How deep is your campaign warchest?

One of the main reasons for British MPs ( admittedly on a three line whip - only defied if you 'do a Boris' and suddenly decamp to foreign parts, or resign your cabinet post) to put their arm-twisted weight behind an expansion of Londons Heathrow Airport and plump for the creation of a third runway; is the presumption that Air Cargo is substantially increasing year on year and would be a major contributory factor in the quest for a third runway, and the need to deliver it to central London, writes the aviation analyst and broadcaster Julian Bray.

Parliament has backed controversial plans to build a third runway at Heathrow. MPs backed the government’s proposal in the House of Commons by 415 votes to 119.

The CBI called the vote a “truly historic” decision, claiming it will “open the doors to a new era in the UK’s global trading relationships.”
However, the move is set to face a barrage of legal challenges from a cross-party group of London councils, the city’s mayor Sadiq Khan and Greenpeace UK. Others are said to be considering entering the fray.   
Foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who boasted he would "lie down in front of the bulldozers" if the plans went ahead, wasn't present for the vote in Parliament...

The resultant wholesale demolition of Harmondsworth and other villages seemingly reduced to a sidenote, as is the major disruption to the west London motorway network and London ring roads for many years to come. 

But the latest IATA authoritative Quarterly Market Analysis  on Air cargo trends does not support this, as recent protectionist measures triggered by President Trumps executive orders and many other retaliatory measures introduced elsewhere, have clearly moved the goalposts in terms of future world trading patterns.  

Constantly throughout Heathrows submissions to the (costs £120million) Airport Commission is the recurring theme, that Air Cargo will more than justify the expansion of this landlocked airport, a location with no main railway access, so cargo shipments will have to arrive and be collected from the airport site by road.

This in turn will place an enormous extra demand on an almost already gridlocked West London motorway and ring road network.

It is fair to say that Heathrow are virtually mandated to spend as much money as possible on the this third runway campaign and the physical construction, as the very odd deal brokered with the Civil Aviation Authority  means the greater the spend by Heathrow then the greater will be the resultant income percentage reward to Heathrow for years to come. 

The airport owners make great play of the fact that it wants to be a hub airport but in reality that ship has already sailed, as new environmentally friendly hushed aircraft with substantially extended ranges are already rapidly replacing the aviation fleets of just a few years ago.

Wide-bodied aircraft at the end of an initial operating lease (and notionally with a good thirty years life remaining) are being taken back by the lessors, then routinely mothballed, parked up or broken up for spares, a time that has provided much of the evidential basis for the Airport Commission and the £120million (pause as you consider this point) the panel managed to rack up in costs to produce a 400 page or so document, that is deficient in so many areas, and seems to have left out volumes of detailed evidence that should have had a major bearing on its findings.

Simply the evidence gathering was pre President Trump and his protectionist outlook, and at a time when the UK was firmly committed to, and inside the European Union. Brexit was a term yet to be invented!

Simply whatever you read in the media or hear in Parliament,  this project is now to face a wall of litigation and the proposed delivery date of 2030 may never happen.

It could for example see by that time, VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) passenger and cargo aircraft or even drone technology scaled up, negating the need for long runways or even the need for any runway at all! Just consigned to be a part of yeterdays technology. Simply no one really knows.

Many regional airports with their substantially much lower overhead have already thumbed their noses at the idea of servicing an exclusive Heathrow hub, and have been busy forging major relationships worldwide creating a P2P (point to point) arrangement ie flying directly from a regional airport to the intended overseas destination, where onward flights can also optionally be picked up and in many areas at a far lesser ticket or consignment price. You might ask for example why Alitalia routinely take in some air cargo shipments at their Heathrow cargo shed depot then truck them by road and ferry to their Rome airport for onward delivery by air?!  

So whatever the politicians say, there is still no firm guarantee that Heathrow will ever happen the way the current owners and our MPs have suggested. Regional airports would be strongly advised to renew marketing and commercial efforts to develop their own point to point schedules.

Certainly Boeing have recently released a concept aircraft that will reduce the UK to New York journey time down to just two hours. Which on a bad day can be the taxi journey time from the centre of London to Heathrow ...

Simply the battle for Heathrows third runway isn't over. We've had the phoney war and parliament has green lighted the project but should the Government change, Labour are already on record as saying they want to review the whole matter again and who knows even take back the airport into public ownership. No one so far has addressed that particular 'elephant in the room'.  


IATA  Quarterly Cargo Market Analysis.
Key points:   
  • Year-on-year growth in air freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) slowed to 4.0% in the three months ended April, with freight volumes now having broadly tracked sideways in seasonally adjusted (SA) terms over the past six months.
  • The best of the upturn in air freight demand is now well behind us, and it is important to note that wider momentum in world trade also looks to be slowing in the face of a pick-up in protectionist measures.
  • Strong consumer confidence and bottlenecks in global supply chains should continue to lend support to air freight demand in the near term.
  • But business surveys currently point to annual FTK growth slowing further in Q3 2018.
  • The upward trend in cargo yields has moderated since the start of the year. However, the ongoing increase in daily freighter aircraft utilization should help to reduce average costs and to partly offset the impact of rising fuel prices.
View full report

@JULIANBRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, ... http://feeds.feedburner.com/BraysDuckhouseBlogwww.aviationcomment.com, ... http://www.freelancedirectory.org/user.php?user=8121 ... www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment, ... Aviation / Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industries, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 ... SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476
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