Birmingham Airport: The new kids on the ANSP block

MEP Daniel Dalton recently posed an interesting question in the European Parliament: what is the Commission doing to enable the creation of a market for terminal air navigation services (TANS)? It is unclear what prompted Mr Dalton – usually so quiet on aviation issues – to ask this question. Perhaps a clue can be found on his website where he promises to that he will be ‘working to encourage infrastructure improvements and promoting the interests of Birmingham Airport’.

Is this an indication that Birmingham Airport’s new in-house TANS provider, Birmingham Airport Air Traffic Ltd (BAATL), is keen to expand into new markets?

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Five predictions for the aviation industry in 2016

The new year provides an opportunity for reflection and refocus. The various trade associations have been busy publishing their reviews of the past 12 months. These mainly consist of a self-congratulatory list of their achievements and a reminder to their members of the threats facing the industry. After all, they need to justify their membership fees somehow.

Of more interest to us are their plans and resolutions for 2016. Unfortunately, these cards tend to be played much closer to their chests. So, we’ve dusted off the crystal ball to provide five predictions for 2016.

Feel free to include your own predictions in the comments below. 

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A4E: doomed 2 fail?

As subscribers to the Aviation Intelligence Reporter will be aware, Europe’s latest trade association has yet to be named. The official announcement is expected at the European Aviation Summit next week. In the meantime, rumours have been circulating that the name will be…(drumroll please)… A4E. That’s ‘Airlines for Europe’ to you and me.

Where do we start?

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The Single European Sky: is it time to use a bigger (yard)stick?

Late last year, the Performance Review Body (PRB) published its summary of the performance of Europe’s ANSPs. Much like the end-of-year school report, it noted each ANSP’s progress by subject (in this case, safety, environment, capacity and cost-efficiency) and identified a number of things to work on.

It was a fairly positive message from the headmaster (and Chairman of the PRB) Mr Griffiths, despite many of the targets being missed. The performance of the ANSPs was considered satisfactory given the tight implementation schedule of the Single European Sky (SES) and complexity of ATM. Could do better. Should pay more attention, and talk less in class.

Perhaps a B- from Mr Griffiths then? Unless you are an airline. In that case you risk wearing out the ‘F’ key as you give your assessment.

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The airlines hold the destiny of the ANSPs in their hands

It’s no secret that airlines will often fly longer distances to avoid high ATM fees. As we discussed in this month’s Aviation Intelligence Reporter, en-route charges vary significantly across European ANSPs, and there can be large differences in the fees charged by ANSPs that are controlling neighbouring airspace. In 2014, flight trajectories were, on average, 2.5% longer than the shortest possible routes. All this results in congested airspace, increased fuel burn and more emissions.

One of the motivating factors for starting on the Single European Sky (SES) project was to reduce trajectories, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing emissions. From a political perspective, it’s all about emissions.

However, from an airline perspective, emissions are nothing more than a proxy for fuel burn and fuel is all about cost. When the cost of fuel was high, en-route charges were comparatively insignificant and we could all form a ring around the camp fire and talk about emissions. But when the fuel price falls, all that nice green talk turns into greenbacks.

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London Traffic Grows, but Delays Grow Twice as Fast

The UK CAA has reported traffic stats for August 2015. The five London airports handled more than 96,000 arrivals and departures, an increase of 4.8% over August 2014.  Well done, you might think.

But, more than 30,000 of these flights were delayed by 15 minutes or more.  This is an increase of more than 11% on the number of flights delayed in August 2014.  Not so well done, then.

This demonstrates a rule of thumb for constrained airports: every new flight scheduled into a constrained airport will be delayed; and it will, in turn, delay at least one existing flight that had previously been operating on time.

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Aviation and climate change: Where to from here?

In this, our second article on the role of aviation in climate change, we look at the expected growth in aviation emissions and how the industry plans to limit the impact of these increases.

While the estimates of GHG emissions from aviation discussed in our previous article are being widely used in current discussion on climate change, many of these estimates are already 10-15 years out of date. Given that the aviation industry is regarded as one of the fastest-growing polluters, its share of global emissions is now likely even higher. Consider also that since 2000 global GHG emissions have increased by an average of 2.5% per year. Even if aviation’s share has remained constant, the actual volume will have increased.

It is also worth noting that all the figures discussed so far are global totals, and that aircraft emissions contribute significantly more to climate change in the more mature aviation markets. In the US, currently the largest aviation market and also one of the world’s highest polluters, aviation accounts for 2.2% of GHG emissions while in Europe the figure is higher at around 3% – more than twice the global rate – and the UK is estimated to derive 6% of its total GHG emissions from aviation. This is particularly relevant given demand for air travel is expected to increase significantly over the next 20 years as new markets mature.

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Aviation and climate change: How much of a polluter is aviation?

In the lead-up to the UNFCCC climate talks in Paris (COP21) attention is turning to the aviation industry’s contribution to global warming. The industry is currently included in the draft text for the climate talks, and is coming under increasing pressure to reduce its CO2 emissions.

As the negotiations ahead of COP21 have progressed, aviation was first included then later excluded from the draft agreement. When the music finally stopped, it was included again. However, the latest draft agreement merely notes that a solution to manage greenhouse gas emissions from aviation must be found through the offices of ICAO. The targeted reduction in the sector’s emissions mentioned in earlier drafts has been removed.

This begs one very important question: how much of a polluter is aviation? In the first of our two articles on the role of aviation in climate change, we explore how aviation has contributed to global warming.

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Eurocontrol Network Report : LCCs grow market share, legacy carriers stagnate and delays are getting worse

Eurocontrol’s October Network Manager Report confirmed that growth is continuing, with October 2015 average daily movements 1.2% higher than for October 2014. The last five months (June to October) have achieved the highest monthly totals recorded and traffic has now grown back and passed the previous high year of 2011.

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Could the maritime industry provide the answer for European aviation?

Another week, another press release voicing concerns about social dumping in the aviation sector. This time, it was the turn of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) to call for further restrictions on the use of indirect employment contracts in the aviation industry and the outsourcing of airline staff to lower-wage countries.

Some have suggested that the maritime industry may offer a solution to European aviation’s labour woes.

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