Editor’s Highlights

A series of important aviation-related policy documents were published by the Government in the run up to Parliament’s summer recess. The Airspace Modernisation Strategy addresses issues that are likely to become of increasing significance over the next 10-15 years. As NATS and other airspace change promotors role out a programme of airspace enhancements and technological change, the over-arching aim of which will be to update the UK’s badly outdated airspace infrastructure that is straining to deal with ongoing airport growth contributing to delays, unreliability and in some cases deteriorating noise environments for local communities. The newly introduced Airspace Change process – active since 1 Jan 2018 and overseen by CAA – is going to become as high profile in its own way as major land use planning applications are locally, where new airspace configurations are planned by airport and other promoters.

An airport surface transport workshop held by SASIG on 11th July, with contributions from a range of local authority members and external guest participants (including both airport trade associations, the Highways Agency and TfL), was both stimulating and informative. It confirmed surface transport is a key area of interest for many stakeholders with an interest in airports and that there are a number of policy ‘asks’ that the Government is going to need to address in its Aviation Strategy, not least clarifying the pathways to promote and secure schemes that are not solely for an airport’s benefit. SASIG are undertaking further analysis including a member survey on surface transport to inform SASIG’s input to the Aviation Strategy process.

Chris Cain,

Head of Secretariat

Monthly Highlights

  • 10th July – National Infrastructure Assessment is published. Details can be seen here.
  • 19th July – CAA publishes its draft Airspace Modernisation Strategy.
  • 24th July – Final version of the revised NPPF is published. Information on the document itself and supporting documents can be seen here.

External Conferences

Parliamentary and Government News

Transport Questions: House of Commons 5th July:

There were a number of debates in the House regarding Transport including one on Transport Infrastructure which can be seen here; Heathrow Expansion: Landing Charges which can be seen here and a further debate on Transport Infrastructure (with reference to Heathrow and air connectivity to the North West), which can be seen here.

Transport Questions: House of Lords

There were no Transport questions in the House of Lords this month.

Parliamentary Questions:

Q.1. Question (160151) asked by Justine Greening (Putney) on 3rd July 2018: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the remits of the (a) Airport Expansion & Aviation and Maritime Analysis Directorate and (b) Aviation Directorate are in relation to the Airports National Policy Statement.
A. Jesse Norman on 6th July 2018: “The Airport Expansion & Aviation and Maritime Analysis Directorate is responsible for the policies set out in the Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) which was designated on 26 June 2018. The Directorate will lead further work with Heathrow Airport Limited on their plans to deliver the Northwest Runway at Heathrow in accordance with the NPS. However, It will not be involved in decisions on any future applications for development consent, which will be handled by a separate team elsewhere in the Department to ensure propriety. The Directorate also includes an expert multi-disciplinary analytical division which undertakes modelling and economic and statistical analysis for the Department on aviation and maritime issues. The Aviation Directorate has responsibility for aviation policy more generally, including (for example) airspace modernisation and the proposed Aviation Strategy. Both directorates have regard to where the work of one may affects the other”.

Q.2. Question (HL9278) asked by the Earl of Glasgow on 5th July 2018: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made any assessment of the case for locating Britain’s future international hub airport in Birmingham, rather than Heathrow or the South East; and if not, why not”.

A. Baroness Sugg on 16th July 2018: “In autumn 2012, the Airports Commission was established with a remit to identify the scale and timing of any requirement for additional capacity to maintain the UK’s position as Europe’s most important aviation hub. The Commission assessed 58 options for the provision of the additional airport capacity needed, including expanding Birmingham airport. In its interim report, the Commission concluded that expansion through the addition of one new runway in the South East of England was required by 2030. The Commission shortlisted three schemes; two at Heathrow Airport and one at Gatwick Airport and after carrying out further assessment and public consultation on all three schemes it unanimously recommended a new Northwest Runway at Heathrow Airport in combination with a significant package of measures to address its environmental and community impacts. The Government received the Commission’s final report in July 2015 and in December 2015, following a review of the Commission’s work, the Government accepted the need for one new runway in the South East of England. Following a period of further work, the Government announced its preference for the Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme in October 2016. The Airports National Policy Statement, which was designated on 26 June 2018, provides the primary basis for decision-making on development consent applications for a Northwest Runway at Heathrow Airport, clarifying what is required to enable development, whilst setting clear requirements to mitigate the impacts”.

Q.3. Question (160726) asked by David Simpson (Upper Bann) on 4th July 2018: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make representations to the owners of Heathrow Airport on increasing the number of flights to and from Northern Ireland on daily basis after the expansion of that airport.

A. Jesse Norman on 10th July 2018: “Maintaining and enhancing domestic connectivity to Northern Ireland will be one of the key benefits of the expansion at Heathrow. It will ensure increased frequency and greater competition for existing domestic routes, and allow new routes to be served. The Airports National Policy Statement sets out a clear expectation that expansion should deliver at least six new routes by 2030. This could include Belfast International. The Secretary of State for Transport has also set out a clear ambition for about 15 per cent of slots to be made available from a new runway to be used for domestic routes. If new capacity, coupled with the commercial incentives offered by Heathrow, does not deliver Government’s expectations, and links are insufficient, then the Secretary of State for Transport has committed to impose Public Service Obligations to support additional domestic connections. Further detail on the Government’s approach to Public Service Obligations will be set out in the Aviation Strategy Green Paper towards the end of this year”.

Q.4. Question (162594) asked by Alan Brown (Kilmarnock & Loudoun) on 10th July 2018: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Oral Answer of 5 July 2018, Official Report, column 476, what steps he plans to take to ensure that 15 per cent of slots set aside for regional connections are set in stone”.

A. Jesse Norman on 16th July 2018: “Maintaining and enhancing domestic connectivity should be one of the key benefits of any expansion at Heathrow. It will ensure new connections, increased frequency and greater competition for domestic routes, so that the whole of the UK benefits from the Government’s decision to support a third runway at Heathrow. The Government has set a clear expectation that about 15 per cent of slots made available through expansion at Heathrow Airport will be used for domestic flights, and it has identified the tools to make this happen. As part of this, it expects around 100 additional flights per week between Scotland and Heathrow once new capacity is delivered. If new capacity coupled with the commercial incentives offered by Heathrow does not meet these expectations, then the Government will ring-fence slots at appropriate times of day and provide financial support through exemption from Air Passenger Duty. All of these measures can be delivered through the use of Public Service Obligations. The Government will put in place Public Service Obligations on an airport-to-airport basis. This new approach is consistent with existing EU regulations, and, for the first time, it will allow the Government to provide protection for flights that are specifically to Heathrow. In addition, the Government will consider the introduction of unfunded Public Service Obligations to Heathrow Airport. This would provide a safeguard for domestic connections, but without direct cost to the taxpayer. The Government’s approach to domestic connectivity will be set out in a Green Paper on the Aviation Strategy, to be published towards the end of this year.

Q.5. Question (165102) asked by Alan Brown (Kilmarnock & Loudoun) on 17th July 2018: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 16 July 2018 to Question 162595 on Heathrow Airport, what statutory mechanisms are in place to ensure that unfunded Public Service Obligations to Heathrow Airport will be binding on both the Heathrow Airport and airlines”.

A. Jesse Norman on 23rd July 2018: “The Government expects the majority of domestic routes from an expanded Heathrow to be commercially viable with support from Heathrow Airport, as many are today. Unfunded Public Service Obligations to Heathrow Airport would provide a safeguard for domestic connections and an exemption from Air Passenger Duty – saving £26 from a domestic return ticket. EU Air Services Regulation 1008/2008 (Articles 16-18) makes provision for Public Service Obligations which are legally enforceable”.

Q.6. Question (HL9803) asked by Baroness Randerson on 23rd July 2018: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether population impact estimates for Heathrow expansion will be extended to include air quality impacts beyond the two kilometres analysed currently when Heathrow Airport Limited develops its surface access strategy and mitigation actions on air pollution”.

A. Baroness Sugg on 26th July 2018: “As part of the development consent process, the applicant will be required to undertake a detailed assessment of the environmental impacts of their scheme, including air quality, and put forward an appropriate package of mitigations. The Airports National Policy Statement makes clear that development consent would not be granted if the Secretary of State for Transport is not satisfied that the scheme would be compatible with air quality obligations”.

Q.7. Question (HL9804) asked by Baroness Randerson on 23rd July 2018: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to contribute to the cost of a third runway should Heathrow Airport Limited be unable to raise the level of investment it anticipates”.

A. Baroness Sugg on 26th July 2018: “The Government is clear that the Northwest Runway scheme at Heathrow will be financed by the private sector without Government support – and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), as the independent economic regulator, has a duty to ensure that Heathrow Airport can finance its airport operations”.

Q.8. Question (HL9602) asked by Baroness Randerson on 17th July 2018: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made to ensure that no extra airport related road traffic will result from the increase in passenger capacity after the North West Runway is built; whether they intend to make this an legally binding requirement on Heathrow Airport Ltd; and if not, why not”.

A. Baroness Sugg on 26th July 2018: “The Airports National Policy Statement was designated on 26 July 2018, paving the way for a development consent application from Heathrow.

Heathrow airport is already well connected by rail and tube and will benefit from transport improvements which are already in construction or planned, such as Crossrail, HS2 and the proposed Western Rail Link. The Airports National Policy Statement sets out that Heathrow Airport should continue to strive to meet its public pledge to have landside airport-related traffic no greater than today. As part of a Development Consent Application, Heathrow would need to undertake detailed assessments of the impacts of expansion. Only once the detailed assessments have been carried out, can these impacts can be fully assessed. This pledge may become a legally binding requirement as part of the development consent process”.

Q.9. Question (HL9603) asked by Baroness Randerson on 17th July 2018: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the compatibility of the planned expansion of Heathrow airport with air quality obligations; and whether Heathrow airport itself, or traffic in the surrounding area, has ever breached existing legal limits on air quality standards”.

A. Baroness Sugg on 26th July 2018: “We have assessed the impact of the Government’s 2017 UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations, and updated aviation demand forecasts, on the Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme’s compliance with air quality limit values. Our analysis helped inform the Government’s view that the Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme can be delivered in compliance with air quality obligations, with a suitable package of policy and mitigation measures. Following designation of the Airports National Policy Statement (NPS), it will now be for the promoter to undertake a detailed assessment of the air quality impacts of the scheme, including during construction, and put forward to the Planning Inspectorate an appropriate package of mitigations that address air quality impacts and demonstrate compliance with air quality obligations. In order to grant development consent, the Secretary of State for Transport would need to be satisfied that, with mitigation, the scheme would be compliant with legal obligations. Heathrow Airport Ltd is situated in the Greater London Urban Area Zone for the purpose of reporting compliance with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) limit values to the European Commission. This Zone is currently non-compliant with (NO2) limits. The 2017 UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations sets out how we will achieve compliance in the shortest possible time, supported by a £3.5 billion investment into air quality and cleaner transport”.

Q.10. Question (HL9801) asked by Baroness Randerson on 23rd July 2018: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much they estimate will be spent on additional transport links in the South East as a result of the additional traffic created by a third runway at Heathrow; and whether they plan to match such spending with additional investment in transport in the North”.

A. Baroness Sugg on 26th July 2018: “The Government has been clear that the costs for works on the transport network which are physically needed to enable the Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme to operate will be funded by the promoter, not taxpayers.
Government’s policy for funding airport surface access improvements is set out in the 2013 Aviation Policy Framework”.

National and Regional News

2nd July A railway station near Doncaster Airport ‘must serve more than just the airport’. This one of the things agreed at a ‘round table’ event held at Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

2nd July Scheme planned for junction near Leeds Bradford Airport. Transport bosses have agreed to part-fund multi-million pound roadworks that could improve access to airport.

2nd JulyBirmingham Mayor defends his stance on 2nd runway. He says that he made this clear in his original Mayoral Manifesto.

3rd JulyManchester Airport drop off charge to start on July 10th. Airport bosses insist the scheme is aimed at relieving crippling congestion around the site.

3rd JulySomerset to Heathrow in 2 hours if rail plan goes ahead. Network Rail has been consulting on proposals for a 6.5km tunnel between Gt Western Mainline and Terminal 5.

3rd July – An article in ‘Newsletter’ by Chris Moncrieff saying why Heathrow expansion should begin without any further delay, can be seen here.

6th JulyBristol Airport opens new multi-storey car park. It has over 1,100 spaces across 3 levels and is situated a short walking distance to the terminal with 2 additional floors providing an extra 750 spaces to be added in winter.

9th JulyLuton Airport held its first consultation on potential expansion of the airport. The consultations will run until 31st August.

10th JulyLondon City Airport may seek permission for more flights. CE Robert Sinclair believes the airport will approach existing caps on its operations in the next 3–4 years.

11th JulyThe councils who are part-owners of MAG will share in dividend. Manchester City Council will receive almost £59m while the 9 others will each receive £5.4m.

15th JulyWill there ever be a direct rail link to Liverpool Airport? Liverpool South Parkway is promoted as the well-connected station for LJLA but it is three miles away.

16th JulyWindsor & Maidenhead Council set aside extra money to fight Heathrow expansion. A further £100,000 has been added to the fund.

17th JulyMore jobs are coming to Bournemouth Airport. Aviation firm is to bring some of its aircraft maintenance operation to the airport industrial park, helping expansion plans.

18th JulyHeathrow concludes its search for innovation partners ahead of expansion. It launched a programme in April to find suitable partners for the airport expansion.

18th July – An article in ‘Move Commercial’ newsletter about how Heathrow expansion could impact on the North-West of the UK can be seen here.

19th JulyA legal challenge to Heathrow third runway has been launched. It has been launched by a group of councils, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Greenpeace.

19th JulyGreen Party protests Luton Airport expansion. Protestors attended a drop-in consultation session hosted by the airport.

24th JulyPlans revealed to connect £10billion high speed railway with busiest UK airports. ‘HS4Air’will connect HS1 at Ashford to HS2 NW of London with stops at Heathrow/Gatwick.

24th JulyCrackdown on meet and greet car parking firms at Manchester Airport. Holidaymakers’ cars left on residential streets near airport could be towed away.

26th JulyBirmingham Airport plans £15m terminal expansion. The transport hub lodged new plans with Solihull MBC last week and a 3-week consultation period will start soon.

29th JulyBristol Airport is looking at ways to reduce noise levels. Its draft plan covers the period from 2019-2024.

Other Aviation Industry News

3rd July UK aviation industry marks 5 years of progress against noise. Sustainable Aviation has revealed the results of investments in procedures, technology and policy work.

6th JulyThere’s anger over plans to centralise ATC in Scotland. There’s disagreement between management and unions after HIAL announced it will be based in Inverness.

7th JulyMany airports have increased the price of car parking this year. Over half of the UK’s biggest airports have pushed up parking prices for drivers picking people up this summer, according to new analysis.

12th JulyPlans for new runway at Dublin cause tensions. Plans to develop a €320m runway have been met with protests by local farmers and property owners living nearby.

16th JulyScotland identified as front runner for Britain’s first spaceport. Vertical rocket and satellite launches are planned from A’Mhoine, Sutherland.

17th JulyA fresh application to re-open Manston Airport has been submitted again. Previous application was withdrawn after Planning Inspectorate expressed some concerns.

18th JulyCardiff Airport unveils its vision for the next twenty years. The Airport, alongside the Welsh Government, will also take over the running of St Athan airfield.

19th JulyCAA publishes its draft Airspace Modernisation Strategy. They ask for feedback from industry stakeholders by 10th September.

21st JulyNew deals needed in event of ‘hard’ Brexit says Irish Aviation Authority. It backed claim that British flights will currently have no legal right to land in Ireland or other EU countries in the event of a hard Brexit.

27th JulyMSP calls on Edinburgh Airport to halt its flight path proposals. Says noise level predictions could be much louder than claimed during the consultation.

28th JulyStudy finds over 50’s shunning major airports in favour of regionals. A survey of nearly 10,000 SAGA members showed most would pay extra for the convenience.

31st JulyDrones banned from flying within 1 km of UK airport boundaries. New laws also restrict drones from flying above 400 ft.