Times speculation on runway decision, Cameron, referendum, Boris, legal challenges and reshuffles

The Times believes that Heathrow and Gatwick made their final submissions to the DfT last week, and government officials say they are ready for a Cabinet decision. The environmental problems at Heathrow have meant there are very real dangers of successful legal challenges, not least from local councils. Heathrow recently put forward some pledges of how it could meet its environmental challenges, but they were over-optimistic and do not bear careful scrutiny. The question is whether the government thinks it could get away with a decision that is neither considered to be a bad one, or one on which they could face legal embarrassment. The Times believes the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, has told David Cameron that he should not postpone the decision again. There is likely to be a window of opportunity for a runway decision, after an EU referendum Remain victory and before a “reconciliation reshuffle” probably in September, to reunite Conservatives. The Times believes if Boris is given a Cabinet post before a runway decision, he will make it difficult. So it would be easier to decide on a runway, before including Boris. However, there are a lot of other issues to be dealt with between 24th June and 21st July, including an anti-obesity strategy, policies to counter Islamist extremism and a vote on Trident. 
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Whitehall increases pressure to approve Heathrow runway

By Francis Elliott, Political Editor (The Times)

6.6.2016

Whitehall officials have cleared all the hurdles for a third runway at Heathrow and are putting David Cameron under pressure to make a decision days after the EU referendum.

Heathrow and its rival Gatwick completed their final submissions to the Department for Transport last week and well-placed sources said that Mr Cameron would be told by officials that he could now approve either expansion.

 

……………..

Mr Cameron will almost certainly be forced to resign if he loses the Brexit vote, and will face an urgent need to start healing his party if he wins. Downing Street is preparing to bring forward the vote on Trident, an issue on which the Conservatives are united and Labour divided, to start to mend fences in the week after the referendum.

Full article at 

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/whitehall-puts-pressure-on-cameron-to-approve-runway-3lm0lkqvb

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Gatwick provides more details of the setting up of the Noise Management Board, from the Arrivals Review

One of the recommendations of the Arrivals Review was that Gatwick should set up a Noise Management Board (NMB), on which community representatives could sit. Gatwick, in its Final Action Plan on the Arrivals Review,  has now set out details of how the NMB will work. It will have no more than 14 members; 5 will be institutions; there will be 2 places for County Councils. There will be 4 places for District, Borough, Town and Parish Councils, and Community Noise Groups, with two from the east and two from the west of Gatwick.  Gatwick says the NMB: “should be a body with real influence over operational stakeholders around the airport ….” Nothing says it will have any powers or any real influence. Gatwick says it will: “seek to positively influence the noise environment of stakeholders by assisting the development of consensus among the various organisations represented through its membership” [whatever that means in practice?]. The NMB will: “seek to facilitate better understanding by residents through more consistent communication and verifiable data.”  Nothing in the stated objectives says noise will reduce, or that the interests of communities will be given equal weight to those of airlines etc.  If the NMB cannot reach consensus on a matter, it can be agreed by 75%. The community groups only make up 25% or less.
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Gatwick’s initial response to the Arrivals Review, on 31.3.2016 is at

http://www.gatwickairport.com/globalassets/publicationfiles/business_and_community/all_public_publications/2016/gatwick—response-document-action-plan-final-31mar2016.pdf

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Gatwick’s Final Action Plan, on the Arrivals Review , on 2.6.2016 is at

http://www.gatwickairport.com/globalassets/publicationfiles/business_and_community/all_public_publications/aircraft_noise/arrivals-review/gatwick-airport-arrivals-review-final-action-plan-01june2016-final-copy.pdf


Below are some extracts from the Gatwick Arrivals Review “Overview and Final Action Plan” – June 2016 on the issue of the establishment of a Noise Management Board

(Pages 40 43)

RECOMMENDATION Imm-18

“The establishment of a Noise Management Board (NMB) by summer 2016, to be operated under independent Chairmanship and comprising representatives from each of the institutions able to effect change for Gatwick arrivals, as well as the chair of the Airport Consultative Committee (GATCOM), and both elected council members and residents’ representatives”.

Accept/Reject

This recommendation is accepted.

Benefits/Issues

1. Establishment of an NMB should assist in improving alignment of the responsibilities and initiatives of the key organisations able to effect change in the impact of aircraft noise.

2. An NMB can assist in ensuring that community concerns about aircraft noise are fully understood by those key organisations, and in developing a more co-ordinated set of visions and strategies for noise management around Gatwick – focused initially on implementation of recommendations from the Arrivals Review, but then extending to other important noise management issues.

Implementation Plan

1. Following analysis of feedback from many respondents, a planning meeting was held on 18th May 2016 for invited participants to discuss NMB membership and develop a final draft Terms of Reference for consideration and adoption by the NMB at its meeting on 21st June 2016. The Annex following contains the final draft Terms of Reference agreed at the planning meeting, and the attendance list for that meeting.

2. Participants at the NMB planning meeting welcomed an increase to the community group representation to four NMB seats,  [the initial plan had been for just two, to include all District and Parish councils, as well as all community noise groups.  AW note] and agreed that these should reflect a rural, urban, departure and arrival representation. Community Groups at the meeting agreed to develop a consensus on how the increased representation on the NMB will be utilised and to inform the chair by 14th June. If no consensus is forthcoming, an interim solution will be used until a permanent representation can be jointly agreed.

3. Hold the first NMB meeting on 21st June 2016.

Responsibility: GAL Complete: June 2016


Annex – Imm-18 Gatwick Noise Management Board (NMB)

Terms of Reference (Final Draft for consideration by the NMB at its first meeting June 21st 2016)

Purpose

The purpose of the NMB is to develop, agree, oversee and maintain a coordinated noise management vision and consequent strategies for Gatwick, for all stakeholder organisations, intended to improve the situation for those affected by noise from aircraft using Gatwick.

This should include joint and coordinated reports through the NMB on progress of the implementation of these agreed strategies and, should seek to ensure consistent communication across all stakeholder groups, using verifiable data and transparent policies, to support the facilitation of their understanding by residents. This may also include when necessary, research and independent verification of information to be published.

The NMB can assist in ensuring that community concerns about aircraft noise are fully understood by key stakeholder organisations considering issues that may affect noise management around Gatwick.

The NMB will focus initially on the implementation of recommendations from the Arrivals Review, but then extending to other important noise management issues. The NMB should assist in the progressive development of consensus across its membership, to improve the alignment of responsibilities, initiatives and priorities of the key organisations able to influence change in the effect of noise from aircraft using Gatwick, whether for arrivals, departures or related to aircraft ground noise.


Objectives

1. The objective of the NMB is to develop, agree and oversee a coordinated noise management vision and consequent strategies for Gatwick, for all stakeholder organisations

2. The initial focus will be on the implementation of the Arrivals Review Recommendations

3. The NMB’s remit extends to all important noise management issues related to Gatwick, including those related to departures, and aircraft ground noise, as well as arrivals

4. The NMB should be a body with real influence over operational stakeholders around the airport such as on airspace and aircraft operational issues

5. The NMB should influence and monitor the effective use of noise awareness training policies for staff of all Gatwick stakeholders and reported through NATMAG

6. The NMB should be consulted on all Gatwick noise related matters, such as compensation policy, noise insulation and community support

7. The NMB should be a main channel through which GAL, NATS, ANS, Airlines, DfT and CAA communicate actions that are being taken to address the effects of noise from aircraft using Gatwick

8. The NMB should seek to ensure the joint and co-ordinated reporting by stakeholders through the NMB, initially on progress of the Arrivals Review implementation and then on other noise issues and initiatives, and seek to facilitate better understanding by residents through more consistent communication and verifiable data

9. The NMB should establish a mechanism to identify and address unintended and unexpected consequences of noise improvement initiatives

10. Particular care will need to be taken by the NMB to avoid conflicting with the remits or duties of any of the other bodies already involved in noise matters related to Gatwick

11. If and when the Government establishes an Independent Noise Authority the NMB should ensure appropriate alignment between its own Terms of Reference and the remit of such a body

12. The NMB should agree and establish a process to set its SMART objectives and to regularly review and report its progress  [ AW note. SMART generally means 

  • Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
  • Assignable – specify who will do it.
  • Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
  • Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved. ]

13. The NMB should establish and maintain a transparent mechanism to adapt these Terms of Reference when agreed by members of the NMB

14. The NMB will seek to positively influence the noise environment of stakeholders by assisting the development of consensus among the various organisations represented through its membership

15. In the event that it is not possible to reach NMB consensus on any matter, after exhausting all reasonable efforts, a majority decision can be made provided that it represents at least 75% of the NMB Membership  [ AW note: There are 13 organisations listed below as members. Four of those are community groups. They can therefore always be out-voted by the others ] .

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Meetings and Reporting

16. The NMB should meet every 2 months, or at intervals agreed by the members

17. The agenda and minutes of NMB meetings should be published on the (NMB website)

18. NMB meetings will not be open to the public, unless agreed by the NMB members for specific dates or specific topics

19. It is expected that at least one public meeting will be conducted each year by the NMB, to facilitate community dialogue, a reasonable understanding in communities of the work areas of the NMB, and to report NMB progress and plans Membership

20. The NMB will comprise a nominated individual to represent the following organisations:

Institutions

a. GAL

b. Aircraft Operator with a minimum of 10% of the movements at Gatwick

c. ANS – Tower ATC provider

d. NATS – Air Navigation Service Provider

e. CAA

f. DfT

g. GATCOM

Community Members

h. County Council Representative #1

i. County Council Representative #2

j. Community Representative #1 East of Gatwick

k. Community Representative #2 East of Gatwick

l. Community Representative #3 West of Gatwick

m. Community Representative #4 West of Gatwick

 

21. Each member shall have a single named alternate, who can attend the NMB as an observer, or can participate when the member is not available

22. The number of NMB members should ideally not exceed 14; above that the NMB’s effectiveness will increasingly be at risk

23. It is important that all representatives are of sufficient seniority, and where appropriate, is empowered, to reach decisions

24. Care should be taken to ensure that a balanced geographical representation is always achieved for Community members of the NMB.

25. The term of NMB membership is 3 years, renewable. Individuals shall not serve more than 2 terms

26. Care should be taken to ensure continuity of NMB competence during any periods of membership transition

27. Institutional member organisations shall be invited to nominate their representative Alternates will attend NMB when the respective member is not available

28. The County Councils of Kent, Surrey, West Sussex and East Sussex should have either a member or Alternate participation on the NMB. Alternates must not be drawn from the same Council

29. District, Borough, Town and Parish Councils, and Community Noise Groups are each invited to nominate from their proposed NMB representative member, and an Alternate, for East and West of Gatwick

30. NMB meetings will be open to non-members only by specific invitation of the Chairman

31. GAL shall appoint the Independent Chairman and Secretary of the NMB by agreement of the NMB members

32. NMB membership terminates automatically for any member that fails to attend more than three consecutive full meetings of the NMB.

 

http://www.gatwickairport.com/globalassets/publicationfiles/business_and_community/all_public_publications/aircraft_noise/arrivals-review/gatwick-airport-arrivals-review-final-action-plan-01june2016-final-copy.pdf

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Gatwick provides more details of the wider swathe of arrivals onto the ILS, from the Arrivals Review

The main reason why Gatwick had to set up the Independent Arrivals Review was the fury and anguish, largely from areas around 10 – 14 miles from the airport, due to changes in 2013 to the distance at which planes joined the ILS (the final straight line flight path onto the runway). NATS and Gatwick had decided, allegedly for safety but in practice to make maximum use of the runway at busy times, to get most planes to join the ILS at 10 nautical miles out, while before that, some joined as close as 7 nm. The concentrated noise over some areas, not previously over-flown, caused unprecedented opposition.  The Arrivals Review recommended that the swathe, both east and west of Gatwick, be widened to 8 – 14 nm, and that there should be more fair and equitable distribution of the noise of planes joining the ILS. A large part of the “Final Action Plan” deals with this. It attempts to allay fears that, to save fuel, many planes will try to cut a corner, and concentrate around the 8nm area. It tries to allay fears that there will be concentrated parts of the routes, and that people living relatively near Gatwick – (around 7 – 9nm or so) will suffer unduly from noise of both arrivals and departures. However, Gatwick says it is “not possible to predict precisely the distribution of aircraft within the swathe” and this will be “carefully monitored and reported to the Noise Management Board” which in turn will publish its findings and any conclusions.
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Gatwick’s initial response to the Arrivals Review, on 31.3.2016 is at

http://www.gatwickairport.com/globalassets/publicationfiles/business_and_community/all_public_publications/2016/gatwick—response-document-action-plan-final-31mar2016.pdf

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Gatwick’s Final Action Plan, on the Arrivals Review , on 2.6.2016 is at

http://www.gatwickairport.com/globalassets/publicationfiles/business_and_community/all_public_publications/aircraft_noise/arrivals-review/gatwick-airport-arrivals-review-final-action-plan-01june2016-final-copy.pdf


Below are some extracts from the Gatwick Arrivals Review “Overview and Final Action Plan” – June 2016 on the issue of the wider arrivals swathes

(Pages 22 – 32)

RECOMMENDATION Imm-10

“That GAL explores with NATS the potential for aircraft to be vectored to be established on the ILS at a minimum of 8nm from touchdown outside of night hours, rather than the current 10nm. This adaptation to vectoring methodology will extend the arrival swathe 2nm further to the west for Runway 26, and east for Runway 08, and will increase the arrivals dispersal to more closely emulate the circumstances prior to 2013 change. Hence the arrival swathe would normally extend from a minimum of 8nm to 14nm, with aircraft joining on a straight in approach when traffic permits”.

Accept/Reject

GAL accepts this recommendation. Following coordination with airlines, NATS, ANS and the CAA, further analysis and quantification of this proposed change and the expected consequences are now much more fully understood. GAL has been able to confirm that the proposal to widen the arrivals swathe will create a fairer and more equitable distribution of aircraft noise, more closely emulating that experienced by communities prior to 2013. As a part of the implementation process, new monitoring procedures will be developed to quantify the extent and volume of actual flight distribution for regular review by the NMB.

Benefits/Issues

To address the concerns arising from the increased concentration of arrivals that occurred in some locations after a change of radar vectoring methodology in early 2013, the planned adjustment of the present swathe is expected to reduce the concentration of aircraft that resulted from that change. The intended impact of this action is to recreate a greater geographical dispersal of arriving aircraft tracks, so that they are more closely aligned with the arrivals tracks which existed at Gatwick prior to 2013. The benefit is expected to be a reduced concentration of arriving aircraft in the swathe, prior to joining the final approach track, supporting the fairer and more equitable dispersal of aircraft sought by many communities. Because the associated considerations are complex, a more detailed explanation of the issues is provided in the Annex that follows.

Implementation Plan

1. Complete a thorough analysis of the issues associated with this action item.

2. Assess findings of analysis against feedback from the period of community engagement.

3. GAL to request NATS to utilise the increased swathe from minimum 8nm to 14nm when straight in approach is not applied, for arrivals to both Runway 26 and Runway 08. Responsibility: GAL Complete: May 2016

4. NATS and ANS to complete the associated Safety Case for review and approval by CAA.

5. Confirm planned implementation date

6. The NMB will monitor the impact to verify that the intended fairer and more equitable dispersal is being achieved.

Responsibility: GAL Complete: December 2016

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RECOMMENDATION Imm-10

Annex

This recommendation is intended to reverse much of the aircraft concentration and noise consequences of the approach stabilisation initiative taken by GAL and NATS in 2013, thereby more closely emulating the distribution of arriving aircraft that occurred previously.

Changes to the Arrivals Joining Point in 2013

The approach stabilisation initiative of 2013, adopted for both safety and operational reasons, extended the daytime ILS final approach minimum joining point of aircraft from 7nm to 10nm from touchdown. The core night time minimum joining point has been located at 10nm (23:30-06:00 local time) since before 2004. The effect of this 2013 change was to concentrate daytime arrivals distribution into a narrower swathe, increasing the number of aircraft above particular areas.

The effect of the reduced dispersal of aircraft tracks is discernible in Figures 4-7 below, which depict the actual arrivals track density for Runway 08 and 26, as measured in the summer of 2012, and contrasted with measurements for the same period in 2015.

Many requests were made to the Independent Arrivals Review by residents seeking to reverse the 2013 change in the Instrument Landing System (ILS) minimum joining point change, which is described in the previous section. Residents making these requests explained that the prior arrangement (with a wider spread of joining points, and more random radar vectors to the ILS final approach track, both east and west of Gatwick) was a much more acceptable means of fairly and equitably dispersing aircraft noise.

The Independent Arrivals Review recommendation

This recommendation calls for an adaptation to NATS radar vectoring methodology to use an ILS joining point located between a minimum of 8nm from touchdown and 14nm, which should, in effect, largely recreate both the locations and the width of the arrival swathes seen at Gatwick before 2013.

In addition, when traffic conditions permit, aircraft from the east for Runway 26 will join on a straight in approach even further east, and for 08, straight-in further from the west.

The changes made in 2013 were subject to a safety assessment, which precludes a return to the even closer 7nm minimum joining point previously used. An updated safety case is required, for approval by the CAA, before any reduction to the current 10nm ILS joining point can be made. This safety case work is currently underway.

Feedback on this recommendation

A summary of the feedback on this recommendation and the principal issues raised is provided at the end of this Annex. Although feedback to the Independent Arrivals Review regarding the proposed change has been largely positive, a number of concerns were raised. The main issues are set out below, together with a discussion of the points raised.

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Issue 1:

That aircraft will not use the full width of the swathe as a result of this change, but that aircraft will be concentrated at the 8nm joining point in order to fly the shortest route to the runway and to reduce CO2 emissions.

 

Concerns have been raised in feedback to Gatwick that aircraft will be concentrated at the minimum joining point and that this will be done to allow aircraft to fly the shortest route to the runway, in order to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The concern being that the planned 8nm joining point will create a new concentration of aircraft

Analysis has shown that sustained joining point concentration has not been the case previously, and that it has no basis in actual flight data.

The effect of the 2013 joining point distribution change is illustrated in the chart at Figure 8, which compares the actual distribution of arriving aircraft seen before the joining point change, using 2010 information, with a corresponding analysis of data for 2015. This analysis shows clearly that aircraft were removed from areas closer to the airport in the range between 6nm and 10nm from touchdown, but also shows that aircraft were not concentrated at the 10nm minimum joining distance applied from 2013. The analysis reaffirms that from 2013, a concentration effect has been created further from the airport, which is the background to this recommendation.

The historical aircraft track data shown in Figure 9 further indicates that no such minimum joining point concentration has occurred in any of the years between 2010 and 2015, for either a 7nm or a 10nm minimum joining point, East or West of Gatwick. As can be seen from the analysis, aircraft can and do join the ILS final approach track at multiple distances from touchdown as a result of their flight route and normal traffic patterns.

As to the future, concentration at the minimum 8nm joining point would be contrary to the aim of ‘fair and equitable dispersal’. NATS has confirmed to GAL that in their view, following the proposed change to an 8nm minimum joining point, the arriving aircraft distribution at Gatwick will continue to vary with the traffic patterns, as it has always done. For example, at busy times aircraft tend to join the final approach further from touchdown, something that is expected to continue to be the case. As a consequence, aircraft are not expected to be concentrated at the new minimum joining point. The NMB will, however, need to keep this under review.

Later it adds: 

As it is not possible to predict precisely the distribution of aircraft within the swathe, the effects of the change planned for 2016 will be carefully monitored and reported to the Noise Management Board (Imm-18), which in turn will publish its findings and any conclusions.

Gatwick east arrivals map 2.6.2016

Gatwick west arrivals map 2.6.2016

Issue 3:

That the proposal favours communities that are a considerable distance away from the Airport, whilst further disadvantaging those that suffer noise from aircraft below 4,000 ft, and that this is contrary to Government Policy on noise.

In fact, analysis shows that the 2013 change of minimum ILS joining point significantly affected communities further from the airport, by relocating aircraft in the arrivals swathe away from communities closer to the airport. Figure 8 clearly shows the distribution of flights before and after that 2013 change, and the disadvantage of the increased numbers of flights affecting more distant communities.

The Independent Arrivals Review, with a significant level of community input to its Terms of Reference, set out to achieve a fairer and more equitable distribution of aircraft noise through a greater dispersal of aircraft, and thus alleviate the disproportionate concentration that some communities experienced after the 2013 change.

Figures 1 and 2 showed earlier, over which communities arriving aircraft normally descend through 4,000 ft. Figure 3 showed actual aircraft height information related to aircraft distance from touchdown.

Government Policy on aircraft noise has not changed during the period in which aircraft at Gatwick were using the 7nm minimum joining point in 2012 or the 10nm minimum joining point from 2013, and it has not been suggested to us that either of these situations was contrary to Government policy.

A change to the 8nm minimum joining point for aircraft in 2016 is not currently subject to any additional specific Government Policy on aircraft noise, and we conclude therefore that it too is compliant.

Gatwick illustrative percent on SID routes mid 2015

Issue 4:

That the communities that would be impacted by the 8nm joining point are principally the same ones that already suffer PRNAV on departures

It has been argued that some communities closer to the airport will now be subjected to the overlap of concentrated arrivals around the 8nm joining point, as well as current intense departures below 4,000 ft.

We have explained under Point 1 above why we do not expect arrivals to be concentrated around the 8nm joining point.

In order to address the issue of overlap, an analysis of the implications of any potential for overlap of arrival and departure routes below 4,000 ft has been undertaken. This analysis has set out to verify the extent to which any community located close to the airport might experience the effects of aircraft operating below 4,000 ft, whether arriving or departing. The objective has been to verify whether communities that are affected by arriving aircraft operating below 4,000 ft in the arrivals swathe, will also be potentially affected by departing aircraft operating below 4,000 ft.

Figures 12 and 13 indicate the locations at which both arriving and departing aircraft operate below 4,000 ft. It can be seen that a change to a minimum joining point of 8nm is not expected to relocate significant volumes of arriving aircraft in the swathe to areas experiencing departures at the same altitudes.

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The two illustrations below show how arrivals and departures may not affect the same people, or not very much.

Gatwick west arrivals and departures 2.6.2016

 

Gatwick east arrivals and departures 2.6.2016

 

 

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Gatwick produces Final Action Plan to implement Independent Review of Arrivals recommendations

On 31st March Gatwick, made its initial response to the Arrivals Review, carried out by Bo Redeborn and Graham Lake.  Gatwick then had to hold la 6 week consultation on the Proposed Action Plan, which ended on the 16th May. Gatwick has now produced its Final Action Plan. It confirms it has accepted all the Review’s recommendations. As well as accelerating the retrofitting of Airbus A320 planes to remove the “whine”, two issues in the Review that generated the most public input were widening the “swathe” for arriving planes as the join the ILS to 8 – 14 nautical miles, and the setting up of a Gatwick Noise Management Board (NMB), on which a few community representatives can sit.  Gatwick says the NMB will “oversee joint strategies to deal with noise around the airport.”  It will be chaired by Bo Redeborn, and its first meeting will be on 21st June.  In response to extensive feedback, community representation on the NMB has been increased from two representatives to four, and further analysis has been carried out to quantify more fully the impact of widening the arrivals swathe. There remain concerns by those living near the airport that some people will suffer from noise of both arrivals and departures, and Gatwick has produced maps to illustrate that it anticipates this will not be a problem for a large area.
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See also

Gatwick provides more details of the setting up of the Noise Management Board, from the Arrivals Review

Gatwick provides more details of the wider swathe of arrivals onto the ILS, from the Arrivals Review



Gatwick produces Final Action Plan to implement Independent Review of Arrivals

02/06/2016

  • Airport has accepted all of the recommendations of the Independent Arrivals Review
  • Noise Management Board to have its first meeting in June
  • Gatwick grateful for constructive community feedback and engagement

Gatwick Airport has produced a Final Action Plan in response to the recommendations of the Independent Arrivals Review which was commissioned to help address the issue of aircraft noise for local residents.

The Final Action Plan follows a constructive and generally positive period of community engagement to the Proposed Action Plan which ran from 31st March to 16th May 2016 and sought input from a wide range of stakeholders.

The Independent Arrivals Review, commissioned by Gatwick Airport Chairman Sir Roy McNulty, was led by Bo Redeborn and Graham Lake and proposed a timeframe for the introduction of its recommendations, many of which could be operational within a twelve month period, including:

  • improved use of continuous descent arrivals generating significantly less noise and increased flexibility for sequencing and spacing of arrivals
  • accelerated aerodynamic modification for the Airbus A320 family of aircraft to reduce the noise they produce during the approach phase of flight
  • broadening the approach “arrivals swathe” to extend between 8-14nm
  • reduced aircraft holding over land
  • development of a comprehensive online complaint management system, and;
  • the establishment of a Noise Management Board (NMB) to oversee joint strategies to deal with noise around the airport.

Feedback and engagement has confirmed that the community response to the Arrivals Review and the Proposed Action Plan has been largely positive.

In response to that feedback, community representation on the Noise Management Board has been increased from two representatives to four, and further analysis has been carried out to quantify more fully the impact of some recommendations such as the widening of the arrivals swathe to between 8-14nm.

An initial planning meeting for the NMB has already taken place. The NMB is intended to include representatives from Gatwick Airport, the CAA, NATS, ANS, DfT, elected council members and community representatives, with Bo Redeborn being proposed as the Independent Chair. The first meeting of the NMB is planned to take place on 21st June.

Feedback from the local community also indicted strong support for the acceleration of aerodynamic modifications to the Airbus A320 family of aircraft to reduce the noise they produce during the approach phase of flight.

Gatwick Airport Chairman Sir Roy McNulty said:

“I am grateful for the constructive feedback to Gatwick’s Proposed Action Plan from the local community which has helped to ensure the Final Action Plan is designed to meet the needs of local people affected by aircraft noise.

Taken together, the practical steps recommended by Bo and his review team can make a real difference for local people, which is reflected in the positive community response to the review. Gatwick is now committed to working with the local community, the new Independent Noise Management Board and other partners to implement the recommendations of the review.”

Bo Redeborn said:

“The review team is pleased that the review’s recommendations have been accepted and that work is already underway to implement many of the 23 recommendations.

Ultimately, these recommendations are about reducing the impact of noise on local people, and the ongoing input of community groups and representatives has played a significant role in shaping the review’s recommendations and Gatwick’s Final Action Plan.”

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Notes for Editors

The Final Action Plan can be found here.

The full Independent Review of Arrivals report can be found here.

Bo Redeborn brings extensive experience and understanding of air traffic control having previously served as Principal Director of Air Traffic Management for EUROCONTROL. Amongst other current activities, Bo is currently an independent member of Gatwick’s Environment, Health and Safety, and Operational Resilience Committee. From 2011-2014 he was Principal Director Air Traffic Management in EUROCONTROL and, before joining EUROCONTROL in 2004 as Director ATM Strategies, he was Manager Air Traffic Management and later Manager ATM Support and Development in the Swedish CAA (LFV).

The review was commissioned in August 2015 to determine whether;

“1.  Everything that can reasonably be done to alleviate the problems which local communities are raising is in fact being done, whether this involves action by the airport or by other parties most closely involved – National Air Traffic Services (NATS), UK Civil Aviation Authority (UKCAA), the Department for Transport (DfT) or the airlines, and

“2.  The mechanisms which Gatwick has adopted for providing information to the local community and for handling of complaints have been fully adequate for the task.”

http://www.mediacentre.gatwickairport.com/press-releases/2016/16-06-02-arrivals-review-final-action-plan.aspx

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The “Overview and Final Action Plan”

The Gatwick “Overview and Final Action Plan” says three of the proposals generated the most responses.  One was the fitting of the Airbus A320 series with small devices to stop the hated “Airbus Whine”. The other two were the widening of the arrivals swathe, and the formation of a Noise Management Board.

Imm-10 – widening of swathe

This recommendation is regarding the wider arrivals swathe. As outlined on page 32 of this document, the vast majority of respondents support this approach.

Imm-18 Noise Management Board

Imm-18 proposed the coordinated consideration and oversight of possible implementation of all of the recommendations will be the responsibility of the proposed Noise Management Board. During the engagement period, a template email was issued by a campaign group, nominating a different Board composition (2 Parish Councillors instead of 2 County Councillors) and specific members to the NMB roles. GAL received 361 responses in this format, with a small number of variations regarding the individuals represented to the Board. Whilst this is not the process by which the Board representatives will be determined, nevertheless, it has indicated that special consideration must be taken when pressing forward with Board appointments.


On RECOMMENDATION Imm-10    (Pages 22 – 32)

“That GAL explores with NATS the potential for aircraft to be vectored to be established on the ILS at a minimum of 8nm from touchdown outside of night hours, rather than the current 10nm. This adaptation to vectoring methodology will extend the arrival swathe 2nm further to the west for Runway 26, and east for Runway 08, and will increase the arrivals dispersal to more closely emulate the circumstances prior to 2013 change. Hence the arrival swathe would normally extend from a minimum of 8nm to 14nm, with aircraft joining on a straight in approach when traffic permits”.

In their Final report, Gatwick says:

Accept/Reject

GAL accepts this recommendation. Following coordination with airlines, NATS, ANS and the CAA, further analysis and quantification of this proposed change and the expected consequences are now much more fully understood. GAL has been able to confirm that the proposal to widen the arrivals swathe will create a fairer and more equitable distribution of aircraft noise, more closely emulating that experienced by communities prior to 2013. As a part of the implementation process, new monitoring procedures will be developed to quantify the extent and volume of actual flight distribution for regular review by the NMB.

While in the initial response from Gatwick to the Arrivals Review, on 31st March, Gatwick said: 

“GAL is minded to accept this recommendation. But its implementation is a complex matter and GAL will therefore seek to ensure that its impact is fully understood before a final decision is taken. Implementation is a matter for NATS, so GAL will also seek confirmation from NATS as to when the recommendation can be implemented, as intended by the authors of the Report.”

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On RECOMMENDATION Imm-18    (See Pages 40 – 43)

“The establishment of a Noise Management Board (NMB) by summer 2016, to be operated under independent Chairmanship and comprising representatives from each of the institutions able to effect change for Gatwick arrivals, as well as the chair of the Airport Consultative Committee (GATCOM), and both elected council members and residents’ representatives”.

“Accept/Reject This recommendation is accepted.”

In their final report, Gatwick says:

Implementation Plan

1. Following analysis of feedback from many respondents, a planning meeting was held on 18th May 2016 for invited participants to discuss NMB membership and develop a final draft Terms of Reference for consideration and adoption by the NMB at its meeting on 21st June 2016. The Annex following contains the final draft Terms of Reference agreed at the planning meeting, and the attendance list for that meeting.

2. Participants at the NMB planning meeting welcomed an increase to the community group representation to four NMB seats, and agreed that these should reflect a rural, urban, departure and arrival representation. Community Groups at the meeting agreed to develop a consensus on how the increased representation on the NMB will be utilised and to inform the chair by 14th June. If no consensus is forthcoming, an interim solution will be used until a permanent representation can be jointly agreed.

3. Hold the first NMB meeting on 21st June 2016.

Responsibility: GAL

Complete: June 2016

 

While in the initial response from Gatwick to the Arrivals Review on 31st March 2016 Gatwick said: 

Implementation Plan

1. Continue dialogue with NATS, CAA, DfT, airlines and community stakeholders seeking suggestions for NMB Membership, Terms of Reference, Independent Chair and Frequency of Meetings.

2. A planning meeting is proposed on 18th May 2016 for invited participants to discuss NMB membership and terms of reference. Responsibility: GAL Complete: May 2016

3. Finalise the above in the light of stakeholder feedback, publish the agreed outcome with the aim of holding the first NMB meeting on 21st June 2016..

Responsibility: GAL

Complete: June 2016



Earlier:

 

Gatwick publishes its response to the Arrivals Review – accepting all 23 recommendations

At the end of January, an Independent Arrivals Review was completed by Bo Redeborn. Gatwick was required to publish details comments on this, by 31st March, which they have done. Gatwick says it accepts all the 23 recommendations, though under some of the recommendations there is a long Benefits/Issues section, with various caveats. Some of the recommendations were relatively uncontroversial. Perhaps the most controversial was Recommendation 10, “for aircraft to be vectored to be established on the ILS at a minimum of 8nm (nautical miles)from touchdown outside of night hours, rather than the current 10nm.” Also that “the arrival swathe would normally extend from a minimum of 8nm to 14nm, with aircraft joining on a straight in approach when traffic permits.” This would mean less noise for some areas but perhaps more for those living around 8nm from the runway. Gatwick says: “GAL is minded to accept this recommendation. But its implementation is a complex matter and GAL will therefore seek to ensure that its impact is fully understood before a final decision is taken.” Gatwick agrees to improve its dreadful complaints system, and set up in Independent Noise Monitoring Board, though this would probably include only 2 community and 2 local council representatives. There will now be a 6 week public consultation until 16th May.  

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/03/gatwick-publishes-its-response-to-the-arrivals-review-accepting-all-23-recommendations/

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Gatwick provides more details of the setting up of the Noise Management Board, from the Arrivals Review

One of the recommendations of the Arrivals Review was that Gatwick should set up a Noise Management Board (NMB), on which community representatives could sit. Gatwick, in its Final Action Plan on the Arrivals Review, has now set out details of how the NMB will work. It will have no more than 14 members; 5 will be institutions; there will be 2 places for County Councils. There will be 4 places for District, Borough, Town and Parish Councils, and Community Noise Groups, with two from the east and two from the west of Gatwick. Gatwick says the NMB: “should be a body with real influence over operational stakeholders around the airport ….” Nothing says it will have any powers or any real influence. Gatwick says it will: “seek to positively influence the noise environment of stakeholders by assisting the development of consensus among the various organisations represented through its membership” [whatever that means in practice?]. The NMB will: “seek to facilitate better understanding by residents through more consistent communication and verifiable data.” Nothing in the stated objectives says noise will reduce, or that the interests of communities will be given equal weight to those of airlines etc. If the NMB cannot reach consensus on a matter, it can be agreed by 75%. The community groups only make up 25% or less.

Click here to view full story…

Gatwick provides more details of the wider swathe of arrivals onto the ILS, from the Arrivals Review

The main reason why Gatwick had to set up the Independent Arrivals Review was the fury and anguish, largely from areas around 10 – 14 miles from the airport, due to changes in 2013 to the distance at which planes joined the ILS (the final straight line flight path onto the runway). NATS and Gatwick had decided, allegedly for safety but in practice to make maximum use of the runway at busy times, to get most planes to join the ILS at 10 nautical miles out, while before that, some joined as close as 7 nm. The concentrated noise over some areas, not previously over-flown, caused unprecedented opposition. The Arrivals Review recommended that the swathe, both east and west of Gatwick, be widened to 8 – 14 nm, and that there should be more fair and equitable distribution of the noise of planes joining the ILS. A large part of the “Final Action Plan” deals with this. It attempts to allay fears that, to save fuel, many planes will try to cut a corner, and concentrate around the 8nm area. It tries to allay fears that there will be concentrated parts of the routes, and that people living relatively near Gatwick – (around 7 – 9nm or so) will suffer unduly from noise of both arrivals and departures. However, Gatwick says it is “not possible to predict precisely the distribution of aircraft within the swathe” and this will be “carefully monitored and reported to the Noise Management Board” which in turn will publish its findings and any conclusions.

Click here to view full story…

Read more »

Tianjin Airlines to fly (£7 plus taxes ?) Gatwick to Tianjin from June, with Chongquin stop

Desperate to get some sort of link to China, to compete with Heathrow, a twice weekly flight by Tianjin Airlines between Gatwick and Tianjin, via Chongquin (in western China) ill start in late June. Tianjin Airlines are an internal Chinese airline, and they want to eventually get flights from Heathrow.  They say no more routes from Gatwick are planned.  They seem a little unsure of the level of demand (Tianjin is an industrial port, some 80 km south east of Beijing) as they plan to charge only £7 with taxes one way, and £9 with taxes on the return.  [Has Gatwick subsidised them, for the PR bonus?]  If the service continues, they would aim to much cheaper than competitors.  Gatwick has not done well with attracting or keeping long haul airlines. Airlines that axed routes from Gatwick in the two years 2011 to 2013 include Hong Kong Airlines, Air Asia X, Korean Air and US Airways. In 2015 Garuda and Vietnam Airlines also moved their flights from Gatwick to Heathrow.  Gatwick lost 15 long-haul carriers between 2008, and 2013, including Air Nigeria. Air China pulled out of Gatwick in 2014 when they got slots at Heathrow from October, for a service to Beijing.  On the Tianjing flights: “As soon as an LHR slot becomes available they’ll be off.” 
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Tianjin Airlines launches Gatwick service with more in mind

31..5.2016 (TTG)

Tianjin Airlines is hoping the launch of its first route out of the UK will lead to more.

The airline last week announced a twice-weekly route from Gatwick to Chongqing and Tianjin, starting on June 25 and departing each Saturday and Wednesday.

Wen Ge, general manager of HR and the administration department for Tianjin Airlines, said while further routes out of Gatwick are not an option, he hoped the airline’s inaugural UK flight could help kick start more elsewhere.

He added: “Currently there are no plans for connections from Gatwick to other parts of Europe or the UK.

“However, we are considering plans to open air routes from Heathrow following our Gatwick launch.”

Wen added he expected the passenger split on the new route to be 40% business travellers, 40% tourists and 20% overseas students.

He also said although the heavily discounted promotional prices, £7 plus taxes one way on the first flight and £9 plus taxes on the second, will rise he believes prices will remain competitive.

Wen said: “For the launch we are attracting passengers with a low price but as we continue to improve our service the prices may go up.

“After we raise the prices we will still be more than £50 cheaper than our competitors.

“Besides the price, the destination is unique and we are the only airline flying to Tianjin and Chongqing from the UK so there was no worry about customer demand.”

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Earlier:

Gatwick hoping – yet again – for a link to China, while most long-haul routes have failed

Gatwick has had a very low rate of success (other than low cost airline Norwegian) in getting any long-haul routes to significant places, and keeping them more than a short time. Now an internal airline in China, Tianjin Airlines, is hoping to take delivery of three Airbus A330-200s in the coming months. Gatwick is one of the routes it will be trying out. Tianjin is hoping to introduce a twice-weekly link between Tianjin and Gatwick, via Chongqing from June 25th 2016. However, Tianjin is the huge port some 80 km south east of Beijing. Last August it suffered some very serious explosions at the port, which probably killed around 173 people and caused non-fatal injuries to almost 800 people. An AirportWatch member commented: “No one will want to fly to a port that exploded some 6 months ago. There is nothing there. Tianjin is an internal Chinese airline. Air China pulled out of Gatwick when they got slots at Heathrow. As soon as an LHR slot becomes available they’ll be off.” Airlines have axed routes from Gatwick in the two years 2011 to 2013 include Hong Kong Airlines, Air Asia X, Korean Air and US Airways. In 2015 Garuda and Vietnam Airlines also moved their flights from Gatwick to Heathrow.

Click here to view full story…

Earlier:

Air China and China Eastern Boost London Presence

8 August 2014

Richard Maslen (Routesonline)

Air China will introduce a second daily rotation on its route between Beijing and London Heathrow from October 26, 2014, while China Eastern will boost its existing Shanghai route to the UK’s largest international air gateway from October 29, 2014 with a sixth weekly flight.

Air China and China Eastern Airlines have both secured new winter slots at London’s Heathrow Airport which will enable them to increase the frequency of their routes from into mainland China. Air China will introduce a second daily rotation on the route from Beijing from October 26, 2014, while China Eastern will boost its existing Shanghai route from October 29, 2014 with a sixth weekly flight.

The second Air China rotation will likely replace the carrier’s summer operation to London’s Gatwick Airport, which was introduced in May 2012 after the carrier failed in a previous attempt to secure additional slots at Heathrow. This was originally operated as a year-round service on a four times weekly schedule but reverted to a seasonal offering in 2013.

Ahead of the launch of the Gatwick service an Air China executive confirmed to The HUB that the decision to split its London operations was a necessity to meet the strong demand on the route, but that Heathrow was always its primary growth target.

“We fully intend to expand in the UK and increase our presence there but unfortunately we can’t do it at Heathrow. Our daily Beijing flight to Heathrow has load factors of over 90% – it’s ridiculously full. But adding capacity at Heathrow is out of the question and we have actually been agonising over this issue for a long time,” Dr Zhihang Chi, vice president and general manager North America, Air China explained during an interview for Routes Asia in Chengdu in April 2012.

“We have decided that the best option is to run split operations and to go to Gatwick for additional frequency. This is not necessarily a good thing but we don’t have a choice as we want to expand. Heathrow offers better connection options and we will now have to invest in two sets of staff and equipment,” he added.

The new twice daily offering from this winter will see Air China switch its existing rotation from a Boeing 777-300ER to an Airbus A330-300 and will see both flights operate with the smaller widebody within two hours of each other. The existing CA937/938 rotation will move forward a couple of hours to a slot time utilised previously by the carrier with the new CA855/856 flight operating to the current schedule.

The change of equipment will mean the removal of a First Class product on the route, although it is likely that the 777-300ERs could return in the summer 2015 schedule on at least one of the two rotations. The introduction of the second rotation will boost Air China’s capacity on the Beijing – London Heathrow route by 61.4 per cent with a loss of eight First Class seats but an increase of 30 Business Class and 169 Economy seats per day.

Meanwhile, China Eastern Airlines has confirmed it will add a new Wednesday flight on its route between Shanghai and London Heathrow from the start of the winter 2014/2015 schedules, flown by an A330-200. The additional flight will bring an earlier rotation with a late morning departure from Shanghai and early evening departure from London.

China Eastern this year celebrated ten years of first serving the UK market after inaugurating flights on the route in April 2004, initially using an A340-300. The operating aircraft was switched to the smaller, but more efficient, A330-200 in February 2009 but the route was suspended the following month, resuming one year later in March 2010.

In our analysis, below, we highlight O&D demand between China and the UK in 2013 by departure or arrival point in China.

http://www.routesonline.com/news/29/breaking-news/243124/air-china-and-china-eastern-boost-london-presence/


Earlier, in September 2013:

Gatwick expansion plans hit as Air China scraps flights

Gatwick’s bid to rival Heathrow as a gateway to important long-haul destinations has been dealt a blow as Air China prepares to scrap its direct flights from the Sussex airport this winter.

Gatwick has lost 15 long-haul carriers since 2008, including including Korean Air, Hong Kong Airlines, Air Asia X and Air Nigeria

By Nathalie Thomas (Telegraph)

14 Sep 2013

Air China is pulling its services between Gatwick and Beijing from next month, although it will continue to operate out of Heathrow.

The decision has been seized on by critics of Gatwick’s plans for a “constellation” of two-runway airports to serve London’s future aviation needs. Opponents argue that Air China’s decision is proof that only a hub airport can sustain year-round routes to destinations in fast-growing emerging markets as airlines are able to use the transfer traffic to fill the flights.
“London and the UK economy need a proper, well-functioning hub airport with room for growth,” said Daniel Moylan, London Mayor Boris Johnson’s aviation adviser. “No amount of pretending that is not so is going to give Britain the sort of infrastructure it needs.”

Gatwick has lost 15 long-haul carriers since 2008, including Korean Air, Hong Kong Airlines, Air Asia X and Air Nigeria, but the airport stresses it has also added others such as Vietnam Airlines, Gambia Bird and Caribbean Airlines since the airport changed ownership in 2009. Moreover, Air China expects to resume summer services to Beijing next year, Gatwick said.
“Air China has made a decision not to operate services between London Gatwick and Beijing this winter,” the airport said in a statement. “Passenger numbers on the Gatwick-Beijing route have been strong since it was launched in May 2012.

However, over this summer Air China increased the capacity on its aircraft operating out of Heathrow and this has prompted the decision to temporarily withdraw services from Gatwick for the winter season.

“Air China intends to operate this route again out of Gatwick from next summer and we shall be working hard to return it to a year-round service.”

….. and it continues

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/10309852/Gatwick-expansion-plans-hit-as-Air-China-scraps-flights.html

 


Read more »

Heathrow Express has to cut off-peak fares, to try to smooth demand. Future threat from Crossrail?



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Heathrow Express peak fares increase by almost nine per cent

by JAMIE MICKLETHWAITE (Evening Standard)

31.5.2106

A standard one-way ticket Paddington station to Heathrow has gone up from £22 to £24, and a business class ticket fare has gone up to £32 from £30.

But off-peak return fares on the high-speed rail service will soon be reduced from £36 to £25.

A Heathrow Express spokeswoman said it is hoped that the fare increased will reduce congestion by encouraging people to travel at off-peak times.

Heathrow Express director Fraser Brown said: “Heathrow Express is the quickest way to get from central London to Heathrow and is well regarded by passengers who score it highly for customer satisfaction.

“It is an increasingly popular way to get to the airport and these changes will continue to protect the great service we give our passengers.”

The Heathrow Connect service, which also runs services from Paddington, offers single fares of £10.20, and the Underground fare for the same distance during peak times is £5.10.

Last year, Heathrow Express was forced to drop its ‘every 15 minutes’ slogan when a customer rightly pointed out that the frequency falls to once every half hour later in the day.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/heathrow-express-fares-increase-a3259831.html

READ MORE

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Heathrow passengers have other ways of getting to the airport. The Heathrow Connect train from Paddington costs £10.20 each-way, travel on the London Underground costs up to £5.10 each-way, while National Express coach services start at £6.

It should be noted, however, that there are no rail or Underground services to or from Heathrow between midnight and around 4.45am.

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Heathrow Express fleet withdrawn indefinitely

2.6.2016 (Rail News)

THE premium fare train service to Heathrow Airport will be operated by substitute rolling stock until further notice, after depot staff carrying out routine maintenance on Sunday reportedly discovered a crack in an underframe which the operator has described as a ‘structural defect’.

The Class 332 fleet has operated Heathrow Express since the service began in 1998. The units were supplied to BAA after a contract had been agreed with a joint venture between Siemens and CAF, and built by CAF at Zaragoza in Spain. Engineers from both companies have arrived at Old Oak Common depot to help investigate the fault.

The sudden withdrawal of the entire fleet has disrupted airport train services. Parallel Heathrow Connect, which provides a stopping service at lower fares, has been withdrawn so that its Class 360 units can be ‘borrowed’ for the express services.

Some additional GWR trains are running to compensate for the loss of Heathrow Connect between Paddington and Slough, and Connect passengers from Paddington who have already bought tickets can use Express services instead.

Local passengers to the airport are being advised to use Route 140 buses from Hayes & Harlington station, while Connect tickets are also being accepted on the Piccadilly line.

It is too soon to say what the outcome of this emergency action will be, although the situation may well last for some time.

Heathrow Express said: “Following investigation, a fault – a structural defect on the underside of the carriage – was found on some Heathrow Express trains. They have now been taken out of service for the foreseeable future, and will undergo further examination and maintenance work. Passengers can still reach the airport using the Heathrow Express as a 15-minute service is being maintained using alternative trains.”

Heathrow Express has apologised for the problem and cut the price of its tickets, partly to reflect the lower standards on board the Class 360s. A single has been reduced from £22 to £17 and returns are also cheaper, at £28.

HEX director Fraser Brown said: “The safety of our customers and colleagues remains our top priority. We apologise for the inconvenience this has caused so far, and assure passengers that we are doing everything we can to return to running a full and safe service, as quickly as possible. We would like to thank all our customers for their patience.”

The problems may even pose a question mark over the future of Heathrow Express, which is set to be challenged by Crossrail in 2018.

Heathrow Airport Limited has tried to impose track access charges for the use of its infrastructure, but the Office of Rail and Road has provisionally ruled this out. An industry consultation is underway.

http://www.railnews.co.uk/news/2016/03/02-heathrow-express-fleet-withdrawn-indefinitely.html

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Part of an article by Christian Wolmar, including a section on the threat of Crossrail 2 to the Heathrow Express:

7.12.2016

This raises the question about the long term viability of the Heathrow Express. It is, in fact, the biggest open access operator on the railway and is run by the airport owner, Ferrovial. Its 25 year deal for track access, however, runs out in 2023, four years after the introduction of Crossrail which will also go to the Airport. The Heathrow Express managing director, Keith Greenfield, is publicly confident that the competition will not affect his service, telling a local paper recently that: Without doubt Crossrail will bring new competition but there are plenty of ways in which we will be able to remain distinctive.

Well yes, price is one of them and I suspect that Greenfield privately is quaking in his boots over the future of Heathrow Express. Crossrail will have the fantastic advantage of bringing people from all over London direct to Heathrow in journey times only a bit longer than Heathrow Express and far cheaper. While the fares structure has not yet been announced, it will greatly undercut the £21 currently charged by Heathrow Express. No one will bother getting off at Paddington, trudging upstairs, and paying £21 extra for the pleasure

There is already a cheaper alternative, the Heathrow Connect service operated jointly by Great Western and Heathrow Express. Fares are half the Express service and the journey takes 10 minutes longer, 25 minutes rather than 15. Now I wonder how many people knowingly take the Heathrow Express because they value the 10 minutes it saves at £10 – in other words, £1 per minute or £60 per hour. According to the company, 30 per cent of users are leisure travellers. Surely all those holidaymakers arriving on red eye flights for a few days in London would happily forgo those ten minutes and save themselves £20 per couple? I suspect that many people using the Express service are the victims of the tacit withholding of information by Heathrow Express.  Imagine if there were signs up at Paddington on the Heathrow Express platforms and, especially, at the airport saying ‘It’s £10 cheaper by Connect’. (In economics terms, they are the victims of market imperfections because they do not have perfect knowledge.) A similar subterfuge, incidentally takes place at Gatwick where Gatwick Express tickets are sold to unknowing arriving tourists who are in no particular hurry to get to London and, frankly, are being rooked. (especially since it is now not even a dedicated Gatwick service any longer).

Indeed, Greenfield and his colleagues are already aware that the days of Heathrow Express’s business model based on premium pricing are numbered. Recently, for the first time, the company has started offering discounted fares (only a fiver off a £34 return or £6 off a single actually so don’t all rush) for advance bookings.

Therefore, the value of maintaining a separate Heathrow Express service after the arrival of Crossrail is dubious. Is it really right that such an expensive link is maintained to the airport, deterring many travellers from using it and taking up so much of the capacity at Paddington. It is maintained by a subterfuge which fools people into paying a premium price when a much cheaper alternative is available.

Scrapping Heathrow Express would free up a lot of train paths at Paddington and McTaggart, who has long complained about the reduction in fast trains to Slough, has an eye on them.

…………. and it continues  ….

http://www.christianwolmar.co.uk/2015/12/rail-787-heathrow-express-and-crossrail-the-need-for-a-fat-controller/

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A comment here on Heathrow Connect says:

“The Heathrow Connect isn’t used just to get people to and from intermediate stations and the airport, it’s also heavily used by local people to travel between communities not served the the tube and Central London.

“In the mornings the train is so crowded that people regularly get left behind on platforms. Now GWR has put on a two-carriage once-hourly service between Paddington and Hayes cutting the frequency in half and capacity by about three quarters.

“Their lack of recognition of the importance that local people place on the service is no surprise at all. The Connect is frequently cancelled if the Express is running late to get the Express back on schedule.   The sooner the route is taken over by Crossrail the better.”

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A Telegraph article from September 2015 on the most crowded trains in Britain found:

Top 10 most crowded trains 2014

1. 04:22 Glasgow Central to Manchester Airport

2. 16:00 Manchester Airport to Edinburgh

3. 06:31 Reading to London Paddington

4. 07:57 London Heathrow to London Paddington

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/11853645/Revealed-Britains-most-overcrowded-train-lines.html


A Guardian article from September 2014 on the 10 most crowded trains in the UK found:

The 10 worst offenders

(figures from autumn 2013)

1. 16:46 London Midland train from London Euston to Crewe

2. 07:32 South West Trains service from Woking to London Waterloo

3. 07:21 First Great Western train from Oxford to London Paddington

4. 18:33 Heathrow Connect train from London Paddington to Heathrow

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/sep/10/10-most-crowded-uk-trains

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TripAdvisor says:

Heathrow “Express”: (Overground to Paddington)

  • The most heavily marketed way to get to central London is the Heathrow Express.
  • The main advantage of the Heathrow Express is that the journey time is only 15 minutes to Paddington from terminals 2 and 3, 23 minutes from terminal 4 and 21 minutes from terminal 5. Trains run every 15 minutes, which is slightly less frequent than the Piccadilly line. In addition, the Heathrow Express is air conditioned with plenty of baggage space, on-board TV, free WiFi and better suited for travel from the airport than the Piccadilly Line.
  • The main disadvantage, apart from the very high cost, is that the terminus is Paddington station, in West London!
  • For most visitors to London, from here they will require further transport, quite possibly on the Underground, to reach their final destination. This travel will of course carry further costs.  If your final destination is not near Paddington, the time saving from using the Express can be very marginal.

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-g186338-s301/London:United-Kingdom:Arriving.And.Departing.html

Read more »

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

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

3.5.2016  (Nantes.fr)

The decree establishing the conditions for holding the consultation on the proposed transfer of Nantes Atlantique airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes was published in the Official Journal.

By decree published in the Official Journal of 24 April 2016, we now know the framework within which will be organized for consultations with electors to project transfer from Nantes Atlantique airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes.

Who can participate?

It is the voters of the municipalities of Loire-Atlantique on the electoral lists arrested February 29, 2016 that will participate in the consultation. Young citizens who reach the age (18) between 1 March and 25 June inclusive can register until Thursday, June 16 inclusive. And thus participate in the consultation.

Can also register on the electoral lists, all French and Europeans who moved to Nantes for a business reason after 1 January 2016 (this measure applying also to their spouses and family members living with them) and Nantais who became French after this date. They will of course present proof: proving that each professional reasons (employment certificate, business creation certificate, etc.), others or naturalization decree published in the Official Journal, the documents to be subsequent to January 1, 2016. They must be submitted by 16 June next deadline. A new voter card will reach them a few days before the consultation.

When Will the consultation work?

It is Sunday, June 26 the Loire-Atlantique voters are called to vote. Nantes, hours of voting will be announced in the coming weeks.

What is the question?

The consultation will focus on the question “Do you support the proposed transfer of Nantes-Atlantique airport in the municipality of Notre-Dame-des-Landes? “

How to learn about this consultation?

The National Public Debate Commission will prepare an information pack on the project, which will include a synopsis of the project: patterns, characteristics, status of procedures, environmental impacts, etc. It will also include links to websites or other documents to inform voters that have been posted online.

This file will be available at the latest 15 days before the consultation on the website of the commission (https://www.debatpublic.fr open link in new window ). In addition, the prefecture will send by mail voters a newsletter on the organization of the consultation along with two ballots, no later than June 9, 2016.

Original in French at  

http://www.nantes.fr/home/actualites/ville-de-nantes/administration/2016/consultation-aeroport.html

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There are a lot of documents, in French, about various aspects of the airport transfer, from local campaigners against the proposed new airport at Notre-dame-des-Landes:

Cliquez sur le titre des rubriques pour en lire le détail ou téléchargez le pdf.

Fiche 00 : Un projet d’un autre âge : résumé des arguments ici en PDF
Fiche 01 : Capacité de Nantes-Atlantique ici en PDF
Fiche 02 : Personnes survolées ici en PDF
Fiche 03 : Bruit ici en PDF
Fiche 04 : Evolution du trafic à Nantes Atlantique ici en PDF
Fiche 05 : Compagnies Low Cost ici en PDF
Fiche 06 : Coûts et Financement ici en PDF
Fiche 07 : Historique du projet et de la lutte ici en PDF
Fiche 08 : Les questions d’urbanisme ici en PDF
Fiche 09 : Analyse Coûts – Bénéfices / La rentabilité… ici en PDF
Fiche 10 : Lutte des paysans ici en PDF
Fiche 11 : Agriculture – emprise/ activité/emplois ici en PDF
Fiche 12 : La question des emplois ici en PDF
Fiche 13 : Qualité environnementale de la zone ici en PDF
Fiche 14 : Loi sur l’Eau ici en PDF
Fiche 15 : La situation juridique ici en PDF
Fiche 16 : Les commissions mises en place par le Gouvernement ici en PDF
Fiche 17 : Les grands projets inutiles et imposés (GPII) ici en PDF
Fiche 18 : Avion et climat ici en PDF
Fiche 19 : Situation géographique ici en PDF
Fiche 20 : Comparaison NA / NDL ici en PDF
Fiche 21 : L’optimisation de Nantes Atlantique ici en PDF
Fiche 22 : Expertise des naturalistes en lutte ici en PDF
Fiche 23 : La démocratie en question ici en PDF

Feuilletez le livret argumentaire complet ici en PDF.

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

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

Click here to view full story…

Consultation du 26 juin 2016 en Loire Atlantique : On a tous une bonne raison de voter NON !

13.5.2016 (ACIPA)

Document setting out, in French, the main reasons to oppose the new airport at  http://www.consultationnddl.fr/images/content/tracts-affiches/Consultation-NDDL_Tract-PourQuoiFaire.jpg

ACIPA

Consultation of 26 June 2016 Loire Atlantique: We all have a reason to vote NO!

13.5.2016 (ACIPA – the local opposition campaign)

(Imperfect translation into English below)

Coordination opponents (more than 50 groups – associations, collectives, unions and political movements) decided after discussion at its extraordinary meeting of 31 March 2016, to denounce loudly the masquerade that is the consultation but also to call citizens to vote massively NO to not leave the field open to backers of the project.

Coordination has always been able to adapt and react to different turpitudes (inaccuracies, half truths?) of this issue, both on the grounds of the legal and political aspects. Strong protests in January and February 2016 around Nantes have shown the determination and cohesion of the whole movement.

Coordination has decided to run a very active campaign in the field, to inform the public about the real issues in this project: 24 public meetings throughout the department 44 are provided for this purpose. All the activists of the department and those of peripheral departments are already mobilized to distribute 200,000 information leaflets, for which they themselves provided the financing. They also seek to discuss directly with the population as much as possible.
Other actions will punctuate the 5-week campaign, in a spirit of quiet determination.

But the Coalition wishes to reiterate that this citizen consultation, which we did not ask for, will not in any way legitimize a completely illegal airport project at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, that is ruinous and destructive.

Coordination recalls that:

  • the conditions for a real democratic debate are not met;
  • the selected perimeter eliminates the vote of the citizens of local communities directly concerned by financing;
  • the question is biased;
  • no guarantee of fair treatment of the parties concerned has been made.

We are in a travesty of democracy. This theme of Democracy is also the central purpose of the gathering of July 9 and 10: NDL 2016 “Seeds of Democracy”. As in previous years, it will be a highlight of our struggle, after the intense mobilization of weeks that have preceded it.

The consultation scheduled for 26 June was just another step in our long struggle for the final judgment of this project.
We all have a reason to vote NO!

Discover our dedicated website consultation


Original text in French:

La Coordination des opposants (plus de 50 groupes – associations, collectifs, syndicats et mouvements politiques) a décidé, après discussion lors de sa réunion exceptionnelle du 31 mars 2016, de dénoncer haut et fort la mascarade que représente cette consultation mais d’appeler aussi les citoyens à aller voter massivement NON pour ne pas laisser le champ libre aux porteurs du projet.

La Coordination a toujours su s’adapter et réagir aux différentes turpitudes de ce dossier, aussi bien sur le terrain que sur les volets juridique et politique. Les fortes mobilisations de janvier et février 2016 autour de Nantes ont démontré la détermination et la cohésion de l’ensemble du mouvement.

La Coordination a décidé de faire une campagne très active sur le terrain, pour informer le public sur les véritables enjeux liés à ce projet : 24 réunions publiques dans tout le département du 44 sont prévues à cet effet. L’ensemble des militants du département et ceux des départements périphériques sont déjà mobilisés pour distribuer 200 000 tracts d’information, dont ils assurent eux-mêmes le financement. Ils s’emploieront aussi à discuter directement avec la population le plus souvent possible.
D’autres actions ponctueront les 5 semaines de campagne, toujours dans un esprit de sereine détermination.

Mais la Coordination tient à réaffirmer que cette consultation citoyenne, que nous n’avons pas demandée, ne saurait en aucun cas légitimer un projet d’aéroport parfaitement illégal à Notre-Dame-des-Landes, ruineux et destructeur.

La Coordination rappelle que :

  • les conditions d’un réel débat démocratique ne sont pas réunies ;
  • le périmètre choisi élimine du vote des citoyens de collectivités territoriales directement concernées par le financement ;
  • la question est biaisée ;
  • aucune garantie de traitement équitable des parties en présence n’a été apportée.

Nous sommes dans un simulacre de démocratie. Ce thème de la Démocratie sera d’ailleurs l’objet central du rassemblement des 9 et 10 juillet : NDL 2016 “Semailles de Démocratie”. Comme les années précédentes, il sera un temps fort de notre lutte, après les semaines de mobilisation intense qui l’auront précédé.

La consultation prévue le 26 juin n’est qu’une étape supplémentaire dans notre long combat pour l’arrêt définitif de ce projet.
On a tous une bonne raison de voter NON !

Découvrez notre site internet dédié consultation

https://www.acipa-ndl.fr/actualites/communiques-de-presse/item/660-consultation-du-26-juin-2016


NDDL. Consultation of 26 June: where and how to vote in Nantes

10.5.2016  (Ouest-France)

On Sunday, June 26, voters in Loire-Atlantique towns will be consulted on the Nantes-Atlantique airport transfer project.

Consultation

Each of the participants in the consultation will have to answer yes or no to the question “Are you in favour of the transfer project of Nantes-Atlantique airport to the municipality of Notre-Dame-des-Landes? ”

Where to Vote

In Nantes, 200 polling stations in 48 schools will be mobilized to collect votes. You can check the address of the polling station on the site www.nantes.fr

Registration open until Friday, May 20.

Dossier

The national public debate commission will prepare an information pack on the project. It will be available on the website www.debatpublic.fr The prefecture will send, by June 9, 2016, to each voter, a newsletter on the organization of the consultation along with two ballots.

[The consultation website says: BACKGROUND

“The current Nantes-Atlantique airport is experiencing a dramatic increase in traffic. Its infrastructures are no longer capable of hosting such forward traffic in terms of comfort and services expected by its users. It is therefore not the construction of a second airport, but a transfer of the business of the existing airport to the future Grand Ouest Airport.” ]

Original with lots of detail on who can vote etc in French at

http://www.ouest-france.fr/pays-de-la-loire/nantes-44000/nddl-consultation-du-26-juin-ou-et-comment-voter-nantes-4218487

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Position de l’ACIPA sur la “consultation”

22.4.2016 (ACIPA)

Imperfect translation into English below.

he ACIPA must adapt to events, as always …

After the word “referendum” is that of “consultation” that we used. It was announced after the 2003 public debate, the public inquiry in 2006, the Public Utility Declaration of 2008, judgments Water Act and Species protected still appeal the judgments expropriation and expulsion of 2015 and 2016, this to cover a state lying on the back of Notre Dame des Landes for which he should be punished.

We have many asked about the temporality of schedule compared to the progress of the project of Notre Dame des Landes, the scope of the consultation, the drafting of the question, the means of communication during the campaign and its control, the joint with legal recourse (french and European) still under investigation or legality as claimed by our opponents …

The ACIPA never boycotted the democratic debate, which is nourished and carries, with CEDPA, proposals for a “Modernization of Participatory Democracy”.

The government, through the voice of the Prime Minister, announced the start of work in the autumn! [regardless of the result of the referendum] He anticipates, thus, the use he will make the result of this eventual consultation. He ignored the questioning of the European Commission, which stipulates that no work should happen until there is a satisfactory response on the part of France, on the implementation of environmental compensation measures. These need to be mentioned in the SCOT Nantes-Saint Nazaire planning documents currently being revised and on which the public inquiry will take place during summer 2016. This document will not be definitively signed by the Prefect before mid-January 2017. We are not fooled by replies that the public inquiry could result in unachievable compensation and we know that the state is trying to find a loophole in the face of questions from Europe.
We know the results of the consultation will only represent a opinion without legal basis. However, ACIPA will be campaigning alongside other voluntary organizations to share all the media available to us. We never asked for this consultation, the government impose it so we take this forum to inform the public about the real issues related to this project as we have done at every consultation, at the request of our many members.

Given the position of Prime Minister, nothing obliges us to consider the outcome of this illegal consultation, which will be only an opinion among many, but we must do everything so that people can vote with full knowledge of because if ever this consultation was to go to completion. Therefore, the ACIPA continue the fight, including legal on the merits of the case and ongoing information to the citizens, to respect the planet and future generations in the spirit carried by the COP 21. It will also denounce the imbalance means that the pro-airport might be tempted to implement without daring contradictory public debate.

The ACIPA continue to oppose the evictions of the inhabitants of the area defined in the DUP and demands that the President of the Republic honors its local commitments: “no work or expulsion, as legal avenues are not all exhausted. ”

For ACIPA, this possible citizen referendum can in no wayjustify a proposed illegal airport at Notre Dame des Landes.

This consultation will, in any case for us, one step in the long struggle for the permanent cessation of the project.

The ACIPA continue to oppose the evictions of the inhabitants of the area defined in the DUP and demands that the President of the Republic honors its local commitments: “no work or expulsion, as legal avenues are not all exhausted. ”

 

For ACIPA, this possible citizen consultation can in no case justify a proposed airport in Notre Dame des Landes is illegal.

This consultation will, in any case for us, one step in the long struggle for the permanent cessation of the project. 

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The original French: 

L’ACIPA doit s’adapter aux évènements, comme toujours…

Après le mot “référendum” c’est celui de “consultation” qu’on nous sert. Il est annoncé après le débat public de 2003, l’enquête publique de 2006, la Déclaration d’Utilité Publique de 2008, les jugements Loi sur Eau et Espèces protégées toujours en appel, les jugements en expropriation et en expulsion de 2015 et 2016, ceci pour couvrir un mensonge d’État sur le dossier de Notre Dame des Landes pour lequel il devrait être sanctionné.

Nous avons beaucoup questionné sur la temporalité du calendrier par rapport à l’avancée du projet de Notre Dame des Landes, le périmètre de la consultation, la rédaction de la question posée, les moyens de la communication pendant la campagne et son contrôle, l’articulation avec les recours juridiques (français et européens) toujours en cours d’instruction ou la légalité tant réclamée par nos adversaires,…

L’ACIPA n’a jamais boycotté le débat démocratique, elle s’en nourrit et porte, avec le CéDpa, des propositions pour une ” Modernisation de la Démocratie Participative”.

Le gouvernement, par la voix du Premier ministre, annonce le début des travaux à l’automne ! Il anticipe, par là même, toute utilisation qu’il fera du résultat de cette éventuelle consultation. Il fait fi de l’interpellation de la Commission Européenne qui stipule qu’il n’y ait pas de travaux avant une réponse satisfaisante, de la part de la France, sur la mise en place des mesures de compensations environnementales. Celles-ci doivent être mentionnées dans les documents d’urbanisme du SCOT Nantes-Saint Nazaire actuellement en révision et dont l’enquête publique se déroulera au cours de l’été 2016. Ce document ne sera pas définitivement signé par le Préfet avant la mi-Janvier 2017. Nous ne sommes par dupes des réponses que l’enquête publique pourrait amener en matière de compensations irréalisables et nous savons que l’État tente de trouver une échappatoire face aux questions de l’Europe.

Nous savons que les résultats de la consultation ne représenteront qu’un avis sans fondement juridique. Cependant, l’ACIPA se devra de faire campagne aux côtés des autres organisations volontaires pour mettre en commun tous les moyens d’information à notre disposition. Nous n’avons jamais demandé cette consultation, le gouvernement nous l’impose alors profitons de cette tribune pour informer le public sur les vrais enjeux liés à ce projet comme nous l’avons fait à chaque consultation à la demande de nos nombreux adhérents.

Au vu de la position du Premier ministre, rien ne nous oblige à tenir compte du résultat de cette consultation illégale, qui ne sera qu’un avis parmi d’autres, mais nous devons tout faire pour que la population puisse voter en toute connaissance de cause, si jamais cette consultation devait aller à son terme. C’est pourquoi, l’ACIPA continue le combat, notamment juridique sur le fond du dossier, ainsi que l’information continue en direction des citoyens, pour le respect de la planète et des générations futures dans l’esprit porté par la COP 21. Elle saura aussi dénoncer le déséquilibre de moyens que les pro-aéroport seraient tentés de mettre en oeuvre sans oser le débat public contradictoire.

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

 

Pour l’ACIPA, cette éventuelle consultation citoyenne ne peut en aucun cas légitimer un projet d’aéroport à Notre Dame des Landes qui est illégal.

Cette consultation ne sera, dans tous les cas pour nous, qu’une étape dans le long combat pour l’arrêt définitif du projet. 

https://www.acipa-ndl.fr/actualites/communiques-de-presse/item/650-position-de-l-acipa-sur-la-consultation


Earlier:

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

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

Click here to view full story…

Read more »

Anti-3rd runway campaigners hold their own alternative “celebration” of Heathrow’s 70th birthday

To “celebrate” Heathrow’s 70th Birthday, on 31st May, anti-3rd runway campaigners and local village residents gathered in Harmondsworth – to express their opposition to the airport’s plans for expansion. With festivities centred around the historic “Five Bells” pub, there were 70 “No 3rd Runway” balloons, tours of the historic buildings including the historic, Grade 1 listed, tithe barn, enthusiastic chants of “No ifs, no buts, no 3rd runway, and a walk of part of the course of the proposed runway. To represent each of the houses earmarked for demolition for the runway, 783 small black planes were planted on the green.  The cake was cut by representatives of some of the protest groups, including Hacan, Stop Heathrow Expansion, CHATR, TAG, RAAN, and Grow Heathrow. People had thought up entertaining presents for Heathrow, including the cheque from ratepayers – a big fat zero for infrastructure, a Mr Noisy book, a toy demolition truck, a Thomas the Tank Engine, a D-lock, a Pinocchio, and an alarm clock with its hands stuck on 4.30am. The day was a fun event, with a very serious purpose. With 783 homes to be demolished for a runway, and many more made uninhabitable by the proximity to an expanded Heathrow, many hundreds face the total loss of their homes and their community.
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 Photos below

70th Birthday cheque

The cheque – Heathrow is not prepared to pay for necessary infrastructure, so the taxpayer would have to pick up the bill.

70th Birthday group with balloons

Group with “No 3rd Runway” balloons.

70th Birthday crowd

Group outside the Five Bells pub.

70th Birthday 780 black planes

Group with the 783 small black “No 3rd Runway” planes – one to symbolise each of the homes that would be compulsorily purchased and demolished, for a 3rd runway.

70th Birthday cake

The cake “Celebrating 70  years of unrelenting aircraft noise for local communities”.

70th Birthday cutting the cake

Representatives of some of the community groups, cutting the cake.

70th Birthday Mr Noisey

One of the presents – “Mr Noisy”, from the Mr Men series.

70th Birthday air pollution kit child

Our model shows the new kit that could be supplied to schoolchildren in the area to deal with the added air pollution from a 3rd runway. (Tongue in cheek and wittily presented by Neil Keveren) — with John Stewart.

 

 

The presents will probably be delivered to Heathrow’s headquarters on its birthday.

70th Birthday cocktail

Courtesy of TAG ( Teddington Action Group)

 

Read more »

Gatwick Route 4 finally re-routed as local MP warns about noise misery dangers of a 2nd runway

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. 

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Gatwick departure route finally re-routed as local MP warns about noise misery dangers of a second runway

Thursday, 26 May, 2016
Crispin Blunt MP’s website

Following Crispin Blunt’s campaign for changes to the Gatwick westerly departure flight route, the modified departure route has finally come into operation today.

The implementation of precision-area navigation (PR-NAV) at Gatwick in 2014 led to a concentrated flight path (Route 4) overflying south Reigate and Redhill, affecting thousands of residents.

Regrettably, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) took far longer than expected to complete the Review of the implementation of PR-NAV. In November 2015, the CAA Board adopted a recommendation to alter departure Route 4, which has come into operation today. This makes the Standard Instrument Departure turning circle tighter and ensures that planes taking off to the west and heading east fly back over the constituency further to the south, avoiding the densely populated urban areas of Reigate and Redhill.

Crispin Blunt commented:

“Today’s change should finally bring relief to residents who have been affected by noise pollution caused by the botched implementation of precision navigation from Gatwick Airport. It is regrettable that it has taken so long to make this correction when the problems were so clear from the start.

“I will monitor the impact of the change and I am expecting the Government to review its policy on aviation noise, including ways of implementing these concentrated satellite guided routes so as to provide for greater dispersal and multiple respites for affected areas. Local airports must work with local communities to manage and alleviate aviation noise. This should be Gatwick’s focus now.

“I continue to call on the Government to come forward with a decision to implement the Airports Commission’s recommendation which rejected Gatwick as a location for a new runway and recommended Heathrow with a package of extensive noise mitigation measures and a ban on night flights. Gatwick’s flawed and rejected second runway proposal would lead to an airport with over half a million flights a year, more than Heathrow currently has and with no measures to mitigate noise for local communities.

“The easterly and westerly departures affecting Reigate and Redhill would have potentially twice as many aircraft movements.

“Unlike Heathrow which alternates the use of its runways for take offs and landings giving local communities guaranteed respite, Gatwick’s proposal is to use two runways for take-offs and landings throughout the day and much of the night. Local residents would have more overflight than West London has today but with no respite from noise whatsoever. There’s no credible case for Gatwick from either a local perspective or in terms of national economic benefits. It is time the Government rejects it definitively.”

http://www.blunt4reigate.com/news/gatwick-departure-route-finally-re-routed-local-mp-warns-about-noise-misery-dangers-second-runw

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Gatwick admitted:

“The new P-RNAV routes sit within the airport’s nine Noise Preferential Routes (NPRs) or ‘corridors’ that departing aircraft fly within. Aircraft started flying these modified flight paths in November 2013 and use of P-RNAV on departures became mandatory in May 2014. These routes [were] reviewed (a post implementation review) by the CAA to ensure they are compliant with regulations.

“The departure routes within Route 4 (also known as 26LAM) – an NPR departing from the west before wrapping around 180 degrees to the right to fly out to the east – was not fully compliant as some aircraft were flying outside the northern perimeter of the NPR. We are now making modifications to this route to ensure that aircraft move back inside the NPR.”

http://www.gatwickairport.com/business-community/aircraft-noise/airspace-overview/route-4-modifications/

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See earlier:

“Plane Wrong” critical of CAA’s PIR decision to permit new easterly take-off route to continue

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.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/12/plane-wrong-critical-of-caas-pir-decision-to-permit-new-easterly-take-off-route-to-continue/

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Earlier:

The CAA’s disappointing PIR finally published, showing only one Gatwick route to be slightly changed

Since autumn 2013 there have been changes to flight paths for Gatwick airport, given provisional approval by the CAA.  Routes have been altered, and flight paths have been more concentrated.  This has been done without consultation of affected communities. The CAA has done a PIR (Post Implementation Review) that ended in January. It has finally, after delays, published its findings.  These are regarded as very disappointing, as almost no concessions have been made and though hundreds of complaints were sent in, there are few changes to routes. GACC says: “In a 198 page report they devote only 2 pages to the possibility of dispersal – spreading the aircraft over a wider area – and to the possibility of respite – giving people a break from constant noise. And then reject both.   We will now need to take the case to the Government and indeed will raise this when we meet the Minister for Aviation, Robert Goodwill MP …on 18 November.”  The more concentrated noise has caused great distress for the people unlucky enough to live directly under the flight paths.  The only change to a route is one which takes off to the west, and flies over Holmwood, Brockham and Reigate – Gatwick will be consulting on a revised route in the next few months. People are angry that the CAA, yet again, ignores input from the public.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/11/the-caas-disappointing-pir-finally-published-showing-only-one-gatwick-route-to-be-slightly-changed/ 

Read more »

Planned Birmingham flights by Beijing Capital Airlines to Beijing and Hangzhou scrapped

It was announced in late April that direct flights by Beijing Capital Airlines, from Birmingham to Beijing and to Hangzhou, some 60 miles from Shanghai, (once per week each), would start on July 19th. The new flights would have been by a Chinese travel company, Caissa Touristic, which owns Beijing Capital Airlines. The plan was to use an Airbus A330-200, with 211 seats (33 business and 178 economy). But under a month later, this seems not to be a reality, and Caissa Touristic has pulled out. The reasons are not known.  [Likely to be competition from Manchester, 86 miles away?] Birmingham Airport is seeking ‘clarification’ from Caissa. Birmingham Airport has been hoping for links to China, to use its newly extended runway, and to compete with Manchester. At present there are only direct UK flights to China from Heathrow, with flights 4 times per week from Manchester with Hainan Airways starting on June 10th 2016. Over the last two summers Caissa Touristic ran a popular charter services that brought Chinese tourists into Birmingham for package holidays in the UK. “And news of the takeover of Aston Villa by Beijing-based tycoon Dr Tony Xia last week raised the prospect of big-spending Chinese football fans flocking to Birmingham.” Paul Kehoe, CEO of Birmingham Airport, said: “Last year around 150,000 people flew between our region and China.”
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Direct scheduled flights to China from Birmingham Airport scrapped

20 MAY 2016
BY TAMLYN JONES

Tour operator Caissa Touristic withdraws from planned weekly schedule to Beijing and Shanghai for ‘unknown reasons’

A new direct scheduled service from Birmingham Airport to China due to launch this summer has been scrapped.

Birmingham Airport announced last month that a deal had been struck with Beijing Capital Airlines to run weekly departures to China’s capital Beijing and the country’s largest city Shanghai.

It was considered a major feather in the cap of Birmingham Airport as only Heathrow currently flies directly to China while Manchester Airport awaits the launch of a new service from there.

In a statement, Birmingham Airport said it was disappointed to announce Caissa Touristic, the tour operator which owns Beijing Capital Airlines and was due to sell the flights, had chosen to abandon its plan.

The programme was to commence on July 19 and the airport said Caissa Touristic had withdrawn “for unknown reasons”.

It comes in the same week that Chinese businessman Tony Xia acquired Aston Villa for a reported £60 million.

The move will be seen as a bitter blow for the region’s tourists and businesses after the success of previous programmes of direct charter flights, the first outside of London, when Caissa Touristic carried thousands of Chinese tourists into Birmingham on package holidays during 2014 and 2015.

Flights to the Far East were a major target for the airport after its £40 million runway extension opened in 2014.

Chief executive Paul Kehoe said: “There is strong demand for flights between China and the Midlands.

“Last year, around 150,000 people flew between our region and China and we have made significant investment over the last two years to offer services with Caissa.

“We are currently unaware as to the reasons why, given the success of the China services over the last two summers from Birmingham.

“We are awaiting more information from the tour operator as to why it has made this decision but we are confident we will be able to reinstate services between Birmingham and China in the near future.”

http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business/business-news/direct-scheduled-flights-china-birmingham-11363607

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See also:

Hainan Airlines direct flights (4 per week) from Manchester to Beijing start on June 10th

Hainan Airlines will start flying (4 times per week) from Manchester Airport to Beijing from June 10th, as the first direct service from the north of England to mainland China. There are already flights from Manchester to Hong Kong. Some businesses including tourism hope this “will deliver a major boost to the region.” The University of Manchester is reported to believe the link will be a significant benefit to students. Faster air links to emerging markets could boost UK exports (they could also boost UK imports, which generally exceed exports). There are the usual comments like: “The Manchester Airport expansion shows that the city is ready to become an outward looking economic powerhouse” and there is even an expectation that it “will deliver an economic boost to the UK worth £250m” (no details or time-scale given …. it never is). Currently, more than 100,000 people from the North (about 6,350 from North Wales) fly to mainland China every year but have to travel indirectly via London or other overseas hubs. Manchester hopes that the flights will bring “hundreds of thousands of tourists to this part of the world every year.” North Wales Tourism and Bangor University have both praised the new service to Beijing and hope it “will unlock new opportunities for the area.” Many thousands more people will not need to use Heathrow for their travel to China.

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Earlier:

Birmingham gets weekly flights to Beijing and Hangzhou with Beijing Capital Airlines

It is expected that direct flights by Beijing Capital Airlines, from Birmingham to Beijing and to Hangzhou, some 60 miles from Shanghai, will start on July 19th. At present there are only direct UK flights to China from Heathrow, with flights 4 times per week from Manchester with Hainan Airways starting this June. The new flights from Birmingham will operate on Saturdays to Beijing and on Tuesdays to Shanghai (Hangzhou) using an Airbus A330-200, with a total of 211 seats (33 business and 178 economy). Flights to the Far East were a major target for Birmingham airport, after its £40 million runway extension allowing use by heavier planes. Birmingham also, from March 2016, obtained 8 flights per week by Qatar Airways Boeing 787s between Birmingham and Qatar. Birmingham also has a daily service by Emirates, using an A380, to Dubai. Birmingham airport says the two new scheduled service follows on from some direct charter flights, which saw over 7,000 Chinese visitors travel through Birmingham Airport during 2014 and 2015, and in 2015 “around 150,000 people flew between our region and China, with passengers preferring to travel from their local airport.”

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Regular flights from Birmingham Airport to China cancelled in shock move

24.5.2016  (Midlands – Express and Star)

Hopes for the start of regular flights between Birmingham and China have collapsed after the tour operator suddenly pulled out.

Caissa Touristic, one of China’s most important travel companies, contacted the airport at the end of last week to say it was cancelling the planned service.

……. full article at  ……

http://www.expressandstar.com/news/local-news/2016/05/24/regular-flights-from-birmingham-airport-to-china-cancelled-in-shock-move/

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