The Northern Echo writes: “Have regional airports had their day in the sun?” They look at loss-making regional airports, after the news that Manston and Prestwick are to effectively be sold for £1 each. Others are surviving on bail-outs from taxpayers. From Prestwick to Newquay, numbers of passenger at UK regional airports plummeted after 2007 as airlines withdrew flights and consolidated services at the major hubs in response to a reduction in both leisure and business traffic. Durham Tees Valley has been particularly badly hit, and continues to lose money – perhaps £4 million this year. Its owner, Peel, are proposing a business park with housing for the airport, and that sort of plan is becoming commonplace. Peel have launched similar plans at Robin Hood Airport, which includes a pub, offices, and industrial buildings. Newcastle airport’s masterplan aims to include 2 business parks. Cambridge has a scheme to build up to 1,500 homes on land adjacent to the airport, and Manston wants to develop a campus with student accommodation.
Loss making airports sold for £1, but will to see them survive is out there
14th November 2013 (Northern Echo)
Have regional airports had their day in the sun?
LOSS-MAKING regional airports are changing hands for as little as £1 and surviving on bail-outs from taxpayers. Business Editor Andy Richardson looks at the race to keep the regions flying.
REGIONAL airports took a battering during the recession.
From Prestwick to Newquay passenger numbers plummeted after 2007 as airlines withdrew flights and consolidated services at the major hubs in response to a reduction in both leisure and business traffic.
The controversial UK flight tax Air Passenger Duty (APD) had a disproportionate effect on regional operations. [The airlines and airports like to blame Air Passenger Duty, which is not a realistic claim as APD is only £13 for any short haul return flight to European destinations (£26 for a domestic return flight). This always ignores the way in which airlines try to add charges to the cost of travel for anything they can think of, and also bump up the cost of fares in popular times such as school holidays - they don't show the same concern about the iniquity of a £13 tax in relation to those. ]
Since 2007 it has increased by up to 260 per cent for short-haul flights and 360 per cent for long-haul flights.
Larger regionals, such as Newcastle International, Leeds/Bradford and Manchester managed to weather the worst effects of the downturn, but Durham Tees Valley (DTV) was among the hardest hit, suffering a 77 per cent drop in passenger numbers.
It will record losses of about £4m this year, and owners Peel expect the operation will continue to haemorrhage cash unless its latest rescue bid takes off.
Peel has repeatedly insisted that it regards DTV as a long-term investment. Other regional operators have lost patience and cut their losses.
This week, New Zealand firm Infratil wrote-off the assets of its UK airports, Glasgow Prestwick and Manston in Kent.
The company said it had reduced the value of both sites from £14.5m a year ago to zero.
The announcement came as the Scottish government entered talks with Infratil over buying the unprofitable Prestwick operation.
Manston Airport is being bought for £1 by Ann Gloag, who co-founded the Stagecoach Group.
Prestwick, where Elvis Presley touched UK soil for the first and only time, in 1960, is also expected to be sold for £1.
Ministers hope to conclude negotiations with the company next week in a deal that will re-nationalise a piece of Scottish infrastructure that possesses strategic and economic significance.
Official figures predict that passenger numbers will recover slowly as the economy edges into recovery mode, prompting regional airports to look for other means of generating income.
The model that Peel is proposing at DTV, which incorporates a business park with housing, is becoming commonplace.
Peel has already launched similar plans at Robin Hood Airport near Doncaster, which includes a pub, offices, industrial buildings, along with new roads and footpaths.
Manchester’s proposal for an airport city is well underway.
Backed by investment from the Chinese government it will create more than 400,000 sq m of business space as well as a hotel, conference centre and shops.
Newcastle International’s masterplan aims to almost double passenger numbers, and create thousands of jobs by 2030 via two business parks.
Cambridge International has a scheme to build up to 1,500 homes on land adjacent to the airport, (see link) and Kent International has plans to develop a campus with student accommodation. (see link). [Manston say there would be an airport campus outside the airport and adjacent to it, with " a combination of student accommodation – 500 units, 300 low cost houses for rent and 700 houses for sale;" ]
Southend Airport, backed by a £100m cash injection from owners the Stobart Group, is one of the few regional operations which has seen an increase in passenger numbers. Peel has insisted that a mixed use site is the best way forward for DTV, and that no Plan B is in reserve if its latest rescue bid fails to get off the ground.
Housing at heart of Durham Tees Valley Airport blueprint for future
14th November 2013
By Joe Willis, Regional Chief Reporter (Northern Echo)
A BLUEPRINT to secure the long-term future of Durham Tees ValleyAirport (DTVA) will be unveiled today – with the sale of land for housing at the heart of the rescue plan.
Bosses say the development of up to 400 homes would generate millions of pounds for investment back in the airport.
The money would be used to pay for nine new hangars, 9,600 sq m of office space and industrial units covering 16,820 sq m to expand the existing Northside Employment Park.
According to DTVA strategic planning director Peter Nears, author of the DTVA Master Plan 2020 and Beyond, rent from the new occupants would make the airport viable and protect existing scheduled flights to Aberdeen and Schiphol, in Holland.
He said: “Few airports, even the largest, can survive on revenues from passenger traffic alone and many have established wider development platforms to diversify income sources to enable re-investment in airport services.
“The airport has land assets, which provide the development opportunities we must pursue if we are to improve the whole DTVA operation.”
The 180-page plan could be used to convince the Government to approve funding towards the first phase of the long-awaited Southside industrial park after two previous bids for regional growth fund money failed.
Delivery of the plan would create up to 3,800 new jobs, plus a further 450 jobs during construction phases and add more than £348m to the regional economy, the airport claims.
As well as protecting existing routes, bosses say it could help secure new routes to other UK and European destinations.
The publication of the plan comes after DTVA confirmed the airport was cancelling the majority of its holiday charter services in a bid to cut costs – a move which will lead to an unconfirmed number of redundancies.
The plan proposes between 250 and 400 homes on land to the west and north of the terminal, including a field previously earmarked for a business park.
The housing would include areas of open space and children’s play areas on site.
The terminal building will be reduced in size and remodelled. An extension to St George’s Hotel is also proposed.
The two-month consultation begins today and runs until January 10.
Doris Jones, Darlington Borough Council member for Middleton St George, has immediately expressed concern about the houses.
She said developers had already targetted the village for more than 700 homes.
“People are fed up with developers wanting to build houses upon houses and no services to go with them and now the airport wants to build 400 more.
“The school can’t cope with one more child and the surgery is bursting at the seams.”
Stockton South MP James Wharton also spoke out last night criticising the consultation process, with no consultation event proposed outside Darlington or the airport.
However, Darlington MP Jenny Chapman welcomed the master plan.
“This wouldn’t have been anyone’s first choice as a way forward for the airport, however if we want to keep DTVA open we need to be flexible and we have to settle for a compromise,” she said.
Sedgefield MP, Phil Wilson said he would like to hear the views of his constituents.
But he added: “It would seem that Peel and DTVA have come up with a plan which would secure the future of the airport in the long to medium term with the potential of creating many more jobs in the area to complement those created in Newton Aycliffe by Hitachi.”
North East Chamber of Commerce chief executive, James Ramsbotham, also backed the rescue plan, describing it as “bold and ambitious”.
To view the master plan, visit dtva-master-plan.co.uk
Consultations events will be held at the St George Hotel at DTVA on November 21 and at the Dolphin Centre, in Darlington, on November 28. More events are planned, the airport said.
CAA data showing the regional airports where passenger numbers have fallen:
All of 2012
From CAA data December_2012_Airport_Statistics
|AIRPORT||Number of flights in 2012||% change in flights from 2011||Terminal passengers in 2012||% change in passengers from 2011|
|TOTAL OF UK AIRPORTS that have reported so far (20.1.2013)||1,880,730||-1.5||200,331,803217,787,803||+0.9|
|STANSTED (from Heathrow website)||131,409||- 4||17,456,700||- 3.2|
|ISLE OF MAN||22,996||-2.7||695,610||-0.7|
|CITY OF DERRY (EGLINTON)||3,114||-18.9||398,209||-1.8|
|DURHAM TEES VALLEY||4,202||-17.9||164,826||-13.4|
|ISLES OF SCILLY (ST.MARYS)||10,157||-4.5||97,012||-13.6|
|LANDS END (ST JUST)||5,785||5.3||31,964||-3.4|
|MANSTON (KENT INT)||687||-53.3||8,262||-77.8|
Marshall plans 1,500 homes near Cambridge airport
The owner and operator of Cambridge airport, Marshall Group, will shortly submit plans for a mixed residential and commercial development on a 125 acre site north of Newmarket Road and High Ditch Road.
4 Feb 2013
As well as the new homes, the plans are likely to include a school, a commercial hub, a new petrol filling station, playing fields and open space amenity land, the Marshall Group said in a statement. The new development will be named ‘Wing’.
The development land is owned by Marshall of Cambridge, which is part of the Marshall Group.
“Since our foundation in Cambridge in 1909, Marshall has been a cornerstone of the local community and we are very proud of our contribution to the skills base and the creation of employment which has been of benefit to the local economy,” said Marshall Group chief executive Robert Marshall.
“We are also very aware of the shortage of good quality housing to support the needs of Cambridge’s growing economy, and our employees. This long term project represents the start of an exciting period of investment in the growth of our businesses,” Marshall said.
“Marshall has a good track record of community involvement and listening to residents and we will be encouraging them to continue doing this,” said Councillor Lewis Herbert to a local newspaper when Marshall first revealed its plans in November.
“The site is on one of the most congested and difficult roads in the city and ensuring that it is a high quality development with excellent transport links will be key to its success, especially in making sure that it fits in with the existing and strong communities in Abbey and Fen Ditton,” Herbert said.
Subject to approval of the planning application, construction of the site is likely to begin in 2015.