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

24 October 2014

6 March 2015

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


Regional News

14 May 2014 – Horley Town Council will hold its open public meeting on the proposals for a second runway at Gatwick Airport at Oakwood School in Balcombe Road, Horley, on the 18 July. The meeting, entitled ‘Do You Want a Second Runway at Gatwick?’ will be the first such meeting to be organised by the council for six years and its first on the second runway proposals.

14 July 2014 – The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership said Newquay Airport had been identified as one of eight possible locations for a UK ‘space port’ by 2018. Newquay is the only site in England with the remaining proposed sites being in Wales and Scotland.

14 July 2014 – A delegation of Taiwanese investors will visit the Manston Airport site this week. Envoys from the Taipei Representative Office in the UK have been invited to the airport on 16 July by Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Thanet North, George Cunningham. The delegation says it is seeking business opportunities and has informed its headquarters in Taiwan about the airport’s potential.

14 July 2014 – A hovercraft firm hopes to launch a service from the north Wales coast to Liverpool airport. Hoverlink Ltd wants the project to start in Rhyl which had a hovercraft link to Merseyside in 1962. The Member of Parliament for Vale of Clwyd, Chris Ruane, told a House of Commons debate it ‘could be the first hovercraft link to an airport in the world’. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport and Aviation Ministe,r Robert Goodwill, has agreed to meet with Hoverlink.

14 July 2014 – The MP for Newcastle, Chi Onwurah has received assurances that Newcastle Airport could be eligible for state aid. 18 July 2014 – Government ministers are also being asked to clarify whether Leeds Bradford Airports is eligible for similar aid.

16 July 2014 – East Midlands Airport has been cited as an example of a strong regional airport during a House of Commons debate on the domestic and international connectivity provided by regional airports. 18 July 2014 – Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Erewash, Maggie Throup, has welcomed the announcement by logistic firm DHL that they are to invest £90 million into East Midlands Airport.

16 July 2014 – A petition signed by more than 2,000 people has been presented to the Transport Minister, protesting about new flight paths being used at Birmingham Airport. Since its runway extension, Birmingham Airport has been trialling new flight paths but many residents in Balsall Common say it has resulted in increased noise.

17 July 2014 – The Leader of Kent County Council, Councillor Paul Carter, has said the Council was awaiting a feasibility report from Thanet District Council, which would inform whether they would support a compulsory purchase order of Manston Airport.

17 July 2014 – The airline operators British Airways and Airbus, and air traffic services provider Nats, have launched a joint initiative with Heathrow Airport, to cut aircraft noise to surrounding residents.

17 July 2014 – Gatwick Airport has again insisted that flood water it released into the River Mole did not have a knock-on effect further downstream causing flooding in the area. Flooding on Christmas Eve at Leatherhead, 20 miles away, reached high levels. A review by Gatwick in February into flooding at the airport called for an urgent review of flood prevention plans and recommended the assessment of its impact upstream and downstream. Gatwick Airport have restated thair case.

19 July 2014 – The reopening of Land’s End Airport has been delayed because of problems with resurfacing runways.


Industry News

14 July 2014 – Heathrow Airport has published independent analysis from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), on the number of people that would be affected by aircraft noise if a proposed third runway were built. Using the Mayor of London’s preferred 55 dB Lden measure for noise the report estimates that around 200,000 people, and potentially as many as 325,950 will be taken out of Heathrow’s noise footprint, according to the CAA forecast. The airport claims that the data confirms that between 34,450 and 49,550 fewer people could be affected by aircraft noise with a third runway in 2040 than today, based on the government’s preferred 57dB LAeq measure of noise. The full noise technical submission is available here.

15 July 2014 – Airline operator easyJet has come to terms with Schiphol Airport to create a base of operations at the Dutch airport. The company plans to permanently maintain at least three aircraft in Amsterdam.

15 July 2014 – The Airports Commission Senior Delivery Group (SDG) have published their ‘Delivery Report 1 – July 2014’. This report sets out a series of short and medium term measures which they believe have potential to improve the operational efficiency of the UK’s airspace system.

The SDG has grouped a prioritised set of measures into three packages:

Operating to schedule

a. Airport Collaborative Decision Making (ACDM) – systems to link up information about aircraft turnaround phase and optimise runway capacity.

b. Real-time Departure Planning Information (DPI) – to optimise airspace capacity.

c. Queue Management (QMAN) – systems to sequence inbound and outbound traffic flows.

d. Time-Based Separation (TBS) – to maintain aircraft arrival rates in strong headwinds.

Tactical responses to traffic overloads

SDG will consider the Airports Commission’s recommendations to increase the flexibility of triggers for use of Tactically Enhanced Arrival Measures (TEAM) at Heathrow Airport, i.e. operating arrivals on the runway allocated to departures in order to manage surges in demand and the build-up of delays. Any decision on TEAM will be taken alongside the Commission’s Final Report in 2015.

Investments in the route infrastructure

Managing the interaction between aircraft traffic flows increases the workload of pilots and controllers, interrupts continuous climbs and reduces airspace capacity. This package of work will monitor the implementation of new arrival and departure routes at Heathrow and Gatwick Airports, designed to the standards of Performance-Based Navigation (PBN). PBN involves the use of equipment that enables aircraft to be flown along more precisely defined tracks, thus increasing the concentration of flights along those narrower flight paths, whilst potentially enabling certainty about the areas that will be overflown where a range of dispersed flight paths are employed.

Membership of the SDG is likely to evolve but is currently:

  • Andrew Haines (Chair) – Chief Executive, Civil Aviation Authority
  • Mark Swan – Director of Safety and Airspace Regulation, Civil Aviation Authority
  • Patricia Hayes – Director General Civil Aviation, Department for Transport
  • Martin Rolfe – Managing Director Operations, NATS En-route Limited
  • Normand Boivin – Chief Operating Officer, Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL)
  • Stewart Wingate – Chief Executive, Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL)
  • Gary Copeland – Managing Director Operations, British Airways (IAG – International Airlines Group)
  • Warwick Brady – Chief Operations Officer, easyJet
  • Air Vice Marshall Edward Stringer –Assistant Chief of the Air Staff, Ministry of Defence

18 July 2014 – Gatwick Airport has confirmed that air traffic control services at the airport will be run by German Government-run company DFS (Deutsche Flugsicherung) in place of the UK company NATS.

18 July 2014 – NATS Director of Operations, Airports, Mike Stoller, said, ‘we are extremely disappointed that the highly competitive bid we submitted to Gatwick has been unsuccessful’.

18 July 2014 – The airline operator Norwegian has been named the best low-cost airline in Europe in the Skytrax World Airline Awards, for a second consecutive year, with British carrier easyJet second.


European News

14 July 2014 – The European Union’s new regulation calls for creating a ‘balanced approach’ to noise reduction, by encouraging the use of less noisy aircraft, improving land-use planning around airfields, imposing less noisy airport ground operations and – in extreme cases – limiting overnight flights.


Parliamentary News

15 July 2014 – MPs have debated domestic and international connectivity provided by regional airports in the House of Commons. During the debate the Government was ‘clear about the economic and connectivity benefits that regional airports bring to regions, communities and businesses’.

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport and Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill, spoke about what he said was a broad consensus across the political spectrum on the need to maintain the UK’s position as a ‘leading global aviation hub’.

Domestic connectivity, meanwhile, was an important factor in fostering national cohesion, he argued, highlighting the importance of regional airports as a means to stimulate growth in regional economies and offer travellers ‘convenience and travel choice’, as outlined in the Aviation Policy Framework. While the recession had hit airports, there were signs of ‘real growth’ once more, as airports such as Leeds-Brafdord and Belfast City had expanded passenger numbers by more than ten per cent in the year 2012-13, he explained.

Mr Goodwill also supported investment in the infrastructure supporting regional airports, singling out the plans for a City Enterprise Zone at Manchester Airport for particular recognition. He noted that both Manchester and Birmingham Airports were working to grow links with China, and added that they would both be served by the HS2 project. A full transcript of the debate can be found on the ‘Latest News’ section of the SASIG website, or on the House of Commons website here.

15 July 2014 – The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport and Aviation Minister gave a speech setting out plans for the UK’s first ‘space port’. A full transcript of the speech can be found here. The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has recommended that no new greenfield site be developed – instead an existing aerodrome should be adapted and improved if required. The CAA has identified 8 potential locations for the UK’s first spaceport. They are (in alphabetical order), Campbeltown airport, Kinloss barracks, Llanbedr airport, RAF Leuchars, RAF Lossiemouth, Newquay-Cornwall airport, Glasgow Prestwick airport, and Stornoway airport.

15 July 2014 – The Committee on Climate Changes has published the report ‘Meeting Carbon Budgets – 2014 Progress Report to Parliament’. The report is the Committee’s Sixth statutory report to Parliament on progress towards meeting carbon budgets. In it they consider the latest data on emissions and their drivers. This year the report also includes a full assessment of how the first carbon budget (2008-2012) was met, drawing out policy lessons and setting out what is required for the future to stay on track for the legislated carbon budgets and the 2050 target. The report includes assessment at the level of the economy, the non-traded and traded sectors, the key emitting sectors and the devolved administrations. Whilst the first carbon budget has been met, and progress made on development and implementation of some policies, the main conclusion is that strengthening of policies will be needed to meet future budgets.

17 July 2014 – The Chief Executive of Heathrow Airport, Mr John Holland-Kaye has told the  All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) ‘Heathrow and the Wider Economy’ that the airport would not decline if expansion did not go ahead. Mr Holland-Kaye also said that a third runway could be just the start of an expansion programme at the airport.


Government News

15 July 2014 – The Department for Transport (DfT) have published a report on the outcome of their consultation on night flights. The report features the decision on night flying restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports following an initial consultation, that ran between January and April 2013, and this second consultation, that ran between November 2013 and February 2014. In line with the proposals in the DfT’s consultation, the department are confirming that no significant changes to the night flights regime will be made before the Airports Commission publishes its final report in 2015.

The department has therefore announced a three year regime to 2017 which will retain the main features of the current regime, in particular the numbers of movements permitted. The department asserts that this will help to give certainty around the night noise environment for those living near the airports. The DfT’s aims include to maintain stability until decisions have been made about any new airport capacity and to ensure operational capacity at these airports is not affected pending such decisions. Three years is shorter than recent regimes but by this time it is felt that the Government of the day should be in a position to have reviewed these night flying restrictions in the light of decisions made about any new airport capacity.

In addition the DfT are announcing an extension to the ban on rare movements made by older noisier types of aircraft. This proposal met with support in the consultation. The department are also taking this opportunity to update guidelines which explain the circumstances in which airports or the Secretary of State might exempt movements from the restrictions.

New evidence obtained from the Stage 2 Consultation has suggested unforeseen increased demand for night flights in the summer at Gatwick and Stansted Airports which, if it was to materialise and continue, would mean that the existing movement limits would impose additional costs to industry by 2017. This evidence, comprising projections based on requests for slots in summer 2014, has been considered. But it is presently uncertain whether or to what extent the projections are likely to prove correct. A consultation on the next regime, which would take account of any actual increase in demand and any corresponding impacts, is expected to begin in early 2016. The Government have stated that they will monitor the regime from the outset, as it does for the current regime. This will provide further evidence of the robustness of the projections and whether operational capacity at these airports is being affected before 2017. This evidence will be taken into account in deciding on night time movement limits in future. The full decision document and impact assessment are available on the department’s website here.

15 July 2014 – The Secretary of State for Transport, The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin, has made a written ministerial statement which constitutes the Government’s response to the Airports Commission’s interim report. Headlines from the statement include:

  • Full redevelopment of railway station at Gatwick Airport – Government has committed £50 million towards this project, and expects the operator of Gatwick Airport to make a significant contribution too.
  • Optimisation Strategy’ recommended in the Airports Commission’s Interim Report – To improve the operational efficiency of UK airports and airspace, including: airport collaborative decision making; airspace changes supporting performance based navigation; enhanced en-route traffic management to drive tighter adherence to schedules; and time based separation.
  • The Chancellor also announced in the 2014 Budget that the scope of the Regional Air Connectivity Fund is to be extended to include start-up aid for new routes from airports handling fewer than five million passengers per year.
  • The Commission’s recommended ‘optimisation strategy’ is being progressed by an industry focused Senior Delivery Group (SDG) that has been established by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The CAA has published the SDG’s first report which is available here.
  • Departmental officials are developing guidance to clarify how the UK Government expects to implement EU guidelines on the use of state aid for such a purpose; this guidance is expected to be published in the Autumn.

The full statement is also available on the Latest News section of the SASIG website.

16 July 2014 – The Air Operators Association (AOA) has welcomed the Government’s update on the Airports Commission Interim Report.


House of Commons Questions

Menzies – Assessment of the importance of regional airports in meeting the UK’s aviation needs

14 July 2014

Mark Menzies, PPS to Housing Minister Mark Prisk (Conservative, Fylde): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the importance of regional airports in meeting the UK’s aviation needs.

Robert Goodwill, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport and Aviation Minister (Conservative, Scarborough and Whitby): The Government’s Aviation Policy Framework affirms that the Government wants to see the best use of the UK’s existing airport capacity. It recognises that airports across the UK play an important role in local


Media News

14 July 2014 – Aviation Environment Federation have published the report ‘Implications of South East airport expansion for regional airports’. Key findings from the report include:

Building a new runway in the South East would in practice mean that airport capacity elsewhere would need to be reduced in order for UK aviation to keep within carbon limits required by the Climate Change Act. This could involve closure of a number of regional airports.

Government policy, however, supports the growth of regional airports, and official forecasts anticipate that they will grow by over 200% between now and 2050. Many airports in fact consider Government figures to be conservative. With politicians from all main parties having made commitments to supporting regional economic growth, capping or reducing aviation activity outside the South East would therefore require very significant hurdles to be overcome.

By contrast, with full utilisation of current airport capacity, it would be challenging but achievable to keep aviation emissions to a level compatible with the Climate Change Act.

14 July 2014 – The charity, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has published the report, ‘Aviation, climate change and sharing the load’. The report argues that the Airports Commission’s recommendation that the development of a new runway in the south east of England would still be compliant with the UK Climate Change Act assumes that aviation emissions will be constrained by regulatory measures. But the report’s authors argue that the regulatory regime is still aspirational. It states that ‘we are therefore basing our decision to build a new runway on a world as we would like it to be – rather than as it currently exists’. The report concludes that, in order to comply with the Climate Change Act, the only options are to manage future demand by increasing the cost of carbon which would see fares soar to unrealistically high levels or constrain capacity at airports by ruling out any new runways.

The report authors argue that:

  • It is essential that aviation contributes its fair share to our overall climate change goals. However, we are currently on course to fail to meet our climate change target for aviation and likely our overall goals as there are no controls on emissions from international flights.
  • An international agreement being reached to control aviation emissions is far from certain.
  • Direct unilateral regulation of aviation in the UK would be exorbitant (up to £600/tonne of CO2) and therefore politically unfeasible.
  • All of the guidance we have on emissions from aviation is based on the world as we would like it to be (with controlled emissions) rather than as it is (without).
  • Controlling airport capacity is the only viable policy lever available to the UK government to directly restrict aviation emissions in the absence of a trading scheme.
  • Uncontrolled expansion of aviation emissions will have a significant impact on the UK’s ability to meet its carbon targets. Our best current estimate is that not controlling aviation emissions would penalise the rest of the economy with a potential cost of between £1b and £8.4b per year but the real cost is probably higher.

20 July 2014 – The former Chief Executive of Heathrow Airport, Mr. Colin Matthews, has been appointed the new Chairof the Highways Agency.


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