SASIG 2014/15 Meeting Dates

Regional News

Industry News

Parliamentary News

Government News

Airports Commission

House of Lords Questions


SASIG 2014/15 Meeting Dates

6 March 2014

27 June 2014

24 October 2014

13 March 2015

Meetings are held at Local Government House, Smith Square, SW1P 3HZ, location map.


Regional News

9 Dec 2013 – Leeds Bradford Airport have announced that Eastern Airways, the UK’s 2nd largest regional airline, is to expand its route network in the New Year to include services to Southampton.

9 Dec 2013 – Speaking at a news conference marking four years since his election as First Minister for Wales, Carwyn Jones has said the Welsh government will never completely sell Cardiff Airport.

9 Dec 2013 – Member of Parliament for Uttlesford Sir Alan Haselhurst has shown his support for the campaign group ‘Stop Stansted Expansion’.

9 Dec 2013 – Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield is launching a region-wide business survey, to obtain feedback on business travel trends in order to gauge future route opportunities for travellers. The results of the business survey will play a role in developing the strategy and business plan for the airport for the next five years.

10 Dec 2013 – Nottingham accountants Cooper Parry confirmed that it is to close its regional offices and move to new premises by East Midlands Airport. The 200-strong practice plans to move to offices adjacent to the airport, formerly occupied by airline BMI’s call centre.

10 Dec 2013 – Flybe’s decision to cut three routes from Exeter is unlikely to have a knock-on impact on permanent staff numbers at the Airport HQ managers have said.

10 Dec 2013 – Gloucester Airport believes it could get a lift in passenger numbers following the loss of a number of routes to the Isle of Man. Flybe have withdrawn flights to the island from Bristol, Luton and Southampton, but now Citywing are offering flights from Gloucester.

11 Dec 2013 – Completion of phase one of the North West electrification project has been marked with the commissioning of the newly-electrified route between Newton Le Willows and Castlefield. The electrification will allow direct electric train services between Manchester Airport and Glasgow for the first time.

11 Dec 2013 – Two Surrey MPs have lodged their formal opposition to a planning application for a concrete runway to replace three grass runways at Redhill Aerodrome. Earlier this year, both Reigate and Banstead Borough Council and Tandridge District Council rejected the plans. A planning inspector will review the decision at a public inquiry in January after the aerodrome appealed.

11 Dec 2013 – Plans to increase capacity at Luton Airport from 12 million to 18 million passengers a year will be heard at a council meeting on the 20 December. The meeting will take place in the council chamber at the town hall at 10am and is open to the public to attend.

11 Dec 2013 – Cardiff Airport is to receive a £10m loan from the Welsh Government to make improvements to the site. The money will be used for a new security area to accommodate new technology and more passengers, a new taxi booking service in arrivals and improved drop off and pick up areas. The loan will be repaid over 12 years.

12 Dec 2013 – Heathrow’s biggest shareholder is considering buying Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports. Ferrovial, a Spanish company, has expressed an interest in all three regional airports, according to Sky News. However, the owner of Gatwick Airport, Global Infrastructure Partners, is also believed to be interested in buying Aberdeen Airport.

13 Dec 2013 – The House of Commons Transport Select Committee has said they are unclear how Heathrow Airport could be incorporated into phase one of the HS2 rail line. They have also stated that serving Heathrow would have a so far unknown effect on the overall budget of the project.


Industry News

9 Dec 2013 – Responding to comments from airlines and MPs following disruption to air traffic in the UK, NATS has agreed that an inquiry into the level of contingency and resilience in UK airspace would be welcome and beneficial for all. 10 Dec 2013 – Discussions are taking place to decide whether airlines will be compensated for the disruption as a result of difficulties experienced by NATS.

9 Dec 2013 – Research in The Lancet suggests that exposure to tiny particles of soot or dust may be more deadly below current European Union air quality limits than previously thought. The results seem to suggest that even at levels below the European guideline (25 μg/m3), the higher the exposure to PM2.5 the greater the increased mortality rate due to natural causes.

11 Dec 2013 – The UK Civil Aviation Authority has advised disabled and elderly passengers to let their airport and airline know of the assistance they need to avoid problems with their flight. Under European regulations, anyone facing difficulty moving around the airport or aircraft – including disabled and elderly passengers – is entitled to support if they give 48 hours’ notice. However, many people needing assistance don’t call ahead in advance, making it more difficult for airports and airlines to make all the necessary preparations so passengers can travel safely and comfortably.

13 Dec 2013 – Airline passengers may soon be allowed to use electronic devices for the entire duration of a flight, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has confirmed. Following recent regulatory approval, UK airlines will be able to seek permission from the CAA to allow their passengers to use portable electronic devices during taxi, take-off and landing.


Parliamentary News

6 Dec 2013 – The Transport Committee’s Fifth Report of Session 2013-14: Access to transport for disabled people has called on the Department for Transport (DfT) to deliver an Accessibility Action Plan following the raised expectations of disabled people during the Paralympics.

The report highlights the importance of enabling and encouraging access to transport for disabled people to access more employment opportunities, travel to healthcare centres, easier access a wider range of education and training opportunities and travel to shops and to meet friends in cafes and bars, increasing the spending by consumers. The report recommends that:

  • The Cabinet Office convene a working group of ministers and officials to improve cross-government working on accessibility.
  • The DfT develops and publishes a methodology for quantitative assessment of benefits from improving accessibility to disabled people.
  • The DfT must work with the Disability Action Alliance to identify successful local authority and/or operator schemes and promote their development at a national level.
  • The DfT publishes annual updates on the implementation of the measures in the Action Plan, which should include data on changes in the number and types of journeys made by disabled people.
  • The DfT to complete its review of the Inclusive Mobility guidance in the first half of 2014.

On air travel

  • The DfT should seek to amend the air travel equality regulations (EC 1107/2006) to require airlines to allow carers to travel free of charge on an aircraft, where an airline judges a disabled person to be incapable of travelling independently contrary to the individual’s self-assessment.
  • The DfT should urge the European Commission to bring forward proposals on adequate compensation by airlines for damaged mobility equipment.

The Government’s response to the report can be found here.


12 Dec 2013 – Stephen Hammond, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport has made a statement about his attendance at the final Transport Council of the Lithuanian Presidency in Brussels on Thursday 5 December. The statement covers:

  • The establishment of common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights.
  • A joint European Union Comprehensive Air Service Agreement with Brazil.
  • Latest developments on Aviation Emissions Trading.

The Council noted progress made on the review of a Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights and Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 on air carrier liability in respect of the carriage of passengers and their baggage. The Presidency pointed to progress made in a number of areas including time/distance triggers for compensation and what would constitute an extraordinary circumstance. Greece will seek to reach an agreement within the Council on this dossier during its Presidency.

The Council agreed a mandate for the Commission to open discussions with Brazil to secure an EU Comprehensive Air Service Agreement.  The Commission stressed the importance of securing a positive outcome from the forthcoming discussions, especially given the rapid development of Brazil and the opportunities presented by the World Cup and Olympics that would take place over the next few years. 

Under Any Other Business, the Commission reported on the latest developments on Aviation Emissions Trading noting that although the revised Commission proposal was legally sound, it had not been received well at international level due to its inconsistencies with the outcome of the ICAO Assembly in October. I commented that our primary concern should be to agree a global market based measure (MBM) in ICAO, and I raised concerns that a negative reaction to the EU ETS at international level could jeopardise progress in ICAO. I therefore agreed with others, who supported the extension of the 2013 intra-European ETS to 2020 with a Review in 2016 which could assess progress and make any appropriate amendments to the ETS. The Commission suggested that comments made by Transport Ministers should be forwarded to their Environment colleagues who would be meeting on 13 December.  The Commission felt that this needed to be resolved at national government level and the threat of a trade war remained very real.  The Presidency concluded that Council take note of the positions expressed.


Government News

12 Dec 2013 – The Government are currently seeking evidence on the current state of advanced fuel development. They are aiming to understand more about the deployment potential of various fuel technologies, whether the market needs support or encouragement to develop and whether there is anything they can or should do to help. Full consultation documents can be found here. The call for evidence will run from 12 December 2013 to 21 February 2014.

13 Dec 2013 – The Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced funding for a range of new initiatives with the aim of tackling congestion on local roads and improving key points in the road and networks The measures include £49 million from the Local Pinch Point Fund for 25 local roads schemes, building on 87 already announced this year; confirmation of nearly £111 million for the M6-Heysham link road, along with funding for projects to improve the M55 J1, A1, and M62 J19; and electrification of the Wigan-to-Bolton railway line. A taskforce will report to the Transport Secretary within 12 months on the acceleration of further rail electrification schemes in the North of England.


Airports Commission

The following stories are a summary of those being run by media outlets. In some cases they are based on speculation and should be treated as tentative.

9 Dec 2013 – Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports say they are confident of being shortlisted as potential locations for new runways by the Airports Commission. But supporters of a new hub in the Thames estuary, led by London mayor Boris Johnson, say their proposals may not make the shortlist.

11 Dec 2013 – A new report commissioned by Ealing, Hounslow and Slough Councils argues that the loss of Heathrow’s ‘hub status’ would put as many as 70,000 jobs at risk. According to the report more than 30,600 jobs in the three boroughs directly or indirectly depend on Heathrow. The remainder of the threatened jobs, it claims, would come from ‘catalytic jobs’ – those generated by proximity to the airport.

11 Dec 2013 – Wandsworth Council has reiterated its opposition against any further expansion of Heathrow Airport. The council, along with its 2M Group partners, defeated the previous Government’s plans for a third runway in the High Court in 2010 on environmental grounds. The council states that nothing has changed since then to make the impacts of expansion any less severe.  While the leader of Richmond Council has warned it will also contest any further expansion of Heathrow Airport.

11 Dec 2013 – London Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called on Sir Howard Davies to recommend more night-flights at Heathrow Airport.

12 Dec 2013 – The Chairman of Gatwick Airport, Sir Roy McNulty, has told the Financial Times that the airport would be unlikely to build a second runway if simultaneous expansion is allowed at Heathrow. While Heathrow Airport have stated that they would not be opposed to a second runway at Gatwick.

12 Dec 2013 – Midlands’ leaders have stressed the importance of international connectivity for foreign investment in the region after new research showed that two-thirds (71per cent) of foreign investors believe international transport links are vital to choosing a location. The study, commissioned by inward investment programme Business Birmingham and undertaken by ComRes, polled businesses from three different continents that have recently invested in the UK to establish what key drivers lie behind the decision by foreign businesses to invest. 14 Dec 2013 – The Chief Executive of Birmingham Airport has called on the Airports Commission to not forget economies outside of the south east ahead of its report into airport capacity.

13 Dec 2013 – Details of the Airports Commission’s Interim Report are reported to have been leaked to the media. The Interim Report is said to favour a third runway at Heathrow Airport and then either a fourth at the airport or a second at Gatwick Airport according to the Guardian newspaper.

13 Dec 2013 – Sky News have reported that the Prime Minister, David Cameron has met with The Chair of the Airport Commission Sir Howard Davies to discuss the contents of the Commissions Interim Report. Sky News are reporting that Commission is understood to have outlined three proposals: a third runway at Heathrow; a bigger expansion comprising two new runways there; and an additional runway at Heathrow alongside a second runway at Gatwick.


House of Lords Questions


The Countess of Mar – Plans for UK based airlines to monitor air quality in aircraft cabins

11 Dec 2013

The Countess of Mar (Crossbench peer) : To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the Felderhof-KLM ruling in the Netherlands on 18 September, whether they have plans to insist that United Kingdom-based airlines monitor air quality in aircraft cabins; and what contingency plans they have should a European ruling require compulsory monitoring of air quality in all aircraft cabins.

Baroness Kramer, Minister of State, Department for Transport  (Liberal Democrat): The Government has no plans to require UK based airlines to monitor air quality in aircraft cabins. The European Aviation Safety Agency would be responsible for introducing proposals for the compulsory monitoring of air quality in all aircraft cabins. There has been no indication that the Agency intends to introduce such proposals.


The Countess of Mar – Request for epidemiological study be conducted on air crew

11 Dec 2013

The Countess of Mar: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will take up the recommendation of the Science and Technology Committee in its report Air Travel and Health (HL Paper 121, Session 1999–2000) that a full-scale epidemiological study be conducted on air crew; and, if so, when.

Baroness Kramer: The Government has no plans to require UK based airlines to monitor air quality in aircraft cabins. The European Aviation Safety Agency would be responsible for introducing proposals for the compulsory monitoring of air quality in all aircraft cabins. There has been no indication that the Agency intends to introduce such proposals.


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