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Plymouth City Airport Closure

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Plymouth City Airport Closure

Old 5th May 2011, 20:43
  #41 (permalink)  
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Nostalgia is great but it doesn't make money.

The fact is that far bigger airports than Plymouth are struggling to come up with 3 to 5 year plans to convince their investors to continue the cash flow for the future.

Turning Plymouth Airport into a housing estate or an industrial estate is a far better return for the current lease holders and the land owners, as both will benefit from a substantially larger annual return than the airport could ever have provided.

If any of you can come up with a viable alterantive, I challenge you to provide it.
Plymouth is well served by both Exeter an Newquay Airports, a reasonable road network and a comparatively good rail link.

Why should private, or public funding (tax payers money) , secure the commercial future of an airport which doesn't have one?
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Old 6th May 2011, 09:29
  #42 (permalink)  
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How much truth is in that story about plans to keep the airport open?:

Crunch talks to save Plymouth City Airport : South West : Insider News : Insider Media Ltd

All other media make it sound as if the stakeholders pretty much have accepted the fate of PLH.
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Old 6th May 2011, 11:35
  #43 (permalink)  
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Mr Parlby another management consultant with his finger on the pulse.

"Scale back the operation and costs thus lessoning the need for Air Traffic Control Services, Radar and bar services"

Plymouth has no Radar costs as it does not have radar. The airport is on a hill
and has to a have a certain level of ATC service in order for operators to use the instrument procedures otherwise expect the aircraft only be able to land 50% of the time from October to April.

I know Mr Parlby why don't the chamber of commerce just provide one of those chaps with two table tennis bats at the end of the runway.

In fact here is a better piece of advice . If you do not know what you are talking about, do not comment or talk to people who do first to get you facts right.
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Old 7th May 2011, 09:52
  #44 (permalink)  
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This is such a Shame for Plymouth. Plymouth has a bigger City and More population than Exeter so it proves that Plymouth should have an Airport. They need to extend that Runway.

I was reading they are planning to do a study into Saving the airport, Just hope it works

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Old 7th May 2011, 12:03
  #45 (permalink)  
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They need to build a new bl00dy airport!

To extend the runway, but only by a little, they either build into a housing development or build on stilts, cost effectiveness?

What is there worth saving at the Roborough airfield, the airfield (landing strip) is 476ft above sea level thus attracts the crappiest weather, I can recall a month of February during which PLH didn't see an aircraft for the entire month whilst cloud remained on the surface, I've watched 50 seater airliners almost tripping over the pylon cables, whilst getting below cloudbase, on Dartmoor whilst trying to find the airfield, even with a marginally extended runway the writing remains on the wall for the current airport!

If there is a genuine need for a Plymouth Airport then here's the opportunity for those in a position to do so to put their money where their mouth is, there is bag fulls of land available to the south east of Plymouth, much nearer to sea level than Roborough, ripe for development for a circa 6,000ft runway airport, can even use the Roborough runway for hardcore for a decent length runway, then the marketing people can try to encourage all sorts of operators, not just STOL aircraft operators, to their nice shiny new airport.

P.S. There currently remains a runway in a farmer's field mid (ish) point between Yealmpton and the A38!!!
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Old 7th May 2011, 14:29
  #46 (permalink)  
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Plymouth Airport Closure

My first job as an ATCO was at Plymouth back in err...1976.
Two Twin Otters and an Islander (Brymon Airways) and a few Chipmunks of the EFTS. Great fun to work there and good people...Farewell Plymouth...
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Old 7th May 2011, 15:00
  #47 (permalink)  
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'They need to build a new bl00dy airport!'

Phileas, you've got it in one but it should have been done 50 years ago.

Many moons ago now, I wrote a dissertation about Plymouth's (Roborough's) aiport and its viablity. Research revealed a never ending deluge of consultants' reports that all came to the same conclusion (surprise, surprise) viz Roborough was not viable in the long term and the only option was a new, greenfield airport.

The result was a never ending deluge of council prevarication and buck passing; if someone had grasped the nettle in the 60s I don't think we would be having this discusson now.

At that time (the 60s) Newquay wasn't in the equation and Exeter was a small, struggling airport. With a catchment area of Cornwall and the City itself, there were over 800,000 potential passengers. The new Plymouth Airport would probably have seen Exeter decline and extend its catchment (given new services) to Exter and beyond. It had the potential to be the dominant air facility west of Bristol.

That's what 'could have been' and unless the council can come up with some sort of PFI (or even, dare I say it, EU money - one only has to look at some of the magnificent runways constructed in the backwaters of the Irish Republic) Plymouth's long association with aviation appears to be at an end.
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Old 7th May 2011, 15:26
  #48 (permalink)  
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Perfect: shove this in Google Maps (it doesn't like coordinates too much so you have to scroll the map south-west a little from the A marker)! 50.36342 -3.99147
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Old 7th May 2011, 15:39
  #49 (permalink)  
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Aero Mad,

That's the farmer's field runway I referred to in my post above, it has been there a long time although I understand it hasn't been in use recently.
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Old 7th May 2011, 20:40
  #50 (permalink)  
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It was EU funding that paid for the construction of the PLH terminal, the airport couldn't even afford to build itself a very basic terminal building!

At the time Brymon took the airfield lease over Roborough was a field with three grass runways, I don't recall who paid for the initial paving of one and a half of those runways but knowing Bill Bryce (RIP) as I did I very much doubt any such funding came from his pocket!
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Old 7th May 2011, 20:55
  #51 (permalink)  
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Other than ethical reasons (jobs, economy etc) - is there demand locally still there for potential flights to strengthen any hope? Is there popularity that can be worked on - I dont know how the can go from just under 1000 passengers per day to less than 100 - surely demand for routes is thriving still?
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Old 7th May 2011, 21:29
  #52 (permalink)  
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There was a time when the only business type route(s), besides such leisure routes as CI, ISC, ORK, MXN, BES or similar, to/from PLH were to LGW & LHR thus all such travellers from/to PLH, indeed NQY also, were funnelled in to the London routes regardless of where their ultimate destination in UK, Europe, World may have been ..... and this worked.

Then aviation changed, over recent years all these LoCo carriers developing otherwise unfeasible routes, beancounters start running airlines etc, and Brymon dropped a number of leisure routes in favour if trying to develop more business type routes to a number of UK destinations, this being combined with the LHR slots being taken away from the Devon/Cornwall carrier.

So, in the days of the LON routes the pax had a choice, "LON or you take the train" and 100% of flying pax travelled making the LON routes viable, more recently percentages of those LON pax have been offered BRS, MAN, LBA, NCL or wherever and this, combined with the loss of the LHR (connecting flights) slots, indicates that there aren't enough pax to make all these different business type routes viable ..... meanwhile, just as an example, the choppers and Skybus have picked up on the ISC business that Brymon threw away etc.

I believe there is business for an airport in PLH, nobody need expect to make a million from it but I believe it could be viable, a business route twice daily and once daily at weekends, Channel Islands, perhaps a once weekly summer to Palma or similar, general aviation, flying school/club or similar, and so on, but these need an airport and not a landing strip on top of a hill!

P.S. Where did you get circa 1,000 pax per day from? That would equate to filling 20 DHC8's per day but bearing in mind most are split loads with NQY that becomes 25 pax per DHC8 .... 40 DHC8's per day!!!

Last edited by Phileas Fogg; 8th May 2011 at 15:29.
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Old 7th May 2011, 21:37
  #53 (permalink)  
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Not quite 1000 - maybe closer to 500. I was seeing figures of just under 200,000/year at the airports peak.
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Old 9th May 2011, 09:38
  #54 (permalink)  
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Phileas is right, there is a case for an airport but a modest and diverse one. The problem with Plymouth is that it has water to the South and Dartmoor plus a low density area of Cornwall surrounding it. Counting the South Hams it takes 20 minutes longer to drive from Kingsbridge to EXT than PLH ( RAC Route Planner) so that catchment area is split. With the dockyards hardly thriving is there really a case for a major airport at PLH?

Like so many of these regional airports its future lies in diversification and perhaps very limited scheduled flights, a delicate balance. Let's buy the Ark Royal and an Islander.........!.
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Old 9th May 2011, 10:42
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If one looks at St Mawgan then there is Perranport just down the road, St. Just and Bodmin a bit further etc.

My thinking was "What is there around PLH?". . There's a disused farmer's strip north of Yealmpton, a disused (I think) grass strip west of Mary Tavy, there is, or was, RAF Harrowbeer, I mean there is nothing around, the nearest airfields, I think, being Bodmin and/or Exeter.

There are businesses in Plymouth that would like to fly execs in/out, even operate their own aircraft, there are youngsters that would like to learn to fly, there are light aircraft owners, exec aircraft owners, passing military traffic etc, besides the travelling public there will be nothing around to accommodate these types of businesses.
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Old 9th May 2011, 10:48
  #56 (permalink)  
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@phileas - that's a solid view. But what chances are there of commercial aviation? What routes would it actually need to survive?
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Old 9th May 2011, 11:10
  #57 (permalink)  
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I've never been in airport commercial however much of a problem around UK is airports have taken over ex military airbases, expanses of land, tarmac etc, all of which need to be paid for, maintained, secured etc.

One airport, that springs to mind as being different, is Dundee, ideally an airport runway should be longer than Dundee but I'm talking about the size of the airport grounds, it's small and, in that respect, cost effective, get such a ground space close to Plymouth then that would be a good place to start.

An airport needs it's 'bread & butter' such as on site flying school, perhaps an exec aircraft centre, a maintenance facility, as far as airline routes are concerned well, I'm guestimating, PLH warrants a 30 (ish) seater aircraft to operate a business route morning and evening, LHR slots have gone, LGW doesn't offer enough connections, so perhaps MAN, certainly during the summer a middle of the day Channel Islands, a middle of the day Ireland service, think Ireland would work year round, perhaps CI also, that's one airliner pretty much occupied and an airport taking in the revenue from car parking, cafateria sales etc, and of course landing/navigation and aircraft parking fees, never mind the rent for the home based airline's hangarage or whatever.
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Old 9th May 2011, 11:24
  #58 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Phileas Fogg View Post
Then aviation changed .... beancounters start running airlines etc
I suspect beancounters have been running some airlines, particularly those that have stuck around, for some time now. It's those who were led by supposed visionaries, or those who had little commercial ability, who tended to run out of beans, and are thus no longer with us.

Regarding regional UK routes, the Whitehall bureaucrats, who of course never use connecting flights from the provinces on to overseas themselves, have consistently missed the plot with Heathrow They should have declared it a singular national resource (which of course it is), and allocated a limited number of slots, properly spread through the day, for routes to provincial cities. Thus they would have got far more political support for the expansion of Heathrow, if those from the rest of the country were to actually use it. How concerned is the MP for Plymouth about Heathrow if a) There is no service there and they don't use it, or b) It is seen by them and all the businesses of the area as their link through to other countries. And you can bet that BA would have embraced the operators of such routes as commuter feeders, knowing that if they did not the slot could not be used for the 50th flight of the day to New York, but would go across to Star Alliance or whoever.
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Old 9th May 2011, 11:32
  #59 (permalink)  
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Then surely we should be welcoming and supporting Southend? Surely that's where the bridge can be built?
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Old 9th May 2011, 11:43
  #60 (permalink)  
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If you're talking of PLH/SEN/PLH then that would work for travellers starting/finishing their travels around London but connecting travellers expect, quite rightly, to step off one aircraft and step on to the next aircraft without leaving the airport, in this respect PLH/SEN/PLH would be, pretty much, operating from one regional airport to another regional airport.
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