Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by BAA plc (IT 28)


  BAA plc is the owner, operator and developer of seven UK airports. More than 100,000 people work at BAA's airports, and more than 100 million passengers currently travel through these airports each year.

  This submission reflects the joint views of BAA's four English airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Southampton); Scottish Airports Limited, a subsidiary of BAA plc which operates Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen Airports, is reviewing the implications of the White Paper issued by the Scottish Office.

  BAA welcomes and supports the main aims of the White Paper, and with its programmes to promote rail and coach services has already played a leadership role in support of sustainable integrated transport for the UK.

  1. BAA has already undertaken a wide range of initiatives to improve access to its airports and encourage properly integrated transport services. Some of these are referred to in the White Paper, but include:

    —  BAA's investment of £440 million in the new Heathrow Express train service which is breaking new ground in rail industry customer service.

    —  The Feltham Gateway which is a good example of a multi-party success story where BAA identified the strategic scope for a "gateway" rail station to the south of Heathrow and will provide about £1 million to get the project off the ground.

    —  The airport-initiated Area Transport Forums at Heathrow and Gatwick which bring together local transport authorities, key local businesses and transport operators.

    —  Implementation of car parking levy schemes, the revenues from which directly fund selected schemes to improve public transport and reduce car dependency.

    —  Major bus service improvements and the M4 Spur bus lane which are evidence of how a private sector company can target and achieve improvements in public transport.

    —  A study into airport employee car parking control which is underway to better balance the special circumstances of 24 hour international airport operations where car parking is used very efficiently, with the growing need to target reductions in car dependency.

    —  The successful introduction of Airport Travel Cards at Heathrow Airport, and latterly at other BAA airports, means that passengers with Travel Cards can receive substantial discounts on a wide range of bus and coach services in the area around our airports. Similarly, trials are also underway at Heathrow and Gatwick airports of a state of the art system for providing comprehensive information on public transport services for employees and eventually air passengers.

  2. In pursuing its airport development programme, BAA carefully considers the implications for integrated transport and develops strategies to meet the needs of passengers, employees and its local communities. Such consideration must include assessments of the demand for and sustainability of any schemes. An integrated transport hub including rail, tube, bus and coach, is at the heart of the design of the proposed Terminal 5, and permission to develop Terminal 5 would enable Heathrow's integrated public transport network to develop further to the south and west of the airport.

  3. As a leading advocate of partnership, BAA also welcomes the approach set out in the White Paper including partnerships between local councils, businesses, operators and users in formulating Local Transport Plans. BAA believes that it is important that similar effective partnership arrangements inform the development of sound regional transport strategies and is willing to play a full part in order to ensure that objective is achieved.

  4. BAA also believes that sound regional transport strategies, supported by stakeholders, will provide a good basis for the important decisions required in respect of the new Rail Infrastructure Investment Fund and Rail Partnership Scheme announced in the White Paper. BAA considers that novel financing arrangements have a role to play to help in the delivery of improved regional transport network and looks forward to working with stakeholders to identify the best way forward. This may be a way of achieving the Government's objective for the funding of improvements as set out in paragraph 3.208 of the White Paper.

  BAA plc already embraces and pursues many of the principles and objectives set out in the White Paper and is at the forefront of the development of sustainable, integrated transport.

  One such example is at Gatwick where the desire to integrate the growing Gatwick Airport operation with plans for the development of a high quality public transport system serving the Crawley-Horley area, prompted Gatwick Airport Limited to be a partner to the Crawley Horley Gatwick Integrated Transport Plan and the Package bid.

  To help achieve this, Gatwick Airport Limited seconded a public transport expert to work with West Sussex County Council as part of the partnership approach to regional transport improvement.

  The White Paper also raised a number of important issues specifically relating to air travel. BAA would make the following comments in relation to these issues:

  5. Aviation is vitally important to the UK, contributing greatly to the UK economy and to personal mobility. In looking to the future, aviation is central to meeting the economic and social aspirations of Britain and its people beyond the Millennium.

  6. BAA welcomes and supports the Government's intention to prepare a UK airports policy for the longer term. Anticipating that the Government would wish to incorporate into its White Paper the implications of its decision to grant or refuse permission for a fifth terminal at Heathrow, BAA hopes that the Inquiry can be brought to a speedy conclusion and a decision reached as soon as possible.

  7. A national airports policy should lead to the provision of airport capacity where it can be shown that the benefits it confers in meeting demand for air transport where that demand arises, outweigh the disadvantages which cannot be mitigated or compensated. Initially, the best opportunities for meeting demand in the South East are by building terminal capacity to maximise the potential of existing runway capacity.

  8. With regard to the role of regional airports, the policy should reflect the fact that Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, whilst major international air transport hubs, also fulfil the important role of regional airports to the 20 million people who live within their catchment area. They provide crucial links between the South East of England and the rest of the UK, Europe and the world (Over 80 per cent of non-transferring passengers at Heathrow and Gatwick are travelling to or from London and the South-East).

  9. In relation to the specific issue of slot allocation (paragraph 3.199), the Committee is already aware of BAA's view that the "ringfencing" of slots is unnecessary and undesirable.

BAA plc

September 1998

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