FoI documents show Scottish airports would lose perhaps 220,000 passengers per year, if Heathrow got 3rd runway
Scottish airports could lose more than 220,000 passengers per year, if Heathrow got a 3rd runway. The regions have been led to believe the runway would benefit them, in terms of links to Heathrow and more jobs. The reality is different. The Scottish Government had backed the runway plans, hoping Scotland would benefit. But the DfT’s own data – revealed in emails – shows they expect number of passengers using Scottish airports would reduce, with the 3rd runway, as Heathrow would increasingly have a monopoly of lucrative long-haul routes. There might be more domestic flights to Heathrow from Newcastle, cutting demand from Glasgow and Edinburgh airports. The Scottish government needs to consider their position on Heathrow very carefully. The figures on alleged jobs were based on very, very dodgy, out of date data, (assuming benefits of the runway to the UK over 60 years as £147 bn, when in reality they might at most be £3bn – or an actual cost) that cannot be believed. “Estimates of aviation emissions from an expanded Heathrow were redacted in the emails released.”
Taking off: Secret report reveals Scots airports will lose more than 220,000 flyers after £16bn Heathrow expansion
by Billy Briggs (Sunday Post)
August 4, 2019
Scots airports could lose more than 220,000 passengers if the £14 billion third runway at Heathrow goes ahead, according to secret government figures.
The proposed £16bn expansion of the London airport, including the building of a third runway, is high in the in-tray of Boris Johnson, who is under mounting pressure to reverse his previous opposition to the project.
The Scottish Government also backed the proposal, claiming the huge expansion would create jobs around Britain before launching a review into its environmental impact.
However, previously unseen data from the Department for Transport reveals Scots airports will lose more than 220,000 passengers if Heathrow expands.
Increased competition from Newcastle airport, forecast to have more connecting flights to London, is one reason cited for a projected fall in business for Glasgow and Edinburgh airports.
The figures pile pressure on the Scottish Government to clarify its transport policy and call into question claims by the UK Government that Heathrow’s expansion will create 16,000 jobs in Scotland.
Internal emails reveal DfT data, passed to the Scottish Government last year, predicted a loss of 220,450 passengers between Glasgow and Edinburgh airports by 2030.
Glasgow could see a fall of 171,037 passengers over the next decade while Edinburgh could lose 49,413, according to a table of projections by the UK Government.
The official projections, obtained under freedom of information requests, also said Glasgow is predicted to lose 267,868 passengers by 2040 and, although Edinburgh is forecast to gain 119,321 people by then, the net loss jointly to Scotland’s two major airports would be 148,547.
Estimates of aviation emissions from an expanded Heathrow were redacted in the emails released.
Until recently, the Scottish Government supported a third runway at Heathrow after signing a memorandum of understanding in October 2016. In May, however, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said backing for the expansion of the UK’s busiest airport was under review after her decision to announce a “climate emergency”.
Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, said it had always maintained the continued growth of Heathrow would be “at the detriment of Scotland’s airports and these projections demonstrate exactly that”.
He added: “Creating a huge monopoly airport in the south-east of England will clearly have an adverse impact on other airports around the country, and the perception we are feeder airports for London is as outdated as it is false.
“We are an international airport in our own right, one that delivers economic benefit through jobs and business. We should be working to release the even greater potential Scotland’s industry has, not grounding it by an obsession with Heathrow.”
Scottish Green transport spokesperson John Finnie challenged the Scottish Government to clarify its position on the issue, arguing it was “incompatible” with a climate emergency to “relentlessly pursue growth in air travel”.
He said: “They (Scottish Government) tell us they’ll come up with a climate-change plan in six months but, meanwhile, they support an expansion of Heathrow while our airports compete for new capacity. Declaring a climate emergency is meaningless unless the Scottish Government also has the will to address the main contributors to it. Warm words will not address global climate change.”
The Department for Transport said a new runway at Heathrow would bring benefits to Scotland, adding that, as well as creating opportunities for “new and more frequent routes”, passengers will be able to “choose from a wider range of destinations to travel, and enjoy cheaper fares”.
The Scottish Government said the decision on airport expansion rests with the UK Government and the Memorandum of Understanding signed with Heathrow Airport will potentially bring “significant job creation and investment opportunities”.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We have already announced a change in our policy on Air Departure Tax. Later this month, our new National Transport Strategy will be launched for public consultation.
“It will set the future direction for transport over the next 20 years and identifies taking climate action as a priority.
“We are currently commissioning independent research to inform what further action is needed to de-carbonise the Scottish Transport Sector. “We have been a leader in this field for many years.”
SNP “promised” 16,000 new jobs if it backs 3rd runway – but that figure is crazily inflated – as Heathrow & DfT well know
The Conservative government may need the SNP’s support if some of its MPs rebel against the new Heathrow runway – which is likely. The SNP will demand guaranteed extra slots for Scottish flights into London in return for the party’s support for the 3rd runway. Ian Blackford, the head of the SNP’s parliamentary group in London, said the party had not taken a decision on runway yet – and would only do so if Scotland stood to benefit. Their backing may not be guaranteed, though that had been assumed – particularly after Keith Brown, Scotland’s infrastructure secretary, believed there might be 16,000 Scottish jobs, created by the project. That figure of 16,000 jobs is what Heathrow has, for several years, been peddling. Along with similarly inflated claims for all the regions. The number was derived by a consultancy called Quod, in a flimsy little 4 page paper, with no methodology, no date, no author etc. It is based on the assumption that Heathrow would provide an economic benefit (NPV) to the UK, over 60 years, of £147 billion. That number is now known to actually be about £3.3 billion, at best (if not a negative number). The SNP would be very ill-advised to believe Scotland will benefit; in reality its airports would be damaged by allowing the runway. Tragic if they vote in favour of it, because they have not checked out the facts properly.
Alex Salmond says 3rd Heathrow runway is for the benefit of London and SE, to the detriment of Scotland
Alex Salmond, the former First Minister of Scotland, speaking on the subject of Heathrow expansion, said that UK Governments have a long history of dressing up London investment as being of equal benefit to the whole nation. He is not persuaded that the Treasury is particularly interested in benefiting Scotland. There is evidence that public spending in previous decades, while supposedly UK-wide, is in reality aimed at helping London and the south of England. Some examples given are the redevelopment of docklands, the Jubilee line extension, and concentrating defence spending, procurement, and the civil service firmly in the south. Alex Salmond says that much of this type of spending was omitted from all official accounts of “identifiable public spending” and it still is. But public spending in Scotland was routinely described as a “subsidy.” He says the proposed Heathrow runway would be to the potential detriment of Scotland, which is facing all of the pain and none of the gain. He wants to boost direct Scottish flights to and from international destinations for the benefit of travellers, tourism and Scottish exporting industries. And he wants APD cut in Scotland, reducing the need to fly via London at all.
Airports Commission report shows fewer, not more, links to regional airports by 2030 with 3rd runway
The Times reports that analysis by Transport for London (TfL) of the Airports Commission’s final report shows that, with a 3rd runway, Heathrow would only serve 4 domestic destinations by 2030, compared to the 7 is now serves. It would serve only 3 with no new runway by 2030. (The Gatwick figures are 7 domestic destinations by 2030 with a 2nd runway, compared to 10 now). Heathrow has been claiming that its runway will be important for better links to the regions, and improved domestic connectivity by air. The Heathrow runway has been backed by Peter Robinson, the first minister of Northern Ireland, Derek Mackay, the Scottish transport minister, and Louise Ellman, the chairwoman of the transport select committee – on the grounds that it would help the regions. The Commission’s report says: (Page 313) “15.8 ….without specific measures to support domestic connectivity even an expanded Heathrow may accommodate fewer domestic routes in future….” The Commission cannot see effective ways to ensure domestic links are not cut in future, as less profitable than long haul, but they suggest public subsidy by the taxpayer for these routes. This is by using PSO (Public Service Obligations) which could cost £ millions, is a bad use of public money, and may fall foul of EU law. So if the taxpayer has to pay, that means the runway costs us even more.