SASIG 2013/14 Meeting Dates

Regional News

Industry News

European News

Parliamentary News

Government News

House of Lords – Oral Question

House of Lords – Written 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

28 July 2014 – The Managing Director of Highlands and Islands Airports, Inglis Lyon and colleagues from Aberdeen Airport and north-east transport partnership Nestrans, have met with the Airports Commission to discuss regional air links. Mr Lyon told commissioners that Inverness Airport had been successful in gaining new routes to overseas destinations such as Amsterdam, Geneva and Dublin, arguing that this could be a model for other UK regional airports.

28 July 2014 – Heathrow Airport have posted details about airspace trials they are currently testing. The easterly departure trial runs from 28 July 2014 – 26 January 2015. The trials are testing:

  • The use of performance -based navigation (PBN) – PBN moves aviation away from the traditional use of aircraft navigating by ground based beacons to a system more reliant on airborne technologies utilising Area Navigation and global navigation satellite systems. Aircraft using PBN can follow routes far more precisely and therefore it requires less intervention by air traffic controllers.
  • Resilience shifting routes enables NATS can test different route designs with the ultimate aim of reducing separation on departures. This has the potential to reduce holding times on the ground and reduce delays on departures. The new routes closely mirror the original routes.

Information gained from these trials will be used to inform the final design of Heathrow airspace which will be subject to public consultation in 2016.

29 July 2014 – Humber Flying Club has been accepted as an EU Approved Training Organisation. The school, set up by Captain John Greenfield in 1982 to provide budding pilots with a route to a dream career, is the first in the region to qualify for what will become a heavily restricted industry come April next year. Organisations failing to comply will be limited to UK airspace, the type of plane, and good weather daytime flying only.

29 July2014 – Land’s End Airport has reopened after work to tarmac its two runways has now been completed. It was due to reopen on 21 July but was delayed because of resurfacing problems. The airport has seen severe disruption over the last two winters because wet weather affected its grass runways.

29 July 2014 – Leeds Bradford International Airport has announced a £1.2 million investment at the site. New car parks, shuttle buses and ‘Airport Front Door’ service are included in the completed investment in the airport’s customer service. It also includes improvement works to the terminal front layout provide for the new car park shuttle buses to drive right up to the terminal front door to drop off and pick up passengers at a new bus stop just outside the main terminal entrance. There is also an additional 500 long stay car parking spaces have been created  and inside the terminal, the departures area has been upgraded to provide more space to improve further the passenger journey through the airport. A new channel to security has been created with the access point separated from the check in areas to simplify the customer process and ease access.

29 July 2014 – A report outlining the future plans for Manston Airport in Kent has been published by Thanet District Council. The report based on information produced by aviation industry consultants, Falcon Consultancy Limited suggests a 20-year business plan would be needed to rebuild confidence in the airport.

31 July 2014 – Chief Executive of Gatwick Airport, Stewart Wingate said this week that Croydon Council was among those hopeful that the airport would be chosen by the Airports Commission for expansion. Mr Wingate said, ‘I know there are certain local authorities that are very keen to have the additional housing and benefits a second runway at Gatwick would bring.’

1 Aug 2014 – A business plan to reopen Manston Airport is to be developed after Councillors agreed to accept the recommendations of a report looking into how to make the airport viable. Thanet Council said it would also test the market to discover if anybody would be interested in buying the airport.

1 Aug 2014 – The first video footage of the line testing which has begun on Metrolink’s new route to Manchester Airport is now available. Testing reached as far as the Roundthorn stop last night – the seventh stop of the 15 along the whole line. Engineers started at the St Werburgh’s Road end and are working their way up the line in sequence to the airport (link contains video footage).

3 Aug 2014 – Members of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) and Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions (CAGNE) have called on Gatwick Airport to offer ‘proper compensation’ to people who would be most affected by the building of a second runway.


Industry News

28 July 2014 – The owners of Bristol Airport, the Australian bank Macquarie Group, is reported to be looking to sell its 50 per cent stake in the airport.

28 July 2014 – London City Airport has been recognised for its increasing commitment to reducing its carbon footprint by the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme. The independent initiative, which is run in association with ACI Europe, has awarded Level 2 Reduction to the London gateway, reflecting its success in reducing carbon emissions per passenger in 2013.

29 July 2014 – European researchers have used European Commission funding to develop a new software and sensor system that claims to reduce carbon emissions and energy costs by 20 per cent in airports. Pilot testing of the system is currently taking place at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, and Milan’s Malpensa Airport. The new system, called Cascade, is said, will save these Italian airports at least 6000 megawatts per hour, which equates to 42,000 tonnes of CO2 and €840,000 a year. Partners in Germany, Italy, Ireland and Serbia are jointly working on the new system, supported by €2.6 million of EU funding.

29 July 2014 – The airline operator Flybe has responded to the Airports Commission Discussion paper 6 by saying that it feels it is ‘shortsighted’ to only focus on the south east of England for airport capacity development. The Exeter-based airline outlined how it believes regional connections are vital to the UK economy with routes from smaller airports serving both the leisure and business markets. It argued the case that Air Passenger Duty (APD) is a tax on regions and favours international travel, as the tax on a domestic route is around £13 and goes against Government plans to develop a balanced economy. The airline also said it believes the tax and the reluctance to expand London’s airports has been the cause for a drop in domestic air passengers. The response also suggested the Regional Air Connectivity Fund be made permanent until a new runway is built in the south east, and recommended using RAF base Northolt in Ealing as a temporary ‘satellite’ facility for regional services that do not currently have air traffic.

29 July 2014 – The British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) has demanded ‘an urgent meeting’ with UK ministers to discuss safety in the air following the shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines flight. Balpa welcomed the announcement that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) intends to establish a new task force to look into airspace safety.

29 July 2014 – The airline operator Ryanair has said that it is considering introducing cheap flights beyond Europe. The airline is in talks with the Cypriot Government about having a base there, which could service the Middle East and Russia.

30 July 2014 – The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) are to form a task force on airline safety. ICAO met with the airline industry to discuss how to respond to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine earlier this month. It was announced that a task force composed of state and industry experts will be formed to decide how best to collect and distribute information about potential threats to aircraft. A meeting will take place in February 2015 to further discuss how to increase safety in the air.

30 July 2014 – Responding to an Airports Commission consultation on the UK’s existing airport capacity, the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) has called for the future expansion of London airports to take Scotland and other UK regions into consideration. The SCDI has  had direct discussions with The Commission’s Chair, Sir Howard Davies, where it has also lobbied for action to increase long-haul services from Scottish airports.

30 July 2014 – Heathrow Airport have published a new advice leaflet for disabled passengers. The leaflet sets out what services disabled people can expect from airlines, travel companies and airports and offers legal advice too. It has been developed in association with the Civil Aviation Authority and endorsed by the Department of Transport and other travel organisations. The guide contains 15 top tips for a smooth journey, covering areas such as assistance dogs, accessibility, getting mobility and other essential equipment on board and seating arrangements. It will be distributed through airport, travel companies and organisations working with disabled people.

31 July 2014 – Managing Director of Guernsey Airport, Colin Le Ray has said that the airport’s new £3m radar system will ultimately save the island money. The new radar system began operation this week after a 14-month delay caused by weather and technical problems. The system includes a secondary radar antenna, which provides data the airport previously paid Jersey for. Mr Le Ray said the unit could be used as a backup for Jersey and the data could be sold to authorities in the UK or France.

31 Aug 2014 – Airport operators BAA have placed Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton Airports for sale. A statement released by Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd., said, ‘over recent months Heathrow Airport Holdings group shareholders and management have been considering their strategic position in relation to our three airports, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton. As a result the group is now formally entering a sale process. Whilst there is currently no certainty that a sale will be concluded, the group intends to work towards completing a transaction by the end of the year.’

1 Aug 2014 – International Airlines Group (IAG) is converting eight Airbus A350-900 aircraft options into firm orders and securing eight A330-200 aircraft for Iberia. These aircraft will replace 16 A340 family aircraft in Iberia’s long haul fleet and will be delivered between 2015 and 2020. IAG also stated this week that the company had moved into profit for the first half of the year after an improved performance from its Spanish airline, Iberia. The group made a pre-tax profit of 155m Euros ($207m; £123m), compared with a 177m-euro loss a year ago.


European News

31 July 2014 – European Investment Bank (EIB) has invested 300 million Euros in Rome’s Fiumicino Airport.


Government News

31 July 2014 – The Department for Transport have published Air traffic at UK airports. The data set includes the following information.

All of these tables can be downloaded as Excel spreadsheets.


House of Lords – Oral Question

Lord Holmes of Richmond – Government timeline for HS3

28 July 2014

Lord Holmes of Richmond (Conservative peer): To ask Her Majesty’s Government what the timeline is for the development, construction and completion of HS3.

Lord Popat, Government spokesperson in the House of Lords for the Department for Business, Skills and Innovation and the Department for Transport (Conservative peer): My Lords, the Government have asked Sir David Higgins to produce an ambitious proposal for connecting the great northern cities. This work will look at how to bring the benefits of high-speed rail to the north more quickly, as well as initial proposals for faster east-west connections, including options on route, timescales and cost, by the time of the Autumn Statement later this year.

Lord Holmes of Richmond: My Lords, does my noble friend agree that if combined with high-speed broadband across the region and increased capacity at Manchester Airport, High Speed 3 has the capacity to once again enable the northern cities to be economic powerhouses—a 21st-century Cottonopolis?

Lord Popat: My Lords, we need to unlock the economic potential of our northern cities. The cities of the north are individually strong, but collectively not strong enough. Therefore, the floating idea of the Chancellor to have an HS3 was welcomed, but we have a lot of work to do on that.

Lord Rosser, Labour Spokesperson in the House of Lords for Transport (Labour peer): My Lords, last week in this House my noble friend Lord Faulkner of Worcester stated that it was, “generally understood that the Chancellor’s announcement about HS3 came as a complete surprise to the Department for Transport”. The noble Baroness, Lady Kramer, did not deny that, and today is a second opportunity for a government Minister to do so. Is the commitment from the Government a commitment to build HS3? Is it, 10 months from an election, simply an announcement to look at the case for HS3, from a Chancellor from a northern constituency who was speaking at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester and worried about whether the Conservatives would hold on to such seats as Calder Valley and Colne Valley? If it is a commitment to build HS3, what benefits were revealed by the cost-benefit analysis, and who did it?

Lord Popat: My Lords, that was a long question—in fact, many questions. The Chancellor has set out a vision for how to unlock economic potential in northern cities. Something remarkable has happened to our northern cities in the last 30 years. They have done very well. It is time that we take them to another level. One way to do so is to have the infrastructure investment. We are having HS2, which has been widely discussed in this House. HS3 is a floating idea. We wait for a further report from David Higgins to justify a business case for HS3. But we need to rebalance the economy, we need to support our northern cities and HS3 will probably become a welcome idea.

Lord Bradshaw (Liberal Democrat peer): My Lords, I wonder whether the Minister will reflect on the fact that whenever HS3 is built it will be a long time, and there is a very urgent need to improve east-west connections right across the country—from Norwich to Liverpool, Lincoln to Birmingham and so on. Is it not much more important to concentrate on getting these schemes working and, at the same time, to make provision for a through facility at Leeds which will link Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Hull and completely revolutionise the situation?

Lord Popat: My Lords, the Government have invested more than £600 million for the Northern Hub. I agree with the noble Lord that we need to speed up the works that are going on in the Northern Hub to make sure that we have the right connectivity between our major cities and towns. I agree with him that the work is in progress but there is more to be done.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton (Labour peer): My Lords, the Minister confused me a little by referring to a floating idea. In the north, we like straight yes or no. Are the Government—the Department for Transport, the Chancellor and the whole Government—committed to meeting the needs of the north, or could this idea float away again after the general election?

Lord Popat: My Lords, the government policy is to rebalance the economy. The announcement by the Chancellor was to see how we could unlock the economic potential of the northern cities and make them into a hub for economic growth. HS3 is an idea that has come from the Chancellor, and we are quite categorically saying that this will depend on the report that we will have from David Higgins before the Autumn Statement.


House of Lords – Written Questions

Lord Jones – Construction of A400M aircraft

30 July 2014

Lord Jones: To ask Her Majesty’s Government by whom A400M aircraft are designed and constructed, and in what locations.

Lord Astor of Hever, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Conservative peer): The A400M transport aircraft is designed, developed and produced by Airbus Military, a division of Airbus Defence and Space. It is constructed from component parts produced in a number of countries, including the UK, at the A400M Final Assembly Line facility in Seville, Spain.


Lord Avebury – Use of space for detention facilities at Heathrow Airport

30 July 2014

Lord Avebury: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what operations are conducted by the Port Medical Inspector in the space adjacent to the detention facilities in Heathrow Terminal 4; what plans Heathrow Airports Limited has for relocating that work elsewhere, including the timing of the move; and why Heathrow Airports Limited has not yet appointed a project manager for the work to upgrade the detention facilities at Heathrow, originally scheduled to start at the beginning of May.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Conservative peer): The Port Medical Inspector is no longer using the space adjacent to the detention facilities at Heathrow Terminal 4. A Port Medical Inspector is available at Terminal 3 to undertake any necessary on entry referral screening. Heathrow Airport Ltd (HAL) is waiting for formal notice from the Port Medical Inspector that they wish to terminate their lease on the space. There is a 3 month notice period. In the meantime, free access to the area has been given to plan accommodation changes. HAL has now appointed a project manager. There is a meeting scheduled for 31 July between the Home Office and HAL to discuss the project timetable.


Lord Jones – Maintenance of A400M aircraft fleet

30 July 2014

Lord Jones: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how the A400M aircraft fleet will be maintained and serviced; in what location; and by how many (1) private, and (2) service, personnel.

Lord Astor of Hever: The Main Gate Business Case investment decision for a contractor-led, output-based in service support solution for the UK A400M fleet was approved in May 2014. Negotiations are nearing completion, with contractual agreement anticipated in August 2014. This innovative solution is designed to combine the commercial efficiencies of civil aviation maintenance whilst also ensuring that it delivers the operational flexibility required to operate a fleet of military aircraft; as a result, the workforce will be made up of both contractor staff and RAF personnel. Just as the aircraft fleet will be introduced over several years, the number of personnel (both contractor and RAF) involved in the support solution will also build up to reflect this. At this stage, however, final numbers are not yet known. The Main Operating Base for the UK A400M fleet will be RAF Brize Norton, and it is expected that all maintenance activities will be carried out in bespoke on-base facilities.


Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth – Safety of long haul flights

30 July 2014

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Conservative peer): To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the shooting down of flight MH17, what they are doing to ensure the safety of long haul flights between the United Kingdom and the Far East.

Baroness Kramer, Minister of State, Department for Transport (Liberal Democrat peer): The safety of our aviation industry is of paramount importance to the Government. We are actively participating in the Dutch-led investigation into MH17. We are also working very closely with our airline community to ensure that decisions on routings and operations are informed by relevant information.


Media News

31 July 2014 – British Airways has been ordered to change the way it advertises direct flights on its website to make it easier for customers to see the number and location of any stops en-route. It has also been told that it must make it clear if passengers will be expected to disembark the aircraft during any stops, even if there is no change of aircraft. The ruling from the Advertising Standards Authority followed two complaints from customers who had booked BA direct flights from London to Sri Lanka without realising the services stopped en-route.

31 July 2014 – Consolidation in the global airline business is to gather pace over the next five years, according to a panel of industry experts. Speaking at the Global Business Travel Association’s annual convention this week, senior travel executives said joint ventures (JVs) and mergers would have both a positive and negative impact on the corporate travel community, and could hasten the demise of the big three airline alliances: Oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance. Bob Brindley, principal and vice president of
 Advito, the research arm of travel management company (TMC) BCD Travel, said future activity would be driven by those involved in the three major transatlantic JVs.


PDF Icon SASIG Regional&IndustryNews Bulletin 28 July – 3 Aug

PDF Icon SASIG ParliamentaryNews Bulletin 28 July – 3 Aug

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

Please note there is reduced Parliamentary coverage during the summer recess period.