SASIG 2013/14 Meeting Dates

Regional News

Industry News

European News

Parliamentary News

Government News

House of Commons Questions

Media News


SASIG 2014/15 Meeting Dates

27 June 2014

24 October 2014

6 March 2015

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


Regional News

9 June 2014 – The frequency of a bus service from Cardiff city centre to Cardiff Airport is to be reduced after a performance review. The Cardiff Airport Express service will run every 30 minutes rather than every 20 minutes in the less-busy winter months, after criticism that it was running with very few passengers on it.

9 June 2014 – Thanet District Council are considering issuing a compulsory purchase order for Manston Airport, part funded by the company RiverOak who initially met the asking price for the Airport. The current owner Ms. Anne Gloag has stated that she is considering turning the site into a garden city.

9 June 2014 – The campaign group Save Our Skies (SOS), have welcomed a promise from Luton Airport that it will consider pursuing further reductions to a flight path over the district. The airport’s operators recently announced a proposal to cut the width of a route over St Albans from three kilometres to two kilometres. But SOS have held a meeting with airport representatives in an effort to convince them to further reduce the flight path. As a result, Luton Airport has agreed to look at reducing the swathe to 1.5km, and possibly 1km.

10 June 2014 – A direct rail route is being planned between Gatwick Airport and Oxford. The connection would not happen until Gatwick completes its direct rail link to Cambridge and Peterborough in 2019. Oxfordshire County Council Member for Environment and Transport Councillor David Nimmo Smith said he was unaware of the proposals, but said: ‘the council has not yet thought this though, but it is an interesting idea and would be a big benefit for Oxford’.

12 June 2014 – KLM Cityhopper has increased its capacity at Leeds Bradford Airport with the introduction of a new larger aircraft, on its regular services to Amsterdam Schiphol. The service will offer an additional thousand seats each week.

12 June 2014 – Road works are scheduled to get underway shortly to increase the number of lanes linking the M42 at junction 6 to Birmingham Airport and the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre.

12 June 2014 – One of the Directors of the Heathrow Hub company, whose proposal is on the Airports Commission shortlist, spoke at a meeting of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead’s Aviation Forum, held at Windsor’s Guildhall. Asked by Councillor Malcolm Beer (Independent, Old Windsor) how the infrastructure around the Royal Borough would cope with an influx of new employees as a result of the proposal he said, ‘If anywhere can cope with growth it is around here’. But Councillor Beer stated that ‘we have already been ordered to take 12,500 extra houses to cope with existing demand in our little borough. We value our greenbelt’.

12 June 2014 – A meeting of the Gatwick Diamond Economic Growth Forum has heard that expansion at Gatwick Airport would see the loss of two million square feet of business land (covering approximately 250 business premises). The Chief Executive of the airport Mr Stewart Wingate, said representatives would be meeting with businesses within the next couple of weeks to work out what would need to be done regarding relocation and compensation. The meeting also heard Mr Neil Bennett, of architect planners Farrells, talking about expansion ‘nurturing the Green Belt’ land in the area. Mr Brendon Sewill, Chair of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign said expansion would lead to ‘massive urbanisation of the countryside’ and added, ‘nurturing’ is the sort of rubbish that is being put out by Gatwick at present’.

12 June 2014 – East Sussex County Council has given its support to one particular option for a second runway and new terminal building at Gatwick Airport. At a meeting at County Hall on Tuesday last week, Councillor Rupert Simmons, Lead Member for Economy, pledged the authority’s support for the third of three options for expansion. He said that he believed the plan, which would see a new runway 1,045 metres south of the existing runway and a new terminal built between the two, would support economic growth and job creation. Councillor Simmons said, ‘we had previously given our backing to the idea of a second runway and we believe this particular option is the best way forward … It will support our key priority of economic growth by providing better links for business to trade across the globe, as well as new jobs and attracting tourists … Our support is dependent on improvements to transport links and the necessary infrastructure needed for the expansion. This will directly benefit East Sussex residents and businesses’.

12 June 2014 – East Midlands Airport is celebrating the first anniversary of its Airport Academy – a dedicated employment and education facility launched in June 2013.

13 June 2014 – Foster and Partners refreshed proposal to the Airports Commission for a new airport in the Inner Thames Estuary states that relocating habitat from the area will cost £500m.

13 June 2014 – Director of Strategy at Heathrow Airport, Mr. Andrew McMillan has told a meeting of The Maidenhead Chamber of Commerce that an expanded Heathrow ‘will work harder to involve neighbouring businesses in its supply chain’.

13 June 2014 – Commerce and Employment Minister of Guernsey, Deputy Kevin Stewart, has claimed that Channel Islanders are paying £3.5million a year too much in Airline Passenger Duty (link contains video footage).

13 June 2014 – China’s Ambassador to Britain Li Xiaoming has said that he would like Heathrow Airport to expand its capacity so Chinese airlines can introduce more flights between China and the UK. He added that he had written to the Government on the issue.


Industry News

6 June 2014 – The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is consulting on a change to the Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL) standard terms. The CAA states that aim of the process is to give consumers improved clarity on their financial protection when booking with businesses that are exempt from holding an ATOL. The changes will affect all ATOL stakeholders and restrict the way in which ATOL holders may sell flight accommodation to exempt businesses. The consultation closes on the 1 August 2014.

9 June 2014 – Virgin Atlantic have defended the 40 per cent load factor on their domestic carrier ‘Little Red’, suggesting that the airline is ,gaining momentum’ after its first year of operation.

9 June 2014 – The airline operator EasyJet has applied to attend meetings of the London Airports Consultative Committee, which represents the ‘operational and strategic interests’ of airlines operating at Heathrow Airport. The carrier are also reported to be considering purchasing slots at the airport.

9 June 2014 – Turkey have officially commenced construction of world’s largest airport. Situated in the Arnavutkoy neighbourhood of Istanbul, the airport will have a 90m passenger capacity, cover an area of 76m square metres and have a parking zone big enough for 500 planes.

10 June 2014 – The UK Civil Aviation Authority has produced a basic guide to Continuous Descent Approach principles. The guide is available here.

10 June 2014 – Gatwick Airport’s Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Director Mr. James Colman, has left his post.

10 June 2014 – The first Newmarket Holidays flight landed at Lydd Airport in Kent on June 1, with 93 passengers departing on a Small Planet Airlines flight bound for Verona. The flight marks the start of a new era for Lydd Airport. The specialist tour operator announced in April that it would be moving its Kent departures to Lydd this summer following the uncertainty of commercial airline activities at Manston Airport, which has since closed.

11 June2014 – Dubai’s Emirates Airline has cancelled an order for 70 Airbus A350 aircraft.

11 June 2014 – Technology, hotels and aviation company Rigby Group has bought Norwich International Airport. The company which also owns and operates Coventry and Exeter Airports, announced that it had bought it from Omniport for an undisclosed sum.

11 June2014 – Airline operator Flybe opened the first three of its planned seven-route operation at London Southend Airport this week, beginning services to Groningen in Holland, Münster/Osnabrück in Germany and Rennes in France. 12 June 2014 – Flybe has returned to profitability after carrying a record number of passengers and achieving record load factors in the year to the end of March.

13 June 2014 – A Court of Appeal has ruled that airlines may no longer be able to use technical faults as a reason to avoid paying compensation to passengers for flight delays.

13 June 2014 – The American Government has approved legislation that could prevent Norwegian Air from operating flights to the US because of concerns the airline will ‘dodge international labour rules’. It still has to gain Senate approval before becoming law. Norwegian is currently awaiting the US Department of Transportation’s decision for a foreign air carrier permit. However, if the legislation is approved Norwegian could be blocked from serving the US. 13 June 2014 – Airline operator Norwegian has stated that it will continue with its plans for transatlantic expansion into the US despite efforts to block its plans.


European News

11 June 2014 – The European Commission has found that Italian public capital injections into Stretto Airport in Calabria, Italy, are in line with current State Aid Rules. In particular, the Commission has concluded that the measures have furthered the connectivity of Calabria, in line with European Union transport objectives, without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market. In 2010, the Commission had opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether capital injections carried out by the public shareholders of SO.G.A.S., the manager of the Italian Stretto Airport, in 2005, 2006 and 2007 were in line with the State Aid Rules.

13 June 2014 – The Spanish Government has announced that it plans to sell a 49 per cent stake in Aena Aeropuertos by the end of the year. It has set a November 2014 date for the anticipated share flotation.


Parliamentary News

9 June 2014 – During a one-off session of the Transport Committee, MPs heard evidence from the Chief Executive of Network Rail, Mr. Mark Carne. Mr. Carne answered questions on the major challenges facing Network Rail, including: improving safety and reliability, investing to create more capacity and reducing the running costs to bring ticket prices down. During his session Mr. Carne was asked by Graham Stringer (Blackley and Broughton, Labour) if Network Rail had responded to the Davies Commission’s recommendation that greater priority be given to rail access to airports, stating that the UK had ‘poor record’ on investing in that area. In reply, Mr Carne said that western access to Heathrow Airport and accelerated times to Stansted Airport were both being reviewed. He added that access to Manchester Airport was being considered as part of the Northern Hub programme, ‘it is something that we are very conscious of […] that connectivity is a very important part of a joined-up transport strategy”. Mr. Stringer asked what the schedule for upgrades to Stansted Airport would be. Responding, Mr Carne said that some work was planned within Control Periods 5 and 6 with the aim of reducing the journey time to 30 minutes.

12 June 2014 – The House of Commons Transport Select Committee have announced a one-off Oral evidence session with NATS UK, the UK’s leading provider of air traffic control services. Likely topics for discussion include the commercial growth of NATS, sustainability and issues raised by the work of the Airports Commission. Witnesses will be Chief Executive, Richard Deakin; Managing Director of Services, Catherine Mason; and Managing Director of Operations, Martin Rolfe.


Government News

9 June 2014 – The Government have published a consultation document on the future of the TransPennine Express and Northern rail franchises. They have also published the prospectuses for both the TransPennine Express and Northern franchises. These accompany the pre-qualification documents published on 6 June 2014:

and an Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) notice submitted for publication on 5 June 2014. These steps mark the start of the formal competitions to find new operators to run passenger rail services in the 2 key rail franchises in the north of England. The public consultation invites views from the public and from stakeholders on the improvements to service levels and facilities that passengers may wish to see. The consultation will run until 18 August 2014.


9 June 2014 – The Airports Commission has called for evidence on the connectivity and business models of the UK’s existing airport capacity. The publication considers the national aviation picture from which the Commission is considering the shortlisted options for additional capacity in London and the south east of England. This call for evidence focuses on the domestic and international connectivity provided by regional airports and airports serving London and the south east other than Heathrow and Gatwick, and considers what recommendations the Commission could usefully make to shape this national picture. The publication further examines connectivity trends at these airports, how the business models of these airports are developing and whether the connectivity provided by these airports can be enhanced. The consultation closes on 25 July 2014.


12 June 2014 – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport and Aviation Minister Mr Robert Goodwill, made a statement outlining transport issues discussed at the final Transport Council under the Greek Presidency (Luxembourg, 5 June 2014) including rail, maritime and air items.

The Council took note of progress reports on the proposed air passenger rights and the port services regulations. The Commission expressed disappointment that the Council had not yet reached a common view on air passenger rights and hoped rapid agreement could be reached on this and all other aviation dossiers including the EU-Ukraine Common Aviation Area Agreement. On the specifics of the air passenger rights dossier, the Commission expressed reservations regarding the category of unexpected flight safety shortcomings and the proposed deletion of the compensation regime for missed connecting flights. Several member states used the opportunity of the progress report on the port services regulation to emphasise their concerns, in particular on scope and whether a regulation was the appropriate legal instrument.

Any other business was dominated by a wide-range of aviation items with the Commission providing updates on work at international and European levels to improve aircraft tracking following the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370, and also their report on the application of the Airport Charges Directive. Spain presented its information paper on preserving and enhancing the EU influence in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the Netherlands pressed the Commission for a clear timetable to discuss further the social dimension in the air transport sector.

Finally, Italian Transport Minister, Maurizio Lupi, set out the theme for the Italian EU Presidency as “infrastructure and transport for growth and cohesion” and confirmed that the transport priorities will be actions on TEN-T networks, ports services, the political pillar of the 4th Railway Package and the single European sky. The key dates for the Italian Presidency will be transport councils on 8 October (2014) in Luxembourg and 3 December (2014) in Brussels. An informal council will be held in Milan on 16 to 17 September (2014).


12 Jun 2014 – The Office for National Statistics have published monthly data for the number of overseas visitors to the UK, UK residents visits abroad, earnings from overseas visits, expenditure of UK residents going abroad. Key points from the statistical release include:

  • The rise in visits and earnings from overseas residents to the UK continues, and in the period February to April 2014 visits were 7 per cent higher compared with a year earlier.
  • Holiday visits to the UK remain strong and are up 18 per cent  year to date (January to April).
  • The number of visits abroad by UK residents is 1 per cent  lower in the three months February to April 2014 compared with the same months a year earlier.


12 June 2014 – The Secretary of State for Transport, Mr. Patrick McGloughlin has announced that Govia Thameslink Railway Limited to run Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise. Mr. McLoughlin has made the following statement, ‘On 23 May 2014 my department announced its intention to award the Thameslink Southern Great Northern (TSGN) franchise to Govia Thameslink Railway Limited, pending the successful completion of a standstill period. I am happy to confirm to the House that this standstill period has ended and we completed the contract after the markets closed 11 June. This means that Govia can begin the mobilisation process that will mean the new franchise will begin in September this year.

The TSGN franchise is the largest ever let in terms of passenger numbers and Govia will transform services across the south east of England during the 7 year term of the franchise. A key aspect of the franchise will be delivering this government’s £6.5 billion Thameslink programme – a major programme of infrastructure work that is helping create 8,000 jobs and will allow 24 trains per hour to travel in each direction from Blackfriars to St Pancras. New tunnels will link Peterborough and Cambridge to the existing Thameslink route providing easy access across London via St Pancras to Gatwick and Brighton.

Passengers are at the heart of this franchise and will benefit from improved customer service and nearly 1,400 new electric carriages across the network. These include the new class 700 trains secured by the government as part of the Thameslink programme, but also 2 new fleets of trains being procured entirely by Govia. These will provide 50% more capacity and 10,000 extra seats every weekday into central London during the morning peak by the end of 2018, and delivering quicker, cleaner and more reliable journeys for passengers and businesses.

This franchise shows the benefits that government working in partnership with the private sector can bring for the railways through franchising. It is a fantastic deal for the rail industry, passengers and taxpayers’.


13 June 2014 – The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport and Aviation Minister, Mr Robert Goodwill has opened the new ‘Transport Systems Catapult Centre’, a national hub for transport modelling and monitoring. It is anticipated that the Centre will test the latest theories on how transport systems interact and function against real-world examples.


House of Commons Questions

Jamieson, C – Revenue from air passenger duty from airports in Scotland

9 June 2014

Cathy Jamieson, Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Labour/Co-operative, Kilmarnock and Loudoun): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the amount of revenue accruing to the Exchequer from air passenger duty in respect of (a) domestic and (b) international flights from each airport in Scotland in 2013-14.

Nicky Morgan, Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Conservative, Loughborough): HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) does not collect information on the contribution to air passenger duty (APD) revenues made from flights to or from specific airports or countries. HMRC has published a set of statistics presenting estimates of the disaggregation of tax receipts between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, available at: The estimate for the total amount of APD revenues attributable to Scotland in 2012-13 was £227 million. This estimate is not broken down by revenues from domestic and international flights. Information on APD revenues and passenger numbers by band is available at: Information on the number of passengers flying to and from UK airports is available at: =88&pageid=3&sglid=3#Data


Lewis, I – Consultation on Guidance to the Civil Aviation Authority on Environmental Objectives Relating to the Exercise of its Air Navigation Functions

12 June 2014

Ivan Lewis, Shadow International Development Secretary (Labour, Bury South): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he consulted his Northern Ireland counterpart on his Department’s publication Guidance to the Civil Aviation Authority on Environmental Objectives Relating to the Exercise of its Air Navigation Functions.

Robert Goodwill, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport and Aviation Minister (Conservative, Scarborough and Whitby): There was no specific consultation with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on this publication.


Jamieson, C – Scottish airports and the Regional Air Connectivity Fund

12 June 2014

Cathy Jamieson, Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Labour/Co-operative, Kilmarnock and Loudoun): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which Scottish airports will benefit from the Regional Air Connectivity Fund.

Robert Goodwill: The Government announced on 6 June that a Public Service Obligation will be established on the air route between Dundee airport and London Stansted airport from 1 July 2014 for a two-year period, with support from the Regional Air Connectivity Fund announced in last year’s Spending Round. The Scottish devolved Administration or regional body may apply for access to this fund to maintain an air link from other Scottish airports to London, where there is a risk that an existing link may be lost, and where the case for a Public Service Obligation has been made. The Chancellor announced in this year’s Budget that the funding would be doubled to £20 million per year, and also extended to allow for the support for start-up aid for new air routes from UK regional airports. European Union aviation State aid guidelines allow for provision of start-up aid to facilitate start-up of new routes from airports which handle fewer than 5 million passengers per annum. This will therefore cover all Scotland’s airports apart from Glasgow and Edinburgh.  The Department for Transport is working with the Treasury to develop guidance that will clarify how the Government will ordinarily expect to interpret the European Union guidelines, and explain how the funding process will work.


Media News

9 June 2014 – Stansted Airport saw nearly 1.82 million passengers pass through the terminal in May 2014, up 7.6 per cent on the same month last year. The overall number of passengers using the airport in the 12 months ending May 2014 grew to 18.29 million, an increase of 3.3 per cent over the previous year.

11 June 2014 – The Chief Executive of Heathrow Airport, Mr. Colin Matthews has made a statement about the airport’s traffic and business for May. Mr. Matthews said that, ‘Heathrow has experienced record passenger traffic for May and cargo has also shown a strong increase this month, particularly to Mexico and China. 65 per cent of UK air freight already travels via Heathrow. As part of our revised proposals for expansion to the Airports Commission, we said we would double cargo capacity to further improve UK export competitiveness, connecting the whole of the UK to fast growing international markets’.

10 June 2014 – Heathrow Airport have published their ‘Fly Quiet’ table, which lists airlines taking off from and arriving at the airport, according to their noise performance.

The Fly Quiet table lists the top 50 Heathrow airlines every three months (by number of flights per quarter) according to six noise related criteria. The airlines receive a red/amber/green rating for each criterion, as well as an overall score which allows them to understand how they are performing in relation to other airlines. If they are not meeting the minimum performance targets, Heathrow works with them to improve their rating.

The third Fly Quiet league table covers January to March 2014. Airlines are still responding to their ratings with steady progress. There were no pre 0430 arrivals from the top 50 airlines.

The top three airlines have remained the same since the table was first published. The number of airlines rated red for ‘Continuous Descent Approach’ has remained the same at nine. 49 out of 50 airlines achieved a high standard of track keeping (keeping within designated routes) and 48 of the 50 airlines are now using a fleet which is Chapter 4 compliant. Both metrics have improved by ten per cent from the previous quarter. The full table is available at the above link.

12 June 2014 – The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and the Chair of the Airports Commission, Howard Davies will be the guest speakers at a conference on airport policy, ‘Shaping a growing London: the place of an airport’. The event will be held at Stratford Town Hall, London, E15, on Wednesday June 18. Other speakers include Westfield development director John Burton and MP for Greenwich and Woolwich Nick Raynsford. Further details and invitations to the event will be released shortly.

13 June 2014 – The Chief Executive of Heathrow Airport, Mr. Colin Matthews, has been appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.


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