SASIG 2013/14 Meeting Dates

Regional News

Industry News

European 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

15 September 2014 – Campaigners concerned by aircraft noise over Tunbridge Wells will have an opportunity to meet Kent County Council’s lead member for aviation. Southborough Town Council will be meeting on 18 September for their Finances and General Purposes Committee and Councillor Matthew Balfour from Kent will be there to discuss aircraft noise with members of the public.

16 September 2014 – Stanwell residents have attended a public exhibition run by representatives of Heathrow Airport. The meeting focused on issues surrounding a car park dominating the biodiversity area north of the village hall and west of Oaks Road, an incinerator in the Bedfont Road area and a flood pit in Stanwell Moor. Stanwell resident Andrew McLuskey spoke to open the meeting, outlining concerns shared by him and other residents, he said, ‘it won’t be conducive to a better life here. We are not against progress, we are not against air travel and we don’t simply want a flood pit shafted to someone else because we are putting up so much trouble’. Surrey County Councillor Robert Evans said, ‘I think Heathrow’s got to be better, not bigger’.

17 September 2014 – More than 1,900 people have signed an online petition calling for an end to easterly departure routes trial at Heathrow Airport. The airport says that they have received a daily average of 350 complaints on days people have experienced extra noise due to the trials. Heathrow is undertaking trials driven by the Government’s Future Airspace Strategy (FAS), with many southerly departure routes concentrated over East Molesey, West Molesey, Walton and Hersham. While more than 4,000 people living in Ascot, Bracknell and Sunningdale, in Berkshire, have signed a petition complaining about new routes from the FAS trials. The Bagshot Society, a group of residents in West Surrey, have complained about the unacceptable levels of noise pollution in the area as a result of the trials. Director for Sustainability and Environment for Heathrow Airport Matthew Gorman has apologised for the added noise from the trials. Also Bracknell Forest Councillor Marc Brunel-Walker put forward a motion to ensure the borough’s residents views are considered by the airport. The motion came after councillors received complaints from people in Winkfield, Warfield and Binfield areas. The motion was unanimously carried. The Trials are intended to continue until January 26, 2015.

17 September 2014 – Guernsey Deputy Minister Jan Kuttelwascher believes that the island’s current runway is too short and a ‘hurdle to tourism’. Mr Kuttelwascher said he is worried about Guernsey’s future if it does not allow large scale infrastructure development. He said the island needed to accommodate low-cost airlines if it was to boost visitor numbers. Any project would need to be paid for by public and private funds, said Guernsey’s Chamber of Commerce.

17 September 2014 – Stephen de Nardo of US investment firm RiverOak has spoken of his continued interest in buying and operating Manston Airport. Mr de Nardo said that the focus on passenger services in the past had been wrong and if he were able to purchase the site there would be a concentration on cargo operations.

18 September 2015 – Residents of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead are being advised to attend public consultation events to hear Heathrow Airport’s plans for noise compensation should it gain approval for a third runway. The meetings are taking place on:

  • Saturday 20 September: 10am to 4pm – Datchet Village Hall, 3 Allen Way, Datchet Village, SL3 9HR;
  • Wednesday 24 September: 2 to 9pm – Old Windsor Day Centre, 27B Straight Road, Old Windsor, SL4 2RW.

Councillor George Bathurst, Chairman of the Aviation Forum and Cabinet Member for Policy and Performance said, ‘we do not consider the current noise climate to be acceptable for residents and we have consistently requested that Heathrow addresses that’.

18 September 2014 – Member of Parliament for Welwyn Hatfield and Minister without portfolio Grant Shapps has visited Manston Airport to meet supporters and the leader of Thanet District Council. Mr Shapps also offered support for the campaign groups aiming to have the airport re-opened (link contains video).

18 September 2014 – Durham Tees Valley Airport has upgraded its facilities with the opening of new passenger services at the site.

18 September 2014 – On Tuesday 11th November London Luton Airport will be holding its third ‘Meet the Buyer’ event – aimed at giving local suppliers the opportunity to showcase their services and providing businesses with access to the airport supply chain. The event is hosted in conjunction with Bedford Borough Council, Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Central Bedfordshire Council, Federation of Small Businesses, Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Luton Borough Council, St Albans Chamber of Commerce, UK Trade & Investment, the University of Bedfordshire and the Watford & West Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce.

19 September 2014 – Planning and Corporate Affairs Director at Newcastle Airport Graeme Mason said that giving Scotland the power to cut Air Passenger Duty could take business out of airports in the North East of England.

20 September 2014 – The Leader of Braintree Council Councillor Graham Butland has asked air traffic authorities to adjust the route of a flight path from Stansted Airport. Councillor Butland has asked for the part of the route which flies over Great Notley to be moved further south to avoid the village, which he believes could be one of the worst affected if the plans go ahead


Industry News

15 September 2014 – The Chief Executive of Ryanair Michael O’Leary says he would like to see the airline operating transatlantic flights within the next 5-10 years.

15 September 2014 – The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has confirmed the authorisation of a new direct flight from Manchester Airport to Beijing by China Hainan Airlines. Speaking to the first UK-China Bilateral Investment Conference on Friday, Mr Osborne talked about a range of initiatives to boost business relations between the UK and China, including appointing a special envoy to China on cities, Sir Michael Bear.

15 September 2014 – The campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has claimed that proposed changes to the airport’s departure routes will not give ‘any net benefit for local residents in terms of reducing the overall noise impact’. Air traffic management provider NATS wants to switch daytime flights from the existing south-east (Dover) departure routes to the existing east (Clacton) departure routes. However SSE argues that this would double the number of daytime flights on the Clacton route and quadruple the number if Stansted were to expand to its maximum permitted capacity.

19 September 2014 – Chief Information Officer at Heathrow Airport Neil Clark has pledged that the airport would add 40 new routes to international markets, helping businesses throughout the UK connect to rapidly growing emerging economies in Asia, Latin America and North America. The airport has set up a National Connectivity Task Force to develop policy proposals and recommendations for improving regional access to an expanded Heathrow. The group will include representatives of regional airports, Chambers of Commerce, Local Enterprise Partnerships, business people from around the UK and airlines.

21 September 2014 – Birmingham Airport has announced the completion of a new purpose-built transit and transfer facility, providing passengers with the UK’s fastest and most efficient option for onward connecting flights. The new facility delivers an airside connection that allows passengers to transit and transfer within the airside environment in under 45 minutes.

21 September 2014 – The three major alliances of airline operators – Oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance have said that they would not move from Heathrow Airport if Gatwick were to expand.


European News

18 September 2014 – Heathrow Airport remained Europe’s fifth busiest freight airport in July according to figures from the continental airport association ACI Europe.


Government News

15 September 2014 – The UK and China have agreed a deal allowing more passenger flights between the 2 countries, following talks initiated by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin. Mr McLoughlin launched negotiations on improved air links during a visit to China last October. The previous agreement, last updated in 2011 limited both countries’ passenger airlines to a maximum of 31 return services per week in each direction serving up to 6 destinations in each country. The new deal will increase that weekly maximum available to both countries to 40 direct flights in each direction, giving airlines more freedom to continue to expand into this growing market. It also allows for more flexibility on the destinations served by flights, allowing UK airlines to serve up to 3 more Chinese cities than they do today.

15 September 2014 – Rail Minister Claire Perry launched a new rail franchise that will deliver trains on some of London’s busiest routes. The Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) franchise will initially serve destinations including Brighton, King’s Lynn, Peterborough, Cambridge, Bedford, Luton and Gatwick, with destinations including; Southampton, Milton Keynes, Hastings, Eastbourne and Sevenoaks being added over the next year. New carriages will also be introduced on the Gatwick Express and Moorgate routes. The TSGN franchise replaces the previous Thameslink and Great Northern franchise, operated as First Capital Connect. It will also include the South Central franchise (operated as Southern and Gatwick Express) when it expires on 26 July 2015, and a small number of services and stations will transfer from the Southeastern franchise by 21 December 2014.


House of Commons Questions

Robert Halfon – Improving the passenger experience at Stansted Airport

15 September 2014

Robert Halfon (Conservative, Harlow): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the UK Border Force is taking to reduce queuing and improve the passenger experience at Stansted airport.

James Brokenshire, Minister of State for Security and Immigration (Conservative, Old Bexley and Sidcup): This year, Border Force increased the number of e-passport gates at Stansted from 5 to 15 which allows for a more efficient flow of passengers through the primary arrivals control. Alongside this, Border Force is working closely with Stansted airport to reduce queues and improve the passenger experience. It has increased the number of Border Force officers at the port, including seasonal workforce to deal with the large volumes of passengers through the summer; introduced a new resourcing tool using live arrivals data and transit times to schedule the right number of officers at passport control for each flight; improved signage; and introduced a new style queuing system which feeds to multiple desks and allows for a continuous movement of passengers.  According to Border Force data, the performance at Stansted has been consistently above service level agreements throughout the summer, and has shown significant further improvement since the introduction of the new eGates on 15 August in time for the August bank holiday weekend (the busiest weekend of the year). The targets are to clear 95% of passengers within 25 minutes for EU/EEA nationals, and 45 minutes for non EU/EEA nationals.


Media News

16 September 2014 – Heathrow Airport has set out a series of pledges for how it says expansion would deliver jobs, skills and economic growth. The five promises, set out in a new report entitled ‘The Promise of Heathrow’, form part of a larger plan to deliver what the authors argue would be more than 120,000 new jobs and £100 billion in economic benefits. In the report the authors state that expansion will double the number of apprenticeships across the airport to 10,000 by 2030.

17 September 2014 – A poll commissioned by the Association of British Travel Agents shows an increase in the proportion of people agreeing with the statement ‘more airport capacity is needed’ since the same time last year (an increase of 5 percentage points from 36 per cent to 41 per cent). Only 16 per cent of people disagreed with the statement that ‘more capacity is needed’. More than a third of people surveyed this year (35 per cent) also agreed with the statement that ‘the UK economy will suffer if capacity is not increased’, with just 18 per cent saying they disagreed.

17 September 2014 – Gatwick Airport Director of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Charles Kirwan-Taylor and Non-Executive Director David McMillan outlined to London Assembly members how they believe a second runway at the site would deliver the airport capacity the UK requires while also meeting the future growth and development needs of London. The briefing session came as Gatwick Airport released a new report, ‘Connecting London and the South East to the Future, Faster’ – outlining how they believe that expansion of the airport would offer greater economic benefits for London and the South East.

17 September 2014 – According to a new YouGov poll three separate groups – London residents and people living near Heathrow and Gatwick Airports, said they favour building a new runway at Gatwick rather than Heathrow. Given a choice of building a new runway at Gatwick or Heathrow, 46 per cent of London residents think Gatwick should be expanded, compared to 35 per cent choosing Heathrow. When residents living near both airports were asked, 52 per cent of Gatwick residents said their local airport should be expanded compared to only 36 per cent selecting Heathrow. More than half (51 per cent) of Heathrow residents thought Gatwick was the best choice for expansion, with 40 per cent choosing their local airport.


PDF Icon SASIG Regional&IndustryNews Bulletin 15 September – 21 September

PDF Icon SASIG ParliamentaryNews Bulletin 15 September – 21 September

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