SASIG 2012/13 Meeting Dates 

Friday 9 November 2012
Friday 1 March 2013    

  30 June – 6 July 2012 Parliamentary and Government News 

Government News 

UK aviation industry launches new environmental code of practice for aircraft ground and departure operations
A collaboration involving the UK aviation industry with support from the UK Department for Transport (DfT) has resulted in the launch of a new code of practice that is intended to reduce the environmental impacts from ground operations and departing aircraft at UK airports. The code addresses aircraft operations at the terminal and on the taxiways, as well as air traffic operations on departure, and aims for substantial reductions in noise and carbon and NOx emissions.  The Departures & Ground Operations Code of Practice was published on 28 June 2012. 

Four Non-Executive Directors appointed to HS2 Ltd 

MPs demand study on APD’s economic impact
Backbench MPs, led by Labour’s Graham Stringer, have tabled an early day motion (EDM).  The EDM reads: “This house believes that the UK’s APD, the highest air passenger tax in the world, is acting as a deterrent to both inward investment and inbound tourism; is concerned about its financial impact on ordinary families and their ability to fly; notes the impact on businesses wishing to export to emerging markets; and calls on HM Treasury to commission a comprehensive study into the full economic effects of aviation tax in the UK, including its impact on employment, reporting in advance of the 2013 budget.”  The motion has so far been signed by 44 MPs.  

Air Passenger Duty (APD): flights from London could face higher tax
Travellers flying from London’s biggest airports could be asked to pay more under new plans to reform APD. It is claimed the Treasury is considering a proposal from the owners of Liverpool John Lennon Airport to introduce a two-tier rate of APD, with lower charges for those flying from outside the capital.  It is hoped that such a move would encourage airlines and travellers to take more flights from Britain’s regional airports. 

David Cameron ‘trying to avoid Heathrow issue until after 2015 election’ Downing Street is being blamed in Whitehall for delaying a vital review to decide on Britain’s hub airport and the fate of Heathrow.  Sources accuse the Prime Minister’s office of “sitting on” the planned launch this summer of a call for evidence into where the country’s premier airport should be. 

A Fair Tax on Flying air passenger duty petition receives over 10,000 signatures
MPs have received more than 10,000 emails from constituents in the last two weeks over air passenger duty following a call from lobby group A Fair Tax on Flying.  The campaign group is aiming to win the support of 100,000 people over the summer. 

Airlines to scrap debit card surcharges following Office of Fair Trading enforcement action
Following OFT enforcement action twelve airlines have agreed to include debit card surcharges in the headline price rather than surprise consumers at the end of the booking process. Any surcharges for paying by credit card will be easy to find when booking online. 

Westminster Debates and Legislation 

Lords Committee stage – Civil Aviation Bill (Day Two) 
Lords Committee stage – Civil Aviation Bill (Day Three) 
Transport Secretary confirms draft aviation policy framework consultation will be published shortly in an aviation debate with Mark Reckless MP 

House of Commons Questions 

Seat occupancy on flights to and from Heathrow Airport – Goldsmith, Z – 2 July 2012
Average cost of flights from London to EU member state capitals over the past 20 years – Burt, L – 2 July 2012
Seat occupancy on flights to and from Gatwick Airport – Soames, N – 3 July 2012
Air passenger duty levy per plane, not passenger – Dorries, N – 3 July 2012
Economic impact of closing an airport in Belfast – Lady Hermon – 4 July 2012
Promoting aviation in the UK – Kirby, S – 4 July 2012 

House of Lords Questions 

Arrangements to audit air passenger duty payments from airlines – Lord Monks – 3 July 2012
Support for improved rail links to Gatwick – Lord Harrison – 3 July 2012 

Press Releases 

Mark Reckless MP – My Parliamentary Debate Today 


  7 – 13 July 2012 Parliamentary and Government News 

Draft Aviation Policy Framework 

Airport expansion debate postponed for second time
The coalition has delayed consultation over expanding airports in south-east England, amid reports of disagreements on how to go ahead.  Options, including extra runways at Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted and proposals to build a new airport on the Thames Estuary, are now unlikely to be dealt with until later in the year. 

It is the second time a consultation on aviation has been postponed. 

  • 2003 – Labour government lays out plans for third runway at Heathrow
  • 2009 – Scheme approved by Labour government
  • 2010 – Coalition scraps Heathrow plans and rules out extra runways at Gatwick or Stansted
  • May 2011 – London Mayor Boris Johnson backs airport in Thames Estuary
  • November 2011 – Architect Lord Foster announces separate scheme for Thames Estuary airport
  • Airports consultation meant to start in March, but delayed until summer, and then until autumn.  The Conservatives would no longer be covered by their 2010 manifesto pledge to scrap plans for Heathrow expansion.

Package of measures to deliver operational improvements and boost economic growth

  • £500m towards a western rail link to Heathrow, to speed up journeys to and from Wales and south-west England
  • Proposals to “further liberalise” UK aviation, including extending the ability of Gatwick and Stansted to handle passengers in transit to other destinations
  • Increasing competition between airlines and train companies
  • Plans to make sure airlines are awarded flight slots in most “economically beneficial” way to UK
  • Limiting access of smaller planes to busiest airports to encourage more efficient transport of large passenger numbers

Business leaders attack coalition for dithering over Heathrow
The accusations of dithering come as the government announced it will commit to building a £500 million rail link from the West Country to Heathrow. But Transport Secretary Justine Greening has not made any announcement regarding a third runway at Heathrow, with discussion on that issue delayed until after the summer holidays and party conference season.  This lack of decision has led to business chiefs and trade union leader writing to The Times warning ministers not to kick the issue into the long grass. 

Airport capacity plans face fresh delay
Justine Greening, transport secretary, was ordered by Number 10 to delay the consultation on airport capacity in London and the south-east, in an effort to kick one of the most contentious issues facing the coalition into the long grass.  Government officials confirmed that Ms Greening was ready to launch an official call for evidence, but that David Cameron, prime minister, asked her to delay the paper. 

Mr Cameron and Nick Clegg, his deputy, have concluded that the question of building new runways in the London area is too difficult for the coalition and final decisions should be delayed until after the 2015 election. 

Local authorities claim Heathrow expansion still not viable
A group of local authorities which won a 2010 High Court challenge to overturn the previous government’s Heathrow policy say the evidence against a third runway is as strong today as it was two years ago. 

Birmingham Airport welcomes delay to Government’s consultation on UK aviation strategy 

The SASIG Office has produced a summary report on the DfT’s draft aviation policy framework consultation document. 

Draft Aviation Policy Framework Press Releases

Stop Stansted Expansion – Time for the ‘greenest government ever to honour its promises’ 
RSPB –Aviation expansion will be fatal for UK’s climate commitments andAviation at any cost?  
British Chambers of Commerce Aviation strategy has become a political plaything 
BAR UK Further aviation policy delays will impact economic recovery  

Draft Aviation Policy Framework Comments and Statements

RSPB, Stop Stansted Expansion and AirportWatch
Institution of Civil Engineers – Autumn Aviation Consultation must put all options on the table 

Government News 

Tories call for third and fourth runway at Heathrow
A group of influential Conservative MPs says that creating a new aviation hub in west London is the cheapest and fastest solution to an impending “capacity crunch” that threatens Britain’s economic future.  Building two new runways at the west London airport is one of seven policies to boost economic growth that are included in a report by the Free Enterprise Group, ‘Policy Bites: Seven Shots in the Arm of Britain‘ a panel of 39 Conservative MPs, many of whom are close to George Osborne, the Chancellor. 

New funding plan eyed for estuary airport
Ambitious plans for a new hub airport in the Thames estuary could be achieved without forcing airlines to fund the project through steep increases in user fees, according to proposals by Lord Foster, the architect behind the project. 

CAA launches plan to improve aviation’s environmental performance
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has launched a four-year programme to help improve aviation’s environmental performance and allow the sector to grow sustainably. 

London Assembly says Ministers must not u-turn on Heathrow
The London Assembly says any “u-turn” over Heathrow expansion would be unacceptable and has urged all London MPs to back their stance. 

Essex MP Sir Alan Haselhurst is calling for faster rail links between Stansted Airport and London 

Secretary of State for Transport, Justine Greening – Aviation Policy Framework
In March 2011, the Government launched a scoping exercise towards developing a new sustainable policy framework for UK aviation. I am grateful to the more than 600 organisations and individuals who responded. We have given careful consideration to their responses in preparing the draft Aviation Policy Framework consultation document. 

European News 

European Parliament calls for airport slot reform to increase efficiency and competition as airports become saturated
In a bid to tackle the expected doubling of air traffic by 2030, Members of the European Parliament have called for increased transparency and competitiveness in the allocation of airport slots.  Regulators would impose a ‘use it or lose it’ policy and sanctions for airlines that abuse slot allocation.  Under the proposed legislation, airlines would also pay a ‘remuneration fee’ for occupying a slot over a period of time to avoid monopolies and larger airlines ‘sitting’ on slots. 

European Commission approves the UK’s national auction platform
The European Commission (EC) Climate Change Committee (CCC) voted to approve the UK’s national auction platform for phase III and aviation auctions under the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). 

Early Day Motions

New EDM 394 – Helicopter Flights Over London 

Westminster Debates and Legislation

Lords Committee stage – Civil Aviation Bill (Day Four) 

Events and Speeches

Transport Secretary Justine Greening speaks at Farnborough International Air-show – ADS Aviation Security Conference 

House of Commons Questions 

Tax on airport slots Goldsmith, Z – 6 July 2012 
Future of Cardiff Airport Evans, J – 9 July 2012
Discussions on the sale of BMI Eagle, M – 9 July 2012 
Allocation of Slots at EU Airports Goldsmith, Z – 9 July 2012  
Air Traffic Distribution Rules at UK airports Goldsmith, Z – 9 July 2012 
Collective international aviation connectivity of the five main London airports Goldsmith, Z – 10 July 2012 
Plans to introduce a two-tier rate for air passenger duty Hosie, S – 10 July 2012  
Ryanair’s treatment of passengers with disabilities Sheerman, B – 11 July 2012 

Press Releases 

Labour Party – Grounded air traffic control sell-off adds to growing list of Government u-turns – Maria Eagle MP 

Labour Party – Government cannot keep its aviation policy in a holding pattern without harming jobs and growth – Maria Eagle MP  


  14 – 20 July 2012 Parliamentary and Government News

Transport Select Committee to hold aviation strategy inquiry
The Committee will hold an inquiry into the Government’s aviation strategy, including consideration of options for expanding airport capacity in south-east England. Full terms of reference and a call for evidence will be published in September.

No change of mind over third runway, says Greening
Transport Secretary Justine Greening insisted she will not back down over a third runway at Heathrow.  Pressed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on whether she was personally shifting her stance on Heathrow expansion, she bluntly replied: “I’m not.” Ms Greening stressed the Coalition agreement, opposing more runways at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick, stood and she denied the Government was changing its position.

Definition of environmental tax published
The Government has published its definition of environmental taxes. The definition is designed to encourage effective policy making, and measurement of progress against the Coalition Agreement pledge to increase the proportion of revenue that comes from environmental tax.

Spelthorne MP says Stanwell runway idea ‘just a discussion’
Kwasi Kwarteng MP’s report, ‘Policy Bites: Seven Shots in the Arm of Britain‘, backing of proposals to demolish the homes of thousands of his constituents to make way for a new runway at Heathrow have been slammed by opposition councillors.

Press Releases

Growth-boosting rail upgrades across England and Wales – Conservative Party


Greening makes a statement on £9bn rail investment

Events and speeches

David Cameron and Nick Clegg  – Joint Press Conference
The Government announced “the biggest investment in our railways since Victorian times”.

House of Commons Library

Commons Library Standard Note on London Heathrow Airport
This note looks at how Heathrow has developed over the past twenty years or so, including the construction of Terminal 5; the aborted plans for a third runway and a sixth terminal; and plans for the airport’s future.

House of Commons Library – Aviation: proposals for an airport in the Thames estuary, 1945-2012

Westminster Debates and Legislation

MPs debate High Speed 2 (Heathrow)
The Government was assessing plans to link the proposed HS2 project to Heathrow Airport.

House of Commons Questions

Exemption of the Highlands and Islands in air passenger duty – Weir, M – 16 July 2012
Heathrow Airport slots for flights to Belgium, Cyprus and Greece – Goldsmith, Z – 16 July 2012 Terminating and transfer passenger numbers from Heathrow Airport – Goldsmith, Z – 16 July 2012 Statement on proposals for limitations on flight times – Soubry, A – 16 July 2012
Development of routes to allow foreign airlines to pick up UK passengers when flying to other destinations  – Weir, M – 17 July 2012
Steps to develop cross-departmental consensus on the development of the aviation industry – Cunningham, J – 17 July 2012
Cost of servicing the South East Airports Taskforce  – Weir, M – 17 July 2012
Number of passengers travelling from overseas to a London airport for an internal flight to another UK airport – Weir, M – 17 July 2012

House of Lords Questions

Plans for a direct rail link between Manchester Airport and Chester – Lord Wigley – 19 July 2012

All Party Parlaimentary Groups (APPG)

APPG on Local Growth; Local Enterprise Partnerships & Enterprise Zones


  21 – 27 July 2012 Parliamentary and Government News

Government News

Flights of fancy: A case study on aviation and EU funds in Poland – Report from CEE Bankwatch Network
The study reviews the rationale of EU Cohesion Policy investments in airport infrastructure using the example of Poland. Both the development and maintenance of airport infrastructure benefit from EU, national and regional budget support. Beyond this, public money flows to airline companies, in practice as gratification for opening and sustaining flight connections.

Wimbledon MP, Stephen Hammond wants to, ‘re-examine’ third Heathrow runway
Mr Hammond MP has insisted he is still against proposals to a third runway at Heathrow airport, despite saying the Government should consider them as part of wider plans to increase the UK’s airport capacity.

Press Releases

HS2 Ltd admit to ignoring public consultation responses from those opposed to HS2 – Stop HS2

House of Commons Library

Aviation: Regional Airports

Events and Speeches

Prime Minister David Cameron – Speech to Global Investment Conference
Giving an upbeat speech at the Global Investment Conference in the first of a series of Olympic trade summits, Mr Cameron appealed to international companies to invest in Britain during its Olympic year.   Britain would be seen as the “hub” from which businesses could expand, he declared.

House of Lords Questions

Construction of a direct railway line from Manchester  Airport to Chester – Lord Wigley – 19 July 2012
Update on the draft aviation policy framework –  Lord Spicer – 23 July 2012
Monitoring the Gatwick Express – Lord Laird – 24 July 2012
Transport Links Between Gatwick and Heathrow – Lord Patten – 25 July 2012
Second Runway at Gatwick – Lord Patten – 25 July 2012
Definition of an airport hubs –Lord Patten – 25 July 2012


27 September 2012 – A New Aviation Policy:  What does the UK really need? – London

29 November 2012 – The EU Emissions Trading System: progress, global issues and Phase III – London


   May 2011-12 CAA Airport Traffic Stats (Reported in July 2012)