SASIG 2014/15 Meeting Date

Regional News

Industry News

European News

Government News

House of Commons Questions

Media News


SASIG 2014/15 Meeting Date

6 March 2015

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


Regional News

6 January 2015 – Biggin Hill Airport has offered to make up the shortfall of £50,000 per year that the Government has said it can no longer provide for the maintenance and upkeep of the St George’s Chapel of Remembrance. Biggin Hill Airport recently completed a public consultation on the future of the airport, including preserving its historic connections – and the chapel was included. The exercise received the support of nearly 80 per cent from more than 15,000 local residents for its proposals.

6 January 2015 – Work has begun on a new Search and Rescue helicopter base at Newquay Airport. Bristow Helicopters will operate two aircraft from the site, which would be available to run rescue missions 24 hours a day within a radius of 250 nautical miles. The company is taking over the service from the RAF and Royal Navy.

6 January 2015 – The airline operator Citywing could resume flights to Blackpool Airport in March this year after the airport reopened to traffic at the end of 2014. Squires Gate Airport Operations – a firm set up by parent organisation and airport owner Balfour Beatty – has assumed control of the airfield with the UK Civil Aviation Authority reinstating its operator’s licence albeit only for light and general aviation.

6 January 2015 – Newcastle International Airport is to spend £14 million on its departure lounge development in 2015. The airport has also announced a new service to New York in 2015.

6 January 2015 – Bristol Airport has acquired an electric van for use by its IT team as the first of a number of initiatives supporting the city’s year as European Green Capital. As part of its commitment to supporting the Green Capital the airport is also installing two further charging points in the short stay car park for passengers using electric cars to get to and from the airport.

6 January 2015 – The sponsors behind the Heathrow Hub proposal will be hosting a number of public exhibitions before the Airport Commission’s consultation closes on February 3. Exhibitions will be held at Datchet Village Hall, in Allen Way, from 1-8pm on Tuesday, January 13, Wraysbury Village Hall, in The Green, on Wednesday, January 14 from 1-8pm, Windsor Leisure Centre, in Stovell Road, from 1-8pm on Monday, January 19, and Colnbrook Village Hall, in Vicarage Way, from 1-6pm on Tuesday, January 20.

6 January 2015 – A submission against the possibility of a third runway at Heathrow Airport will be discussed at a meeting of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Aviation Forum. The meeting is set to receive a report regarding the forum’s comments to the Airports Commission regarding a third proposed runway at Heathrow Airport. There will also be an update on Heathrow Airport’s appeal regarding the London Borough of Hillingdon’s decision to refuse planning permission to modify its taxiways which, if approved, would result in the abolishment of the Cranford Agreement. The meeting will take place at Windsor Guildhall.

6 January 2015 – Crawley Borough Councillors will vote on whether the council should support or oppose a second runway being built at Gatwick Airport at a special meeting in January. An extraordinary meeting of Crawley Borough Council will take place on January 26 to debate the issue of expansion at Gatwick. All 37 councillors will be expected to attend the meeting at the Town Hall. They will be asked whether they want to support the stance that ‘the interests of Crawley residents and businesses are best served by the council not taking a specific view on the second runway at this time’. If that position is not backed the Councillors will then be asked if they are for or against a second runway.

6 January 2015 – The decision not to go ahead with the compulsory purchase of Manston Airport, which closed last May, has been called back for review. Thanet District Council’s cabinet decided on 11 December not to impose a compulsory purchase order, against the wishes of campaigners. The decision has been ‘called in’ by the overview and scrutiny panel which will consider it on 13 January. The panel will look at whether the cabinet followed the proper procedures.

7 January 2015 – City Link’s depot at Bournemouth Airport will be permanently closed in the coming days. Administrators representing the former delivery firm said the remaining five staff at the depot, who were retained to help with the winding down of the company, are being made redundant and the £2.6m site, which opened in 2012, will be closed by Thursday, January 15.

7 January 2015 – Business representatives in the South West of England have been asked to support Heathrow Airport’s expansion bid. Director of External Affairs at Heathrow Nigel Milton, has visited Devon and Cornwall talking with the Local Enterprise Partnerships, MPs and business leaders about plans to make Heathrow ‘an airport for the UK’.

8 January 2015 – Councillor Malcolm Beer from the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has said that creating up to 70,800 homes if Heathrow expansion plans go ahead would cause ‘absolute turmoil’. Councillor Beer has said that a third runway north-west of the airport could create the need to use greenbelt land for housing.

8 January 2015 – A public debate at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council on Wednesday resulted in Councillors formally declaring their opposition to a new runway at Gatwick Airport. The motion against was carried with 40 votes in favour, one abstention and one against.

8 January 2015 – Manchester City Council will use a dividend it will receive from its share in Manchester Airport to reduce planned spending cuts. The Local Authority plans to offset £59m of savings in 2015-16 with £9m of its £11m Manchester Airport dividend. It is projected that this will mean fewer cuts to its Children and Families Directorate. The Authority holds a 35.5 per cent share in the airport, which has recorded a rise in profits because of increased passenger numbers and commercial revenues. It is anticipated that the remaining £2m of this year’s dividend will go towards the Council’s 2016/17 budget.

9 January 2015 – Plans for a £7m roads project on the A658 Harrogate Road/A657 New Line junction scheme at Greengates, is facing ‘extremely challenging’. It is reported that the scheme needs 19 separate parcels of land outside the existing road and negotiations with landowners are needed to avoid the potential for compulsory purchase orders.

9 January 2015 – Councillors from Medway Council have delayed a decision as to whether to expand Rochester Airport. Last year Medway Council adopted a plan for the airport (which it owns) which included expansion, despite objections from local residents over blight. However  at a meeting earlier this year the Council’s planning committee chose to delay the decision until after a site visit.


Industry News

2 January 2015 – The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has published its 60 day update on General Aviation work. In its update the CAA state that ‘significant progress has been made in 2014 to make regulation of the UK’s General Aviation (GA) sector more proportionate and evidence-based’. In the first of what will be regular updates to confirm its work in the area the CAA said that in the last 60 days it had:

  • Launched proposals to simplify the initial testing process for experimental aircraft in the UK that will benefit small-scale aircraft designers and manufacturers, as well as encouraging the growth of aerospace excellence in new design concepts. Details at
  • Used the new proportionate approach to regulation to grant an approval to a UK microlight manufacturer that has made it financially viable to sell its aircraft as finished factory-built types rather than amateur-build kits.
  • Published its finalised policy framework for GA. This will be used by the CAA as a basis for decisions around GA regulation, providing a transparent process for the GA community and others to follow. It explains how decisions will now be made based on evidence and risk. It can be viewed at
  • Scrapped the need for UK validation of design changes for Annex II aircraft via supplementary type certificates approved by a state with which the UK holds a bilateral agreement – such as the US or Canada. Meaning the owner/operator of an aircraft can simply arrange for installation of the modification as per the approval and then get their maintenance organisation to certify its installation in the aircraft’s log-book.
  • Withdrawn the overflight restriction from the permit operating limitations of factory-built, type-approved gyroplanes. Meaning they can be flown over congested areas providing pilots can demonstrate they can manoeuvre their gyroplane clear of a built up area should it suffer a failure preventing continued safe flight, such as an engine failure.
  • Allowed owners of light aircraft to choose which fuel they use, including MOGAS, providing it is approved for their aircraft. Details at
  • Published clear guidance on restoring vintage aircraft, available at

The CAA state that all of the changes support the Authority’s new ‘top level principles for GA regulation’: only regulate directly when necessary and do so proportionately; deregulate where we can; delegate where appropriate; do not gold-plate, and quickly and efficiently remove gold-plating that already exists; and help create a vibrant and dynamic GA sector in the UK. Similar 60 day updates will be published throughout 2015 on 2 March; 1 May; 1 July; 1 Sep; and 2 Nov. More detail on the CAA’s GA activities and the work of the GA Unit are available at

5 January 2015 – Amsterdam Airport Schiphol handled a record 55 million passengers in 2014, an increase of +4.6 per cent compared to 2013. The figures were revealed by Schiphol Group CEO Jos Nijhuis at the company’s New Year’s reception on Monday. Schiphol Group’s regional airports also posted solid growth. In 2014 Eindhoven Airport served 3.9 million passengers, up +16 per cent on 2013, while Rotterdam The Hague Airport welcomed 1.7 million passengers, up +6.1 per cent year

6 January 2015 – Starting this year the Lufthansa Group will be fuelling their aircraft at Oslo Airport with a biokerosene mixture. The group recently became the first airline group to sign this kind of contract with the Norwegian oil company, Statoil Aviation. The company is thus pushing forward along the path of research, testing and use of alternative fuels that it started over four years ago. Beginning March 2015 and lasting for one year, Statoil will feed 2.5 million gallons of sustainably produced, certified biofuel into the tanks at Oslo airport.

7 January 2015 – Canada’s Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has bought a 19.25 per cent stake in the UK’s Birmingham Airport reports Reuters. The news agency explains it has purchased the stake from Australia’s Victorian Funds Management Corporation, taking its investment in the British airport to 48.25 per cent. The investment was led by Ontario Teachers’ Infrastructure Group, which manages a global portfolio of €9.7bn of investments, and its other airport investments include Bristol, Copenhagen and Brussels. The Canadian pension fund wants to strengthen Birmingham position as a regional hub in the UK by tapping into its capacity of around 9.5 million passengers per year, and is the UKs seventh busiest airport. Ontario Teachers first invested in Birmingham Airport in 2001, and then acquired a joint 48.25 per cent stake with Victorian Funds Management for €538M in 2007 when Macquarie Airports Group and Aer Rianta made a full exit.

7 January 2015 – A trial to cut the amount of time aircraft spend circling in ‘holding stacks’ at Heathrow Airport has been called a ‘definitive step in the right direction towards quieter and more sustainable airline operations’. Led by air traffic services provider NATS, as part of the UK-Ireland FAB and in collaboration with FABEC and Heathrow, the trial has the overall aim of cutting average holding times by a quarter from the current time of eight minutes. Since April 2014, NATS has recorded a reduction of up to a minute in holding times for those flights influenced by the trial, saving airlines €1.25M in fuel and 5,000 tonnes of CO2, as well as reducing noise for communities underneath the stacks. The trial has seen controllers in the UK, France, Ireland and the Netherlands working in partnership to slow aircraft down up to 350 miles away from London in order to minimise holding times on arrival. It is the first step in what is seen as a broader strategy to reduce the amount of time aircraft spend holding at Heathrow. Absorbing delay in the en-route phase, when aircraft are higher and more efficient, saves fuel and CO2, while minimising noise for the communities living beneath the stacks.

8 January 2015 – Work to complete the new fourth platform at Manchester Airport station resumed this weekend as Network Rail began to install the new track and signalling. The essential upgrade – which will allow extra services to call at the airport and provide passengers with better access from across the north of England – is part of a £1bn+ investment in the railway. The majority of the work to build the fourth platform was carried out last year during construction of the Metrolink platform ensuring that disruption caused by the expansion was kept to a minimum. To complete the work – which also includes finishing platform improvements with new CCTV and information screens – only two platforms will be in use between Sunday 11 January and Saturday 17 January and the station will then be closed to all trains until Monday 9 February. Network Rail has worked with Manchester Airport and train operators to plan the closure to cause the least amount of disruption as possible to minimise the impact it has on train, Metrolink and plane passengers. Rail passengers are advised to check with National Rail Enquiries or their train operator for information.

9 January 2015 – Vietnam Airlines will move its London-bound services from Gatwick to Heathrow this summer. The national carrier operates two twice-weekly flights to the UK capital, one from Hanoi and the other from Ho Chi Minh, with a B777-200ER. From March 30, both routes will move to London Heathrow, reports

9 January 2015 – The Aer Lingus Group have rejected an improved offer from the owner of the airline operator British Airways, IAG to purchase the Irish based carrier. The adjusted proposal, made on Dec. 29, was a cash offer worth €2.40 a share, 10 cents more than the first two weeks earlier. The latest approach values Aer Lingus at €1.28bn.


European News

5 January 2015 – Estonia officially became EUROCONTROL’s 41st Member State on 1 January 2015. With the accession of Estonia, EUROCONTROL covers all 28 European Union states. Even before becoming a member state, Estonia actively participated in the network and has contributed to improve Europe’s ATM performance. Over the last six years fifteen airspace design improvement packages have been implemented and two more are planned.

10 January 2015 – Cyprus’ national airline operator has ceased operations after being ordered to repay over €65M euros  in illegal state aid by the EU Commission. The Cyprus national carrier was accused of breaching rules on support for companies. Cyprus Airways has repeatedly received aid between 2007 and 2013. The Government, which owns 93 per cent of Cyprus Airways, searched unsuccessfully for external investors.


Government News

6 January 2015 – Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and transport minister Robert Goodwill visited the north of England on 5 January 2015 to look at how rail improvements could transform the region into the proposed ‘Northern Powerhouse’ of connected cities. The visit comes after the Government gave its support for the creation of ‘Transport for the North’ (TfN), a new body made up of the main northern city regions. TfN will work with Government to develop transport plans – including proposals for an improved east-west rail link connecting the north’s major cities – intended to strengthen the region’s economy.

7 January 2015 – Energy companies and airlines have been urged by Chancellor George Osborne to pass on the benefits of falling oil and gas prices to customers. The Treasury has begun an internal investigation into the behaviour of companies that depend on oil and gas. The price of oil is about $50 a barrel, the lowest since the 2008 financial crisis, having dropped 50 per cent over the past 12 months. Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down $2.37 to $50.73 a barrel.


House of Commons Questions


Dodds – Incidents involving near misses in UK airspace

6 January 2015

Nigel Dodds (Belfast North, Democratic Unionist Party): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many incidents involving near misses have been reported in UK airspace in each of the last five years.

Robert Goodwill (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Scarborough and Whitby, Conservative): The number of aircraft near miss events investigated by the independent UK Airprox Board (UKAB) in the last 5 years was 147 (2009), 167 (2010), 161 (2011), 161 (2012), and 172 (2013). The number of events reported to UKAB in 2014 up to the end of November was 212. Over the past 10 years, 67 per cent of incidents investigated by UKAB have been assessed as carrying no risk.


Fitzpatrick – Assessment of recommendations in the report by Sustainable Aviation on Sustainable Fuels

6 January 2015

Jim Fitzpatrick (Poplar and Limehouse, Labour): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the recommendations in the report by Sustainable Aviation on Sustainable Fuels UK Roadmap, published in December 2014; and if he will make a statement.

Robert Goodwill: The Government agrees that sustainable biofuels have a valuable role to play in reducing carbon emissions from transport and particularly in sectors where there are limited alternatives such as aviation. We also recognise that we have world class research capabilities in the UK, and share the ambition in the Sustainable Aviation’s report for the UK to become a global leader in the advanced sustainable fuels market. To that end we launched a competition on 10 December which will provide £25 million of capital funding for the construction of demonstration-scale advanced biofuel plants in the UK. We do not currently intend to revise the current policy framework (for example to make Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates available to aviation fuel suppliers) while discussions are continuing on accounting for indirect land use change under European targets. Meanwhile, we have established a Transport Energy Taskforce of experts from the aviation industry, NGOs and the fuels and automotive industry to examine options to meet our renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction targets, and provide greater certainty to industry. The report by Sustainable Aviation provides valuable input to this work.


Media News

6 January 2015 – A new Channel 5 documentary series based at Liverpool John Lennon Airport will start filming during January. The programme which has a working title of ‘Holiday Airport’ will focus on passengers’ experiences at the start and end of their trips abroad.


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