Research paper done for GACC shows the techniques Gatwick uses to pay no UK corporation tax

It has been well known for several years that Gatwick airport uses a range of (legal) techniques and schemes to minimise its tax payments in the UK. Now a research paper – one of a series that local campaign GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) is producing – sets out much of the detail of how Gatwick does it.  The paper shows how Gatwick earns revenues of over £630 million per year, and yet pays no corporation tax.  While public attention – and anger – have concentrated on Google and Starbucks, Gatwick is playing the same game.  It pays no tax by complicated arrangements that include a combination of tax allowances for capital investment and deductibility of interest on debt, aided by a tangled web of inter-related company ownership in tax havens such as Luxembourg, Guernsey and the Cayman Islands. This complexity is not available to small companies. GACC says its new study is not easy reading for the layman but will be of considerable interest to investors who may be asked to fund a new runway, and to the DfT, which is at present trying to work on the new SE runway issue. Currently EU Finance Ministers will meet in Amsterdam on Friday 22 April to toughen company tax rules. That could cast doubt on the financial viability of a 2nd runway if some of the tax deals are tightened by by the EU and the G20.
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Tax talks threat to Gatwick runway

18.4.2016

(GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

The EU Finance Ministers’ meeting in Amsterdam on Friday 22 April to toughen company tax rules could put a spoke in Gatwick’s second runway plans. 

A new research study published today by GACC shows how Gatwick Airport Ltd earns revenues of over £630 million a year, and yet pays no corporation tax.  Public attention has concentrated on Google and Starbucks, but the new study shows that Gatwick is in the same game.[1]

Written by Ian Harris, a retired City corporate bond analyst, the study reveals that Gatwick achieves nil tax by a combination of tax allowances for capital investment and deductibility of interest on debt, aided by a tangled web of inter-related company ownership in tax havens such as Luxembourg, Guernsey and the Cayman Islands.  ‘I would emphasise,’ says Ian, ‘that all of this is entirely legitimate and within UK tax laws.  But it is an arrangement that would not come within the scope of the average small UK business.’

The new study is not easy reading for the layman but will be of considerable interest to investors who may be asked to fund a new runway, and to the Department for Transport which is at present trying to work out whether to recommend a new runway at Heathrow or at Gatwick.  ‘It would be unfortunate,’ says Ian, ‘if this mechanism was to continue to deprive the UK exchequer of a significant amount of tax revenue at a time when Gatwick hopes the government will grant it permission to build a second runway.’

Ian adds:  ‘It is beyond dispute that Gatwick, earning revenues in excess of £630 million each year, and growing, pays zero corporation tax despite being extremely profitable.  Yet whilst the business has recycled considerable amounts of cash into modernising airport facilities in recent years, the shareholders have still enjoyed good cash returns through both dividends and repayments of tax-efficient “debt” capital.’

Doubt is cast on the financial viability of a second runway if the Luxemburg structure and benefits cease to be feasible, owing to ongoing EU and G20 pressure on so-called tax deals.

A copy of “Gatwick Airport and Tax”  by Ian Harris is at www.gacc.org.uk/research-studies

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For further information, please contact

Brendon Sewill, GACC chairman, 01293 863369


[1] Google etc are non-UK businesses which transfer their UK profits to lower-rate countries by paying above the odds for imported goods, patents, licences or management fees; the sort of structure GIP/GAL uses is a buy-out structure put in place for non-UK owners of a UK business.   The similarity is that they both artificially reduce UK profits using a multi-national structure.


At the meeting on 22nd April, “The European Commission will be invited to give a policy reaction, i.e. an overview of the initiatives on the fight against money laundering, tax evasion and tax avoidance. Ministers and Central Bank Governors will be invited to exchange views.”

Link

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Earlier:

 

Margaret Hodge: Gatwick runway appeal ‘is hypocritical when it avoids corporation tax’

Gatwick has been accused of “hypocrisy” for avoiding corporation tax while campaigning to build a new runway, allegedly for the benefit of the UK economy. Margaret Hodge, head of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, said the airport should pay its “fair share” if it wants its runway campaign to be credible. She also criticised Heathrow which has not paid corporation tax for several years. But she particularly criticised Gatwick. Its Guernsey-based parent company Ivy Mid Co LP has invested in a £437 million “Eurobond” which charges the airport 12% interest, thus avoiding tax. Gatwick says this sort of bond is often used by other infrastructure companies. Companies in the UK should pay 21% corporation tax on profits, but by spending  £1 billion on upgrading the airport, Gatwick has made no profit recently. Despite pre-tax loses in recent years, it has paid dividends to its overseas shareholders of £436 million. Heathrow has also avoided profits by investing in new buildings etc.  Mrs Hodge said the companies “made a fortune” from their UK activities, which relied on public services,  adding: “For them to pretend they are only in it for the benefit of the UK economy is a touch hypocritical.”

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/10/margaret-hodge-gatwick-runway-appeal-is-hypocritical-when-it-avoids-corporation-tax/

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Gatwick Airport paid no Corporation Tax in three years

25.6.2013
Gatwick Airport has a £1.2 billion capital investment programme to improve its infrastructure and facilities. But it paid no corporation tax for three consecutive years despite making £638m in profit before tax. Gatwick tried to defend this position, saying: “Whilst year on year we have lessened our financial losses we have yet to make a profit after tax. As a result the airport has not paid corporation tax …Our current £1.2bn capital investment programme and existing asset base, together with the associated debt structure, result in depreciation and interest costs which reduce our operating profits to a loss before tax.”  In the 2012/13 year, Gatwick Airport made £227.1m profit before tax, a 2.5% increase, as it benefited from flights to new destinations in China, Russia, Indonesia, and Turkey. Despite this, it reported a net financial loss of £29.1m, citing asset depreciation and £226.7m of capital investment in the year. Corporation tax is only levied on a company’s net profit. In the UK the corporation tax rate is 23%. Under UK tax law, corporations can claim tax allowances on certain purchases or investments made on business assets. Campaign group UK Uncut estimates that clever accounting rules and complex tax avoidance schemes cost Britain £12bn annually.    
 
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Read more »

MP calls for drones to be registered, especially those that can reach several thousand feet

David Burrowes, the MP for Enfield Southgate, has called for high-powered drone owners to be forced to sign a register after British Airways flight BA727 from Geneva was struck by a device as it came in to land at Heathrow on 17th, probably in the Richmond area.  Mr Burrowes, who sits on the Home Affairs Select Committee, said the gadgets can no longer be treated as an “innocent leisure pursuit” because of the security risks and potential for mass casualties.  He also suggested looking at introducing licences for some of the more sophisticated models in order to aid police and investigators. There have been numerous incidents of near misses in the past year or so, with Heathrow having the UK’s largest number.  Tens of thousands of drones, which can cost between £25 and £20,000 with the high-end ones being able to reach 6,000 feet, have been bought across Britain in the last few years and can be used without a licence or having to register with the CAA. Mr Burrowes said “at the very least there should be a register for the owner of drones.” Owners of those that are capable of rising to several thousand feet should be “willing to accept a basic registration system.” Currently the police do not have records of drone ownership. The CAA has a code for the use of drones.
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Heathrow plane pose risk of causing mass casualties

By David Churchill (Evening Standard)

18 April 2016

A London MP has called for high-powered drone owners to be forced to sign a register after a British Airways flight was struck by a device as it came in to land at Heathrow Airport.

David Burrowes, who sits on the Home Affairs Select Committee, said the gadgets can no longer be treated as an “innocent leisure pursuit” because of the security risks and potential for mass casualties.

He also suggested looking at introducing licences for some of the more sophisticated models in order to aid police and investigators.

He was speaking after a BA flight from Geneva in Switzerland was yesterday struck by what is believed to be a drone as it came in to land at Heathrow following a string of near misses in recent months.

The pilot of flight BA727 reported being hit at about 12.50pm [earlier, as it landed at about 12.35pm] as the Airbus A320 approached Terminal Five with 132 passengers and five crew on board.

Tens of thousands of drones, which can cost between £25 and £20,000 with the high-end ones being able to reach 6,000 feet, have been bought across Britain in the last few years and can be used without a licence or having to register with the Civil Aviation Authority.

Mr Burrowes, also MP for Enfield Southgate, told the Standard: “You can’t just treat drones as an innocent leisure pursuit, it’s something that does and can cause serious security risks and potentially life-threatening risks.

“I think at the very least there should be a register for the owner of drones.

“I think if you’re going to be buying these high-powered drones, which are different from the toy drones which can’t go above trees because they have special powers to be able to go up into the skies, if you’re willing to buy that type of sophisticated drone you should be willing to accept a basic registration system.

“One of the problems for police is they haven’t got much chance of enforcing things if they don’t know who owns these drones and so they need help to do this.”

He said the Heathrow incident was “appalling”, adding: “The prospect of drones colliding with planes is very serious. We can’t just ignore it.”

Scotland Yard has launched an investigation after the pilot reported that the plane was hit by what he believed was a drone. No arrests have been made.

A force spokesman added: “The flight landed at Heathrow Terminal Five safely. It transpired that an object, believed to be a drone, had struck the front of the aircraft.”

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) “drone code” says the unmanned craft should not be flown above 400 feet and kept away from planes, helicopters, airports and airfields. Those with cameras fitted should also be kept 50m from people, vehicles, buildings and other structures.

A BA spokesman said: “Our aircraft landed safely, was fully examined by our engineers and it was cleared to operate its next flight.”

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/mp-drones-like-the-one-that-hit-heathrow-plane-pose-risk-of-causing-mass-casualties-a3227501.html

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Earlier:

‘Drone’ hits British Airways plane approaching Heathrow, with no damage caused

The British Airways flight BA727 from Geneva was hit by a drone as it approached Heathrow (in the Richmond area) at about 12:50pm on Sunday 17th. The plane was an Airbus A320, with 132 passengers and five crew on board. After landing safely, the pilot reported an object – believed to be a drone – had struck the front of the plane. It did not do serious damage, and a BA spokesman said the plane “was fully examined by our engineers and it was cleared to operate its next flight.” This is thought to be the first time a drone has actually hit a plane, with many previous incidents of near misses. BA is giving the police “every assistance with their investigation” and the Metropolitan Police are asking the public to help if they have information. The CAA said it is illegal to fly drones near airports, and the penalties include imprisonment. In March, BALPA called for research by the DfT and the CAA into what would happen if a drone hit an airliner, after 23 near-misses around UK airports between 11th April and 4th October 2015. The effect could be serious if a drone smashed into the cockpit windscreen, or if it crashed into an engine. Unlike with bird strikes, the drones carry lithium batteries – there is concern these could cause a serious engine fire.

Click here to view full story…

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See also

Government vows to tighten rules on drones after Heathrow incident

Labour and pilots have called for action including a possible register and ‘geo-fencing’ following collision with BA plane

By  Transport correspondent, Guardian

Moves to tighten rules on drones have been promised by the government after theLabour party and pilots’ unions called for urgent action, including a possible register of drone users and “geo-fencing” of airports, after a British Airways plane was struck on its descent into Heathrow.

Sunday’s incident is believed to be the first such collision between a passenger plane and a drone, after a series of near misses that led pilots to warn that a strike could be disastrous. The Air Accidents Investigations Branch said it would launch an inquiry.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said it would hold a public consultation before a strategy is published later this year. Labour has accused ministers of dragging their feet after aviation authorities confirmed a number of potentially serious incidents in 2015, including 23 near misses between aircraft and drones in six months investigated by the UK Airprox Board.

A DfT spokesperson said: “The government is leading efforts with international bodies to develop a stringent regulatory framework focusing on safety and a working group is looking at the issue.”

However, Labour said the working group had been in existence since 2013. The shadow aviation minister, Richard Burden, said: “Yesterday’s drone collision with a plane sadly comes as no surprise and we should be thankful that the pilot was able to land the plane safely. For months we have seen a rising number of near misses and Labour has consistently urged the government to wake up to the problem.

“We know drones pose a very real threat to public safety and we should learn the lessons from places like the US which have been quick to introduce a registration process.”

He added: “We need action but we are still yet to see even a consultation on the options. This now must happen as soon as possible.”

A BA Airbus A320 was struck by a drone at 12.50pm on Sunday as it came in to land at Heathrow.  The BA Airbus A320 plane was coming in to Heathrow from Geneva with 132 passengers and five crew on board when it was struck by a drone at 12.50pm on Sunday. BA said the aircraft landed safely and was fully examined by engineers before being cleared to operate its next flight. A spokesperson said: “Safety and security are always our first priority and we will give the police every assistance with their investigation.”

 

The Metropolitan police were contacted by the pilot and are investigating the incident. However, in most incidents confirmed by the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) Airprox Board, the operator of the drone has not been traced by police, although flying drones in the vicinity of airports is against the law.

Breaching drone rules would generally be summary offences with penalties decided by a court, but a more serious offence of recklessly endangering an aircraft carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

A CAA spokesperson said: “Drone users have to understand that when taking to the skies they are potentially flying close to one of the busiest areas of airspace in the world – a complex system that brings together all manner of aircraft including passenger aeroplanes, military jets, helicopters, gliders and light aircraft.”

The pilots union Balpa has been calling for a register of users, after a series of incidents at major airports around the country including Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester in the last year. Steve Landells, Balpa’s flight safety specialist, said: “Frankly it was only a matter of time before we had a drone strike, given the huge numbers being flown around by amateurs who don’t understand the risks and the rules.”

He added: “Much more education of drone users and enforcement of the rules is needed to ensure our skies remain safe from this threat.”

Other industry experts joined the call for tighter rules. James Stamp, the global head of aviation at KPMG, said: “People who fly drones in controlled airspace are potentially putting lives in danger, and should be subject to the strongest possible sanctions available under the law. A number of practical steps should be taken, including requiring drones to be registered, tougher penalties for irresponsible behaviour, and technology-based solutions that will prevent the drones entering restricted airspace in the first place.”

Earlier this year the Oxford Research Group thinktank highlighted the risk of civilian drones being used by terrorist or criminal groups, and suggested “geo-fencing”, where manufacturers would be required to install the GPS coordinates of no-fly zones in drones to prevent them functioning in those areas.

The rules on drones

The Civil Aviation Authority sets the regulations for the use of drones, or “small unmanned aircraft” weighing 20kg or less. The drone user must:

  • Ensure its operation does not endanger anyone or anything.
  • Maintain direct, unaided visual contact with the drone to monitor its flight path (normally keeping it within 500 metres horizontally and 150 metres vertically).
  • Not allow any article to be dropped from the drone to endanger persons or property.
  • Not fly a drone above 150 metres or in the vicinity of airports without air traffic control approval.
  • Not fly it within 150 metres of any congested area, or crowd of people, without CAA permission.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/apr/18/drones-government-labour-ba-rules-drones-heathrow-incident

Read more »

Three Plane Stupid activists – the Tunnel Trio – sentenced to £305 fines each for blocking Heathrow tunnel in November

On 26th November 2015, on the day Parliament discussed airport expansion, three activists from Plane Stupid parked a vehicle across both lanes of the entrance tunnel and locked themselves to it, unfurling a banner quoting David Cameron’s election promise in 2010: “No Ifs, No Buts: No Third Runway”.  The tunnel was finally cleared after 3 – 4 hours. The activists pleaded guilty, and have now been sentenced – by Judge Deborah Wright – to fines of £200 each, increased to £305 each with the addition of court and CPS costs. The three protestors are: Esme Waldron, 23, a student from Brighton; Alistair Cannell, 26, a bar worker, from Brighton; and William Pettifer, 27, a worker on an organic farm in Somerset. The Judge reduced the sentence from the original level of £300 each, as they pleaded guilty and had been careful to avoid any danger to the public. She acknowledged the good record of each defendant, and their sincerity in their belief of the harm that would be done by a 3rd Heathrow runway.  However, she felt they had been inconsiderate of the travelling public in causing around 75 to miss flights, and more to have problems with reaching the airport or parking. The fines were low, as the incomes of all three are low. A lively crowd, including some of the Heathrow 13, assembled before the hearing, to support the activists.
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Three Plane Stupid activists – the Tunnel Trio – sentenced to £305 fines each

19.4.2016  (Plane Stupid press release)
Esme Alistair and William 19.4.2016
Alistair, Esme and Wlliam outside court before the hearing
Three Plane Stupid activists were ordered to pay fines of £200 each plus prosecution fees, at Uxbridge Magistrates Court this morning, for blockading the entrance tunnel to Heathrow Terminals 1, 2 and 3, for four and a half hours on 26th November 2015.
The three protestors from Plane Stupid are: Esme Waldron, 23, a student from Brighton.           Alistair Cannell, 26, a bar worker, from Brighton. And William Pettifer, 27, a worker on an organic farm in Radford, Somerset.
Tunnel trio crowd outside court
They were greeted at 9am, outside the court, with a demo attended by many supporters including local residents, environmental campaigners and some of the Heathrow 13, who in late February were given suspended jail sentences for blockading the runway at Heathrow.
Esme Waldron, one of the protesters, said: 
“For most of us, all we will gain from new runways is dirtier air, more noise and more floods due to climate chaos. There are more than enough runways for people who take one holiday a year; demand for airport expansion only comes from a minority of frequent leisure flyers. This 15% of British people take 70% of our flights[1], often to second homes abroad and they have a high income. 
“While the huge business entity that is Heathrow spends tens of millions advertising its plans for expansion, where are the voices of the locals whose lives will be entirely uprooted or the climate refugees who are forced to migrate as global warming increases drought? This is an issue of class: a familiar story of a rich and powerful elite trampling over the livelihoods of those lacking power.” 
Tunnel trio outside court 19.4.2016
John McDonnell, MP for Hayes & Harlington, said: 
“My constituents have been fighting against the threat of new runways at Heathrow for decades. Locally, thousands of homes will be bulldozed and further afield a third runway would wreck government policy on climate change.
“When the government pushed for a third runway last time, it sparked a broad coalition of active campaigning, including civil disobedience like we are seeing again now. David Cameron promised us “no ifs, no buts, no third runway”, and if this government tries to bring it back from the dead, it is inevitable that they will face another huge battle.”
Eddy Thacker, one of the Heathrow 13, added: 
“Criminalising protestors and imposing suspended jail sentences and hefty fines will not stop protests against new runways.  If the Government gives the green light to a new runway it is likely to result in one of the largest campaigns of environmental civil disobedience since the anti-roads movement of the 90s.”
 
ENDS
[1] Table ATT0601, Public experience of and attitudes towards air travel, DfT Statistical release, July 2014. Analysis by afreeride.org(passenger survey data) https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/335069/annex-a-tables.xls 
Photo of the protest in the tunnel on 26th November 2015.
For more information contact:
Plane Stupid: press@planestupid.com / 07745 207 765
Mike Schwarz from Bindmans Solicitors: 020 7833 4433
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If anyone wants to help to pay the fines for the Tunnel Trio, here is the fundraiser for their costs: (Tilt is a safe form of donation, and simple to use)  Tilt

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Earlier:

3 arrests after Plane Stupid block Heathrow tunnel for 3 hours using a van + activists locked onto it

The main road entrance tunnel to Heathrow’s Terminals 1 and 2 was blocked by climate change activists from Plane Stupid,  for about 3 hours, from 7.40 this morning. Three activists parked a vehicle across both lanes of the entrance tunnel and locked themselves to it, unfurling a banner quoting David Cameron’s election promise in 2010: “No Ifs, No Buts: No Third Runway”.  Three people were arrested, and the tunnel was finally cleared. Some travellers may have been delayed or could have missed flights. Local resident Neil Keveren, a builder from Harmondsworth, whose house would be bulldozed for the 3rd runway, was fined after blocking the same tunnel with his van for half an hour on 2nd July, the day after the Airports Commission announcement. Neil said: “No one wants to do this. They feel they have to. People feel they have no choice. After we campaigned for years, David Cameron was elected promising ‘no ifs, no buts: no third runway’. …. We have tried every other option. We have been forced to be disobedient just to be heard. To save our homes and our planet.”  There is already airport capacity for families taking a couple of trips per year, or wealthy foreign visitors to the UK, but a new runway would be for the most wealthy to take multiple leisure trips each year. Plane Stupid apologised for causing inconvenience, but believe the strong arguments against a Heathrow runway must be heard.  

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/11/plane-stupid-block-heathrow-entrance-tunnel-with-van-activists-locked-onto-it/

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Activists who blocked Heathrow tunnel plead not guilty – [further hearing April 2016]

On 23rd December, there was a brief court hearing for the 3 activists who blocked a main Heathrow entrance tunnel on 26th November. The hearing was at Uxbridge Magistrates Court, and they pleaded not guilty. Another hearing will therefore be arranged in 2016. Many supporters of the activists attended the hearing and gathered outside the court beforehand. After the court hearing, a large group Heathrow-3rd-Runway-opponents including many local residents who face destruction of their homes and communities if a runway is built, met outside the Magistrates court. Wearing Santa hats, they sang a few Christmas carols and jingles (with two or three accompanying policemen) before dispersing. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/12/activists-who-blocked-heathrow-tunnel-plead-not-guilty-further-hearing-some-time-in-2016/

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Earlier:

The last time the tunnel was blocked: 

Protester whose Harmondsworth home would be destroyed by 3rd runway, blocks Heathrow tunnel for half an hour

A blockade of Heathrow’s road access tunnel to Terminals 2 and 3 brought traffic to a halt for more than half an hour at 12.45pm today. The protest follows yesterday’s announcement that  the Airports Commission report recommends the building of 3rd runway at Heathrow.  This would require the destruction of over 1,000 homes in Harmondsworth, Longford and Sipson with a further 3,000 homes made uninhabitable due to excessive noise and pollution. Neil Keveren, a Harmondsworth resident, used a large white van to block both lanes to incoming traffic. He then unfurled a banner that covered the side of his vehicle to face the stationary traffic saying, “Residents Against Expansion – No ifs, no buts, no third runway”.  The banner refers to David Cameron’s pledge prior to the 2010 election. His entirely peaceful protest was only ever intended to last 20 minutes, to avoid disruption to the airport. His co-operation enabled the police to avoid an evacuation procedure that would have caused further disruption to traffic.  Neil Keveren made it clear his action was a personal protest, and was not part of his role as Chair of the Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) campaign group. However, his action were supported by many local residents and the local MP, John McDonnell. 

Heathrow tunnel blocked 2.7.2015

Full story at  http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/07/26823/

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Read more »

‘Drone’ hits British Airways plane approaching Heathrow, with no damage caused

The AAIB investigation was closed at the end of April, for lack of evidence. It is thought this may not have been a hit by a drone.  Link 28.4.2016 Guardian

 

A British Airways flight from Geneva was possibly hit by a drone as it approached Heathrow (in the Richmond area) at about 12:50pm on Sunday 17th. The plane was an Airbus A320, with 132 passengers and five crew on board. After landing safely, the pilot reported an object – believed to be a drone – had struck the front of the plane. It did not do serious damage, and a BA spokesman said the plane “was fully examined by our engineers and it was cleared to operate its next flight.” This is thought to be the first time a drone has actually hit a plane, with many previous incidents of near misses.  BA is giving the police “every assistance with their investigation” and the Metropolitan Police are asking the public to help if they have information. The CAA said it is illegal to fly drones near airports, and the penalties include imprisonment.  In March, BALPA called for research by the DfT and the CAA into what would happen if a drone hit an airliner, after 23 near-misses around UK airports between 11th April and 4th October 2015. The effect could be serious if a drone smashed into the cockpit windscreen, or if it crashed into an engine. Unlike with bird strikes, the drones carry lithium batteries – there is concern these could cause a serious engine fire.  
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Metropolitan police appeal following incident with aircraft

18.4.2016 (Metropolitan Police website)

Police are appealing for information after a plane on its descent into Heathrow Airport was struck by an object believed to be a drone.

On Sunday 17 April, a pilot on an inbound BA flight into Heathrow Airport from Geneva reported to police that an object believed to have been a drone had struck the front of the aircraft. It was flying at approximately 1,700 ft at the time of the incident shortly before the aircraft landed at 12:38hrs.

The flight landed at Heathrow Terminal 5 safely and was inspected by BA engineers. There was no damage found to the aircraft.

Officers believe that the incident occurred over the Richmond area, in proximity of Richmond Park, South West London. Local officers searched a wide area for suspects and/or debris but nothing has so far been found.

Aviation Policing are working with partners from British Airways (BA), Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to investigate this incident, which is being treated as an endangerment of an aircraft under Article 137 Air Navigation Order 2009.

Aviation Policing would ask for anyone who was in the area of Richmond Park or any surrounding open spaces on that day between 12:00hrs and 1300hrs who may have information to contact police or Crimestoppers.

We would also ask anyone to contact police if they find identifiable parts of drone in the Richmond area.

Anyone who can assist the inestigation is asked to contact Aviation Policing on 020 3276 1460; or alternatively Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

There have been no arrests and enquiries continue.

Chief Superintendent Martin Hendy, head of Metropolitan Police Service’s Aviation Policing Command, said:

“Thankfully the aircraft landed safely but the incident highlights the very real dangers of reckless, negligent and some times malicious use of drones. We continue to work with the Civil Aviation Authority and other partners to tackle this issue and ensure that enthusiasts who fly drones understand the dangers and the law.

“One of the challenges is to ensure people realise what is legitimate and what is illegal. The message is do not fly them anywhere near airports or flight paths, or over crowded places such as football and other stadiums. The potential is there for a major incident.”

Met Police press release

 

[AirportWatch comment: The affected plane was probably BA727, from Geneva, (GVA) which landed at about 12.31pm, after taking the usual S shaped course, coming from the east, heading west over Purley, turning north around Epsom, heading east around Thornton Heath, turning north almost over Dulwich and joining the approach path around Battersea and then towards Richmond. See the plane’s route on Webtrak http://webtrak5.bksv.com/lhr4  12.18pm to 12.31pm.]


 

‘Drone’ hits British Airways plane approaching Heathrow Airport

17.4.2016 (BBC)

A plane approaching Heathrow Airport is believed to have hit a drone before it landed safely, the Metropolitan Police has said.

The British Airways flight from Geneva was hit as it approached the London airport at about 12:50 BST with 132 passengers and five crew on board.

After landing, the pilot reported an object – believed to be a drone – had struck the front of the Airbus A320.

Aviation police based at Heathrow have launched an investigation. Police said no arrests have been made.

If confirmed, it is believed to be the first incident of its kind in the UK.

A British Airways spokesman said: “Our aircraft landed safely, was fully examined by our engineers and it was cleared to operate its next flight.”

The airline will give the police “every assistance with their investigation”, the spokesman added.

A Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) spokesman said it was “totally unacceptable” to fly drones close to airports, and anyone flouting the rules can face “severe penalties, including imprisonment”.

Steve Landells, from the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), said it had been “only a matter of time before we had a drone strike”. He called for greater enforcement of existing rules.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-36067591


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Earlier:

 

BALPA wants DfT and CAA to fund drone strike research – fears of cockpit hit or engine fire

Pilots’ union British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) are calling for research into what would happen if a drone hit an airliner, after 23 near-misses around UK airports between 11th April and 4th October 2015. In one incident a drone passed within 25m (82ft) of a Boeing 777 near Heathrow.  Twelve of the incidents were classed as “A” rated, the most serious rating, by the independent Airprox board, meaning there was “a serious risk of collision”. Other incidents given the most serious rating include a drone coming within 20m (66ft) of a Embraer 170 jet on its approach to London City Airport above the Houses of Parliament on 13th September.  Also a Boeing 737 had a near miss with a drone shortly after take-off from Stansted. BALPA wants the DfT and the CAA to back research into the possible consequences of a collision with a passenger jet. The effect could be serious if a drone smashed into the cockpit windscreen, or if it crashed into an engine. Unlike with bird strikes, the drones carry lithium batteries – there is concern these could cause a serious engine fire.  The consequences of a drone hitting a plane would depend on a number of factors such as the size and speed of the drone and the location of the collision.  

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/03/balpa-wants-dft-and-caa-to-fund-drone-strike-research-fears-of-cockpit-hit-or-engine-fire/

 


Earlier:

Drone over Heathrow was ‘wingspan away’ from collision with jet

UK Airprox Board reports two more high-risk near misses involving passenger planes, one at Heathrow and the other at Manchester airport

By Gwyn Topham, Transport correspondent (Guardian)

26.2.2016

Two more near-misses between drones and passenger planes at UK airports have been reported by aviation authorities, including one a “wingspan away” from a jet landing at Heathrow.

Pilots have called for a clampdown on drone use after a spate of incidents. Among the latest six to be investigated and verified by the UK Airprox Board, which monitors the threat of midair collisions, three were in the most serious bracket of risk, one involving a small light aircraft and two involving larger passenger planes.

The closest calls came in late September as an Airbus A319, which typically carry up to 180 passengers, landed at Heathrow, and two days later as a turboprop commuter plane, believed to be a LoganAir flight to Scotland, left Manchester airport.

The pilot at Heathrow reported a drone helicopter hovering close to his flight path, and was unable to take evasive action as the drone passed less than 30 metres away from his A319. Police were called but the operator of the drone could not be traced.

The Manchester plane had taken off and reached an altitude of 3,000ft when a pilot saw a red and white drone pass less than 15 metres above the port propeller. Although the aircraft was undamaged, investigators concluded that “separation had been reduced to the bare minimum and chance had played a major part in events”.

Pilots fear that more near-misses occur than they witness, and say the trend is extremely worrying. The Balpa union has called for a registration system for drone users and more research into the possible effects of an impact.

A Balpa spokesperson said: “Once again we see these near misses happening at altitudes where manned aircraft frequently operate and also on approach to airports where there is absolutely no reason for a drone to be. We need to catch the people that are doing this before we see a collision and loss of life.

“Due to the small size of drones it is often the case that pilots see them so late that it is impossible to take avoiding action. The responsibility is on drone operators to keep them away from commercial traffic, and crucially, away from airports.”

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “The unauthorised use of unmanned aerial vehicles in proximity to an airfield is both irresponsible and illegal. Heathrow’s top priority is the safety of our passengers and colleagues. The CAA recently published revised guidelines on the use of UAVs and we will continue to work with them and other partners to ensure that any violation of airspace rules is fully prosecuted.”

Willie Walsh, the chief executive of IAG, which as the owner of airlines including British Airways is the biggest operator at Heathrow, said drones were “one of the inherent challenges we face with developing technology, and we need to keep the situation under review”.

Last month the board revealed details of seven recent incidents involving drones, four of which were classified as high-risk.

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/26/drone-wingspan-away-jet-landing-heathrow

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and

Near miss with airliner should spur review of drones, says Labour

Labour calls for urgent review of rules after UK Airprox Board reveals plane came within 20 metres of drone above Houses of Parliament

1.2.2016

By Rowena Mason and agencies (Guardian)

The near collision of a drone and a passenger plane over the Houses of Parliament should be a wake-up call for the government to speed up its review of unmanned aerial vehicles, Labour has said.

Richard Burden, a shadow transport minister, said the near-miss over central London and other recent cases should be a “spur to action” after delays in the government’s promised consultation on regulating drones.

….. full article at ….

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/feb/01/drone-near-miss-should-be-a-wake-up-call-for-review-says-shadow-minister

 

 

 

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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.   
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Tianjin Airlines expected to begin London flights

14.4.2016

The Chinese carrier will introduce a twice-weekly link between Tianjin and Gatwick, via Chongqing from June 25 with departures on Wednesdays and Saturdays, according to Routes Online.

The carrier is also planning to launch a four-times-weekly service via Tianjin Binhai International airport – the airline’s headquarters – to Vancouver from this summer.

Flights to Moscow are also earmarked for late June.

Tianjin Airlines will become the fourth Chinese carrier flying to the UK capital, following Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines.

The planned routes are believed to begin upon the delivery of three Airbus A330-200s in the coming months.

https://www.ttgmedia.com//news/news/tianjin-airlines-expected-to-begin-london-flights-4275
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Tianjin Airlines confirms London as first long-haul destination

5 April 2016
Richard Maslen (Routes.com)

Tianjin Airlines was awarded licences by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) last year to introduce flights between Tianjin and both London and Vancouver in conjunction with Chongqing as well as services to Moscow from both Chinese cities. It now appears that with its first two A330s currently under assembly that is making final preparations for its long-haul launch. The first is due for delivery next month.

 

Chinese carrier Tianjin Airlines will become the latest of the country’s airlines to launch long-haul flights when it takes delivery of at least three Airbus A330-200s from the European manufacturer in the coming months.  These aircraft will be used to debut flights into Europe and North America with London expected to be the first destination to be served by the widebodied equipment.

The HNA Group subsidiary has been allocated up to 20 A330-200s to support growth from Tianjin as an alternative to the capacity constrained Beijing Capital International Airport. The city in northern coastal China and one of the five national central cities of China and in terms of urban population is the fourth largest in China, after Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou.  However, it is its location just 143km southeast of China’s capital with efficient high-speed rail access that adds to its appeal.

Hainan Airlines has already identified Tianjin’s Binhai International Airport as an option for routing flights from other points in mainland China to North America and has previously outlined plans to provide links to both New York and Vancouver via the facility. However, it appears it will be its sister carrier that will be the first to introduce regular long-haul flights from the expanding airport.

Tianjin Airlines was awarded licences by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) last year to introduce flights between Tianjin and both London and Vancouver in conjunction with Chongqing as well as services to Moscow from both Chinese cities.  It now appears that with its first two A330s currently under assembly that is making final preparations for its long-haul launch. The first is due for delivery next month.

As revealed by our Airline Route blog this week, Tianjin Airlines will introduce its twice weekly link between Tianjin and London, via Chongqing from June 25, 2016. The carrier will serve Gatwick Airport in the UK capital with departures on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It is also planning to introduce a four times weekly link to Vancouver from this summer routing Chongqing – Tianjin – Vancouver once it receives its second and third A330s.  The flights to Moscow are also earmarked for launch from late June 2016 and will utilise Sheremetyevo Airport in the Russian capital.

Tianjin Airlines will become the fourth Chinese carrier flying to London, following Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines. Fellow HNA Group carrier, Hainan Airlines has also operated a charter programme to Birmingham and will launch scheduled flights this summer, with the introduction of a scheduled Beijing-Manchester route from June 10, 2016.

The young carrier is little known outside of its home market and has just seven years of operation under its current brand.  It was established in 2004 to bring together the regional activities of Hainan Airlines and the smaller China Xinhua Airlines, Chang An Airlines and Shanxi Airlines and received its operating certificate from CAAC in 2007.  It initially launched as Grand China Express Air, at the time the largest regional carrier in China, but was rebranded as Tianjin Airlines in June 2009.

http://www.routesonline.com/news/29/breaking-news/254110/tianjin-airlines-confirms-london-as-first-long-haul-destination/

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Tianjin airport location map


The Tianjin explosions  (from Wikipedia)

The 2015 Tianjin explosions were a series of explosions that killed over one hundred people and injured hundreds of others which occurred at a container storage station at the Port of Tianjin on Wednesday, 12 August 2015.[4] The first two explosions occurred within 30 seconds of each other at the facility, which is located in the Binhai New Area of Tianjin, China.[5][6] The second explosion was far larger and involved the detonation of about 800 tonnes of ammonium nitrate.[7] Fires caused by the initial explosions continued to burn uncontrolled throughout the weekend, repeatedly causing secondary explosions, with eight additional explosions occurring on Saturday, 15 August.

The cause of the explosions was not immediately known at first,[6] but an investigation concluded in February 2016 that an overheated container of dry nitrocellulose was the cause of the initial explosion.[8]

Poor coverage of the event and the emergency response to it received criticism.[9][10][11] The Chinese government also censored the internet and social media using the words “Tianjin” and “explosion”,[12] and announced it had taken down multiple websites for publishing “false” information.[13]

As of 12 September 2015, the official casualty report was 173 deaths,[2] 8 missing, and 797 non-fatal injuries.[3]

…. More at  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_Tianjin_explosions

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Luton plans light rail link to speed transport, making it a stronger competitor against Gatwick

Luton plans to replace its much-maligned bus transfer service, from the station to the airport, and instead build a light rail link, costing £200 million. The 1.3 mile rail link could cut the journey time from London St Pancras to the Luton airport terminal to less than 30 minutes, which is faster than the time to Gatwick.  It would connect to the terminal from within the Luton Airport Parkway railway station, one level above the platforms.  A normal rail link has not been possible due to the steepness of the climb uphill to the terminal. The automated light rail service will be funded by Luton Borough Council, which owns the airport freehold and owns the necessary land. The role of the council will be controversial and the scheme will need to be scrutinised for conflict of interest.  The airport is spending a further £110 million on redeveloping its terminals and layout to expand capacity from 9 million to 18 million passengers per year by 2020. EasyJet, the biggest airline using Luton, said the redevelopment was a key factor in its pledge to double the size of its operations there over the next decade. A planning application would be made in autumn for work to begin in 2017. The DfT is also working to enable travel between London and Luton by Oyster card or contactless payment by 2018.
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Luton airport to replace bus transfers with £200m light rail link

Link between airport and local train station set to make transfers to London faster than those from Gatwick to capital

By Gwyn Topham, Transport correspondent (Guardian)

Friday 15 April 2016

Luton airport plans to park its much-maligned bus transfer service once and for all and build a £200m light rail link to the nearest railway station.

The fast-track service would make journey times between the capital and Luton airport faster than for those flying via Gatwick, the airport claimed.

The 24-hour, automated light-rail link would replace the buses currently used to transfer travellers between the station and the terminal, making the fastest complete journey from Luton airport to London St Pancras less than 30 minutes.

The 1.3-mile link will be funded by Luton borough council, which owns the airport freehold. While the station is almost adjacent to the airport perimeter, it is around 40 metres downhill from it, making a fixed rail link difficult to build.

Luton airport is spending a further £110m on redeveloping its terminals and layout to expand capacity to 18 million passengers a year by 2020.

The chief executive, Nick Barton, said: “We’re delighted Luton borough council is making the investment. It’s perfect for us: we’ve been on a journey but there’s always been that fundamental gap between the terminal and the very good train service – served by a bus, which just isn’t good enough.”

The rail link would connect to the terminal from within the railway station, one level above the platforms.

Barton said: “It’s raising the game and raising our standard. When you get to Luton Airport Parkway you will think that you’re actually at the terminal.”

EasyJet, the biggest carrier at the airport, welcomed the news, saying the redevelopment was a key factor in its pledge to double the size of its operations there over the next decade.

A planning application would be made in autumn for work to begin in 2017.

While Barton cautioned that it would need to “be scrutinised more closely than a normal application” because of any perceived conflict in the council’s ownership of the airport, which is let as a long-term concession, all of the land required is already owned by the council.

He said Luton was working closely with the Department for Transport to remove barriers to rail travel to the airport, including tackling any ticketing confusion, and allowing passengers to travel between the airport and London using Oyster card or contactless payment by 2018.

Luton would also benefit from the upgrade of Thameslink trains, as well as being served by St Pancras, Barton said.

“The whole train story is just transforming and this is the next big – but very big step – to making that journey superb.”

The news is likely to prompt further chagrin at the rival Stansted airport, where hopes of a fast rail connection to central London have been dampened by Network Rail concluding that upgrades would only shave 2-5 minutes from the current 45-53 minute train journey.

Passenger numbers grew 17% to 12.3 million in 2015 at Luton, which indirectly employs more than 8,600 staff. The airport serves 123 destinations, mainly operated by low-cost and charter airlines.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/apr/15/luton-airport-ends-bus-transfers-fast-track-rail-link

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Luton Airport’s £200m light rail link proposals could see it vying with Gatwick for passengers

15.4.2016 (Business Daily)

New proposals for a £200m light rail link from Luton Airport Parkway train station to London Luton Airport could significantly cut journey times to the airport from central London.

The plans, which have been put together by Luton Borough Council, would see the introduction of driverless trains to ferry air passengers from the train station, replacing the current shuttle service which takes 15 minutes.

Running 24 hours a day, the proposed 1.4 mile rail link would also connect with the airport’s parking facilities and, if approved, could cut journey times from London St Pancras to below 30 minutes according to the airport.

This would make journey times quicker from the middle of the capital than the comparable journey to Gatwick.

The proposals have been designed by developers Arup and are pencilled in for a 2020 completion date, pending planning approval which is due to be submitted in the Autumn.

Nick Barton, chief executive, said: “We’re delighted Luton borough council is making the investment. It’s perfect for us: we’ve been on a journey but there’s always been that fundamental gap between the terminal and the very good train service – served by a bus, which just isn’t good enough.“

“It’s raising the game and raising our standard. When you get to Luton Airport Parkway you will think that you’re actually at the terminal.“

The airport is currently carrying out a £110 million redevelopment of its main terminal and is looking to introduce Oyster ticketing to Luton Airport Parkway by 2018.

https://bdaily.co.uk/industrials/15-04-2016/luton-airports-200m-light-rail-link-proposals-could-see-it-vying-with-gatwick-for-passengers/

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John Stewart wins Sheila McKechnie Long-Term Achievement Award as a campaigner

“1% inspiration and 99% perspiration – the secret to great campaigning” – according to John Stewart, who has been awarded the Long-Term Achievement Award by the Sheila McKechnie Foundation.  John has been an environmental campaigner for over 30 years. In the 1980s and the 1990s he was centrally involved n the campaign against road building. He chaired and organised an umbrella group of campaigners across the UK, fighting a huge expansion plan for motorways and trunk roads.  Then in the 1990s John became involved in campaigning against the aviation industry. He became Chair of HACAN in 2000, and after 2003 chaired a diverse coalition of campaigners which successfully defeated plans for a 3rd Heathrow runway in 2010. John chaired the AirportWatch network until 2014.  He has also been Chair of the Campaign for Better Transport, and the UK Noise Association, as well as being on the steering group of the Campaign Against Climate Change. He has written a number of publications, including “Why Noise Matters”, in 2011.  In 2008 John was voted Britain’s most effective environmental campaigner, by the Independent on Sunday. He is leading campaigns against the current Heathrow 3rd runway threat, and against unacceptable levels of aircraft noise. 
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John Stewart SMK award

John Stewart SMK award 3

John Stewart Long-Term achievement award

 

John Stewart SMK award 1

John Stewart SMK award 2

The Sheila McKechnie Foundation (SMK) was established in 2005 to help develop a new generation of campaigners who are tackling the root causes of injustice. Set up in memory of Dame Sheila McKechnie, SMK is entirely dedicated to helping campaigners create positive and lasting social change.

SMK runs programmes for individuals and groups providing support, advice and a place to share information on key areas of effective campaigning: from strategy, tactics, and targets to evaluating successful campaigns.

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Earlier:

13.10.2008

The Independent on Sunday has come out with its list of the top 100 environmentalists in the UK. It is a quirky list–many of the names are little known to people in Britain, let alone the rest of the world. They have been chosen for the impact they have made, many on local issues, rather than for their great fame. The top environmentalist is John Stewart, a man who has been working quietly for years on transportation issues and now spearheads the campaign against airport runway expansion at Heathrow Airport, outside London.

http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/britains-top-100-environmentalists.html

 

The IoS Green List: Britain’s top 100 environmentalists
Sunday, 12 October 2008

“Britain’s most successful transport campaigner has come top of the first comprehensive list of the country’s most effective greens, compiled by The Independent on Sunday.”

“The little-known John Stewart, who leads the onslaught against a third runway at Heathrow, soundly beats far more high-profile figures – from Jonathon Porritt to Zac Goldsmith, from Sir David Attenborough to Prince Charles – to take the honour. He does so in the wake of an important breakthrough for his campaign – the announcement by the Conservative Party that it plans to scrap the runway in favour of high-speed rail links that would supplant short-haul flights.”

[Sadly the IoS no longer has this story on its website].


 

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Earthshakers: the top 100 green campaigners of all time

28.11.2006

At Number 82 John Stewart, roads campaigner

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2006/nov/28/climatechange.climatechangeenvironment

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London City Airport gets new PR manager – fresh from 10 months as press officer at the DfT

London City Airport has strengthened its comms team with the appointment of the Department for Transport’s Andrew Scott as PR Manager, “as the airport develops plans for expansion and prepares to mark its 30th anniversary in 2017.”  Andrew Scott joins City Airport’s four-strong comms team and will be responsible for campaigns “which promote the airport’s time saving and convenience proposition to customers.”  His role will also include oversight of the UK and 6 key European markets, which are supported by PR agency Grayling.   Scott was a press officer at the DfT for 9 -10 months since July 2015, before that a media officer at the Museum of London, and before that at WPP (a huge advertising and PR company).  Barclaycard’s Kimberley Hayden has also joined City Airport’s comms team as internal comms executive, and will be “responsible for employee engagement, including production of Airport Life magazine, 500 free copies of which are circulated internally each month.”  The head of comms has been Charlotte Beeching, since December 2014. The airport now has new owners – Canadian pension funds – and is hoping to be allowed expansion “which would enable up to 6.5 million passengers by 2025.”
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London City Airport enhances comms team

April 12, 2016

by Richard O’Donnell (Gorkana)

London City Airport has strengthened its comms team with the appointment of the Department for Transport’s Andrew Scott as PR Manager, as the airport develops plans for expansion and prepares to mark its 30th anniversary in 2017.

Scott joins City Airport’s four-strong comms team and will be responsible for campaigns which promote the airport’s time saving and convenience proposition to customers.

His role will also include oversight of the UK and six key European markets, which are supported by PR agency Grayling.

Scott was previously a press officer at the Department for Transport and, before that, a media officer at the Museum of London.

Alongside his appointment, Barclaycard’s Kimberley Hayden has also joined City Airport’s comms team as internal comms executive.

Hayden, a former copywriter at Barclaycard, will be responsible for employee engagement, including production of Airport Life magazine, 500 free copies of which are circulated internally each month.

The enhanced comms team comes as the airport develops further plans for expansion, prepares to mark its 30th anniversary in 2017, and adds to its 48 destinations. This summer the airport will begin new routes to Berlin, Bergerac and Alicante.

Charlotte Beeching, head of comms at City Airport, said: “With record growth, new ownership, millions being invested and major expansion plans in the pipeline, we have an important story to tell. By strengthening the comms team, we will ensure that story is heard loud and clear, to support the future growth of the business.”

The airport is also awaiting the outcome of a public inquiry into its proposed City Airport Development Programme (CADP), which was blocked by the Mayor of London in March 2015.

If approved, the airport plans to add seven new aircraft stands, a parallel taxiway and terminal extensions, which would enable up to 6.5 million passengers by 2025 and open up new routes to the US, Middle East, and Central and Eastern Europe.

http://www.gorkana.com/2016/04/london-city-airport-enhances-comms-team/

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See also – on the issue of “revolving door” between government and the aviation industry:

Revolving door revolves again: Vickie Sheriff (used to work at 10 Downing Street) to be Heathrow head of comms

There have for a long time been concerns about the “revolving door”, by which people switch between working high up in the aviation industry, and working high up in Government. The concern is that they may bring too much influence, from their earlier employer. Now it is announced that Vickie Sheriff it to become head of communications for Heathrow airport. Earlier she had worked for the Prime Minister, in 2013, with a dual role as official deputy spokesperson for the Prime Minister and head of news at Number 10. She went to the DfT and then Diageo in 2014.  Heathrow’s director of PR, Simon Baugh, left earlier this year to work at the Department for Transport to take the role of head of communications. This is the job that was previously held by Vickie Sheriff. (Simon Baugh was not actually meant to be advising ministers on the new runway issue till 1st September, when he had been at the DfT for 6 months).  Heathrow also appointed a new consumer PR agency in the summer. There have been several other high profile examples of the “revolving door” in the past, including Tom Kelly in 2009, who had worked for Tony Blair and then went to BAA as head of comms.   

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/09/revolving-door-revolves-again-vickie-sheriff-used-to-work-at-10-downing-street-to-be-heathrow-head-of-comms/

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London City Airport hires Grayling to target European market

May 29, 2012
by John Owens (PR Week)

London City Airport is set to launch a major comms effort aimed at the European market, amid ambitious growth plans.

The airport has brought in Grayling to help promote its services in Germany, Spain and Ireland, as it seeks to expand from three to eight million passengers a year. The appointment follows a competitive pitch process.

The agency has been handed a retained corporate brief to enhance the airport’s reputation with potential corporate clients.

Grayling’s work takes place against a backdrop of concerns over the need for increased air travel capacity in London. There have been fears around access during the Olympics, following passport control problems at Heathrow.

London City Airport corporate comms director Jeremy Probert said the brief followed a new commercial strategy drawn up to accelerate growth.

‘Part of our commercial strategy is to add new routes and attract airlines – this brief supports that. By enhancing London City Airport’s reputation abroad and communicating the benefits of flying into the airport, we aim to increase passenger numbers, leading to increased frequency, larger aircraft and new airlines.’

He added: ‘It’s now reached the point where outside assistance is needed – specifically outside assistance with a knowledge of the markets in which our key end-of-route targets are located – to support and enhance the work of the in-house comms team and the sales team.’

Ursula Colgan, director of international client services at Grayling, said that the work would emphasise the airport’s convenient proximity to the capital. She explained that the brief would involve teams working in the three countries, with London acting as a hub for the work.

A £4m roster review by BAA, the owner of Heathrow and Stansted airports, is currently under way, in which agencies have been asked to pay around £1,000 to be considered for the work.

http://www.prweek.com/article/1134324/london-city-airport-hires-grayling-target-european-market
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Charlotte Beeching –
Head of Communications, London City Airport since December 2014 – Present (1 year 5 months)
Was External Communications Manager, London City Airport from October 2012 – December 2014 (2 years 3 months)

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Andrew Scott
PR Manager, London City Airport. March 2016 – Present (2 months)
Press Officer, Department for Transport (DfT), July 2015 – Present (10 months)

Senior Account Executive, Burson-Marsteller. October 2010 – August 2012 (1 year 11 months) “My role was as a senior account executive in be more…, the consumer brand marketing arm of Burson-Marsteller, the global public relations firm part of WPP.” (sic)
https://uk.linkedin.com/in/andrew-scott-7b673b2a

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Gatwick promises to reduce plane noise (how?) as Forge Wood residents complain it is worse than expected

Forge Wood is a housing development just north east of Crawley and south east of Gatwick airport. They are in an area less than 2 kilometres from the end of the runway.  The development was permitted by a decision of the High Court partly based on a statement by Gatwick Airport Ltd in 2010 that they ‘had not a shred of interest in a new runway.’ (That comment had been made by Sir David Rowlands, former Chairman GAL in a speech to Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee in January 2010.)  The houses would be right under then flight path, if the 2nd runway was built. The noise is already bad, and one new resident who moved there in October 2015 said the planes are a lot noisier than she anticipated and she wants measures to improve the quality of life for locals. Another resident said: “When we bought our house here we didn’t think the noise would be as bad as it is. If we have the window open the noise of the planes stops us from getting to sleep at night and I’ve been woken up at 4, 5 and 6am. We have a problem with planes both taking off and landing.” Strangely the 5,000 or so people who will live in Forge Wood were not included in the Airports Commission’s numbers of those to be badly affected by plane noise from a 2nd runway. Or some other new housing developments.
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Gatwick promises to reduce plane noise as Forge Wood residents complain it is worse than expected

April 10, 2016

By Chris Ballinger (Crawley News)

Forge Wood noisy

….. there is more general stuff about the Arrivals Review …. the section of the article on Forge Wood states:

Liz Bowie, who has lived in Forge Wood since October, says the planes are a lot noisier than she anticipated and she wants the measures to improve the quality of life for locals.

The 55-year-old, from Somerley Drive, said: “When we bought our house here we didn’t think the noise would be as bad as it is.

“If we have the window open the noise of the planes stops us from getting to sleep at night and I’ve been woken up at 4, 5 and 6am.

“We have a problem with planes both taking off and landing. If these measures reduce the amount of noise we have to put up with, then it will make life a lot better for everyone living at Forge Wood.”

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http://www.crawleynews.co.uk/Gatwick-commits-wide-ranging-measures-reduce/story-29055354-detail/story.html

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From “Gatwick Unwrapped – A critical examination of the plans for a second runway at Gatwick.” January 2015

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Gatwick-Unwrapped-Jan-2015.pdf

An extract, relating to Forge Wood:

19. Noise contours. The Commission estimates that the number of people affected by noise (within the 54 Leq contour – moderate community annoyance) could increase from just under 10,000 to just over 30,000. (Ref: Airports Commission Consultation Document November 2014 paragraph 3.31. 54 leq). A wide range of noise impacts is shown in the Commission’s consultation document, depending on the type of metric used and on the future use of the airport, but they all show that the number of people affected by noise with a new runway would be two or three times as many as at present. (Ref: Permission to build these houses was granted by the High Court, against the wishes of Crawley Borough Council: the judge based his decision partly on assurances given in 2010 by GAL that they had no interest in building a new runway).

20. We will tell the Commission that these figures, however, do not include the 5,000 people who will be moving into the new houses currently being built at Forge Wood, on the north east of Crawley. (These houses were permitted by a decision of the High Court partly based on a statement by Gatwick Airport Ltd in 2010 that they ‘had not a shred of interest in a new runway.’) (Ref: Sir David Rowlands, former Chairman GAL. Speech to Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee January 2010 ). Nor do the figures include the inhabitants of the 500 houses recently given planning permission in Copthorne; nor the inhabitants of the village of Warnham  despite that village being clearly shown under a new flight path from the new runway. (Ref: Airports Commission. Noise: Local Assessment. Chapter 3.2).


 

More  details about Forge Wood

http://www.persimmonhomes.com/forge-wood-10324

Forge Wood off Steers Lane, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 3NH

Forge Wood – an exciting new community

Forge Wood is a new collection of one and two bedroom apartments and two, three, four and five bedroom homes located in the popular town of Crawley. After a great launch we have reserved all of our initially released plots, and have now just released the next plots for sale.

  • A mix of 1 and 2 bed apartments and 2, 3, 4 and 5 bedroom homes
  • Brand new health centre, shops, community building and primary school
  • Convenient links to M23 and M25
  • Close to Gatwick airport
  • Surrounded by woodland
  • Good choice of leisure facilities and amenities nearby

Located on the northern edge of Crawley in West Sussex, Forge Wood is part of an exciting new community which, when complete, will offer its residents a primary school, shops, central parkland, a community building and a health centre. Whether you’re a first time buyer, looking to move up the ladder or searching for your perfect family home, Forge Wood is sure to have what you need.

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ALL plots now reserved!

As well as eventually having its own neighbourhood amenities, Forge Wood is also conveniently close to Crawley’s vibrant and established town centre.

Surrounded by beautiful countryside, the town offers a pleasant environment in which to live and work and is proving to be a popular place to call home. Its historic High Street and County Mall shopping centre, together with convenient transport and parking, draws shoppers from all over the area.

Enjoy the leisure facilities close to Forge Wood

Forge Wood is close to a host of great leisure facilities for all ages. Crawley is renowned for its parks and green open spaces which are all linked by the Crawley Millennium Greenway, a circular route around the town for walkers, runners and cyclists. The popular Tilgate Park boasts just over 400 acres of lakes, gardens and woodland, a par 72 golf course and nature centre. There’s also plenty of entertainment to be found nearby: the Hawth Theatre offers a huge programme of events and is set in woodland with an outside amphitheatre, and Crawley Leisure Park, has a 15-screen cinema, bowling, a wide choice of restaurants and a health club.

Close to Gatwick Airport and a wealth of multinational businesses, Crawley has a thriving job market which makes use of the area’s excellent air, rail and road links.

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2nd runway at Dublin airport threatens Heathrow’s position as main IAG hub

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. 
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Heathrow faces competition from Dublin

By Vincent Boland in Dublin (Financial Times)
7.4.2016

London Heathrow is to face more competition in the battle among Europe’s hub airports after Dublin said it would build a second runway by 2020.

As the UK government continues to postpone a decision on whether to build a third runway at Heathrow, the announcement on Thursday by the Dublin Airport Authority will fuel the debate over whether London’s hub risks being further sidelined by the delay as rival airports move ahead with expansion plans.

The announcement comes a year after Aer Lingus, the Irish flag carrier, was bought by International Airlines Group.  IAG owns British Airways, and as part of its takeover proposal it promised new routes and more long-haul flights from Dublin, where Aer Lingus is one of the two main airline customers, along with Ryanair.

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Full FT article at

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0de6dd58-fcd3-11e5-b3f6-11d5706b613b.html#axzz45SyYMNWg

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The significance of a second runway at Dublin is that it gives Willie Walsh even more of an alternative to a 3rd runway at Heathrow.  After the Dublin runway plans were dropped in 2010, Walsh set in train his alternative:  link up with Madrid and the new routes that offered (particularly to South America, the one continent not well served by Heathrow); buying Heathrow slots of other airlines (which he could convert to long-haul should the market be there) and expanding his base in Dublin.


Earlier:

IAG given clearance by Irish government to buy its 25% shares in Aer Lingus takeover

International Airlines Group (IAG), the owner of British Airways, is set to take over Aer Lingus in a deal that values the airline at €1.4bn after the Irish government agreed to sell them its 25% stake.  The Dublin government’s agreement to sell their stake was critical for the deal to progress. Donohue said: “IAG has provided additional information and certain commitments in relation to its proposal.” IAG has further extended guarantees about routes to Ireland from Heathrow, from five to seven years, although they remain some way short of the decade-long commitment Dublin had sought. The guarantees also are dependent on airport charges being limited to inflation.  The government has secured important guarantees on the maintenance of Aer Lingus’ iconic brand, and its head office staying in Ireland. There are also some assurances over protecting existing Irish jobs at Aer Lingus, which wants to continue to use Irish crew bases. Ryanair still owns 29% of Aer Lingus shares.  About 46% is owned by Aer Lingus. The 24 landing slots Aer Lingus controls at Heathrow are among the most lucrative for BA. The Heathrow-Dublin link is one of the busiest in Europe, and highly profitable.  

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/05/iag-given-clearance-by-irish-government-to-buy-its-25-shares-in-aer-lingus-takeover/

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Dublin Airport may buy 40 homes, already badly affected by noise, in bid to step up 2nd runway plans

Dublin airport was given consent for a 2nd runway in 2007, but due to the recession it was not started. There are now plans to start work in 2017, for completion in 2020, though as much has changed in the years since 2007 on the aviation market, questions are asked about whether the original consent should still be valid. Due to the inevitably increased noise from the 2nd runway, it is likely that around 40 houses (mainly in the St Margaret’s area 2-3km from the airport) would be bought by the airport, and negotiations are planned. Triple glazed window insulation will probably also be suggested for hundreds of other properties including schools. A spokeswoman for the St Margaret’s Concerned Residents Group said the affected 30 home owners in her association are devastated but have no choice. The airport has assessed the level of noise necessitating house purchase based on 90 days of the airport’s busiest months from June to September. Residents, some of whom have been in the area for three generations, fear that a 2nd runway, with increasing frequency, growth in long haul services and more larger aircraft Dublin would compound the noise problem. The 40 homes are those affected now.  (There would be a whole lot more with a 2nd runway).

Click here to view full story…

See also

Heathrow rules out IAG using Dublin as a third runway

By Joel Lewin and Peggy Hollinger in London (Financial Times)

23.2.2015

Heathrow has dismissed suggestions that Dublin could act as a so-called third runway for International Airlines Group, a key argument in IAG’s contentious €1.4bn bid for Aer Lingus.

Advisers to the UK-based airline group have argued that it can expand Aer Lingus by redirecting some transatlantic passengers through Dublin airport, which would free up capacity at London’s congested hub for other routes.

But such arrangements would not relieve the pressure on Heathrow, said John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of the UK’s largest airport, which is campaigning to build a third runway.

“Dublin is a great airport, but if you look at what London needs — more long-haul connections to growing global markets, more export capacity — there is only one solution. To expand Heathrow. Dublin won’t do it, Gatwick won’t do it.”

British Airways, IAG’s flagship airline, is the largest carrier at Heathrow, which is operating at near full capacity on its two runways.

Aer Lingus is based at Dublin airport, which has one runway and, unlike Heathrow, some spare capacity. Gatwick, the UK’s second-largest airport, also has one runway, but wants permission to expand because it is busy at peak periods.

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full FT article at

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/17aec442-bb41-11e4-a31f-00144feab7de.html#axzz45SyYMNWg

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Work to build Dublin 2nd runway could start in 2017 for completion in 2020

Dublin airport is to press ahead with building a 2nd main runway, resurrecting plans that were approved in August 2007 but then put on hold when Ireland was plunged into financial crisis after 2008. The 2 mile runway will be cost about €320 million (£258m) with work starting in 2017. It may be ready by 2020, to meet rising demand. Passenger numbers at Dublin are now back up to where they were before the recession, and although the airport is not yet at full capacity, it is congested at peak hours. There were around 25 million passengers in 2015. Passenger numbers are expected to rise further. Dublin to London is one of the world’s busiest international air routes, while the facility to pre-clear US immigration in Ireland has made Dublin popular with transatlantic travellers. Ireland cut is small charge of €3 on air tickets in 2013, while Northern Ireland continued to charge £13 in APD. Many people therefore travelled from Northern Ireland to Dublin, to save money. Ryanair has over 40% of the flights at Dublin backs the runway, as does IAG. Willie Walsh has said he might consider using Dublin more if Heathrow got a 3rd runway, and raised charges sharply. There are some conditions restricting night flights very slightly, (65 per night 11pm to 7am) with the 2nd runway.

Click here to view full story…

 

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