Editor’s Highlights

A ‘skinny edition of the Newsletter this month; this is to be expected as Parliament has not been sitting, but the quietude has been exaggerated this issue by the absence of policy activity on all but COVID related issues and by the relative inactivity of the UK’s airports and the uncertainty that overshadows their future.

SASIG has maintained its ongoing dialogue with DfT officials over the Summer with a further liaison and several bi-lateral meetings. Follow-up notes will be provided with papers for the 1 October SASIG Meeting papers, but the Secretariat is also keen to get other members to participate in these important meetings. Please identify yourselves to the Secretariat if you would like your authority to be represented. The next meeting is on 9th September.

The Secretariat have also been working hard on two key documents – a report on Airport Business Rates (a draft and the supporting database was recently submitted to DfT at their request to help submissions to Ministers on this issue) and the COVID LA Impact Study due for completion in September.

We expect to see the pace of policy relating to airports pick-up sharply after Ministers return on 1st September. We understand a short-term package of sector specific measures is possibly in the works, (subject to No 10 and HMT sign-off), as a precursor to a more substantive recovery strategy later in the Autumn. Brexit is going to rear its head as the time for securing a trade deal or concluding a separate aviation agreement closes in rapidly and there will also be a consultation on Aviation and Climate Change during the next 3-6 months. Unfortunately, continued frustration about quarantine measures and announcements about many more job losses in the sector are likely to remain as the soundtrack to the autumn and winter, with only the promise of better things to come in the Spring and Summer next year to illuminate the darkness as it descends over the coming weeks.

Chris Cain

Head of Secretariat

Monthly Highlights

  • 6th Aug: SASIG DfT Liaison Meeting
  • MAG appeal against refusal of 43.5mppa proposals for Stansted formally submitted to Planning Inspectorate

Events, Meetings and Conferences

SASIG Meetings

1st October 2020: 11am-1pm: SASIG full meeting: Virtual meeting via Zoom. (This replaces the meeting originally scheduled for 17th July 2020 at LGA, Smith Square, London). 

19th November 2020: 11am-1pm: SASIG full meeting (Venue: LGA, Smith Square, London) Please note: this date may now also change.

External Conferences (please note: some changes due to COVID-19 crisis)

17-18 September 2020: Renewable UK: Wind & Aviation 2020 (Virtual workshop)

5-6 October 2020: British-Irish Airports EXPO: Venue will be ExCel, London. (Rescheduled from 9-10 June).

19 October 2020: Airlines 2050: London

20-22 October 2020: 30th ACI Europe Annual Assembly & Congress: Geneva Airport

30 November – 4 December 2020: Routes Reconnected: Virtual and Amsterdam.

December 2021: 9th European Aviation Conference: Heilbronn, Germany

Parliamentary and Government News

The House of Commons rose on 22 July 2020 for the Summer Recess and will return on 1 September 2020.

The House of Lords rose on 29 July 2020 for the Summer Recess and will return on 2 September 2020.

Transport Questions:  House of Commons: 

There were no transport questions in the House of Commons in August.

Transport Questions:  House of Lords

There were no transport questions in the House of Lords in August.

Parliamentary Questions:  

There were no Parliamentary Questions in August.

National and Regional News

2nd August – An article in Chronicle Live titled: ‘5m passengers, 80 destinations, and £1bn a year: What Newcastle Airport means to the North East’ can be seen here.
3rd August – Commercial flights resume at Norwich Airport. Further details here. 
5th August – Leeds Bradford Airport presents report to council on the impact of Covid-19 in support of its plans for a replacement terminal. See here for further details.
6th August – Protestors demonstrate at Newcastle airport against easyJet’s proposals to close its regional base there.It also proposes to close its bases at Stansted and Southend.
7th August – Project Team appointed to Newcastle Airport Business Park. Further details here.
7th August – Claims of ‘secret’ flight paths in and out of Manston when it reopens denied by airport boss. They insist they have no ‘say’ over the routes – that is down to the CAA.

7th August – Carlisle Lake District Airport staff face job cuts due to C-19. The news 30 out of 50 roles could go comes days after announcement passenger flights wouldn’t be resuming.

8th August – UK airports see fall in European traffic rankings. ACI Europe has released its air traffic report for June which shows UK airports particularly badly affected by the C-19 crisis. 

8th August – An article in My London saying that Southern Rail links from Surrey to Heathrow could be improved can be seen here
10th August – Local business leaders stand behind Southampton Airport’s runway plans. As part of Business South, over 100 business leaders support the plans.

10th August – MAG calls for ‘properly risk-based’ airbridge system. CEO says it’s needed to ensure travellers’ safety without penalising areas which seem to have C-19 under control.
11th August – London Heathrow records a plunge in passenger numbers. They plummeted by 88% for July.

12th August – Legal team due to submit Manston airport Judicial Review application after pre-action letter is rejected. Further details may be seen here.

13th August – Second UK base of operations announced for Europe’s greenest airline. It will be at Doncaster Sheffield Airport and increase annual capacity by 300,000 seats.

13th August – London City Airport to put expansion plans on hold. Decision is down to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

13th August – A Leicestershire bus company has invested more than £2 million in a fleet of ultra-low emission vehicles to serve East Midlands Airport. For details see here.

14th August – London Luton Airport posts 74% fall in July passenger numbers compared to last July. However, there is still a significant increase on the previous month’s figures.

14th August – Stansted Airport workers to talk to Uttlesford Council. Lib Dem councillor met with Easyjet employees and Unite members at protest about closure of airline base there.

16th August – Passenger figures at Leeds Bradford Airport start to take off. The airport says it is ‘pleasantly surprised’ at the figures. 
17th August – Details about discussions regarding a possible loan to Luton Airport company may be seen here.

18th August – Airlines in talks to take on axed Easyjet international flights from Newcastle. Airline recently announced it’s closing its North-East base alongside Stansted and Southend.
19th August – Heathrow unveils testing programme in hope of reducing mandatory quarantine.  It is also hoped it will go towards helping to ‘protect the economy’.
19th August – 1,750 new jobs could be created by plans submitted by Gloucestershire Airport this week. Plans are for a new multi-million pound business park. 

20th August – Southend Councillor fears airport may close after easyjet’s plans to pull out entirely. Protestors have called for more rethink on these plans. 

21st August – A specialist aviation services provider based at East Midlands Airport has reported a record month as it continues to bounce back from the impact of COVID-19.

22nd August – Jet2 flights from Leeds Bradford to Spain will restart next week. They will begin again on August 30th

24th August – Manchester Airport will once again close Terminal 2 due to a fall in passenger numbers. It was only reopened in July after initially being closed due to the pandemic.

24th August – Teesside International Airport secures extended services to Aberdeen and Belfast. Both services were operating as single daily flights since resuming in June. 
25th August – Bradford Council is being accused of ignoring its own Climate Emergency declaration’ in its response to the proposed new terminal at Leeds Bradford Airport.
25th August – Stop Stansted Expansion and Extinction Rebellion East Herts are joining forces this Saturday for a protest march in Bishop’s Stortford. Details can be seen here.
26th August – COVID-19 testing site opens at Carlisle Airport. The drive-through facility is part of the Government’s UK-wide push to increase testing.
26th August – Gatwick Airport to axe 600 jobs as passenger numbers are down 80% this month compared to same month last year.  Cut equates to roughly quarter of its workforce.
27th August – HS2 wins approval for interchange station at Birmingham Airport. Solihull Council’s planning committee have given the go-ahead to the proposals. 
28th August – Gatwick Airport expects up to 5-year wait for air travel demand to recover. It announced a 61.3% fall in revenue and a £321 million loss during first 6 months of this year compared with same period in 2019.

29th August – Southampton Airport bosses have confirmed that the public consultation over plans to expand the runway by 164m has been extended to August 31.

31st August – Major renovation is underway to remodel arrivals lounge at Teesside airport. It’s part of bigger project to upgrade the airport which was brought into public ownership last year.

31st August – Bristol Airport urges government to take ‘regional approach’ to quarantine as visitor numbers plummet. For further details see here

Other Aviation Industry News

1st August – Government urged to help safeguard jobs and Aer Lingus base at Cork airport. Aer Lingus is reviewing its flying programme and the viability of its regional base there. It is also looking at the same at Shannon Airport.

3rd August – An article in Airport Technology titled: ‘Could the Covid-19 outbreak prompt a sustainability reset in aviation?’ can be seen here.
4th August – Cornwall Newquay Airport gets grant for Spaceport building. It’s been awarded funding from Government’s Getting Building Fund to build a new property that will have direct airfield access.
4th August – An article in the Independent titled: ‘Virgin Atlantic: What does the airline filing for bankruptcy mean for travellers?’ can be seen here.

7th August – An article in Moodie Davitt Report saying ACI Europe believes if recovery does not accelerate significantly many airports will simply run out of money can be seen here.
7th August – Scottish First Minister is to be asked to help secure the future of Wick John O’Groats Airport as “a matter of urgency”. Plea made this week by north MSP Gail Ross.
11th August – Airlines launch sightseeing trips to avoid quarantine rules.  Called ‘flights to nowhere’ they depart/land at same airport negating possible quarantine rules for travellers.
12th August – BA set to be the first UK airline to carry out pre-flight COVID 19 tests. It’s said to be working with Boots who will conduct testing at a number of pharmacies across the UK.
13th August – New Finance Director announced for Cardiff Airport. David Walters will join later this month. 
14th August – Politician says only reintegration into DAA will solve Shannon Airport crisis. More details may be seen here
15th August – An article in Simple Flying titled: ‘How Have Major Airports Fared in the Recovery’ can be seen here
17th August – ACI World calls for COVID-19 testing to replace quarantine measures. It is calling on governments to consider replacing quarantine with robust testing measures.
17th August – Jet 2 is expected to axe 102 pilots. Pilots’ union BALPA says all its alternative range of options have been turned down. 
17th August – Easyjet confirms closure of Stansted, Southend and Newcastle bases. Stansted and Newcastle will remain part of its route network and some in-bound flights will remain. 
17th August – Prestwick Airport ‘confident of sale’ in return to profit. Further details here.
19th August – Plans have been lodged for a major housing and commercial development on a brownfield site around a decommissioned runway at Edinburgh Airport. See details here.
19th August – ACI receives ICAO support for Health Accreditation Programme. Airports are introducing new health measures and procedures as a result of the C-19 pandemic. 
20th August – Cardiff Airport calls on UK Government to suspend APD for a few years. They say without support airlines face going out of business and airports forced to close down.
24th August – An article about the history of Wolverhampton Airport which closed in 1970 can be seen here
25th August – Wizz Air remain committed to Gatwick base despite ever-changing quarantine rules. Its ambition is to build a 20-plane base at the airport.
25th August – Welsh aviation entrepreneur claims Cardiff needs ‘true low cost airline” to compete with Bristol Airport, its nearest rival.  Further details may be seen here
27th August – Plans underway for Jersey Airport planning inquiry. TORs are being set before decision to demolish the departures building is put before independent planning inspector. 
27th August – An article in Business Traveller titled: ‘Navigating the New Normal’ can be seen here
31st August – Environmental campaigners launch ‘guerilla’ campaign against plans to reopen Manston Airport. Plans for the freight hub were given the go-ahead in July.

SASIG Library Additions

  • The latest meeting of the Airspace & Noise Engagement Group (ANEG) attended by SASIG, was held (virtually) on 20 July 2020.  The draft notes from this meeting along with supporting documentation can be seen here.
  • SASIG’s submission to the Government’s Consultation on Freeports may be seen on the members’ area of the website here.