowan, chief operating officer for MAG, said: “NATS is highly regarded within the aviation industry and has a proven track record when it comes to aircraft and passenger safety, which is our shared priority. We believe that NATS is best placed to deliver a modern and efficient air traffic control service for our two largest airports. Both Manchester and Stansted are growing rapidly and we look forward to continuing our strong working relationship and growing a positive future for our airports.”
NATS director of operations Mike Stoller said: “Having worked with MAG and both airports for a number of years, we are looking forward to continuing our relationship and supporting MAG to achieve their growth ambitions in the future.
“We will be working in partnership with MAG to build on the safe and resilient service we provide today with innovative air traffic management solutions for their business going forward. Both airports have ambitious growth goals and we will work closely with MAG to ensure that increased air traffic movements and passenger numbers, can be successfully realised.”
In 2013, Manchester Airport opened a new £20million air traffic control tower, the second largest in the UK, in which NATS installed over 70 systems to support the air traffic control operation. This closely followed MAG’s £25m refurbishment of Manchester’s northern runway by the airport group.
Manchester is currently the third largest airport in the country with over 21 million passengers using the airport annually and London Stansted is the fourth largest serving over 18 million passengers a year.
Our services We offer the following products and services to our customers:
> Airspace: UK en route, North Atlantic and terminal air traffic control (ATC) services;
> Airports: airport air traffic control services in the UK and overseas;
> Consultancy: solutions to specific operational and technical air traffic control challenges;
> Defence: helping military customers to share airspace with civil aviation;
> Engineering: delivering ATC technology and infrastructure projects to airport operators, air traffic service providers, construction companies and industry suppliers; and
> Information: aeronautical information management, airspace design services and data solutions for future flight efficiency and airport optimisation
NATS renewed their contracts with Belfast, Cardiff and RAF Gibraltar. They lost the contract for Gatwick. Birmingham will not renew their contract with NATS but will take the service in-house from 2015.
Contractual arrangements existed during the year between LHR Airports Limited and NATS Services in relation to air navigation services provided at Aberdeen, Glasgow, Heathrow and Southampton airports.
….NATS provides services at the world’s busiest single runway airport (Gatwick with 55
scheduled movements per hour) and dual runway airport (Heathrow with 88 scheduled movements per hour).
London Luton Airport extends NATS contract
18.08.2014 (NATS website)
NATS has signed an agreement with London Luton Airport to extend the current contract for air traffic provision by two years. It will now run until November 2017.
The UK’s leading provider of air traffic services will therefore continue to provide tower and engineering services at the airport after retaining the contract in 2012 following a competitive tendering process.
NATS will also continue to provide approach services as part of its management of the London Terminal Manoeuvring Area, one of the most complex and busiest areas of airspace in the world.
Gill Clark, NATS General Manager at London Luton Airport, said: “We are delighted to be continuing our close relationship with the airport. This extension shows that NATS continues to offer an outstanding safe and efficient service and excellent value for money.”
“High quality air traffic management is vital to the smooth running of any airport, helping to minimise delays while maximising available capacity and that is what NATS does best. We look forward to working with London Luton Airport and their exciting development plans to reach 18 million passengers by 2031.”
Neil Thompson, London Luton Airport’s Operations Director, said: “Our partnership with NATS will see us continue to work together to deliver safe and reliable services that can accommodate the increasing number of airlines and passengers who choose to use London Luton for its ease and convenience.”
In 2013, London Luton Airport carried 9.7 million passengers with NATS controllers handling 97,615 flights making it the fifth busiest passenger airport in the UK.
Germany’s DFS air traffic service beats NATS to control Gatwick flights below 4,000 feet
Gatwick Airport’s air traffic control services are to be provided by a German state-owned company from next year. A 10-year contract for services below 4,000ft around the airport has been given to Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS). The service has been provided for more than 30 years by Hampshire-based NATS, which will continue to navigate air traffic above 4,000ft. NATS said it was disappointed, but it was too early to say if jobs would go. DFS is wholly owned by the German government and operates 16 airports in Germany as well as providing air traffic control across the country. Gatwick management said it was planned that, after a period of transition, DFS would start work in October 2015. The successful bid by DFS comes a year after a UK pension fund, the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) beat DFS for a 20% stake in NATS. The Airline Group, which had owned 42% of NATS before the sale, chose USS rather than DFS to buy the 20%, which meant that a partial de-facto merger between two of the largest European Air Navigation Service Providers did not happen.