30 MARCH 2015

YOUR WORDS


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Article from BTNews 30 MARCH 2015

Over the last several weeks we have been having problems with the email distribution of Business Travel News.  We hope we have solved the problem but if your copy does not come through on a Monday morning do check on the web site.  BTN is available in full from midnight Sunday (UK time) at www.btnews.co.uk

COMMENT:  Heathrow supports Northolt

Over the last several years Business Travel News has campaigned vigorously for the use of Royal Air Force Northolt, on the A40, four miles north of Heathrow, as a interim solution to the London air access problem for the regions.  Our efforts have now been vindicated with a statement last week from Heathrow Airport Ltd (see in this issue) that not only does it support this idea (see Heathrow and the regions) but will work with any organisation wishing to take up the gauntlet of operating what could become London West.  What Heathrow now acknowledges is the synergy between itself and the military base, considerably under-utilised and expensive to run for the Ministry of Defence.

Even more fascinating is that the press release is partnered by Flybe, not a Heathrow resident, and clearly a leading possibility as a Northolt tenant.  The possibility of Public Service Obligation (PSO) routes was also raised, advocated too by the recent independent National Connectivity Task Force report, which also came out as a supporter of Northolt.  Besides Flybe, BA Cityflyer, CityJet, Eastern Airways, Stobart Air and Scotland’s Loganair will clearly take a look.  London City Airport Ltd's Jet Centre, the current executive jet handling company, has the skills (and backing) to manage the operation.

There will be opposition to the use of Northolt for scheduled operations from local residents who fear noise, media looking for so-called balanced views, and short-sighted politicos trying to grab any publicity they can to support their personal ambitions (also see Boris turns down London City).  Also opposing this development will probably be business aviation airports Biggin Hill and Oxford, not realising that the opening up of Northolt (for scheduled services) will be to their advantage. 

At present Northolt is used by the military and government for air transport operations and also executive jets.  Most of these aircraft are more noisy and far less environmentally friendly than the Embraer E-Jets and Bombardier Q400s likely to be used by the airlines.  The limit of 12,000 civil movements will easily satisfy twice-daily services to a number of regional points including Newquay, Prestwick, Humberside and also the Channel Islands.  The present runway length of 1,650m can safely be reduced to that of London City's at 1,199m.  The airport already has an Underground station by the gate (South Ruislip) and is just 12 miles from T5 via the M25 and A400 and much the same from the central area.  Gatwick is 40 miles.

Northolt is an interim measure is for the good of the nation.  It could happen very quickly and be a saviour for the provinces in their desperate need for straightforward transport links to and from the capital.

Well done Heathrow.   You have started to get the ball rolling.

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OUR READERS FINEST WORDS (All times and dates are GMT)

All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum


EDITOR , LONDON

Chris Pocock is a cargo specialist journalist who earns a living from Heathrow. Ruislip Gardens Piccadilly Underground is (according to Google) 0.2 miles from RAF Northolt guardhouse. The Heathrow connection is a bonus (perhaps 20% of passengers). Clearly the airport is safe otherwise the Royal Flight would not use it. He agrees that Boris Island is pure fantasy. Northolt (NHT) is an interim cost saving solution which will bring more jobs and support the regions. And thank you Mr Donohoe MP. EDITOR


EDITOR , LONDON

Chris Pocock is a cargo specialist journalist who earns a living from Heathrow. Ruislip Gardens Piccadilly Underground is (according to Google) 0.2 miles from RAF Northolt guardhouse. The Heathrow connection is a bonus (perhaps 20% of passengers). Clearly the airport is safe otherwise the Royal Flight would not use it. He agrees that Boris Island is pure fantasy. Northolt (NHT) is an interim cost saving solution which will bring more jobs and support the regions. And thank you Mr Donohoe MP. EDITOR


Brian Donohoe,

At last they see what I have been saying for years Well Done


Graham Stephenson, UK/London

Well done BTN you have long campaigned for this. At a time when the government are looking for cuts what better way than to eliminate the cost to the Ministry of Defence and the Taxpayer of operating Northolt. It is a National Asset that can be paid for by airline services.


Adam Twidell, UK

The UK now has opportunity to look beyond the immediate horizon and plan for London's aviation future. We should be planning for the next 100 years of aviation. Building new runways (or increased airport access) on the West of London is short sighted. With the majority of London's winds being Westerly, we will be sentencing another generation to airport noise, population and potential danger of living underneath an approach path. Using RAF Northolt for civilian airliners is a short term fix to a much bigger issue; it avoids a decision that needs to be taken....so who knows our politicians might just go for it!


Chris Pocock, Uxbridge

A fantasy. South Ruislip is not 'by the gate', but 10 minutes at least by constantly-congested roads. Runway overruns fail the civilian airport safety case. Impossible to connect with LHR without massive cost and local objection. I could go on...


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