Editor’s Highlights

August is usually the busiest month of the year for the aviation industry but conversely is often the quietest in terms of policy as Parliament rises for the summer holidays and Ministers and Officials take leave. The tail-end of the pandemic and the industry’s increasingly desperate attempts to get a workable international travel regime that would not undermine the recovery (e.g. with PCR tests costing as much as flights), meant that the usual pattern did not prevail this year. 

So, while the recovery touched 60% of 2019 traffic levels at some larger airports, especially where low cost carriers like Wizz, easyJet and Ryanair and outbound leisure travel pre-dominate, elsewhere it was much more subdued at closer to 40%. These figures are lower than in comparable EU countries and far more so than in the US where traffic peaked at 90% of 2019 levels. 

Meanwhile Government was keeping both its traffic light system and the countries moving in and out of different designations, under constant review. And the parallel release of lockdown restrictions also brought calls for simplification of travel designations/ documentation (e.g. scrapping of the traffic lights and greater reliance on evidence of double vaccination).

Other notable events were (a) the re-launch of Gatwick’s consultation the conversion of its taxiway into a close parallel Northern (referred to be some as a ‘stealth’ runway); (b) early demonstrations of fill sized electric-powered aircraft, which attracted plenty of media coverage as the UK comes closer to hosting COP26 in November and (c) in the same vain, a number of airports are bringing forward solar farm applications as part of their long-term Net Zero carbon planning. The climate change agenda can be expected to dominate aviation policy for the remainder of 2021. 

Chris Cain

Policy Director

Monthly Highlights

4th August – Government urged to halt ‘chaotic scenes’ at airports. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus issued the plea ahead of the next review of travel lists.
24th August – England’s first demo flight of a hybrid electric plane flies from Exeter to Newquay – see here.
25th August
 – Gatwick to launch fresh consultation on airport expansion. It is looking at plans to put the northern runway to passenger use. Gatwick press release can be seen here.

Events, Meetings and Conferences

SASIG Meetings

(To note: depending on any restrictions continuing, some of these meetings may be held virtually. It is therefore advised to check with the Secretariat first before making any travel arrangements).

29 September 2021: 10:30-1pm: SASIG full meeting/ workshop (Virtually via Zoom). 
15 December 2021: 10:30-1pm: SASIG full meeting/ afternoon workshop – Westminster Suite, LGA or virtually – tba.

External Conferences (please note: due to the pandemic, some changes have occurred).

2 September 2021: 2nd International Hydrogen Aviation Conference, Glasgow.

21 September 2021: Drone Pathfinder Catalyst Programme Community Webinar: Online webinar with Connected Places Catapult. (10:00 -12:30)

10-12 October 2021World Routes 2021: Milan, Italy.

W/b: 11 October 2021: ABTA Travel Convention: Virtual meeting.
1-2 December 2021: 9th European Aviation Conference: Heilbronn, Germany
5, 6 & 7 April 2022: Passenger Terminal Expo & Conference: Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, Paris, France.

18-22 May 2022: Routes Europe: Bergen, Norway. 

Parliamentary and Government News

Summer Recess dates for both House of Commons and Lords: 
Houses rose on 22nd July 2021 and will return on 6th September 2021 

Transport Questions:  House of Commons/Lords: 

There were no Transport Questions in the House of Commons or Lords this month.

Parliamentary Questions:  

There were no Parliamentary Questions this month.

National and Regional News

1st August – Aer Lingus have restarted flights between Bristol and Dublin. They will operate five times per week. 
2nd August – London Southend Airport to host community meeting. Members of community will be welcome to submit questions to the ACC prior to their scheduled quarterly meetings.  
3rd August – Wizz Air takes off again from Doncaster Sheffield Airport. They’ve made it easier for passengers to check the relevant travel rules with enhanced Travel Planning Map.
4th August – Newcastle Airport announces plans to build a solar farm as part of its ambition to become a Net Zero emissions business by 2035 – see here.

4th August – Aer Lingus signs 10 year franchise agreement with Emerald Airlines. It follows the closure of Stobart Air which had been operating Aer Lingus regional services, in June.
5th August – 21 photos show how Bristol Airport has changed over the years. 
5th August – An article in the Conversation titled: ‘Airport towns like Luton and Hounslow are suffering as people fly less often – here’s how to help them’ can be seen here.
5th August – 
Ryanair to add 12 new routes with £150m investment at Newcastle Airport.

5th August – London Southend Airport boss calls for government to pay for travel Covid tests. He says though passenger numbers are rising, they remain below pre-pandemic level. 

6th August – Birmingham Airport has been severely impacted by the pandemic according to newly-filed financial accounts.

7th August – Ryanair to stop flying from London Southend Airport later this year. They claim it is as a result of the pandemic.

7th August – Teesside Airport: What does Ryanair’s decision to have Newcastle base mean for airport?

8th August – Leeds Bradford Airport CE says more needs to be done by Government for the aviation industry as it looks to recover from the effects of the pandemic.
9th August – Southampton Airport runway extension faces delays after legal challenge.

10th August – Ryanair exit from Southend is ‘golden chance’ for easyJet says councillor. However, there are some who fear the airport may close.

11th August – Liverpool Airport responds to airline Sun Express’s call for new airport partners – see here
11th August – Heathrow warns UK is “falling behind” the EU in its recovery from Covid-19 due to current travel restrictions and testing requirements.

12th August – EasyJet and Bristol Airport join forces to achieve net zero operations.

13th August – Gatwick is in talks with lenders to avoid defaulting on loans. It says Government travel restrictions have led to this predicament.
13th August – BBC research says council policies are inconsistent with climate goals. Airport expansion is among examples provided by 45 out of 121 questionnaire respondents who say they have passed climate motions.
13th August – Work begins on final stage of multi-million pound Teesside International airport transformation – see here.

14th August – Esken responds as Ryanair quits Southend Airport. The company behind Southend has said it is “agnostic” about Ryanair pulling out of the site later this year.

16th August – An article in Simple Flying titled: ‘Why London Is the World’s Busiest City For Air Travel’ can be seen here.
16th August – Gatwick calls for simplified travel requirements – see here.

16th August – Consultation open on Newcastle Airport solar farm plans. If approved, the farm will be built in 4 phases between 2022-2035 to support airport now and in the future.

17th August – Teesside Airport announced as UK’s first pilot area for hydrogen vehicles. It’s

part of the Tees Valley’s status as the country’s Hydrogen Transport Hub.

17th August – MP calls for greater scrutiny on Gatwick expansion plans – see here

18th August – Gatwick says the UK is at risk of falling behind EU in its recovery from pandemic.

19th August – Luton defends annual capital borrowing limit saying this is as a result of the Covid pandemic and its devastating impact on the aviation industry. 

20th August – Seasonal flights to Guernsey return to Norwich Airport. This is the first time the service has operated since 2019. 

20th August – London Luton Airport opens new pilot training facility – see here.
21st August – The extraordinary aircraft graveyard hidden in woodland near Gatwick Airport – see here.

23rd August – Busiest July ever for Land’s End Airport – see here.

23rd August – London City Airport expects business travel to quickly rebound in 2022.

23rd August – The UK’s 3 Busiest Airports Are Europe’s Worst Affected By COVID – see here.

23rd August – Teesside Airport’s terminal to feature new Covid sanitiser technology. The new technology has been designed to sanitise air passing through the air-conditioning system.

24th August – New data by pilots’ association BALPA reportedly shows UK aviation is suffering more than European competitors and “needs urgent government help”.

24th August – Campaigners raise £60,000 to support judicial review into Southampton Airport runway expansion. Plans to expand runway were approved by Council in April.

24th August – Proposed housing site near Hawarden Airport defended ahead of hearing.

24th August – England’s first demo flight of a hybrid electric plane flies from Exeter to Newquay – see here.

25th August – Gatwick to launch fresh consultation on airport expansion. It is looking at plans to put the northern runway to passenger use. Gatwick press release can be seen here.

26th August – An article titled: ‘Gatwick Airport Northern Runway: How the environmental impact of more passengers and more flights will be mitigated’ can be seen here.
26th August – Teesside Airport confirm Loganair Dublin route will return for 2022.

27th August –Bristol Airport’s become only the second UK airport to install a new power bank rental service, so passengers can charge their phones before they fly so that tickets, Covid-19 test results and vaccine passports are easily accessible – see here.

27th August – Stansted Airport boss hits out at Government’s continuing travel restrictions.

28th August – Aviation journalist and pilot calls for rethink over Gigafactory and Coventry Airport closure plans – see here.
29th August – Fury as holidaymakers are stranded at Heathrow Border Control amid stringent Covid checks. Queues last for up to 3 hours with no social distancing. 

30th August – An article in Simple Flying titled: ‘East Anglia’s Air Hub: A History Of Norwich Airport’ can be seen here.

30th August – Bournemouth Airport turns 80 years old this month – see here
31st August – Ryanair launches 14 new routes from London airports. Airline said it would create more than 500 new jobs for pilots, engineers and cabin crew. 

31st August – An article in My London titled: ‘13 astonishing facts about Heathrow Airport you never knew’ can be seen here.

Other Aviation Industry News

1st August – Ministers will allow travellers to pass through airport hubs in red-list countries without having to stay in hotel quarantine on arrival to UK as long as they remain airside.

3rd August – Senior County Council official says Galway needs to identify a site for a new airport. It should have runway big enough to accommodate jets from the likes of Ryanair.
3rd August – Weston airport near Dublin bought by group of investors and aviation enthusiasts – see here.

3rd August – ACI publishes an updated version of its guidance for airports to aid their recovery from the pandemic.
4th August – Cheshire oil refinery expands its UK aviation footprint. It’s extended its aviation portfolio to include Cardiff Airport.
4th August – Government urged to halt ‘chaotic scenes’ at airports. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus issued the plea ahead of the next review of travel lists.

4th August – Aer Lingus has entered into a 10-year franchise agreement with Emerald Airlines to operate regional flights to UK hubs from January 1, 2023 – see here.
5th August – An interview in Routes Online with Rachel Thompson, London Gatwick Head of Sustainability can be seen here.

6th August – Cork could miss out on pandemic recovery due to airport closure due to runway works. This is what Ryanair is claiming.  

6th August – An article in Eezeetags titled: ‘Cleaner, Green Airports: Making Aviation More Sustainable – Edinburgh Airport’ can be seen here.

6th August – One-way ticket from Edinburgh Airport to Spain is cheaper than a train to Glasgow.

8th August – Critics warn ministers have conflict of interest over Prestwick Airport’s wind farm objection – see here.
9th August – An article in Airport World titled: ‘Time for a new approach?’ regarding airport IT systems and looking into the future can be seen here
11th August – European trades union condemns HIAL plan to shut air traffic control towers. They warn of “long-term negative consequences” of the move but airport bosses disagree.
11th August – An article in Airport Review titled: ‘Integrating drone operations at airports’ can be seen here.

11th August – European air travel drops 36% in first half of 2021 say ACI.

12th August – First Scottish hybrid electric flights between Orkney and Wick. They’re part of Sustainable Aviation Test Environment project led by HIAL and are the first to operate on a viable regional airline route.

12th August – Controversial new access route plans for Edinburgh Airport set to be refused by city council – see here.
13th August – Conservatives urge Welsh Government to see Cardiff Airport if they can’t turn its fortunes around. They’ve described it as a ‘failed vanity project’.
15th August – A look at Cardiff and Bristol Airports during lockdown using satellite imagery taken by Google Earth – see here.

16th August – An article in Airport Technology titled: ‘Developing touchless airport digital solutions with Thales’ can be seen here.

17th August – A BBC article titled: ‘How to recycle a jumbo jet’ may interest members and can be seen here.

17th August – An article in Airport Technology titled: ‘Bags of innovation: automated baggage handling’ can be seen here.

18th August – Edinburgh Airport attack council after £21m access road plan refused. They say they are baffled and disappointed by the decision which does not show leadership. 
19th August – New 10-minute test could replace PCR tests at airports. Scientists at the University of Birmingham say they’ve developed a test that is as sensitive as a PCR test. 

20th August – Ports of Jersey upgrade airspace communication – see here.

20th August – IATA Travel Pass now accepts EU and UK COVID documents

21st August – An article in Simple Flying titled: ‘58 Years Have Passed Since The BAC One-Eleven’s Maiden Flight’ can be seen here.

23rd August – Dublin Airport confirm new check-in and security measures in place for passengers – see here.

24th August – An article in Eezeetags titled: ‘The road to implementing a balanced approach to aircraft noise management’ can be seen here.

24th August – Ryanair is to cease all flights from Northern Ireland

25th August – AECOM has been appointed to deliver a new masterplan for Guernsey Airport that will shape business priorities and investment over the next 15 years – see here.
26th August – An article in Airport Technology titled: ‘European airlines set to face a tough winter season’ is here.
26th August – BA mulling over folding short haul operations into new subsidiary – see here.

27th August – Ryanair to move up to 20% of its Irish capacity to European airports. Airline’s chief has accused the Republic’s government of doing “nothing for the sector”.

27th August – Drone flight trials completed at Cardiff Airport – see here.
28th August – ‘Price hitch’ holding up sale of Prestwick Airport. There is speculation that the buyer wants to cut the price demanded by the Scottish Government.
29th August – Glasgow Airport chief calls for more support to be ready for 2022. He advocates the requirement for specialist and sector support for aviation. 
29th August – Airport Covid-19 tests until 2023 for Dublin passengers and staff.
30th August – A BBC article titled: ‘Will I ever be able to fly again without feeling guilty?’ can be seen here.
30th August – Kerry Airport passengers returning in ‘significant’ numbers. However, CE says it will take “several years” for the regional airport to recover from the impact of Covid.
31st August – Guernsey Airport passenger numbers a quarter of pre-pandemic levels.
31st August – An article in Airport Technology titled: ‘Edinburgh Airport’s solar sustainability solution’ can be seen here.

SASIG Library Additions

An article by SASIG which appears in the August edition of the LGA’s First magazine can be seen here.  SASIG attended a (virtual) DfT Jet Zero Consultation workshop on 18 August. Notes plus a DfT presentation from this meeting can be seen here and here.