Airport Expansion in South East England

Discussion in 'Other Public Transport' started by freetoview33, 19 May 2015.

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  1. freetoview33

    freetoview33 Established Member

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    With more talk of Airport Expansion in South East England, I thought this might be a good time to chat about what might actually end up happening.

    So as I see it this is what I think might happen.

    Option 1:

    A new runway/terminal at Heathrow, I some how think if this does happen they will go with the Northern Runway proposal, but I think the South Westerly option would be better longer term and gives more scope for any future projects.

    If this happens, there has been talk that easyjet would start up a base there, which I really can't see happening. I think they are simply backing the Heathrow expansion so space frees up at Gatwick.

    I think some carriers would move to Heathrow from Gatwick as a result, or at least move some more flights over. (Like TAP, BA, Virgin Atlantic ect)

    As well as a few more destinations in Asia/South America and Africa! And I can't help but think more flights to the Middle East and the US. But I think this would take up a lot of the new capacity.

    As a result of moves I think IAG would transfer most Gatwick European routes to Vueling. And low cost carries would have slightly more space to expand at Gatwick.

    Thus further making Heathrow a national carrier hub and Gatwick a low cost hub.

    Option 2:

    Expand Gatwick with a new runway/terminal. If this happens there is talk of further expansion of the railway station, so could see more services there. Yes expansion at Gatwick would help easyjet ect and yes it would force more national carriers to have routes at Gatwick compared to Heathrow, which could push up costs to smaller carriers.

    It would more than likely create a dual site national hub (Heathwick) which I don't think is ideal, as it would cause longer transfers and make London loose more international traffic to the massive Dubai!

    Heathrow might loose out as Gatwick might undercut then to get large carriers to move there, which could be bad. But I think some low cost airlines might decide to move to Stansted.

    Option 3:

    Expand Stansted, this option would create a massive airport with Capacity greater than that of Heathrow. But would airlines actually want to move there? Low cost airlines might decide to but that wouldn't help international capacity greatly. Although MAG seem to be doing a good job at Manchester so you never know. Another thing for Stansted it does have rail links to London and Birmingham.

    I think honestly expanding Stansted would be the cheapest and best long term but only if it was to take over from Heathrow as the main international hub, which lets face it won't happen!


    Option 4: Expand Manchester

    This does have benefits as it is more central located and a lot of people can access it easier than London. Manchester does already have the two runways which is good. So I think the more likely outcomes there are a new terminal (focused just on international traffic) as well as the expanded railway station/improvements to allow intercity trains to call there.

    This could be a good shorter term proposal to fully utilise current airport capacity before creating more.

    Also would take some passengers away from Heathrow/Gatwick.

    Option 5: Expand regional airports

    This could be a good option to deal with Short/Medium haul demand. For example Durham Tees Valley is located in a good position to serve the North East, it is close to a railway line (which is getting busier). It has a decent sized runway too. But can't help thinking it's days are numbered.

    There is Bristol airport which is still pushing for further expansion. A small runway expansion here would create a major benefit as currently large aircraft are unable to land here, even though there is demand.

    Otherwise in the Southwest there is Exeter and Newquay airports which are good but the best location for an airport in the South West (Outside Bristol) would be Plymouth, yes Plymouth City Airport closed but this was due to it being too Small. So I would love to see a good sized airport there to replace Exeter (and Newquay, if Newquay becomes a spaceport)

    Then there is the issue of Birmingham! It is a tough one, even though Birmingham it self would be a large market Easyjet doesn't have a base there. Which when you look at is for a good reason.

    If they did have a Birmingham base it would have a negative impact on Manchester, Bristol and Gatwick bases which are in a good location to serve a large proportion of the UK.


    Overall:

    I think what will happen is a new runway at Heathrow, along with further improvements to regional airports. I also think if Heathrow gets another runway the government will promise that it won't be expanded ever again.
     
  2. HilversumNS

    HilversumNS Member

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    I believe that the fees for Birmingham are also a factor for Easyjet. Shame, as I'd love to see more flights from there, its a 20 minute drive or less than an hour by bus and train for me.
     
  3. GrimsbyPacer

    GrimsbyPacer Established Member

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    Good thread this is.
    I think regional airport expansion is the key to economic growth.
    It would help many more areas get served by tourists and business travellers.
    Focussing on single airports like Manchester or London's Heathrow would just lead to an over-saturated airport needing evermore expansions at the expense of regional airports. The government seams more concerned with trying to a "Super Airport Hub" where all Europe has to travel through Heathrow than meeting the economic needs of regional airports across the UK.

    But you forgot option 6: Build new Airports.
    I don't support the idea of building Boris Island Airport on swampy Isle of Grain but it has been mentioned before. Aslo a new 'Leeds' airport south of York on a former RAF site has been mentioned. Personally I think a regional airport is needed in both North Wales and Cambridgeshire.

    Some airports have closed already and have caused hardship, noteably Sheffield, Plymouth, Manston and Blackpool (which has reopened).
    Could any other closed airports be reopened?
     
  4. steamybrian

    steamybrian Established Member

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    Lydd and Brighton (Shoreham-by-sea) airports are both under used.

    Do Southend, London City and Southampton airports have spare capacity..?
     
  5. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Would quite possibly also abstract from Luton.
     
  6. dosxuk

    dosxuk Member

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    However, that is also what the airlines and travelling public want. Can you honestly say if you were travelling to, say Malaysia, you'd be happy getting off your international flight from London at one regional airport and then having to catch a bus or train to get to your next regional airport to fly to the closest regional airport to your final destination?

    Hub airports work because they offer a wide range of near and far destinations, reducing the time and effort it requires passengers to get to their destinations. Furthermore, hub airports generate a significant amount of income for the country they are located in - this is why Heathrow is in competition with the likes of Frankfurt and Charles de Gaulle.


    There has been no hardship caused by the closure of Sheffield airport. And the main thing people seem to keep bringing up about Manston is that it has a big runway so surely someone will want to fly there - yet all the flights it did have were struggling for passengers.
     
  7. HilversumNS

    HilversumNS Member

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    But it's 2+ hours by train/coach from Birmingham to Luton Airport with at least one change, so hardly convenient when you add on any travel to get from home to the station.
     
  8. WestCoast

    WestCoast Established Member

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    ...and Ryanair has fairly large bases at both Birmingham and East Midlands too. Not sure it's entirely about fees! Norwegian is opening a number of sun destinations from Birmingham. There's Monarch and Flybe in addition to that.

    The Midlands is probably the only region of the UK that doesn't have comprehensive service from easyJet. They pulled out of their East Midlands base a few years ago, and operate just a couple of routes from Birmingham.
     
    Last edited: 19 May 2015
  9. Rhydgaled

    Rhydgaled Established Member

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    I understand the chief argument for any airport expansion is 'economic benifits', but what destinations provide the greatest economic boost? Is it long-haul, medium-haul, near-European or domestic flights that are most wanted?

    It is suggested here and here that, even with biofuels, it will not be possible to acheive 'zero carbon' status if levels of air traffic remain static. There needs to be a serious reduction in flights so airport expansion is unecessary (except perhaps if the object is to concentrate all remaining flights at a single UK airport).
     
  10. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    With Boris gone from the mayoralty in theory in a year's time and, in terms of dwindling significance and power, right now everyone can forget Boris Island was ever promulgated: he has bigger fish to fry, and his tilt at the leadership will begin if Heathrow is mooted for expansion. 'Over my dead body' was his pithy phrase, and. if he loses, he'll certainly be dead in the water as far as Tory leader goes: expect Theresa May to come out strongly in favour, so horns will be locked, a not uncommon occurrence on Boris's part.
     
  11. GrimsbyPacer

    GrimsbyPacer Established Member

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    Boris Johnson may be an MP, in the Cabinet, and work for a newspaper. But he's still the London mayor. I doubt he would risk Labour getting the top job and he's thr most likely guy to get the job because of his mophead hairstyle.
    Now he's in government too, Boris Island will pop up again.
     
  12. telstarbox

    telstarbox Established Member

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    The fact that it's routinely referred to as 'Boris Island' not 'Thames Gateway Airport' or something similar shows how serious a proposal it is. Expansion will take place at Heathrow and/or Gatwick.
     
    Last edited: 20 May 2015
  13. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    But only an hour or so to drive, with very cheap long stay parking, which is what most people who travel down from the Midlands do.

    Expansion at Luton is happening, a near doubling of passenger capacity in the next 8 years.

    But the rest all depends on the Davies report, due next month I believe. My money is on Gatwick. Cheaper, easier, quicker than doing anything at LHR.
     
  14. freetoview33

    freetoview33 Established Member

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    Shoreham's runway is way too small, plus Gatwick is fairly accessible from Brighton.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    There are Anglesey and Cambridge Airports, so that is not an issue! Cambridge has had a few airlines try to start flights from there, but they haven't "Taken off" and were cancelled due to lack of demand.

    I think a lot of the airports that have closed were simply due to them being in the wrong place! Sheffield has Robin Hood, East Midlands, Leeds-Bradford, Humberside all fairly close by.

    Plymouth was just too small and wasn't in a place easy to expand (If it had been a bigger airport I think Newquay would of closed by now and Exeter would of been finding life a lot harder!)

    Mantson is a difficult one, but I think the main reason was the location and airlines less willing to go there compared to Gatwick/Southend/London City

    Blackpool had Manchester Airport close by which is enough said.

    It is difficult getting the balance right between local airports serving european locations (But them not being too close to one another, in order to not take each others demand) and Hub airport which can serve Long/Ultra Long Haul destinations.

    Another issue with regional airports is access it is all well and good them being there but if they are hard to get to then is it worth it? Which is what surprises me with my local airport (Bristol). Other than a frequent bus service, it lacks good road access and rail access as well as having a smaller than average runway for an airport of its size.
     
  15. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Business travellers usually have to be at the airport early in the morning when there is little or no train service, the roads are clear and someone else is paying for the parking. Leisure flights tend to be used by family groups with large amounts of luggage for whom the car or taxi will often be the best choice. So only a fairly high-volume airport is likely to justify a train service, unless perhaps it has a railway alongside with a decent service and a convenient station site within walking distance of the terminal.

    The logic of having a hub airport is that it allows connections between flights for people who would otherwise not pass through the UK at all. These people bring little direct benefit to the UK but the argument goes that their existence allows flights to be viable to a much wider range of destinations than otherwise. That won't happen if an inter-airport transfer is involved, because it would just be too slow especially as it would almost certainly involve going through procedures to enter the UK and then re-submitting to security etc before departure. The alternative is some kind of "sealed train" treated as part of airside, but I just don't see that being workable.

    However I'm not sure that any UK airport is well placed to capitalise on this for travel to/from the emerging economies in the east, simply because for most of Europe a hub in London would involve an hour or more flying in the wrong direction and the same again to fly approximately over where they started from. We may have to accept that the likes of Dubai have an unassailable geographic advantage.
     
    Last edited: 21 May 2015
  16. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    If the chances of HS2 going ahead in some form are now 50/50 or above, what would Boris Island be? 500/1 against would be my reckoning. Look at London Bridge - what chance of either building an entirely new railway line all the way from London or finding the paths to link into the North Kent or, at a stretch, C2C? 0ne million to one against would about cover it. If we were Japan, Singapore or China a dedicated monorail built over the Thames might be conceivable, but in the U.K.? The planning enquiry might report before the end of the century.
     
  17. robert7111a

    robert7111a Established Member

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    Don't know if this has been mentioned but what about Manston in Kent. It has one of the longest runways and is hardly used.

    Develop the site, build a station and as it's on the HS route into London, problem solved - no?

    I'll get me coat....
     
  18. telstarbox

    telstarbox Established Member

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    Planned for redevelopment as housing and employment land.

    Manston and the Thames Estuary site suffer from the same problem - the population catchment is on one side only unlike the existing London airports where people can reach the airport from all sides.
     
    Last edited: 21 May 2015
  19. dosxuk

    dosxuk Member

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    See! :lol:
     
  20. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Although from the north by rail it's pretty difficult, involving a trek into central London and out again, and even via Hex it's no quicker than the Piccadilly line. Through most of Thameslink-land Gatwick is more accessible even if further away. One incontrovertible benefit of HS2 will be to improve access to Heathrow from a large part of the UK, even without a dedicated HS link to Heathrow. Assuming Heathrow is still an airport by then :lol:
     
  21. ivanhoe

    ivanhoe Member

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    Your final paragraph is an extremely valid comment. Emirates use our regional airports to feed into Dubai and for the likes of us who live in the Midlands, it would be my first port of call if I was travelling to SE Asia. Obviously, price will play an important part in any decision making but I also value convenience as well.
     
  22. telstarbox

    telstarbox Established Member

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    Are the KLM connections via Amsterdam similarly well used?
     
  23. GrimsbyPacer

    GrimsbyPacer Established Member

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    They are at Humberside's airport.
     
  24. fowler9

    fowler9 Established Member

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    I was a bit gutted the recent KLM link to Schipol from Liverpool stopped. Obviously wasn't making money though, perhaps too close to Manchester. Leaves us without direct flights to a hub through one of the alliances. I will be interested to see how Czech Airlines and Blue Air do from Liverpool. Overall we do have a pretty good choice of destinations though.
     
  25. freetoview33

    freetoview33 Established Member

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    I think the KLM connections are from Bristol too, in the last few years there have been larger aircraft and an increase in frequency! if it gets any busier it will probably be upgraded to a mainline link rather than cityhopper.

    I still don't get why Air France cut back on regional connections to the UK as they do serve additional long haul destinations. Although maybe they don't want to compete with them selves or with easyjet!
     
  26. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

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    if a new runway was opened at LGW, then there would have to be a way of making/encouraging an airline or group of airlines to move there, otherwise it will only be of use for LCCs and Charter carriers plus the odd 'additional' flight by the likes of Emirates and the Asian carriers, and LHR would still be full.
    If, for example, all the Star Alliance and Skyteam carriers were made to move to LGW, that would free up loads of space at LHR for BA to transfer all its flights from LGW and open new domestic flights.
    In the real world that would be a legal minefield and would never happen!
     
  27. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    Another runway at Gatwick will almost certainly be what the government goes with, assuming it is not absolutely ruled out by the Davies report, which it won't be, so better start planning now for the vast potential increase in rail passengers. Lots of spare capacity on the existing line(s)? Currently half-empty trains running round in search of passengers? We all know the answer to those questions. Better start tunnelling from somewhere well south of Croydon: if they couldn't squeeze in a couple of extra tracks on the approaches to London Bridge, what chances through Balham? And, in any case, which London terminal? Those old Eurostar platforms at Waterloo would have to be favourite, if not the only possible solution. Victoria couldn't cope, not least because of the Victoria Line! (Why TfL aren't prioritising another line through Victoria has to be one of the transport mysteries of the century, but that's for another thread).

    Oh, yes, there's Gatwick to Heathrow transit passengers, but that appears more soluble, with enough cash and the airport owners having to stump up a lot of it.
     
  28. WestCoast

    WestCoast Established Member

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    Flybe's new Amsterdam route from Liverpool has a codeshare and baggage interline agreement with KLM I believe. Should be able to book through tickets.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I think that is a very important and well made point. While an extra runway at Gatwick does offer much needed extra capacity in the South East, in my view it does not address the key issue here of Heathrow capacity.

    All this talk of moving airlines or alliances to Gatwick is very outdated. It was all done before in the past (with Gatwick and when Stansted was newly built) and yet most major scheduled intercontinental carriers have made their way over the years to Heathrow where the hub is and the money-making passengers are. US carriers like Continental as it was were kept well out of Heathrow for years, in the "waiting room" at Gatwick. I doubt any of them would relish the opportunity of relocation after many have paid large sums of money for Heathrow slots and terminal access.

    Would Gatwick benefit from two runways (that can be used simultaneously uinlike the current situation)? Well, in my view it would, but only with its own capacity problems.
     
    Last edited: 28 May 2015
  29. telstarbox

    telstarbox Established Member

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    That suggests that airlines and airports operate in a free-market system whereas the reality is that there are constraints imposed by the infrastructure and government.

    Also, why does Heathrow generate more money-making passengers than if the same flights went to Gatwick? Even with Crossrail and Thameslink the journey times to the West End, City and Canary Wharf will be similar by rail.
     
    Last edited: 28 May 2015
  30. WestCoast

    WestCoast Established Member

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    Just a little point that many NIMBYs (not on here!) forget. There is no other city in the world that I can think of that has six commerical airports to its name (London City, Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and Southend). So London is very much a unique situation. There are also not many 60+ Million passengers a year airports with only two runways and Gatwick is the busiest single airport runway in the world. So, extra capacity is needed whatever way you look at it. Yes, I do live under a flight path too!

    Absolutely true, but the Government had tried to restrict Heathrow access through legislation and bilateral agreements for years. Most intercontinental carriers were determined to fly to Heathrow however. Airlines had fought over the years to change this and paid extraordinarly high sums of money for Heathrow rights. Nowadays, the market restricts their expansion and of course newcomers through the market for expensive and limited slots.

    Much short-haul point-to-point traffic already avoids Heathrow. easyJet, the largest UK airline by passenger numbers does not touch Heathrow. So in one way, we already have a split of traffic in that Gatwick/Stansted/Luton/Southend serve one market and Heathrow is there to serve as the Connection hub and intercontinental traffic airport. However, it is restricted in its ability to do so. I have no figures, but currently not many airlines at Gatwick offer connections.

    For the same reason I guess that London City serves a different market to Stansted. Certain airlines like BA tend to make the most money out of business travellers and premium leisure travellers who want to fly out of the "most central" and "well connected" airports. They buy the higher yielding tickets. That is perceived to be Heathrow for many especially inbound business and leisure travellers, regardless of the reality.

    Of course, Ryanair make great profits out at Stansted, but then their market and business model is not the same as BA's at LCY or Heathrow.

    Heathrow is supposedly perceived as the premium airport, which is connected to central London and all the Business districts. Crossrail will give even better access.

    You could split hubs between Heathrow and Gatwick using regulation, but it would be an "interesting" task given the recent free market approach to airport control in Europe. Heathrow's largest customer would resist certainly, as BA already flies from Gatwick on various short-haul and long-haul leisure routes and knows their market there well. If BA is allowed to operate flights to New York from Heathrow, but say Delta is moved without choice to Gatwick, then given all the historical Background, a massive legal challenge would be mounted.

    Gatwick is still a very good and well connected airport and will no doubt help the cause if it is expanded. I very much doubt it will solve the lack of room at Heathrow though.
     
    Last edited: 28 May 2015
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