Editor’s Highlights

As anyone who watches the news will appreciate, Brexit is dominating the UK’s political life at the moment, to the detriment of all other aspects of Government. DfT like many other Whitehall Departments has 50% of its staff assigned to Brexit planning, and so major policy initiatives like a new aviation policy are left to tread water, with very few resources available to undertake consultation events or move even small policy issues forward. The evidence of this is the delay announced to the deadline for the 2050 consultation to 20 June – the odds-on betting in the industry that there will be no White Paper this year and the fact that the only aviation legislation being seen in Parliament is Brexit related.

The highlights this month are therefore externally focused: the grounding of the B737 Max; the commencement of the judicial review process looking into the selection as the location for new South East runway capacity in the High Court; the decision of the SoS for HCLG not to call in the Stansted 43.5mppa planning application and a further CAA Quinquennial review consultation issued as advised to members yesterday.

Finally, a date for the diary. A reception is to be held in the Houses of Parliament on the 10 July to celebrate SASIG’s 20thanniversary; further details will follow, but the reception will be later afternoon/early evening after the next SASIG meeting and associated workshop. A full day can therefore be expected.

Monthly Highlights

  • 1st March – DfT extends Aviation 2050: green paper consultation period to 20th June 2019.
  • 7th March – Government announces policy guidance on EU air services to UK in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.
  • 13th March – New legislation to extend the ‘no-fly’ zone around airports comes into force.
  • 29th March – CAA publishes a policy update and further consultation on the economic regulation on capacity expansion at Heathrow.  It ends on 24th May 2019 and further details
    may be seen here.

Events, Meetings and Conferences

SASIG Meetings

  • 10th July 2019: SASIG full meeting/AGM (Venue: LGA, Smith Square, London) followed by SASIG 20th anniversary event: House of Commons, Westminster. (Further details will be published).
  • 7th November 2019: SASIG full meeting (Venue: LGA, Smith Square, London)

External Conferences

Parliamentary and Government News

1st March – DfT extends the Aviation 2050: green paper consultation period to 20th June 2019.  Details can be seen here.

7th March– UK Government announces policy guidance on EU air services to UK in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. That statement can be seen here.

Transport Questions:  House of Commons:

5th March – Regional Transport Infrastructure

A debate regarding the question of investment in regional transport infrastructure can be seen here.

6th March – Transport Infrastructure: Essex

A debate regarding the transport infrastructure for Essex including reference to access to its airports, Stansted and Southend can be seen here.

21st March – Transport

There were debates on the following transport related issues:
– Transport Emissions – see here;
– Passengers from British Airports – see here;
– Leaving the EU: Aviation Sector – see here;
– Leaving the EU: Transport related Industry – see here.

Transport Questions:  House of Lords

5th March – Brexit: British Airlines

The Government was asked what assessment they’ve made of any restrictions that could be placed on British airlines as a result of the EC’s proposed measures to ensure basic air connectivity between the UK and EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Details of the debate can be seen here.

12th March– Aviation Noise (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019

The House was asked to consider draft regulations made up in the event of the UK leaving the EU with no deal. Further details can be seen here.
(N.B. Two other areas of aviation were also discussed. A debate on draft regulations for Aviation Safety may be seen hereand one regarding Aviation Statistics may be seen here).

21st March – Aviation Safety (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019.

There was a motion that the draft Regulations laid before the House on 11 February (including those on noise) be approved.  Motions agreed – see here.

Parliamentary Questions: 

Q.1. Question (229599) asked by Tom Brake (Carshalton & Wallington) on 7th March 2019:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answers of 13 February 2019 to Questions 218813 and 218814, what the timescale is for the delivery of a Southern Rail Link to Heathrow; and when he plans to set our further opportunities for market involvement in that project”.

A. Andrew Jones on 12th March 2019: “In line with the recommendations of the recently published Market Sounding Report on Southern Rail Link to Heathrow, Government is now working to further develop and clarify the outcomes we want to be delivered from this project and consider appropriate commercial models. The Secretary of State has committed to complete this work as soon as possible and we will set out further engagement opportunities in due course”.

Q.2. Question (HL14310) asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick on 6th March 2019: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of a no-deal Brexit on the UK aviationsector”.

A. Baroness Sugg on 15th March 2019: “Leaving the EU with a deal remains the Government’s top priority but we have a duty to plan for the alternative. Passengers can continue to book with confidence as the EU has provisionally agreed legislation, ensuring that flights will continue in a no-deal scenario. This gives UK airlines the rights to fly to the EU. The UK will reciprocate and provide, as a minimum, equivalent rights to Member States airlines. The European Commission has also provisionally agreed a Regulation which would provide an extension (for nine months) of the validity of certain safety certificates. The Civil Aviation Authority is preparing to take on the responsibilities currently undertaken by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in the event of a no deal, and are confident that these plans will be in place in time”.

Q.3. Question (HL14181) asked by Lord Berkeley on 6th March 2019: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the impact of the proposal from HeathrowAirportLimited for early lifting of the Air Traffic Movement cap by 25,000 per year on (1) demand for rail services, (2) road congestion, and (3) air quality”.

A. Baroness Sugg on 13th March 2019: “No assessment has been made. An early lifting of the Air Traffic Movement cap at Heathrow is not Government policy. Any proposal for the early lifting of the Air Traffic Movement cap would be subject to the planning process and would need to form part of an applicant’s development consent application. As part of this process, the Planning Inspector would need to see that there was a proper assessment of the impacts, including a full environmental assessment, and that appropriate mitigations were in place to limit any anticipated impacts”.

Q.4. Question (228135) asked by Steve Reed (Croydon North) on 4th March 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has undertaken an impact assessment on (a) noise pollution and (b) air pollution that would be caused by the changes to flight paths proposed under the HeathrowAirspace and Future Operations Consultation”.

A. Jesse Norman on 11th March 2019: “The Appraisal of Sustainability[1] that accompanies the Airports National Policy Statement provides a strategic level assessment of the potential noise and air pollution impacts, based on indicative flight paths. If expansion proceeds, the exact noise and pollution impacts will depend on the final flight path design which must be approved through the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) Airspace Change Process. This regulatory process will provide further opportunities for stakeholders to be informed by, and comment on, more detailed flightpath proposals. The process also requires that the feedback received by the sponsor of the change is taken into consideration fully before the final proposal is submitted to the CAA for regulatory approval”.


Q.5. Question (232655) asked by Luke Pollard (Plymouth, Sutton & Devonport) on 14th March 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the proposed Passenger Charter set out in his Aviation2050 document will incorporate services provided by Border Force and NATS in addition to other parts of industry including airlines and airports; and if he will make a statement”.

A. Jesse Norman on 20th March 2019: “The Aviation 2050 green paper includes a proposal for a Passenger Charter to set out the standard of service that passengers should expect before, during and after their journeys. This consultation closes on 20 June and no final decisions on content have been taken. As set out in the green paper, the proposal includes service levels for processing passengers by Border Force. There are no plans at present to incorporate the services of NATS”.

Q.6. Question (909940) asked by Henry Smith (Crawley) on 19th March 2019: “What recent progress he has made on ensuring that flight services between the UK and Europe are not disrupted after the UK leaves the EU”.

A. Chris Grayling on 21st March 2019: “Flights between the UK and the EU will continue whatever the outcome of EU Exit. In a deal scenario, flights will continue as now during the time-limited Implementation Period. In a no deal scenario, the EU have adopted a regulation which gives UK airlines the right to fly to and from the EU for 12 months, and the UK will reciprocate these rights for EU airlines. We will continue to work closely with the aviationindustry”.

Q.7. Question (235293) asked by Emma Reynolds (Wolverhampton North East) on 21st March 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of airportcapacity outside the South East”.

A. Jesse Norman on 26th March 2019: “The Government established the independent Airports Commission, which assessed the capacity needs of the whole of the UK, before concluding that the country needs one additional runway in the South East by 2030 and noted that there would be a need for other airports to make more intensive use of their existing infrastructure. The Department accepted the findings of the Airports Commission and is supportive of airports across the UK making best use of their existing runway capacity, so long as they address the economic and environmental impacts and proposed mitigations. The Government is currently consulting on its Aviation Strategy green paper, ‘Aviation 2050; The future of UK aviation’.”

Q.8. Question (235294) asked by Emma Reynolds (Wolverhampton North East) on 21st March 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of a second runway at Birmingham Airporton regional growth in the West Midlands”.

A. Jesse Norman on 26th March 2019: “No assessment has been made. In setting out what it will deliver over the next fifteen years to 2033, Birmingham Airport’s draft Master Plan makes clear it plans to make best use of its existing runway and does not foresee a need for a second runway for some considerable time to come”.

Q.9. Question (235311) asked by Jim Shannon (Strangford) on 21st March 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to increase the number of global routes to smaller airports in Belfast and Cardiff and other essential hubs”.

A. Jesse Norman on 26th March 2019: “The Government is supportive of all airports, including Belfast and Cardiff, in creating new international connections. The Government believes that air passengers are best served by a competitive commercial airline market. It is for airlines to determine which airports they operate, based on their own assessment of costs and passenger demand”.

Q.10. Question (234074) asked by Gareth Thomas (Harrow West) on 19th March 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU without a deal on UK airports”.

A. Chris Grayling on 25th March 2019: “Leaving the EU with a deal remains the Government’s top priority. The Government has accelerated no deal preparations to ensure the country is prepared for every eventuality. It is the responsible thing to do. The EU has adopted a Regulation, giving UK airlines the rights to fly to and from the EU for 12 months in a no deal scenario, and the UK Government will provide at least equivalent rights to EU airlines. UK airports will continue under the same aviationsecurity regime as they do now. The Government works closely with the aviationsector, including UK airports, and will continue to do so”.

National and Regional News

1st MarchStansted Airport pushes for improved access. It’s calling on local businesses, community leaders and regional organisations to push government for upgraded rail links.

4th March– An article by Wandsworth Council regarding noise issues at Heathrow Airport may be seen here.

6th MarchManchester Airport could be getting a new 2,700 place long-stay car park.Plans have been submitted for the project.

6th MarchLuton Airport expansion plans could have major effect on road access to airport.County Council is keen to see the airport does have sustainable transport plans.

7th MarchManston Airport planning inquiry delayed due to ‘technical difficulties’. A new timetable has been set for evidence submissions.

7th MarchEast Midlands Airport is uncertain about cargo post-Brexit. They say extra border force officers are on standby in case more checks are needed on cargo operations.

7th March– An article featured in ‘In Cumbria’ about the start of commercial flights from Cumbria Lake District Airport in July can be seen here.

8th MarchMAG looks for contractors for £700m airports programme. The Major Capital Works Framework will run for 5 years from autumn with option to extend for a further 3 years.

11th MarchHeathrow runway challenge reaches the High Court.A cross-party coalition of council leaders challenges government decision to approve expansion of Heathrow airport.

14th MarchStobart Group announced as new Durham Tees Valley Airport operator. This follows Mayor’s decision to return it to public ownership.

14th MarchExeter Airport road is to be widened. Devon County Council backs plans to widen an ‘unfit for purpose’ road near airport allowing a 17-acre business park to be built.

15th MarchHeathrow expansion again deemed “unlawful” due to climate impact. This is according to documents submitted to the High Court by Friends of the Earth.

18th MarchNew parkway for Leeds Bradford Airport could be ‘quick-win’ for transport fix.A report says smaller, short-term improvements like this will bring boost to North economy.

18th MarchFormer Transport Secretary is to join Heathrow Board. Ruth Kelly will become a non-executive director of Heathrow Airport Holdings next month.

19th MarchEuropean Commission approves London Gatwick Airport acquisition by VINCI Airports.The Commission concluded the acquisition wouldn’t raise competition concerns.

20th March– An article in ‘Airways’ about the north-east revival and fortunes of Teesside Airport can be seen here.

20th MarchAnger as Birmingham Airport’s minimum drop-off car park charge rises by 50%.Customers report notice of this was not given on time for the start of the price rise.

21st March – Stansted Airport upgrades aim to give passengers a better airport experience. They include a new multi-storey car park and more buses for the car parks.

22nd MarchGovernment rejects ‘call in’ of Stansted Airport planning application from MAG.It was approved by Uttlesford DC last year.

25th MarchAmbitious mass transport hopes rest on Bristol Airport expansion says mayor.He also recognises it is difficult to balance sustainable concerns with economic growth.

26th MarchMP says plan to build homes on green belt near Manchester Airport is ‘unreasonable’.Thisin response to the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework document.

26th MarchCampaign group seeks judicial review on government decision not to call in plans regarding Stansted expansion. It says it will start legal proceedings.

26th MarchStobart invests in Southend Airport expansion. It’sbeen ramping up investment at the airport after selling its regional airline and aircraft leasing businesses.

27th MarchLuton Airport plans for New Century Park are approved. Councillors approved the mixed-use commercial development, put forward by London Luton Airport Limited.

29th March–An article in the Hartlepool Mail by Mayor Ben Houchen about how he views the future success of Teesside Airport can be seen here.

31st MarchFlights from Cornwall to Heathrow resume for the first time after 20 years.This route replaces the previous one to Gatwick.

Other Aviation Industry News

1st March– The CAA publishes a consultation on issues relating to the regulation of Heathrow Airport Limited’s price control including new capacity. The working paper (CAP1769) is linked to their consultations on the regulatory framework to support capacity expansion at Heathrow in April 2018 (CAP 1658) and October 2018 (CAP 1722) and it can be accessed here.  Further information can be seen here.

1st MarchGlasgow Airport boss says don’t rule out rail links. This is despite a suggestion that the original plans may have already been scrapped.

1st March – DfT extends the Aviation 2050: green paper consultation period to 20th June 2019.  Details can be seen here.

4th March Talks at HIAL have begun regarding ATC strikes during the summer. Strike action is being considered over pay and 7 out of the 11 HIAL airports would be affected.

6th MarchUK air passenger growth stalls. Figures released by the CAA reveal passenger growth dropped dramatically from 6 per cent in 2017 and 6.7 per cent in 2016.

6th MarchCardiff Airport opens new passport e-gates.The airport said the new gates would help with its growth and is part of their no-deal Brexit planning.

7th March– UK Government announces policy guidance on EU air services to UK in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. That statement can be seen here.

7th MarchGiant digital ‘shields’ could protect airports from rogue drones. The multi-million-pound, 30-mile-high shields can seek out and jam unmanned drones and locate their operator by tracking remote control signals.

7th MarchUK Treasury says it won’t devolve APD to Wales.  They believe it would impact negatively on Bristol Airport by assisting Cardiff Airport.

12th March– CAA issues instructionsto stop any commercial passenger flights using Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from any operator arriving, departing or overflying UK airspace.

13th MarchNew legislation to extend the ‘no-fly’ zone around airports comes into force. It is now illegal to fly a drone within 5km of an airport.

13th March– An article from the European Space Agency about how space technology is poised to make air travel greener and more efficient can be seen here.

18th MarchOman Air is placed first in the latest Heathrow “Fly Quiet and Green” league table.This table publishes their top 50 busiest airlines on seven noise and emission metrics.

19th March– An article in ‘Routes Online’ about a global approach to local airport capacity management can be seen here.

22nd MarchAirports Council International’s latest KPIs reveal that two-thirds of the world’s airports are loss-making.  Most handle less than 1 million passengers per annum.

26th March – Council wants details on runway changes at Dublin Airport. DAA has been told by Fingal CC to provide more information about plans to make changes to infrastructure.

28th MarchThousands stranded as WOW airline collapses. The carrier connected Europe and North America via Reykjavik, with UK flights serving Gatwick, Stansted and Edinburgh.

28th MarchLegislation to deal with noise levels at Dublin airport is passed.Aircraft Noise (Dublin Airport) Regulation Bill is introduced in advance of completion of the 2nd runway.

29th March– CAA publishes a policy update and further consultation on the economic regulation on capacity expansion at Heathrow.  It ends on 24th May 2019 and further details
may be seen here.

30th March– An article in Business Traveller about different ways the airport experience is changing may be seen here.

SASIG Library Additions

On 29th March, theCAA published a policy update and further consultation on the economic regulation on capacity expansion at Heathrow. Further details may be seen hereandthe document (CAP1782) may also be seen on our website.

On 4th March, SASIG attended the Airspace and Noise Engagement Group (ANEG) meeting in London.  Our representative was Jeremy Pine and his notes from the meeting can be seen here.

On 28th February 2019, Chairman Cllr Keith Artus attended the 2nd meeting of the Airspace Strategy Board.  The meeting papers plus a summary of his notes can be seen here.

A CAA presentation on the Planned and Permanent Redistribution of Air Traffic (PPR) made available at a stakeholder engagement session held 25th January 2019 and also made available to SASIG members at our February main meeting can be seen here.

A future inquiry and consultation programme can be seen here.