SASIG 2013/14 Meeting Dates

Regional News

Industry News

European News

Government News

Media News


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

17 Feb 2014 – Figures released by the UK Civil Aviation Authority this month show that fewer passenger planes are taking off and landing at Durham Tees Valley Airport than a year ago.  A total of 345 passenger planes took off and landed at the airport last November – or one plane every 125 minutes – equivalent to a 4 per cent decrease on the 359 that passed through in November 2012.

17 Feb 2014 – Birmingham Airport has reported a 10 per cent passenger increase for January, compared to a year ago. This is the first time that the airport has experienced double digit growth since December 2005. In total, 549,489 travellers passed through the airport in January, and long-haul traffic saw a major rise of 24 per cent compared to January 2013.

17 Feb 2014 – A study compiled by industry website Airline Network News & Analysis has showed that Southend Airport has the largest growth of any European airport with a 57 per cent rise in passenger numbers from 2012 to 2013. Figures show that the Essex airport handled 617,556 passengers in 2012 and 969,950 last year, giving it the largest percentage increase. In second place was Diyarbakir in Turkey with a 39 per cent rise.

17 Feb 2014 – More than 1.2 million passengers travelled through Manchester Airport in January 2014 – more than 4 per cent higher than the previous year. The moving annual total for Manchester Airport is now over 20 million passengers.

19 Feb 2014 – More than 2,500 people have signed a petition calling on the Government to safeguard Durham Tees Valley Airport. The petition, named ‘Keep open Teesside Airport’, has been launched by Middlesbrough councillor Chris Hobson, as she believes the airport is being lost for no reason.

20 Feb 2014 – Plans for a new hotel at Bristol Airport have been resubmitted to North Somerset Council. Residents living near the airport have received letters stating that a planning application has been submitted to the Local Authority for the new 251-bedroom hotel.

20 Feb 2014 – Transport Select Committee member, Jim Fitzpatrick MP, visited Stansted Airport this week on a fact-finding trip as part of his Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) Fellowship – the charity that works to promote mutual understanding between Parliament and business.

21 Feb 2014 – The Aeromedical Centre at the air traffic service NATS, has won two new contracts – a three-year contract with London Oxford Airport to provide medical services for the 12 air traffic controllers based there, and a contract with Canadian airline, Sunwing. The work on both these contracts starts this month.

22 Feb 2014 – Drivers in Bedfordshire are being warned of delays as work begins on a £30m scheme to improve access to and from the M1. The project, designed to reduce congestion at junctions 10 and 10a for Luton, will see overnight closures on the main road linking the motorway and Luton Airport.

23 Feb 2014 – More than 1million people may be affected by the noise of planes taking off and landing at Heathrow – almost four times the number claimed by the government. According to a new study, which claims that the existing method of measuring aircraft noise is outdated and ‘biased’.


Industry News

17 Feb 2014 – The demand for premium air travel rose by 4 per cent in December compared to the previous year, according to the latest air traffic figures from the International Air Transport Association. In December last year, premium travel numbers were up by 6 per cent on a year ago and in line with the November result of 5 per cent. The figures showed the largest share (21 per cent) of the rise in premium travel in 2013 was due to strong growth in Asia. This market expanded 7.2 per cent in 2013.

17 Feb 2014 – Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson was the busiest airport in the world in 2013 according to the most recent passenger data – but the most notable mover in the top 10 was Dubai International up to 7th place from 10th. First place once again goes to Atlanta in the US state of Georgia, with 94 million, but down 1 per cent on the 96 million in 2012. In second place was Beijing Capital International Airport, with 84 million passengers, a 2 per cent increase on 2012, while third was London Heathrow, where traffic reached 72 million, an increase of 3 per cent on 2012. The full top ten is shown below.

  1. Atlanta-Hartsfield Jackson, 94 million (-1.13per cent)
  2. Beijing,  84 million (+2.2per cent)
  3. London Heathrow, 72 million (+3.4per cent)
  4. Tokyo Haneda,  69 million (+2.6per cent)
  5. Chicago O’Hare,  67 million (+0.1per cent)
  6. Los Angeles International, 67 million (+4.7per cent)
  7. Dubai International, 66 million (+15.2per cent)
  8. Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta, 62 million (+3.4per cent)
  9. Paris Charles de Gaulle,  62 million (+0.7per cent)
  10. Dallas/Forth Worth,  60 million (+3.2per cent)

17 Feb 2014 – Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial is reported to have made an offer to Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH) for British airports Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton. 21 Feb 2014 – While Glasgow City Council’s pension fund – the Strathclyde Pension Fund – is also thought to be part of a bid consortium to buy Glasgow Airport, which includes Partners Group and Zurich Airport.

17 Feb 2014 – The airline operator Flybe is to start using Embraer jets to operate some services to Belfast, Edinburgh and Glasgow, which are larger than Q400 turboprop aircraft it has used in the past. The changes, which add an extra 7,000 seats a year on all three routes, will be in effect from until March 29 2014.

17 Feb 2014 – Manchester Airports Group has raised £450m through its first ever bond issue. MAG issued the 20-year bond, which was four-times over-subscribed, saying that the proceeds will be used to repay bank debt it put in place to buy London Stansted in February last year in a £1.5bn deal.

17 Feb 2014 – Two Chinese companies have written to the Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, expressing their interest in jointly acquiring a 55 per cent stake in Athens International Airport. According to the letter, signed by the chairmen of Friedmann Pacific Asset Management Ltd and Shenzhen Airport (Group) Co Ltd, the two companies are also interested in the airport’s management. The Chinese chairmen stated that they intend to use their own funds in order to turn Greece’s main terminal into an international transit hub and an entry point for Chinese travellers to European countries.

18 Feb 2014 – For the fourth consecutive year, Munich Airport has received official accreditation for its CO2 reduction efforts. In the Airport Carbon Accreditation Initiative launched by the airport industry association ACI Europe, Munich Airport achieved Level 3: the second-highest of four ratings. The certificate is granted to airports that take effective and sustainable action to reduce CO2 emissions and involve other partners at the airport – in particular airlines – in these efforts.

19 Feb 2014 – A German court has supported plans for a third runway at the country’s second-biggest airport in Munich.

21 Feb 2014 – The first phase of the TOPFLIGHT trial has successfully demonstrated the feasibility and benefits of key elements of the SESAR concept in a real operational environment. The NATS led trial, in which 100 British Airways flights across the North Atlantic were subjected to gate to gate optimisation using elements of the SESAR concept, resulted in estimated savings of up to half a tonne of fuel per flight. The optimisation included providing an initial Oceanic profile before departure; the use of continuous climb and descent profiles and direct routings; use of more flexible Oceanic clearances; the flexible use of military airspace; and reduced engine taxiing.


European News

19 Feb 2014 – The European Commission has adopted new guidelines on how Member States can support airports and airlines in line with EU state aid rules. The guidelines are aimed at ensuring good connections between regions and the mobility of European citizens, while minimising distortions of competition in the Single Market. They are part of the Commission’s State Aid Modernisation (SAM) strategy, which aims at fostering growth in the Single Market by encouraging more effective aid measures and focusing the Commission’s scrutiny on cases with the biggest impact on competition.

The new guidelines for State aid to airports and airlines aims to promote sound use of public resources for growth-oriented initiatives. At the same time, they aim to limit distortions of competition that would undermine a level playing field in the Single Market, in particular by avoiding overcapacity and the duplication of unprofitable airports.

Key features are:

  • State aid for investment in airport infrastructure is allowed if there is a genuine transport need and the public support is necessary to ensure the accessibility of a region. The new guidelines define maximum permissible aid intensities depending on the size of an airport, in order to ensure the right mix between public and private investment. The possibilities to grant aid are therefore higher for smaller airports than for larger ones.
  • Operating aid to regional airports (with less than 3 million passengers a year) will be allowed for a transitional period of 10 years under certain conditions, in order to give airports time to adjust their business model. To receive operating aid, airports need to work out a business plan paving the way towards full coverage of operating costs at the end of the transitional period. As under the current market conditions, airports with an annual passenger traffic of below 700 000 may face increased difficulties in achieving full cost coverage during the transitional period, the guidelines include a special regime for those airports, with higher aid intensities and a reassessment of the situation after 5 years.
  • Start-up aid to airlines to launch a new air route is permitted provided it remains limited in time. The compatibility conditions for start-up aid to airlines have been streamlined and adapted to recent market developments.

The formal adoption and publication of the new guidelines in the Official Journal in all EU official languages is foreseen for March 2014. The new guidelines are available here, with a policy brief ‘New State aid rules for a competitive aviation industry’, here.


Government News

19 Feb 2014 – The Civil Aviation Authority have published an open consultation seeking views on proposals concerning the UK and Ireland’s draft performance plan for reference period 2 (2015 to 2019) of the Single European Sky (SES) performance scheme. The SES performance scheme is a European Union initiative aiming to improve the performance of air navigation services in 4 areas:

  • safety
  • environment
  • capacity
  • cost efficiency

The CAA and Irish Aviation Authority will develop a performance plan for adoption by the UK and Irish governments and submission to the European Commission and performance review body by 30 June 2014.

Full details of the consultation can be found below or here on the CAA website.

Draft Performance Plan – consultation document

FAB Performance Plan UK-Ireland FAB – Second reference period (2015-2019)

The CAA’s approach to the regulation of terminal air navigation service for RP2

Regulatory treatment of London Approach charges in Reference period 2 (2015-2019) of the Single European Sky Performance Scheme: CAA conclusions

Consultancy reports are available on the CAA website on the NATS Licence page.

The closing date for submissions is 4 April 2014.


Media News

19 Feb 2014 – Air India and Birmingham Airport have announced carrying 50,000 passengers on over 200 Dreamliner flights between Birmingham and India, since launching in August last year.

PDF Icon SASIG Regional&IndustryNews Bulletin 17 Feb – 23 Feb

PDF Icon SASIG ParliamentaryNews Bulletin 17 Feb – 23 Feb  

There will be a reduced Parliamentary service while the House of Commons and House of Lords are in recess until Monday 24 February.