Editor’s Highlights

As anticipated, December proved a busy month for aviation policy news and developments. Brexit notices were followed by the announcement that Robert Light has been appointed ICCAN Commissioner. Then there was the launch of the CAA’s Airspace Modernisation Strategy; the publication of Aviation 2050, the Government’s Green Paper on the sector and finally, of course, the Gatwick drone mystery coinciding intriguingly with the final two days of the Parliamentary session!

With seasonal festivities drawing to a close and New Year resolutions in vogue, we enter what is likely to be an intense period of consultation and lobbying focused around the Aviation Green Paper, its supporting documentation (keep an eye on the footnotes when you are reading it) and the Airspace Modernisation process. How long this will last depends on whether the Government meets its commitments to publish the White Paper by the end of the Parliamentary session in the summer but as Baroness Sugg admitted when the Chairman and Head of Secretariat met her, that in turn depends on how Brexit proceeds.

So what are SASIG’s resolutions? Well, first and foremost, to participate pro-actively in the current consultation to ensure the final policy framework reflects the interests of its members – for this to happen engagement with both Government and members on how we respond is essential. Second, to grow our membership so that our voice is stronger in the lobbying and discussions that will take place after the consultation. And lastly, to liaise with other key stakeholders to underpin the weight and relevance of our positions and arguments.

Finally, this year is the 20thanniversary of SASIG and its antecedents and we will of course be organising a suitable occasion to celebrate this milestone. But as one who was present at the beginning (all be it with a DfT hat on at the time), I can say without any fear of contradiction, never has local authority involvement with the industry been more significant, and consequently, never has our collective input to policy formulation been more important.

Chris Cain

Head of Secretariat

Monthly Highlights

  • 10th December – PM delays Brexit vote in the House of Commons.
  • 10th December – DfT announces appointment of Robert Light as Head Commissioner of the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN).
  • 11th December– International Transport Forum publishes a report which reviews government support measures for domestic air connectivity in selected member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).  The report was commissioned by the UK Department for Transport and can be seen on our website.
  • 17th December– CAA launch their Airspace Modernisation Strategy.
  • 17th December– Government publishes Aviation 2050 – the future of UK aviation consultation.  It will run until 11th April 2019.

Events, Meetings and Conferences

SASIG Meetings

  • 6th February 2019:SASIG full meeting (Venue: LGA, Smith Square, London)
  • 10th July 2019:SASIG full meeting (Venue: LGA, Smith Square, London)

External Conferences

Parliamentary and Government News

Both the House of Commons and the House of Lords rose on 20th December and will return on 7th January 2019.

Transport Questions:  House of Lords

18th December – Operation of Air Services (Amendment, etc). (EU Exit) Regulations 2018

There was a motion to approve draft regulations that would only be used in the event that the UK leaves the EU with no deal.  The debate may be seen here.

Parliamentary Questions: 

Q.1. Question (HL12056) asked by Lord Berkeley on 5th December 2018: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they expect to publish their AviationStrategy Green Paper; whether that Paper will contain proposals on surface access to airports by passengers, freight and airportworkers; and whether specific reference will be made to Western Rail and Southern Rail links to HeathrowAirport”.

A. Baroness Sugg on 17th December 2018: “The government intends to publish the Aviation Strategy green paper before the end of 2018, this will include government proposals on policy to improve surface access to airports. The green paper will not make reference to specific surface access infrastructure schemes around Heathrow Airport or elsewhere”.

 Q.2. Question (199386) asked by Alex Cunningham (Stockton North) on 5th December 2018: “To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the proposal from the Tees Valley Mayor to buy Durham Tees Valley Airport, what the Government’s policy is on devolved resources to Combined Authorities being used to bring airports into public ownership; and if he will make a statement”.
A. Jake Berry on 10th December 2018: “In 2015, Tees Valley Combined Authority was awarded the long term Investment Fund of £450 million over 30 years as part of its Devolution Deal and Single Pot funding arrangements. In line with other Devolution Deals agreed, places can allocate and spend Investment Funds on locally appraised projects, providing them with greater control over directing priority investment decisions. The Combined Authority has responsibility for how it will invest these funds within the scope of an agreed assurance framework, which sets out how they will appraise, monitor and evaluates schemes to achieve value for money. This is based on Government’s Single Pot Assurance Framework national guidance. To ensure value for money is achieved for the taxpayer, future release of Investment Funds are subject to five yearly Gateway Reviews which include an economic impact assessment carried out by an independent panel”.

Q.3. Question (200685) asked by Steve Double (St Austell & Newquay) on 10th December 2018: “To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to encourage the development of new air transport concepts”.

A. Richard Harrington on 17th December 2018: “As set out in our Industrial Strategy Government backs aerospace through its Aerospace Growth Partnership, which tackles barriers to growth, boost exports and grows high value jobs in the UK. This includes committing £1.95 billion to aerospace R&D until 2026. The UK is a global leader in aviation and aerospace innovation and, is already developing exciting new forms of transport. As announced at the Farnborough Airshow in July the Government is backing a £58m partnership between Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens to develop a flight demonstrator for hybrid-electric propulsion for commercial aircraft. On 6thDecember as part of a new Sector Deal for Aerospace, the Government launched the Future Flight Challenge, which will provide up to £125 million of additional funding, which industry will match to support the development of new aircraft technologies and transport concepts – including hybrid-electric, electric and autonomous aircraft – to transform the future of transport as we utilise our airspace to ease congestion. Through the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge and alongside the Department for Transport’s forthcoming Aviation Strategy, we are exploring how these new technologies will change the way we travel, helping create the right conditions for the success of the UK’s aerospace and aviation industries”.
(This answer is also grouped with Q. Nos. 200683/200684)

Q.4. Question (HL12258) asked by Baroness Randerson on 12th December 2018:“To ask Her Majesty’s Government when Ministers last met (1) representatives of the Thomas Cook Group, and (2) other airline and airportrepresentatives; and following those meetings, what assessment they have made of the market for aviationservices”.

A. Baroness Sugg on 18th December 2018 “Ministers regularly meet with airlines and airport representatives, including those from Thomas Cook Group. The last such meeting took place on the 6thDecember as part of a wider event with the aviation sector. Assessments of the market for aviation services are made on a continuous basis”.

Q.5. Question (HL12400) asked by Lord Forsyth of Drumlean on 18th December 2018: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Sugg on 18 December (HL12286), what steps they are taking to improve transport connectivity between the regions and nations of the UK; and how those steps relate to the allocation of landing slots at UK airports”.

A. Baroness Sugg on 20th December 2018: “The government recognises how important transport networks, including regional airport connectivity, can be to their local areas and surrounding regions. The Aviation Strategy Green Paper ‘Aviation 2050’, has renewed the government’s commitment to support routes into London that may be at risk, commercially, through the establishment of Public Service Obligations (PSOs). The paper also considers what further role the government should have in supporting growth at our regional airports. In addition, the government has set out a clear ambition that at least 14 domestic routes operate from an expanded Heathrow Airport. The Green Paper has identified how Heathrow, with the support of government if needed, can make this happen. The government is also seeking views on reforming the process for allocating new slots in the Green Paper, with the objectives of facilitating competition and increasing both domestic and international connectivity”.

Q.6. Question (199386) asked by Alex Cunningham (Stockton North) on 5th December 2018: “To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the proposal from the Tees Valley Mayor to buy Durham Tees Valley Airport, what the Government’s policy is on devolved resources to Combined Authorities being used to bring airports into public ownership; and if he will make a statement”.

A. Jake Berry on 10th December 2018: “In 2015, Tees Valley Combined Authority was awarded the long term Investment Fund of £450 million over 30 years as part of its Devolution Deal and Single Pot funding arrangements. In line with other Devolution Deals agreed, places can allocate and spend Investment Funds on locally appraised projects, providing them with greater control over directing priority investment decisions. The Combined Authority has responsibility for how it will invest these funds within the scope of an agreed assurance framework, which sets out how they will appraise, monitor and evaluates schemes to achieve value for money. This is based on Government’s Single Pot Assurance Framework national guidance. To ensure value for money is achieved for the taxpayer, future release of Investment Funds are subject to five yearly Gateway Reviews which include an economic impact assessment carried out by an independent panel”.

National and Regional News

1st December Council leader declines to give support over Durham Tees Valley Airport.This comes amidst continuing concern for the airport’s future.

3rd December – Birmingham Airport Masterplan criticised by councillor. Hebelieves they don’t contribute enough to the West Midlands and the environmental impact will be bad.

3rd DecemberHeathrow sets out its plan for carbon neutral growth.The plan outlines action on four key areas.

3rd DecemberGatwick Masterplan backed by most residents.New poll says ¾ of residents in Kent, Sussex and Surrey back plans by airport to use standby runway to boost capacity.

5th DecemberNewcastle Airport plans £4m upgrade to car parking facilities.They include a “Premium Meet & Greet”, a “Premium Fast Track” area and a designated taxi waiting area.

5th December – Tees ValleyMayor agrees to buy airport in £40m deal. He’s also agreed to buy an adjoining parcel of land to stop the planned housing development of 350 homes.

5th DecemberUttlesford Liberal Democrats want review of Stansted expansion. They believe the decision taken was ‘flawed’ and needs revisiting.

5th December– An article in ‘Airport Technology’ about how London City Airport is taking shape within the current Airport City Development Programme can be seen here.

6th DecemberSouthampton Airport expansion plan is backed by the public.Consultation showed over 60% back proposals to extend the runway and increase number of flights.

7th DecemberLeeds Bradford Airport extension gets the go-ahead. The plans have been approved by Leeds City Council and will look to commence in spring 2019.

7th DecemberAnti-noise campaigners urge Government to halt expansion at Luton Airport.Campaign groups say the airport has stalled in its plan to reduce noise.

10th December– An article in ‘AIN Online’ about the success and growth of TAG Farnborough Airport and how much it has reduced its carbon emissions can be seen here.

11th DecemberThanet DC is still working with developers over Manston Airport. They are trying to address concerns over re-opening the airport four years after it closed.

13th DecemberLuton Airport’s upgraded terminal officially opens.  The £160m project is the biggest in the airport’s 80-year history.

13th December£10m airport link road approved.Darlington Council has followed Stocktonin approving a link road between north and south sides of Durham Tees Valley Airport.

13th DecemberIndustrial plan on land near Coventry Airport approved.The ‘Gateway South’ project will see land just south of airport become major manufacturing development.

14th DecemberApproval given for major Airport City plans at Manchester. This forms part of plans for future growth of airport and will begin in 2019.

16th December– An article in The Argus by Jonathan Sharrock, Coast to Capital LEP CEO, on how he supports the growth of Gatwick Airport can be seen here.

17th DecemberLuton Airport appoints new CEO.Alberto Martin was previously the airport’s planning and investment director. He replaces Nick Barton who is the new CEO at Birmingham Airport.

17th DecemberSome councillors disagree with expansion plans for Bristol Airport. They fear the airport will not meet its target to be carbon neutral by 2030.

19th DecemberEaling Council votes against Heathrow expansion. Councillors from all three political parties voted against Heathrow expansion.

19th DecemberBristol Airport plans to expand by a third by 2025. Airport bosses want up to 12 million passengers a year to use Bristol by the mid-2020s.

20th DecemberDurham Tees Valley airport will become Teesside International if deal is approved.An online poll showed support for it reverting back to its original name.

27th DecemberMajority stake in Gatwick Airport sold to French group. Vinci Airports have bought it for £2.9billion.

Other Aviation Industry News

6th DecemberMAG calls for better rail links to airports. They want this as part of a better aviation strategy post-Brexit.

6th DecemberMSP highlights HIAL concerns. John Finnie calls on the Scottish Government to ensure HIAL is adequately delivering for the communities it is supposed to serve.

10th December – DfT announces appointment of Robert Light as Head Commissioner of the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN).  Further details can be seen here.

11th DecemberTransport Secretary and Aviation Minister met with leaders from the aviation sector this week.They discussed advantages of the withdrawal agreement from EU.

13th DecemberProposed law would put Fingal Council in charge of monitoring Dublin Airport noise levels.The Aircraft Noise Regulation Bill would give them power to make sure limits are met.

13th December– Article in ‘Buying Business Travel’ says IATA reports airlines are close to achieving nearly a decade in profit. The article can be seen here.

13th DecemberUK’s first digital ATC centre opens in Bedfordshire.Cranfield Airport controllers using live feed from hi-definition digital cameras to direct take-offs/landings.

14th December– An article published in the House of Commons Library regarding air passenger duty and regional airports can be seen here.

16th December– An article in The National newspaper titled ‘How Scottish airports lobbied for a £300 million tax cut’ can be seen here.

17th December– CAA launch their Airspace Modernisation Strategy.  The document can be seen on our website and here.

17th December– Government publishes Aviation 2050 consultation which will run until 11th April 2019.  Further details and supporting documents can be seen here.

18th December– An article in Finextra about the advancement of blockchain technology within the aviation industry can be seen here.

18th December– An article in Travel Trade Gazette about how Europe’s regional airports continue to grow can be seen here.

18th DecemberUK Government details major slot overhaul plans. DfT believes certain aspects of the current system are ‘opaque’ to the public.

21st December– CAA publishes Issue 7: CAP740 Airspace Management Policy. Further details can be seen here.

31st DecemberAberdeen Airport’s £20million redevelopment project is on target. Its completion will see the terminal double in size.

31st DecemberRobots could park your car at Gatwick Airport. The airport is exploring the introduction of robotic valet car parking this year.

SASIG Library Additions

A future inquiry and consultation programme can be seen here.

11th December– The International Transport Forum publishes a report which reviews government support measures for domestic air connectivity in selected member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).  The report was commissioned by the UK Department for Transport and can be seen here.

17th December– CAA launch their Airspace Modernisation Strategy.  The document can be seen here.

19th December – A report titled ‘Southern Rail Link to Heathrow’ on behalf of the DfT as a summary of the findings from a market sounding exercise that was undertaken during the summer can be seen here.

21st December– CAA publishes Issue 7: CAP740 Airspace Management Policy. Further details can be seen here.

 

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