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Larger jets to disappear over Edinburgh?

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Larger jets to disappear over Edinburgh?

Old 5th Jul 2001, 19:46
  #1 (permalink)  
Joe Curry
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Question Larger jets to disappear over Edinburgh?

This article appeared in The Edinburgh Evening News:

"Airport’s new chief sets high standards"

IF Richard Jeffrey’s career path stays on its current route, he could be sunning himself on a tropical beach in the Indian Ocean before long.

The man charged with handling ever-increasing passenger numbers at Edinburgh Airport took
over the captain’s chair at the start of last month from Lesley Bale who, like him, ran Aberdeen Airport before arriving in the Capital.

She’s now managing Mauritius Airport, one of the investments that BAA - the former government-owned British Airport Authority - has around the world.

But if Mr Jeffrey is even slightly envious of his predecessor’s new role, his obvious enthusiasm for his colder and rainier job now in hand, covers it well.

The 35-year old says the "informal, relaxed and open" management style he’s brought from the
Granite City fits perfectly with what he needs to achieve here.

However, he’s streetwise enough to know airports are fickle products, and a drop in service standard can plummet passenger numbers.

On paper, Edinburgh is flying high. Figures revealed a 12 per cent rise in passenger numbers to 522,700 in May, the second best performing in Britain behind Stansted, despite an overall ten per cent dip in passengers travelling to British airports.

Admittedly, much of the growth has largely been put down to lack of confidence in the
railways, but it remains the fourth largest regional airport in Britain.

A total of 5.5 million passengers went through it last year compared with 2.4 million in 1990.

"Fundamentally, the product doesn’t need changed, but customers only experience an airport for about three minutes while they check-in. One bad experience will taint their impression.

There is a constant pressure on getting it right every time," he says.

With Majorca’s coach drivers’ strike in mind, he adds: "A lot of conditions are outside of our control, but they are outside the passengers’ as well, and it’s our job to make that as seamless as possible."

Mr Jeffrey has passed swiftly through the ranks of BAA, where he has been since he left
Imperial College in London in 1987.

His main experience has been trying to buy shares in airports around the world as part of BAA’s international division. His greatest hour was landing a £23 million deal to buy the management company behind Naples airport, when it left government hands for the private sector. As someone leaving education in the midst of Thatcherite Britain, and now working for one of the better examples of privatisation, Mr Jeffrey is convinced BAA plc runs Edinburgh Airport better than the Scottish Executive ever could.

"I am not going to sit here and say that privatisation is always right. But our particular experience has been nothing but positive.

"We have invested something like £400m in our three airports in Scotland. We have just
completed a £100m development here. All of that is without a penny of taxpayer’s money," he says.

"We are a major contributor to the local economy - around £260m a year - not just in terms of economic generation but also what we part with in hard cash.

"The track record and the pressure on public sector spending from all angles is such that you would have to fight for your money with other equally worthy causes - whether that’s
hospitals, schools, or the prison service.

"Being out of that bear pit makes longer-term planning much easier. We are also not subject to the whims and ups and downs of the political cycle. It’s great for the taxpayer because it doesn’t cost them a penny and, in terms of the passenger, it allows us to bring facilities on line that we need."

Like any business, Edinburgh Airport and the national network is now run on basic, strict
commercial terms - BAA spends "what it can afford to invest, on what the business needs, and what the customers are prepared to pay for it", he says.

Using the airport doesn’t cost a passenger anything - it’s the airlines who are charged £6 per passenger and differing charges per tonne for the aircraft they use to get here.

Airport shops pay BAA rent and there’s advertising revenue and car parking charges, which combined brought Edinburgh Airport around £50m last year .

The recent £100m worth of work is designed to provide capacity enough for eight million
passengers a year, but just as the scaffolding and tarpaulin has gone, Mr Jeffrey promises work is due to start again at the end of the year, as demand looks like outstripping the facility. He has already updated its previous ten-year plan.

"The current 12 per cent growth rate is unsustainable and I expect that to slow down to four-five per cent per year. The facilities should take us to 2005," he adds.

He plans to spend £10-20m a year for the next ten years "dependent on the revenues".

Trends in airport use are set to change in years to come with more smaller aircraft due to make more flights, and larger jets are likely to gradually disappear, certainly from the skies over Edinburgh.

As well as a new control tower, expect one, if not two, large hotels to be built nearby, and multi-storey car parks and other airport and cargo handling facilities to be built around the current main buildings.

New development work will also involve extending the aircraft taxi-way, as it currently doesn’t run the full length of the runway, restricting capacity. The issue is not the size of the runway and size of aircraft landing, it’s all about movements per hour," says Mr Jeffrey.

"The real growth in the services we are getting is in the 50-120 seaters, the ones that ultimately will make airlines more money."

Mr Jeffrey now expects to win "a couple more European and domestic services, and some
increases on domestic services" while he concedes talks are ongoing with two semi-serious US carriers.

"The focus in terms of route development will be around increased frequency to major European hubs to give the passenger genuine choice. That provides much more than a single service to New York.

"You can pretty much get to anywhere in the world from Edinburgh using one stop. That would not be improved with a trans-Atlantic.

"Edinburgh is pretty well-served - it doesn’t have every destination that every passenger wants but I am not sure than any regional airport does. But we have to face some of the economic realities that airlines only fly routes that can make money. What we do not want to do is take on a service, then lose it."

In recent months, there has been great debate on a rail link between the city centre and the airport. The airport is seen essentially as a utility for the local community, but whereas Mr Jeffrey likes the idea of a rail link, he clearly doesn’t think the economics will ever see it happen.

"Providing for the motorist is not a fashionable concept anymore - there has to be a conscious effort to encourage other forms of transport. The rail link is a difficult issue. Our position is that we think it’s a tremendous idea - but we also believe there are some serious questions over the
economic viability of it. It is around who is going to use it, how often, how much are they
prepared to pay for it.

"We are part-funding a feasibility study with the Scottish Executive. But a lot of the people coming to the airport don’t come from the city centre. A rail link for people in West Lothian is a fat load of use."

NICK BEVENS Business Editor
Thursday, 5th July 2001
Evening News

Old 5th Jul 2001, 20:27
  #2 (permalink)  
Hew Jampton
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">Using the airport doesn’t cost a passenger anything - it’s the airlines who are charged £6 per passenger </font>
Naturally the airlines absorb this cost themselves and don't recoup it in the ticket cost. What planet is he on? Typical BAA half-wit!
Old 5th Jul 2001, 20:46
  #3 (permalink)  
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Yup agree with that,but liked the bit where he said:

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">New development work will also involve extending the aircraft taxi-way, as it currently doesn’t run the full length of the runway, restricting capacity</font>
Good news. Guess it won't happen till the end of the ten years though. Anyone know if there are plans for both end to be done, or just one.

Old 5th Jul 2001, 20:55
  #4 (permalink)  
Joe Curry
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&gt;&gt;Naturally the airlines absorb this cost themselves and don't recoup it in the ticket cost. What planetis he on? Typical BAA half-wit! &lt;&lt;

Also brain-washed with BAA's categorisation policies.:

No BAA funded railway station at EDI but they
are funding one at GLA

Why go direct to New York when you can go one-stop!

I think BAA are running scared that the
Scottish Executive will take over the running
of EDI.?

If East Coast pax don't get a USA/Canada
direct scheduled or long-haul charter, the
Scottish Executive WILL take control. :-)

[This message has been edited by Joe Curry (edited 05 July 2001).]
Old 5th Jul 2001, 22:55
  #5 (permalink)  
Scottie Dog
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Red face

Passengers definatly pay - what do you think the various taxes on an air ticket for for. I cann't remember the exact figure for Edinburgh, but if anyone has a ticket lying around then look at the tax with UB after it. That's the Passenger Facility Charge being passed on by the airline.


Scottie Dog
Old 6th Jul 2001, 11:45
  #6 (permalink)  
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---- "but customers only experience an airport for about three minutes while they check-in."

Edinburgh must be some airport if this is all the time pax spend in the terminal!

What hope is there for the pax if this is BAA's idea of the typical airport experience.
Old 6th Jul 2001, 13:14
  #7 (permalink)  
The Guvnor
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Don't forget that PIK has the first - and only - privately owned railway station in Scotland.

Personally, I'm most surprised that no-one seems to have cottoned onto the fact that in terms of both UK and EU legislation, the BAA operates illegally. It controls the overwhelming majority of major UK airports (only MAN and arguably BHX are non BAA major UK airports); and has an effective monopoly (leaving aside LTN, which doesn't really count) of SE UK airports with long haul capability.

In Scotland, it owns ABZ, EDI and GLA. That means that PIK is effectively the only major airport there (capable of handling long haul/large aircraft) not owned by them (and of course it was until it was sold off).

The BAA has a vested interest in making sure that long haul traffic centres itself around the SE England airports (LGW, LHR, STN). It has no interest - as is clearly shown from this report - in developing long haul regional links which would benefit the rest of the UK; and would also benefit our overloaded ATC system.

Intervention by the MMC is long overdue and should be called for immediately!!
Old 6th Jul 2001, 20:09
  #8 (permalink)  
Joe Curry
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&gt;&gt;Intervention by the MMC is long overdue and should be called for immediately!! &lt;&lt;

Well said Guvnor! Some of your comments
have been borrowed and will be included
(anon) to a letter in reply to the article
in the Edinburgh Evening News. Thanks!
Old 6th Jul 2001, 20:43
  #9 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

UB £13.40 on EDI-LHR ticket
Old 6th Jul 2001, 21:54
  #10 (permalink)  
Joe Curry
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&gt;&gt;UB £13.40 on EDI-LHR ticket&lt;&lt;

A long way from BAA's £6 claim!

What is the UB from LHR to EDI?

Why do I have this feeling that EDI's
MD Richard Jeffrey has taken control of
BAA's 'hot potato' airport.?
Old 7th Jul 2001, 12:49
  #11 (permalink)  
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Joe Curry- the scottish executive can't run one small outside toilet building project at hollyrood without a £200million cost overrun let alone take over a complete airport.
Old 7th Jul 2001, 23:16
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When the MMC orders BAA to divest either EDI or GLA (now, that would be an interesting choice) - the City of Edinburgh council should buy the airport, and set it up as a free-standing (PLC) company with the council as the only shareholder, a la MAN, NCL, BHX, etc., etc.

This model is the way forward. We all know that the only reason that BAA keep EDI is to stop someone else from buying it.

I agree with the sentiments above; time to put an end to this farce!!
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Old 8th Jul 2001, 05:41
  #13 (permalink)  
The Guvnor
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This from today's Sunday Times...

Liddell backs direct air links
Joanne Robertson

HELEN LIDDELL, the Scottish secretary, has backed The Sunday Times's Fares Fair campaign, calling for more direct air links between Scotland and the rest of the world. Her declaration came amid growing concern that poor air links are hindering the recovery of Scottish tourism.

Liddell, who will host a summit on the issue later this summer, said she was determined to persuade the leading airlines to open new routes to and from Scotland. "I applaud The Sunday Times for championing the consumer with its Fares Fair campaign," she said.

"Direct and affordable air links with the rest of Europe and beyond are essential if Scotland is really to take off. They can boost our competitiveness and our tourism, both inward and outward.

"That is why I have invited the airlines, Scotland's airport owners and the Civil Aviation Authority to a summit to explore
the potential for more direct flights. The government is eager for results."

Her intervention follows The Sunday Times's campaign for more direct international flights from Scotland, cheaper transatlantic
fares from Scotland via Heathrow and cheaper internal flights to and from the Highlands and Islands.

The move came as new figures revealed fewer overseas visitors are coming to Scotland. They show that tourists are choosing to remain in London at the expense of the rest of the UK.

Income from overseas tourism in Scotland for the year 2000 decreased by 5%. The new statistics also show an identical decline for Wales, Northern Ireland and the North of England.

Scottish tourist chiefs greeted the news by calling for more direct flights into Scotland from international destinations. Visitscotland, the former Scottish Tourist Board, is now planning a series of meetings with key airlines to look at how the organisation could support new air links.

"It is clear that the number of overseas visitors coming to Scotland either don't have the time or the money to travel from London to Scotland, and the only answer is to bring more visitors direct into Scotland," said Peter McKinlay, interim chief executive of visitscotland.

He paid tribute to those airlines helping to bring visitors directly into Scotland, such as Ryanair, Easyjet, Icelandair and Continental, but added: "We desperately need more long-haul flights into Scotland, particularly from America and Europe, if we are to turn this trend around."
Old 8th Jul 2001, 10:20
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&gt;&gt;Joe Curry- the scottish executive can't run one small outside toilet building project at hollyrood without a £200million cost overrun let alone take over a complete airport.&lt;&lt;

They are at least talking about a rail-link
to Holyrood, BAA are not even interested in
one at EDI
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Old 8th Jul 2001, 11:41
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&gt;&gt; "We desperately need more long-haul flights into Scotland, particularly from America and Europe, if we are to turn
this trend around."&gt;&gt;

Has anyone stopped to consider that the choice of Scottish Airport on offer from BAA might not be the choice of the airlines.?

Are the start-up packages/charges at EDI
identical to those at GLA.?

Have BAA stated to inquirers that long-haul
scheduled and charter flights go to their
GLA branch?
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Old 8th Jul 2001, 13:55
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The Guvnor
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Joe Curry, don't forget that the runways at both Turnhouse and Abbotsinch are too short for MTOW ops of long haul aircraft - this means that they can get to New York but as some of the charter boys flying into SFB have found, a tech stop in BGR or similar is required.

Only PIK has a runway long enough for non-stop long haul operations.

Nor can EDI or GLA can extend their runways, either!
Old 8th Jul 2001, 15:47
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I experienced a tech stop on a 757,
763's,330s seem to manage SFB/MCO OK?

I agree that PIK is a natural long-haul
field but BAA are trying to push GLA
into a role that was never intended.

I believe BAA London were not impressed
with Scottish Airports at the time.?
Parochial wetness behind the ears?
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Old 14th Jul 2001, 00:00
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If I've understood the thread correctly, JC's point seems to be that BAA are deliberately favouring GLA over EDI for long-haul and charter services?

Might he tell us:

1) Why?

2) Why just long-haul and charter? What about other sectors of the industry?

3) How come their are flights operating ex-EDI that are both long-haul AND charter in nature e.g. Transat services to Canada?

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Old 14th Jul 2001, 01:41
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Red face

Helen Liddell is a typical politician. Lots of vote-winning posturing about increasing flights, but no idea at all of the economics. The Sunday Times is at least a little less naive.

Airlines have, for years, been exploring the possibilities for new routes. Airports are constantly trying to identify viable routes, and sell them to the airlines. The truth is that only a handful of routes ARE in fact viable. Even the domestic scottish routes would not survive without subsidy (ie routes inside scotland). Have a look at the number who have tried, failed and are now just distant memories. Others manage to struggle from financial crisis to financial crisis with little hope of ever being properly profitable. Others struggle just to start (don't they Guv!)

Airlines are in the supply-demand business. Demand for transatlantic travel is already more or less satisfied, in volume if not in choice. Certainly with the current seat mix and yield plans.

Maybe if Ms Liddell was to stimulate tourism in Scotland, thus providing demand, the airlines would react with more routes. Until then, forget it. Airlines need to make money, not lose it on fanciful political idealism.
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Old 14th Jul 2001, 02:39
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The Guvnor
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Raw Data - I'd be the first to agree with you that it's a major struggle to start an airline unless you/your backers/your family has very, very deep pockets.

I don't agree, though, that passenger's needs are met with the current transatlantic market mix. I have the CAA stats which clearly show that there's very viable demand on a number of North American routes - and that's not taking into consideration other viable routes to Africa, the Middle and Far East and Australasia.

Lauda Air - amongst others including Emirates and Singapore Airlines - has clearly demonstrated that the size of your home territory does not determine your passenger loads or profile. If you've got a quality product with low fares and can create a decent hub (or tie in with a feeder airline) then you'll have people coming from all over to fly with you.

And don't forget the 'low fare' effect - Freddie Laker's 'Forgotten Man'. Remember, back in 1975, the CAA's argument - as put forward by BA, BCal, Pan Am, TWA et al was that the transatlantic market was very adequately served, thank you, and that any new entrants would just spoil things for everyone. Freddie's premise was that if you offered fares that were low enough (£54 one way in his case) you'd stimulate the market tremendously. And so it proved when Skytrain launched in 1977.

As far as the Scottish market is concerned, I believe that there is a significant, untapped market for whom transatlantic and other long haul travel is just too much of a hassle. Who in their right mind wants to leave their home only to fly over it several hours later?

On the political side, I agree. I think that this is simply a case of Helen Liddell playing lip-service to the rising tide of public opinion (in large part generated by the Sunday Times' Fare's Fair campaign) that there should be more Scottish transatlantic services. Certainly, neither the Scottish Executive nor the Scottish Office have offered to put their hands in their sporrans for the establishment and/or marketing of such services! However, to develop Scottish tourism - and thus stimulate demand - Scotland needs direct air services. There are very few European countries that I can think of where all their visitors need to transit a third country in order to get there!

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