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UK airports closing

Old 19th Mar 2014, 14:57
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UK airports closing

In the last 5 years, Coventry and Plymouth airports closed (at least to passenger ops). Today it seems Manston will close on or shortly after the beginning of May. Prestwick seems to be in substantial trouble. It seems that Durham Tees Valley will lose passenger ops by late 2015. Dundee almost lost passenger ops earlier this year and is surviving purely on Govt subsidy of a single route.

5 airports closing to passenger ops seems quite a lot. Yes, the UK has too many passenger airports, but these airport closures seem to be happening over a relatively small number of years - it seems there is something besides just oversupply of passenger terminals and something more fundamental happening to trigger these events. Are we just seeing more delayed legacy from the 2002-2007 debt fuelled boom, or has Govt regulation made it more difficult for small airports to survive ? Or is the rise of LCCs the primary cause ? Or is each airport closing for specific and geographically unique reasons ?

Discuss...

Note - the aim is to look at the overall cause of multiple airport closures in relatively quick succession. Hearing people moaning about management at 1 single airport is not the aim, nor is the aim of my post a wish to hear a repetition of 'the UK has too many airports'.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 15:16
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The economic situation compounded with high oil prices has seen the European airline industry go through its toughest ever turbulence. The downturn started in mid 2007 and the industry began to climb out of the hole mid 2013. Many airline casualties along the way too. Marginal airports mean marginal routes.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 15:18
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airports closing

davidjohnson6.

It's not just the larger passenger facilities closing.
Wellesborne airfield just outside Stratford upon Avon has also just been sold to developers.I think a large number of houses are to be built on the site,although I would appreciate it if someone could confirm that.
This means if memory serves,a Vulcan bomber might need re-housing,again confirmation is needed on this.
As this has only happened in the last week or so details are a bit sketchy but I am pretty sure at least 1 flying school might need a new home.
Sadly if more money can be made by selling the land to developers then many more smaller fields will go the same way.
As for the larger fields I thought Coventry was still hoping bring back passenger flights!!??,although with BHX doing well at the moment I think any future plans may well be scuppered.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 15:25
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Fear not, help is at hand, Gideon has just announced.
"REGIONAL airports have been handed a Budget boost from the Treasury after the Chancellor revealed plans to reform Air Passenger Duty, and give operators help to woo airlines."
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 15:36
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I welcome closure of marginal airports IF it means airports within 40 miles have a better chance of survival.

The airport in every county model doesn't work and with billions spent in road and rail infrastructure it was never going to.

Locals want flights to everywhere.
Which simply means flights to Sunshine destinations for summer holidays and the 1-2 weekends away. It has to be at the same price as the big airport 50 miles away and have a big "duty free" shopping area.
Oh and it can't be noisy either.

It will be painful for people whom had a local airport but never supported it but other than billions in subsidy which is not justifiable long term then alternate use which is either housing or industry is the only way forward.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 16:22
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UK airports closing

Who currently ops into manston , and how easy is it to relocate in the timescale given ( assuming they didn't already know)?
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 16:33
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Only manston passenger ops year round is KLM twice daily to AMS.

There's also cargo ops.


cs
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 16:35
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UK airports closing

Thanks Cornish. Any idea of the cargo carriers
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 16:52
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Fear not, help is at hand, Gideon has just announced.
"REGIONAL airports have been handed a Budget boost from the Treasury after the Chancellor revealed plans to reform Air Passenger Duty, and give operators help to woo airlines."
Am I missing something? Bands C & D of APD has been abolished, which affects circa 5% of passenger flights from UK airports. How does abolishing APD for ultra long haul destinations help regional airports, apart from the 1-2 (can I count VS as a hub/spoke carrier?) airlines that operate domestic hub operations from regional airports.

If anything taxation on domestic aviation is going to rise well above inflation in the next parliament and beyond, as the government will try and promote the 'green' train and HS2.

On my last trip to the USA, it cost me 250 to go outbound, but inbound cost just $25 in taxes.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 16:56
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If Manston does go it will be interesting to see if there is any benefit for the other Kent airport, Ashford, I doubt that there will apart from some training movements. How long are the Middle Eastern paymasters going to keep Ashford afloat?
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 17:19
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UK airports closing

Where will these carriers go.....STN.....DSA ?
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 17:24
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UK airports closing

So it's not definitely closing, it's a 45 day consultation period. Every year though they threaten it to be a housing estate
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 17:29
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DJ6 - as ever, an intelligent question which I will attempt to answer in the same vein.

In my view, what is happening is an extension to the LCC boom of the noughties.

1. During the last 20 years, the passenger's understanding of value has been fundamentally altered. With the likes of Ryanair, easyJet and their competitors, the perception of flying in the minds of the public has been that you can fly to the Med for 50-60 if you book soon enough. That has been extended to flying to European capital cities, and to the main domestic routes. 20 years ago I was flying to Scotland on business regularly, and a day trip was always over 200, my perception is that such a trip would be significantly cheaper (in terms) today.

2. This change in perceived values has been accompanied by the introduction of large aircraft (150-200 seats) on routes from the UK provinces to Europe, and within the UK.

3. There seems no room for small airlines, small aircraft and high fares in today's market. Even FlyBe struggle for profitability with a large fleet of efficient turboprops.

4. These marginal airfields are often too close to other, established airports (Coventry), or limited in scope (Plymouth) or with a marginal catchment area (Manston) to be able to attract the LCCs and their preference for regular, high capacity jet operations.

5. This sequence of events has been exacerbated by two external factors: the worst recession in a generation, and the imposition of APD.

I fear more airports are at risk (Prestwick, Lydd, and maybe Blackpool, Cardiff and Doncaster). These last three are close to other competing airports who have successfully harnessed LCCs (MAN/LPL, BRS and EMA respectively).

/Tin hat on; ready for incoming./
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 17:54
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can't help thinking that the billions being spent on Hs2 would be far better spent on roads and airports - UK could be best connected in aviation terms in the world with that volume of cash subsidising the airports industry. And nobody needs to have their back garden dug up for a train line that has about three stops along the route
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 20:31
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Where did you get the info that DTV will lose passenger ops by late 2015? Haven't seen anything on local news (or on here for that matter) to that effect...
Cheers
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 20:32
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BHXBOD

I can put your mind at rest, at least, for the time being.

Wellesbourne has not been sold to developers YET. There is a
plan for 1600 houses to be considered by the Council who are
divided on the issue. Needless to say, the local residents are
not happy and I would anticipate quite a fight. Other locations
under threat are Gaydon and Long Marston.

I do fear, however, with this governments push for housing that
the battle may be eventually lost.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 21:09
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jensdad - admittedly based on inference rather than formal announcement, using a mix of the length of KLM's contract at DTV, DTV airport telling Thomson and other charters to go away, and KLM's recent public statement to support DTV for 12 months.

There's a lot more on the DTV thread, but I should warn that it gets awfully depressing reading some of what's discussed there !
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 22:58
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Surely the other major factor in all of this is that we have all been encouraged to believe that public ownership of airports (and everything else) is Bad while selling off such public assets to any private company - whether a US private equity group or a dodgy Arab gun-runner - is Good. Local authorities, who used to own many of the UK's airports, have been bled to death and are no longer in any position to run airports (with a few and declining exceptions). Meanwhile our esteemed entrepreneurs have been found - surprise surprise - to have no interest in running airports, only in an increase in asset value. It's just a microcosm of the wider economy, where free-floating finance capital is encouraged while public infrastructure and real productive activity is decimated.

NS
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Old 20th Mar 2014, 00:08
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point missed perhaps

I don't think any of you have mentioned the high cost of security needed for any sort of commercial ops especially SLF
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Old 20th Mar 2014, 02:05
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Penzance and Tresco also closed
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