SASIG 2013/14 Meeting Dates

Regional News

Industry News

European News

Parliamentary News

Government News

Media News


SASIG 2014/15 Meeting Dates

27 June 2014

24 October 2014

13 March 2015

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


Regional News

14 Apr 2014 – Campaign group ‘The Shoreham Society’ have said they are increasingly concerned about a ‘lack of clarity’ surrounding the long-term future of Shoreham Airport. The society said there had been a lack of response to questions about the deteriorating state of the terminal building. Set up in 1910, it is said to be the country’s oldest working airport. The site is owned jointly by Brighton and Hove and Worthing councils and leased to Albemarle Shoreham Airport Ltd. In a statement, the councils said they were currently in negotiations with Brighton City Airport Ltd over a proposal for it to take over responsibility for the airport from the existing operators.

14 Apr 2014 – Manchester Airport is extending the opening hours of its second runway to cope with increased passenger demand. Runway Two will now operate from 1pm-8pm instead of 4pm-8pm, Monday to Saturday. It will mean flights can be moved over from Runway One during the busiest times. The decision comes after a trial extension last summer, and will come into force on May 1. An airport spokesperson said, ‘last summer we conducted a trial of revised operating hours on Runway Two. We wanted to improve operations by increasing capacity, which meant opening the runway three hours early each day, and we plan to repeat this from 1 May’.

15 Apr 2014 – London City Airport have said that they plan to continue with development in the face of calls for it to be closed. A report by the New Economics Foundation published last week had argued that the airport offered little value and it would be better off closed to make more efficient use of the site. But London City, which carried 3.3 million passengers last year and ranks as Britain’s 15th largest airport, have argued against the report’s findings.

15 Apr 2014 – Replacing the radar system at Norwich International Airport – which airport executive say is necessary to stop cars on the Norwich Northern Distributor Road from interfering with air traffic control – is to cost up to half a million pounds more than originally thought. It emerged last summer that the airport and Norfolk County Council were in negotiations over the effect the 19.5km road, which will stretch from the A47 at Postwick to the A1067 Fakenham Road, will have on the radar system. Airport executives said the traffic on the £148.5m road would show up on the airport’s radar system, interfering with the safe arrival and departure of aircraft.

Council officers said, unless a solution to that problem could be found, the airport would have to object to the road, despite having long supported the scheme. The solution the council came up with was to contribute £1.3m over eight years towards a replacement system. The council would provide the financing for the total cost of the radar replacement with the paying back the total cost over the next two decades. But, at a meeting of the controlling Labour/Liberal Democrat cabinet, it emerged the cost had increased, taking its total to just under £1.9m. The airport has said that they will bear any outstanding costs.

16 Apr 2014 – A private taxi hire firm claims its future could be in jeopardy following a decision by bosses at Leeds Bradford Airport to stop a scheme which allowed drivers access to the pick-up point outside the main terminal, without having to pay the usual fee. Until now, SJK Cars, based at Yeadon, has paid an annual charge of up to £35 to be a member of the airport’s ‘Voyager’ scheme, which meant its drivers were exempt from the £2 charge, paid to allow vehicles access to the concourse outside the main arrivals and departures hall. The airport’s management has confirmed however that the scheme has been discontinued and replaced by an hour’s parking now available free of charge in a car park a few minutes’ walk from the terminal. A statement added a free shuttle bus will also run 24 hours a day.

15 Apr 2014 – The Christchurch and East Dorset Core Strategy has been adopted this week. The 15 year plan which includes policy for housing at Roeshot Hill, development at Bournemouth Airport and further housing developments in East Dorset, had been submitted last year to the Secretary of State. As well as finding the paper sound, the Government inspector’s report says levels of consultation with residents were ‘appropriate’ and finds ‘there has been a rigorous and controlled approach to defining Green Belt boundaries’.

16 Apr 2014 – The UK-based airline, The LinksAir flights, has launched a new air link service between the Isle of Man and South Yorkshire. The service began on 14 April, and will operate three times a week between Ronaldsway and Robin Hood Doncaster-Sheffield Airport. LinksAir, based at Humberside Airport, also announced a service between Robin Hood Airport and Belfast in February.

16 Apr 2014 – Sir Roger Gale MP for North Thanet says he now accepts that Manston Airport’s financial results have been disappointing after being show figures by the current owner. Sir Roger and Ann Gloag (the founder of the Stagecoach Company) met earlier this week in the House of Commons about the future of the business. 17 Apr 2014 – Sir Roger has said that he fears the Kent airport has ‘two weeks’ to find a buyer for the site.

16 Apr 2014 – A majority of people questioned at a consultation on a possible second runway at Gatwick Airport have voiced their opposition at Ifield Community College. Visitors were provided with information on the three options for where an additional runway would be built. That included maps showing how an expanded airport would develop into parts of Crawley; how the major road network would change; wider transport schemes; the economic impact; and noise and environmental impacts.

17 Apr 2014 – The owners of Durham Tees Valley Airport have published the final draft of a strategy which aims to secure the airport’s long-term future. Following a two-month consultation period, the airport’s Master Plan has been published and details plans to establish a business-focussed hub, feeding the process chemicals cluster on Teesside. The plan outlines a strategy to make the airport a cargo destination by providing appropriate facilities for air freight, including a freight siding to the Tees Valley railway line. The plan also highlights the need to meet the requirements of growth sectors in the aviation industry, such as fire training, aircraft dismantling and maintenance and repair services. A Northside development at the airport will include office buildings and between 250-400 residential houses, as well as an extension to the on-site St George’s Hotel. Overall the plan, which will be developed to 2020 and beyond, is estimated to generate 3,800 jobs, as well as 450 full time equivalent jobs during the construction phases.

17 Apr 2014 – Luton Borough Councillor Dave Taylor has said that the passenger figures for the town’s busway (an eight-mile (13.4km) mainly guided route along a stretch of old railway line from Luton to Dunstable) were ‘very encouraging’, even though the figures were lower than forecast.


Industry News

15 Apr 2014 – Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has raised £360m by targeting the bond market for the second time this year. MAG said it has capitalised on investor interest in its debut bond issue, in February, when it raised £450m. The latest 10-year bond offers a return of 4.125 per cent, compared to the February bond, which had a rate of 4.75 per cent over 20 years. The initial bond was four times over-subscribed and its proceeds were used to pay back bank debt taken on at the point of it swooping for London Stansted in a £1.5bn deal.

16 Apr 2014 – Airlines have increased fares to the Caribbean just three weeks after Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced Air Passenger Duty (APD) on flights to the islands would be reduced from next April. British Airways confirmed that it has added £10 to ticket prices to six destinations – Barbados, Antigua, St Lucia, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago and Kingston in Jamaica. It said the move was ‘in response to market conditions’ but one Caribbean tourist board said it was shocked at the decision. A Caribbean specialist operator described the move as ‘disappointing’ so soon after the reduction in APD. The operator, who did not wish to be named, said, ‘we’ve had no notification of an increase in this manner for any other region of the world’.

16 Apr 2014 – British Airways and green fuels specialist Solena Fuels have announced that they will begin work on a GreenSky facility at the Thames Enterprise Park on part of the site of the former Coryton oil refinery in Thurrock, Essex. The companies have said that the site was selected because it has excellent transport links and existing fuel storage facilities, which will be able to hold some of the estimated 120,000 tonnes of biofuel the facility will produce each year. The project is now expected to employ 1,000 workers during construction and a further 150 permanent staff once it opens 2017.

17 Apr 2014 – A new report by the consultancy Frontier Economics says £300 could be cut from a return air fare by 2030 if Heathrow Airport were to add a third runway. The report says passengers pay an extra £95 more for an average return because airlines are competing for space at the airport, and this increase prices. The full report is available here.

19 Apr 2014 – Gordon Dewar, the Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport has said that European State Aid for Airports is ‘distorting’ competition, adding that every airport in Europe needs to be able to ‘stand on its own two feet’.


European News

16 Apr 2014 – The European Parliament has adopted a new regulation on the establishment of rules and procedures with regard to the introduction of noise-related operating restrictions at European airports. Airlines and airports welcomed the clarification and harmonisation of the methodology which will need to be followed prior to the introduction of any new noise mitigating measures. Without undermining the decision-making power of local authorities, the new legislation will require the adoption of new measures to be preceded by a comprehensive noise assessment. This assessment will also be accompanied by a transparent consultation of all stakeholders in line with the ‘balanced approach’, an international policy endorsed by all the member states of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The potential effects on the economy and impact on the capacity of air transport in Europe will also be taken into account.


Parliamentary News

Business Statement from Mike Kane, MP (Wythenshawe and Sale East)

Kane – Manchester Airports Group direct flights to south-East Asia.

10 April 2014

Mike Kane (Labour, Wythenshawe and Sale East): The first industrial city, Manchester, is proud of its trade links right across the world. They were established in the 19th century by the ship canal and are being continued by Manchester airport. Today, Manchester Airport Group announced the first direct flights for 16 years to south-east Asia, with Cathay Pacific flights to Hong Kong. Will the Leader of the House join me in welcoming the all-party support for this development, which has come from the chamber of commerce, the combined authority, the local enterprise partnership, the Manchester-China forum and my predecessor, Paul Goggins (Labour, Wythenshawe and Sale East), who fought hard for it. Will the Leader of the House also talk to the Secretary of State for Transport about arranging for some time in the House to make this announcement?

Andrew Lansley Leader of the House(Conservative, South Cambridgeshire): I am delighted to have this opportunity to join the hon. Gentleman in celebrating that new route and acknowledging all those who contributed to making it happen. I remember my own experience of working with the Manchester chamber of commerce, when I was with the British Chambers of Commerce, and I know what a remarkable institution it has been for bringing people together, from the 19th century right up to the 21st century, and for looking outwards. That is what we need to do: we need more exports, and we need to win in the global race. We have the businesses, the capabilities, the innovation and the skills, not least in a great city such as Manchester, and this is an opportunity for Manchester to go out there and sell.


Government News

17 Apr 2014 – The Department for Transport has published guidelines to assist those involved in establishing, running and participating in Airport Consultative Committees. The guidelines set out some principles and standards that can be used by those involved in establishing, running and participating in airport consultative committees to ensure committees operate in an effective and constructive way.

Forty-seven  responses were received to the consultation earlier in the year, from a range of committees, organisations and airports as well as responses from members of the public. These guidelines have been updated to reflect comments where possible. The Department have said that both main additions to the Guidelines – the five principles and the suggested code of conduct for committee members – were generally well received by most of those who provided feedback. It was generally agreed that best practice should be shared between committees although this could sometimes be difficult in practice. There was almost unanimous agreement that Section 35 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982 should be retained. In light of this response, the Department has no plans to change the legal status of committees, although they state that they may look at updating the list of designated airports in the near future.

There were a range of views regarding the admittance of the public to meetings and a number of reasons why it might not be ideal for committee meetings to be made public were raised. While the Guidelines continue to encourage committees to open their meetings to the public, the Department states that this is a decision that should be made by committees themselves after giving appropriate consideration to the local context.

The main changes that have been made to the Guidelines in response to the feedback and comments received have been the acknowledgement throughout the document of the role committees play in protecting and enhancing the experience of passengers who use the airport, as well as the addition of a section on the role of committees with regards to complaints about airport operations. Also included is a section on disputes involving committees, although the Department states that this stops short of setting out any formal dispute resolution mechanism as suggested by some respondents.


Media News

11 Apr 2014 – Global Travel Industry provider Travelport claims it has found a new trend among business travellers for ‘flying visits’, where they are spending longer in the air than at the destination. The Travelport study showed in the past 12 months, more than one million business travellers made a 20+ hour round trip to long-haul destinations but spent less than 12 hours in the country. Business travellers flying to the top three most popular long distance destinations spent £3.4bn on flights last year but spent less than half a day in those countries, the study found. Travelport said this ‘new trend’ reveals the significance businesses are putting on face-to-face meetings.

16 Apr 2014 – The Rail Union RMT, has announced that staff have voted by ‘huge majorities’ across Heathrow Express for industrial action in response to a package of cuts on their ‘pay, jobs and safety’ – the results will now be considered by RMT’s executive. The proposed job cuts are changes to working conditions are said to come as a ‘direct result of the decision of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to cut £600m from the Heathrow Airport budget’.

16 April 2014 – The rail operator Abellio Greater Anglia has won a Government franchise to provide more services between the Stansted Airport and Cambridge.


PDF Icon SASIG ParliamentaryNews Bulletin 14 Apr – 21 Apr

PDF Icon SASIG Regional&IndustryNews Bulletin 14 Apr – 21 Apr

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


 The House of Commons will be in Easter recess from Friday 11 April  until Monday 28 April 2014 and thereafter from Friday 2 May until Tuesday 6 May 2014.


 The House of Lords is in Easter recess from Thursday 10 April until Tuesday 6 May 2014.