SASIG 2014/15 Meeting Date

Regional News

Industry News

Parliamentary News

Government News

House of Commons Questions

House of Lords 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

8 January 2015 – The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead have responded to the Airports Commission regarding its long term capacity consultation by reaffirming its position that it is against expansion at Heathrow Airport. The Royal Borough supports the Gatwick option on economic grounds and continues to support the position made by West Sussex County Council. Chairman of the council’s Aviation Forum and Cabinet Member for Policy and Performance, Councillor George Bathurst, said, ‘We are urging Government to take into account the unacceptable noise that our residents already suffer, particularly at night, and if Heathrow Airport was allowed to expand this would get dramatically worse. Both Heathrow expansion options would also cause substantial harm to our world famous heritage including Windsor Castle and Eton College. We are backing Gatwick Airport expansion for the stronger economic growth it would create. It is more practical, more deliverable and will give our residents and the UK more choice and competition. We want to see Heathrow Airport as a better not a bigger airport. As a local authority we have responded to the Airports Commission’s consultation but residents are also encouraged to respond on an individual basis before 3 February’. The next Aviation Forum takes place at Windsor Guildhall on Thursday 8 January from 7pm where the draft submission will be discussed and the way in which the Borough will be finding out what residents think about potential expansion at Heathrow Airport.

12 January 2015 – Thanet Council has published a 15-year strategic blueprint for the area, setting out key policies on issues such as housing development, economic regeneration and the environment – A section devoted to Manston Airport says there is a ‘fresh opportunity to review the viability of an operational airport and to consider future options for the vast area of land around airport’.

13 January 2015 – The team promoting the scheme short listed by the Airports Commission for possible expansion – Heathrow Hub – are holding a series of public exhibitions in east Berkshire. The Heathrow Hub proposal is to extend the airport’s existing northern runway, bringing it close to Windsor. The exhibitions come ahead of a meeting against the plans, being held by Windsor residents, who fear increased noise levels, among other issues. Heathrow Hub said it was ‘committed to developing innovative noise reduction tactics’. Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Councillor George Bathurst, Chairman of the Council’s Aviation Forum, said Windsor residents were ‘anxious’ about the proposals being considered by the Airports Commission, another of which is to add a third runway north west of the airport.

13 January 2015 – Airline operator Ryanair has set itself a goal of carrying two million passengers from East Midlands Airport this year after announcing its summer flying schedule. The Dublin-based operator will operate 35 routes from the airport, including a new, twice weekly route to Malta. This year, rather than adding more new destinations, Ryanair has said that its focus is to increase the frequency of some of its most popular routes.

13 January 2015 – Durham Tees Valley Airport has reported turnover of £4.57m for the year end 31 March 2014 compared to £4.82m for the same period the year before. Pre tax losses also widened from £3.6m to £4.1m. Total passenger journeys for the year fell 10 per cent from 162,115 to 154,112, although the performance of scheduled routes to Aberdeen and Amsterdam ‘showed encouraging signs of growth’ during the second half of the year. However, the company’s financial report states that there will be a further reduction in passenger throughput due to a change in its business model.

13 January 2015 – Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield has seen a 112 per cent increase in the amount of cargo it transports. The figures, which represent the number of consignments in and out of the airport, show a second successive year of growth. The figures represent tonnage through the airport year on year for 2013 and 2014. Doncaster Sheffield Airport, through operator Anglo World Cargo, managed a series of aid flights in November and December to Sierra Leone as part of the Government’s programme to help those affected by Ebola.

15 January 2015 – Stansted Airport Community Trust has awarded capital grants to the value of £62,000 to a wide variety of organisations within a 10-mile radius of the airport over the past 12 month.

16 January 2015 – A group of residents from Teddington and Twickenham have launched a campaign group – The Teddington Action Group – which is against expansion at Heathrow Airport. The group’s website is available here.

16 January 2015 – Pre-tax losses increased at Exeter International Airport in the year it was taken over by Regional & City Airports. But the airport owners have stressed that the in the most recent accounts, turnover for the 15 months to 31 March 2014 was £23.4m. This rose from £19.1m in its previous financial year, covering the 12 months to 31 December 2013.


Industry News


7 January 2015 – The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is consulting on their draft policy for ensuring that consumers booking flights serving UK airports have access to high quality complaints handling arrangements. Their draft policy encompasses both how they intend to carry out their new role as a competent authority for alternative dispute resolution schemes following the implementation of the European ADR Directive, and how they intend to encourage aviation businesses to participate in high quality dispute resolution arrangements. Further details of the consultation (including the consultation documents) can be found here. The consultation is open until 22 February.

12 January 2015 – The air services provider NATS has launched its first ever apprenticeship scheme. The three and a half year programme will see trainee engineers learning about the technology that underpins UK airspace. The scheme is open to applications from 12 January until the end of March, after which a series of interviews and assessments will help identify the successful entrants. Training then begins in August at NATS’ Fareham head office ahead of on the job training covering a range of subjects from designing future technologies through to radar maintenance. NATS’ apprentice scheme is being run in partnership with CEMAST, Fareham College’s specialist engineering centre, and is open to applicants aged 18-24 with a minimum of three A-levels or a BTEC level 3, or equivalent, in an engineering related field. By the end of the programme, successful apprentices will be fully qualified air traffic engineers and will be guaranteed a job within the NATS engineering team. There are a minimum of four positions available this year, but with possibility of more depending on demand and the quality of the applicants.

12 January 2015 – Virgin Trains saw an 11 per cent increase in passenger numbers on its Anglo-Scottish services last year after increasing the number of seats available by 3000 every weekday. However the number of people travelling to Glasgow to London by plane also increased in 2014.

14 January 2015 – Both Heathrow and Gatwick airports have recorded their busiest ever year for passenger numbers. Heathrow Airport has reported handling 73.4m passengers, a 1.4 per cent rise on the previous year, while Gatwick recorded 38m, passengers, a +7.6 per cent increase over the same period.

15 January 2015 – The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have released their latest data for flight punctuality at UK airports. Overall on-time performance among scheduled and charter flights in the third quarter of 2014 was 75 per cent – six percentage points lower than same period in 2013 (falling by one third). All 10 UK airports monitored saw reductions in flight punctuality. The five biggest London airports, Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and London City, saw an overall reduction of six percentage points of on-time scheduled flights, falling from 79 per cent in the same period last year, to 73 per cent in 2014. However changes in on-time performance at individual airports varied. The largest falls were at Luton (twelve percentage points) and Gatwick (eleven percentage points), followed by Stansted (nine points), then London City (four points), then Heathrow (less than one percentage point). The five other UK airports monitored, Manchester, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Glasgow and Newcastle, have also seen an overall reduction of three percentage points from 82 per cent to 79 per cent of scheduled flights on-time. On average, monitored scheduled flights were delayed by 14 minutes, which is an increase of two minutes when compared to the third quarter of 2013. The overall on-time performance for charter flights was 71 per cent, which is a decrease of eight percentage points compared with the third quarter of 2013. The average delay was 18 minutes, which is two minutes more than in the third quarter of 2013. An ‘on-time’ flight is defined as departing or arriving at a UK airport either early or up to 15 minutes late.


Parliamentary News

12 January 2015 – Early Day Motion (EDM) 680 – AIRBUS A350 XWB.

Early Day Motion (EDM) 680 was put down on 12 January 2015 by Mark Tami (Alyn and Deeside, Labour): That this House congratulates Airbus and its launch customer Qatar Airways on the entering into service of the Airbus A350 XWB, the aircraft with already 778 orders; notes that this will help secure over 10,000 jobs at Broughton and Bristol and many more in the supplier chain including Rolls Royce and small and medium-sized enterprises; further notes that this is one of the quietest and most fuel-efficient aircraft in service; and recognises that this demonstrates the best of British design and manufacturing. This EDM has been signed by 1 MP.

14 January 2015 – The Minister of State for Transport John Hayes gave a written statement to Parliament on a National Policy Statement for National Networks. The statements reads: ’On 13 January 2015 the House of Commons debated the National Policy Statement for National Networks which I laid for parliamentary approval on 17 December 2014. In the light of the satisfactory completion of that process I am pleased to inform the House that I am today designating it as a National Policy Statement under the provisions of section 5(4) of the Planning Act 2008. An effective planning system is crucial to the future timely development of the country’s national networks infrastructure. The designation of this policy statement marks a significant step forward, clarifying what is required to enable the development of major schemes that will alleviate congestion on our roads and overcrowding on our railways, whilst setting clear requirements on safety, design quality and environmental protection’.

14 January 2015 – The Member of Parliament for Chelmsford Mr Simon Burns has called for improvements to planning rules for major infrastructure projects, in response to the written statement to Parliament on a National Policy Statement for National Network. Commenting on his speech in the House of Commons, Simon Burns MP said, ‘it is ludicrous that any major infrastructure programme in this country takes so long to build due to the antiquated planning rules. If we are to remain competitive with our economic rivals we must rejuvenate and modernise the planning regime because it is ludicrous that it took over 10 years to build Terminal 5 at Heathrow and over 15 years to build High Speed 1 from Folkestone to London. Obviously it is important that there are proper evaluations and Environmental Impact Assessments but the process of getting planning permissions is far too drawn out and cumbersome. After the General Election, all the main political parties should work together to address this problem and devise a planning system that is valid but also far quicker than the current regime’. Mr Burns full statement is available from the above link.

14 January 2015 – The first session in the Transport Select Committee’s Smaller Airports inquiry is to be held on Monday 19 January 2015. Likely topics for discussion include government support for smaller airports, air passenger duty, the importance of smaller airports to regional economies and surface access links. Witnesses will be: Chief Executive of British Air Transport Association, Nathan Stower; Chief Executive of Airport Operators Association, Darren Caplan; Group Director for Regulatory Policy at the Civil Aviation Authority, Iain Osborne; Chairman of the Aviation Forum from the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Paul Le Blond; and Chairman of the Regional and Business Airports Group, John Spooner.


Government News

13 January 2015 – The Airports Commission has published a list of meetings that Sir Howard Davies and members of the Airports Commission have had with stakeholders between June to November 2014.

14 January 2015 – City region leaders and agencies have met in Leeds to agree priorities for a 15 year transport strategy for the north of England. The inaugural meeting of the ‘Transport for the North’ group included representatives from Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull and the Humber, Newcastle and Sheffield. They were joined by the Transport Secretary and participants from the Department for Transport, Highways Agency, Network Rail, and HS2 Ltd. Transport for the North was set up by Government in October and is led by city regions that make up the ‘One North’ group, which last summer published a set of infrastructure delivery priorities it wanted to progress. These included a new trans Pennine rail line to cut journey times from Manchester to Sheffield and bringing forward construction of High Speed 2 between Leeds and Sheffield. It also called for more smart motorways across the north to increase highway capacity, better links to ports and construction of local tram networks.

15 January 2015 – The Office for National Statistics has released a range of new datasets relating to travel and tourism. These include:


House of Commons Questions


Simpson, D – UK Government support the families of people who died in the AirAsia QZ8501 plane crash

13 January 2015

David Simpson (Upper Bann, Democratic Unionist Party): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department plans to take to support the families of people who died in the recent AirAsia plane crash.

Hugo Swire (East Devon, Conservative): Following confirmation that a British national was aboard flight QZ8501, consular staff from the British Embassy in Indonesia and British High Commission in Singapore, together with consular and press office staff from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, have been working together to ensure that the family receive all the support they need during this difficult time. Staff met family members in Singapore and accompanied them during meetings with the airline and authorities in Surabaya, Indonesia. Consular staff remain in close contact and continue to offer our full support.


Spellar, J – Airline pilots and ‘skill fade’ through over-reliance on automatic systems

13 January 2015

John Spellar (Warley, Labour): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the extent to which airline pilots suffer skill fade as a result of over-reliance on automatic systems and of the implications of this for flight safety.

Robert Goodwill (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Scarborough and Whitby, Conservative): There is a robust European Certification process in place to ensure that commercial air transport pilots have technical knowledge, competency and training that they need. The training is developed collaboratively between industry, manufacturers and regulatory bodies and takes into account technological advances including automation. After their initial training, pilots are required to demonstrate periodically that they still have the full set of skills they need to operate equipment safely in a range of circumstances. All Flight Examiners and Type Rating Instructors/Examiners work to a common set of standards agreed at a European level.


Smith, H – Contribution of tourism to the UK economy

15 January 2015

Henry Smith (Crawley, Conservative): What estimate he has made of the contribution of tourism to the economy.

Sajid Javid (Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Bromsgrove, Conservative): The Office for National Statistics estimates that the direct contribution of the tourism sector to the economy in 2013 was £56 billion. Taking account of indirect benefits, Deloitte estimates that in the same year the sector was worth £127 billion gross value added to the UK economy, supporting 3.1 million jobs.

Henry Smith: I welcome that response. As my right hon. Friend will know, Crawley contains Gatwick airport, which is a major gateway to the UK. What more can the tourism industry do to ensure that people coming to the UK travel on to other destinations and take advantage of the many benefits and tourist attractions in Crawley and West Sussex?

Sajid Javid: My hon. Friend raises an important point. He will be aware that Gatwick is already a major local economic driver, generating some 23,000 jobs at the airport alone, and he is right to ask what more it could do to attract visitors to Crawley and Sussex. He will be aware of Visit Sussex, and I encourage the town to work more closely with that and with Tourism South East, to see what more it can do to show its local attractions.


House of Lords Questions


Lord Patten – UK Government position on the exclusion of Gibraltar from proposed European Union legislation Single European Sky Two+.

15 January 2015

Lord Patten of Barnes (Conservative peer): To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the position taken by the government of Spain that Gibraltar should be excluded from the proposed European Union legislation Single European Sky Two+.

Baroness Kramer (Minister of State, Department for Transport, Liberal Democrat peer): Gibraltar continues to be included in the scope of existing Single European Sky II (SESII) legislation, as it should be under the Treaties of the European Union. At the Transport Council on 5 December, the Government took a very firm position making it clear to the European Commission and Italian Presidency that Spain’s attempts to exclude Gibraltar airport from the proposed Single European Sky Two+ proposals were unacceptable to the UK and the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Robert Goodwill walked out of Council to protest this approach. The Government will continue to oppose Spain’s attempts to exclude Gibraltar airport from future aviation legislation.


Baroness Valentine – Immigration waiting time at Gatwick Airport

15 January 2015

Baroness Valentine of Putney (Crossbench peer): To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the maximum immigration control queue waiting time at each of London Gatwick’s terminals on Sunday 4 January; and why the immigration control desks were not fully staffed at times of high demand.

Lord Bates (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office, Conservative) : There were no breaches of the published service standard at Gatwick on Sunday 4th January 2015; the maximum immigration queue waiting times on that day were as follows:

  • North Terminal: 35 minutes for non-EEA passengers and 20 minutes for EEA passengers.
  • South Terminal: 32 minutes for non-EEA passengers and 12 minutes for EEA passengers.

The published service standard for queue times at the border specifies that 95 per cent of British, EEA and Swiss passengers should wait no longer than 25 minutes at passport control and 95 per cent of non-EEA passengers should wait no longer than 45 minutes. The operational managers continually monitor the situation with regard to queuing times to ensure staff are flexibly deployed in the right numbers at the right times. The security of the border and the safety of the public are our priorities. At Gatwick, eligible travellers also have the option of using the e-Passport gates, of which there are 20 (15 in the South Terminal and 5 in the North Terminal), all of which were in operation on the day in question.


Media News

12 January 2015 – The Airport Operators Association has said that a cut in Air Passenger Duty in one part of the country should be matched by a cut everywhere. The call has come ahead of the Westminster Parliament setting out draft legislation on plans to devolve responsibility for APD to the Scottish Government. The airports trade body wants the Treasury to ensure that no parts of the country are disadvantaged by any potential reduction in the tax in Scotland.

12 January 2015 – The most recent poll of London residents asking about airport expansion shows that, a larger proportion favour expansion at Gatwick rather than Heathrow (45 per cent compared to 39 per cent). The remaining 16 per cent were unsure. The YouGov poll asked 1,036 people living in London. Those questioned were also asked which airport they believed would be the better choice for regenerating the surrounding area if expanded. A total of 40 per cent chose Gatwick compared to 25 per cent who said Heathrow, 34 per cent responded that they were not sure.

13 January 2015 – The Chief Executive of Dubai International Airport, Paul Griffifths has told The Financial Times that Heathrow Airport is losing a lot of traffic to Dubai because it no longer has the capacity to service certain international connections. Mr Griffifths said that Heathrow can no longer ‘compete’ on international services.

13 January 2015 – The Economist discusses the importance of fuel surcharges in a short blog.

15 January 2015 – Birmingham and Manchester are new entries on Egencia’s (the travel website Expedia’s corporate travel unit) list of the top 20 business travel destinations in Europe. The list is the result of a study by Egencia into how the booking trends of its European client base have changed over the past five years. The latest list sees Birmingham and Manchester replacing Munich and Berlin.


PDF Icon SASIG Regional&IndustryNews Bulletin 12 January – 18 January

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