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Germany is irrelevant (to policy)

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Germany is irrelevant (to policy)

Old 18th Jun 2012, 14:06
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Germany is irrelevant (to policy)

A plea to all the policy makers out there!

<rant>

One of our "major" regional airports has launched a campaign saying the UK should become "more like Germany" with regards to aviation policy.

I wish people who think they know about aviation would STOP trying to compare the UK to Germany! The two countries are entirely different geographically.

The most BASIC of atlases will tell you that. By all means compare Germany with the USA and compare the UK with France. If you understand that it is all about distribution, not size, then you are entitled to hold an opinion on the subject!

If not, please stop wasting our time, and stop trying to influence policy makers too as they will see straight through you.

<end rant>!
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Old 18th Jun 2012, 14:32
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The German economy is much stronger than that of France - despite what the French Govt may say to French voters ! The Germans also have more of a reputation for engineering and thoroughness.

Furthermore, policymakers can't always see through every argument - Govt ministers are fundamentally ordinary people who need to retain popularity amongst voters.

Clever PR combined with the odd bit of stupidity in Govt will not succeed all the time, but it does sometimes have an influence.
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Old 18th Jun 2012, 14:40
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And France eat snails, horses and frogs ... but Germany don't
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Old 18th Jun 2012, 14:42
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Scotland will be a bit like Germany ...
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Old 18th Jun 2012, 23:30
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Quote: "One of our "major" regional airports has launched a campaign saying the UK should become "more like Germany" with regards to aviation policy."

Do you know which one?

Maybe they want 4 rwys at the country's main hub, allowing proper domestic connectivity, that would certainly be "more like Germany".

Good rant!

Quote: "Scotland will be a bit like Germany ..."

How so?

Last edited by Fairdealfrank; 18th Jun 2012 at 23:32.
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Old 19th Jun 2012, 10:15
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Devil

The UK is actually very similar to Germany in terms of population density - 244 people per km2 in the UK vs. 233 per km2 in Germany. Yes, it's bigger on the whole, but the two major LH hubs of FRA and MUC are not that far apart - 190 miles roughly, which is about the same distance as Manchester to London.

In terms of geographical area size, France is actually considerably larger than both Britain AND Germany, being the largest country in Western Europe. I don't know why you would compare Germany to the USA, since Germany is slightly smaller than the US state of Montana! The point being is that it's all about population density when it comes to geography.

I think the main argument here is that Germany has two main world hubs and yes Munich is a hub. With services to places like Jakarta, Mexico City and Busan, it is definitely not an O&D focus city for LH.

However, on the other side, it obviously can sustain hubs like that for various economic and geographical reasons, so it's not something that can be replicated by BA in the UK!

Last edited by EuroWings; 19th Jun 2012 at 11:32.
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Old 19th Jun 2012, 10:46
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It’s not about population density, it’s about population concentration/distribution.

If you were to calculate
% population in largest city
% of population in two largest cities
% of population in 3 largest cities
And so on

You could plot the results graphically. You would probably (if Jabird is right) find that the curves for the US and for Germany would be very similar to each other, likewise the curves for UK and France. But the two pairs of curves would not resemble each other at all.

And if you did it for Scotland I suspect it would look more like US/Germany than UK/France

Last edited by The SSK; 19th Jun 2012 at 10:46.
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Old 19th Jun 2012, 11:39
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That does make sense, but how do you calculate the city populations?

For example in Manchester, do you go on the population of the conurbation (which is high) or on the population of the actual city (which is quite low)? That surely makes a large difference to whether you consider the country to be more urbanised or not in terms of population distribution...

Likewise, the polycentric Rhein-Ruhr conurbation in Germany's North West is an mainly urban sprawl of over 11 million people with a density of 3,684 people per square mile, but the most significant cities in the area like Düsseldorf (circa. 500,000 pop.) and Cologne (circa 1 million pop.) appear to be quite 'small' on a wider scale.

Last edited by EuroWings; 19th Jun 2012 at 12:01.
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Old 19th Jun 2012, 11:45
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Would measuring population of an airport's catchment area be a better indicator on this ?
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Old 19th Jun 2012, 14:41
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Germany is like the USA in the sense, that it has very strong regional autonomous governments. Whereas in the UK, regional government is very weak & tied heavily to London. - hence the great north south divide which Germany does not suffer from.
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Old 19th Jun 2012, 19:29
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Do you know which one?
I do, but it was a general rant, most commonly heard around other English cities that are outside London.

Maybe they want 4 rwys at the country's main hub, allowing proper domestic connectivity, that would certainly be "more like Germany".
Well that won't happen at LHR, and if you want Boris Island, you'd have to kill two runways to make four, so still net gain two runways.

SSK - that is exactly what I am saying!

I don't know why you would compare Germany to the USA, since Germany is slightly smaller than the US state of Montana! The point being is that it's all about population density when it comes to geography.
Now without putting my geographer's hat on, population density is only part of the picture. Naturally, any airport wants as many people around it as possible, as long as there is a nice empty patch at each end of the runway(s) to reduce the nimby effect.

My point wasn't about density, it was about distribution.

Therefore, the US is highly relevant, as it has no single city that can claim to be more important overall than all the others. Best candidate would be NYC, but it is not the capital, it is not central, and it has no film industry like LA - even films "set" in NYC are usually made in Toronto!

MAN & BHX fight between them for 2nd city and you could draw comparisons with LYS & MRS - but you could add up the metro populations of all of these cities (approx 8m) and you still wouldn't make the population of either London (13.7m metro) or Paris (12.1m).

Of course, the US has cities where the aviation hub drives the population rather than the other way round (ATL, DEN perhaps), but they are the exception, not the rule.


Quote: "Scotland will be a bit like Germany ..."

How so?
Scotland has two major cities, not one, and they both serve quite different roles. However, in terms of providing a hub airport facility, could either ever be classified as such? GLA certainly has plenty of interlining to the PSO routes, but beyond that? Would need the Edinburgh parliament to offer some very generous incentives far beyond what they did with the route dev funds.
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Old 20th Jun 2012, 09:19
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The USA’s geography is very distinct, from an air-transport point of view. First of all, it’s a big country, so air had a major role to play, not just on the trunk routes. But most importantly, the population is distributed around the edges (more or less). Years ago when I had time on my hands, I drew a detailed map of where the US population was, and a very high proportion (I forget how much but I guess it was 80% or even more) was contained in a belt that went most of the way around the country.

It didn’t take a genius to notice that the hubs are distributed around the inner edge of this population belt, not just ATL and DFW but at the time I did this exercise there was also MSP, MKE, CVG, DAY, PHL, PIT, CLT, IAH. While not absolutely in the same mould, CHI, DEN, SLC and STL all had shorter hauls behind and longer hauls beyond. Plus the new hubs that American was trying to set up at Nashville, Raleigh/Durham and San Jose (remember them?).

I did a similar exercise for Europe, and the outcome was almost exactly the opposite. Something like 75-80% of the population of ‘Western’ Europe (one didn’t take much notice of the East in those days) was in the area roughly bounded by Manchester – Hannover – Munich – Marseille. Again, most of the hubs (LHR, FRA, ZRH, CDG) were situated on the edge of this area, which meant that they were strongly directional – LON and PAR had good behind connections for transatlantic routes but not for Eastern routes, the opposite was the case for FRA and ZRH. AMS had most of Western Europe as its catchment for transatlantics and the UK market behind for Eastern routes.

I wonder just how much of a hub LHR is these days, with so many of BA’s spokes, both long and short haul, having moved to LGW. How good a market is longhaul/longhaul? I did see some figures not so long ago stating that the biggest individual LH/LH flow through LHR was Bombay-Toronto, which would explain why Emirates is so desperate to expand into the Canadian market – and dangerous for BA if they succeed.
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Old 20th Jun 2012, 13:46
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Originally Posted by jabird View Post
A plea to all the policy makers out there!

<rant>

One of our "major" regional airports has launched a campaign saying the UK should become "more like Germany" with regards to aviation policy.!
Actually that would be quite good.

The major national airline would be allowed to come to a joint agreement with one of the major US airlines, without the EU sticking their nose in and requiring slots to be given away and other such arms-tied-behind-back things.

We would be back to having a world-leading airliner manufacturing facility, supported by a government who would rebut every attempt by Airbus to consolidate work into France.

We would have a substantial and continuing domestic flight system connecting into the major hub.

We would have new runways approved and built on the north side of our major hub airport .........

I can hardly wait.
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Old 20th Jun 2012, 14:20
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Frankfurt may have got its new runway, but the second runway at Dusseldorf was a saga of Whitehall Farce proportions.

It was proposed in 1963 and completed in 1992. But it couldn’t be used because the Greens had negotiated in 1983 that its use would be conditional on a movement cap for the whole airport of 71,000 in the busiest six months. By the time the runway opened, the airport was way busier than that.

For a long time the Greens were camped around the airport in case an aircraft – just one – would use the new runway, and the airport management were praying that no aircraft would inadvertently land on it, because that single event would trigger the movement cap and lose the airport a significant proportion of its business. It eventually got sorted but the standoff lasted for a couple of years at least while that very expensive concrete strip just sat there, doing nothing.
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Old 21st Jun 2012, 01:22
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The biggest difference between the USA on the one hand and the UK, France and Germany on the other is the size of the domestic market.

In a country with huge distances, sparse population densities (away from the coasts), and a lack of a comprehensive passenger rail network, flying is the transport of necessity, and, until recently, it was dirt cheap! Every tiny "two-bit" town has an airport with (at least) links to the nearest small regional base.

Hubs such as ATL, BOS, CLT, DCA, DFW, DTW, IAD, IAH, LAS, LGA, MDW, MSP and SEA are about 90%+ domestic. Even the large hubs like EWR, JFK, LAX, ORD, SFO, etc., are probably majority domestic. In this respect, the USA is more like Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India and the Russian Federation than like any country in Europe!

Last edited by Fairdealfrank; 21st Jun 2012 at 01:24.
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Old 21st Jun 2012, 08:59
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Breaking news - Greens force abandonment of Third Runway.

At Munich

Victory for German local group as airport expansion stopped | Friends of the Earth Europe
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Old 21st Jun 2012, 16:38
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Well.... BA did have regional ops....they had a purpose built hub at BHX! both AF and LH have developed regional services, as BA did. LH...FRA and MUC major hubs. But LH have also mini hubs at DUS (quite close to FRA) and at HAM, they have also begun to build up BER. AF have embarked on regional expansion in France. OK so it's all gone here in the UK. BA aren't bothered, BHX and immediate catchment area is Europe's 10th largest conurbation.... location to LHR irrelevent as per LH ops previously mentioned i.e DUS is near FRA. MAN big but no BA....etc. This is not going to change, but France has had considerable political devolvement, so is not as centralised as UK and now more like Germany. Seems the UK is BA LON (LHR,LGW,LCY) with BA condescending to serve a few cities to connect through the hellishly decrepit LHR so just go STAR or SKY TEAM, support those that support your local airports. Win Win! Stuff BA and LHR! Sorry not BA s/b LA!!
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Old 21st Jun 2012, 16:58
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Originally Posted by FQTLSteve View Post
Well.... BA did have regional ops....they had a purpose built hub at BHX! both AF and LH have developed regional services, as BA did. LH...FRA and MUC major hubs. But LH have also mini hubs at DUS (quite close to FRA) and at HAM, they have also begun to build up BER. AF have embarked on regional expansion in France. OK so it's all gone here in the UK. BA aren't bothered, BHX and immediate catchment area is Europe's 10th largest conurbation
Actually this is not a correct view. AF don't do any regional operations; if you go to Nice say, the only actual AF services you will see operate to Paris, just like BA domestics from Heathrow. You will see some regional operations from there run by an associated company with RJs, which is not dissimilar to FlyBe, with their 15% BA ownership which gives a seat on the board, and multiple regional hubs. The only real difference seems to be that one paints up their aircraft in the mainline colours (although not when CityJet are the regional operator) and the other does not.

Over in Germany it's much the same, by the way.
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Old 22nd Jun 2012, 00:40
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Quote: "but France has had considerable political devolvement, so is not as centralised as UK and now more like Germany"

Not so, France is far more centralised than you imply. It has a series of weak regional councils that deal mostly with transport (like PTEs in the UK) and economic development (like the "regional chambers" under Labour and now scrapped).

French regional councils are nothing like German lander (states), which are perhaps closer to the devolved executives in parts of the UK.

Apart from that, local government power rests with county councils (conseils generals) in each county (departement), and similar to UK county councils before the centralisation of the 1980s onwards.

"Quote: BA aren't bothered, BHX and immediate catchment area is Europe's 10th largest conurbation.... location to LHR irrelevent as per LH ops previously mentioned i.e DUS is near FRA. MAN big but no BA....etc."

Not convinced it's a case of BA not being "bothered". The absence of a BA network at BHX and MAN, or GLA for that matter, is probably more to do with the fact that they can no longer make money from non-LHR bases.

As a private company this has to be an important consideration, it's a long time since they were a government department/public corporation.

Last edited by Fairdealfrank; 22nd Jun 2012 at 00:46.
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Old 22nd Jun 2012, 09:01
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French regional councils are nothing like German lander (states), which are perhaps closer to the devolved executives in parts of the UK.
The level of devolution in the UK is nowhere near that enjoyed by the Laender in Germany, particularly Bavaria, which even more a free state than the others.

France is very much more like the UK politically, being overwhelmingly centralised on Paris. There are relatively few domestic air services because France, unlike the UK has properly invested in high speed rail. While the UK goes through endless public consultations, pandering to NIMBYs, the French identify a need and bulldoze the projects through.

they [BA] can no longer make money from non-LHR bases
I don't find myself convinced that BA cannot make money flying from outside London - they just don't want to. You can make figures prove just about anything, the old adidge about "lies, damned lies, and statistics" applies equally to accountancy in so far as how you choose to apportion costs governs whether an operation is deemed profitable or otherwise.
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