January saw a Cabinet re-shuffle, from which Chris Grayling and Baroness Sugg (as SoS and Aviation Minister respectively) emerged unscathed, although Jo Johnson did replace John Hayes as Transport Minister. Heathrow then began the first of its two-part DCO consultation, proposing a 300m shorter runway proposal, a response to pressure on project costs led by its principal customer IAG. This aspect of the project will provide an interesting dynamic moving forward, as will the air quality and surface access commitments that HAL and the Government ultimately enter into under pressure from the Mayor. But at present regional links, particularly to remote constructions hubs, are attracting the greatest number of column inches.
The SoS speech to the Airlines UK annual dinner on 24th January is well worth a read (link is provided below), as these set piece addresses are often the best source for gaining an insight into the Government thinking about policy affecting the sector and typically will be quoted by DfT officials in subsequent meetings. This one is full of the SoS’s trademark ebullience on Brexit and the UK’s position in the global aviation industry, but light on detail in relation to key policy documents – most notably the NPS and Aviation Strategy. That is both telling and not, at this stage, unexpected. Baroness Sugg’s responses to questions on EASA and Open Skies are also well worth a read.
A review of current and expected consultations on aviation policy and discussion of SASIG’s stance towards and handling of each, will take place in a workshop after the main meeting on 16th February. All are welcome.
8th January – Prime Minister, Theresa May, reshuffles Cabinet.
10th January – Jo Johnson (brother of Boris) replaces John Hayes as Transport Minister.
17th January – Heathrow public consultation begins. It’s in two parts and will run until 28th March 2018.
Events, Meetings and Conferences
- 16th February 2018: SASIG full meeting (Venue: LGA, Smith Square, London), followed @ 13.30pm by Workshop reviewing upcoming Consultations and the parameters of SASIG’s responses.
- 11th July 2018: SASIG full meeting/AGM (Venue: LGA, Smith Square, London)
- 16th November 2018: SASIG full meeting (Venue: LGA, Smith Square, London)
- 12th April 2018: Priorities for airport development beyond the South-east: Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum, Central Manchester.
- 22nd-24th April 2018: Routes Europe, Bilbao, Spain
14th-16th May 2018: 11th ACI Europe Regional Airports Conference & Exhibition: Naples, Italy.
- 12th-13th June 2018: 3rd British-Irish Airports Expo., London Olympia. Heathrow will host the occasion and Baroness Sugg, Aviation Minister will open the exhibition.
Parliamentary and Government News
(Both Houses began sitting on 8th January 2018).
8th January – Prime Minister, Theresa May, begins a major Cabinet reshuffle.
Transport Questions: House of Lords
17th January: Brexit: Aviation Safety Regime: A debate concerning whether the UK will remain in EASA or set up a UK aviation safety regime post-Brexit, can be seen here.
26th January: Open Skies Agreement (Membership) Bill: the 2nd reading of this Bill and accompanying debate concerning a government commitment to emphasise the importance of the U.K.’s retention of the open skies agreement following Brexit, can be seen here.
Q.1. Question (120576) asked by Sir Vince Cable (Twickenham) on 20th December 2017: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of a third runway at Heathrow Airport on (a) noise and (b) air quality in West London”.
A. Ms Nusrat Ghani on 12th January 2018: “The Appraisal of Sustainability that accompanies the revised draft Airports National Policy Statement provides a strategic level assessment of the potential social, economic, and environmental impacts of expansion, including on noise and air quality. Should the revised draft Airports National Policy Statement be designated, then it would be for the promoter to undertake a detailed assessment of the noise and air quality impacts of the scheme, and put forward an appropriate package of mitigation measures”.
Q.2. Question (120577) asked by Sir Vince Cable (Twickenham) on 20th December 2017: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of expansion at Heathrow Airport on (a) passenger numbers on the Piccadilly Line and (b) congestion on the (i) strategic and (ii) local road network.
A. Ms Nusrat Ghani on 12th January 2018: “The Airports Commission undertook a range of detailed assessments to support its Final Report published in July 2015. The analysis included a detailed assessment of transport network impacts for each of the Commission’s three short-listed options. Copies of the Commission’s Surface Access: Dynamic Modelling Report, it’s Local and Strategic Roads Modelling Study for the Heathrow Airport North West Runway Proposals, and the Commission’s Freight Impact Study were published alongside its Final Report, and are available online from the Commission website. As part of the surface access requirements in the draft Airports National Policy Statement, Government has specified that any applicant for development consent should set out the mitigation measures that it considers are required to minimise and mitigate the effect of expansion on existing surface access arrangements”.
Q.3. Question (120578) asked by Sir Vince Cable (Twickenham) on 20th December 2017: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the number of additional daily trips on the public transport network arising from expansion at Heathrow Airport”.
A. Ms Nusrat Ghani on 12th January 2018: “Alongside the publication of the Draft Airports National Policy Statement on 2 February 2017, the Department also published an Appraisal of Sustainability and Health Impact Analysis. The Department’s assessment of the potential impacts of a new runway at Heathrow on health are set out in those documents”.
Q.4. Question (120580) asked by Sir Vince Cable (Twickenham) on 20th December 2017: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to undertake a full Health Impact Assessment on the proposed construction of a third runway at Heathrow”.
A. Ms Nusrat Ghani on 12th January 2018: “Alongside the publication of the Draft Airports National Policy Statement on 2 February 2017, the Department also published an Appraisal of Sustainability and Health Impact Analysis. The Department’s strategic assessment of the potential impacts of a new runway at Heathrow on health are set out in those documents. Should the revised draft Airports National Policy Statement be designated, then it would be for the scheme promoter to undertake a detailed assessment of health impacts, and put forward an appropriate package of mitigation measures”.
Q.5. Question (120723) asked by Seema Malhotra (Feltham & Heston) on 20th December 2017: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the timetable is the publication of proposed flight paths for a new runway in the South East”.
A. Ms Nusrat Ghani on 12th January 2018:” It is for Heathrow Airport Limited to determine the timing for publishing proposed new flightpaths for formal consultation while following the steps required by the Civil Aviation Authority’s airspace change process. Heathrow Airport Limited have recently announced plans to hold a public consultation on the expansion of the airport, including on principles for airspace design, and this will run from 17 January to 28 March 2018”.
Q.6. Question (123914) asked by Sir Vince Cable (Twickenham) on 22nd January 2018: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what targets his Department has set for carbon emissions in the aviation sector in (a) 2030, (b) 2040 and (c) 2050”.
A. Jesse Norman on 30th January 2018: “The Government has set no specific emissions target for the UK aviation sector in any of the three years named. While domestic aviation is included, emissions from international aviation are currently excluded from the legally-binding 2050 target which was set by the Climate Change Act 2008, and from the five carbon budgets which have been set to date (covering the period up to 2032). However, the UK’s carbon budgets have been set at a level that accounts for international aviation and shipping emissions, so that the UK is on a trajectory that could be consistent with a 2050 target that includes these emissions. Last year the UK was instrumental in reaching a ground-breaking international agreement at the International Civil Aviation Organisation on how to limit the emissions from the sector. The Government will now set out its strategic approach to the aviation sector in a series of consultations leading to the publication of a new Aviation Strategy for the UK in 2019. The Strategy will consider what the best approach and combination of policy measures are at the international and domestic level to ensure we effectively address carbon emissions from aviation”.
Q.7. Question (HL4603) asked by Lord Razzall on 10th January 2018: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to negotiate continued membership of the European Aviation Safety Agency after Brexit”.
A. Baroness Sugg on 24th January 2018: “The Government is considering carefully all the potential implications arising from the UK’s exit from the EU, including the implications for continued or discontinued participation in the European Aviation Safety Agency. It is the Government’s intention to maintain consistently high standards of aviation safety once we have left the EU. As part of the exit negotiations the Government will discuss with the EU and Member States how best to continue cooperation in the field of aviation safety and standards”.
8th January – Prime Minister, Theresa May, began a major Cabinet reshuffle.
10th January – Jo Johnson (brother of Boris) replaces John Hayes as Transport Minister.
National and Regional News
2nd January – Heathrow rolls out stricter environmental charges for airlines. It has also trimmed airport charges for UK fliers.
2nd January – Deal is made for Luton Airport £200m light rail link. VolkerFitzpatrick and Kier have been chosen to deliver the civils works.
3rd January – Leeds Bradford Airport rail link ‘should be created sooner than 2023’. Airport has called for the creation of a parkway rail station serving the site to be brought forward.
4th January – Heathrow cuts domestic airport charges. It’s cut £15 from charges for domestic fliers, increasing the existing discount by half.
4th January – Speculation grows that Gatwick may be sold. City experts believe owners, GIP, are now looking to sell one or both of their 2 remaining UK airports, Gatwick and Edinburgh.
8th January – London Biggin Hill set to expand. It’s announcing the creation of 2,300 new jobs at the airport within the next twenty years as part of its LoCATE strategy.
9th January – BA are to cut flights from Heathrow to Leeds Bradford. They are being cut by 50% “to match demand”. The changes are due to start in summer 2018.
9th January – Luton Airport is now hoping not only for 18 million annual passengers, but up to 38 million. It is basing this on the shortage of runway capacity in the south-east.
11th January – Stansted had record breaking number of passengers in 2017. There were almost 26 million passengers – an increase of more than 1.5 million over the previous 12 months.
10th January – TSC hears from local authorities and community groups to understand what the surface access, noise and air quality implications are from Heathrow expansion.
11th January – Heathrow’s local council Hillingdon prohibits drone flights from open spaces. This has been done through local bylaws and a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).
12th January – Newquay is officially UK’s fastest growing airport for the second year running. Passenger numbers for the airport increased by 23% in 2017.
12th January – Figures show fall in domestic passengers travelling through Heathrow. Figures fell by 9% in 2016 compared to 2015.
12th January – Bristol Airport reports increase in number of Welsh passengers. It said 20% of passengers, or 1.6 million, came from south Wales compared to 1.5 million a year earlier.
15th January – Virgin Hyperloop could connect Heathrow and Gatwick in five minutes says CEO. The high-speed transport project is, however, still in development.
15th January – Heathrow hails expansion progress as critics warn of ‘insurmountable flaws’. The airport will, this week, start a public planning consultation on the project.
17th January – Heathrow public consultation begins. The airport launches what is set to be one of the largest public consultations in the country’s history.
17th January – Heathrow scraps runway bridge plan. The runway will not bridge the M25 at its existing level.
17th January – Heathrow bids to make third runway 300m shorter. This is as part of a bid to cut costs in its development scheme.
20th January – Rival “Heathrow Hub” expansion scheme considers legal action against Government, on altered Heathrow plans. If it did launch proceedings, it would aim to get the money it spent submitting its proposals for expansion to the Government, refunded.
23rd January – Passenger flights from Carlisle to begin in June. Commercial and business passenger flights will use Carlisle Lake District Airport for the first time since 1993.
24th January – Birmingham Airport begins a multi-million-pound development programme. It will redevelop the security processing area to provide more boarding card gates, have a dedicated security preparation area and new flooring and lighting in the waiting area.
25th January – Ryanair unveils £200m investment plan for Manchester Airport. This will create 300 additional jobs and mean 3 extra aircraft based there during the summer.The loan is thought to be about £750,000, which the airport says will help deliver its 10-year business planGloucestershire Airport is to be given a six-figure emergency loan by two local councils.Emergency meetings were held last month to discuss the future of the airport, which is part-owned by Gloucester City Council and Cheltenham Borough Council.The loan is thought to be about £750,000, which the airport says will help deliver its 10-year business planGloucestershire Airport is to be given a six-figure emergency loan by two local councils.Emergency meetings were held last month to discuss the future of the airport, which is part-owned by Gloucester City Council and Cheltenham Borough Council.
The loan is thought to be about £750,000, which the airport says will help deliver its 10-year business plan
Other Aviation Industry News
2nd January – Airports and airlines face fines if passengers don’t go through immigration control. The fine could be as much as £50,000.
3rd January – Ryanair seeks licence to ‘keep UK service running’ if hard Brexit occurs. They filed an application on Dec 21 for an Air Operator’s Certificate with the CAA in the UK.
4th January – Robots designed to carry your suitcases, to be showcased. New robots designed to replace workers in airports have been announced by LG Electronics.
4th January – easyjet targets growth and green milestones in 2018. As part of their initiative to decarbonise and quieten aviation, the airline will take delivery of its first A321neo in July.
10th January – BEIS minister indicates UK aviation CO2 emissions will not be kept below 37.5MtCO2 level. It was recommended by the Committee on Climate Change.
10th January – Jo Johnson (brother of Boris) replaces John Hayes as Transport Minister. It’s possible he may therefore have a role in expanding Heathrow.
11th January – MAG’s 3 airports serve 4million more passengers in 2017. The increase is driven by route development and new airlines using the group’s airports.
17th January – Committee on Climate Change reiterates that aviation demand increase to be 60% at most. It says government should plan to limit UK aviation emissions to the level assumed when the fifth carbon budget was set (i.e. around 2005 levels by 2050).
17th January – Airlines UK CEO says keeping passenger charges at today’s levels is the only for Heathrow’s new runway to be successfully built. See his comments here.
17th January – Virgin asks Heathrow to cover the cost of any overspend. CE suggests a “passenger cost guarantee” to ensure airport charges do not rise significantly.
18th January – Heathrow cost thrusts Dublin Airport plan in spotlight. The issue may well put Dublin Airport’s €320m plan for a second main runway back into the limelight.
18th January –easyjet showcases new Airbus 320neo at Bristol Airport. It provides 15% savings in CO2 emissions and 50% noise reduction bringing environmental/health benefits.
22nd January – New CEO of Glasgow Airport revealed. Currently chief operating officer at Heathrow, Derek Provan will take over at Glasgow in April.
23rd January – An article in Politics Home about Lib Dem leader Vince Cable’s views on the impact of Brexit on aviation and also on Heathrow expansion can be seen here.
24th January – A speech by Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, to Airlines UK Annual Dinner and titled ‘Working together for a thriving aviation sector’ can be seen here.
28th January – British Airways announces £4.5billion re-vamp. This is amid growing criticism over its budget-style service despite higher ticket prices.
29th January – Airports call for European drone rulebook. The European airport industry is calling for adoption of safety and traffic management rules at EU level on the use of drones.
31st January – Ryanair press conference reveals plans for 2018. These include to become the world’s greenest airline and to continue flying out of UK post-Brexit.
31st January – The DfT scores tops marks in survey about evidence transparency. DfT, BEIS & DEFRA had the “most consistently high scoring examples of sharing policy evidence” of the ministries evaluated.
SASIG Library Additions
A slide presentation published by the EC TF50 (the task force coordinating the EU’s work on all strategic, legal and financial issues related to negotiations with the UK) on the future of the UK-EU27 aviation regime can be seen here.
SASIG’s response to the revised Airports National Policy Statement which was submitted in December can be seen here.