4 Airports in the south east and the
hub debate |
54. Airports in the south east are already particularly
busy. London has five airports with six runways and Dale Keller
from BAR UK told us:
Our ability to utilise that capacity as an industry
is acclaimed worldwide. Gatwick is the busiest single-runway airport
in the world. Heathrow's ability to use two runways on a small
piece of land is completely unmatched anywhere.
Despite this efficiency, the CAA explained that there
was a market failure in the south east due to a lack of capacity,
particularly at Heathrow.
Paul Kehoe, CEO of Birmingham Airport, agreed that the so-called
"capacity crisis" was confined to Heathrow.
Darren Caplan, CEO of the Airport Operators Association (AOA),
quantified the problem by explaining that the UK's hub capacity
has increased by a mere 4.3% over the last ten years, while the
corresponding figures from some competitor hubs in Europe were
"Spain at 47%, France at 20.3%, Holland at 11% and Germany
Why is capacity at the UK's hub
55. We previously noted that hub airports have
a unique role in delivering air connectivity due to the way in
which they facilitate transfer traffic onto services that would
otherwise not be viable.
It is clear that businesses in and around London value the breadth
of services offered by the UK's hub airport. However, it is also
important to people outside London.
Access to international destinations via Heathrow from airports
outside the south east provides businesses in those areas with
links to parts of the world that would otherwise not be available.
The prospect of losing out on routes to new destinations, because
of a lack of hub capacity, is of concern across the UK, as indeed
is the potential for further erosion of the domestic air service
network feeding the hub. Mr Keller suggested that the UK was already
losing out on this basis, pointing to a recent survey of 86 airlines
which showed that 53% were scheduling flights to other European
airports on routes that would have come to the UK if capacity
had been available, and 86% would seek to add additional services
into Heathrow if capacity was freely available.
Routes lost by Heathrow were considered to be more likely to shift
to competitor hubs in northern Europe, such as Frankfurt and Schipholwhere
runway capacity was abundantrather than to other London
airports such as Gatwick or Stansted, which do not function as
hubs. This view
was confirmed by Willie Walsh. He told us that while IAG's preference
was to expand its long-haul network at Heathrow, growth that could
not be accommodated at Heathrow was likely to go to other European
airports, such as Madrid.
Mr Walsh added that the reason IAG had "spent so much money
acquiring BMI" was to acquire access to slots that it could
use for long-haul expansion.
He also suggested that other airlines might use this tactic in
the future. Colin
Matthews, from Heathrow, explained why airlines are so keen to
run long haul operations from Heathrow:
Let's take a route like London-Hyderabad or London-Seattle.
The local demand in the south-east of this country is not enough
to justify those routes. What is more, it is very variablemuch
more on a Sunday night than, say, in midweek. Therefore, airlines
cannot sustain daily flights to those long-haul destinations without
a hub that allows them to bring transfer traffic to one place,
to even out the ups and downs of demand. We do have direct flights
to Hyderabad, Seattle and 75 long-haul destinations that cannot
be served from Gatwick.
56. Gatwick held a different view. It considered
that reports of the demand to transfer at UK airports and the
corresponding need for more hub capacity were overstated.
Gatwick's comments relate to the fact that there are different
ways in which to calculate the number of passengers transferring
at airports, which depends on whether you count only passengers
travelling on through tickets and whether passengers are counted
on both the arriving and departing legs of each journey via the
hub. We have assessed
the different methodologies and note that whichever method of
analysis one uses, it is clear that Heathrow consistently has
a higher percentage of transfer traffic than Gatwick or any other
UK airport. It was suggested to us during our visit to Frankfurt
Airport that Heathrow is less reliant on transfer traffic than
many of its European competitor hubs. The reason for this is that
many of Heathrow's passengers are travelling to or from London
as a destination in its own right.
Indeed, the majority of air travel does not involve "hubbing".
Low-cost airlines and charter airlines, for example, are not reliant
on hub transfer traffic,
although small numbers of passengers may 'self-transfer' onto
such services. The importance of a hub is therefore primarily
about the UK aviation sector competing internationally and ensuring
that scheduled airlines are able to provide long-haul destinations
that would not be served from the UK in the absence of a hub.
hub airport is of great importance to all the regions of the UK.
It plays a unique role in connecting the country to the rest of
the worlda role that could not be adequately fulfilled
by a non-hub airport. It is imperative that the UK maintains its
status as an international aviation hub.
57. Spare capacity at the UK's hub airportand
indeed at any airportis also essential in terms of the
resilience of airport operations. NATS told us that the fact that
Heathrow is currently operating at full capacity means that "any
disruption has an immediate impact".
In recent years, disruption to Heathrow's operations due to bad
weather has been the subject of negative press coverage. We noted
in our report, Keeping the UK moving: The impact on transport
of the winter weather in December 2010, that capacity was
a constraint on Heathrow's ability to recover from periods of
closure. The Mayor
of London told us that "the slightest perturbation causes
chaos at Heathrow. It is a real cause of economic loss to this
NATS considered that it was important to look not just at adding
slots for more aircraft, but also at resilience issues, if capacity
were increased at Heathrow.
For example, capping runway capacity utilisation at, say, 75%
(compared to 99% today) could improve resilience. However, the
consequences of doing this are unclear. Richard Deakin, from NATS,
said that capping capacity in this way would be a decision for
the Airports Commission.
Any increase to capacity
at the UK's hub airport must address the need to improve airport
resilience, particularly in the event of bad weather, but this
should not restrict the overall benefits derived from increasing
58. A number of solutions to the south east hub
capacity problem have been proposed, including building an entirely
new hub airport, linking existing airports by high-speed rail
to form a "split-hub", and expansion of one or more
existing airports. These options are discussed below. Later in
this section we also discuss some of the short-term options that
might address the problem of hub capacity.
A NEW HUB
59. There are numerous proposals that have been
put forward for a new hub airport in the Thames estuary, including
those identified in table 4:
|Table 4: Selected proposals for a new hub airport in the Thames estuary
|London Jubilee International Airport
||Thames Estuary Research and Development Company (Testrad)
||Outer estuary: North of Herne Bay
|Thames Hub Airport
||Foster and Partners/Halcrow
||Inner estuary: On the Isle of Grain
|London Britannia Airport
||Gensler||Inner estuary: On a centrally located floating island
|London Gateway Airport
||Independent Aviation Advisory Group
||Inner estuary: At Cliffe
|Goodwin Sands||Beckett Rankine
||Outer estuary: Off Deal
|Marinair||Thames Estuary Airport Company
||Outer estuary: North east of Whitstable
60. The estimated timescales involved in constructing
these potential developments varied from 7 to 15 years.
Allowing for time taken for applications, consultation and approval,
Foster and Partners estimated that the earliest their proposed
airport could open was 2027.
Journey times from central London to the airport would be, at
best, approximately 30 minutes and journey times to the core of
Heathrow's catchment area, which lies to the west of London, could
be significantly greater.
61. The Mayor of London's aviation adviser, Daniel
Moylan, told us that the advantage of a new hub airport in the
Thames estuary or indeed at Stansted was the "tremendous
potential for regeneration of east London".
However, the Mayor explained that regeneration was a "secondary
consideration" and that the most important thing was to "stop
haemorrhaging jobs and opportunities to our continental rivals"
due to the lack of hub connectivity to emerging markets.
The Mayor was understandably reluctant to back any specific proposal
until the completion of further feasibility studies that he had
Ian Mulcahey, Managing Director of Gensler, considered that another
potential advantage of the estuary solution was that there would
be "fewer" people affected by the noise, pollution and
congestion generated by a major airport.
Huw Thomas, from Foster and Partners, explained that an overlay
of the current noise contour from Heathrow over the proposal for
the Thames Hub Airport showed that there would be a significant
drop in the number of people experiencing noise annoyance, which
he quantified as approximately 10% of the number of people currently
suffering around Heathrow.
However, Ed Mitchell, from the Environment Agency, pointed out
that "Heathrow did not start surrounded by quite so many
houses and people" and that once an airport is built "people
Groups representing residents living in areas that are likely
to be affected by an estuary hub have already been vocal in their
was also vocal opposition from Mr O'Leary who described the idea
of a new hub in the estuary as "insane, stupid and hare-brained".
Such an airport had also previously been described by NATS as
being in the "very worst spot" for the south east's
NATS subsequently told us that, in terms of airspace, if a new
hub airport was built "something would have to give",
as it would be difficult to run the new hub efficiently alongside
the existing airports in the south east.
However, NATS assured us that it could rise to the challenge of
designing airspace in response to any future development.
62. Specific environmental concerns were also
highlighted. The Thames estuary area provides a habitat for over
300,000 migrant birds that rely on the area for feeding and roosting
during the winter.
Paul Outhwaite, from the RSPB, told us that parts of the Thames
estuary were "protected by environmental regulation and laws
under the habitats regulations".
Under these regulations, once a proposed development has passed
certain tests, it is necessary to compensate for the land and
the habitat that are destroyed.
Habitat protection requirements in the Thames estuary were described
by the Environment Agency as "quite a stiff challenge"
that might be possible to overcome depending on the exact location
of the development.
There were also concerns expressed to us about "birdstrike"
collisions between birds and aircraft which might require
an extensive clearance zone of birds around the new site.
Groups putting forward proposals for a new hub airport in the
estuary area had also considered other environmental challenges,
such as future sea-level rise and the risk of flooding.
The Environment Agency indicated that it had attended some early
stage discussions on the proposals and that it would be able to
work with developers to find solutions to these challenges.
Another potential challenge for developers is the presence of
unexploded ammunitions on the World War II ship, SS Richard
Montgomery, which sank in the Thames estuary in 1944.
However, Mr Thomas told us that:
the advice we have taken from the Ministry of Defence
is that we will not disturb the SS Montgomery in terms
of the construction works we carry out. If there is a risk of
the collapse of the SS Montgomery we believe that the platform
and the defences we are creating adequately protect the airport.
63. We also heard concerns about the potential
cost of a new hub airport.
The proposals for new hub airports have been worked up to varying
levels of detail, with some developers able to provide a detailed
breakdown of costs (much of which is commercially sensitive) and
others not. We
sought an independent assessment of the conditions under which
a new hub airportregardless of the specific details of
the proposalwould, or would not, be likely to be commercially
viable. We commissioned research on this subject from Oxera Consulting
Ltd, who looked at a range of scenarios covering various airport
designs, demand forecasts, cost estimates and assumptions about
the level of airport charges. Oxera's analysis suggested that
a new hub airport would not be commercially viable on a free-standing
basis. While the airport as a stand-alone project might repay
the investment, substantial public subsidy of £10-30 billion
would be needed, for example, to cover the costs of surface access
or compensation if Heathrow was closed. Nevertheless, Oxera concluded
that from a public perspective, a new hub airport might still
offer good value for money, depending on the scope of wider benefits
that it could facilitate. Oxera's findings are published in full
in Annex B.
64. We put Oxera's findings to proponents of
new hubs and while there were some differences of opinion on the
exact figures, the broad conclusions about the need for public
subsidy were accepted.
Mr Moylan raised a specific concern that Oxera appeared to have
accepted the cost of a third runway at Heathrow without making
any comparable assessment of the additional public transport and
road infrastructure that would be needed to support it. However,
Oxera later clarified that the estimate they used for the cost
of a third runway at Heathrow was based on a value, uprated for
inflation, from the DfT's 2007 aviation forecasts, which did include
surface access infrastructure costs.
Foster and Partners noted that "no aviation expansion comes
without additional surface access. Inevitably some of this will
need to be provided by the public purse".
The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, the Secretary of State for Transport,
told us that "as far as infrastructure is concerned, we would
always want to service the major hub airport of the country".
However, he was reluctant to be drawn into more detailed conversations
about public subsidy that might prejudge the recommendations of
the Airports Commission.
65. Oxera also concluded that a new hub airport
would have a considerable impact on Heathrow and other London
airports. In particular, the new hub would be more likely to be
commercially viable if Heathrow was closed. The view that Heathrow
could not continue in its current form, and that it might need
to be either closed or downgraded, was shared by a number of witnesses.
The impact of this was described by some as devastating.
We were told that Heathrow was "an international brand, and
we would damage that at our peril".
Concerns were raised about the impact that the closure of Heathrow
would have on the west London economy, particularly with regard
to the number of people who depend on Heathrow directly or indirectly
for employment, and the impact on businesses to the west of the
city along the M4 corridor.
It was suggested that as it would take over a decade for a new
airport to be operational, businesses would have time to plan
ahead and potentially relocate.
Mr Walsh pointed out that:
While I know there are many local councils, authorities
and groups who oppose the expansion of Heathrow, there would be
very few who would support the closure of Heathrow because of
the effect that it would have on employment, business and the
general economic conditions in the environment.
The London Borough of Hounslow acknowledged that
it was "caught between a rock and a hard place".
The London Borough of Hillingdon indicated that while it would
not be happy if Heathrow closed, it would "look positively"
at the prospect of regeneration of the site.
The redevelopment of some or all of the Heathrow site could provide
additional housing or generate new jobs.
The Mayor of London considered that there would be some relocations
but he did not believe that there would be a net loss to west
66. While there is some support
for a new hub airport to the east of London we note that there
are significant challenges associated with such a development.
These include: designating airspace in an already crowded environment,
mitigating birdstrike, and dealing with environmental challenges
such as potential future sea-level rise and the risk of flooding.
There are also potential impacts on habitats in and around the
Thames estuary to take into account. Furthermore, uncertainty
remains over the number of people that would be affected by noise
from a new hub airport as both it and the surrounding community
67. We reject the proposal for
a new hub airport east of London, in part due to the challenges
described above, but primarily on the following bases:
- a new hub
airport will not be commercially viable without significant public
investment in new infrastructure, as shown by the research we
- a new hub airport will only
be viable if Heathrow closes as a commercial airport;
- a new hub airport will increase
passenger movements from centres of population, potentially generating
more carbon emissions as passengers have to travel further to
and from the terminals; and
- the closure of Heathrow would,
in our view, be unacceptable due to the impact on the local economy
and the huge disruption caused by the potential relocation of
businesses and individuals in the vicinity of Heathrow.
We are also unconvinced that the
aviation industrywhich would ultimately pay for using the
new hub through airport chargeswould support a new hub
airport at the level of costs which are likely to be required.
It should not be assumed that all traffic would automatically
transfer from Heathrow to a new hub as many passengers, particularly
those with journeys originating in or destined for west London,
might choose to use Gatwick, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter
or Luton airports instead, even if that meant connecting through
a hub airport overseas.
A SPLIT HUB
68. Another solution to the hub capacity problem
would be to connect two existing airports by high-speed rail to
form a "split-hub". This would potentially eliminate
the need for new runways at existing airports. The best-known
examples are the proposal for a "Heathwick" hub, connecting
Heathrow and Gatwick, or for a connection between Heathrow and
RAF Northolt. The latter proposal would also require the reorientation
of the existing runway at Northolt.
There was limited support for these two proposals.
We were informed by a number of organisations that such an approach
would be highly uncompetitive,
particularly in comparison to the passengers experience at competitor
hubs in Europe and the Middle East, where there are rapid transfer
times (significantly less than an hour) from plane to plane.
that a split hub would not be a viable solution to the hub capacity
problem and we reject these proposals.
EXPANSION OF EXISTING AIRPORTS
69. We also considered the option to increase
capacity at existing airports, including the UK's current hub,
Heathrow. The Mayor of London was clear about his view on this
subject: "the one option I think is not going to work is
to continue to sink cost and investment into the cul-de-sac of
Heathrow expansion because you already have a major environmental
problem, which you are going to exacerbate".
However, Willie Walsh, from IAG, told us that he believed that
"the issues of noise, local air quality and global climate
change [from a third runway at Heathrow] could be addressed [in
2009 and] I still believe that that is the case".
Despite this, after years of fighting for a third runway at Heathrow,
Mr Walsh told us that he had given up on it ever being built.
He informed us that while he still believed that building a third
runway at Heathrow would be in the nation's interests, he was
now working to ensure that British Airways (BA) would continue
to grow without it.
70. Business groups on the other hand remain
overwhelmingly in favour of a third runway at Heathrow, which
could probably be operational within 10 years (including time
taken for planning and construction). However, their wish-lists
were not confined to this, as demonstrated by the following responses:
Stuart Fraser (City of London Corporation):
We want a runway at Heathrow. We need it started tomorrow. We
do not have time to explore another thousand options, frankly.
John Dickie (London First):
I would be just as clear and even more demanding. I would like
to see a runway at Heathrow and I would like to see it now. I
would like to see another runway at Gatwick and I would like to
see it now. [
Corin Taylor (Institute of Directors):
] I think we should have a third and preferably a fourth
runway at Heathrow, and a second runway at Gatwick.
Mike Spicer (British Chambers of Commerce):
] additional runway capacity in our existing assetsat
Stansted, Gatwick and Heathrowis the way forward. That
is the pragmatic solution.
Rhian Kelly (Confederation of British Industry):
] we need an answer that is durable and that does not get
changed the moment we have a change of Government.
71. While Heathrow is already operating at full
capacity, other airports in the south east are not. It might therefore
be assumed that the need for additional capacity at other airports,
as described above, is less urgent. However, John Dickie, from
London First, reminded us that forecasts show that Gatwick will
be full in 10 to 15 years' time and it takes roughly that long
to build a new runway with the necessary accompanying infrastructure.
Eddie Redfern, from TUI Travel, and Andrew Cooper, of Thomas Cook
Group agreed that Gatwick would probably need additional capacity.
Mr Redfern added that he would support additional runway capacity
at any airport that had demonstrated the need.
Michael O'Leary, from Ryanair, and Mark Tanzer, CEO of ABTA, went
further, advocating three additional runways: one each at Heathrow,
Gatwick and Stansted.
Mr O'Leary explained that this excess capacity, spread across
three airports, was "absolutely critical" because it
"drives competition, [
] drives down costs and drives
a better deal for passengers for both the UK going abroad and
for visitors coming here".
He estimated that it would take 10 to 15 years to deliver all
three runways and indicated that private investors would probably
pay for them.
We note, however, that on their own new runways distributed across
a number of airports will not provide a long-term solution to
the specific problem of capacity at the UK hub airport and that
Mr O'Leary's comments represent those of a low-cost airline, which
is typically less reliant on the services offered by a hub airport.
72. Gatwick Airport was the lone aviation industry
voice that opposed a third runway at Heathrow, on the basis of
Stewart Wingate explained that:
the airport industry in the UK has gone through a
great deal of change in the last three or four years following
the break-up of BAA, under which the airports were in monopoly
ownership. For us, competition is at the heart of a successful
airport sector. The vision we are painting is to have a second
runway at Gatwick, [
] and then, in due course, to have a
second runway at Stansted, as well as competition from the likes
of Luton, London City and Southend.
While it was acknowledged that Gatwick had managed
to diversify its portfolio of flights since the change in ownership,
it was suggested that expansion of Gatwick alone would not solve
the hub capacity issue.
Moreover, Mr Walsh expressed doubts that there was a business
case for a second runway at Gatwick.
that since the change in ownership, Gatwick has attracted new
long-haul services and is keen to compete with Heathrow. We note
Gatwick's vision for a second runway and we encourage the airport's
operator to develop a robust business case to demonstrate the
role that a two-runway airport could play in increasing airport
competition. However, on their own, new runways distributed across
a number of airports will not provide a long-term solution to
the specific problem of capacity at the UK hub airport.
73. We received a number of written submissions
expressing concern that a third runway at Heathrow would inevitably
raise the question of a fourth in the future.
Mr Walsh was reluctant to rule out the need for a fourth runway
at Heathrow but considered that three runways "may well be
Four runways at Heathrow was the solution favoured by Policy Exchange
and CentreForum in a recent report that suggested building the
new runways 3 km to the west, as opposed to building a single
third runway to the north, of the current Heathrow site.
Relocating the runways in this way might result in less noise
annoyance for residents under the current flight path, thus addressing
the most politically significant objection to expansion of Heathrow.
The prospect of less noise from runways that were further away,
if combined with a ban on night flights, was considered by the
London Borough of Hounslow to be "a more welcome option".
We discussed the proposal with David Skelton, from Policy Exchange,
who explained that the development could be fully operational
by 2030 and that the estimated cost of this proposal was between
£8 billion and £12 billion.
He accepted, however, that more detailed engineering work was
necessary to give a definitive number. This might include a more
detailed study of some of the issues identified by Foster and
Partners, one of the firms backing a new hub airport in the Thames
estuary, who argued that the Policy Exchange proposal "would
require the closure of the Wraysbury reservoir" which would
have impacts on "the water supply system, environment and
the road network".
Mr Skelton maintained that expansion of Heathrow in this way would
be "considerably cheaper" than alternative proposals
for new hub airports as it made use of the existing infrastructure
around the airport, in terms of transport, terminals and other
expanded Heathrow might also require improvements to existing
surface access infrastructure and we return to this subject later
in our report.
74. Another plan that would tackle the hub capacity
issue and make use of existing infrastructure is the proposal
to turn Stansted into a four-runway hub airport. While there are
few details on the costs and benefits of this proposal, it is
one of three potential solutions that the Mayor of London is studying
in detail, ahead of sending his views to the Airports Commission.
The Institute of Directors pointed out that Stansted was badly
connected to other parts of the UK but acknowledged that "it
would be the best location for a new hub airport, should it prove
impossible to expand Heathrow".
We note that proposals for a new four runway airport south of
the existing Luton Airport site have also been put forward.
75. The prospect of a larger Gatwick or Stansted
led us to consider whether the UK might be able support two independent,
competitor hub airports. Some witnesses argued that the UK market
was not big enough to support two separate hubs,
and as we previously concluded, we do not support the closure
of Heathrow. However,
Paul Kehoe, from Birmingham Airport, argued that "even the
UAE with a population of 5 million has two hubs, Abu Dhabi and
] built around their two airlines Etihad and Emirates".
He indicated that it was the airline and not the airport that
made the hub and that the UK could be encouraging other airlines
to develop a second hub.
76. The current situation is
unsustainable. A two-runway hub airport is not adequate for the
needs of the UK. We have considered the options put to us and
on the basis of the evidence we have heard we recommend that the
Government allow Heathrow to expand. Heathrow is the jewel
in the crown of international aviation and we believe that a third
runway is long overdue. British businesses are overwhelmingly
in favour of this option. An expanded Heathrow might require improvements
to surface access that would build on existing infrastructure
and we make recommendations on this subject later in our report.
77. We note the concerns that
a third runway at Heathrow may not be sufficient to meet long-term
increases in demand. However, we do not believe that question
can properly be addressed until we can more accurately predict
the long-term changes in demand resulting from factors such as
HS2 in rebalancing the economy and making airports in the Midlands
more accessible, and from the potential of additional capacity
at other airports such as Gatwick. This, however, does not remove
the real need for a third runway at Heathrow to address capacity
constraints in the foreseeable future.
78. We acknowledge the very
real environmental concerns that have been expressed by residents
living in the vicinity of Heathrow. People affected by noise
from an expanded Heathrow must be adequately compensated and our
recommendations on noise compensation are set out in paragraph
79. We would also like
the Airports Commission to assess what conditions may realistically
be applied to an expansion of Heathrow in order to mitigate noise
80. We have also considered
the proposal to build new runways at Heathrow 3 km to the west
of the existing site. While there is currently not much detailed
information on this proposal we believe that it has merit, particularly
as relocating the runways could reduce the noise annoyance currently
experienced by people affected by the flight path. We recommend
that the Government also consider the option to expand Heathrow
to a four runway airport to the west of the existing site. We
recommend that the Airports Commission assess the feasibility
of this proposal and its implications on noise levels.
81. There are few short-term options that will
address the problem of hub capacity. In the absence of new runways,
passenger numbers might still be able to grow, for example, through
the introduction of larger planes.
We also previously noted that there might be some scope to shift
small business aircraft to designated business airports, thus
freeing up some capacity at Heathrow.
Alternatively, changing the way in which airports operate might
also have an impact on how much additional capacity could be squeezed
out of existing infrastructure. Heathrow Airport recently completed
its Operational Freedoms Trial, which looked at the impact of
changes in airport operating procedures. Such changes are designed
to make the airport more efficient and more resilient but the
Mayor of London told us that Londoners are concerned that these
measures "will have a detrimental impact on their quality
Of particular local concern is the use of mixed-mode operations
at Heathrow, whereby planes are allowed to land and take off on
the same runway, as distinct from segregated mode where one runway
is used for arrivals and the other for departures. This is considered
to be a short-term fix to the capacity problem.
The London Borough of Hounslow told us that mixed-mode operations
"destroy" the quiet respite periods that local residents
82. We welcome changes to operational
procedures at Heathrow that will make the airport more efficient
and more resilient. Some changes, such as the introduction of
mixed-mode operations, may help in the short-term to address the
capacity problem. However, mixed-mode operations are inherently
undesirable because they deprive local residents of periods of
respite from aircraft noise. We recommend that the Government
consult residents in the vicinity of Heathrow airport and others
affected by noise under the flight path before any final changes
to operational procedures are introduced.
83. Good quality, efficient and reliable rail
and road access to airports contributes greatly to the experience
of passengers, freight operators and airport employees.
If surface access links to airports were improved, airlines might
also be enticed to transfer their services to airports in the
south east that are not as capacity constrained as Heathrow, leading
to greater competition between airports.
The airlines we heard from expressed particular concerns about
the rail links to London's airports. Simon Buck, from BATA, told
us that the Gatwick Express used to be a world leading non-stop
service between the airport and central London but that it has
been degraded to a stopping service on the route from Brighton.
Similar concerns were raised in relation to the Stansted Express
service. The London
Chamber of Commerce and Industry told us that it:
would like the Thameslink franchise to mandate the
reinstating of the dedicated Gatwick Express, an upgrading of
rolling stock to suit the needs of air passengers and the removal
of ticket barriers to allow a seamless travel experience for passengers
who are currently forced to wait and queue to exit the airport
and join the rail network.
In broader terms, Gatwick suggested that in designing
tender documents for new rail franchises that will serve major
international airports, the Government needed to specify clear
requirements on the delivery of high-quality air-rail services
and lay down the specific characteristics of service that airports
added that rail timetables and infrastructure should be designed
to cater for growth in air passengers and commuters separately.
The Secretary of State indicated that the Government was committed
to investing in improved infrastructure.
For example, improving railway links to major ports and airports
is one of the strategic priorities in the Government's 'Railways
Act 2005 Statement for Control Period 5'. This statement identifies
specific ideas that the Government has put forward to improve
or augment rail access to Heathrow and Gatwick.
However, there is no mention of Stansted or other London airports.
84. An expanded Heathrow would also benefit from
better surface access. Foster and Partners warned that "without
sufficiently new and capacious rail connectivity, an expanded
Heathrow would place yet further demands on a local road network
already suffering severe capacity constraints and consequentially
result in worsening of already poor air quality impacts".
Furthermore, Corin Taylor, from the Institute of Directors, argued
that if Heathrow remained the UK's main hub airport, the High
Speed 2 (HS2) railway line should run straight through Heathrow.
Mr Walsh suggested that this might reduce the need for direct
flights between, for example, Manchester and Heathrow, thus freeing
up a limited amount of capacity at Heathrow.
The Secretary of State was reluctant to pre-judge the findings
of the Airports Commission but confirmed that the previously proposed
"Heathrow loop" to the HS2 network could be reintroduced
85. Surface connections to major
airports in the south east are poor. Road access to each of these
airports is far from optimal. In terms of rail access, Gatwick
and Stansted are on already congested commuter lines. Heathrow
is not yet on the national rail network (with the exception of
the limited Heathrow Express rail link which connects to London
Paddington), although it will shortly be served by Crossrail
and a western rail access
to Reading and the Great Western network was announced in July
2012. Our view is that Gatwick and Stansted should each be served
by a dedicated express rail service that is fit for purpose.
86. While the Government has
identified the need to improve railway links to major airports
as one of its strategic priorities for Control Period 5 it does
not go far enough in setting out exactly what its strategy is.
In preparation for the next control period, we recommend that
the Government develop a coherent strategy to improve road and
rail access to the UK's major airports. As part of this, an assessment
should be made of the surface access requirements from the growth
of aviation, and in particular, the changes to surface access
infrastructure that will be necessary if Heathrow expands. The
Government should ensure that the service requirements of major
UK airports are incorporated into future rail franchise agreements
with rail operators serving
those airports. Also, if as
we recommend Heathrow is allowed to expand, the Government must
ensure that the High Speed 2 rail network serves Heathrow.
110 Q 87 [Dale Keller] Back
Q 307 [Andrew Haines] Back
Q 382 [Paul Kehoe] Back
Q 411 [Darren Caplan] Back
Paragraph 7 Back
For example: Q 412 [Graeme Mason]; and Q 485 [Garry Clark] Back
Q 71 [Dale Keller] Back
Q 12 [Simon Buck]; and Q 139 [Colin Matthews] Back
Qq 271-273 [Willie Walsh] Back
Qq 271-274 [Willie Walsh] Back
Q 288 [Willie Walsh] Back
Q 138 [Colin Matthews] Back
Q 138 [Stewart Wingate]; and AS 068A [Gatwick Airport] Back
AS 068A, Appendix 3 [Gatwick Airport] Back
Q 138 [Stewart Wingate]; and Q 206 [John Stewart] Back
Q 5 [Paul Simmons] Back
Q 34 [Paul Simmons]; and Q 113 [Eddie Redfern] Back
Q 11 [Sian Foster]; and Q 138 [Colin Matthews] Back
Q 326 [Simon Hocquard] Back
Transport Committee, Fifth Report of Session 2010-12, Keeping
the UK moving: The impact on transport of the winter weather in
December 2010, HC 794 Back
Q 764 [Boris Johnson] Back
Qq 327-329 [Simon Hocquard and Richard Deakin] Back
Q 331 [Richard Deakin] Back
Qq 643-643 [Ian Mulcahey, Huw Thomas, and John Olsen] Back
AS 039A [Foster+Partners] Back
Qq 571-577 [Huw Thomas and John Olsen]; and Qq 781-782 [Boris
Johnson and Daniel Moylan] Back
Q 767 [Daniel Moylan] Back
Q 768 [Boris Johnson] Back
Q 767 [Boris Johnson] Back
Q 622 [Ian Mulcahey] Back
Qq 637-639 [Huw Thomas] Back
Q 759 [Ed Mitchell] Back
Q 703 [Joseph Ratcliffe]; AS 007 [No Estuary Airport campaign
(Essex)]; AS 061, para 5.1 [Kent County Council]; and AS 060,
para 5.5 [Medway Council] Back
Q 77 [Michael O'Leary] Back
The Guardian, Proposed Thames Hub airport in 'very worst spot'
say air traffic controllers, 13 April 2012 Back
Qq 332-339 [Simon Hocquard] Back
Q 348 [Simon Hocquard] Back
AS 007 [No Estuary Airport campaign (Essex)]; AS 060, para 3.4
[Medway Council]; and AS 088, para 3.5 [Friends of the North Kent
Q 682 [Paul Outhwaite] Back
Q 682 [Paul Outhwaite] Back
Q 745 [Ed Mitchell] Back
Q 683 [Paul Outhwaite]; and AS 095, para 10 [Wildlife Trusts] Back
Qq 580-585 [Huw Thomas, Ian Mulcahey and John Olsen] Back
Qq 744-750 [Ed Mitchell] Back
AS 060, para 3.8 [Medway Council] Back
Q 590 [Huw Thomas] Back
Q 163 [Stewart Wingate]; [Q 254] Willie Walsh; and Q 506 [Christopher
Q 545 and Q 596 [Huw Thomas] and Q 556 [Ian Mulcahey] Back
Q 776 [Daniel Moylan], AS 039A, paras 8-15 [Foster+Partners] Back
Department for Transport, UK Air Passenger Demand and CO2
Forecasts, November 2007, Table 4.2, p 78 Back
AS 039A, para 15 [Foster+Partners] Back
Q 841 [Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP] Back
[Q 254] Willie Walsh; Q 441 [Corin Taylor]; Q 442 [Stuart Fraser];
Q 506 [Christopher Snelling]; Q 593 [Huw Thomas]; and Q 769 [Boris
Q 261 [Willie Walsh]; and Q 711 [Colin Ellar] Back
Q 481 [Emma Antrobus] Back
Q 261 [Willie Walsh]; and Q 506 [Christopher Snelling] Back
Q 595 [Huw Thomas]; and Q 769 [Boris Johnson] Back
Q 261 [Willie Walsh] Back
Q 722 [Colin Ellar] Back
Q 719 [Jales Tippell] Back
Qq 604-606 [Ian Mulcahey]; and Q 769 [Boris Johnson] Back
Q 770 [Boris Johnson] Back
AS 030 [Rothwell Aviation Ltd] Back
AS 030 [Rothwell Aviation Ltd]; and AS 061, para 1.5 [Kent County
AS 039, para 14 [Foster+Partners]; AS 040 [IATA]; AS 046, para
28 [London Chamber of Commerce and Industry]; AS 048, para 29
[ABTA]; and AS 107, para 2.60 [Institute of Directors] Back
Qq 25-28 [Sian Foster and Simon Buck]; Q 91 [Dale Keller]; Q 178
[Colin Matthews] Back
Q 806 [Boris Johnson] Back
Q 265 [Willie Walsh] Back
Q 283 [Willie Walsh] Back
Q 449 [Stuart Fraser, John Dickie, Corin Taylor, Mike Spicer,
and Rhian Kelly] Back
Q 439 [John Dickie] Back
Qq 115-116 [Eddie Redfern and Andrew Cooper] Back
Q 75 [Michael O'Leary]; and Q 118 [Mark Tanzer] Back
Qq 84-85 [Michael O'Leary] Back
Q 78 and Q 96 [Michael O'Leary] Back
Qq 156-157 and Q161 [Stewart Wingate] Back
Q 156 [Stewart Wingate] Back
Q 439 [John Dickie] Back
Q 87 [Dale Keller]; and Q 247 Willie Walsh Back
Q 246 [Willie Walsh] Back
AS 028, para 4d [West Windsor Residents Association]; AS 035,
para 7 [Zac Goldsmith MP]; AS 039, para 16.3 [Foster+Partners];
and AS 076, para 4.6 [Richmond Heathrow Campaign] Back
Q 275 [Willie Walsh] Back
Policy Exchange and CentreForum, Bigger and Quieter: The right
answer for aviation, October 2012 Back
Q 636 [David Skelton] Back
Q 736 [Colin Ellar] Back
Q 553 and Q 645 [David Skelton] Back
AS 039A [Foster+Partners] Back
Qq 553-554 [David Skelton] Back
Paragraph 84 Back
Q 767 [Boris Johnson] Back
AS 107, para 2.62 [Institute of Directors] Back
Evening Standard, Heathrow battle: How Luton could be 'England's
airport', 24 October 2012; and Policy Exchange and CentreForum,
Bigger and Quieter: The right answer for aviation, October
Q 29 [Simon Buck and Sian Foster]; and Q 438 [Stuart Fraser] Back
Paragraph 67 Back
Q 385 [Paul Kehoe] Back
Q 385 [Paul Kehoe] Back
Q 245 [Willie Walsh] Back
Paragraph 33 Back
AS 104, para 22 [Mayor of London] Back
AS 040 [IATA] Back
Q 728 [Colin Ellar]; and AS 101, para 4.4 [London Borough of Hounslow] Back
AS 092 [Stansted Airport Ltd] Back
Q 168 [Stewart Wingate]; AS 035, para 17 [Zac Goldsmith MP]; and
AS 079, para 13 [London First] Back
Q 65 [Simon Buck] Back
Q 65 [Paul Simmons] Back
AS 046, para 36 [London Chamber of Commerce and Industry] Back
AS 068, paras 30-31 [Gatwick Airport] Back
Qq 843-844 [Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP] Back
Department for Transport, Railways Act 2005 Statement for Control
Period 5, paras 43-44 Back
AS 039A, para 28 [Foster+Partners] Back
Q 450 [Corin Taylor] Back
Q 256 and Qq 267-268 [Willie Walsh] Back
Qq 834-835 [Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP]; and Transport Committee,
Tenth Report of Session 2010-12, High Speed Rail, HC 1185 Back