Editor’s Highlights

This version of the Newsletter comes as a ‘quarterly’ edition combining the busy period in the run up to the SASIG House of Commons reception on 10thJuly and the typically much quieter period over the summer holiday period when Parliament is in recess (not Prorogue!).

Apart from the reception, the main features of the period have been:

  • the conclusion of DfT’s Aviation 2050 consultation – which has been followed by heavy signalling that the target date for the White Paper of the end of the year could well be compromised;
  • release of a stream of documentation progressing the DCO processes for Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton; and 
  • as anticipated at the 10 July workshop, continuation of the climate change protests begun in June with Aviation firmly in the headlights of what is a movement the industry will do well not to ignore.

The Parliamentary and Government News section contains a large number of questions on aviation and climate change – for now it has replaced noise as the ‘hot’ political topic for aviation and it will be interesting to see how the new Secretary of State Grant Shapps, a known supporter of aviation, traverses his way across the next 3-4 months as the growth vs environmental impact debate continues.

Monthly Highlights

18th June – Heathrow reveals their expansion Masterplan.

20th June – End of the DfT’s Aviation 2050 consultation period.

10th July – SASIG 20th anniversary celebratory event held at the House of Commons.

11th July– CAA launches consultation on early costs and regulatory timetable as part of the economic regulation of capacity expansion at Heathrow. Further details may be seen here.

18th July – SASIG Chairman attended the third meeting of the Airspace Strategy Board.  Agenda papers for this can be seen on our website.

22nd July– Gatwick releases its final masterplan. It’s revealed plans to routinely use an existing standby runway by mid-2020.

23rd July– Boris Johnson voted in as Conservative leader and new Prime Minister.

Events, Meetings and Conferences

SASIG Meetings

  • 10th July 2019: 11am-1pm: SASIG full meeting/AGM followed by an informal Workshop (Venue: LGA, Smith Square, London). These meetings were followed by SASIG’s 20th anniversary event at the House of Commons, Westminster between 4pm-6pm. 
  • 7th November 2019:11am-1pm: SASIG full meeting (Venue: LGA, Smith Square, London)

External Conferences

  • 11th-13th June 2020– AeroExpo UK: The UK’s festival of aviation. Wycombe Air Park.

Parliamentary and Government News

Both Houses rose on 23rd May 2019 for the Whitsun recess and returned on 4th June 2019. They then rose again on 25th July 2019 and will return on 3rd September 2019.

Transport Questions:  House of Commons: 

4th June – Transport in Hertfordshire.

A debate regarding the level of transport needed for Hertfordshire constituents including the expansion of Luton Airport can be seen here.

10th July – Drone Users: Registration.

A debate regarding implementation of a registration scheme for drone users can be seen here.

17th July – Transport in Bedfordshire.

A debate regarding transport in Bedfordshire, including Luton Airport may be seen here.

Transport Questions:  House of Lords

There were no transport questions in the House of Lords in either June, July or August.

Parliamentary Questions:  

Q.1. Question (260619) asked by Zac Goldsmith (Richmond Park) on 5th June 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 4 June 2019 to Question 256996 on regional airports: air pollution, how his Department defines material impact in determining how a project affects the Government’s ability to meet its carbon reductions target”.

A. Michael Ellis on 10th June 2019: “The Government recognises that climate change is one of the most urgent and pressing challenges we face and we are working to ensure the UK takes a leading role in tackling it. In December 2018 the Government published a green paper consultation for a new aviation strategy, ‘Aviation 2050 – The future of UK aviation’. It commits the Government to ensure that the aviation sector plays its part by limiting greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to achieving the UK’s domestic and international climate change obligations. The green paper also includes a proposal that “planning applications for capacity growth provide a full assessment of emissions, drawing on all feasible, cost-effective measures to limit their climate impact and demonstrate that their project will not have a material impact on the Government’s ability to meet its carbon reduction targets”. However, this proposal is still subject to consultation and is not yet the Government’s policy. The consultation closes on 20 June. On 2 May the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) published advice to government, recommending the UK legislates for a 2050 net zero greenhouse gas emissions target. We await aviation specific advice from the CCC and will take this into consideration in the development of Aviation 2050, which is due to be published later this year”.

Q.2. Question (259972) asked by Emma Reynolds (Wolverhampton North East) on 5th June 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether it is Government policy to support the safeguarding of land in the Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council area to allow for the possibility of a future second runway at Birmingham airport”.

A. Michael Ellis on 12th June 2019: “The Government’s final policy position on the safeguarding of land for potential future runways at airports will be set out in the Aviation Strategy White Paper, which is due for publication later this year. Until this time the Government’s position detailed within the Aviation Policy Framework of 2013 remains in place”. 

Q.3. Question (259151) asked by Virendra Sharma (Ealing, Southall) on 3rd June 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the amount paid in business rates by HeathrowAirportto (a) Hillingdon and (b) Ealing Council”.

A. Rishi Sunak on 7th June 2019: “The Department does not hold information on business rates paid by individual businesses on local ratings lists”.

Q.4. Question (259269) asked by Julian Knight (Solihull) on 3rd June 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trendsin the number of passengers flying from British airports”.

A. Michael Ellis on 11th June 2019: “In 2018, 292 million passengers flew to or from a UK airport. That figure was almost 3% higher than in 2017, and 24% higher than in 2008”.

Q.5. Question (261130) asked by Andrew Rosindell (Romford) on 6th June 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of London City Airporton noise complaints”.

A. Michael Ellis on 14th June 2019: “The Aviation Minister met with the Chief Executive of London City Airport on 11 June, during which aircraft noise was discussed. My officials hold regular meetings with airport representatives, and noise complaints were most recently discussed on 30 April”.

Q.6. Question (261241) asked by Ruth Cadbury (Brentford & Isleworth) on 6th June 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to undertake local noise surveys in communities that will be affected by the expansion of capacity at Heathrow”.

A. Michael Ellis on 14th June 2019: “Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) has made significant investment in noise surveying in recent years and now has over 44 noise monitors deployed around the airport. This is up from 15 noise monitors three years ago and the airport intends to invest more in noise monitoring in the future. Noise measurements from these monitors are used to validate the computer-modelled noise exposure contours produced by the Civil Aviation Authority. The Government’s Aviation Strategy includes proposals to create minimum standards for noise monitoring around airports and we welcome views from all stakeholders in response to this”.

Q.7. Question (261242) asked by Ruth Cadbury (Brentford & Isleworth) on 6th June 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to conduct an optimism bias assessment on public sensitivity to aviationnoise in communities that are likely to be affected by expansion at Heathrow”.

A. Michael Ellis on 14th June 2019: “The Department for Transport guidance sets out how we should consider optimism bias when appraising transport schemes. In the case of Heathrow expansion, we estimated noise impacts using a central demand scenario in order to provide estimates consistent with the rest of the appraisal. In order to test worse case impacts, a higher demand scenario was used in the revised Appraisal of Sustainability (AoS).
The 2014 Survey of Noise Attitudes (SoNA) recognises that attitudes towards aviation noise are changing. The work carried out during the SoNA study shows that sensitivity to aircraft noise has increased, with the same percentage of people being highly annoyed at lower levels of noise than in a past study. As a result, the Government has introduced new metrics and appraisal guidance to assess noise impacts and their impacts on health and quality of life. This will ensure that the noise impacts of proposed airspace changes are considered much further away from airports than at present. The Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN) began work earlier this year, and will focus on developing best practice guidance in aviation noise management”.

 Q.8. Question (HL16093) asked by Lord Forthsyth of Drumlean on 5th June 2019: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 3 June (HL15919), what evidence they have for the competitiveness of airfares between London and Scotland; whether they will provide the figures for the cost of such flights which informed their assessment that “Scotland is well-served by air services into London”; whether they have conducted a comparative analysis of the costs of flights from Scotland to all London airports; and if not, why not”.

A. Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 13th June 2019: (corrected version) “I refer to the answer of 3 June (HL15919), which states that the aviationsector operates in a competitive, commercial environment, investing to attract passengers and responding to demand when determining routes to operate. It is therefore not for the Department to carry out this type of assessment, nor to comment on whether there is sufficient competition. I can, however, confirm that CAA data for 2018 shows that the four largest airports in Scotland (Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Inverness and Glasgow) have flights to two or more airports in the London system, with flights operated by multiple airlines. In addition, the UK Government, in partnership with the Scottish Government and Dundee City Council, provide financial support for an air route from Dundee to Stanstedthrough a public service obligation. Scotland will also benefit from an expanded Heathrow, where there will be further opportunity to enhance connections to the country’s biggest hubairport. This information, which is already in the public domain, shows that there is sufficient competition for air routes between London and Scotland”.

(Grouped answer with Q. HL16092)

Q.9. Question (261243) asked by Ruth Cadbury (Brentford & Isleworth) on 6th June 2019: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to survey local communities on the effect on quality of life of aircraft noise below 51 dB LAeq”.

A. Michael Ellis on 14th June 2019: “This matter was raised in the department’s Airspace and Noise Engagement Group, which is a formal channel of communication between the department and airspace and airportnoise stakeholders, and also with the Independent Commission on Civil AviationNoise (ICCAN). As they discussed, the department is considering the need to commission a further Survey of Noise Attitudes to provide updated evidence on the effects of aircraft noise on annoyance, wellbeing and health. The extent to which this survey could include communities living in contours below 51 dB LAeq, is dependent on reliable measurement and modelling of aircraft noise at lower aircraft noise levels. This is currently difficult to achieve, but future technological solutions around sound processing are expected to assist”.

Q.10. Question (262347) asked by Henry Smith (Crawley) on 10th June 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent progress he has made on maintaining flights between the UK and Europe after the UK leaves the EU”.

A. Michael Ellis on 14th June 2019: “The UK and the EU have committed to seek an agreement on the future relationship for aviation that will secure market access rights for UK and EU airlines. The Government remains focused on ensuring our smooth and orderly withdrawal from the EU but has also been preparing to minimise any disruption in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Measures put forward by the UK and the EU will ensure that flights can continue in any EU Exit scenario”.

Q.11. Question (264426) asked by Ruth Cadbury (Brentford & Isleworth) on 6th June 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will update the Survey of Noise Attitudes 2017 report to include areas that have experienced a three decibel or greater change in the noise environment”.

A. Michael Ellis on 21st June 2019: “My department has discussed the need to commission a further Survey of Noise Attitudes with the Airspace and Noise Engagement Group, which is a formal channel of communication between the department and airspace and airport noise stakeholders, and also with the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN). The scope of any further study will be agreed in consultation with these bodies”.

Q.12. Question (264416) asked by Andy MacDonald (Middlesbrough) on 13th June 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether airspace will be classified as national infrastructure”.

A. Michael Ellis on 21st June 2019: “The Government considers airspace to be a key part of our national infrastructure in the UK, yet there has been little change to its overall structure since the 1950s. We are therefore working with key stakeholders to ensure it is modernised to meet the future needs of airspace users whilst minimising the environmental effects of aviation.

Q.13. Question (267228) asked by Andrew Rosindell (Romford) on 20th June 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 6 June 2019 to Question 261130, what the outcome was of the discussions on noise pollution at the meeting on 11 June 2019”.

A. Michael Ellis on 26th June 2019: “The aviationnoise-related discussions during the meeting between the AviationMinister and the Chief Executive of London City Airporton 11 June focused on the level of noise complaints and the airport’s sound insulation scheme.

Through the Aviation2050 green paper, the Government has been consulting on proposals as to how sustainable growth should be defined in terms of aviationnoise, including a requirement for all major airports to set out a plan which commits to future noise reduction. The consultation period on the green paper closed on 20 June. We will use the responses and feedback gathered during consultation to finalise the Government’s future vision for aviation, with the final white paper due to be published at the end of this year”.

Q.14. Question (267725) asked by Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme) on 21st June 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including (a) aviationand (b) shipping in the statutory regime for the Government’s net zero carbon target”.

A. Chris Skidmore on 26th June 2019:“The Government is clear on the need for action to tackle emissions from the whole economy – including emissions from international aviationand shipping. Emissions from domestic flights and shipping are already covered by our existing domestic legislation and our carbon budgets provide “headroom” for the inclusion of international aviationand shipping emissions. This will continue to be the case for a net zero target. Emissions from international aviationand shipping are a global problem requiring a global solution. That is why we are working closely with the relevant international organisations, the International Maritime Organization and International Civil AviationOrganization, to ensure we and the rest of the world are taking ambitious action”.

Q.15. Question (274552) asked by Andy McDonald (Middlesbrough) on 8th July 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much new rail capacity will be provided at Gatwick airportrailway station under the £150 million upgrade to that station which he announced on 8 July 2019”.

A. Andrew Jones on 11th July 2019: “The Gatwick Airport Station Enhancement scheme which was announced on 8 July 2019 is primarily designed to tackle problems of pedestrian overcrowding within the station and train performance. The renovation will reduce train delays caused by platform overcrowding and congestion while also improving passenger experience by providing easier connections to other destinations. The Government is currently working with Network Rail on proposals to improve the capacity of the Brighton Main Line which includes journeys to and through Gatwick Airport Station”.

Q.16. Question (275701) asked by Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme) on 10th July 2019: “To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a green tax on air travel which would be invested in environmentally-friendly transport infrastructure”.

A. Robert Jenrick on 15th July 2019: “The UK plays key role in multilateral action on aviationemissions, such as the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for InternationalAviation(CORSIA), and levies a tax on aviation, Air Passenger Duty (APD), one of very few countries to do so. Whilst APD is not primarily an environmental tax, it ensures that a sector responsible for approximately 7% of UK greenhouse gas emissions paid tax of £3.6 billion in 2018-19 on its activities. This is particularly important in the absence of any duty on commercial aviationfuel or VAT on airline tickets, in line with international convention. APD receipts fund our vital public services and other Government priorities, including tackling climate change”.

Q.17. Question (277099) asked by Gareth Thomas (Harrow West) on 15th July 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, by what proportion, compared to current figures, will carbon emissions from aviationat Heathrow change following the completion of a third runway”.

A. Michael Ellis on 23rd July 2019: “The ‘UK aviation forecasts 2017’ provides a forecast of UK air passenger demand and aviation carbon dioxide emissions to 2050. This analysis includes aviation emissions at Heathrow Airport in 2016 and a forecast of emissions, including the Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme, across a range of years. The data you have requested can be found in Tables 69 and 70 of the ‘UK aviation forecasts 2017 data’ spreadsheet, accessible via this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-aviation-forecasts-2017

Q.18. Question (277101) asked by Gareth Thomas (Harrow West) on 15th July 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he will take to offset the carbon emissions from increased aviationinto and out of Heathrow following its proposed expansion”.

A. Michael Ellis on 23rd July 2019: “The UK takes a leading role in tackling greenhouse gas emissions, and on 27 June 2019, the UK became the first major economy in the world to set a 2050 net zero target to end its contribution to climate change. Whilst international aviation emissions currently only represent 2% of international emissions, aviation must play its part in achieving net zero carbon emissions. The Government will propose a long-term vision for UK aviation carbon and a pathway to achieve this in the Aviation 2050 white paper due to be published later this year. Any expansion at UK airports, including Heathrow, will need to demonstrate it is consistent with this vision. The UK will continue to play a key leadership role in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The UK has already played a crucial role in successfully negotiating and securing the first ever global measure to reduce emissions in a single sector in the form of the carbon offsetting and reduction scheme for international aviation (CORSIA). We will also negotiate for a long-term goal for international aviation that is consistent with the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement, ideally by ICAO’s 41stAssembly in 2022. To better understand the role offsetting emissions can play in achieving future carbon goals, the Government launched a call for evidence on offsetting carbon emissions produced by transport on 18 July 2019. The call for evidence invites views on whether transport operators should have to offer offsetting to passengers. It also explores the public understanding of carbon emissions from the journeys they make and the options to offset them”.

Q.19. Question (277102) asked by Gareth Thomas (Harrow West) on 15th July 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the viability of deploying sustainable alternative aviationfuels”.

A. Michael Ellis on 22nd July 2019: “Sustainable alternative aviation fuels are an important means of reducing aviation emissions. The Government is encouraging the production and use of sustainable alternative aviation fuels in the UK. Recent changes to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) mean that renewable aviation fuels are eligible for reward, in the form of tradeable certificates. Additionally, the Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition (the F4C) makes up to £20 million of capital funding available to projects that will produce low carbon waste-based fuels to be used in aeroplanes and lorries. Research commissioned by the Department in support of the competition considered the feasibility of technologies that could produce advanced renewable fuels for use in aviation. The research is published here at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/637662/dft_f4c-feasibility_final_report.pdf.

The Government’s new aviation strategy, Aviation 2050 – The future of UK aviation, will be published later this year. Through consultation on that Strategy the Government is also considering further policies it can put in place to assist the long-term uptake of sustainable alternative fuels in this sector”.

Q.20. Question (HL17155) asked by Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb on 15th July 2019: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what communications they have had with airports and the airline industry regarding the inclusion of international aviationemissions in climate change emissions targets”.

A. Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 24th July 2019: “The Government engages regularly with the aviation industry at a Ministerial and official level on a number of issues including how we tackle emissions from international aviation. Emissions from domestic flights are already covered by our existing domestic legislation and the Committee on Climate Change account for emissions from international aviation in their advice on setting our carbon budgets. This will continue to be the case for the new net zero target.  Action to tackle emissions from international aviation must be done globally to be effective. That is why we are working closely with the International Civil Aviation Organization, to ensure we and the rest of the world are taking ambitious action”.

Q.21. Question (276540) asked by Seema Malhotra (Feltham & Heston) on 12th July 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU without a deal for the aviationindustry on (a) the passage of flights across EU countries and the UK, (b) air services agreements, (c) aviationsafety and security, (d) border management and (e) the environment”.

A. Chris Grayling on 22nd July 2019: “The contingency measures adopted by the EU and the reciprocal measures announced by the UK mean that flights will be able to continue as now in the period after we leave the EU, even in a “no deal” scenario. The same high safety and security standards will continue to apply to those flights, and passengers will see no changes at the border at UK airports. The UK will continue to work internationally to reduce the environmental impact of aviation”.

Q.22. Question (275142) asked by Andrew Rosindell (Romford) on 10th July 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce aviationnoise in the South East”.

A. Michael Ellis on 16th July 2019: “The Government recognises that aviation noise is a key concern for communities that aircraft fly over, including the South East. As part of its forthcoming Aviation Strategy, the Government has put forward a number of proposals designed to incentivise the aviation industry to successfully modernise airspace. Airspace modernisation should allow aircraft to climb more quickly than they can at present, and descend continuously, both of which will have a noticeable noise reduction benefit. Through the Aviation Strategy, we have also considered how sustainable growth should be defined in terms of noise. Proposals brought forward in the green paper include developing a new national indicator to track the long-term performance of the sector in reducing noise, routinely setting noise caps as part of planning approvals, and requiring all major airports to set out a plan which commits to future noise reduction, and to review this periodically. The Government has also taken forward proposals for additional methods of representing communities’ exposure to noise and requirements for options analysis and consultation that will ensure communities are more engaged in future decisions around airspace that affect them”.

Q.23. Question (277662) asked by Sir Greg Knight on 16th July 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the potential reduction in emissions from aviationas a result of reduced stacking in the event of the completion of a third runway at Heathrowairport”.

A. Michael Ellis on 22nd July 2019: “The UK has embarked on an ambitious programme of airspace modernisation, one of the key drivers of which is to reduce aviation’s environmental impact. This programme should allow more direct routing, reduce delays, enable aircraft to climb at a faster rate, and also reduce the amount of stacking. With regards to Heathrow expansion, the environmental impact of the proposed airspace changes linked to this development, including their likely effect on CO2emissions, will be assessed in coming years through the statutory Civil Aviation Authority airspace change process. Therefore there is currently no estimate of the reduction in emissions as a result of modernising Heathrow’s airspace. The Airports National Policy Statement is also clear that a new Northwest Runway will not receive development consent unless, with mitigation, it can demonstrate compliance with legal obligations on air quality”.

Q.24. Question (280434) asked by Dr Rosena Allin-Khan (Tooting) on 22nd July 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the planned expansion ofHeathrowdoes not contribute to an increase in air pollution”.

A. Grant Shapps on 30th July 2019: “In regards to air quality, following designation of the Airports National Policy Statement, it is now down to an applicant for development consent to undertake a detailed assessment of the air quality impacts of its scheme, including during construction, and put forward an appropriate package of mitigations that address air quality impacts and demonstrate compliance.  In order to grant development consent, I would need to be satisfied that, with mitigation, the scheme would be compliant with legal obligations. Separately, my Department will also be working to speed up the research, development and adoption of low and zero carbon aviation technology”.

Q.25. Question (912045) asked by Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley) on 18th July 2019: “What progress he has made on helping to ensure that flights between the UK and Europe continue after the UK leaves the EU”.

A. Chris Grayling on 18th July 2019: “The UK and EU have both put in place measures to ensure that flights can continue in any EU Exit scenario. In a no deal scenario, the EU’s adopted Regulation on connectivity gives UK airlines the right to fly to and from the EU from the day of exit until March 2020, allowing time to progress longer-term arrangements. The UK has stated we will reciprocate these rights for EU airlines. Both sides are committed to maintaining connectivity”.

Q.26. Question (278424) asked by Andrew Rosindell (Romford) on 17th July 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce aircraft noise over South East England”.

A. Michael Ellis on 24th July 2019: “I refer my Honourable friend to the answer given to him on 16 July”.

Q.27. Question (HL17242) asked by Lord Berkeley on 17th July 2019: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their policy on the expansion of airports in view of their commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050; and what changes will be needed to surface and air traffic to achieve that target”.

A. Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 24th July 2019: “The government firmly believes that aviation needs to play its part in reaching ‘net zero’, and is committed to setting a clear and appropriate level of ambition for the aviation sector. The aviation 2050 strategy will set out a long-term vision for UK aviation emissions reduction. It is expected to be published later this year. The Airports National Policy Statement requires that development consent would only be granted if the applicant can demonstrate that expansion will not materially impact the ability of government to meet its carbon reduction targets”.

Q.28. Question (279439) asked by Helen Whately (Faversham & Mid-Kent on 19th July 2019: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish a response to the consultation document entitled, Aviation2050-the future of UK aviation, published in December 2018”.

A. Grant Shapps on 29th July 2019: “It remains the government’s intention to publish an Aviation2050 strategy later this year, which will respond to the recent consultation”.

(There were no Parliamentary Questions in August)

National and Regional News


1st June – Birmingham Airport and HS2 meet to share connectivity plans. They reaffirmed how their growth plans are crucial to improve connectivity and prosperity for the region.

4th June – Newquay Airport will receive up to £20m funding for spaceport project. The investment is expected to create up to 150 new jobs.

5th June – Government will not provide cash for Heathrow expansion says MP Zac Goldsmith.He was told this in reply to a written question he put to new transport minister.

5th June– Gatwick’s noise footprint shrinks by 7% in 2018. Smoother descents that reduce drag and use less power and introducing new, quieter aircraft have helped this to happen.

5th June– New report says Luton Airport’s noise assessment was not ‘adequate’. The airport says it intends to ‘respond fully’ to the report.

7th June– Newcastle Airport Masterplan is finalised. It includes plans for a possible runway extension and predicts almost twice as many people could pass through by 2035.

7th June– Stansted plans ‘utopian vision’ of a totally connected airport.First phase of an analytics visualisation effort that pulls together airport data feeds with open data from other sources could provide a blueprint to market their product to other transport hubs.

10th June– An article on how Stobart Group focuses on airports/aviation can be seen here. It manages Southend Airport and also Carlisle Airport which begins commercial flights again in July.

11th June– New rail connections for London Southend Airport. New agreement allows for extra train services so passengers easily connect to early morning and late evening flights.

11th June– Noise control campaigners criticise the latest documents issued by Luton Airport.The airport operators want a key noise control planning condition set aside.

13th June– Birmingham Airport publishes final Masterplan. It has published its final masterplan and surface access strategy following a 12-week consultation.

13th June– East Midlands Airport scraps higher charges for drop-off zone. It admitted at peak times due to congestion, they had caused drivers to incur excess charges.

15th June– Heathrow’s new runway could go over the M25. The project will see the M25 motorway lowered by seven metres at the point where the runway will pass over head.   

18th June – Heathrow reveals their expansion Masterplan.It will construct a third runway by 2026 and complete its expansion by 2050, according to its “masterplan” published today.

20th June– An article in New Civil Engineer stating that Heathrow may have to redraft its expansion plan under incoming carbon rules, may be seen here.

21st June– MAG urges Government to support regional airports. Owner of Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports has written to Government in response to Green Paper.

21st June– Southend Airport says it has reduced its carbon footprint. Its figures are for airport operations on the ground not the environmental impact of the flights themselves.

24th June – Bristol Mayor outlines why the city’s airport needs to expand. He says the region will miss out on the chance of many jobs over the next decade if it does not.

24th June– East Midlands Airport has asked for Government support to unlock its potential as an air cargo hub.  Further details may be seen here.

24th June– Southend Airport will issue fines. It’s introducing a traffic management system to prevent drivers from stopping in the roads surrounding the terminal.

26th June– Council says Heathrow must deliver ‘real emissions reductions’. Wandsworth Council was responded to the Government consultation Aviation 2050.

27th June– An articlein New Civil Engineer by a leading academic who specialises in airport planning, says the UK is “missing an opportunity” by not directly linking HS2 to Heathrow.

28th June– Carlisle Airport gets ready to launch commercial flights. They begin next week on 4th July. 

28th June– Public consultation begins on London City Airport draft masterplan. The consultation will run for 12 weeks until 20th September.

28th June– Heathrow boss rules out rail link between London airports. Surface access director says there’s no real demand for network between London’s main airports.

28th June– Councillors vote to refer decision on Stansted Airport expansion back to the planning stages. An extraordinary meeting was held today.

30th June– Council objects to Bristol Airport expansion plans. They say proposals are incompatible with their own aims of being carbon neutral by 2030.


1st July – Doncaster Sheffield Airport is to slash emissions with £2m solar farm. New solar panel farm will produce 25% of the airports energy by 2020.

1st July– Leading academic claims there is a strong case for expanding Gatwick before Heathrow.This could be under a future model where airports are ‘transport providers’.

1st July– London City Airport unveils development plans up to 2035.Consultation runs until 20 September with the airport due to produce a final master plan before the end of 2019.

3rd July– Heathrow worried about impact of climate change on third runway. Consultation document says climate change has the potential to have a direct effect on the airport.

4th July– Poll shows ‘silent majority’ back Bristol Airport plans to expand. A regional transport board was told the findings of a YouGov poll at a meeting in Exeter yesterday.

4th July– Carlisle Lake District Airport launches first commercial flights since 1993. The last two-and-a-half decades have seen only private, military and training jets use the airport.

4th July– Birmingham Airport aims to be carbon neutral by 2035.  Airport Aviation Director outlined strategy at BTA conference.

4th July– Stansted Airport opens its first multi-storey car park.  There are spaces for nearly 3000 vehicles.

4th July– MAG believes it can do more for the economy than 3rd Heathrow runway. CEO believes improving connectivity to regional hubs will be better than Heathrow expansion.

5th July– Campaigners are concerned about greenhouse gas emissions from Luton Airport. They would like airport and council to address the issues as part of airport expansion plan.

5th July– New Manston Airport owners plan to resume short haul operations. Riveroak says they plan to have the airport reopened in the spring of 2022 for short-haul and cargo flights.

8th July– Campaign group believes Gatwick is planning for three runways.CAGNE says it believes the airport will outline the scheme on 18 July as part of its masterplan.

8th July– Gatwick Airport train station to get £150m upgrade. The improvements, given the go-ahead by DfT, will start in spring 2020 and will take around two years to complete.

8th July – Birmingham Airport celebrates its 80th birthday. Over the past eight decades it’s has handled some 275 million passengers and grown to serve 13 million people each year.

9th July– Southend Airport business park to help start-ups and small businesses. The 30-acre Park is now under way with the first occupier set to move in early next year.

10th July– Norwich Airport moves closer to private ownership. City council has agreed to sell its shares in the airport.

11th July– CAA launches consultation on early costs and regulatory timetable as part of the economic regulation of capacity expansion at Heathrow. Further details may be seen here.

16th July – Stansted opens extended check-in area. It’s added 8 new check-in desks in the latest phase of the airport’s £600 million transformation project.

16th July– Plans revealed for new HS2 ‘people mover’. The people mover will connect the new HS2 Interchange station in Solihull with Birmingham Airport.

16th July– Plans for new aerospace college at Biggin Hill are approved. The £11m proposal is a partnership between London South East Colleges, Biggin Hill Airport and the GLA.

17th July– Campaign for Windsor and Heathrow rail link is to be revived.  The scheme was turned down by the Department for Transport in 2017.

17th July– Bristol Airport expansion would scupper North Somerset’s carbon neutral pledge. Expert says airport’s figures don’t account for increase in flights arriving, only those leaving.

18th July– Doncaster Sheffield Airport station among region’s rail plans. Mayor of Sheffield City Region has proposed a railway station serving airport as part of new rail plans for area.

19th July– Herts CC may review policy regarding Luton Airport growth. Councillor is concerned about number of low-flying aircraft. 

22nd July– Leeds Bradford Airport announces new Chief Commercial Officer. Joanna Wild brings her experience from the airport and retail sectors.

22nd July– Gatwick releases its final masterplan. It’s revealed plans to routinely use an existing standby runway by mid-2020.

22nd July– Campaigners granted leave to appeal against Heathrow 3rd runway. They’ve been granted permission for a 4-day hearing at the Court of Appeal starting on October 21.

23rd July– Spelthorne BC may debate its support for Heathrow expansion. The council currently supports expansion ‘in principle’.

23rd July– Heathrow urges Government to invest air passenger duty in biofuels. It wants it to invest some of the annual revenue from APD to scale-up production of sustainable fuels.

24th July– Bristol Airport has accelerated plans to become carbon neutral. The airport now wants to become carbon neutral by 2025, five years earlier than initially outlined.

28th July– Manchester CEO comments on PM’s proposed links between Leeds and Manchester.He wants “to see real action now to back up the prime minister’s words”.

28th July– Bristol Airport Park and ride may affect M5 junction. There are proposals to build the car park for 3,000 vehicles close to junction 21, near Weston-super-Mare.

28th July– Airport Watch article claims that Heathrow plans to increase 3rd runway costs before they approved.  Details may be seen here.

30th July– Airport noise at Southampton Airport as much as a priority as air quality and carbon reduction.ICCAN says airport growth cannot come ‘at any cost’.

30th July– Princess Anne visits Luton Airport to view their newly transformed terminal.  The changes also include a redesigned arrivals area.

30th July– South Yorkshire council’s reservations on HS2 remain. The Sheffield City Region Integrated Rail Plan includes implementing a railway station at Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

31st July– An article in ACE about the progress of Teeside International Airport can be seen here.


2nd August – Plans for the latest development at Manchester’s Airport City have been submitted.Developers believe these help to continue fulfilment of the Airport’s Masterplan.

2nd August– Campaigners issue postcards against London City Airport’s proposal for weekend flights. They will go to households living underneath the airports flight paths.

2nd August– Gatwick opens dedicated domestic arrivals pathway. Passengers arriving from the UK and ROI will now be able to disembark straight into the South terminal building.

2nd August– Luton trials drop-off charge discount for electric vehicles. It will see drivers of electric vehicles pay 75% less for drop-off and pick-up charges compared to othercars.

5th August– BA boss not happy with costs associated with Heathrow expansion.He would like the plan to be either rejected or amended to significantly reduce the costs.

6th August– Carlisle Lake District Airport celebrates first month of commercial flights. Business/tourism leaders say they’re pleased with the opening few weeks of the enterprise.

8th August– Manchester Airport car park plans set for approval despite Green Belt concerns.Plans aim to reduce amount of drop-off journeys and 3rd party off-site options.

8th August– Bristol Airport installs 10 bay charging zone for electric vehicles.It’s part of its pledge to become carbon neutral by 2025 and support Government’s 2050 net zero goal.

8th August– Gatwick partners with AI-powered sustainable bus service. This is in a bid to offer its employees a sustainable option for work transport.

8th August– Gatwick publishes 5-year investment plan.It highlightssubstantial investment in automation and technology as an enabler of sustainable growth.

9th August– Research claims that the expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport is ‘incompatible’ with commitments to tackle climate change. Further details may be seen here.

9th August– An article in AirportWatch claiming to list key facts about proposed Heathrow expansion mainly in terms of carbon emissions can be seen here

12th August– Heathrow has pledges to ensure the airport’s expansion is managed and delivered ‘sustainably’.CE says it will not come at a cost to the environment.

12th August– Gatwick expansion branded ‘a threat’ to climate emergency progress. The warning is being made by the countryside charity CPRE Sussex. 

12th August– MAG and HS2 see hi-speed link to North as key for a connected, global Britain.Both companies’ CEOs met to discuss progress on proposed station at Manchester Airport.

14th August– Passenger fee at Teeside Airport will remain until 2020. £6 charge has been in force since 2010 when former owners Peel introduced it to enter the departure lounge. 

14th August– Bristol Airport is to introduce new transportation services for passengers and staff.They’ll be timetabled on dedicated routes and will reflect both the flight schedule and employee rosters, providing a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week service.

19th August– Bristol Airport bus plans called into question by councillor and campaigners. The trial in 2020 will last for six months for the airport to gauge interest in the services.

19th August– An article in the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) about issues surrounding the proposed Heathrow expansion can be seen here.

19th August– Heathrow third runway putting residents last says London Assembly. LA says the airportis prioritising airlines and passengers over local residents in its expansion plans.

20th August – AEF says Gatwick plans could increase CO2 by 1m tonnes per year. Gatwickearlier unveiled its proposed master plan to use its backup runway for routine flights.

21st August– BA boss criticises Heathrow’s £3billion expansion costs. He says they have acted ‘irresponsibly’ by spending money before they’ve even received planning permission.

21st August– Luton Airport will get first express-style train service. It will start by December 2020 with fast trains between St Pancras and Luton Airport Parkway every 30 minutes.

22nd August – MP calls for rail connection from East Midlands Airport to East Midlands Parkway train station. They’re currently connected by a shuttle bus service.

23rd August – Cambridge tourism may suffer after Stansted Airport growth plan’s blocked. Visit England says the area could miss out on becoming official ‘Government Tourism Zone’.

28th August– Heathrow runway plans criticised. Airport is prioritising airlines and passengers over residents in its expansion plans, says the London Assembly environment committee.

28th August– Norwich Airport lands multi-million pound investment. A new 54,000 sq ft hangar will be built at the airport to meet increased industry demand.

28th August– A North Yorkshire aviation firm acquires Brighton City Airport.With funding from HSBC UK, Cyrrus has purchased a 25-year lease on the airfield and the associated aviation operations of Brighton City Airport – formerly known as Shoreham.

29th August– An article in the Saffron Walden Reporter about the views of the Stansted Airport boss on Brexit, passenger numbers and transport links to the city can be seen here.

29th August – Gatwick begins process to bring its Northern runway into use.It’s formally submitted a notice to the Planning Inspectorate of its intention to prepare an application for development consent.

29th August– Heathrow told to keep check on credit rating amid expansion plans. CAA said it would explore a proposal to make it mandatory for Heathrow to hold such a rating.

30th August– Birmingham Airport expansion may be in doubt following HS2 review.An industry consultant says their plans were predicated around HS2 being built.

30th August– An article in ‘City A.M.’ about the fear that London’s expanding airports could affect the tourist trade can be seen here.

Other Aviation Industry News


3rd June – An article in ‘AIN Online’ about the cost of the aviation impact on the environment and examples on how to address it can be seen here.

5th June– Scotland’s First Minister opens new Edinburgh Airport terminal expansion. It cost £75m and was the biggest project in a generation at the airport.

7th June– British Airways tops Heathrow’s latest ‘green’ league table. The league table is based on each individual airline’s environmental performance during the quarter.

11th June– Glasgow MP states that taking control of Glasgow Airport would be a ‘good investment’.Paul Sweeney commented following airport staff strike. 

13th June– Prestwick Airport has been put up for sale by Scottish Government. It was taken into public ownership six years agoafter it was threatened with closure.

14th June– Dublin Airport stops work on expansion over plan to cut passenger charges. The DAA has blamed the regulator over uncertainty regarding charges.

17th June– Investment in Waterford Airport is ‘sorely needed’ for regional growth. Business leaders in Waterford hit back at criticism over Government’s plan to invest €5m in airport.

20th June– An article in ‘Buying Business Travel’ titled ‘The rise of the regional airport’ can be seen here.

24th June– The importance of connectivity in the Highlands and Islands area is highlighted. Three regional organisations – HIAL, HiTrans and HIE – have joined forces to show this. 

27th June– Details of the ACI Europe Best Europe 2019 awards announced at their annual congress can be seen here. UK airports feature in the list announced.  ACI Europealso launched the first ever comprehensive Sustainability Strategy for the airport industry. It can be downloaded here.


1st July– Article in Travel Weekly titled ‘Why the new tourism sector deal is vital for the country’ (the deal launched June 28th) by Tourism Minister Rebecca Pow can be seen here.

1st July– British Airways introduces digital baggage tags to simplify check-in. ViewTags are reusable electronic baggage tags attached to luggage before holiday-makers get to airport.

2nd July– An article in the Liverpool Echo about what rights you have if a car is parked outside your property whilst the owner goes to the airport can be seen here.

11th July– An article in the Sheffield Star about how new research has identified the wide range of parking costs across UK airports can be seen here.

13th July – Airport parking firm crashes. In 2017 the FCA ruled it had been marketing an unlawful investment scheme selling spaces in car parks close to Glasgow and Gatwick airports.

16th July – Ryanair is to axe flights and close bases from November. They say it is due tothe worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

16th July– Cornwall Spaceport could come to Newquay by end of 2020 says Virgin Orbit boss.He says Newquay Airport could be sending satellites into space by the end of 2020.

17th July– Dublin Airport is implementing its electric vehicle strategy. Today it announced plans to convert its existing fleet to low emission vehicles over the next five years.

19th July– ACI resists call from environmentalists to shut down small European airports. ACI say they have misinterpreted the EU Guidelines on State Aid for aviation sector. 

20th July– An article in the Mirror about the various drop-off charges across UK airports can be seen here.

22nd July– Carbon tax could be levied on every flight. Ministers consider proposals that would force all airlines to introduce carbon offsetting payments to the sale of every ticket.

22nd July– Dublin Airport introduce new aircraft parking technology. It claims it will reduce delays and cut emissions. 

24th July– Dublin Airport sees one person file over 3,100 noise complaints in the first of the year.This is over 80% of all complaints recorded over this period.

27th July– Ministers seek offers to take over Prestwick Airport. The buyer or ‘preferred bidder’ should be revealed around 6 September and the sale completed around 4 October.

29th July– An article in the ‘Conversation’ advocating that airport expansion should cease now that the UK Government has declared a climate emergency, can be seen here.

29th July– An article in Travel Weekly also argues that the industry needs to act as one to tackle climate change.  The article may be seen here.

30th July–Aer Lingus and Ryanair, support the notion that DAAwill have enough cash to fund development at Dublin Airport and cut its passenger charges. Details can be seen here.

30th July– Quick action asked for to improve EU connectivity with Shannon Airport. Minister for Transport asked to act quickly in the event of a hard Brexit.


1st August – Cork Airport “threatened” by plans to cut airport charges at Dublin Airport. Cork MD says it would wipe out operating profits and reduce annual revenue by over €4m.

4th August– An article in the Sunday Post claims that Scottish Airports could lose over 220,000 passengers if Heathrow expansion goes ahead.  The article can be seen here.

5th August– Plans have been submitted for new road layout at Jersey Airport. Subject to planning approval, work is expected to start in the autumn.

5th August– An article in Routes Online about ‘flight shaming’ – criticism of the industry regarding climate change – can be seen here.

5th August – Edinburgh Airport criticised over their silence on night flight limits. They have not responded to the council’s view regarding limitation.

6th August – An article in Routes Online about the critical importance of partnerships in tourism and cities in developing routes can be seen here.

6th August – An article in the ‘Institute for Government’ about freeports and free zones can be seen here.

8th August – An article in Passenger Terminal Today equating the design of airport terminals with stadiums and what can be learnt from them can be seen here.

8th August– An article in Airport World about how growth rate is slowing but traffic is still rising at Europe’s airports can be seen here.

12th August– Four in five UK airports increase ‘kiss and fly’ drop off charges. Eighteen of the 22 airports analysed by the RAC have introduced or raiseddrop-off fees.

13th August– Guernsey Airport’s runway will not be extended. Proposals submitted for this have been rejected.

15th August– An article in RTE(Ireland) says a review of Regional Airports Programme spending finds difficulty concluding whether it is meeting its connectivity objectives.A lack of well-defined targets as subsidies rise is given as a probably cause.

19th August– An article in Air Quality News suggesting that airport expansion should not go ahead after a climate emergency has been declared may be seen here.

20th August– CAA announces its official corporate headquartersare now at Gatwick Airport. 

20th August– Article in Travel Weekly News showing the most/least expensive travel journeys between airports and city centres in Europe can be seen here. London is the 2nd most expensive.

24th August– Liquids/laptops restrictions on airport hand baggage is set to end. PM has ordered that 3D cabin baggage technology will be required for all UK airports by December 2022.

26th AugustInverness Airport rail station will be ‘bigger and better’.Transport chiefs have confirmed they are in the final stages of drawing up revised designs for an enlarged station.

27th August– Reportsays the proposed horizontal launch spaceport in Cornwall isnot expected to impact significantly on the county’s overall greenhouse gas emissions.

27th August– An article in Airport Technology titled “Airports of the future: five areas set for radical change” can be seen here.

27th August– MSP Gail Ross sets out concerns for Wick John O’Groats Airport. She describes a series of setbacks in recent weeks, including late or cancelled flights.

31st August– Irish Transport Minister launches public consultation on the future of Ireland’s regional airports. Itaims to replace the current Regional Airports Programme which has been running since 2015 and finishes this year.

SASIG Library Additions

In April 2019, SASIG submitted its response to Annex A of the Government’s Green Paper, Aviation 2050, which deals with legislative airspace change proposals.  The SASIG response can be seen here.    

In June 2019 SASIG submitted its response to the main part of the Aviation 2050 consultation and this submission can be seen here.   

The Press release for the SASIG 20th anniversary celebration event held at the House of Commons following the AGM on the 10th July can be seen here.

On July 18th the SASIG Chairman attended the third meeting of the Airspace Strategy Board, chaired by the new Aviation Minister, Baroness Vere of Norbiton. The papers may be seen here.