Thursday 2 July 2015

UK Aiports

I have read now some of the £20 million airport review. Overall, it is quite a weak document. Clearly the agendas of Lobbyists are covered - from both sides so you could say it was balanced. But it is a sort of Mutually Assured Destruction type of balance from the Cold War Era.

Gatwick hate Heathrow;
Heathrow hate Gatwick;
Boris wants an Island;
Business want Heathrow;
NIMBY's want it somewhere else.

Unsurprisingly there is little political capital in doing this and I can see Cameron pushing this decision further off into the future. What I see thought is some interesting stats; business travel is falling, Heathrow still does a huge amount of freight to Terminal 4.

So where is this need for Business travellers coming from, not from the statistics. IN my own corporate world business travel is increasingly being hammered by Skype and Video calls - long promised but was always going to happen due to the sheer cost of travel.

Freight could surely go to the Midlands or Stanstead. Leisure travel, the growing sector, could go to any airport around the UK.

Mr Drew of this parish suggested a free for all with the Private Sector building the runways and airlines choosing what they want and charging passengers - the old, letting the market decide trick.

But for our arcane planning system that might work, but to pass any planning and the endless judicial reviews, the heft of the Government is likely required as the cost/risk analysis won't work for a private venture. Plus those private companies do love a little subsidy tickle when they can get one so why no badger the Government s much as possible - a subsidy always falls out after all!

As it is, I still think the odds are not on Heathrow unless Labour decide to back the scheme to burnish their business friendly credentials - so much for the Tory majority making Government easier.


Blue Eyes said...

It's obvious that the best longterm answer is to build Boris Island or turn Stansted into the major hub. Except we need a bigger hub airport now, not in thirty years time when the transport links to Boris or Stansted may be ready; except the cost of buying Heathrow and closing it down would be phenomenal; except all the people who currently service the hub airport and airlines are based in West London.

If even the pragmatic efficient Germans are struggling to turn an existing Berlin airport into its main airport what hope do we have??

I think there is hope on the horizon, though. I don't know much about the travel industry except as a consumer of its services. It strikes me that the hub concept is based on the demand for cheap, mass travel. I can't help wondering if the next stage of development as people become more demanding, and the technology moves on, will be smaller aircraft plying a greater diversity of routes.

As I sat in a fairly miserable major East African hub for umpteen hours a few months ago, I kept asking why I had not been able to pay a bit more for a direct flight.

If I am right, then perhaps the UK model of several small airports will satisfy local demand, and the huge continental hubs will become less important.

dearieme said...

Drones. We'll get into a driverless car to reach the nearest open patch, and then a pilotless drone will snatch up up and spirit us off to our destinations.

Or we could use the "future" of my boyhood, and all travel on moving pavements and gyrocopters.

Air Uber said...

EXCEPT - Airlines have been scrapping their small seat planes.
They are focusing on 100 + seat aircraft for short and long haul flights. In the US they have dumped many of the wider bodied aircraft in favour of smaller airbus types. But the very smallest Fokker style 30+ seat planes have all been dropped long, long ago.

Suffragent said...

I didn't,t believe I would be agreeing with BE but I often find myself asking the same question when flying from parts of Europe to the north of England. Having to take the whole weekend and two strip searches, for essentially a two hour flight,to try and see the family is a joke ( and they wonder why there is no business left in the north) Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Liverpool..........I'm not fussy.
I only travel home once a year now and have drive to a different country and use one of Ryan's cattle trucks. Cash rich but time poor it's better for me to pay their tickets, to meet me somewhere else. This time it's Greece so that should be fun

andrew said...

Distributed networks are always preferable to one massive point of failure and with all that northern powerhouse stuff, surely the freight should go there?

I can only think a lot of the freight by value are things like patagonian butterfly flowers, worth more than gold and only bought by ogliarchs.

On remote viewing, this has a minor purpose and I can see weekly telecons becoming weekly videocalls.

However, anyone who travels to a meetings right now (already expensive) will carry on doing so as you lose so much over even a good quality videolink.

I saw these mobile robot point of presence things at the alphaville camp thing yesterday and whilst being rather fun, the event itself illustrated the limitations.

You cannot get eye contact over a link, you cannot exchange looks over a link, you cannot smell the environment over a link.

When I am on a telecon I cover my eyes because that is what the people at the other end of the line 'see' of me and so many people sound so harsh on the phone, particularly conference calls.

Being able to see people will give you a false sense of understanding.

Moving back on topic, boris island is a great idea, but it is based on a false understanding that the airport should be in the southeast.

Blue Eyes said...

DearieMe and Uber, what I had in mind were jets the size of the ones which ply the usual shortish-haul European routes, rather than tiny private jets, but I guess a sort of air-taxi could be something to aspire to :)

Suff, don't we nearly always agree? ;) Not sure how size of plane affects or relates to security screening, though.

Demetrius said...

Manston, adjacent to HST and only needing adequate rail links also with M2 link?

Nick Drew said...

did I?

must have been a beer too many (which reminds me ...)

Blue Eyes said...

Nick, maybe CU is referring to something I wrote about airports? It is somewhat flattering to be confused for the great ND :)

On the topic of drinks, CU is always complaining that taxes are too low, so maybe he should do the buying.

Anonymous said...

With all the roadworks on the M3, and surrounding A roads, I wouldn't be surprised if Farnborough will turn out to be the dark horse. Already a major destination for private jets, sometimes every 3 minutes or so descending over Mytchett and Ash Vale, and with a runway long enough to take the biggest a aircraft in the world, someone, somewhere is using a lot of public money to develop the access routes.