gdb is pleased to represent business on the Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee - here is the latest GATCOM Newsletter


  • Boeing 737 Max probe expanded to include Dreamliners- Travelmole 01.07.19

The US justice department has reportedly expanded its investigation into Boeing's handling of the 737 Max jet production to include the company's 787 Dreamliner programme. The Seattle Times reports prosecutors ordered Boeing to hand over documents regarding its production of Dreamliners at its plant in South Carolina. The New York Times previously cited accusations of lax quality control at the plant. It said managers ignored safety concerns raised by workers in a rush to complete orders. In one case a ladder was apparently left inside a plane's tail section. Other debris was regularly left inside aircraft, the NYT report said. Read More

  • Aviation sector calls for £150m to create sustainable fuel plants - Travelweekly 02.07.19

A coalition of UK airlines, airports, manufacturers and air navigation service providers is calling for the creation of a government Office for Sustainable Aviation Fuels. Such a body would help make the UK a world-leader in the technology with £150 million needed to support commercial sustainable aviation fuel plants being built across the UK. The Sustainable Aviation group has been formed in response to the government setting a 'net zero' carbon target for the UK by 2050. Challenging sector to decarbonise, Sustainable Aviation believes that immediate untapped opportunities are the introduction of sustainable aviation fuels - which could reduce emissions in 2050 by nearly 25% - and critical airspace modernisation, which is currently underway. Read More

  • Heathrow says it is worried climate change will cause problems to third runway - The Independent 04.07.19

Designers of Heathrow's controversial third runway are concerned about the impact of climate change on the expanding airport. The planned runway is one of the country's most hotly contested infrastructure developments due to growing outrage over the additional greenhouse gas emissions greater aircraft capacity would herald. A consultation document put out by Heathrow advises the airport expansion will have to take into account changing weather patterns and conditions as a result of climate change, including heatwaves and higher temperatures, the likelihood of storms, and also flood risks. "Climate change has the potential to have a direct effect on the airport," the document says.Read More

  • Boeing pledges $100m to 737 Max crash victims - Travelweekly 04.07.19

A sum of $100m has been pledged by Boeing to families and communities affected by two 737 Max crashes. The payout is separate to lawsuits filed following the disasters which together killed 346 people and led to the grounding of the new generation aircraft in March. Some estimates suggest the US manufacturer could face multiple claims for damages running into billions of dollars. The $100 million will support education, hardship and living expenses for impacted families, community programmes, and economic development in impacted communities, Boeing said. What was described as an "initial investment" will be made over multiple years to address family and community needs of those affected by the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 disasters in Indonesia and Ethiopia. Read More

Lata urges airline misuse of data to be reported- Travelweekly 05.07.19

Airline association Iata has invited agents and travel management companies to report carriers using customer contact data for marketing which has been submitted following a June change in rules. Iata made it mandatory for agents to submit passenger-contact data when booking flights from June 1. The association now requires agents request travellers share contact details with airlines in case of disruption and that they enter the contact information with bookings. The change has caused widespread disquiet among agents who believe Iata airlines want the customer contact details to facilitate direct sales. Read More


  • ON THE SOAPBOX: Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer, Gatwick Airport- Btnews 01.07.19

In his 10th year at the helm of London Gatwick, CEO Stewart Wingate reflects on a decade of airport transformation and the changing face of aviation. An airport veteran, Wingate was previously managing director of Stansted Airport and CEO of Budapest Airport. He started his career in engineering, becoming a chartered engineer for Black & Decker. As I enter my 10th year at Gatwick, I've been taking stock of how much the aviation industry has changed - and what could lie ahead. Even at a time of uncertainty for the UK, as Brexit and the contest for who will be our next prime minister dominates headlines, I remain hugely optimistic about the future of the industry. People still want to travel. We see strong demand for our services and across all the routes we serve - now more than 220 around the world. However, it's clear that people are travelling differently. Read More

  • Gatwick Airport moving 'far too fast' with plans to use standby runway - Mid Sussex Times 28.06.19

Gatwick Airport is moving 'far too fast' with plans to bring its standby runway into full-time use, the leader of Mid Sussex District Council has said. Use of the standby runway was one of three options listed in Gatwick's expansion masterplan, alongside more intense use of the existing main runway and safeguarding land south of the airport for a possible new runway in the future. At a full council meeting on Wednesday night, Jonathan Ash-Edwards told councillors that he and the other leaders in West Sussex had written to Gatwick expressing concern at the airport's approach to the matter - 'particularly the very fast timetable'. They also called for the airport to 'better engage' with local authorities on the issue. Read More


  • 'Drones are opportunity, not threat'- Buying Business Travel 04.07.19

Drones should be regarded as an opportunity, not a threat, for the aviation industry. That was the message during the "Aviation Inside Track" panel at the BTA Conference this week. Andy Shand, general manager for industry affairs at NATS, told delegates: "There's the threat, and we've changed procedures with airport operators so the reaction is more proportional since the Gatwick incident. There are also technologies that can remove the threat. "But there's an opportunity from unmanned traffic management (UTM). If you look at UTM, personal transport, those areas, this is Silicon Valley money, and it is absolutely where some of the growth is going to come from. We're alive to that, we'll need to integrate that traffic into commercial transport traffic. Read More

  • Ø NATS: Industry is waking up to climate change- Buying Business Travel 04.07.19

Sustainability was a big talking point at the BTA (formerly GTMC) Conference earlier this week.

Airlines such as Easyjet talked about their ongoing project with Wright Electric, while Tom Screen, aviation director at Birmingham airport, touched upon the airport's bid to become carbon neutral by 2035. However, Andy Shand, from the National Air Traffic Services (NATS), gave an in-depth presentation on the work his organisation was doing to help reduce CO2 emissions by aircraft, and said he believed the travel industry was waking up to the issue of climate change. Shand, who is general manager, customer affairs at NATS said that because the UK is an island nation, aviation is key when trading with other countries. With Brexit looming, it seems unlikely commercial flights will decrease. Read More

  • Bold plan for EU to tackle carbon emissions of air travel- The London Economic 24.06.19

With aviation offered massive tax exemptions, climate campaigners have long insisted that the industry should pay more to offset the environmental damage it causes and even up a situation where other, less polluting forms of transport cost more. Now the Netherlands and France are trying to convince fellow European nations at a conference in The Hague to end tax exemptions on jet fuel and plane tickets, as part of a drive to make the EU carbon neutral by 2050. In the first major initiative on air travel tax in years, the conference on Thursday and Friday - which will be attended by about 29 countries - will discuss ticket taxes, kerosene levies and value-added tax (VAT) on air travel. Read More

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  • Why the age of electric flight is finally upon us- BBC News 03.07.19

Aerospace firms are joining forces to tackle their industry's growing contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, with electric engines seen as one solution. But will this be enough to offset the growing demand for air travel? This week's Paris Airshow saw the launch of the world's first commercial all-electric passenger aircraft - albeit in prototype form. Israeli firm Eviation says the craft - called Alice - will carry nine passengers for up to 650 miles (1,040km) at 10,000ft (3,000m) at 276mph (440km/h). It is expected to enter service in 2022. Alice is an unconventional-looking craft: powered by three rear-facing pusher-propellers, one in the tail and two counter-rotating props at the wingtips to counter the effects of drag. It also has a flat lower fuselage to aid lift. Read More

  • Stansted passenger service agents vote to strike - Travelweekly 04.07.19

The prospect of summer check in disruption to easyJet flights at Stansted heightened yesterday as workers voted to strike. Passenger service agents employed by Stobart Aviation Services on an easyJet contract at the airport voted to take action. The dispute involves 43 Unite union members working as passenger service agents is over pay and union recognition. The turnout in the industrial action ballot was 88.4%. The result raises the prospect of strike action and delays for easyJet passengers at Stansted this summer if a breakthrough in talks between Unite and Stobart Aviation Services can't be found when the two sides meet today (Thursday), the union warned. Read More

  • London Stansted increases airport car parking - Travelweekly 04.07.19

Stansted airport has increased the number of short-stay car parking spaces from 4,000 to just over 7,000. A 2,700 space, six-storey car park has opened at the Essex base and is the first multi-storey to open at the airport. Paul Willis, business change director for the London Stansted Transformation Project said: "We're investing millions to improve facilities at London Stansted and the opening of our new multi-storey car park is another stepping stone on the road to transforming the experience for the millions of passengers travelling through the airport." More than 50% of passengers use coach, bus or train to get to and from the airport. Read More

  • Continuing decline in direct aviation connectivity wake-up call for UK - AOA 27.06.19

The UK's direct aviation connectivity has declined for a second year in a row, according to a report released today by European airport trade association ACI EUROPE. The UK was the only major European economy to see a decline in direct connectivity. The -0.8% decline in direct connectivity this year followed a similar decline of -0.8% in 2018. The UK Airport Operators Association (AOA) believes this should be a wake-up call for the UK Government as it prepares its Aviation Strategy White Paper. Chief Executive of the AOA, Karen Dee said: "The connectivity growth figures show that while more UK passengers are flying, the destinations they're able to travel to directly is shrinking. Read More

  • ABTA Travel Matters- BTNews 01.07.19

The great and the good of the travel industry gathered in Westminster last Wednesday (26 June) for the 10th anniversary Travel Matters conference. They heard chief executive Mark Tanzer say that managing the environmental impacts of tourism is one of ABTA's strategic priorities. "Expansion at Heathrow is a good example of this: we continue to support expansion at Heathrow airport on the basis that the airport is able to meet the environmental parameters that have been set," he said. Brexit featured. ABTA head of public affairs Luke Petherbridge said: "The immigration arrangements between the UK and the EU after Brexit will be reciprocal by nature, so it is important the UK government offers a framework which supports businesses operating at home and abroad." Read More


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