Lufthansa first airline to use biofuel on commercial flights next spring

29 November 2010   (German Aerospace Centre)

Bio-synthetic kerosene to be used from April 2011

At a joint press conference today, Lufthansa Chairman and CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber,
with Peter Hinze, Parliamentary State Secretary and Government Aerospace Coordinator,
and Professor Dr. Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the Executive Board of the
German Aerospace Center (DLR), presented a biofuel project planned by Lufthansa.
The project is backed by the government within the framework of its aviation research
programme aimed at underpinning the sustainability of air traffic.

In April 2011, Lufthansa is to begin a six-month trial with an Airbus A321 on
scheduled commercial flights on the Hamburg-Frankfurt-
Hamburg route.. Pending certification, one of the aircraft’s engines will use
a 50-50 mix of biofuel and traditional kerosene. The primary purpose of the project
is to conduct a long-term trial to study the effect of biofuel on engine maintenance
and engine life.


During the six months trial, Lufthansa will save around 1,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions, [ no details given of how they get that figure ] said Lufthansa Chief Wolfgang Mayrhuber in Berlin today. “Lufthansa will be the world’s first airline to utilise biofuel in flight operations
within the framework of a long-term trial.
This is a further consistent step in a proven sustainability strategy, which
Lufthansa has for many years successfully pursued and implemented,
” said Mayrhuber.

Peter Hintze, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economics
and Technology, said: “With its aviation research programme (LUFO), the Federal
Government is supporting the German aviation industry in its efforts to master
the technological challenges of establishing a safe and sustainable air traffic
system. That backing is afforded within internationally comparable framework conditions.
About 77 per cent of LUFO funding is directly or indirectly related to the environment
and sustainability. Only an integrated research approach of the like practised
in research networks, above and beyond the classical discrete disciplines, offers
the chance of achieving the ambitious climate protection objectives by 2020 and,
simultaneously, safeguarding the technological competitiveness of the German aviation

The ‘burnFAIR’ project dedicated to the testing of biofuel, unveiled by Lufthansa today, is a successful
example of integrating research efforts for the purpose of realising climate care
objectives. This project is part of an overall “FAIR” initiative (Future Aircraft
Research), in which other issues – alongside biofuel compatibility – such as new
engine and aircraft concepts or other fuels, e.g. liquified natural gas (LNG)
are under study.


The Federal Government is contributing a total of  5 million euros towards the
‘FAIR’ initiative, of the total 2.5 million euros is earmarked for the Lufthansa
‘burnFAIR’ project.

Prof. Dr. Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the Executive Board of the German
Aerospace Center (DLR), dwelt on the project background at the Berlin press conference:
“Our ‘burnFAIR’ project is designed to research the long-term alternatives to
conventional aviation jet fuel. The object is to gather data on pollutants from
biofuel in comparison with conventional kerosene over a longer period. The measured
pollution pattern related to diverse stresses in flight and the composition of
the exhaust gases will allow us not only to draw conclusions about the compatibility
of biofuel but also about the maintenance needs of aircraft engines. Since, above
all, we expect a significant reduction in soot particles.”

Lufthansa is currently making intensive preparations for the practical tests.
Aside from the actual research project, the acquisition of biofuel in sufficient
volume and the complex logistics it involves is proving a challenge in the run-up
to the trial. The aircraft, for example, will be fuelled only in Hamburg. Furthermore,
an array of internal processes must be modified, since Lufthansa does not normally
deploy a plane exclusively on a single route, but always in a rotation chain on
flights to different destinations.

The project will cost Lufthansa an estimated €6.6 million.   “We know that biofuel is an issue we must address carefully. We can see the
opportunities this fuel offers and give serious attention to the debate on the
requisite raw materials.   But we first want to acquire experience in daily practice
in the use of biofuels.   We are doing pioneering work in that no other airline
to date has operated an aircraft engine with biofuel over a longer term,” observed
Wolfgang Mayrhuber. “Our fuel is sustainable. No rain forest will be deforested for Lufthansa biofuel.  
In the procurement of biofuel, we ensure it originates from a sustainable supply
and production process. Our licensed suppliers must provide proof of the sustainability
of their processes.”
    [but see earlier article mentioning use of palm oil     link   ]

Production of the bio-synthetic kerosene utilised by Lufthansa rests on the basis
of pure biomass (Biomass to Liquid- BTL). The producer is Neste Oil, a fuel refining
and marketing company from Finland. The company has years of experience in biofuel
production and has cooperated with Lufthansa for many years. Certification of
its biofuel is expected in March 2011.

The use of biofuel is one element in a four-pillar strategy aimed at reducing
overall emissions in air traffic. Ambitious environmental goals can only be achieved
in future with a combination of various measures, like ongoing fleet renewal,
operational measures such as engine washing and infrastructural improvements.
Projects dedicated to these themes are also underway under the aegis of the aviation
research programme. Thanks to new technologies, Lufthansa has improved its fuel
efficiency by 30 per cent since 1991. Average fuel consumption per passenger is
now down to 4.3 litres of kerosene over 100 kilometres.


see also
an earlier article, in Aviation Week   29.11.2010, said
Lufthansa will use NExBTL renewable jet fuel produced by Finland’s Neste Oil.  
NExBTL is a bio-SPK produced via a hydrotreatment process from feedstocks including
palm oil, rapeseed oil and animal fat.  

Neste says it is also looking at other feedstocks such as jatropha.
Elsewhere on the biofuels front we had Brazilian airline TAM’s Nov. 22 test flight
of an A320 on a 50% biofuel blend produced from jatropha by Honeywell company
UOP.   And on Nov. 18, the U.S. Navy flew a Sikorsky MH-60S helicopter on a 50%
biofuel blend produced by camelina, again using UOP’s hydrotreatment process.

see also


Biofuel approval nears, Lufhansa plans service trial in spring 2011 – fuel partly
from palm oil

29th November 2010       With the aviation fuels subcommittee of standards-setter ASTM  to meet next week to decide on approval of bio-jet fuels, Lufthansa has announced
plans for a 6-month in-service trail of a 50:50 mix of biofuel and conventional
kerosene using an Airbus A321.   ASTM has already approved 50% blends of synthetic
paraffinic kerosenes (SPKs) produced from coal, natural gas or biomass using the
Fischer-Tropsch process. The bio-SPKs  may be next, by March 2011.       Click here to view full story…

Palm Oil:
These are the two creative Kit-kat makeover video clips – against use of palm
oil devastating orangutan habitat, made  by Greenpeace:   (German)

Read more »

BA launches new route from London City to Chambery (for skiing not business)

28.11.2010 (Yahoo news)

British Airways is extending its route network from London City Airport with
the launch of a new flight to Chambery, the gateway to the French Alps,  on December

The service, by BACityFlyer, the wholly owned subsidiary of British Airways,
will operate four times a week from 18th December until the end of March 2011,
using the airline’s fleet of brand new Embraer 190 aircraft.
Flights to Chambery ( will depart on Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with flights from the
French ski destination back to London on Mondays, Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Luke Hayhoe, BA CityFlyer commercial manager said: “Our schedule is ideally set
up to give our customers the opportunity to spend a long weekend, a full week,
or even longer, skiing on some of the world’s best slopes and resorts.

“Only a few short hours after taking off from London’s Docklands, our customers
can be in a winter wonderland of 120 ski resorts, all set amidst the majesty and
splendour of the French and Swiss Alps.”

Chambery is a great base for ski holidays ( and British Airways offers a selection of hand picked hotels in countless world-class
ski areas close by. By booking Avis car hire, customers will have great flexibility
to make up their perfect ski holiday. Espace Killy which is home to the renowned
Val d’Isere and Tignes val Claret resorts and the Three Valleys including Brides
les Bains are within easy reach – meaning a Chambery break is perfect for skiers
and snowboarders of all abilities.

Customers can choose the four-star Chalet Hotel Kava in the Belleville Valley,
the most authentic of the Three Valleys, which benefits from a magnificent placement
on the slopes. Or, stay in Bride Les Bains where British Airways offer stays in
the charming three-star Amelie hotel, located conveniently close to the cable
car, the family run two-star L’Hotel Athena or the modern two-star La Vanoise.
The three-star L’Oree des Pistes in Les Deux Alpes is ideal for ski breaks.

Rather odd, as the airport claims it is devoted to helping business flights and
assisting the hard press folk of the City to get to their vital business destinations.
The London City Airport website says, under About Us:
“London City Airport is the UK’s leading business airport serving over 30 destinations
across the UK and Europe and connections to the rest of the world through major
European hubs


“The only airport actually in London, London City Airport is less than a mile
from world-class events venue ExCeL London; just two miles from the site of the
2012 Olympic Games; three miles from Canary Wharf and six miles from the City
of London. Passengers travelling to and from the airport enjoy fast transfers
on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) with a journey time of 22 minutes to Bank
and 14 minutes to Poplar (connecting to Canary Wharf).

“The airport’s location is on the doorstep of London’s financial district is
considered vital to business and plays an integral part in keeping up with the
growth of the UK’s capital city. London City Airport receives considerable support
from the business community who recognise the convenient location and ease of
use with faster check-in times than any other London airport.

Checking in

“London City Airport boasts the lowest check-in times compared to any other airport
in London.

Designed with the business traveller in mind

“The Departure Lounge at London City Airport utilises soft, warm materials including
timber and polished limestone floors; marble surfaces and leather seating throughout.

“By observing the needs of passengers, London City Airport has configured the
departure lounge with numerous laptop plug-in points and complimentary Wi-Fi access.
The lounge offers passengers an uncluttered environment where they can continue
to work using smartphone devices or laptops, or relax in tranquility with the
‘silent departure lounge policy of no tannoy announcements or boarding calls.”
and to see the range of destinations offered by London City Airport (just how
much business is really being done in Ibiza, or in Brive (Dordogne) or Deauville
or Palma, as well as Chambery?

Read more »

Aberdeen Airport’s £10m runway 124 metre extension goes ahead starting March

29.11.2010 (BBC)
The airport runway extension is expected to begin in March
A £10m extension of Aberdeen Airport’s main runway is to finally take off, it
has been announced.  
Aberdeen City Council has already approved the extension (December 2006) and
now airport operator BAA has said work will begin in March.

It is expected to finish in the summer of 2012.

The total length of the runway extension is 124m.   Airport managing director Derek Provan said it followed years of “planning
and hard work”.

He said: “It is impossible to understate the impact that this could have on the
whole of the north east.

“It opens up new destinations at the same time as allowing our existing carriers
to work more efficiently.”

Bob Collier, chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said:
“This long-awaited announcement is fantastic news.”

Tom Smith, chairman of Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future (Acsef), added:
“Transport and connectivity are key to achieving economic growth and enhancing
the quality of life in the region.

“We hope it will act as a catalyst for further infrastructure and development
that will encourage businesses to remain in this region and attract new businesses
here in the future.”

Groups including Aberdeen Against Climate Change had objected to the plans.
Airport protesters  2006

And nine protesters from campaign group Plane Stupid, were convicted after causing
disruption at the airport in March last year.

They were seeking to stop any airport expansion, claiming it would raise carbon



Related BBC news items

Read more »

12 die as mercy flight freighter crashes just after take off in Karachi

28.11.2010 (IFW)

by Mike King

Aircraft carrying relief aid turned into a fireball and exploded

12 die as mercy flight freighter crashes in Pakistan (VIDEO)

A Russia-built freighter crashed in Karachi in the early hours of yesterday morning
killing at least 12 people.  

The Ilyushin Il-76 (similar to the one pictured above)  was understood to be carrying
31 tonnes of relief aid to Khartoum in Sudan.  

The plane came down minutes after take-off from Karachi’s Jinnah International
Airport. It crashed into a residential construction site, killing all eight crew
and at least four people on the ground.  

"It took off from Karachi at 1.45am [local time] and, as it took off it caught
fire and immediately crashed," said Pervaiz George, a spokesman for Pakistan’s
Civil Aviation Authority.

He said the pilot had not communicated with the airport’s control tower prior
to the crash.  

Local reports said the plane "turned into a fireball in the sky" and then exploded
on impact with the ground, setting ablaze and destroying several buildings.  

"I saw one of its wings was burning and there was a blast and fire engulfed the
aircraft very quickly," said local resident Riaz Ahmed.  

Seven of the freighter’s crew were Ukrainians and one was a Russian.  

Reports suggest the operator of the plane was Sun Way Airlines, but as IFW went to press, it was unclear where the company was based.

Pakistan has been the scene of a number of air tragedies this year. A passenger
aircraft chartered to an international oil company crashed this month in Karachi,
killing all 21 people onboard.

In July, 152 people were killed on an airliner that crashed in the mountains
near the capital city of Islamabad.

link to article



see also


Russian cargo plane crashes in Pakistan, 10 killed, 7 injured

28th, November 2010         (Sudanjem)  

Islamabad       At least ten people were killed and seven were injured when a Sudan-bound
cargo plane crashed Sunday morning in Southern Karachi port city of Pakistan,
said officials.

The Russian-made Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft, en route to Sudanese capital Khartoum,
crashed at 1:45 am local time into a residential compound in Gulshan-e-Jamal area
of the city, only ninety seconds after it had taken off from the Quad-i-Azam airport,
said Pervez George, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) spokesman.

 Spokesman George said that all eight Russian crew members were killed in the
accident and about seven people on ground sustained injuries. Later, the rescuers
pulled out two more dead bodies, bringing the death toll to ten.

The plane came from UAE and was loaded with thirty tones of air freight. The
cause of the crash was not immediately available.

A huge blaze set off after the crash and it engulfed to nearby two under-construction
buildings, where residential apartments and offices for Navy and Air Force were
being built. Commodore Khalid of Pakistan Navy said that the fire was extinguished
after about an hour.

Local news channels showed burnt debris of plane scattered over an area of one
kilometer and rescuers were using huge cranes to find any survivors or buried
people. They said that several of the bodies pulled out were mutilated beyond

This was the second crash in less than a month in Karachi. Earlier, on November
5th, an aircraft of an Italian oil company crashed only minutes after it took-off
near the airport. All 21 people on board were killed.




 Air Freighter accidents

Unfortunately, being older aircraft and with less attention to safety in some
countries, there are far more accidents to frieght aircraft that to passenger
More …..


Read more »

Biofuel approval nears, Lufhansa plans service trial in spring 2011 – fuel partly from palm oil

Palm oil will be a major component of the first commercial test flights by Lufthansa
with biofuel blends  

29.11.2010   (Aviation Week)              and Neste Oil Corp press release below
Posted by Graham Warwick
With the aviation fuels subcommittee of standards-setter ASTM International   to meet next week to decide on approval of bio-jet fuels, Lufthansa has announced
plans for a six-month in-service trail of a 50:50 mix of biofuel and conventional
kerosene using an Airbus A321.

It will be the most thorough trial to date of long-term suitability of biofuels
and is contingent on ASTM approval of so-called “bio-synthetic paraffinic kerosenes”
(bio-SPKs) for use in aircraft in blends up to 50%. Bio-SPKs are synthetic jet
fuels produced from vegetable oil or animal fat via a hydrotreatment process.
ASTM has already approved 50% blends of synthetic paraffinic kerosenes (SPKs)
produced from coal, natural gas or biomass using the Fischer-Tropsch process.  
This resulted in a new specification for jet fuel containing synthesized hydrocarbons
– ASTM D7566.     F-T SPKs [  Fischer-Tropsch   synthetic paraffinic kerosenes ]  formed the first annexe; bio-SPKs will be next.
A ballot to approve bio-SPKs failed in June, but this was expected. Those who
voted against approval, mainly engine manufacturers, wanted more testing of different
biofuels from different feedstocks and different producers. The result was more
engine testing, to provide additional data ahead of next week’s vote.
The subcommittee meeting, in Jacksonville, Florida, is expected to approve bio-SPK
blends. If it does, the full ASTM committee is likely to approve and release the
amended D7566 specification in February or March next year. That would clear the
way for Lufthansa’s in-service trial using an A321 flying between Hamburg and

Lufthansa will use NExBTL renewable jet fuel produced by Finland’s Neste Oil.  
NExBTL is a bio-SPK produced via a hydrotreatment process from feedstocks including
palm oil, rapeseed oil and animal fat.  
Neste says it is also looking at other feedstocks such as jatropha.
Elsewhere on the biofuels front we had Brazilian airline TAM’s Nov. 22 test flight
of an A320 on a 50% biofuel blend produced from jatropha by Honeywell company
UOP.   And on Nov. 18, the U.S. Navy flew a Sikorsky MH-60S helicopter on a 50%
biofuel blend produced by camelina, again using UOP’s hydrotreatment process.
link to article
see also
Neste Oil’s press release:;41;540;1259;1260;13292;16552

Lufthansa to begin flights in the spring powered by renewable fuel

29.11.2010   (from Neste Oil Corporation)
Lufthansa to begin flights in the spring powered by renewable fuel from Neste
Oil.   Neste Oil and Lufthansa have signed a cooperative arrangement that will
see Lufthansa begin commercial flights using Neste Oil’s NExBTL renewable jet
fuel next spring. [  ]
The agreement represents a major step forward for both companies, as this is
the first time that renewable

fuel is announced to be used on normal scheduled flights.

Flights will begin after official approval has been received from the ASTM (American
Society for Testing and Materials (  ) allowing the use of jet fuel produced using Neste Oil’s NExBTL technology.  
This is expected to take place in spring 2011.

Lufthansa’s flight program is part of a development project supported by the
German Ministry of Economics and Technology that in addition to Lufthansa involves
companies such as MTU and Deutsche Airbus as well

as a number of universities.  
During the initial phase, flights will take place between Frankfurt and Hamburg
(Germany). The aircraft on

the route will use a blend of 50% NExBTL jet fuel and 50% fossil-based jet fuel
in one engine, while the other engine will use conventional jet fuel.

“Lufthansa and Neste Oil are leading the field in moving towards greener aviation,
and we’re very pleased to be able to announce that we will now be working together,”
says Lufthansa’s Joachim Buse, Vice

President Aviation Biofuel.     “In addition to a smaller carbon footprint, renewable
jet fuel will also reduce emissions of pollutants such as SOx.”

“We’re very proud of the fact that our NExBTL technology is capable of meeting
aviation needs,” says Matti Lievonen, Neste Oil’s President and CEO.   “Aviation
fuels are covered by very strict quality standards,

and our NExBTL technology has proved that it can produce a fuel meeting these
standards.   Being a pioneer in this area is very positive for us, as it could
open up major business opportunities in the


Fuel quality is a critical issue in the aviation industry. Aviation fuel needs
to have a high energy content and be capable of dealing with the very cold temperatures
found at the altitudes aircraft travel.   As a pure hydrocarbon with a chemical
composition identical to that of conventional jet fuel, Neste Oil’s NExBTL renewable
jet fuel meets all these requirements.

Under a target agreed by the member airlines of the International Air Transport
Association (IATA), future growth of aviation will be carbon-free from 2020, which
will require the large-scale adoption of renewable fuels.   Flights to and from
EU destinations will be included in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme from 2012
onwards.   Airlines will then be required either to offset their emissions using
emission certificates or use renewable fuels.   In contrast to road traffic, aviation
will not be covered by a biofuel mandate, however.

Neste Oil Corporation

Hanna Maula

Director, Corporate Communications

Neste Oil in brief [the company’s own blurb]


Neste Oil Corporation is a refining and marketing company concentrating on low-emission,
high-quality traffic fuels. The company is the world’s leading supplier of renewable
diesel. Neste Oil’s refineries are located at Porvoo and Naantali in Finland and
have a combined crude oil refining capacity of approx. 260,000 bbl/d.     The company
had net sales of EUR 9.6 billion in 2009, employs around 5,000

people, and is listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki.

Neste Oil is included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and is featured
in the Ethibel Pioneer Investment Register.   It has been awarded ‘Best in Class’
recognition for its social accountability by

the Norwegian bank, Storebrand, and is on Innovest’s Global 100 list of the world’s
most sustainable corporations.     Forest Footprint Disclosure (FFD) has ranked
Neste Oil as the best performer in the oil

& gas sector.   Further information:

NExBTL technology in brief

Neste Oil uses its proprietary NExBTL hydrogenization technology to produce jet
fuel from renewable raw materials such as vegetable oil and animal fat.   The greenhouse
gas emissions of NExBTL renewable jet

fuel, as calculated over the fuel’s entire life cycle, are 40-80% lower than
those of fossil-based jet fuel.
NExBTL renewable diesel has been in use on the road for a number of years and
extensive tests have

shown that it can be used at up to 100% content in cars, trucks, and buses without
any problems. Neste Oil supplies the Finnish market with Neste Green diesel, which
contains a minimum of 10% renewable content.

Neste Green diesel complies with the EN590 standard and has been developed in
cooperation with leading automotive manufacturers.

Comment from an AirportWatch member:

However, it’s the main feedstock for Neste’s NExBTL hydrotreated

biofuels.   Having just opened the world’s biggest biodiesel refinery

(100% palm oil) in Singapore, which could be more easily converted to

produce jet fuel than other companies’ biodiesel refineries (since

they already use hydrotreatment, the main step towards producing jet

fuels from vegetable oil), they are clearly in the best position for

becoming the first commercial supplier of aviation agrofuels.

Read more »

Revealed: Newcastle Airport scandal that could cost taxpayers millions

27.11.2010 (Journal live)

NORTH East taxpayers could bear the brunt of a huge debt worth hundreds of millions
of pounds after two airport bosses were paid sky-high bonuses for simply taking
out a loan, The Journal can reveal.

Newcastle International Airport Ltd, which is partly-owned by the region’s seven
councils, had agreed a £377m mortgage as part of a refinancing deal with the Royal
Bank of Scotland in 2006.

But documents seen by The Journal reveal that the then executive directors, John
Parkin and Lars Friis, had it written into their contracts that they received
a percentage of the loan amount as a bonus.

Former chief executive Mr Parkin was due to receive 2% of the mortgage and former finance director
Mr Friis was to receive 1%.

The decision to allow the bonuses was made by a remuneration committee of five
people – but the decision was not made public.

The airport company is now suing the legal advisers who drafted the confidential
contract in an attempt to claw back some of the millions paid to the two executive
directors, who no longer work for the airport.

Fears are growing it will be left to the region’s seven local authorities, known
as LA7, to clear much of the airport debt, believed to be around £325m, before
it refinances again in 2013.

Nick Brown, former Government minister for the North East and Newcastle East
MP, said: "This is one of the great contemporary scandals. The behaviour of everyone
involved is indefensible."

Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central, said: "Newcastle Airport is a critical
part of the region’s economic infrastructure, and half owned by council tax payers.

"So it has to be managed transparently and in the interests of the whole region.
Paying multi-million pound bonuses and over-leveraging the assets would certainly be grave mismanagement, but attempting to cover it up worse

Mr Parkin, now chief executive of Leeds Bradford Airport, was suspended after
details emerged of the controversial £8.5m bonus package paid to him and Mr Friis,
who has since died. The airport launched legal action against the pair but an
out-of-court settlement was reached in October 2008 and all parties entered into
a confidentiality agreement.

more news and information about Newcastle Airport

Read more »

bmi asks CAA to review BAA’s plans for higher charges on domestic flights

27.11.2010   (Flightline)

by Harold Dickenson

Leading British airline, British Midland International (bmi), has complained
to the airport regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), about BAA’s plans
to introduce higher charges for domestic passengers flying out of London Heathrow


BAA recently announced that, from April 2011, it intends to raise charges by
over 50% for each departing domestic passenger.


The rate would increase from £13.43 to £20.25 per passenger, a move seen as unacceptable
by bmi as domestic passengers do not use the same BAA facilities, such as customs
and immigration channels, as those travellers flying outside of UK borders.


In light of these issues bmi has informed CAA that they are preparing an action
under section 41 of the Airport’s Act 1986. bmi has asked the CAA to investigate
the conduct of BAA as it believes the airport operator is unreasonably discriminating
against domestic operations from London Heathrow.


Wolfgang Prock Schauer, chief executive officer, bmi, said:

"It is clear that BAA is unfairly penalising domestic passengers at Heathrow
and discriminating against airlines flying between Heathrow and Scotland and Northern

"BAA is favouring long-haul airlines and neglecting the needs of local, UK airlines
serving the domestic and Northern Ireland markets.

"BAA’s plans will cause huge inconvenience and higher costs for travellers and
so we have written to the CAA to make it clear that we will be seeking legal remedies
under the Airports Act 1986. Without doubt, these planned higher charges by BAA
would damage the economic links between Heathrow and key regions across the UK.

"bmi has written to the political decision makers in Scotland and in Northern
Ireland to outline the damage that BAA’s higher charges would do to the economy.
We are receiving enormous support from Scotland and Northern Ireland on a political
level and from the business community."

link to article





see also




Telegraph       5.11.2010

Airlines criticise 50 per cent rise in Heathrow fees

Increasing cost of domestic flights will hit passenger numbers, say British Airways
and Bmi.

by Oliver Smith

New charges at Heathrow that will increase the cost of domestic flights have
been attacked by two of Britain’s leading airlines.

Departure fees on all of Heathrow’s domestic services will rise by more than
50 per cent in April – from £13.43 to £20.25 per passenger – in one of a series
of changes announced by BAA, the company that owns seven principal airports.

Flights departing from Heathrow to other British airports are now subject to
the same fees as European services. Bmi described the move as “unjustifiable”
and said it would consider taking legal action against BAA.

“The new charges will lead to higher prices for domestic flights and will cause
massive inconvenience to travellers,” said Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, Bmi’s chief
executive. “They will also be a major blow to the economies of Scotland and Northern
Ireland, which depend heavily on air connectivity to and from Heathrow.”

He added that domestic passengers did not use the same BAA facilities as travellers
flying abroad.

A spokesman for British Airways, which operates 40 per cent of flights to and
from Heathrow, said the increase in charges would result in “a decline in passenger
numbers from regional airports”.

Last month Telegraph Travel reported that the number of domestic flights had fallen by a fifth since 2005.   Both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have called for
Britons to travel by train for all domestic journeys
– an idea dismissed by Mr Prock-Schauer.

“Suggestions that passengers should use trains can only be labelled as cynical,
considering the over‑water journey to Belfast and the length of train journeys
to Scotland,” he said.

Train fares are also likely to rise by as much as 10 per cent a year over the next four years following cuts to the DfT budget, announced in October’s
Spending Review.

Other changes disclosed this week – also effective from April – include a restructuring
of Heathrow’s landing charges, with discounts offered to quieter, cleaner and
fuller aircraft.    In an effort to encourage Britons at regional airports to travel
to long-haul destinations via Heathrow, a 25% reduction in duties on transfer
passengers was also announced.
  Given the rise in charges at Heathrow, however, passengers from the regions
are unlikely to be any better off.

Colin Matthews, BAA’s chief executive, said: “The changes we are making seek
to ensure that Heathrow moves with the times in rewarding airlines that fly modern,
efficient aircraft,” he said.

BAA said it had no plans to extend the changes to its other airports.


link to article

Read more »

Boris Johnson to press for Thames Estuary airport

25.11.10 ( Evening Standard)

by Pippa Crerar, City Hall Editor

Boris Johnson will formally take his case for a new hub airport in the South-East
to Transport Secretary Philip Hammond, it emerged today.

His deputy at Transport for London, Daniel Moylan, said he would argue for the
option to be included in the Government’s first aviation review.

Environmental groups and residents have launched a fierce campaign against plans
for a Thames Estuary airport.   Ministers have repeatedly poured cold water on
the proposal on cost grounds and David Cameron has ruled out more runways at Heathrow,
Gatwick and Stansted.

But business groups believe airport expansion is essential for the growth of
London’s economy.

In a speech to aviation chiefs, Mr Moylan said London needed a world-class hub
airport if it was to compete and prosper internationally. He said that adding
runways "here and there", or high-speed rail links, were not the answers to a
growing UK market of 230 million passengers a year.

"London’s prosperity depends on its excellent connections with other world cities,
but that will be at risk if we don’t develop a hub airport to meet the growing
demand for air travel," he said.

"The Mayor will be making the case to the Secretary of State to include the need
for a new hub airport in the Department for Transport’s review. There is a broad
consensus in the business community that new airport capacity for the capital
is essential."

Mr Moylan is working on a report for the Mayor which will consider all options
for expanding airport capacity in London. The favourite so far is a hub airport,
replacing Heathrow, on an island in the Thames Estuary.

Stephen Joseph, of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: "It is about time
that we focused on making our existing airports better, rather than building new


see also

Prime Minister  rules out Thames Estuary airport plan 

The government has ruled out proposals to build a major airport in the Thames
Estuary or Kent to increase flight capacity for London.
The Prime Minister told the House of Commons the government had no plans to construct
a new airport in the area. M
ayor of London Boris Johnson has been considering plans for a new airport in
Kent and the Thames Estuary, and wants
to increase flight capacity around London without expanding Heathrow – saying
it was “vital that a location for extra runway capacity was found for London to
remain one of the leading world cities.”   Back in December 2003, the government
decided to leave Cliffe out of its airport expansion plans.   Bird strike would be a very real problem, not to mention devastating effects
on bird populations  and special protected areas of habitat.  
27.10.2010       More …..  

DfT work plan published. Aviation scoping document will be published March 2011


The  DfT  has produced its Business Plan 2011-2015 which it says  will be refreshed
annually.  Its
Section 5 is entitled “Promote sustainable aviation”.    It wants to create a “sustainable” framework (definition unclear) for aviation in the UK,
improve passenger experience at airports and maintain high standards of safety
and security for passengers and freight. The  scoping document will be published
in March 2011 and the consultation will  be March to July 2012.       11.11.2010      
Click here to view full story…


more news and information about Boris Island airport

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Airline financing rift deepens as new alliance wants more subsidies to buy planes


A Financial Times article by Pilita Clark says :

Ryanair and Emirates have taken the unusual step of joining forces with eight
other airlines as a multibillion-dollar row over aircraft financing starts to
split the world’s largest airlines into two rival camps. The Irish budget airline
and Dubai’s Emirates normally shun industry alliances. But yesterday they revealed
they had teamed up with carriers such as Etihad of Abu Dhabi, Korean Air, Norwegian
and Australia’s Virgin Blue to block what they say are dangerous attempts to curb
the use of export credit agency backing for passenger jet purchases.    
Full article at

Many US and European  airlines are arguing it is not fair that an informal agreement
known as the home market rule prevents them from obtaining export credit support
to buy their aircraft on what they say are the "significantly cheaper" terms available
to Ryanair, Emirates etc.

The home country rule, which dates back to the 1980s, prohibits countries where
Boeing and Airbus aircraft are built – the US, Germany, France, the UK and Spain
– from providing export credit agency backing to their own airlines to help them
buy aircraft.

The problem has become worse during the recession,   because  export credit support
has  grown to unprecedented levels as banks and other traditional sources of aircraft
financing  were less available to airlines.  

BA and the other airlines in countries that build planes want the home market
rule to be scrapped. They also want  export credit support levels limited to  20%
of aircraft deliveries and the price of export credit financing raised.

Aviation Alliance airlines say there would be certain airlines who simply couldn’t
finance aircraft without the help of export credit.
The issue is coming to a head now as new global rules are  due to be finalised
by the end of 2010 through the Paris-based OECD (the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development).
It is not clear if the home market rule will be scrapped.
Full article at
see also
Wall Street Journal

Airlines Press for Access to Subsidies

Ten global airlines that are among the biggest beneficiaries of U.S. and European
subsidies to buy jetliners called for an easing of rules on aircraft-export guarantees
to defuse an international dispute on the issue.

The carriers, including Ireland’s Ryanair Holdings PLC, Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways from the United Arab Emirates, and
Korean Air, said at a news conference Thursday in London that airlines from all
countries should be eligible for government support in buying planes from Airbus
Boeing Co.

Under an informal agreement between the U.S. and European governments in 1986,
airlines from the home countries of Boeing and Airbus may not receive government
export support on the companies’ planes. Airbus is a unit of
European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co.

Twenty-four airlines from the home countries—the U.S., France, Germany, the U.K.
and Spain—in October complained to their governments that the current arrangement
is unfair. Many carriers in the ineligible group want access to export-credit
financing, while some want it limited for all airlines from developed countries.


Export credit, which mainly consists of government guarantees to support commercial
loans for airlines to buy planes, currently underpins more than 30% of Airbus
and Boeing deliveries.

The 10 airlines, calling themselves the Aviation Alliance, are some of the biggest
buyers of airliners today. They want to ensure that export financing isn’t closed

“We care caught in the cross fire,” Ryanair Chief Financial Officer Howard Millar
said in an interview.

Talks on international rules for government support to jetliner exports are under
way at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris. OECD
officials declined to comment on the status of the yearlong negotiations.

Countries involved have said they want to revise existing rules by the end of
this year, although some officials have said the talks could slip into next year.

The once-arcane subject of export credit has gained more prominence since the
recent credit crisis. Before the crisis, airlines from the five home countries
were able to fund airplane purchases inexpensively through highly developed capital
markets. But since financial markets froze up in 2008, commercial financing became
more expensive than funding backed by U.S. and European government guarantees.

“Export credit financing is essential to the continued growth of the aviation
industry,” the Aviation Alliance said in a statement. “We have come together today
to call for the extension of export credits to all airlines in the U.S. and Europe,
irrespective of whether they are based in a country which manufactures aircraft.”

Other airlines in the alliance are Cargolux of Luxembourg, Norwegian, Oman Air,
Pegasus of Turkey, Virgin Blue from Australia and Wizz Air from Hungary.

The group said the changes it proposed would “protect hundreds of thousands of
jobs.” Airlines from the Airbus and Boeing home countries have said export credit
hurts them and costs airline jobs.

The home-market rule developed because the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which supports
foreign sales of American products, is forbidden from financing Boeing’s domestic
sales. To establish a level playing field between Boeing and upstart Airbus in
the 1980s, both agreed not to seek export-credit support for sales into the other’s
home market.

Mr. Millar called for an end to the home-market rule. “American carriers that
wish to buy Airbus should have access to export credit,” he said.

Industry officials say that’s unlikely to happen because Airbus could then have
a financing advantage over Boeing in the U.S. Because Airbus is based in four
countries, its home-country customers could theoretically get export support from
the other three countries.

A spokesman for Boeing said the company would need to see more details of the
group’s proposal before making a comment.

An Airbus spokeswoman said the company supports expanding access to export guarantees
“as long as the instrument remains economically workable for its original purpose,”
which includes helping “to support the stability of aircraft manufacturing.”
how export credit guarantees work is explained at

Read more »

Greenhouse gases at record levels: UN agency. CO2 at 387 ppm in October at Mauna Loa

26.11.2010    (Planet Ark)
Concentrations of the main greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached their
highest level since pre-industrial times, the World Meteorological Organization
(WMO) said on Wednesday.

Concentrations of the gases continued to build up in 2009 – the latest year of
observations – despite the economic slowdown, the U.N. weather agency said in
its latest Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.  [The level of CO2 measured at Mauna Loa was 387.18 ppm in October 2010   – see
below  ].

Rises in the amount of greenhouse gases increase radiation in the atmosphere,
warming the surface of the Earth and causing climate change.

“The main long-lived greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous
oxide have reached their highest recorded levels since the beginning of the industrial
age, and this despite the recent economic slowdown,” WMO Deputy Secretary-General
Jeremiah Lengoasa told a briefing.

The findings will be studied at a U.N. meeting in Cancun, Mexico, from November
29 to December 10 to discuss climate change.

Total radiative forcing of all long-lived greenhouse gases – the balance between
radiation coming into the atmosphere and radiation going out – increased by 1.0%
in 2009 and rose by 27.5% from 1990 to 2009, the WMO said.

The growth rates for carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide were smaller than in 2008,
but this had only a marginal impact on the long-lasting concentrations.

It would take about 100 years for carbon dioxide to disappear from the atmosphere
if emissions stopped completely.

Carbon dioxide is the single most important greenhouse gas caused by human activity,
contributing 63.5 percent of total radiative forcing. Its concentration has increased
by 38 percent since 1750, mainly because of emissions from burning fossil fuels,
deforestation and changes in land use, the WMO said.

Natural emissions of methane due for example to the melting of the Arctic icecap
or increased rainfall on wetlands – themselves caused by global warming – are
becoming more significant, it said.

This could create a “feedback loop” in which global warming releases large quantities
of methane into the atmosphere which then contribute to further global warming.

These natural emissions could be the reason why methane has increased in the
atmosphere over the past three years after nearly a decade of no growth, the WMO

Human activities such as cattle-rearing, rice planting, fossil-fuel exploitation
and landfills account for 60 percent of methane emissions, with natural sources
accounting for the rest.

(Editing by Tim Pearce)
Observations from the   Mauna Loa Observatory, in Hawaii, show that in October
2010 the level of CO2 in the atmosphere was 387.18 ppm.   This is up from 384.36
in October 2009 and up from 382.98 in October 2008.

Current chart and data for atmospheric CO2
Preliminary data released November 5, 2010
The world’s most current data for atmospheric CO2 is from  measurements at the
Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. These high-precision measurements were started
by Dave Keeling ) in March 1958.   The monthly average concentration of CO2 in
the atmosphere is published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) within a week after each month ends.    The source data is organized into
a table and republished at so more people can see the latest CO2 level
and the important CO2 trend.   The table includes the full Mauna Loa instrument record for atmospheric
CO2.     Table can be seen at



see also


WMO press release

Greenhouse Gases Reach Record Levels

 WMO Highlights Concerns about Global Warming and Methane


The main greenhouse gases have reached their highest levels recorded since pre-industrial
times, according to the
World Meteorological Organization’s 2009 Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. The report also highlights concerns that global warming may lead to even greater
emissions of methane from Arctic areas.

According to the Bulletin, total radiative forcing of all long-lived greenhouse
gases increased by 27.5% from 1990 to 2009 and by 1.0% from 2008 to 2009, reflecting
the rising atmospheric burdens of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

"Greenhouse gas concentrations have reached record levels despite the economic
slowdown. They would have been even higher without the international action taken
to reduce them," said WMO Secretary-General Mr Michel Jarraud. "In addition, potential
methane release from northern permafrost, and wetlands, under future climate change
is of great concern and is becoming a focus of intensive research and observations."

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the single most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas in the atmosphere
and contributes 63.5% to the overall global radiative forcing by long-lived greenhouse
gases. Global radiative forcing is the balance between radiation coming into the
atmosphere and radiation going out. Positive radiative forcing tends to warm the
surface of the Earth and negative forcing tends to cool it.

For about 10,000 years before the start of the industrial era in the mid-18th
century, atmospheric carbon dioxide remained almost constant at around 280 ppm
(ppm=number of molecules of the gas per million molecules of dry air).   Since
1750, it has increased by 38%, primarily because of emissions from combustion
of fossil fuels, deforestation and changes in land-use. During the past 10 years,
it has increased by an average annual 1.88%, according to WMO.

Methane (CH4) contributes 18.1% to the overall global radiative forcing and is the second
most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide.

Before the start of the industrial era, atmospheric methane was about 700 parts
per billion. Since 1750, it has increased 158%, mostly because of increasing emissions
from human activities such as cattle-rearing, rice planting, fossil fuel exploitation
and landfills. Human activities now account for 60% of methane emissions, with
the remaining 40% being from natural sources such as wetlands.

After a period of temporary stabilization from 1999 to 2006, atmospheric methane
has risen again from 2007-2009. The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin reports that the likely
causes were above average wetland methane emissions due to exceptionally warm
temperatures at high northern latitudes in 2007 and heavy precipitation in tropical
wetlands in 2007 and 2008. However, it cautions that the reasons for the recent
increases are not yet fully understood.

Northern permafrost contains large reservoirs of organic carbon and methane clathrates
(a form of water ice that contains a large amount of methane within its crystal
structure). Rapid warming and melting of the permafrost therefore has the potential
to release large quantities of methane into the atmosphere which would contribute
further to global warming.

Nitrous oxide (N2O) contributes 6.24% to the overall global radiative forcing. It is emitted
into the atmosphere from natural and anthropogenic sources, including the oceans,
biomass burning, fertilizer use and various industrial processes. Globally averaged
nitrous oxide in 2009 was 19% higher, at 322.5 parts per billion than the pre-industrial  era.    
[Aircraft produce NOx.   Some info at ]
Other greenhouse gases: The combined radiative forcing by halocarbons is 12%, nearly double that of
nitrous oxide. Some halocarbons such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), previously
used as refrigerants, as propellants in spray cans and as solvents, are decreasing
slowly as a result of international action to preserve the Earth’s protective
ozone layer.

However, concentrations of other gases such as HCFCs and HFCs, which are used
to substitute CFCs because they are less damaging to the ozone layer, are increasing
rapidly. These two classes of compounds are very potent greenhouse gases and last
much longer in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

WMO, through its Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) Programme, coordinates the observations
of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere through a network of stations located in
more than 50 countries, including high in the Andes and Himalayas. The measurement
data are quality controlled, archived and distributed by WMO’s World Data Centre
for Greenhouse Gases, hosted by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

The 2009 Greenhouse Gas Bulletin is the sixth in the series, which began in 2004.
The Bulletins report the global consensus of the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch community
on the latest changes and atmospheric burdens of the main greenhouse gases.



see also

see also   Wikipedia on atmospheric CO2’s_atmosphere

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