Upcoming Meetings

Forthcoming Industry Events of Interest


Parliamentary News

Government News

London and South East News

Regional News

National and Other Industry News

European News


Upcoming SASIG Meetings

Friday, 6th November 2015, at 11am, (refreshments at 10.30am)

Venue: Milbank Room, Local Government House, Smith Square, London, SW1P 3HZ

 Friday, 4th March 2016, at 11am

Venue : Westminster Suite, 8th Floor, Local Government House, Smith Square, London, SW1P 3HZ


Forthcoming Industry Events of Interest

Friday, 20th November. Noise at Airports Workshop, Brussels.

The Auropean Commission’s Regulation 598/2014 «on the establishment of rules and procedures with regard to the introduction of noise-related operating restrictions at Union airports» was adopted in April 2014 and will enter into force in June 2016.

This Regulation will be core for all actions related to and dealing with noise nearby airports. This workshop is dedicated to local authorities, municipalities and regions involved in managing the impact of their airport.

Thursday, 3rd December, Westminster Forum. Next steps for UK airport capacity and the Airports Commission’s final report.

An opportunity to assess the future of UK airport capacity and regional air connectivity. Guests of Honour: Louise Ellman MP, Chair, Transport Select Committee; Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive, Gatwick Airport and Captain Jock Lowe, Director, Heathrow Hub.



Welcome to the new style, monthly SASIG Newsletter which we are trialing. Our aim is to give a simple, easy to use overview of key events, announcements, publications and policy developments in the aviation sector, which are of relevance to SASIG’s membership. We would welcome any feedback you have via the new secretariat@sasig address and we will continue to fine-tune the content and format over the remainder of the year, including expanding the editorial, inviting guest OpEds, more detailed analysis of major news stories and updates on Library resources available to members on the SASIG website.

In addition, we intend to issue News Flash e-mails when there is a major announcement or news story of direct interest to Members and we are very keen to be made aware of local news stories or significant announcements from local airports – so for example today, Doncaster-Sheffield and Flybe have announced the establishment of another new Flybe base at a small regional airport and last week Newquay, having been the first airport to introduce its own Airport Development Fee (in 2005), to announce it will be removing it from the start of the summer season 2016. There is no surprise that Ryanair announced two new routes from Newquay (to Alicante and Frankfurt Hahn starting next summer) the day after.

The new Secretariat sincerely hope you find this new approach to keeping the group up-to-date and well-informed, user-friendly and helpful, and we hope you will bear with us while we bed down any issues or desiderata.

Chris Cain, Head of Secretariat.


Parliamentary News

14th October Environmental Audit Committee looking at the Airports Commission’s recommendations as it holds its first public sessions of the 2015 Parliament. The Committee is examining what the Airports Commission’s recommendations would mean in terms of carbon emissions, air quality and noise.

24th October – Aviation, and particularly the decision on whether to build a new runway at Heathrow has been drawn into the English Votes for English Legislation debate with the suggestion being made  that blocking Scottish MPs from voting on the runway decision would be like stopping English MPs voting on the basing for Trident.


Government News

 5th October – As part of a major announcement setting out a four-part plan to get Britain building the Chancellor, confirmed Lord Adonis as interim Chair of a new National Infrastructure Commission. This new Commission will not be asked to revisit the work of the Davies Commission, but will consider other major aviation developments the UK needs. The announcement refers back to the July 2015 National Productivity Plan and the Government’s Brownfield Land Registry, which may have implications for small and GA airports.

13th OctoberJeremy Corbyn has hinted that he expects Labour MPs to oppose Heathrow expansion in a memo to leaders of the Shadow Cabinet, as part of his call to make air pollution a key campaign issue.

14th OctoberPatrick McLoughlin opens new state-of-the-art training facility at Gatwick, which will provide training for hundreds of new EasyJet pilots and cabin crew. The new ‘Gatwick Academy’ will be the airline’s main European aviation training hub, and is part of a drive to recruit over a thousand cabin crew and pilots over the next 12 months. The facilities include a cabin simulator, evacuation slide and fire training rig.

19th OctoberCAA passenger survey reveals regional variations in use of private or public transport to get to the airport, showing that passengers departing from London’s five airports were much more likely to use public transport than private transport to get to the airport, compared to passengers departing from one of the eleven regional airports included in the survey were much more likely to use private transport.

20th OctoberAirports Commission’s forecasts show that domestic flights to and from Heathrow would plummet with the building of the third runway. They predict the reduction of British airports connected to a UK hub from seven to four. The Mayor of London is calling on people from various regions of the UK to write to their local MP and ask if the Government has assured them that routes to their region from Heathrow will be protected.

22nd OctoberFifteen new eGates opened at Heathrow Terminal 5 by Border Force Director General, Sir Charles Montgomery. This state-of-the-art technology enables the Border Force to process larger volumes of passengers more quickly, reducing queues and allowing more attention to be given to high risk passengers, smuggling, and other priority areas.


London and South East News

2nd OctoberGatwick Airport will unveil the first phase of its £1 billion transformation when it opens a new departures level in the North Terminal, creating space for future growth. Later this month, the world’s largest self-service bag drop will be launched, as part of a £36 million project to increase passenger capacity by 1500 by April 2016.

8th OctoberImages released to bring Heathrow expansion plans to life, showing new central terminal area and Business Park.

12th OctoberStansted passes 22 million passenger milestone for first time in six years, after sustained growth since airport acquired by Manchester Airports’ Group.

24th October – Four London Council’s, including three SASIG members (Hillingdon, Windsor & Maidenhead and Richmond) have published a report claiming the economic case for Heathrow expansion is based on inflated analysis.


Regional News

2nd OctoberWizz Air announces new route from Birmingham to Bucharest , with two weekly flights in operation from 22nd May. First route running from Birmingham to Romania, announced only two weeks after their first flight from Birmingham to Warsaw.

6th OctoberExpansion of Heathrow Airport could create over 25,000 jobs in North East, new research carried out by Quod shows.

7th OctoberManchester Airports Group calls for new strategy for growth of regional airports, through investing in a nationwide network of competing airports rather than investment only in the growth of a South East ‘megahub’.

8th OctoberFive year commercial agreement reached between Flybe and owners of Exeter and Norwich airports so that a fleet of 14 Embraer E195 jets will fly on a series of routes from March 2016.

8th OctoberFlybe confirms plans to operate year-round routes from Exeter and Norwich airports from March 2016, with seats available from November 10th when the 2016 summer schedule is released.

9th OctoberNorwich Airport will run flights to more holiday destinations from March 2016 – including Alicante, Malaga and Geneva

9th OctoberPassenger numbers at Cardiff Airport increase by 21% in September compared to the same period last year, as passengers take advantage of the increased number of provided destinations.

9th OctoberHeathrow boss claims third runway would ‘more than double’ the number of domestic routes in operation, with possible additional UK routes to Inverness, Isle of Man, Jersey, Newquay, Humberside and Liverpool, to boost the wider UK economy by £211 billion.

9th OctoberGlasgow named ‘UK Airport of the Year’ at the National Transport Awards in London, where it received recognition for its growth in passenger numbers, its 26 new routes this year, and its commitment to customer service.

12th OctoberCambridge Airport has announced new services to Nordic destinations, with plans to offer connecting services to Stockholm and Helsinki operated daily Monday-Thursday by regional jet aircraft.

12th OctoberEdinburgh and Glasgow’s record-breaking September passenger numbers, as Edinburgh Airport experienced its ‘busiest September ever’ and Glasgow Airport underwent its ‘busiest September for a decade’.

12th OctoberTwo councils look set to approve plans for a multimillion-pound development at Durham Tees Valley Airport. Stockton Borough Council and Darlington Borough Council likely to accept the plans, which would boost the local economy by £11 million annually, and provide 3000 jobs.

12th OctoberInflux of university students and staff leads to passenger boom at Manchester Airport, with 2.4 million people using the airport last month. 24,000 international students arrived – over half of them to study at Manchester Metropolitan University.

13th OctoberActions taken at Manchester Airport to cut air and noise pollution, as planes ‘power down’ engines during descent, from 20 miles away to save 150 kilos of fuel for each landing.

13th OctoberQuod researchers predict Heathrow expansion would boost North-East suppliers by £833 million during construction of the runway, if David Cameron chose to expand Heathrow.

13th OctoberHighlands and Islands Airports Limited (Hial) handling increased passenger numbers, with over 1.4 million passengers passing through Scotland’s 11 regional airports from March 2014 to March 2015. Inverness was the company’s busiest site with over 650,000 passengers (an increase of 6% from the previous year). Barra saw an increase of 14% and Sumburgh’s passenger numbers increased by 8%. However, Dundee’s passenger numbers decreased by 17%.

14th OctoberFlybe reports continued growth, with 13% increase in passenger revenue from July to September, and passenger numbers up following the increased capacity.

15th October Ryanair tripling routes from Newcastle Airport as it aims to achieve ‘100% growth’ in the North East, aiming to attract an extra 110,000 passengers in 2016, supporting 200 jobs.

19th OctoberBA pledge to maintain Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Cardiff Airport from 2016f, with the Chairman making this announcement at the opening of the £3.3 million extension to the University of South Wales’ aerospace centre.

20th OctoberBoris Johnson claims London link to Liverpool John Lennon Airport is not guaranteed with the building of a third runway, as part of his argument against Heathrow expansion.

20th OctoberBoris Johnson claims Devon and Cornwall may not regain Heathrow route if the third runway is built.

20th OctoberBoris Johnson warns that Heathrow expansion could harm Dundee Airport, as fewer domestic flights would fly to Dundee, reducing the need for a route between the two airports.

20th OctoberLondon Mayor suggests that Heathrow expansion would leave Humberside Airport ‘high and dry’, with fewer domestic flights.

20th OctoberMayor of London alerts businesses in Liverpool of possibility of the airport not regaining its route to Heathrow, which it lost in 1992, if the third runway goes ahead.

20th OctoberBoris Johnson warns Aberdeen of possible loss of Heathrow connection, if the third runway is built. The number of daily flights has been dropping since 2012, with 5 daily flights lost in three years.

21st OctoberBoris Johnson claims Durham Tees Valley Airport may never regain London link, even with Heathrow expansion. DTVA lost this link in March 2009, and the London Mayor is now suggesting that domestic flights could be cut with the third runway.

23rd OctoberLiverpool City Council has announced it wants to buy a stake in Liverpool John Lennon Airport. It wants to join in sharing the airport with its current owner, Peel Group, to secure some of the profits.

23rd OctoberAer Lingus celebrate as first flight from Dublin lands at Liverpool John Lennon Airport, offering links to 10 North American destinations. This is because Dublin’s unique status also allows passengers at Liverpool to clear US immigration and customs during transfers in Ireland.

23rd OctoberRyanair announces plans for growth of 25% at Birmingham Airport, with the introduction of new routes to Corfu and Vilnius, and additional flights to many European destinations

25th OctoberNew direct Manchester to Beijing route confirmed by PM and Chinese President during their visit to the city. Claimed the route, operated by Hainan Airlines from June 2016, will boost the UK economy by at least £250 million during the next decade.

26th OctoberFlybe celebrate inaugural flight of new link from Liverpool John Lennon Airport to Edinburgh. The flight time of 1 hour and 15 minutes is little in comparison to the time of almost four hours by train or car. 26th October – Flybe adds new routes to winter schedule, including two new routes from Edinburgh to Liverpool, and Southampton to Dusseldorf, which began on 25th October.

26th OctoberTwo new routes from Manchester Airport announced by Vueling, to run from June. These are a direct service to Alicante, and another to Rome.

26th October Brussels Airlines to operate service from George Best Belfast City Airport to Brussels Airport from March 2016, five times per week, using an Avro RJ100 jet.

27th OctoberNew flights from Birmingham to Doha announced, beginning in March 2016, and run by Qatar Airways.

30th OctoberRichmond Park MP believes Government will resist building a third runway at Heathrow, as others claim Mr Osbourne will take a ‘Heathrow or nothing’ approach

30th OctoberNewquay scrap controversial £5 development fee, withdrawing it from March 2016.

31st OctoberEasyJet announces it will run 26,000 flights to and from Gatwick Airport in summer 2016, as part of its plan for continued growth at the airport.


National and Other Industry News

4th OctoberGuardian interview leads to reports that Patrick McLoughlin may not announce a decision on Heathrow expansion before Christmas, as the Government may need to buy more time due to the deeply entrenched rifts between members of the Cabinet regarding the decision. McLoughlin said that a decision would ‘hopefully’ be made before Christmas, but would definitely be made before May 2016’s London and council elections.

5th October –  Ministers are determined to make a decision on the runway within 11 weeks. It is expected that they will back another runway in the South East, with Heathrow ‘on the brink of victory’. Heathrow bosses claim that their chances of Government approval for the third runway are at 70-80 per cent. This is despite rumours of a delay on the announcement until after next May’s London mayoral election.

8th OctoberImages released showing design of Heathrow expansion plans ‘around local community’. The images of the new central terminal area and Business Park show what a Heathrow spokeswoman describes as the ‘next generation of airport’, designed around the passenger, environment and local community.

11th OctoberSupersonic air travel could once again be a possibility by 2020, as aerospace companies such as NASA are developing advanced technology to allow these crafts to travel faster than the speed of sound with minimal noise. Club Concorde has raised £40 million to help to return Concorde to service. However, Concorde would have to compete with a new generation of aircraft that is in development, such as the Aerion AS2 and the Spike S-512.

12th OctoberDespite lacking news of the Government’s decision, Heathrow Airports Holdings Ltd has already begun the tendering process for work on the third runway. The company has called for firms to register interest in four areas of work before 16th October before they compile a short list – programme management, information management, construction advice and design and technical advice. They will invite short-listed companies to tender in November, and make a decision in early 2016, so that work can begin ‘as soon as a decision is made’.

13th OctoberAirlines warned of danger of flights over parts of the Middle East due to the threat of Russian cruise missiles. Airlines including Air France and British Airways were sent a safety bulletin by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), after Russia began its air strikes over Syria. Air France has altered routes to avoid airspace above the affected area and British Airways declined to comment on whether it would change its routes, but ‘continue to liaise with the relevant parts of the UK government’.

14th OctoberAirbus and Singapore Airlines launch a 19 hour commercial passenger route, which is the world’s longest, between Singapore and New York. The flights will be non-stop, passing through 16 time zones and travelling a distance of 8,700 nautical miles. This will overtake the current longest service, which takes 17 hours from Dubai to Panama.  The aircraft that will be used is the newly launched Ultra-Long Range version of the A350-900 which includes a modified fuel system for increased carrying capacity, and increased maximum take-off weight, and aerodynamic improvements.

15th OctoberMinisters told that extra Heathrow runway would only give Londoners a 4-hour break from noise during their waking day, if Heathrow expands. This is after the Airports Commission admitted that if the runway is to be built, the current eight hours free from noise disturbance would be cut to four hours. John Stewart, Chairman of HACAN, believes that this would cause ‘uproar’ across West London, as ‘the break from the noise makes life bearable’.

21st October – New online site allows house-buyers to receive decibel reading on air traffic noise at new postcodes. The tool has looked at all major UK airports and considers flight paths – for example in Speke and Garston, John Lennon Airport produces 55 decibels of noise (equivalent to a loud conversation). The tool can be found here:

26th OctoberEasyJet CEO chooses lack of female pilots as theme of her inaugural British Air Transport Association Lecture, following a report that only 6% of registered UK engineers and technicians are female. She emphasised the airline’s view that a diverse, balanced workforce is the key to future success.


European News

7th OctoberFinnair becomes first European operator of A350 XWBs, after receiving a delivery of 19 aircraft in Toulouse. The fleet will be in service from October 9th with Heathrow being one of the first airports to receive the new planes.

7th OctoberAir passenger transport in the EU reaches almost 880 million in 2014, as a report shows that air passenger transport has risen in every member state.

13th OctoberWizz Air has a higher market share than Ryanair in the East-West European market, as it controlled 1 million of the 6 million available seat capacity available this summer.

14th OctoberCroatia Airlines will purchase four A320neos, which will all be delivered by 2022, allowing them to ‘renew’ their fleet as part of their restructuring programme.

14th OctoberAlitalia announces improvements to enhance customer travel experience, including modifications to its fleet, a new website from November, and advertising campaigns in the major countries in which it operates to promote its services.

20th OctoberFollowing Germanwings Flight 9525 accident, European Commission releasing an action plan for safer flying. It implements the European Aviation Task-Force’s recommendations made in July, and was requested by the EU Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc. The Action Plan can be viewed here:

23rd OctoberStudy forecasts potential economic boost if third runway built at Munich Airport, with 20,000 more jobs, and over 1 billion euros added to the economy. Also predicted that most of these benefits would remain within Bavaria, with 75% of jobs centred in Bavaria.

26th OctoberEuropean regional airlines (ERA) met for 35th time in Berlin, amid disappointment that the city’s new Brandenburg Airport is still not open. ERA celebrated the joining of four new airlines, and the 3.2% passenger growth last year.

26th OctoberAer Lingus expansion to begin in 2016, as three more transatlantic routes announced, and transatlantic seat capacity reaching over 2 million for t