Editor’s Highlights  

October brought a number of interesting aviation announcements. First of all, the courts agreed to hear five legal challenges against the Government’s National Policy Statement on airport capacity in the South East of England and its support for a third runway at Heathrow. The hearing will take place in March and would normally be guaranteed to attract a lot of media attention but for the fact Brexit is due to take place of the 29thof that month.

Adding to the fog surrounding South East runway capacity is the publication by Gatwick of its draft Masterplan, which includes a proposal to turn its ‘standby’ runway into an active close parallel on, increasing the airport’s potential passenger throughput to 65-70mppa; this at the same time as Global Infrastructure Partners 45% stake in the facility has been put up for sale.

Less visible, but just as important, is CAP1722 published on 31st of October, which in essence is the CAA’s consultation on the next Heathrow Quinquennial review. This document is not just for airlines as it discusses issues which will have a significant impact on the form and timing of the third runway project.  And finally news is emerging from DfT that the expected publication date for the Aviation Green Paper is 14th December 2018.

Chris Cain

Head of Secretariat

Monthly Highlights

4th October– Five legal challenges against Heathrow 3rd runway will be heard in March next year. This was confirmed in the High Court today.

18th October– Gatwick announces plans to use taxiway as permanent 2nd runway. Restrictions on its current use are set to expire at the end of 2019.

24th October– CAA launches a dedicated portal for proposed changes to UK airspace.

29th October– Government presented its latest Budget.

31st October– CAA publishes an additional consultation on Heathrow expansion.

Events, Meetings and Conferences

SASIG Meetings

  • 16th November 2018:SASIG full meeting (Venue: LGA, Smith Square, London)        followed in the afternoon by a workshop on Airports, Cities and Economic Growth.
  • 6th February 2019:SASIG full meeting (Venue: LGA, Smith Square, London)
  • 10th July 2019:SASIG full meeting (Venue: LGA, Smith Square, London)

External Conferences

Parliamentary and Government News

Both the House of Commons and House of Lords rose for the Conference recess on 13th September and returned on 9th October.

Transport Questions:  House of Commons:

11th October – Civil Aviation Noise. A short debate following a question about what progress the Transport Department has made on reducing the level of civil aviation noise can be seen here.

29th October – Edinburgh Airport flight paths. A debate about the question of whether Edinburgh Airport flights paths should change can be seen here.

 Transport Questions:  House of Lords

25th October – Border Force: Heathrow Airport. A debate following a question tabled regarding Border Force maximum waiting time objectives not being met over the summer period at Heathrow Airport can be seen here.

Parliamentary Questions: 

Q.1. Question (175889) asked by Sir Vince Cable (Twickenham) on 8th October 2018: “To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of whether the air quality changes arising from expansion at Heathrow Airportwill require the National Policy Statement to be revised”.

A. Jesse Norman on 15th October 2018: “The Department for Transport has assessed the effects 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. This analysis has informed 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. The Department has not seen any further evidence to date which leads the Government to review its position. Following the designation of the Airports National Policy Statement (NPS), it is now down to an applicant for development consent to undertake a detailed assessment of the air quality effects of the scheme, including during construction, and to put forward to the Planning Inspectorate an appropriate package of mitigations that address air quality effects and demonstrate compliance with air quality obligations.

In order to grant development consent, the Secretary of State would need to be satisfied that, with mitigation, the scheme would be compliant with legal obligations”.

Q.2. Question (HL10384) asked by Lord Berkeley on 8th October 2018: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to diverge from the rules of the European AviationSafety Agency following Brexit; and if so, what benefits they anticipate will come from such divergence”.

A. Baroness Sugg on 16th October 2018: “As stated in the White Paper that set out the Government’s proposal for the UK’s future relationship with the EU, we are seeking a comprehensive air transport deal that seeks continued participation within the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) system. However, the UK’s future participation will be a matter for negotiations. EU safety regulations will be brought into domestic law by means of the powers in the EU (Withdrawal) Act. This means that after exit, the same safety rules will continue to apply. The UK is committed to maintaining current levels of safety and will continue to strive to improve on these after leaving the EU. Being outside the EU will not change the UK’s approach to aviation safety”.

Q.3. Question (176310) asked by Seema Malhotra (Feltham & Heston) on 8th October 2018: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish his response to the market sounding consultation on a Southern Rail Link to Heathrow.

A. Joseph Johnson on 11th October 2018: “In May the Department launched a formal Market Sounding for a Southern Rail Link to Heathrow and results of this are expected to be published later this year. The outcome of this engagement will provide further clarity on whether this scheme will be progressed and funded, and if so how”.

Q.4. Question (177669) asked by Henry Smith (Crawley) on 10th October 2018: “To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the implications for his policies of the Frontier Economics report finding that Britain’s airports could gain up to 65 connections in the event that air passenger duty is abolished”.

A. Robert Jenrick on 19th October 2018: “The government takes new evidence into consideration when making policy decisions. The aviation sector in the UK continues to grow, with passenger numbers up by over 15% since 2010. APD raises over £3 billion in revenue every year. Abolishing or cutting APD would put pressure on the government to increase taxes elsewhere”.

Q.5. Question (178229) asked by Jim Cunningham (Coventry South) on 11th October 2018: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of plans to expand Birmingham Airport; and if he will make a statement”.

A. Jesse Norman on 16th October 2018: “No assessment has been made. The Department understands that Birmingham Airport’s plans to expand its current premises would be within the current boundaries of the airportsite. Any planning application would be for Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s planning committee to consider”.

Q.6. Question (178308) asked by Jim Shannon (Strangford) on 11th October 2018: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with major airports on best practice for reducing noise”.

A. Jesse Norman on 19th October 2018: “Ministers and officials from my Department have regular discussions with major airports to discuss a range of matters, including issues relating to noise. The Government sets overall policy for aviation noise and also sets noise controls at Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted, as these airports are designated under the Civil Aviation Act. At other airports, the Government believes that noise controls, best practice, and mitigations should be agreed locally, taking into account national policy”.

Q.7. Question (177668) asked by Henry Smith (Crawley) on 10th October 2018: “To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will model the effect on the UK economy of (a) a 50 per cent reduction in and (b) the abolition of Air Passenger Duty”.

A. Robert Jenrick on 19th October 2018: “The government monitors all taxes, including Air Passenger Duty. The aviationsector in the UK continues to grow, with passenger numbers up by over 15% since 2010. APD raises over £3 billion in revenue every year. Abolishing or cutting APD would put pressure on the government to increase taxes elsewhere”.

Q.8. Question (182243) asked by Luke Pollard (Plymouth, Sutton & Devonport) on 22nd October 2018: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his Department’s news story, Government champion raises profile for general aviation, published on 7 February 2018, when his Department plans to publish the York Aviationreport on proposals for a strategic network for general aviationairfields”.

A. Jesse Norman on 30th October 2018: “The Government has appointed Byron Davies as its first ever General AviationChampion, in order to identify a network of strategically important airfields and to help the future development of the general aviationsector. He is being assisted by York Aviation, which the Department has commissioned to carry out research on airfields of strategic significance. The Government intends to publish his report and the York Aviationreport alongside the AviationStrategy Green Paper later this year. The Government will only be able to take decisions on implementing a general aviationstrategic network once the General AviationChampion has made his recommendations and consultation has concluded on the AviationStrategy Green Paper”.

National and Regional News

1st October – London/Newquay flights are secured for another four years. The flights are backed by funding from both the Government and Cornwall Council.

2nd OctoberChancellor unveils new funding for East Midlands HS2 station and East Midlands airport expansion.He unveiled details at the Conservative Party conference.

2nd OctoberA new car park could be built at Manchester Airport. Plans have been put before Manchester council for a 772-space off-site car park, 2.5 miles from the airport.

2nd OctoberPoll shows Spelthorne and Esher residents broadly support Heathrow expansion. Data was taken by polling company Populus between July and September.

2nd OctoberFour new aircraft stands opened at Stansted. It markscompletion of the first phase of airfield works as part of a £600 million transformation programme at the airport.

4th October – Legal battle against Heathrow expansion plans reaches High Court. Councils and campaigners are challenging the Government’s decision to approve the third runway.

4th OctoberFive legal challenges against Heathrow 3rd runway will be heard in March next year.This was confirmed in the High Court today.

8th OctoberLeeds Bradford Airport expansion moves a step closer. Councillors approve plans to accommodate an extra one million passengers per year.

9th OctoberNew flights to operate to Copenhagen from Newquay next year. Flights will operate over the summer next year on Mondays and Fridays.

9th OctoberCampaigners are not happy with proposals to improve links to Leeds Bradford Airport.The Campaign for Better Transport believes they may be a waste of public money.

10th OctoberNew date has been chosen for Stansted Airport application. Uttlesford DC will now hear the application on November 14th.

11th OctoberBournemouth Airport welcomes new MD. Stephen Gill was previously CE at Doncaster Sheffield and also Durham Tees Valley Airports.

11th OctoberBlackpool Airport could be missing out on potential growth. Local councillor warns this may be happening because of a shortage of air traffic controllers.

11th OctoberA development partner is sought for Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone. Potential private sector partners are invited to register their interest before 30th November.

13th OctoberGatwick Airport could be up for sale. An announcement about a deal could be made in the next few weeks.

14th OctoberManchester Airport by-pass opens. But bosses said the size of the road means this is a ‘complex procedure’, so the bypass wouldn’t open to traffic until the night.

15th October Southend Airport is operating below its quota for night flights. A report looked at flights between March 2017 and February 2018.

15th OctoberLocal businesses can get contracts bidding advice at Luton Airport event.Event takes place on 7th November and will be a series of workshops and presentations.

16th OctoberHeathrow offers a year’s worth of free landing charges to first electric plane.Heathrow CEO announced this at the Business Green Leaders’ Summit in London today.

18th OctoberGatwick announces plans to use taxiway as permanent 2nd runway.Restrictions on its current use are set to expire at the end of 2019.

19th OctoberMore electric vehicles deployed at London airports. A company has put the first electric vehicles and charge points into its fleet at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

19th OctoberResidents discuss Southampton Airport expansion plans. These will be discussed as part of a six-week consultation.

22nd October Heathrow aims to roll out facial biometrics by summer 2019. The airport is investing £50million in the scheme.

23rd OctoberCampaigners declare ‘state of emergency’ over Gatwick plans. CPRE says proposed expansion would have ‘devastating’ impact on the surrounding countryside.

26th OctoberHeathrow and BA owners IAG say there is no worry about a no-deal Brexit.They’ve assured customers and businesses that they can cope with this eventuality.

26th OctoberOfficers recommend approval of airport plan at Stansted.UDC’s planning committee is due to determine the planning application on 14th November.

31st OctoberStansted Airport officials meet Epping Forest District Council committee.They aimed to reassure councillors about the impact of extra traffic, noise and air pollution.

Other Aviation Industry News

 1st October Airlines and airports are investing in biometrics to deliver a seamless passenger journey. This is according to research released by global IT provider SITA.

1st OctoberAirport noise issue debate continues at Edinburgh Airport.Airport reports it will not introduce an offset or curved means of landing for aircraft at this time.

2nd October– At ATAG’s Global Sustainable Aviation Summit,ACI said that 246 airports now use its Airport Carbon Accreditation programme to manage/reduce their carbon footprint.

3rd OctoberFirst commercial flight partly fuelled by recycled waste lands in UK.The Virgin Atlantic flight from Orlando to Gatwick was powered by blend of jet fuel and ethanol.

8th OctoberAirports call on EU to focus on sustainability and consumer interest. EU Transport Ministers/Institutions & aviation stakeholders met in Vienna for European Aviation Summit

10th OctoberGlasgow Airport boss welcomes commitment to rail link. He was pleased with a statement by Glasgow’s council leader saying that she is committed to the rail link.

12th OctoberCompanies support sustainable aviation fuel development. Two companies partner up to cooperate on certification and product QA capabilities for renewable jet fuel.

15th October– WHO Europe publishes tough guidelines & recommendations for policymakers to cut aircraft noise. Further details can be seen here.

17th OctoberFlybe issues profit warning. Says demand in domestic and near-continent markets has weakened recently and the Board expects this to continue into the second half.

23rd OctoberDAA says a third terminal at Dublin is not needed at the moment. A report suggesting a third terminal is set to be brought to the Cabinet today.

23rd October– Europe aviation industry: latest figures for the third quarter of the year as compiled by Routes Online can be seen here.

24th October– CAA launches a dedicated portal for proposed changes to UK airspace.  The portal can be seen here.

26th OctoberGlasgow Airport aims to cut noise issues for nearby residents. 5 year plan to minimise/mitigate noise problems is published following a 13 week consultation.

28th OctoberCutting tax on flights from Scottish airports ‘could reduce public service funding’.Scottish Parliament Information Centre say it could be up to £780 milllion.

29th OctoberTransport Secretary says talks on EU-UK post Brexit flights have not begun. He insists that flights will not be grounded though.

30th OctoberBritons travelling to EU could be stuck in ‘rest of the world’ queues post-Brexit.  Immigration Minister says this may happen if there is a no-deal Brexit.

31st OctoberCAA rejects application from Edinburgh Airport to change flight paths. Says there’s ‘significant’ variation between final plan and proposal provided during consultation.

31st October – DAA adds €10m public fund to €320m bill for new north runway for Dublin Airport.The new runway will be over 1.5km north of the existing runway.

31st October– CAA publishes a further consultationon Heathrow expansion.  It will run until 4th January 2019.

SASIG Library Additions

A future inquiry and consultation programme can be seen here.