SASIG 2013/14 Meeting Dates

Regional News

Industry News

Parliamentary News – Westminster Committees

Government News

House of Commons Questions

House of Lords

Media News

Forthcoming Events


SASIG 2013/14 Meeting Dates

28 June 2013

25 October 2013

7 March 2014

Meetings are held at 11am, Local Government House, Smith Square, SW1P 3HZ, with lunch provided afterwards, location map.


Regional News

10 May 2013 – The Airports Commission has dismissed the claim that Sir Howard Davies ‘is inclined towards expanding Gatwick Airport’ reported in The Standard, as ‘pure speculation’.

15 May 2013 –  While London mayor Boris Johnson’s aviation advisor wants to shut Heathrow and turn the site into a new London borough with housing for 200,000 people. Councillor Daniel Moylan favours turning the airport site into housing to address the city’s needs.

16 May 2013 – Linking Heathrow to UK regional airports ‘critical’ to solving capacity problem, says Howard Davies.

17 May 2013 – The UK could support two airport hubs rather than one, according to the commission investigating aviation capacity constraints. The Airports Commission said it should be possible for one of the three global airline alliances at Heathrow Airport to move to another airport, the most obvious location being Gatwick, without any large scale damage to their operations. While Gatwick Airport has been challenged to put its case forward for a second runway as Heathrow was named by MPs as the preferred option for expanding the South East’s flights capacity. A report by the Government’s Transport Committee concluded a third runway at Heathrow was ‘necessary’ and that expanding other airports will not provide a long-term solution.

14 May 2013 – The owners of Stansted Airport have welcomed Parliament’s Transport Select Committee report on the Government’s future aviation strategy. One of the body’s key conclusions was the expansion of Heathrow Airport or providing additional runways to the west. However they also acknowledged the merits of allowing Stansted to grow. To that end The Committee backed the need for a joined up transport strategy, highlighting the need for better road and rail links to the airport, such as extending the current Crossrail project.

16 May 2013 – London’s Southend Airport predicts passenger numbers will increase by 40 per cent to 1.15 million in the next 12 months. About 800,000 people are now passing through Southend annually and EasyJet will base a fourth aircraft there starting next month.

14 May 2013 – Plymouth MP, Oliver Colvile believes that doubts over the future of flights from Newquay to London have ‘strengthened’ the city’s case for better rail links .Mr Colvile was responding to reports that regional carrier Flybe has held talks with EasyJet about selling some of its take-off and landing slots at Gatwick. Flybe currently flies three times a day from Newquay to Gatwick, and remains the only scheduled air link between the far South West and the capital since the closure of Plymouth City Airport in 2011.

14 May 2013  – Heathrow Airport’s cycle hub has won an award for the best workplace initiative at the London Cycle Awards. The Cycle Hub is the only one of its kind operating at an airport in the country. Since launching two years ago 1,700 people have joined the scheme, which offers cycle maintenance for airport employees, maintenance training and emergency call-outs for mechanical problems.

16 May 2013 – Representatives from the travel industry flew from Bradford to Chicago to highlight connections between London, Yorkshire and the United States.


Industry News

11 May 2013 – The chief executive of British Airways’, Willie Walsh has said in an interview that the airline are not looking to move out of Heathrow Airport. Instead he talks about growing their presence after acquiring runways slots from BMI. He also talks about ‘opportunities’ at other airports such as Gatwick and London City, as well as Istanbul.

13 May 2013 – Flybe is considering the sale of its take-off and landing spots at London’s Gatwick Airport. The airline is reported to be in discussion with ‘a number of parties’ over the runway slots. EasyJet is reportedly among the bidders for the 25 pairs of slots at Gatwick, which it is reported could fetch as much as £20m for Flybe.

13 May 2013 – Bloomberg interview with chief executive of Ryanair Michael O’Leary who talks about targeting domination of short-haul routes. 15 May 2013 – Ryanair is aiming to grow much faster over the next five years than previously indicated in a bid to exploit the weakness of European rivals struggling with recession, the firm’s chief operating officer has said. Three decades after its launch  the Irish airline hopes to raise passenger numbers by more than 8 percent annually in 2015-18, double last year’s growth and up from a forecast of 5 percent it gave in March.

14 May 2013 – The UK air freight industry has called on Heathrow Airport to improve its cargo facilities if it wants to cement its position as the UK’s key hub airport. Air cargo operators are reported to be ‘increasingly vocal’ in an attempt to get freight onto the Airports Commission agenda

15 May 2013 – Lufthansa’s Birmingham Airport passengers can start and end their journey  with a free chauffeur driven limousine. The offer is available for passengers living within a fifty mile radius of Birmingham Airport who purchase their tickets in the UK on or after 1st May 2013 for a Lufthansa or SWISS First Class flight.

15 May 2013 – The chief executive of Qatar Airways is reported as having ‘no interest’ in buying a 12 percent stake in British Airways parent International Airlines Group from Spanish bank Bankia.


Parliamentary News – Westminster Committees

13 May 2013  – Transport Committee – Civil Aviation Authority, easyJet, Heathrow Airport – Access to transport for people with disabilities


Fewer than 1 per cent of flight journeys were made by disabled people, the Transport Committee heard today. During a session on access to public transport for people with disabilities, the Committee heard from:

  • Iain Osborne, Group Director of Regulatory Policy Group, Civil Aviation Authority
  • Peter Duffy, Marketing Director, easyJet
  • Mark Hicks, Head of Passenger Services, Heathrow Airport

The witnesses were providing evidence to the Committee on accessibility in air travel. Iain Osborne believed that a lack of confidence was the biggest barrier to disabled travellers, indicating that fewer than 1 per cent of flight journeys were made by disabled people. Meanwhile, Peter Duffy felt the role of an airline was to provide accurate information on a passenger’s special needs to an airport. Finally, Mark Hicks outlined the lessons that Heathrow Airport had learned on accessibility from the Paralympic Games, including wheelchair repatriation.


Opening the session, Adrian Sanders (Liberal Democrat, Torbay) asked about the challenges faced by disabled people travelling by air. In reply, Iain Osborne indicated that the biggest barrier was confidence, with disabled people often unaware of the support available to them. He added that only 1 per cent of flight journeys were made by people with disabilities. Mr Duffy identified clarity and effective delivery of information, as well as awareness training of the issues faced by disabled people. He added that the role of the airline was to provide information about a passenger’s disability to the airport. Adding to this, Mr Hicks emphasised the value of understanding passengers’ needs, ensuring transparency in the standard of service and guaranteeing that the appropriate infrastructure was in place. He added it was essential to support disabled passengers, including being open to those who wanted to take spontaneous trips.

Adrian Sanders, asked how far EU regulation was driving change in accessibility. Whilst ‘the customer is always king’, Iain Osborne praised the role of regulation in ‘providing a baseline.’ Mr Duffy said regulation had helped establish the requirements for airports and airlines to operate within. He added that easyJet believed in understanding the quality of accessibility services across the 130 airports it operated from. The airline had established a special group to liaise with customers on their requirements for journeys, he explained.

CAA and accessibility

Committee Chair Louise Ellman (Labour, Liverpool, Riverside) asked how the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was attempting to improve awareness of accessibility. In reply, Iain Osborne outlined numerous measures, including encouraging travel agents to audit processes for pre-notification.

Wheelchairs and airlines

Iain Stewart (Conservative, Milton Keynes South) asked if wheelchairs could be stored in the cabin, as opposed to the hold of an aircraft. In reply, Mr Duffy confirmed it was not always possible, affirming that he did not believe the answer was to put the wheelchair in the cabin. Pressed by the Chair on limits of reimbursement for damages, Mr Duffy said that it was examined on a ‘case-by-case’ basis by the airline. Mr Stewart asked if the industry had discussed the issues of transporting wheelchairs as baggage. The CAA had recently issued guidance on luggage handling and wheelchairs, Iain Osborne said, adding that chairs were sometimes damaged in transit.


Sarah Champion (Labour, Rotherham) asked who held responsibility for ensuring that a disabled passenger had a smooth journey. Responding, Iain Osborne said the airport was responsible for providing support to disabled passengers prior to take-off and landing. There was often confusion over the role of the airline, with many people believing they were responsible for accessibility services, Mr Duffy added. Mr Hicks said Heathrow attempted to ensure that passengers retained access to their wheelchair for as long as possible during prior to take-off and landing.

Input from disabled groups

Pressed on the level of input from disability groups, Mr Duffy explained that easyJet had a disability advisory group, chaired by David Blunkett (Labour, Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough), which acted as the company’s ‘conscience’ on accessibility issues.

Online check-in

Questioned by the Chair on the move to online check-in, Mr Duffy emphasised that there were ‘no plans’ to move away from luggage drop-off at the airport. However, he added that 93 per cent of the airline’s passengers now opted to check-in online.


Government News

13 May 2013 – The Department for Transport has published its updated list of approved security providers. The full updated list is available here.

13 May 2013 – The Department for Transport has published a report titled ‘Government response to consultation on implementing the Aviation Emissions Trading System ‘stop the clock’ Decision in UK Regulations’ today. On 18 March 2013 the Department of Energy & Climate Change and the Department for Transport launched an open consultation on the implementation of the Aviation Emissions Trading System ‘Stop the Clock’ Decision into UK Regulations. The consultation questions were as follows:

  • Do you have any comments on the text of the proposed amendment to the 2012 Regulations?
  • Please explain how the proposed UK Regulations would impact on your business and/or your aircraft operations.
  • Please explain how the proposed UK Regulations impact on the competitiveness of your business and/or your aircraft operations, in comparison to other businesses.
  • Do you believe there is an enforceable alternative method than that proposed here, of implementing the EU Decision in the UK? If so, please outline your preferred method.
  • Do you have any additional evidence relating to the costs and benefits associated with the amendment to the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme Regulations 2012?
  • Do you have any further comments on the proposed regulations?

The consultation closed on 1 April and responses were received from 15 organisations. The following report reproduces a summary of the responses received. The report is available here.

14 May 2013 – Written Ministerial Statement. Call for Evidence on the Government’s Review of the Balance of Competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union: Transport

The Earl Attlee: My Right Honourable friend the Minister of State for Transport (Simon Burns) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

Further to the written ministerial statement by my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs launching the second semester of the review of the Balance of Competences today, we are publishing a call for evidence for the transport report.

The transport report will be completed by winter 2013 and will cover the overall application of EU competence in transport. Responsibility for transport policy is shared between the EU and individual Member States. The EU has an important role in ensuring a seamless, sustainable and efficient transport network across the EU as part of its internal market objectives. The transport report is an opportunity to look at this role and to examine the evidence concerning the impact of EU competence in transport on the UK’s national interest.

The report will focus on the development of the Common Transport Policy and the main cross cutting themes where the EU’s exercise of competence in transport has had an impact; economic, social, environmental, infrastructure and external relations.

The call for evidence period will last for 12 weeks. The Department will draw together the evidence into a first draft, which will subsequently go through a process of internal scrutiny before publication in winter 2013.

We will take a rigorous approach to the collection and analysis of evidence. The call for evidence sets out the scope of the report and includes a series of broad questions on which contributors are invited to focus. The evidence received (subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act) will be published alongside the final report in winter 2013.

The Department will pursue an active engagement process, consulting widely across Parliament and its committees, the transport sector and the devolved administrations in order to obtain evidence to contribute to our analysis of the issues. Our EU partners and the EU institutions will also be invited to contribute evidence to the review. 

The result of the report will be a comprehensive analysis of EU competence in transport and what this means for the United Kingdom. It will aid our understanding of the nature of our EU membership; and it will provide a constructive and serious contribution to the wider European debate about modernising, reforming and improving the EU. The report will not produce specific policy recommendations.

Call for Evidence on the Government’s Review of the Balance of Competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union: Transport has been placed in the library of both Houses. It is also available online here.

16 May 2013 – The first phase of ‘High Speed 2’, the planned high speed railway between London, the West Midlands, Manchester and Leeds moved another step forward with the launch of consultations on the project’s draft Environmental Statement (ES) and proposed design refinements. The draft ES sets out HS2 Ltd’s current thinking on plans to integrate the line into the landscape, both during building and operation. The design refinements consultation is an opportunity to comment on the most significant proposed changes to the design of Phase One of the scheme between London and Birmingham.

16 May 2013 – The Department for Transport has published its list of regulated agents. The full list is available here.


House of Commons Questions

Jamieson – Aircraft (Cabin Air Contamination)

13 May 2013

Cathy Jamieson, Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with representatives of trades unions regarding aircraft cabin air contamination.

Simon Burns, Transport Minister: There have been no recent discussions with trades unions about aircraft cabin air.


de Bois – Provision of onboard Oxygen – aviation

13 May 2013

Nick de Bois (Conservative Party, Enfield North): To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make it his policy to require airlines to provide onboard oxygen for patients reliant upon NHS-provided home oxygen equipment; and if he will make a statement; (2) what recent representations he has received on the use of home oxygen equipment on (a) domestic and (b) international airlines; and if he will make a statement; (3) if he will take steps to increase the number of countries offering reciprocal agreements for the provision of home oxygen equipment for UK citizens travelling abroad; and if he will make a statement; (4) if he will take steps to enable individuals using an NHS-provided portable oxygen machine to use their machine (a) outside of the UK for short periods of time and (b) while they are in transit to and from the UK; and if he will make a statement; (5) what steps he has taken to enable people reliant upon NHS-supplied home oxygen equipment to travel abroad; and if he will make a statement.

Anna Soubry, Health Minister: Access to state-funded medical treatment in European Economic Area (EEA) countries is provided for under the terms of a valid European Health Insurance Card and this includes access to oxygen services. However, due to the nature of these services, it is necessary for residents of EEA countries to reserve provision of the oxygen equipment they will require, during the temporary visit to the other country, in advance of their departure from their home country. This can be done by contacting the Department’s Public Enquiry Centre who hold contact telephone numbers for all EEA countries. The United Kingdom also has reciprocal health care agreements with countries outside the EEA, such as Australia and New Zealand, and these provide cover for the cost of pre-existing conditions. However, individuals are still required to secure provision in advance on a personal basis in accordance with the provisions of the country they wish to visit, initially, through the embassy of the country concerned. There are no current plans to add to the number of health care agreements which the UK has with non-EEA countries and any additional EEA countries will be a matter for the European Union as a whole. Government does not set policy for domestic or international airlines. The Department has, however, been working closely with the British Lung Foundation (BLF) to help educate airlines in understanding patient requirements and providing them with on-board oxygen at no additional cost. We are aware, through recent engagement with patients and the BLF, that patients are now more able to travel locally and abroad due to the recent enhancements made to the contracts for home oxygen in England (and Wales). The Department has had feedback from a recent engagement event that patients on oxygen want to be able to do more in terms of travel, and we will continue to work with NHS England and home oxygen suppliers in this area.


Lewis – Biofuels, hunger and nutrition

15 May 2013

Ivan Lewis, Shadow International Development Secretary : To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change on the effect of biofuels on hunger ahead of the meeting of the EU Energy Council on 6 June 2013; (2) whether the G8-linked event on Hunger and Nutrition on 8 June 2013 will address the issue of biofuels as a cause of hunger; (3) what discussions she has had with her counterparts in (a) DECC, (b) DfT, (c) BIS and (d) DEFRA about the proposed amendment to the EU Renewable Energy Directive to limit the amount of food-based biofuels to five per cent of the total.

Justine Greening, International Development Secretary: We believe that food production must remain the primary goal of agriculture and production of biomass for bioenergy must not undermine food security in developing countries. The Nutrition for Growth Event on 8 June will have ambitious targeted outcomes on nutrition. The Department for International Development has regular discussions with other Whitehall Departments in relation to the proposed amendment to the EU RED to limit the amount of food based biofuels to 5% of the total.


House of Lords

Mar, Countess – Air Quality

16 May 2013

The Countess of Mar (Crossbench peer): To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the remarks by Earl Attlee on 13 June 2012 (Official Report, col. 1406), whether, as the matter was formally referred, the Committee on the Toxicity of Chemicals in Food and the Environment have yet received the relevant papers on research into cabin air quality. [HL117]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will expedite the Committee on the Toxicity of Chemicals in Food and the Environment’s consideration of the subject of cabin air quality following the article published on the subject in Flight Global in the week commencing 22 April. [HL118]

Earl Attlee, Government Spokesperson for Transport: All four of the Department for Transport’s completed research studies into cabin air were formally submitted to the Committee on Toxicity (COT) in May 2012. The timing of the consideration of these reports is a matter solely for the COT.


Media News

16 May 2013 – In an early examination of progress by the Department for Transport in planning for the High Speed 2 rail network, the National Audit Office has expressed reservations about the Department’s business case. In particular, in presenting its case for investment in the project, the Department is said to have poorly articulated the strategic need for a transformation in rail capacity and how High Speed 2 will help generate regional economic growth. The full report and the executive summary are available here.

17 May 2013 – Heathrow’s response to the ‘Aviation and Climate Change’ discussion paper published by the Airports Commission, has suggested that growing the UK’s airport hub capacity is consistent with meeting UK climate change targets. The response cites the recent report by Sustainable Aviation, the UK aviation cross-industry association, that new aircraft and engine technology, operational efficiencies and sustainable biofuels will allow the UK to double air traffic by 2050 without a substantial increase in gross emissions – consistent with the UK’s long term legally set climate change targets.

17 May 2013 – The Mayor of London has warned the Government’s aviation commission of the dangers of taking a ‘muddle along’ approach to aviation policy and told them that there are simply no short term options to increase capacity at Heathrow. The Mayor submitted papers to the Government’s aviation commission, which said that after examining the legal position and the physical requirements for any expansion of Heathrow, the Mayor has concluded that any increase in flights would breach the cap of 480,000 air traffic movements imposed on the site under planning law.


Forthcoming Events

Confronting the Climate Crisis Conference

An event bringing together climate scientists, trade unionists and environmental activists

Saturday June 8th 11.00-17.00

London Metropolitan University, Stapleton House, 277 Holloway Road, London, N7 8HN

There will be an international session which will include contributions from Norway, South Africa, America and the Canadian indigenous movement.

The conference will stage a variety of workshops including some on the melting Arctic and our weather, led by experts in their field.

Keynote speaker: Prof. Kevin Anderson, from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, one of the world’s leading – and most radical – experts on climate change.

The Parliamentary information in this Bulletin is sourced from De Havilland Information Services plc.