With Britain, somewhat unexpectedly, voting for Brexit there may be changes in the way airlines operate between the UK and the EU, and there may be other implications for air travel from currency changes. Simon Calder, in the Independent, sets out some of the issues and what might happen. The exchange rate of the £ against the $ or the € may not only make holidays, to the EU or elsewhere, more expensive – but an increase in the price of jet fuel could happen if the £ weakens against the $. Through the “Open skies” agreement, since since 1994, any EU airline has been free to fly between any two points in Europe. This allowed easyJet and Ryanair to flourish, and forced “legacy” carriers such as BA, Air France and Lufthansa to cut fares. The UK may have to negotiates a similar arrangement to Norway, within the European Economic Area (EEA), in which case little would change. But if Britain does not join the EEA, every route between the UK and the EU might need to be renegotiated on a bilateral basis. The bureaucratic logjam would be immense. Similarly, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have easy access to America because of an EU-US treaty on open skies. The freedom for British airlines such as easyJet to fly within and between EU countries could be curtailed; nations such as France and Italy have in the past been protectionist of their home airlines. And much more …..
What does Brexit mean for British tourists travelling to Europe?
The freedom for British airlines such as easyJet to fly within and between EU countries could be curtailed
By Simon Calder @SimonCalder (Independent)
Our most intense engagement with Europe is when we go on holiday there.
With the peak travel season about to begin, millions of British holidaymakers are about to discover the immediate effects of the Leave vote in pushing up prices abroad. Longer term, there will be more big changes.
Will holidays cost more?
In the short term, the slide in sterling to its lowest level for year means the price of everything from a cup of coffee in a cafe in Paris to a night in a luxury hotel in the Maldives will rise.
The level of the increase depends on what level the pound settles at: before the referendum, the Treasury predicted sterling would lose 12-15 per cent of its value on a Leave vote.
Longer term, the two key rates are against the euro and the dollar.
The €:£ rate is crucial because we take the majority of our foreign holidays to the single-currency area: to the Spanish costas, the French countryside, the cities of Italy and the islands of Greece.
Further afield, prices in destinations including the US, Dubai and China will rise in proportion with the strength of the dollar relative to sterling; many currencies are locked to the US$.
Even if you never venture beyond Europe, the $:£ rate is also significant. Oil is priced in dollars, as are aircraft. So a 12% fall in sterling will push up the price of petrol, diesel and aviation fuel, as well as the cost of aircraft for airlines such as British Airways and easyJet.
Will I be asked to pay more for my holiday this year – or next?
Abta, the travel association, allows holiday companies to impose surcharges “when the cost of a package holiday goes up after you booked because of currency fluctuations (the euro growing stronger against the pound, for instance) [and] rising fuel costs (for flights and cruises)”.
The firm must absorb the first 2% of any increase, and if the surcharge goes above 10 per cent then you have the right to cancel.
If you have already paid for your holiday in full, it is unlikely that you will need to pay a surcharge.
The company will probably have hedged its currency requirements for paying airlines and hoteliers. Some firms will also have hedged, at least partially, costs for 2017 holidays.
Anyone who has put together their own trip, and has yet to pay for accommodation or a rental car, will find that the cost in sterling terms has risen.
Will cheap flights disappear?
“Open skies” represents one of the most tangible benefits of European Union membership. Since 1994, any EU airline has been free to fly between any two points in Europe.
The freedom to fly allowed easyJet and Ryanair to flourish, and has forced “legacy” carriers such as BA, Air France and Lufthansa to cut costs and fares. On any European journey you care to name, the typical fare is around half what it was in the early 1990s – and anyone who can be flexible about timing can save even more.
Before the referendum, some in the Remain camp speculated that open skies would be among the first arrangements to be binned.
If the UK negotiates a similar arrangement to Norway, within the European Economic Area (EEA), then little would change; Norwegian, a non-EU budget airline, flies successfully within Europe and from the UK to the US.
If Britain does not join the EEA. every route between the UK and the EU might need to be renegotiated on a bilateral basis. The bureaucratic logjam would be immense. Similarly, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have easy access to America because of an EU-US treaty on open skies.
But given that London is the world hub of aviation, and a key destination for dozens of airlines, it looks unlikely that routes to and from the UK will be affected.
The freedom for British airlines such as easyJet to fly within and between EU countries could be curtailed; nations such as France and Italy have in the past been protectionist of their home airlines.
The chance to clip the wings of the likes of easyJet could be welcomed by politicians and airlines in other EU countries – if not by travellers. It is likely that airlines will restructure into separate UK- and EU-based corporate entities, adding complexity and cost, and reducing flexibility. Immediately after the result, Carolyn McCall, easyJet’s chief executive, said she had written to the UK government and European Commission urging them “to prioritise the UK remaining part of the single EU aviation market”.
How will passengers’ rights be affected?
The EU stipulates care and compensation in the event of disruption for airline passengers (and, to a limited extent, international train and ferry travellers).
These automatic rights would end for UK airlines when flying from British aorports, though EU airlines (including Ryanair) would continue to be governed by them. It is possible that a future British government would create its own rules on passenger rights.
Could using our phones abroad cost more?
Another tangible benefit for EU consumers has been the squeeze on the excessive roaming charges levied by mobile phone companies.
The maximum surcharges phone firms can add for calls, texts and data while abroad have just been reduced again. By next June they will disappear completely; that will happen despite the vote to leave.
Once Britain leaves, it is difficult to imagine any UK government saying to the mobile-phone firms: “As we’re out of the EU now, feel free to bring back excessive roaming charges.”
In addition, mobile-phone companies will start demonstrating a year from now that they can survive on zero roaming fees within Europe, and it may be that competitive pressure is sufficient to keep a lid on price rises.
What about British people who live in other EU countries?
The immediate impact for those who depend on savings or pensions in sterling is that the cost of living will rise; the exact amount depends on how the local currency strengthens against the pound. Longer term, the automatic right to live and work in EU countries will end, but it is likely that long-term expatriates will be able to stay.
UK passports and driving licences are “EU-branded”. Will we need to get new ones?
No, and for the time being new UK driving licences will continue to show the EU symbol and British passports will bear words “European Union” on the cover. But within a few years, when you renew either your passport or driving licence the design will change.
Some say we’ll need visas to go to Europe?
Yes, during the campaign some elements of the Remain side hinted darkly that we’ll all be queuing up outside the Spanish Embassy before we’re allowed to go to Benidorm.
The Green MP Caroline Lucas said that, in the event of the UK leaving the Single Market, “We would need to have visas.”
Yet the UK is second only to Germany in terms of the tourists it exports to other countries. Britain runs a massive “tourism deficit” (the excess of what we spend abroad compared with what we earn from foreign tourists), much to the benefit of bartenders from Benidorm to Benitses.
The suggestion that the governments of Spain, Greece, Portugal, etc would single out Brits for tougher treatment at the border is far-fetched. We will simply continue to show our passports on arrival, as we do now – as the UK is outside the Schengen Area.
Will there be border controls on the land frontier between Northern Ireland and the Republic?
Unlikely. There has been largely unrestricted travel between the two countries since 1921 under the terms of a Common Travel Area (which also includes the Isle of Man).
The government says: “A person who has been examined for the purpose of immigration control at the point at which he entered the area does not normally require leave to enter any other part of it.”
The Republic of Ireland will probably remain outside Schengen, and the current absence of frontier posts will probably continue.
We’re told always to travel to Europe with our EHICs. Presumably health care will get more expensive and travel insurance costs will rise?
European Health Insurance Cards indicate entitlement to public health care on the same basis as local people in EU countries.
But before joining the EEC (as was), the UK had reciprocal health agreements with many European nations.
We still maintain bilateral deals with 16 countries, such as Australia, New Zealand and the former Yugoslavian republics of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.
It is likely that a similar range of deals would be concluded with some or all EU members. If they are not, then the need for travel insurance will increase – and premiums could rise.
What about duty-free?
When the UK leaves, it is likely that the limits that apply elsewhere in the world will be re-imposed. For alcohol, that means one litre of spirits, four litres of wine and 16 litres of beer – so no more filling up the boot with cheap claret in Calais.
The tobacco limit will be 200 cigarettes. Those limits are irrespective of In addition, a limit of “other goods” of £390 will be imposed.
A silver lining for airlines and cross-Channel ferry operators is that proper duty free would return; anyone who currently promises “duty free” for a journey within the EU is fibbing.
Looking at the UK tourist industry, the slump in sterling is presumable a benefit?
With weaker sterling, the rest of the world will get more pounds for its euros, dollars, yen, etc, making the UK a cheaper destination to visit.
Conversely, going abroad becomes more expensive for the British traveller, who may then choose to holiday in Cornwall rather than the Costa del Sol.
But it’s more complicated than that, especially in terms of British holidaymakers’ behaviour. Demand for overseas travel is price-inelastic.
If people find foreign holidays significantly more expensive, some may opt to stay in the UK. But between the summers of 2008 and 2009, when the cost of going abroad increased by roughly 25 per cent, the number of overseas trips by British holidaymakers reduced by a much smaller percentage.
Looking at foreign visitors coming here: EU rules allow European citizens to come to Britain with only a national identity card.
The UK government could re-impose the rule that all foreign nationals must have a passport, though the British travel industry would lobby strongly against anything that makes it more difficult for many EU citizens to visit the UK.
Britain leaving the EU: What could Brexit mean for travellers?
By Nikki Ekstein (Traveller)
June 24 2016
All eyes are on the European Union as the UK approaches its controversial Brexit vote. But ramifications of the referendum will be more far-reaching than any one continent. Given that London is the biggest gateway for international travel to Europe, a UK separation could create a storm of regulatory headaches, from immigration, to consumer protections, to airlines. Here’s what passport holders need to know ahead of the vote on Thursday.
Flying through Heathrow may feel more like flying through JFK-not in a good way.
International travellers passing through New York’s JFK will all commiserate over the brutal American welcome of a four-hour customs line (that’s the average wait time on weekends, according to a recent study led by various travel advocacy groups). At London’s Heathrow, queues move a lot more quickly, and that’s largely because EU citizens can enter through a separate line without any restrictions. If Brexit passes, those travellers could potentially join Americans and other international travellers in one queue for non-UK citizens.
Charlie Leocha, president of consumer advocacy group Travelers United, said that if Brexit passes, “getting in and out of the UK will be an absolute horror show.” As a member of the committee that helped raise funding for the installation of automated customs and border patrol kiosks in major American airports, he knows how long it can take to come up with solutions for these types of problems. “Improving the process for customs and immigration in the US took major cooperation from airlines and airports over an extended period of time. The problems we’ve had with this in the US are going to replicate in the UK – and it’s going to be a mess,” he said.
But others are more optimistic; Luke Petherbridge, public affairs manager for the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and a co-author of the report “What Brexit Might Mean for UK Travel,” isn’t particularly worried about this point. “We can’t see that it would have any significant impact,” he said about the potential for expanded customs controls. “If you needed a visa before, you will still need a visa. And we expect that there would be an allocation of resources from the UK government to adjust for any passenger influx at customs and border patrol.”
On the other hand, arriving by train or ship shouldn’t change at all.
“If you travel through the tunnel from London to Paris, you go through French immigration in the UK and then through UK immigration in France-that’s how it works currently, and there’s no reason why that should change,” explained Petherbridge, who also offered reassuring words about cruise travel. “You’ve always had to show your passport at port on a cruise ship-that should be no different.”
Travelling to Europe may be cheaper ?
The finance world is bracing itself for economic turmoil next week should Brexit pass. The general consensus is that the British pound would take a hard hit on the heels of a split, which would have a domino effect on global economies. For internationals visiting the UK, it would likely translate to preferential exchange rates and more affordable vacations. Compounding matters is the possibility that EU nationals will also curtail their frequent visits to England; the travel booking site TravelZoo conducted a survey that revealed one in three Europeans would be less inclined to travel to the UK following a leave vote.
Reduced spending power in the UK also has its ramifications across Europe. According to the ABTA’s report, compiled with Deloitte, UK citizens spent 19.76 billion, or $28 billion, on outbound travel throughout the EU in 2014. Industry estimates put 10 million British travellers in Spain each summer alone. Ripple effects could create deeply discounted vacations across the entire Mediterranean, particularly in British-favoured destinations such as Ibiza, Mallorca, Tuscany, and Provence.
“This could be a good summer for Americans to head to Europe,” advised Leocha. Or next summer: Since many Brits will already have travel plans in store for this summer, it’ll take until 2017 to see the real effects of a reluctant British traveller base.
But affordable airfares may be harder to find.
Under Single European Sky legislation, any carrier based in the EU has the guaranteed right to operate freely throughout the continent. In the event that Brexit passes, carriers such as British Airways and EasyJet (which are based in London and Luton, respectively) will have to renegotiate their bilateral agreements with the EU to continue flying into Europe.
Consumer protections may take a dip ?
The EU has unrivalled consumer protections for travellers, compensating them on anything from delayed flights to cancellations due to natural disasters. That will continue for passengers (including non-EU citizens) on flights on European-based carriers to and from the EU. UK-based carriers will have to decide whether to live up to EU standards or chip away at consumer rights-as American carriers have done. Flight insurance providers such as Berkshire Hathaway may emerge as the winners here.
And so might (some) travel taxes.
On a recent phone interview, ABTA’s Petherbridge explained that the EU currently imposes a strict cap on Britain’s value-added tax (VAT), which would be up for revision following a leave vote. But there’s also good news about travel taxes. Under current EU policies, any flight departing the EU pays departure taxes as dictated by the individual countries. Considering the heavy entry taxes at Heathrow, it should come to no surprise that the UK is one European country that levies a departure tax as well. ( ….and it goes on ….)
The big picture is still to be determined.
Even without taking into account the number of Brits who have vacation homes across the Mediterranean, ABTA reports that 1.3 million UK citizens live in other EU countries. Those homeowners account for millions of passenger seats on EU flights on their own-a single carrier estimates 2 million seats-while their friends and family members add nearly 9 million visits, according to ABTA and Deloitte. All this is imperiled by questions about homeownership rights that arise from a potential Brexit.
In the event that these rights are revoked or halted, there may soon be a glut of Mediterranean vacation homes coming to the market. But that’s unlikely, said Petherbridge. “The economic impact of abandoning those [expat] communities would be huge, so there’s a big incentive to continue some amount of cooperation,” he said. Still, he added that it would be “impossible to gauge how receptive either side would be at this point.”
That uncertainty is a running theme across all these issues, which hinge on sheer speculation until after Thursday’s vote. Even if the resolution passes, both Leocha and Petherbridge estimated that it would take two years to address the tangled web of concerns that could arise from the split.
The ABTA hopes that’s not the case. According to its official position, “the risks and uncertainties associated with the UK leaving the EU, both economic and regulatory, outweigh any potential upsides for travellers or travel businesses.”
The boss of International Airlines Group ( IAG), which owns British Airways, has threatened to reduce its flights at Gatwick if the airport is given permission to expand with another runway. Willie Walsh warned that the cost of building a second runway at would result in charges that are too high. He said: “We struggle to see any business case for the expansion of Gatwick and will consider our position at the airport if the Government backs expansion there, principally because the cost of that expansion when translated into airport charges would likely wipe out the profit we make.” He claimed Chancellor George Osborne and the Treasury are “clearly excited about a large infrastructure project that requires no Government spending”, but urged them to consider the options “as if it was funding the project”. He added: “If there is expensive, inefficient airport expansion at Gatwick or Heathrow, then we will expand through other airports and hubs.” Willie Walsh has repeatedly said he is not prepared to pay very high landing charges at an expanded Heathrow, and would instead move his IAG planes to Dublin and Madrid instead.
BA chief threatens to reduce Gatwick flights over expansion plans
Thursday 23 June 2016
(Crawley & Horley Observer)
The boss of the firm which owns British Airways has threatened to reduce its flights at Gatwick if the airport is given permission to expand.
Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group, warned that the cost of building a second runway at the West Sussex airport would result in charges that are too high.
He said: “We struggle to see any business case for the expansion of Gatwick and will consider our position at the airport if the Government backs expansion there, principally because the cost of that expansion when translated into airport charges would likely wipe out the profit we make.”
The Government has said it is still considering giving the go ahead for the £9.3 billion project at Gatwick or to expand Heathrow. [That was before the referendum].
…….. and it continues on Heathrow ….
He claimed Chancellor George Osborne and the Treasury are “clearly excited about a large infrastructure project that requires no Government spending”, but urged them to consider the options “as if it was funding the project”.
He added: “If there is expensive, inefficient airport expansion at Gatwick or Heathrow, then we will expand through other airports and hubs.”
“Mr Walsh also warned that IAG might abandon Gatwick if the Sussex airport is awarded a new runway: “We struggle to see any business case for the expansion of Gatwick and will consider our position at the airport if the Government backs expansion there, principally because the cost of that expansion when translated into airport charges would likely wipe out the profit we make.” ”
Willie Walsh tells AOA conference Heathrow’s runway is too expensive, and at that price, would fail
November 23, 2015
The Airport Operators Association is holding a two day conference on the runway issue, and Willie Walsh (CEO of IAG) was its key speaker. He said Heathrow should not get a 3rd runway, if the Airport Commission’s calculation of the cost of building it is correct. He said: “The Commission got its figures wrong – they are over-inflated. If that is the cost [of a new runway], it won’t be a successful project.” He described the assumption that airlines would pay for the new runway through increases in fares as “outrageous”. British Airways is by far the biggest airline at Heathrow, with 55% of the slots. He said of the Commission’s report: ” … I have concerns about the level of cost associated with the main recommendation and the expectation that the industry can afford to pay for Heathrow’s expansion.” He does not believe the cost is justified, and “If the cost of using an expanded airport significantly exceeds the costs of competitor airports, people won’t use it.” It was not realistic for airlines: “You have to see it in terms of return on capital. ….Either the figures are inflated or you are building inefficient infrastructure. I do not endorse the findings. I definitely don’t support the costs of building a runway. If those costs are real, we should not build it.” On the cost of £8 billion to build a 6th terminal he commented: “How many chandeliers can you have in an airport terminal?
2nd runway at Dublin airport threatens Heathrow’s position as main IAG hub
April 11, 2016
Heathrow may face more competition for hub traffic from Dublin, if there is a 2nd runway in 2020 – and airlines prefer using Dublin rather than Heathrow. This might mean Heathrow being partly sidelined. In May 2015 Aer Lingus, the Irish flag carrier, was bought by IAG (International Airlines Group) – which owns British Airways. As part of IAG’s takeover there was the benefit of new routes and more long-haul flights from Dublin, where Aer Lingus is one of the two main airline customers, along with Ryanair. Willie Walsh, IAG’s CEO, said in 2015 that owning Aer Lingus would allow IAG “to develop our network using Dublin as a hub between the UK, continental Europe and North America, generating additional financial value for our shareholders”. Willie Walsh believed that buying Aer Lingus was a wise move, as it was “inevitable” that Dublin would get a 2nd runway in the next few years. IAG believes that it can expand the group’s flights via Dublin or Madrid – especially if there is no new runway at Heathrow. It could have the impact of removing business from Heathrow – British Airways is the largest airline there with around 50% of the slots.
Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG, speaking at an ABTA conference, has reiterated his opposition to an expensive Heathrow north west runway. His airlines are not prepared to pay high landing costs upfront for years before a runway is operational. He also says there is no business case for a Gatwick runway, and he would not pay higher charges there either. Walsh said “Heathrow is already the most-expensive hub airport in the world, with a history of inflating costs.” … He questions the potential cost of £17.6 billion: “Only £182 million is for the runway. The new car park would cost £800 million.” … “You cannot trust Heathrow to deliver anything in a cost-effective manner. Customers have been ripped off by Heathrow for years and leopards don’t change their spots.” … Walsh claimed “the majority of the money” Heathrow raises from airport charges “doesn’t go towards upgrading facilities but straight into the pockets of the airport’s shareholders”… “Heathrow paid £1.4 billion to its shareholders in the last two years and only invested £1.3 billion in the airport. The average charge for each departing passenger is slightly more than £44.” He is more in favour of the Heathrow Hub option, and wants Heathrow expansion in phases with the runway first, using the existing terminals. “Doing nothing is better than doing the wrong thing.”
Walsh hits out at runway costs and says Heathrow ‘rips off customers’
by Ian Taylor (Travel Weekly )
Jun 23rd 2016 Willie Walsh hit out at the cost of a proposed new Heathrow runway and called on the government to phase construction yesterday.
Addressing the Abta Travel Matters conference in London, Walsh – chief executive of British Airways’ parent IAG – said: “Heathrow is already the most-expensive hub airport in the world, with a history of inflating costs.”
He slammed the price of the proposed runway, now being considered by ministers, saying: “According to the Davies Commission, a new runway would cost £17.6 billion. Only £182 million is for the runway. The new car park would cost £800 million.”
The Government is poised to decide between Heathrow and Gatwick as the site of a new runway for the southeast.
But Walsh dismissed Gatwick saying: “We struggle to see any business case for expanding Gatwick. We will consider our position at the airport if the Government backs expansion there. The cost in airport charges would wipe out the profits we make at the airport.”
BA is the second largest operator at Gatwick and IAG carriers Aer Lingus and Vueling also operate from the airport.
Focusing on Heathrow, Walsh said: “You cannot trust Heathrow to deliver anything in a cost-effective manner. Customers have been ripped off by Heathrow for years and leopards don’t change their spots.”
He added: “I’ll give you one example. We expressed interest in installing self-service bag drop. The airport estimated the cost at just under £150,000 per unit. We’ve been able to price the same unit at less than £15,000. That is one hell of a mark-up.
“To make matters worse, Heathrow estimated it would take four years to complete when we believe we could complete this by September.”
Walsh claimed “the majority of the money” Heathrow raises from airport charges “doesn’t go towards upgrading facilities but straight into the pockets of the airport’s shareholders”.
He said: “Heathrow paid £1.4 billion to its shareholders in the last two years and only invested £1.3 billion in the airport.
“The average charge for each departing passenger is slightly more than £44. The airport’s investors get three times the financial returns of an average FTSE 100 company.”
Walsh called on the government to examine both options for expanding Heathrow – “a new runway or extension of the existing northern runway” – and said: “If the Government chooses Heathrow’s proposal [of a new runway], we want to see shareholders shoulder the risk and the burden.”
He also insisted Heathrow not be allowed to use “suppliers and parties related to the airport’s major shareholder and construction firm Ferrovial”.
Walsh argued: “Any new runway should be phased in to keep down costs. There is no need to build all the facilities at once.
“Construct the new runway first, using the existing terminal facilities. This would provide Heathrow with the resilience needed to recover from disruption, which everyone knows is the biggest problem.
“Extra flights should be introduced gradually, with growth only as aircraft become quieter.” [That probably means BA does not want the extra competition].
He said: “There is no justification for pre-funding investment in infrastructure. Today’s customers should not be expected to pay for a development that will not be operational for 10 years.”
Walsh added: “IAG will only support expansion where it is financially viable and where there is no increase in costs.
“If there is expensive expansion at Heathrow or Gatwick we will expand through our other hubs.”
Questioned by the Travel Matters audience, Walsh insisted: “I’m not against expansion. [But] I am vehemently opposed to expensive infrastructure that can’t be justified.”
And he told the conference: “Doing nothing is better than doing the wrong thing.”
The group REDD-Monitor and other organisations have a petition asking people to sign up, to oppose the use by the global aviation industry, through ICAO, of “offsets” for its emissions using forestry. These offsets, through REDD or REDD+ (meaning (‘Reduce Deforestation from Deforestation and Forest Degradation’) would be very cheap and available in huge numbers. They would not be an effective way to compensate for growing aviation carbon emissions. The industry’s only plan to control its CO2 emissions, while doubling them, is buying credits from other sectors. In April 2016, more than 80 NGOs put out a statement opposing the aviation sector’s carbon offsetting plans through use of REDD credits. There are many really serious problems with REDD credits. Some are: They would only use large forestry institutions, or monoculture farming, not small landowners or forest peoples. Most REDD projects are not those that tackle the real drivers of large-scale deforestation – extraction of oil, coal, mining, infrastructure, large-scale dams, industrial logging etc. REDD credits carry the additional risk of becoming null and void when wildfires, storms or natural decay cause uncontrollable release of carbon stored. There are serious risks of lack of monitoring, and of fraud. REDD offsets should not be allowed for aviation carbon credits.
Sign the petition: “No aviation growth! No false climate solutions!”
The International Civil Aviation Authority is currently considering how it can continue to expand while appearing to address greenhouse gas emissions from flying. Predictably, for a massively polluting industry with huge plans to expand, buying cheap offsets looks very attractive.
In April 2016, more than 80 NGOs, including Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, put out a statement opposing the aviation sector’s carbon offsetting plans.
Now Finance and Trade Watch, an Austrian organisation, is coordinating a petition against the aviation sector’s plans. The petition is supported by around 40 NGOs, including Attac, Friends of the Earth International, La Vía Campesina Europa, Transnational Institute, FERN, and several groups struggling against airport construction projects.
The petition demands real action to address climate change that will reduce emissions from aviation rather than giving aviation a licence to pollute through carbon offsets.
Forests and soils do not offset fossil fuel emissions
Land-based carbon offsets, such as from REDD+ type projects or from agriculture are particularly contentious, with greater risks for the climate.
By nature, REDD+ projects place restrictions on existing land use – that is how they generate the carbon savings sold as offset credit. Because the large majority of REDD+ projects (wrongly) blames deforestation on small-scale peasant farming, in particular where it involves shifting cultivation, such restrictions have a detrimental impact on peasant livelihoods and forest peoples’ way of life.
By contrast, REDD+ projects that tackle the real drivers of large-scale deforestation – extraction of oil, coal, mining, infrastructure, large-scale dams, industrial logging and international trade in agricultural commodities – are by and large absent.7
With the challenges of counting emissions reductions and distributing offset payments to multiple small-scale farmers, there is a risk that agricultural offsets would favour large-scale farmers or monoculture farming practices, creating one more driver of land dispossession of smallholder farmers, particularly in the Global South. Offset credits from forest conservation, tree plantation or soil carbon sequestration carry the additional risk of becoming null and void when wildfires, storms or natural decay cause uncontrollable release of carbon stored in the trees, soils or other natural habitats. This is one of the reasons why the CDM excludes all offset categories related to forest or agriculture land use except for afforestation, reforestation and biomass energy projects. Even then, credits from these tree planting offset projects are sold as temporary carbon credits that need to be bought again in a matter of years because credits from tree planting projects cannot be considered to permanently store carbon.
In short, land-based offset credits are controversial, and experience from REDD+ has shown that certification standards or safeguards cannot prevent conflicts.8
We, the undersigned, call on the members of ICAO to ensure measures adopted at the 39th ICAO meeting will make an adequate and fair contribution to the global effort to limit global warming to well-below 2 degrees Celsius. Any measure adopted at the 39th ICAO meeting must make a serious proposal to reduce emissions. It must also exclude land based offset credits, such as REDD+ type projects for the reasons given in this letter.
NGOs call on ICAO not to use REDD+ carbon credits – forests & soils cannot offset aviation CO2
April 4, 2016
The organisation, FERN* has published a letter signed by around 82 environmental NGOs around the world, calling on the global aviation sector through ICAO to actually reduce carbon emissions, rather than just the proposed use of carbon offsetting. The NGOs say plans to offset most of the sector’s growth in emissions are a significant distraction from real measures to reduce aviation emissions. Under business-as-usual, aviation is projected to increase emissions by between 300 – 700% by 2050, despite only being used by well below 10% of the world’s population. The NGOs are particularly concerned that carbon offsets that are inappropriate and unreliable would be used, as ICAO is considering a carbon offset system called REDD+ (‘Reduce Deforestation from Deforestation and Forest Degradation’). The NGOs say REDD+ credits should not be used, as they do not even meet ICAO’s own standards, and include double counting. REDD+ projects that tackle the real drivers of large-scale deforestation – extraction of oil, coal, mining, infrastructure, large-scale dams, industrial logging and international trade in agricultural commodities – are largely absent. There is also a risk that agricultural offsets would favour large-scale farmers or monoculture farming practices. These are not suitable offsets for aviation.
REDD, or reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, is one of the most controversial issues in the climate change debate. The basic concept is simple: governments, companies or forest owners in the South should be rewarded for keeping their forests instead of cutting them down. The devil, as always, is in the details.
The first detail is that the payments are not for keeping forests, but for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. This might seem like splitting hairs, but it is important, because it opens up the possibility, for example, of logging an area of forest but compensating for the emissions by planting industrial tree plantations somewhere else.
The idea of making payments to discourage deforestation and forest degradation was discussed in the negotiations leading to the Kyoto Protocol, but it was ultimately rejected because of four fundamental problems: leakage, additionality, permanence and measurement.
Leakage refers to the fact that while deforestation might be avoided in one place, the forest destroyers might move to another area of forest or to a different country.
Additionality refers to the near-impossibility of predicting what might have happened in the absence of the REDD project.
Permanence refers to the fact that carbon stored in trees is only temporarily stored. All trees eventually die and release the carbon back to the atmosphere.
Measurement refers to the fact that accurately measuring the amount of carbon stored in forests and forest soils is extremely complex – and prone to large errors.
Although much has been written about addressing these problems, they remain serious problems in implementing REDD, both nationally and at project level.
REDD is described in paragraph 70 of the AWG/LCA outcome:
“Encourages developing country Parties to contribute to mitigation actions in the forest sector by undertaking the following activities, as deemed appropriate by each Party and in accordance with their respective capabilities and national circumstances:
(a) Reducing emissions from deforestation;
(b) Reducing emissions from forest degradation;
(c) Conservation of forest carbon stocks;
(d) Sustainable management of forest;
(e) Enhancement of forest carbon stocks;”
This is REDD-plus (although it is not referred to as such in the AWG/LCA text). Points (a) and (b) refers to REDD. Points (c), (d) and (e) are the “plus” part. But each of these “plus points” has potential drawbacks:
Conservation sounds good, but the history of the establishment of national parks includes large scale evictions and loss of rights for indigenous peoples and local communities. Almost nowhere in the tropics has strict ‘conservation’ proven to be sustainable. The words “of forest carbon stocks” were added in Cancun. The concern is that forests are viewed simply as stores of carbon rather than ecosystems.
Sustainable management of forests could include subsidies to industrial-scale commercial logging operations in old-growth forests, indigenous peoples’ territory or in villagers’ community forests.
Enhancement of forest carbon stocks could result in conversion of land (including forests) to industrial tree plantations, with serious implications for biodiversity, forests and local communities.
There are some safeguards annexed to the AWG/LCA text that may help avoid some of the worst abuses. But the safeguards are weak and are only to be “promoted and supported.” The text only notes that the United Nations “has adopted” the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The text refers to indigenous peoples’ rights, but it does not protect them.
But perhaps the most controversial aspect of REDD is omitted from the REDD text agreed in Cancun. There is no mention in the text about how REDD is to be funded – the decision is postponed until COP-17 that will take place in Durban in December 2011.
There are two basic mechanisms for funding REDD: either from government funds (such as the Norwegian government’s International Forests and Climate Initiative) or from private sources, which would involve treating REDD as a carbon mitigation ‘offset’, and getting polluters to pay have their continued emissions offset elsewhere through a REDD project. There are many variants and hybrids of these two basic mechanisms, such as generating government-government funds through a “tax” on the sale of carbon credits or other financial transactions.
Trading the carbon stored in forests is particularly controversial for several reasons:
Carbon trading does not reduce emissions because for every carbon credit sold, there is a buyer. Trading the carbon stored in tropical forests would allow pollution in rich countries to continue, meaning that global warming would continue.
Carbon trading is likely to create a new bubble of carbon derivatives. There are already extremely complicated carbon derivatives on the market. Adding forest carbon credits to this mix would be disastrous, particularly given the difficulties in measuring the amount of carbon stored in forests.
Creating a market in REDD carbon credits opens the door to carbon cowboys, or would be carbon traders with little or no experience in forest conservation, who are exploiting local communities and indigenous peoples by persuading them to sign away the rights to the carbon stored in their forests.
Yet many REDD proponents continue to argue that carbon markets are needed to make REDD work. Environmental Defense Fund, for example,on its website states that,
“Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), which EDF helped pioneer, is based on establishing economic incentives for people who care for the forest so forests are worth money standing, not just cleared and burned for timber and charcoal. The best way to do this is to allow forest communities and tropical forest nations to sell carbon credits when they can prove they have lowered deforestation below a baseline.”
While there has not yet been any agreement on how REDD is to be financed, a look at some of the main actors involved suggests that there is a serious danger that it will be financed through carbon trading. The role of the World Bank is of particular concern, given its fondness for carbon trading.
The World Bank’s main mechanism for promoting REDD is a new scheme, launched in Bali in 2007: the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). The FCPF was set up with the explicit aim of creating markets for forest carbon, as the Bank announced in a press release on 11 December 2007:
“The facility’s ultimate goal is to jump-start a forest carbon market that tips the economic balance in favor of conserving forests, says Benoit Bosquet, a World Bank senior natural resources management specialist who has led the development of the facility.”
Carbon markets are not included in the Cancun REDD text. Yet in December 2010, the World Bank’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, Andrew Steer, wrote that one outcomes of Cancun was that “Forests [are] firmly established as a key for addressing climate change, and to be included in a future carbon trading system.”
There is a serious risk of REDD leading to increased corruption, if large sums of money start to flow – particularly for unregulated trade in REDD carbon credits in poorly governed countries. Forestry departments are among the most corrupt departments in some of the most corrupt countries in the world. The complexity of carbon markets combined with poor regulation leads to the increased risk of fraud and corruption in the rich countries. Billions of dollars have already been lost from carbon markets in Europe through fraud.
Peter Younger at Interpol is already concerned. “Alarm bells are ringing. It is simply too big to monitor,” he said in October 2009, adding that “Organised crime syndicates are eyeing the nascent forest carbon market.”
“Fraud could include claiming credits for forests that do not exist or were not protected or by land grabs. It starts with bribery or intimidation of officials, then there’s threats and violence against those people. There’s forged documents too. Carbon trading transcends borders. I do not see any input from any law enforcement agency in planning REDD.”
Without monitorable and enforceable safeguards, and strict controls and regulation, REDD may deepen the woes of developing countries – providing a vast pool of unaccountable money which corrupt interests will prey upon and political elites will use to extend and deepen their power, becoming progressively less accountable to their people. In the same way that revenues from oil, gold, diamond and other mineral reserves have fuelled pervasive corruption and bad governance in many tropical countries, REDD could prove to be another ‘resources curse’. Ultimately, this will make protection of forests less likely to be achieved and will do nothing to ameliorate carbon emissions.
The boss of Manchester Airport, Ken O’Toole, has rubbished Heathrow’s claims that a new London runway is crucial to the Northern Powerhouse. He argues that Manchester is an international airport in its own right with many direct long-haul routes. He says Manchester airport could make up any long haul capacity gap over the next 15 years and beyond “if the country adopts a culture of healthy competition.” Manchester started a direct service to Beijing last week, giving the North its first ever non-stop flight to mainland China. But Heathrow continually tries to persuade that, without a third Heathrow runway, northern businesses would lose “up to £710m” per year. Manchester airport believes it can have a range of long haul flights, not only to tourist destinations – mentioning important markets like “Singapore, Hong Kong, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Boston and, from next March, San Francisco.” If people can get flights to these destinations direct from Manchester, they do not need to – inconveniently – travel via Heathrow. Ken O’Toole says some 22 million people live within two hours’ drive of Manchester Airport. They have a huge amount of spare capacity on their two runways. Heathrow is very nervous of losing the transfer traffic it cannot manage without, to either other hubs like Schiphol or Dubai – or the growth of airports like Manchester.
Manchester Airport rubbishes claims Heathrow expansion is crucial for Northern Powerhouse to succeed
20 JUN 2016
BY CHARLOTTE COX (Manchester Evening News)
Heathrow boss has said without a third runway, Northern businesses would lose up to £710m
The boss of Manchester Airport has rubbished Heathrow’s claims that a new London runway is crucial to the Northern Powerhouse.
Heathrow’s chief executive John Holland Kaye last week warned that without a third runway Northern businesses would lose up to £710m per year. Heathrow press release. [Heathrow claims the “Increase in trade that could be facilitated if passengers who are currently forced to travel via an internationally located hub could fly via an expanded Heathrow instead (per annum) would be £420 million per year for Manchester. (A figure that Manchester would doubtless question.) Heathrow says “Additional import/export trade facilitated for the Northern Powerhouse (per annum): £710 million for Manchester, plus Newcastle + Leeds Bradford].
He argued that ‘unrestrained’ international hubs such as Dubai would sap passengers and trade from the UK – and that only Heathrow could compete as the ‘domestic hub’ for the UK.
However, Ken O’Toole, CEO Of Manchester Airport , has hit back, arguing that Manchester is an international airport in its own right with many direct long-haul routes.
Manchester, he said, could fill the capacity gap over the next 15 years and beyond if the country adopts a culture of healthy competition.
He said: “The strength of Manchester Airport’s catchment area was demonstrated as recently as last week, when Hainan Airlines’ direct service to Beijing was launched, giving the North its first ever non-stop flight to mainland China.
“There are numerous other examples of long-haul carriers choosing Manchester to launch routes to key markets around the world, including destinations like Singapore, Hong Kong, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Boston and, from next March, San Francisco.”
He said such routes give the north direct access to global destinations – WITHOUT having to travel to London. All, he said, brought significant trade benefits – with the new China flight to bring at least £250m into the economy over the next decade.
Manchester Airport is an international airport in its own right, says Ken O’Toole
He added: “With 22m people living within two hours’ drive of Manchester Airport and spare capacity on our two existing runways, there is ample scope to grow our route network further and drive a re-energised Northern economy by attracting yet more long haul services to key global markets.
“That is particularly pertinent in the context of a congested south east, with no new capacity due to be delivered for at least 15 years, regardless of where a new runway is built.
“The best outcome for business and leisure passengers in the short, medium and long term will be to create a strong network of competing airports across the entire UK.”
Speaking at the International Festival of Business, Mr Holland-Kaye said the government would ‘struggle with the foundations’ of the Northern Powerhouse if a third runway isn’t built.
[Heathrow’s press release, with its claims about the benefits of its 3rd runway, can be seen here. ]
Heathrow’s press release, from which the £710 million figure is derived, is work done for the airport by Frontier Economics. This is an organisation that has worked with Heathrow before, to further its aims: “Frontier (Europe) had a significant input into the submissions made by Heathrow Airport to the Airports Commission.” Link
Manchester Airport says it is the main airport for the north – Heathrow expansion is not needed for the regions
March 19, 2015
Charlie Cornish, the CEO of Manchester airport and MAG, says “it is just plain wrong to say that only Heathrow can connect the UK to global growth.” His comments were in response to a report by a body called the National Connectivity Task Force NCTF), that is pushing for a 3rd Heathrow runway, in the belief it would be the best option for regional airports like Newcastle and Durham Tees Valley, if they get more Heathrow slots for their flights. The NCTF are submitting their report to the Airports Commission, hoping to influence them. Mr Cornish said Manchester Airport, the only UK airport other than Heathrow to have 2 runways, was thriving as an international hub in its own right. He said: “It is just plain wrong to say that only Heathrow can connect the UK to global growth, or that businesses in the UK’s regions need to fly through Heathrow to reach these markets….“Manchester Airport is truly the international gateway for the North, demonstrated by the fact that it serves over 4 million long haul passengers a year, up by 20% over the last 5 years….The north does not need another runway at Heathrow to connect to global markets….The biggest economic benefit will come from new services direct from the regions, with passengers not having to fly through a London airport to reach their final destination.”
Owner of Manchester and Stansted airports, MAG, unsurprisingly wants airport growth outside the south-east
October 7, 2015
The Manchester Airports Group (MAG) which owns/runs Manchester, Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports) says a new strategy is needed to promote local airports rather than investing in a megahub in the south-east. MAG wants a nationwide network of competing airports rather than investing all energies — and taxpayer funding — in an even larger airport in the south-east. While Heathrow claims it would provide a significant net benefit to northern England, allegedly “with the creation of up to 26,400 manufacturing jobs”, the Airports Commission’s own figures show negative impacts of a 3rd Heathrow runway on the UK’s regional airports. MAG believes that the expansion of local airports would provide a greater boost to the nation, and provide “an important catalyst for rebalancing UK plc.” So unsurprisingly Heathrow and MAG are both speaking from a position of self interest. While the Airports Commission ended up, misguidedly, just looking at whether they should be a runway at Heathrow or Gatwick, the main question of whether there should be a new runway in the south east at all still needs a convincing answer. MAG believes there is more likelihood of a successful “Northern Powerhouse” if northern airports get successful long haul routes, rather than Heathrow.
If Britain votes to leave the EU, there would be impacts on airlines. The EU agreements that have been in place since the 1990s have fostered a huge expansion of air travel in Europe. Outside the EU, flying rights between two countries, including how many airports a carrier may fly to and how often, are typically negotiated in bilateral treaties. But currently in Europe with its single aviation market, an airline can fly between any EU countries. For example, an Irish Ryanair plane can fly between Britain and Spain, or a Spanish airline can operate flights within France. EasyJet is particularly worried about a Brexit vote. EasyJet is the second largest airline in France. Brexit could mean that the UK is excluded from the common aviation area. One thing EasyJet might have to do, in the event of Brexit, would be to obtain an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) in an EU country, which would require it to establish a local holding company. However, the holding company would have to be 51% owned by local investors and would have to comply with local regulations. Ryanair and British Airways already have AOCs in Ireland and Spain, while EasyJet does not. Brexit might have the effect of forcing Ryanair to set up a formal British business by obtaining a UK AOC. A Brexit vote could affect all pan-European carriers, not just British ones.
easyJet eyes new European operation if Britain flies solo
By Ben Martin and Ben Marlow (Telegraph)
Budget airline easyJet has examined setting up a separate European business in case Britain leaves the European Union.
Obtaining an air operator’s certificate (AOC) in an EU country, which would require it to establish a local holding company, is one of the options the FTSE 100 carrier has looked at as part of contingency planning in the event of a Brexit.
It is also thought that easyJet has examined making better use of its Swiss AOC and its easyJet Switzerland subsidiary if Britain secedes from the EU.
Should the UK vote to leave on June 23, the worst-case scenario for airlines would be if Britain was subsequently pushed out of the European common aviation area. Obtaining an operating licence in an EU country would help easyJet to fly in Europe.
An AOC would require the airline to have a subsidiary in that country, but that would not be an obstacle as easyJet already has bases and operations across Europe. The holding company would have to be 51% owned by local investors and would have to comply with local regulations.
It would not require easyJet to move its Luton headquarters abroad. A Brexit is seen as being more problematic for easyJet than for Irish rival Ryanair or British Airways parent International Airlines Group, which owns Iberia and Aer Lingus and which has AOCs in the UK, Ireland and Spain.
“Of those three, [easyJet are] the ones that have to do the most contingency planning,” said one analyst. “They are a pan-European airline, they make maximum use of the traffic rights that allow UK airlines to fly to points within Europe.”
Brexit may also force Ryanair to set up a formal British business by obtaining a UK AOC. A spokesman for easyJet, which is a vocal supporter of the UK staying in the EU, said it was focusing on that campaign and lobbying to ensure the country remained part of the common aviation area.
“Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has warned the airline will put fewer aircraft in the UK if it votes to leave the EU.
O’Leary, a vocal support of the Remain campaign, said if there is a vote to exit on Thursday, Ryanair will look to move some of the aircraft currently in its 26 UK airports to other countries. He said this would, of course, lead to job losses. If it stays, it will continue to invest very heavily in its UK operations.” Link
UK Referendum Could Affect European Airline Traffic Rights
June 20, 2016 (Industries Reuters)
A British vote to leave the European Union in Thursday’s referendum would call into question EU agreements on open airspace that have fostered a huge expansion of air travel, creating uncertainty for both British and other EU airlines.
Flying rights between two countries, including how many airports a carrier may fly to and how often, are typically negotiated in bilateral treaties.
But by creating the single aviation market in the 1990s, the EU allowed the region’s airlines unlimited access to the skies of fellow member states, doubling traffic growth in the four years after liberalization.
Liberalization means an Irish carrier can fly between Britain and Spain, or a British carrier can operate domestic flights within France, opportunities seized upon by low cost carriers.
A Brexit vote in Thursday’s British referendum on EU membership would therefore affect all pan-European carriers, not just British ones.
The biggest market for Ireland’s Ryanair is Britain while UK-based easyJet is the second largest airline in France, and they have campaigned for Britain to stay in the EU.
In the immediate future, airline bosses are worried about the impact a Brexit could have on travel demand.
KPMG says the number of passengers carried between Britain and the EU increased to over 130 million in 2015 from 69 million passengers in 1996, while the top eight UK-based airlines made over 10.5 billion pounds ($15.4 billion) in revenue from travel between Britain and other EU states.
Here are some of the scenarios for aviation. Britain’s access to the single market is unchanged while an EU exit is formally negotiated:
ECAA (European Common Aviation Area)
Industry experts say one way to ensure nothing changes for airlines is for Britain to agree access to the European Common Aviation Area, which comprises all EU member states, plus some non-EU states including Norway, Iceland and Albania.
Tony Tyler, head of the International Air Transport Association, said this would be a plausible outcome. “If that were to happen, there would not be much impact, but nobody can make predictions.”
To rejoin as a non-EU country, Britain will likely have to ensure its aviation laws and standards comply with EU regulations, according to law firm Eversheds.
Analysts at CAPA-Centre for Aviation have said Britain might not be guaranteed ECAA membership, because other signatory nations could object to protect their own national carriers.
But James Stamp, UK head of Transport at KPMG, said he didn’t think European states would restrict access to their markets, because they benefit from access to Britain’s large travel market.
SWITZERLAND STYLE OR BILATERALS
As an alternative, Britain could negotiate bilateral deals with the EU as a whole, as Switzerland has done, or with individual EU countries.
As with the ECAA, any Swiss-style deal with the EU as a whole would likely mean adopting EU law and principles.
“It is important to note that negotiating such an agreement with the EU could be very complicated and time consuming, particularly if the UK government wishes to derogate (seek exemption) in any way from EU law,” Eversheds wrote of this option.
On the possibility of bilateral deals with each individual member state, airlines are skeptical.
“We think it would be very difficult for our government to negotiate with 27 other member states to get the flying rights that we have today within the EU,” easyJet CEO Carolyn McCall has said.
It is not only European routes that would be affected. Britain’s airlines enjoy unlimited flying rights to the United States, including on lucrative trans-Atlantic routes, thanks to the EU-U.S. Open Skies agreement.
Britain could either negotiate joining the Open Skies deal, or seek its own bilateral agreement with the United States.
IF TIME RUNS OUT
If no agreements are finalised during the two-year exit period, Andrew Meany, head of transport at consultancy Oxera, said airlines could use code shares and alliances to get partners to operate flights they were no longer permitted to make.
London-listed IAG, comprising British Airways, Irish Aer Lingus and Spanish Iberia and Vueling and which has various code share arrangements, has been relaxed. CEO Willie Walsh said he did not expect any material impact.
EasyJet, which like other budget carriers does not operate code share flights for cost reasons, is reported to have looked at setting up a separate holding company to get an air operator’s certificate in an EU country.
However, Oxera said that may not be possible due to restrictions on ownership rules, which do not allow non-EU investors to own a controlling stake in an EU airline.
EasyJet CEO says UK should stay in the EU for low fares and airline benefits
January 27, 2016
easyJet will campaign for Britain to stay in the European Union, with its chief executive telling consumers that membership encourages low cost travel between European cities. easyJet ‘s CEO, Carolyn McCall, said the EU was good for its business and its customers. “We will do everything we can to make sure that consumers understand that they are far better off within the EU when it comes to connectivity and low fares,” she said. Ms McCall is part of the pro-European lobby group, “Britain Stronger in Europe”, headed by former Marks & Spencer chief executive Stuart Rose. EasyJet would not be shy about its support. easyJet operates over 600 routes, most of which are in the EU. Ms McCall said: “We think it would be very difficult for our government to negotiate with 27 other member states to get the flying rights that we have today within the EU.” EasyJet has detailed contingency plans in place for if the UK votes to leave the EU, but they are not making these public. Ryanair has also urged Britain to stay in the EU. Though several large British businesses favour staying in the EU, often due to the benefits of tariff-less trade, many smaller firms feel the EU imposes what they argue are costly regulations.
Brexit up in the air: implications for aviation if the UK votes to leave the EU
January 28, 2016
CAPA, the Centre for Aviation, has set out some of the issues that UK aviation might face, if the UK chose to leave the EU – Brexit. CAPA says the biggest source of benefits to UK aviation from EU membership is in the area of traffic rights and the nationality of airlines. Any airline owned and controlled by nationals of EU member states is free to operate anywhere within the EU without restrictions on capacity, frequency or pricing. TheEuropean Common Aviation Area (ECAA) covers 36 countries and 500 million people. CAPA believes if the UK were to leave the EU, its airlines would no longer enjoy automatic access to this market, although the UK might negotiate continued access. The most obvious way for the UK to do this would be to participate in the ECAA Agreement in the same way as countries such as Norway currently do. CAPA says it would be questionable whether continued pan-European access would be popular in the EU for easyJet which has caused significant competitive damage to European legacy airlines. Being Irish, Ryanair would continue to have access to the European market, but if the UK had left the EU, this could cause Ryanair difficulties operating in what is its largest country market. Hence Michael O’Leary is backing the UK’s continued EU membership.
Willie Walsh says Brexit will not have ‘material impact’ on IAG’s business
February 26, 2016
A Brexit vote would not have a material impact on the airline business, according to Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group (IAG). Last year, he said he was “pro-Europe”, adding that he believed the UK is better off within the EU from a business point of view. On Radio 4’s Today programme he said IAG had taken advice from a number of sources, looked at it within the company and done a risk analysis. Though there is a lot of uncertainty, the view of IAG is that leaving the EU would not have much impact on them. The low cost airlines fear Brexit could mean higher air fares. Ryanair apparently plans a poster campaign on his own planes, encouraging customers to vote to stay in the EU. Heathrow and Gatwick airports are in favour of Britain staying in the EU, for their businesses. Willie Walsh had previously spoken out about the impact of a possible Brexit on Ireland’s economy, but urged fellow Irish chief executives to stay out of the debate. IAG has announced profits of €2.34bn for the year ending 31 December 2015 – a year-on-year increase of 125%. Helped by the low price of jet fuel, (and savings not passed on to passengers?)
Heathrow has produced a short video showing how beautifully the transport system will link up and serve Terminals 5 and 6. Yes, Terminal 6. It does not yet exist. It will not exist unless the government allows Heathrow a runway. But Heathrow is producing publicity presuming that it exists. It is to be located (either for the Heathrow Hub option of the extended northern runway, or the new north west runway option) right beside Terminal 5 just to the west of it. Heathrow’s video shows the location of Terminal 6, close to Terminal 5. http://your.heathrow.com/video-heathrows-terminal-5-6/ Heathrow put out plans in October 2015 for two main passenger terminals and transport hubs – Heathrow West (Terminals 5 and 6) and Heathrow East (an extended Terminal 2) – connected by an underground passenger transit and baggage system.
Heathrow has unveiled a new video animation that shows how below Terminal 5 and 6 new public transport is set to be seemlessly integrated.
Heathrow is already the most connected airport by public transport in the UK – featuring the TfL Piccadilly Line, Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect rail services, and the UK’s largest bus/coach interchange.
A number of planned and proposed rail projects are set to boost this even further in upcoming years – starting with a Crossrail connection (now known as The Elizabeth Line) in 2019.
Western Rail Access..
The proposed project will tunnel a link of 3.8km from a junction on the Great Western Main Line east of Langley, near Slough and will service four trains per hour between Reading and Heathrow.
This new Western Rail Link has strong support across a broad area of the UK for the benefits it will bring which include:
Lowering CO2 emissions to the equivalent of 30 million passenger road miles a year;
Easing congestion on roads by taking up to one million cars off the road each year;
Create direct rail connectivity to Heathrow from areas such as Slough and Reading;
Reduce rail journey times to Heathrow from areas as far west as Swansea, Wales.
The project is also set to create up to 42,000 new jobs and £800 million of economic benefit across the Thames Valley and surrounding areas. Find out more, here.
Southern Rail Access…
While a final route for Southern Rail Access, including to Heathrow, hasn’t been decided upon, Network Rail has recently confirmed there is a strong case for the project.
A possible Southern Rail Access route as part of the wider rail network map expected.
A route connecting Heathrow to south London and Surrey has the potential to connect 4.8 million passengers to Heathrow.
Heathrow’s Terminal 5 already has a safeguarded railway box for this future connection.
The “secret” empty railway station below Terminal 5. To find out more, click here.
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 below. https://www.acipa-ndl.fr/
One of the short videos produced by the campaign to prevent the building of a new airport for Nantes, at Notre Dame des Landes (NDDL) north of Nantes – to replace the existing airport of Nantes-Atlantique, which is south of Nantes.
Proponents of the NDDL airport say it would be best for the environment.
They say there would be lots of plants around and the airport buildings would be much more energy efficient than the current airport.
In reality, it would only be a bit better.
And when the huge amount of energy needed to build the new airport is taken into account, the NDDL airport would account for massively more energy. (Around 33 units ? size for Nantes-Atlantique and 110 for NDDL). Almost 4 times as much in carbon emissions.
There is also the huge loss of land, the loss of wetlands and the loss of agricultural jobs.
There would be the destruction of 900 hectares of agricultural land.
The concept of the NDDL airport was formed back in 1963 when nobody had any idea of the importance of conserving wetlands.
Wetlands are areas where there is very rich biodiversity.
The NDDL airport site is situated entirely in wetland.
Lots of protected species are present on the site. Including a loriot, a kingfisher, an orchid, the great crested newt and a bat species.
Measures to compensate for the loss of wetland are suggested. But it is not possible to re-create such a complex ecosystem.
Only a tiny number of individuals from 3 species could be transferred to new habitats. That’s about 1% or 10 species pre thousand.
The EU is in the process of a procedure against France because of its treatment of environmental issues.
It means the destruction of an area that is very rich in biodiversity, without serious compensation.
One of the short videos produced by the campaign to prevent the building of a new airport for Nantes, at Notre Dame des Landes (NDDL) north of Nantes – to replace the existing airport of Nantes-Atlantique, which is south of Nantes.
Supporters of the new airport at NDDL say the existing airport at Nantes-Atlantique is one of the most dangerous in France.
Several aviation trade bodies (BEA and USAC-CGT) have said the location so near Nantes is not safe. [They should take a look at Heathrow, by contrast, with it 480,000 flights mainly coming right over London !]
They say the airport does not offer the best conditions for security.
No other organisation has said Nantes-Atlantique is unsafe.
There is no report from the BEA implying that Nantes-Atlantique is dangerous.
Of the 5 airports the BEA says have problematic approaches, Nantes is not one.
In reality, Nantes-Atlantique is placed in Category A at the safest group of airports.
The level of over-flights is no worse than at Toulouse or Marseilles, Paris, London or Brussels.
There can in future be a more safe [CDA] landing system so planes are a bit higher over Nantes, as at other European airports.
Because the Notre Dame des Landes project, which is now over 50 years old, no longer suits the needs of our territories;
Because no airline has asked for the current Nantes Atlantique airport to be transferred, because it won the award for the best European regional airport in 2012 and because, as the current airport is not saturated, it can be rapidly optimized and modernized (lobby and car parks) as acknowledged by the Ministry for the Environment;
Because new facilities do not create business and a simple transfer from the south to the north of Nantes will not create 3000 lasting jobs, as announced by the promotors of the project, but will accentuate more than anything the economical unbalance in the agglomeration of Nantes;
Because the transfer would artificialize over 900 hectares of land and would eliminate at least 200 agricultural and associated jobs;
Because if the agricultural land disappears, we shall not be able to feed our children tomorrow (the equivalent of one “département” disappears every 7 years in France). At the rate of 20 million hectares urbanized each year all over the world, in 100 years’ time we shall have consumed the equivalent of all the arable land on the earth (source FAO) ;
Because the site at Notre Dame des Landes is located entirely on wetlands, rich in biodiversity and protected by several international conventions ;
Because the European Union has filed a suit against France for breach of the environmental aspects of this issue;
Because keeping Nantes Atlantique will mean generating four times less greenhouse gas and that modernizing would cost between twice and ten times less than building a new airport at Notre Dame des Landes;
Because aircraft noise is dropping, in Nantes just like elsewhere, as the latest planes are less noisy and noise can be reduced further through various measures (flight paths, penalizing the noisiest planes…);
Because Nantes Atlantique is classed category A for safety, without restriction, and that flying over Nantes is done with the same guarantee of safety as Toulouse, Marseille, Paris, London, Brussels… ;
Because we want the taxpayers’ money to be used for the public interest, because every euro spent should be a useful euro and that an expertise assigned by the Ministry for the Environment concludes that the project for the new airport at Notre Dame des Landes is oversized;
Because everyone is concerned by the imperative to preserve our planet;
Because, in the same way as the other stages in this business, this consultation is tainted by a lack of democracy, i.e. a local consultation for a national project, lack of information, unequal means…
Because, even outside the département of Loire-Atlantique, we all feel concerned about this project of national interest led by the State;
For all these reasons, we are against this project
And incite the inhabitants of Loire-Atlantique to vote NO on 26th June!
Operating without fuel taxes, VAT, legally-binding fuel efficiency requirements or limits on its CO2 emissions, the aviation sector operates in something of a parallel universe. ICAO will have an opportunity to finally take a step forward on climate action. ICAO will discuss the impact of the Paris Agreement on the sector, and specifically the next steps for an aviation carbon offsetting scheme currently under negotiation. Their earlier response to the Paris Agreement was to try to give the impression that the sector is making huge progress. In reality, industry lobbyists succeeded in preventing an explicit reference to aviation in the text. But the globally-agreed goal of striving to limit global warming to 1.5C does apply to aviation. All ICAO Parties are also Parties to the Paris Agreement. If they let aviation off the hook, the target 1.5 degree, or even 2 degree, global target will simply be impossible to reach. The aviation sector will have to act – rapidly and radically – on climate if the Paris goal can be achieved. But ICAO’s current proposals are a very inadequate first step, and the industry plans for up to 300% growth by 2050. Even their modest goal of buying carbon permits to offset aviation carbon is not ambitious enough, as proposed exemptions for airlines of less developed countries amount to about 40% of global aviation CO2.
UN aviation talks: time to come down to earth?
The International Civil Aviation Authority is unjustifiably smug about its climate record; it must play its part in efforts to limit warming to 1.5C
By Katherine Watts
The BBC is showing a documentary series about modern aviation titled “City in the Sky”. The other-worldly name seems somehow appropriate to the sector’s approach to the challenge of climate change over the last two decades.
Operating without fuel taxes, VAT, legally-binding fuel efficiency requirements or limits on its CO2 emissions, the sector operates in something of a parallel universe.
Next week the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the sector’s global regulator, has an opportunity to finally take a step forward on climate action.
ICAO will discuss the impact of the Paris Agreement on the sector, and specifically the next steps for an aviation carbon offsetting scheme currently under negotiation.
How will global aviation respond to the new momentum for action on climate change?
Early signals were not good. ICAO’s official response to the Paris Agreement managed to be both incorrect and smug 1, noting, “with satisfaction, that international aviation is not covered under the UNFCCC’s Paris Agreement and its associated decision text”.
The hubris continued with the assertion that, “the [ICAO] Council viewed [this] as a vote of confidence in the progress that ICAO and its Member States are achieving.”
The truth is that while industry lobbyists may have succeeded in preventing an explicit reference to aviation in the text, the globally-agreed goal of striving to limit global warming to 1.5C does apply to aviation.
All ICAO Parties are also Parties to the Paris Agreement. If they let aviation off the hook, the target will simply be impossible to reach.
In short, aviation must act – rapidly and radically – on climate if the Paris goal of “striving to limit warming to 1.5C” is to be achieved.
As for the ‘progress’ made by ICAO, the organisation’s Council really does have its head in the clouds if it thinks what is on the table deserves a vote of confidence. The current proposal is nothing more than a tentative, and very late, first step.
A key question ICAO member countries need to ask is how an anticipated growth rate of up to 300% by 2050 is compatible with any scenario for reaching the Paris 1.5C goal, even taking into account offsetting.
The industry’s goal is to limit future emissions to their 2020 levels, offsetting anything above that. But even this modest goal will not be reached, if the exemptions currently under discussion are accepted. These could undermine the objective by up to 40%.
Fundamentally, the 2020 goal is inadequate to address the climate crisis. ICAO must agree to ratchet up the effort every three years so that the sector is required to keep innovating in order to bring itself in line with a global carbon budget consistent with the 1.5C goal.
Another major concern is the failure to address the climate change impacts of aviation beyond CO2 emissions. Provisions are needed to address aerosols, contrails and nitrogen oxides.
And, as with any offsetting scheme, effectiveness rests on the quality of credits. The sector should not be able to buy its right to pollute above the 2020 level by funding investments in fossil fuel power and extraction, nuclear, large hydro and industrial gases.
These kinds of projects do not foster sustainable development, and fail to deliver an overall mitigation in global emissions, two criteria agreed in Paris. These credit types should be ineligible from day one.
It is also essential that one credit cannot be used towards multiple climate commitments, for example aviation sector commitments and national emissions commitments. Double counting like this has already undermined global progress on climate change. It must stop.
While ICAO’s carbon offsetting mechanism could be a significant opportunity for meaningful climate action from the aviation sector, the devil will be in the detail.
Success risks being undermined through bad choices on opt outs, credit quality and accounting that cover up the real pollution being pumped into the atmosphere. It’s time the city in the sky came back down to earth.
Katherine Watts is a senior policy advisor at Carbon Market Watch
Airlines reaffirmed their support for a global carbon offsetting scheme at a meeting in Dublin on Thursday.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged governments to adopt plans at a September summit to neutralise the sector’s emissions growth from 2020.
Yet the trade body’s resolution does not align with the Paris Agreement on climate change, campaigners warned, accusing it of backtracking.
What is more, its intervention skews in favour of rich countries, threatening to upset delicate negotiations over who pays what.
Absent from the document was any mention of the international goal agreed in Paris to hold global warming below 2C or 1.5C.
That made it weaker than the outcome of recent UN aviation talks in Montreal, which proposed to periodically review the mechanism against that goal.
Nor was the industry’s target to halve greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2050 mentioned.
Andrew Murphy, campaigner at Brussels-based NGO Transport & Environment, told Climate Home: “They are walking away from their own commitments, they are walking away from the Paris Agreement, they are walking away from what was agreed in Montreal. It is pretty incredible, really.”
He also criticised IATA’s insistence there should be no need for regional or national measures to supplement the international mechanism. The EU, for example, has sought to make airlines pay for climate pollution through its emissions trading system.
“If they want to reduce the risk, the best solution is an ambitious global market-based measure that aligns with Paris. It is in their hands,” said Murphy.
At the International Civil Aviation Organization, countries are agreed on the need to address emissions, but divided over who bears the cost.
In a rerun of UN climate negotiations, China argued the split should reflect historic emissions while the US said it should be based on growth rates after 2020.
The EU is supporting a compromise under which airlines pay based on the sector-wide growth rate, which does not penalise rapidly expanding Asian carriers.
Couched in jargon and qualifications, IATA appears to lean towards less differentiation between rich and poor countries.
James Beard, aviation expert at WWF, warned: “That is going to be difficult for developing countries to swallow…
“When it comes to this point in the negotiations, it is really time to start finding where the middle ground is.”
Transport & Environment’s claims about the resolution drew the following response from IATA director of aviation and environment, Michael Gill, who said the industry remains fully committed to a long-term 2050 goal.
“The ICAO process is different from the Paris Agreement and it is important that this is the case. However, the whole aim of the resolution is precisely to support the ICAO discussions which explicitly state that implementation of the GMBM ‘should support the achievement of the long-term temperature goals of the Paris Agreement’, it cannot therefore be ‘weaker’ than the ICAO talks,” he said.
“The resolution does not favour one approach over another when it comes to distribution of obligations”, said Gill, adding it was one of the key political challenges that remains in the ICAO process and the industry believes that it is up to States to determine how this is resolved. “To say that this is a ‘developed’ versus ‘developing’ set of discussions misses the nuances of the debate and does not fairly represent the detailed discussions which have taken place on this issue in the process so far,” he said.
John Stewart and Rob Barnstone from HACAN East at London City Airport had a 2 hour meeting with the five members of the CAA, to discuss the new concentrated flight paths-causing intensified noise. The CAA is aware of the unhappiness amongst communities and local authorities at their decision to allow flight path changes in February 2016. One of the most unpopular changes is concentration of the departures route, in westerly winds, that takes off towards the west and turns north and east. The other change is for arrivals, in easterly winds, when planes approach from east, south of the airport. Most of these communities are also overflown by Heathrow planes on the days there is a westerly wind. Both these have led to intensified noise for thousands of people. London City Airport had argued that they could get away with minimal consultation on these changes because the changes were “not significant.” However, there has been a definite change since February. HACAN East pointed out that the CAA that there was no mechanism to look at changes over time. There were many changes made in 2008 when the flight paths were changed to accommodate the larger planes which needed to make a much wider turn. HACAN East stressed that respite was important to local communities. People are encouraged to contact the CAA and the airport, to express their views on the noise issue.
Meeting with the Civil Aviation Authority
Our Chair, John Stewart and Campaign Co-Ordinator Rob Barnstone met the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Wednesday [15th June] to discuss the concentrated flight paths at London City Airport.
The CAA fielded at team of five and gave us nearly 2 hours.
They are aware of the unhappiness amongst communities and local authorities at their decision to allow City Airport to concentrate its flight paths in February 2016.
They listened to what we had to say. We outlined the problems:
Things had changed noticeably for many communities in East and NE London.
City Airport had argued that they could get away with minimal consultation because the changes they were making were not significant as many of the planes were already flying something approaching concentrated routes. We pointed out that many people had noticed a real difference since February.
We also pointed out that the CAA seemed to have no mechanism to look at changes over time. The only reason City Airport could even begin to argue during the consultation that some of the changes proposed were not significant (for example, departures over Leyton, Leytonstone and Wansted areas) was because “significant changes” had been made in 2008 when the flight paths were changed to accommodate the larger planes which needed to make a much wider turn when leaving the airport.
The smaller ‘turbo-prop’ planes made a sharp turn when taking off, barely flying over many of the areas that now are under a concentrated flight path. The CAA seemed to accept our point that there was no organisation responsible for assessing the changes over time.
THIS MAP SHOWS THE CURRENT CONCENTRATED FLIGHT PATHS ACROSS NORTH-EAST LONDON for departures when there is a westerly wind, so planes take off towards the west.
We also outlined what the February changes meant for South London.
Aircraft arriving at City airport fly over South London when an east wind is blowing before turning over the West End and City to land at the airport. Until February they were dispersed pretty widely over South London but now they are concentrated over particular communities. Most of these communities are overflown by Heathrow planes on the days there is a west wind. They now get concentrated City aircraft when there is an east wind, thus no break from aircraft noise. The CAA accepted that there was no organisation which was assessing the implication of these kind of flight path changes.
THE CONCENTRATED ROUTE ACROSS SOUTH-LONDON for arrivals when there are easterly winds (and planes land from the west
We stressed that respite was important to local communities.
The CAA felt the introduction of respite was difficult in East and North East London because the airspace City aircraft use is very constrained – largely by Heathrow aircraft. Therefore, spreading City aircraft or creating additional flights paths (in order for those under concentrated flight paths to obtain respite) would be difficult. They accepted that this would be less problematic in South London, although an expansion of the airspace which City aircraft are permitted to use might be required.
The CAA outlined what happens next:
City Airport is required to gather data on whether the airspace changes made in February are functioning as expected. The data gathered will also include a noise impact – City Airport would need to record any unintended consequences. That data must arrive at the CAA by February 2017 (although the CAA would be looking for a 6-month interim report). The CAA will then analyse that data and decide within three months, in May 2017, whether changes need to be made or to authorise the continuation of the scheme. However, the CAA played down the likelihood that they would intervene to make changes, and they certainly won’t propose or initiate changes. They are likely, though, to take into consideration any significant discontent from local communities or local authorities about the changes.
It became clear that pressure needs to be put on the airport by communities and local authorities to consider changes.
City Airport is keen on the concentrated routes because they make it easier to guide planes when landing and taking off. NATS also like them because the new computer technology in the planes means that air traffic controllers are much less involved in guiding the them, thus saving NATS time and money.
What do we do next?
HACAN East will:
– Lobby City Airport to abandon its current plan to concentrate all its flight paths over particular communities and instead to introduce respite so people an get some relief from the noise
– Bring together a cross-party group of politicians to assist in this lobbying
– Organise a series of public meetings to inform local communities about the latest development
– Encourage local people to email and write to the airport and the CAA.
What you can do:
Email or write to the airport and the CAAto tell them about your experience of living under the concentrated flight paths. Two key contacts are below.
(1). London City Airport: James Shearman, Environment Manager at:
London City Airport, City Aviation House, Royal Docks, London E16 2PB
Or call +44 (0)207 646 0200
(2). Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) – information or complaints concerning flight paths:
Directorate of Airspace Policy, K6 G7, CAA House, 45-59 Kingsway, London WC2B 6TE
Please include email@example.com in your emails to one of the above organisations, as it helps us build an even broader picture of your thoughts and feelings on the issue.