View Full Version : Sale of airports (LBA)

2nd Sep 2007, 08:07
probably on the wrong forum but hey-ho!

Just wondered how much the CAA and DFT look into the buyers of airports?

I work at Leeds-Bradford (LBA) and since the Bridgepoint consortium bought the airport off the council it's decline has been rapid. The airport needs a huge amount of regeneration, but nothing seems to be happening. Plans are apparently in the offing, but all they seem to be concerned with is shops! I know they have money to make, but surely the comfort and safety of the passengers should be at an acceptable level. The airport is filthy, cramped and badly organized.
Last night 9 flights landed within half an hour, a figure that a supposed international airport should manage with ease. Not LBA! There were over 1000 people in arrivals with only 3 baggage belts, surely this is not safe. The whole airport needs revamping asap or Donny will take most of the business

On a different note, have the DFT seen the new Jet2 buildings? How on earth are they going to be classed as landside? An access road runs parallel to a 2 storey building. Anyhow, that's my rant over

2nd Sep 2007, 08:25
Welcome to the airports of the 21st Century.............not so much airports as shopping centres with runways.
Here at Manchester we too are suffering the same fate, retail comes first, and then security and then maybe something to do with infrastructure.
Despite repeated calls for upgrades to the apron and buildings and baggage systems the only thing that gets pushed through is more shops, airport management nationwide have totally lost sight of what an airport actually is, and the the management companies see them as just a source of making revenue from a captive population,there goal to squeeze out every last penny from you and i.
But it will change, people are sick to death of the crazy restrictions imposed on travellers {only in avaiation}and are growing wise to the bright lights of the not-so-cheap shopping arcades. All they want to do is to get on an aircraft and travel quickly, something thats not happening at the moment.
Even i have even started to take the train to London from here its quicker cheaper and no wildly idiotic security.
The CAA and DFT dont give two hoots on who owns these places as long as they stick to there ever increasingly bizzare rules and regulations.


2nd Sep 2007, 09:14
The place is not worth developing anyway! An overdeveloped airport that should not have been developed from a grass runway on top of a hill. Runway on the very short side with very limited extension possibilities. A fatal overrun at the south east end with echoes of Congonhas....without the buildings. One day someone is going to put an aeroplane off the end and down that awful slope. The only question is not 'LBA...develop?', it's 'LBA.....why?'. It should be closed and money spent at a sensible location- surely there must be an ex-military airfield with beautiful long runways not too far from Leeds. Perched on top of the hill, it gets the worst weather and has an awful diversion record. A runway slope at the south east end that never stops making you laugh- it's like a Harrier ski-jump, the runway itself probably the worst and the roughest in the UK- it needs total resurfacing. The approach to the northwest takes you right over the city (noise). Road links are torture, it's a joke.....what exactly does it have going for it? It would make a beautiful sports park/playing field next to the sailing lake. Or a giant reservoir.

2nd Sep 2007, 09:43
I'm particularly amused by the "No smoking, even outside" signs that they seem to have plastered up everywhere, miles away from buildings, which are routinely ignored with impunity by anyone with even the remotest grasp of the law. The cabbie I used yesterday said he was waiting up there in a layby recently (not even remotely near the terminal), having a smoke next to his cab, and was told to put it out! Just an example of the amount of time and energy being thrown at things which in the grand scheme are frankly piffling, and the lack of energy being thrown at matters which facilitate a tangible improvement to the airport's core services.

I agree it's built in pretty much the stupidist place possible, but it's on my doorstep and very convenient. Obviously I'm just a scumbag PPL with a little plane in a big hangar, not a professional jet driver with schedules to keep so I see it from a different point of view, being lucky enough that my visits to the north-side are limited to perhaps once a year.

If Jet2 are getting some buildings does this mean they can stop cluttering up Alpha/November and we pikey GA types can have 09/27 back? ;)

2nd Sep 2007, 09:57
Didnt someone once park a blue and yellow Tristar off the end once.?
And yes no smoking is totally ignored here too, pax just sit outside and puff away in front of the No Smoking here signs.
Mind you one of the barmy suggestions that is being considered here is for "Airside"smoking areas for the staff..............outside.Because the poor little lambs on security are getting over-loaded with workers having to leg off outside the building for a quick fag and then cause queues on there way back at security.

2nd Sep 2007, 10:12
not so much airports as shopping centres with runways.

If I'm travelling somewhere by air, the last thing I need is even more things to carry. About the only use for shops in terminals (apart from food shops and possibly book/magazine shops) is to provide something to look at and wonder why people would buy the stuff.

Charley B
2nd Sep 2007, 10:16
That posting had me in stitches-but you are probably right--what do tou think of LGW ????????

These airport operators think as you rightly said retail,retail--a friend of my brothers worked at LGW doing complimentary medicine and apparently they linked the shop rent to turnover and upped and upped till they drove them out!
safety,staff conditions,and passengers should be thought obout before shops!

2nd Sep 2007, 11:19
What do I think of LGW? Very nice......when they have built another runway (for that matter where is LHR's desperately needed runway?), got rid of BAA, built another terminal and given us airline offices we can use.......!

Whilst the country is going through its current wealth phase (largely illusory), it gives the NIMBYs the apparent luxury to think to themselves (we must stop this development, we don't need these airports or all these holidays). When reality bites, as it will, we will be totally choked, all the traffic that uses the UK now will take themselves (and their money) to other European airports that can handle 'life' better. I see the now wealthy UK eventually sliding backwards at high speed with a population wondering why their pensions are such crap compared to what they expected (I know it's happening, but as they say, 'we ain't seen nuthin' yet').

When you let progress stop, you pay for it down the road.

Charley B
2nd Sep 2007, 11:55
it is already happening sadly--so many people we talk to in our line of work go to Schipol instead of using the london airports and go from there to their long haul destinations--LGW does need another runway badly-such a shame they will have to take a good bit of Charlwood out to do it--my fave place to move to!!!
atc etc cope so well at LGW -was up there in the week for about 2 hrs-but another runway is def needed and lots more flights can be handled--more for me to watch then as well!!!!!!!

old,not bold
2nd Sep 2007, 12:08
LGW? Very nice......when they have built another runway (for that matter where is LHR's desperately needed runway?You got it right....but there won't be another runway at LGW until some moment between 2020 ands 2024 at the earliest, and that's only if someone agrees to finance it, and if a planning consent is forthcoming in 10-13 years time.

LHR's desperately needed 3rd runway remains firmly located in FantasyLand; ie it isn't going to happen. The measures needed to satisfy environmental requirements that the UK is firmly signed up to, and will not go away, are so costly that the project is a non-starter. (The cheapest is to tunnel the M4 for about 25 miles, just to give you a flavour of the problem).

I was marginally involved with the first scheme (1980's) to put a STOL runway between the northern runway and the M4, when Charles Stuart was pushing that along. As usual the bean-counters killed it dead by talking about all the things that could, barely conceivably, go wrong, ably assisted by NATS's inability to contemplate any change to the way things had been done for the last 30 years (example: "low-level routes to/from that runway, from/to the North, are not possible"). The opportunity has now disappeared for ever.

For good measure, I have the strongest doubts that we'll ever see a 2nd STN runway. Ask yourself who is going to finance it, even if a planning consent is forthcoming, when the airlines, led by Ryanair, are pretty much unanimous that the only reason they use STN is that it's cheap, and that if that changes they'll be off. It's useless as a business airport for London until billions are invested in a fast surface link, and no-one's going to move to STN for the interline business.

It all goes back to the airports consultation in 2002/3; over 100m was spent in justifying, with some of the most spurious statistics and most blatant lies ever published by the present Government, a 'fait-accompli' decision to ignore all and any airport development projects for increasing London airports' capacity that did not have the name BAA on them. The fact that BAA had 25 or so staff "seconded" into the DfT to "help" with the study had nothing to do with the outcome, of course.

Several very viable, and do-able, projects were chucked out, while the Government "supported" putting a new runway at each of the BAA airports, knowing full-well that it was and remains likely that none will actually happen, except, perhaps, at LGW in 2020 or later.

But the decision did wonders for BAA's value, so that the inevitable sale of the company to the highest bidder regardless of UK PLC's interest, after getting that decision and before it became clear to all that the Government's strategy was in tatters, was at the maximum price for the shareholders. Cui bono; who is now very wealthy indeed as a result?

During that process, BAA also enlisted NATS to parrot some outrageous fibs about airspace use around London (Paraphrased example: "A 2000' runway at Redhill, parallel to LGW's runway, probably cannot be operated safely"), so as to kick some of the other projects into touch. The fact that BAA had just bailed NATS out of bankruptcy, and was owed tens of millions as a result, did not influence NATS' objectivity, of course.

The whole disgraceful episode, master-minded by the current Chancellor of the Exchequer, was an object lesson in how appallingly badly Britain is really governed, that took even people experienced in the ways of Government aback.

The shopping mall strategy of airport management has been/is being discussed elsewhere on pprune, a propos BAA and Ferrovial. Yes, of course it's time to ban retail apart from essential goods and catering from terminals, and use the resources freed up for passenger processing. But with retailers not air transport managers running airports that's unlikely.

Have I drifted the thread? Not really...what happens around London affects every airport in the UK, including LBA.

Buster the Bear
2nd Sep 2007, 12:36
I could start by talking about the Luton fiasco, but my language would have me banned from here.

If an airport is sold off, it has to make lots of money for its new owners that have probably borrowed large sums for the pleasure of owning it. The shareholders (if any) will also want paying!

2nd Sep 2007, 15:20
Hi there Clinton! Didn't I see you on stage at the Phoenix Club a few years back? I was sat behind Sonya and Debbie!!!Anyway, as Pyskit, you should have worked out that the new owners of LaBIA have only got a limited amount of time to make the pennies turn into pounds, and the quickest way is to generate money retrival outlets. Then you increase the PAX throughput and if that generates on target earnings, coupled with on target savings across the company, they can then bring in the money (By borrowing) to upgrade the infastructure.This is good company practice as it shows the business is there so the money needed to make good the runway, etc, is not wasted. The amount they borrow is related to the amount they can earn. Therefore the harder you all work, the less money you take out (IE time off, instead of Overtime) and the more money you get out of passengers, increased by more passengers all adds up to more money to spend on the things that need doing but dont directly generate income, and will almost certainly, not be quick projects.The best business works out where it can generate income quickly, gets that working, sees the money flow, and invests in the longer term.The company that bought LBA, will get in and out quick, so it needs to generate money streams fast, that increases the value of the business, which means its holdings go up in value, so it will sell on making a tidy profit, but setting the business up for a company that has its hands on longer term regeneration on building on exisiting levels of business, which currently does not want to be bothered with the risk.Get to 5m passengers within the next 5 years and you will see what I mean. The 1 or 2 companies that would want to buy LBA then, are currently upgrading there own airport infastructures but will be ready to move in over the next number of years.Of course, if the doom sayers have there way, then the company currently owning it, will lose its money, and will have to give it back to the council! By which time they will have spent the money on things like childrens play areas etc, and will have to get the government to give it a grant to pay for the things like a new runway!Now the question is? Is there a John in the Audience?

2nd Sep 2007, 19:08
There is of course the other angle, as to the motives of adding airports to one's business / investment portfolio. As an example then look no further than Peel, with a number of airports near to LBA. After assisting in the demise of 'Sheffield City' in identifying the land was worth more for development, questions now need to be asked of their motives at DTV where it's not for them 'retail bloody retail', but lets simply not invest at all. Perhaps those at LBA are lucky ? that Peel did not go after them, as after getting Finningly on the cheap, then perhaps it would have been too obvious in assisting the conversion of the competition into an industrial estate.

3rd Sep 2007, 19:56
STS,The ANO which makes Clause 3 of the aerodrome licence demand that any changes to the aerodrome must be approved by the CAA before they can be done would suggest that approval has been given. Either that, or at the next CAA audit, it will have to be taken down. Considering it will be in close proximity to the inner horizontal surface, I should imagine the correct approval will have been made before commencment. Or do you mean the ones down the apron?An assumption here, but I think you mean TranSec not DFT! They dont care about landside/airside. They just want to see how you control access to either area!.What should be addressed at LBA is the proximty of the Fuel storage Installation to the runway. As far as Peel is concerned, they are just aquiring assets, loss making or otherwise, for business reasons. If I was Clinton working at Leeds, I would be more concerned about who the next CEO will be. I hear on the grapevine its a man called Den Perry!!

682ft AMSL
3rd Sep 2007, 21:05
Turkey - my cryptology experience is limited to one reading of the Da Vinci Code and last nights failed effiort atempt to load 'Enigma' into the Sky+ box. So forgive me if I've misunderstood your cryptic messages, but are you by any chance trying to hint that the ex-CEO of NCL is being lined up for the LBA job. If so, this was plastered all over the press back in May so do not fear speaking openly about the matter.

The airport needs someone on board, not least so I can start a sweepstake on how soon it is before someone blames the new incumbent for
(a) the terminal not being big enough
(b) the runway not being flat enough
(c) the weather not being clear enough

....on the basis of this thread so far, I'm guessing about 6 weeks.


4th Sep 2007, 19:31
No I am not suggesting any Ex NCL guy splastered over some paper is in for any job. By my reckoning, Den Perry, who was convicted of setting fire to the Phoenix club, where, as I had stated, I saw Clinton offending people a few years back, must be out of jail now. It was a reference to his name and the connection with a TV Programme, which incidently I have used too. instead of a sweepstake you would be better off getting Ray Von to sort the Bingo machine out for Jerry St Clair to use on Bingo night, but keep him off Saki. He gets smacked off his t**s.

5th Sep 2007, 20:33
Spookily, today it was announced that the new MD will be ex-NCL.....

14 loop
6th Sep 2007, 00:12
....one of the worst kept secrets.:D

6th Sep 2007, 01:50
I grew up near LBA, I did some of my Commercial training there, and was based there when I got my first airline job. However, as much as I love (or perhaps once loved) LBA, pretty much everything Rainboe says in his post is correct, especially the poor excuse for a runway!

I once fought tooth & nail for my airline to expand its LBA route structure, but nowadays it really is a bad example of a Commercial airport, I even crossed Jet2 off my list of possible jobs because I knew I'd be based at LBA.


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