Editor’s Highlights

A late Easter, Parliament’s focus on Brexit, the ultimate decision to substantially delay the date for leaving the EU and the knock-on impact of that for the Aviation 2050 White Paper timetable, all made for a slow month in terms of aviation policy as reflected in the reporting below.

Only two highlights of any real note: Baroness Vere of Norbiton replaced Baroness Sugg as Aviation Minister on 25thApril; then on 30thApril Chairman Keith Artus gave a well-received presentation, at the Westminster Policy Forum aviation event (a copy of his speech has been posted on the SASIG web site).

Talking of which, the Group’s web site has been repeatedly been attacked by malware; it is not clear whether this is because we are being specifically targeted, or there are weaknesses in the way the site has been developed which make it particularly vulnerable to such things. Our web site support agency has, we hope, resolved the matter but do let us know if you experience any other problems.

Finally, following the recent climate change protests and Parliament’s support for a new zero carbon target for 2050, it is anticipated that aviation’s CO2 emissions will receive a much higher political profile in the run-up to the White Paper, and consequently we have decided to hold a workshop on the issue on the afternoon of 10thJuly after the main SASIG AGM that morning.

Chris Cain

Head of Secretariat

Monthly Highlights

  • 25th April: New Aviation Minister Baroness Vere appointed
  • 30th April: SASIG Chairman speaks at Westminster policy forum.

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

  • 13th-15th June 2019:AeroExpo:Wycombe Air Park. The UK’s festival of aviation.

Parliamentary and Government News

Both Houses rose on 11th April for the Easter Recess and returned on 23rd April.

Transport Questions:  House of Commons: 

There were no transport questions in the House of Commons this month.

Transport Questions:  House of Lords

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

Parliamentary Questions:  

Q.1. Question (239993) asked by Andy McDonald (Middlesbrough) on 2nd April 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many applications for public service obligations he has received from regional airports for routes into Heathrow”.
A. Jesse Norman on 9th April 2019: “One application for a Public Service Obligation from Newquay to London Heathrow was received. This is the route which is now operating. As set out in the Department’s guidance on protecting air routes to London, a Local Authority or Devolved Administration is required to consider bids to an airport with a rail link of less than 60 minutes to London Travel Zone 1, which includes Heathrow Airport”.

Q.2. Question (240001) asked by Andy McDonald (Middlesbrough) on 2nd April 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the average cost is of a Public Service Obligation for a route from regional airports”.

(Answer grouped with 240002)

Q.3. Question (240002) asked by Andy McDonald (Middlesbrough) on 2nd April 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the annual cost to the public purse is of public service obligations to regional airports”.

A. (Grouped question with 240001) Jesse Norman on 9th April 2019: “The UK Government currently funds three PSOs into London from Londonderry, Dundee and Newquay. In addition, the Welsh Government funds a PSO from Anglesey to Cardiff, and the Scottish Government funds a further eighteen PSOs. The total annual subsidy in 2017 for these routes was £10,564,194. The average annual cost of these PSOs in 2017 was £480,191”.

Q.4. Question (239999) asked by Andy McDonald (Middlesbrough) on 2nd April 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to allocate funds to improve public transport access to Newquay airport”.
A. Jesse Norman on 9th April 2019: “The Government’s Aviation Strategy 2050 consultation document, launched in December 2018, recognises airports as important multi-modal transport hubs. The provision and funding of surface access infrastructure and services to airports are primarily the responsibility of the airport operator, but where there are significant non-airport user benefits from changes and enhancements to the infrastructure and services there may be a case for support from Government. A combined process for investment planning which could include further improvements for access to Newquay airport is currently under way. Sub-national Transport Bodies (STB) or regional groupings are responsible for working with local partners, including local authorities and MPs, to make the case for funding particular improvements as part of the Major Road Network or Large Local Majors programme. The Department expects that STBs will submit their prioritised schemes for consideration by July 2019”.

Q.5. Question (240005) asked by Andy McDonald (Middlesbrough) on 2nd April 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the additional number of people will be overflown by aircraft as a result of the expansion of Heathrow”.

A. Jesse Norman on 9th April 2019: “The Appraisal of Sustainability that accompanies the Airports National Policy Statement provides a strategic level assessment of the potential social, economic, and environmental impacts of expansion, including on noise, based on indicative flight paths. While taking forward an application for development consent of the Northwest runway scheme, Heathrow Airport Limited has also started to engage with the airspace change process necessary to accommodate the additional flights that expansion would enable. In the UK this process is governed by the Civil Aviation Authority, which must approve all changes to the UK’s airspace, including new flight paths. This is a seven-stage process, often taking a number of years between an airport alerting the Civil Aviation Authority to a proposed change, and the Civil Aviation Authority making a decision on whether that change should be implemented. Heathrow Airport Limited are currently at the second stage of the Civil Aviation Authority’s Airspace Change Process. At this early stage it is not possible to identify the expected noise impacts on specific communities. These will depend on the final chosen airspace design. The second part of the process is known as ‘Option Development’, and requires the airport to develop a range of options for the proposed new airspace design. These will then be published, along with a detailed assessment, for public consultation”.

Q.6. Question (240006) asked by Andy McDonald (Middlesbrough) on 2nd April 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the appropriate level of consultation that should be undertaken in relation to the proposed airspace changes caused by the expansion of Heathrow”.

A. Jesse Norman on 9th April 2019: “The consultation requirements for all airspace change sponsors are set out in the Air Navigation Guidance 2017 issued by the Department to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in October 2017. It is the responsibility of the CAA to ensure that all airspace change sponsors comply with this guidance”.

Q.7. Question (240007) asked by Andy McDonald (Middlesbrough) on 2nd April 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason his Department prevented Heathrow Airportfrom (a) informing and (b) consulting with all communities who may be affected by airspace changes in accordance with the Planning Act 2008”.

A. Jesse Norman on 9th April 2019: “The Department cannot prevent Heathrow Airport from a) informing or b) consulting with communities who may be affected by airspace change. Heathrow, as the airspace change sponsor, is responsible for conducting their own consultations on airspace change. Heathrow Airport Limited has already undertaken two stages of public consultation at the scale and size that they deemed appropriate. As the Department understands, for their consultation on airspace design principles in early 2018, Heathrow Airport Limited advertised to over 12 million people, making it one of the largest private sector led consultations with the public in the UK’s history. Furthermore, Heathrow Airport Limited has now concluded a consultation on its airspace design envelopes. These are the wide geographic areas in which flight paths would be positioned in future. The exact flight paths, which will be much narrower and run through these envelopes, will not be determined until later in the airspace change process. It would be as part of Heathrow Airport Limited’s third consultation on airspace that specific proposed routes would be presented”.

Q.8. Question (240008) asked by Andy McDonald (Middlesbrough) on 2nd April 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of Heathrow airport’s ability to meet the Civil AviationAuthority’s design principles on airspace changes as a result of precise flight paths associated with the expansion of the airport not yet being known”.

A. Jesse Norman on 9th April 2019: “As part of its airspace change process, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is responsible for assessing the individual airspace design principles put forward by an airspace change sponsor. In the case of Heathrow, the CAA was satisfied that the airspace design principles put forward by the airport met its regulatory requirements”.

Q.9. Question (242205) asked by Helen Hayes (Dulwich & West Norwood) on 8th April 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to ensure the continuation of (a) aviationand (b) ferry travel to the EU in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal”.

A. Chris Grayling on 11th April 2019: “The EU has agreed a Regulation which would allow for the continuation of flights between the UK and the EU for a period of 12 months if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The Government has set out how it will reciprocate and allow flights by EU carriers between the EU and the UK to continue. The maritime sector is generally liberalised and neither the UK nor the EU expects there to be any issues with ferry services continuing to operate”.

Q.10. Question (243475) asked by Andy McDonald (Middlesbrough) on 10th April 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the number of people affected by the proposals for airspace change at Heathrow”.

A. Jesse Norman on 18th April 2019: “The precise noise impacts will depend on the final flight path designs which must be approved through the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) Airspace Change Process. As part of this regulatory process, Heathrow will need to provide detailed assessments of the number of people who are expected to be affected by its airspace proposals, including the number of newly affected people as well as those who may benefit. These assessments will form part of the information the airport will include in its formal airspace change process consultations”.

Q.11. Question (245938) asked by Hugh Gaffney (Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill) on 18th April 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the Government’s draft EU Withdrawal Agreement on the the financial viability of UK airports”.

A. Chris Grayling on 26th April 2019: “The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of a time-limited implementation period. During this time air services and businesses, including airports, will be able to continue as they do now without having to comply with a different set of rules and regulations. The Political Declaration sets out the broad terms of our future relationship with the EU and signals the ambition of both sides to agree a Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement that will provide for market access for UK and EU airlines. This agreement will therefore support the continued competitiveness of the UK aviation sector”.

Q.12. Question (248734) asked by Ranil Jayawardena (North Easst Hampshire) on 29th April 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with the President of the Board of Trade on the effect on trade of improving the Reading to Gatwick Airportroad corridor through the building of an M31”.

A. Jesse Norman on 3rd May 2019: “The Department recognises the importance to trade of high-quality and reliable transport to and from airports, and is considering how to improve connectivity in the south of England, including the Reading to Gatwick Airportarea, through the M25 South West Quadrant strategic study”.

National and Regional News

1st April– Passengers test out first phase of Manchester Airport’s £1bn upgrade.  A new tier and car park have opened.

3rd April– Campaigners oppose Leeds Airport link road. It fears increased congestion and loss of Green Belt land.

5th April– Luton sees drop in airport noise complaints in 2018.The airport’s quarterly monitoring reports show there were 8,275 complaints in 2018, compared to 15,384 in 2017.

8th April– Heathrow/New York is Europe’s busiest international scheduled service.  Research finds nearly 3 million people flew the route last year.

8th April– Aviation Minister visits Leeds Bradford Airport. Baroness Sugg welcomed new investment to improve passenger experience.

9th April– Gatwick invests £1million on noise-monitoring technology. In a UK-airport first, the new system also allows noise complaints to be submitted via an automated telephone line, a key request from the local community.

11th April– Councillors call for halt of Stansted Airport expansion approval notice. It should be withheld until an agreement has been approved by the council’s planning committee.

14th April– Campaigners claim Luton Airport’s latest noise complaint figures are inaccurate.Airport published the 2018 statistics last week showing 46% drop in complaints from 2017.

17th April– London City Airport unveils plans of redesign. Its £500 million redesign when completed by 2022 will quadruple the size of the terminal. 

23rd April– Students make plea over environmental impact from Bristol Airport expansion. Students living nearby beg teachers to put pressure on airport owners (OTPP) pension fund.

23rd April– Carlisle District Airport named as one of 2019’s most exciting international openings.This is according to a list compiled by media giant CNN Travel. 

23rd April– Date is set for Stansted Airport extraordinary meeting. It will be on April 25th to consider whether the final approval notice for the airport’s planning application to increase passenger numbers should be delayed until after the upcoming local elections.

25th April– Concerns raised over the deal to buy back Durham Tees Valley Airport. A senior councillor believes mistakes were made with budget and investment plan.

27th April– Heathrow Airport is to use facial recognition cameras to speed up boarding. It is hoped to do away with passport checks by border officials.

29th April– Work begins on a £5m industrial development at Doncaster Sheffield Airport.The development will provide 45,000 sq ft of industrial space for the region’s businesses.

29th April– East Midlands Airport is expanding space for freighters. It is preparing for increased volumes driven by the e-commerce boom.

Other Aviation Industry News

1st April – RAF St. Athan becomes a civilian airport. It’sbecome a civilian airport after it was taken over by the Welsh Government and Cardiff Airport earlier.

2nd April– An article in ‘Airport Technology’ about a new app called ‘PlaneEnglish’ that helps pilots and Air Traffic to communicate can be seen here.

3rd April– Flybe may scrap some flights and close some bases. It confirmed’base restructuring’ was under way and was part of the reason some flights were cancelled today.

5th April– Airport Carbon Accreditation is 10 years old. With 264 airports currently in the scheme it’s the global standard for airports seeking to address their carbon footprint.

5th April– Extracts of the ICAO Secretary General’s speech at 2019 ACI World Assembly highlighting future aviation challenges can be seen here.

8th April– Glasgow Airport tram-train link won’t happen says council leader.A Personal Rapid Transit shuttle pod is now the most likely option.

12th April– An article in New Civil Engineer putting forward the idea that a hyperloop network could replace a third runway at Heathrow can be seen here.

15th April– Edinburgh Airport boss says the industry is “not a comfortable place to be” because of high taxes and Brexit uncertainty. He wants Scottish government to cut APD.

19th April– Edinburgh Airport launches new flight path plans. The airport’s previous proposals were turned down by the Civil Aviation Authority in October last year.

21st April– A speech by the CEO of Cardiff Airport about changes she has brought in at the airport, given at the City of Newport Business Club’s April meeting can be seen here.

22nd April– Sale of Edinburgh Airport could see investors double their money. Newspaper reports say that the owners are now looking for a sum of around £2 billion for airport.

23rd April– Decision on the future of Waterford Airport in Ireland is to be made in July. The Government warned securing a commercial carrier for the facility is vital.

24th April– Scotland’s Air Departure Tax plans are delayed. ADT, originally planned to begin on 1st April 2018,would replace UK wide APD and offer a 50% reduction on UK rate. 

24th April– An article in Airport Technology highlighting the way airports are leaders in the use of ‘smart’ technology can be seen here.

30th April– It was a good year for operator of Ireland’s Dublin and Knock Airports. Profits at Ireland’s daa Group increased by 6% to a record €133 million in 2018.

SASIG Library Additions

9th April– The ACI Europereport for February 2019 shows that passenger traffic grew by 5%. The report may be seen here.   

A future inquiry and consultation programme can be seen here