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Observations of the Institute of Logistics and Transport (Scottish Region) On The Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: Scotland

These observations should be read in conjunction with the submission by the Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK) in respect of the future development of air transport throughout the United Kingdom. For convenience some fundamental generic points are re-emphasised.

1. Emphasis on requirements 30 years hence should not inhibit consideration of interim needs or lead to delay in reaching decisions which are required to deal with short term issues.
2. Irrespective of development of airports and air services relating to Scotland there is a need to ensure that the UK's national interests are not prejudiced by restraints in South-East England or elsewhere which result in air services developing elsewhere which would otherwise use UK airports.
3. Scotland's airports are crucial economic catalysts and their future use and development of direct services to other countries within the UK and beyond should not be prejudiced by physical restrictions or organisational restraints.
4. Airport development in the Central Belt should ensure that there is sufficient capacity and advanced high quality road and public transport access to ensure a Gateway International role similar to London and Manchester. All bilateral negotiations should be undertaken accordingly.
5. Whilst catering for the above there should be more emphasis on developing surface transport modes, particularly rail as a substitute for air travel bearing in mind the consequential environmental and energy use benefits.

The following comments relate to the Questions for Consultees in section 10.3 of the Consultation Document.

A. National Policy Scenarios.
A1. The most appropriate scenario.
Travel within Scotland and to and from other countries should not be inhibited. The full growth scenario should therefore be catered for subject to maximising opportunities for surface travel as a preferred alternative to air travel. Organisational arrangements, planning decisions and surface access provision should facilitate the requirements.

A2. Additonal capacity in South-East England.
Existing capacity in South-East England should be fully utilised with developments thereafter which ensure that Scotland's needs by traditional and low-cost air services are met. There should be better links between the South-East airports which would facilitate easier interlining to and from Scottish airports. To ensure UK interests are protected the full growth scenario should be catered for by expansion of Heathrow, Stanstead and if necessary Gatwick.

A3. Other Policiy Scenarios.
A greater emphasis should be given to maximising the potential for improved surface transport, particularly rail.

A4. Policy mechanisms.
The approach to facilitate growth is required.

B. Location of Airport Capacity.
B1. New infrastructure.
The existing airports at Edinburgh, Glasgow and Prestwick should be built upon to ensure a Gateway facility comparable with the main London airports and Manchester.

B2. Form of Airport Development.
The growth in projected air services can be accommodated at existing airports within available capacity for many years. They should all be allowed to cater for increased demands with good road and public transport access to facilitate this.

B3. Airport constraints.
There should be none.

B4. How to accommodate demand.
The existing airports can be developed to provide sufficient capacity when this is required. The level of investment in the existing airports and associated employment and land-use patterns make it impractical and costly to consider a new airport in Central Scotland. The inevitable lengthy planning delays and new environmental issues mean the consideration of the new airport would create a hiatus which would inhibit necessary short term initiatives such as rail links, for existing airports and lead to stakeholder resistance which would be detrimental to the necessary development of Scottish air services. The need for a possible new runway at Glasgow or Edinburgh will not need to be addressed for many years although the possibility should be safeguarded. There is no need for runway extensions at Edinburgh or Aberdeen if Glasgow can cater satisfactorily, as now for long haul flights.

C. Finance and Regulation.
C1. Opportunities for greater partnerships.
There are significant opportunities for more partnerships working but many of these will only be realised if a new framework is set by government which incentivises integration where this is in the public interest. In particular:

- The purpose of public funding and/or regulation is to deliver economic, social and environmental benefits which the market could not deliver by itself. In appraising the need for finance or regulation the current proposals do not sufficiently account for economic regeneration and/or social benefits.
- The supplements levied by many holiday tour operators discourage fair competition between UK airports for holiday flights.
- Public funding support in the Highlands tends to support facilities rather than fares. The same level of public funding could deliver a higher degree of economic and social benefit if the public funds were more effectively targeted.

The recently increased autonomy for BAA in Scotland is welcomed but greater transparency is required to ensure that all relevant decisions are seen to be in Scottish interests.

C2. Competition between airports.
A complementary approach between Edinburgh and Glasgow airports is required to ensure they are both used and developed to meet their combined potential and the interests of Scotland. A complementary approach between the Highlands and Islands airports is also desirable bearing in mind the widespread public subsidy which they receive.

C3. Action to secure broader policy objectives.
Greater involvement by Scottish interests in bi-lateral negotiations and a recognition in the EU and elsewhere of Scottish distinctiveness within the UK would assist in the development of wider route networks. Close continuing co-operation between all relevant bodies and sympathetic and timeous planning considerations would assist in ensuring adequate and timely investment. There should be a minimum of inhibitions to any efficiency initiatives.

D. Economic Benefits.
D1/D2. Importance of aviation to Scotland's economy.
The importance of aviation for the Scottish economy is emphasised by any analysis of the travel patterns of the high value sectors of the Scottish economy. The aviation industry is also a major employer in Scotland. From tourism to electronics it is clear that Scotland's development is dependent on efficient air travel. Key issues are that:

- Air travel is a growth industry and Scotland must recognise that high quality air travel will be central to future success in all parts of the country, not just where demand is growing.
- Investment in aviation on economic development grounds needs to consider the functioning of the economy broadly. The Scottish Executive should undertake a study to benchmark standards of accessibility for Scotland in relation to its international competitors. Tourists will choose other places to travel if the quality of the tourism product including travel is not competitive. Businesses will locate where the optimal configuration of labour, accessibility, and inherited locational benefits are present. If there are alternative service patterns or airport strategies which would better serve Scotland's needs then these should be identified through this type of strategic study.
- There are major opportunities associated with increased employment in the industry and this should be supported by training.

D3/D4. Tourism.
Improved direct air links would increase inbound tourism to Scotland and reduce reliance on London for access. There are already extensive outbound Charter flights for tourists and the adverse effect of improved direct links would not be great. To facilitate more direct links the various bodies should emphasise Scotland as being distinct from the remainder of the UK with UK wide bodies having devolved structures to facilitate this.

D5. Economic clusters.
Airports have a role and this should be encouraged by ensuring required infrastructure and services and by related activity such as developing airport public transport interchanges.

D6. Air cargo.
Air Cargo is important for exporting high value goods. High quality cargo services at Scottish airports are and will be a stimulus to Scottish economic activity.

D7. Aircraft maintenance and crew training.
These activities should be fostered by building on existing initiatives with sympathetic planning considerations and provision of relevant public facilities. The advantages will be more jobs in Scotland and a stimulus to the economy.

E. Environmental Impacts.
E1. Unacceptable impacts.
Unacceptable impacts from permitting demand growth at Scottish airports would be if planning approvals permitted developments near to airports which led to severe adverse impacts or if severe congestion resulted from lack of provision of necessary roads or public transport access facilities.

E2. Action to mitigate adverse effects.
All of the factors identified need careful consideration to ensure adverse effects are minimised.

E3. Environmental targets.
It is essential for environmental targets to be associated with all airport development. These will need careful consideration in each case with appropriate public consultation.

E4. Green Belt.
A review of green belt boundaries is justified for relevant airports where significant development is required. Removal from the green belt altogether would be justified where development essential to meet demand needs requires this.

F. Surface Access.

F1. Should the focus of any public expenditure which may be available to help improve surface access to Scotland's airports be on improving local access or links to other region's within Scotland or to other parts of the UK, and why?

In respect of passenger transport, the following points suggest that public expenditure would be justified in both improving local access and, particularly in the case of Edinburgh and Glasgow airports, links to other regions within central Scotland. Growth in air passenger traffic due to low-cost airlines is reported to be expanding rapidly in Scotland, hence, on present practice, a proportionate increase in road traffic on access routes can be expected now. Road access to the main Scottish airports is already overloaded on a regular basis at certain times. With the exceptions of Edinburgh (16% of passengers using bus) and Prestwick (33%; of passengers using train), there is a very low use of public transport to access the main Scottish airports.

As a priority, any expenditure should be directed to understanding how public transport provision can be better geared to meet the needs of airport users (both passengers and staff). Whilst it is acknowledged that considerable preliminary work has been done by Scottish Airports towards the implementation of Staff Travel Plans, it is critical that these become an integral part of business planning processes for all airports, both for the airport authorities themselves, but also for other major on-site employers. Use should be made of Airport Transport Forums in order to compile solid data in regard to the origin of passenger journeys. Such data would assist in the development of suitable conventional or unconventional public transport alternatives for arriving and departing airline passengers.

The concept of Public Transport Interchanges should be examined, whereby, for example, bus services are routed via an airport, and interchange possible for all passengers, not just those using air services. Proposals for Quality Bus Partnerships with operators serving Edinburgh Airport, for example, should be pursued.

F2. National Policy Scenarios.
Under many of our National Policy Scenarios there will be a large increase in the number of passengers using Scotland's airports over our forecasting period. Our analysis indicates this will place considerable strain on surface access provision, particularly on a number of key road links:

Should these surface access constraints be addressed?
Yes. Failure to manage the use of these key road links will result in all road users being subjected to increased delays, in addition to the effects upon those resident in the vicinity.

Which schemes outlined in the document do you consider are the key ones for improving access to the regions airports and what priority should they be given relative to other projects identified in the Scottish Transport Delivery Plan? Which do you think should not be taken forward?
There is no one best solution which will answer all needs.

Are there any surface access schemes identified in the analysis that you support or oppose? Please give your reasons.
Good rail links to Edinburgh and Glasgow Airports are essential, if public transport is to play a significant role in their development.

The shared taxi concept is worthy of further investigation, given its successful application in support of the rail network in the Netherlands. It is a concept which can be applied at any airport and, given encouragement, could be inaugurated with minimum investment. In contrast to public transport provisions operating on fixed routes, taxi provision is insensitive to the direction of flow of any traffic arising.

Are there any surface access improvements, which should be regarded as preconditions before new capacity can take place at airports within the study area?
Good public transport provision must be an essential precondition; such provision must link seamlessly with the existing public transport networks of local and long distance bus and rail networks in the locality and facilitate journeys other than just to the nearest city centre, as is presently the norm. More encouragement must be given to bus operators to consider diverting existing services via airports, where practicable, in pursuit of the Public Transport Interchange Concept.

Innovative methods of easing interchange between airport and public transport mode, such as "people movers" should be examined, for example in the case of improved links between Glasgow Airport and Paisley (Gilmour Street) Station. Any public transport links must be of a sufficient quality, frequency and reliability to present an acceptable alternative to car use, with through ticketing freely available. This last requirement may require reconsideration of present UK laws on inter-operator co-operation as governed by the Office of Fair Trading.

The mode of transport used for airport services should be appropriate for the volume of traffic, and the speed, comfort and convenience of the variety of airline passengers. In respect of heavy rail, where feasible, new links should preferably be through lines in preference to spurs in order to maximise integration with the existing rail network. Given the availability of reliable and effective public transport links between Edinburgh and Glasgow airports, the possibility is raised of the two facilities complementing each other as a means of enhancing existing or future infrastructure eg utilising Glasgow Airport facilities for direct US flights targeted at Edinburgh market, through airport code sharing.

How should these surface access improvements be funded?
Current planning rules expect the developer to fund transport improvements essential to the functioning of their operation. As a minimum level of support, public funding should be applied to better the understanding of the use of public transport to serve airports.

F3. Forecasts.
Under all our UK National Policy Scenarios, we forecast that a significant number of passengers originating in Scotland will still use airports outside the region, such as Manchester.

Should surface access schemes to facilitate journeys from Scotland to these airports be considered?
Significant investment in surface access links to abstract air traffic from Scotland should not be part of a strategy for Scottish airport development. Such a move would detract from any aspiration to create a Scottish airport hub, and would serve to encourage additional long distance surface travel.

What priority should be given to the improvement of surface access to airports outside the region for passengers originating in Scotland?
Priority for any such initiatives will be driven by the importance of Scottish traffic to the receiving airport authorities and their willingness to invest to attract and retain this traffic.

How should these surface access improvements be funded?
Any funding should come from the receiving airport authorities.

Note: Surface access issues will, per se, have important bearings upon the Key Assessment Criteria cited in Table 6.1, particularly in respect of Safety and the Environment. The impact from this source is not acknowledged in the consultation document.

G. Social Inclusion.
Social inclusion can and should be addressed in the development of aviation in Scotland. Publicity, education and training all have a role to play in ensuring local communities can take advantage of aviation initiatives. There should be a presumption in favour of local employment with good public transport links and services and satisfactory road access. Growth in the air transport industry should take place throughout Scotland. Good, easy to use surface communications are necessary to ensure all areas benefit.

H. Regional Access.
A greater number of flights from Scottish airports to London is desirable. Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness should all have flights to Heathrow, Gatwick and Stanstead to facilitate interlining. More air services from Scotland beyond the UK are required. There should be a greater involvement of the Scottish Executive and the relevant Scottish interests in bi-lateral advocacy and discussions.

I. Airport Hierarchy and Roles.
I1. Scottish hierarchy.
There would be little benefit from a formal hierarchy in Scotland. Growth should be permitted without hindrance with Edinburgh and Glasgow acting in a complementary fashion.

I2. Scottish demand.
Demand originating in Scotland should be catered for primarily within Scotland for the convenience and expense of Scottish travellers and goods and to maximise job opportunities.

I3. A Scottish Hub.
Edinburgh and Glasgow together can and should be developed as a UK Gateway similar to London and Manchester. With significant spare capacity at both to cater for many years demand growth it would be counter-productive to forestall growth at one to facilitate growth at the other. They should however be developed in a complementary manner with good road access, new direct rail connections to and from both and between them. Prestwick has the potential for further freight use which should be encouraged. Much freight travels in passenger carrying aircraft and the opportunity for this should be maintained at other airports.

I4. Impact of Scottish Hub.
Such a development would have little impact on other airports and would benefit Scotland substantially by encouraging more inter-lining via Scotland and obtaining more direct airlinks from Scotland with benefits to the Scottish economy and local employment.

I5. Edinburgh Glasgow safeguards.
Land which could be required for either airport (i.e. second runway and adjuncts) should be safeguarded. Good road and Public Transport access facilities should be in place to meet full demand as developments proceed.

J. Consumer Interest.
J1. Provision of facilities.
In principle capacity constraints should not inhibit air service development but careful consideration will be required in specific locations to avoid wasteful use of resources which might be overcome by minor constraints.

J2. Scotland International "Gateway."
It is important that airports are seen by travellers to be a Scottish "Gateway" to advertise Scotland's image, stimulate tourism and assist the wider economy.

J3. Service standards.
Improvements should always be aimed for. The priority attached to the various factors requires careful consideration for each type of journey by air and for different airports.

 

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