Latest GATCOM Weekly News - December 2019 (1)


CAA: Call for Evidence on recognised assistance dogs

View the Consultation documents and guidance here. Submissions via email to consumerenforcement@caa.co.uk by Friday 10 January 2020.

Transport Strategy for the South East - Consultation Draft

Transport for the South East (TfSE) has launched a consultation on its draft Transport Strategy. The closing date for comments is 10 January 2020.

Click here to see TfSE press release, click here to see the consultation document and click here to see the Executive Summary. 


  • Woman dies after falling from top floor of multi-storey car park at Gatwick Airport - Daily Mail 07.12.19

A Sussex Police spokesperson said: 'At 7.40am on Saturday December 7, officers were called to a multi-storey car park at Gatwick Airport North Terminal after a woman had fallen from the top floor. The woman who is believed to be in her late 20s, was sadly confirmed dead at the scene. The death is not being treated as suspicious and the Coroners Officer will be continuing enquiries.' This happened on the same day as a 'security threat was made towards aviation' which meant emergency services had to check on an aeroplane on the runway at Gatwick. A Gatwick spokesman, Andy Sinclair, said the runway was closed for 22 minutes between 11.35am and 11.57am. Read more

  • An aviation ambition: Connecting people in a net-zero world - International Airport Review 10.12.19

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer of Gatwick Airport, details how many airports across the world are managing two competing tensions - meeting increasing passenger demand for connectivity, whilst ensuring that any growth is sustainable. Read more

  • Gatwick's new arrivals management system to reduce holding times - Airport World 10.12.19

An innovative cross border arrival management system, known as XMAN, has gone into operation at Gatwick Airport following a successful SESAR trial run by NATS and partners across Europe. The airport believes that it further enhance its operational efficiency and 'green' credentials as it has demonstrated multiple benefits, including a saving in fuel and CO2 emissions, as well as reduced holding times. Read more

  • Issue 6's Baggage Handling In-Depth Focus - International Airport Review 10.12.19

Within this baggage handling in-depth focus, a sustainable, cost-efficient, customer-centric baggage operation is investigated; a first-of-its-kind robotic system evaluated; and new Baggage Acceptance Rules detailed. Article includes Ben Cordingley, Head of Baggage and Commercial Operations at Gatwick Airport, on the challenges of replacing 27 hold baggage screening machines while still processing 50,000 bags per day. Read more

  • Teenager robbed at knifepoint by two men on Gatwick Airport train service - SurreyLive 10.12.19

British Transport Police (BTP) said that the victim, a 17-year-old boy, was threatened by both men, one of whom was "noticeably intoxicated", until one pulled up his top and told him he had a knife. The teen was then told to hand over his wallet, before the knife was pulled out and he was instructed to also give up his phone. Read more

  • Seared cod, ale-braised beef and CAVIAR: British Airways reveals multi-million-pound 'reimagined' menu on flights from London Gatwick - Daily Mail 11.12.19

British Airways has revealed a multi-million-pound revamp of its food service on all flights from London Gatwick. Menus will now include the likes of seared cod, ale-braised beef and even caviar, with the airline saying the menu has been 'reimagined and improved'. The new food has a focus on provenance and BA says the provider, Newrest, has been 'working closely with suppliers in the south of England to source the best quality ingredients'. Read more

  • EasyJet to relaunch flights to Tunisia - Travel Mole 11.12.19

EasyJet will relaunch flights to Tunisia next summer for the first time since the terror attack in Sousse in 2015. The airline will offer two flights a week from Gatwick to the Tunisian beach destination of Enfidha. Altogether, easyJet will offer 12 new routes from the UK next summer, including services to Tirana, the capital of Albania, for the first time ever. Flights to Tirana will operate three times a week from Gatwick from May 1, giving access to the Adriatic coast 40-minutes'drive away. Read more


  • Aviation Strategy update - Aviation Environment Federation 04.12.19

The Government has delayed the Strategy until 2020, as a result of the election timetable, and a commitment to further public consultation (now likely to be published early next year) on aviation and climate change in light of the publication of new advice from the Committee on Climate Change on aviation and net zero. AEF has argued that the draft strategy, which is strongly supportive of aviation growth, is fundamentally incompatible with achieving the UK's climate change commitments. Read more

  • Communities around Sea-Tac Airport exposed to a unique mix of air pollution associated with aircraft - Airport Watch 07.12.19

Research from the University of Washington shows that communities under flight paths and downwind of the Seattle-Tacoma Airport, USA are exposed to air pollution from aircraft including a type of ultra-fine particle pollution, less than 0.1 micron in diameter, distinctly associated with aircraft. The researchers developed a new method to distinguish between ultra-fine particle pollution from jet traffic and pollution from other sources such as road vehicles, in the particle size and mixture of particles emitted. Read more

  • Parcels cannot be delivered by air until drones fitted with anti-crash software, Civil Aviation Authority says - Telegraph 07.12.19

This week, the CAA published a document outlining that drones will need specialist software making them visible planes, air controllers and each other before they can be flown beyond the sight of human operators. The regulator has also said delivery and commercial drones will need automated crash avoidance capabilities as standard, so they can detect and get out of the way of fast oncoming objects like planes and gliders. Read more

  • Setting the path to drone deliveries and remote inspections: Making beyond visual line of sight drone operations commonplace - CAA 09.12.19

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has published its first guide aimed at supporting the industry to make unmanned aircraft (drone) flights beyond the visual line of sight of the operator (BVLOS) an everyday occurrence. This would significantly change how unmanned aircraft are used in the UK. Currently BVLOS flights require permission from the Civil Aviation Authority and can only occur in specific, restricted cases. Normalising BVLOS will continue to push the UK forward as a world-leader in aviation innovation and technology. Read more

  • AOA Annual Conference 2019: here's what happened - AOA 09.12.19

A summary of both days of the conference and outlook for the coming months. Read more

  • Huge sums of money have been paid to political parties by donors associated with aviation industry, most to Brexit Party and Conservatives - Airport Watch 09.12.19

"DeSmog" has found that British political parties and individual politicians have received more than £9 million worth of donations from the aviation industry, since 2001, with the vast majority going to the Brexit Party (now) and the Conservatives. The individual politician to get the most was Conservative Liam Fox. Read more

  • British Airways to trial 3D printing of aircraft parts - UK Aviation News 09.12.19

The airline says that it could routinely print parts such as tray tables or aircraft windows in a bid to reduce it having to fly spare parts around the world, therefore, reducing its carbon footprint. It would work by having 3D printers located at airports around the world and they would the print parts required by the aircraft at that location which will also help to minimise delays for passengers when parts need to be flown in. Read more

  • Extinction Rebellion activists stage Heathrow third runway protest - Travel Weekly 09.12.19

Protesters blocked a road near Heathrow yesterday to highlight opposition to a planned third runway. The pre-general election blockade by Extinction Rebellion involved cyclists and a 'bulldozer'. About 300 activists lay in front of a pink tractor with a bulldozer-style shovel on the front in symbolic opposition to expansion of the airport. Read more

  • Boeing: US regulator admits 'mistake' over aircraft crashes - BBC 11.12.19

US aviation regulators allowed Boeing's 737 Max aircraft to continue flying despite knowing there was a risk of further crashes. Analysis after the first crash last year predicted there could be up to 15 disasters over the lifetime of the aircraft without design changes. Despite this, the Federal Aviation Administration did not ground the Max until a second crash five months later. FAA chief Steve Dickson, who started in August, said this was a mistake. The FAA risk assessment was revealed during a US congressional hearing on Wednesday. Read more

  • Heathrow Airport reports busiest November on record - UK Aviation News 11.12.19

The airport saw 6.2 million passengers in November helped in part by travellers heading home to the United States of America for thanksgiving. Traffic to the US from Heathrow grew by over 5% compared to the same period last year in addition to growth on all its key long haul markets such as Asia, South America and the middle east. There was also a marked increase in domestic air travel, up 8% for the period. This is a trend being seen across the country as passengers shun expensive train fares for cheaper and faster inter-city flights. Read more

  • Johnson casts doubt on HS2 - BT 11.12.19

Prime minister Boris Johnson has said the government will have to consider the rising cost of the High Speed 2 project, but appears to be sending mixed messages as to whether he will give the rail line the green light following an independent review. During a recent interview with LBC, the prime minister commented: "When you're talking about north of £100 billion it's only responsible to ask if it's being sensibly spent." Read more

  • Taking the train from Paris to London uses 55% less CO2 than flying - Air Quality News 12.12.19

Individuals are most motivated by speed when it comes to travel, but increasingly decisions are being made on the environmental impact of their travel choice. Of the 7,000 people from Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK who were involved in the survey, more than half (58%) recognised that train has the least impact on the environment, but 34% admitted that they still do not consider the environment when making travel decisions. Read more

  • NATS project with AiQ Consulting wins Best Solution Provider at AOA Awards - NATS 12.12.19

The prize acknowledged the delivery of an end-to-end airport capacity assessment at Bristol Airport - the ninth busiest airport in the UK - focusing on pinch points between kerbside and airside. NATS and AiQ Consulting worked to deliver a completely integrated assessment of the entire airport operation and developed a range of immediate suggested actions and longer-term investments to secure efficiency of the operation. Read more

  • The airlines that have stopped flying in 2019 - Independent 12.12.19

In 2019 alone, 23 carriers have stopped flying, making it a record breaking year for airline bankruptcies. Increased competitiveness, cost pressures, Brexit uncertainty and high fuel prices are the most common causes of airline bankruptcy according IBA Consulting. Read more

  • Airline replaces all call centres with chatbots - Travel Mole 12.12.19

In a victory for automation over the human touch, budget airline AirAsia has closed its voice call centres in favour of going all-in on AI chatbots. The airline's chief customer happiness officer Adam Geneave admitted the move was 'controversial' but says the future of customer service is messaging and voice artificial intelligence. Read more

  • Conservative majority - 'best outcome for outbound travel industry' - Travel Weekly 13.12.19

Initial travel industry reactions to a new Conservative government as Boris Johnson won an overall majority in the general election. Read more

  • Flight attendant averts 'potential disaster' after spotting ice on aircraft wings - Independent 13.12.19

The sequence of events is explained in startling detail in the latest report from the Confidential Human Factors Incident Reporting Programme - the CAA scheme that encourages airline staff to raise safety concerns with complete anonymity. The CAA reported that the plane was already on the runway when the pilots abandoned the planned departure. The cabin crew member reported that when they closed the aircraft door after boarding was completed, "I noticed that there was a significant layer of snow accumulating on the wings". Read more

  • Qantas picks Airbus over Boeing for longest flights - BBC 13.12.19

Qantas has picked Airbus jets to fly its ultra long haul routes, dealing a blow to rival plane maker Boeing. The airline selected the A350-1000 for its planned non-stop Sydney to London service, which would be the world's longest commercial flight. Qantas also delayed a final decision on whether to begin those, and other long haul services, until March 2020. Read more

  • Operators call for more time to prepare for Brexit - Travel Mole 13.12.19

Following the election, UKinbound CEO Joss Croft said: "We welcome the new Government and look forward to continuing our dialogue and working with them on the key priorities for the inbound tourism industry during the Brexit transition period and beyond. The industry contributed £23 billion to the UK economy last year but in order to keep growing and flourishing we need to have continued access to employees from all over the world, frictionless borders for our visitors post Brexit and continued strong promotion of the UK as a welcoming destination. We also urge the Government to consider extending the Brexit transition period beyond December 2020 if needed so that businesses have enough time to prepare." Read more


Two new independent Chairs for Gatwick's Noise Management Board announced - 02.12.19

  • NMB brings community groups and industry together to manage and mitigate aircraft noise
  • New NMB structure has two Chairs - one to lead the NMB Executive Board and the other to lead the newly created NMB Community Forum
  • New structure also allows for more community groups and locally elected representatives to be included 

Following a public recruitment process, two new independent Chairs for Gatwick's Noise Management Board (NMB) were announced yesterday (3 December) at the Board's fourth annual public meeting.

The new Chair of the NMB's Executive Board is Jonathan Drew and the Chair of the NMB Community Forum is Warren Morgan.

Jonathan Drew is a career civil servant and diplomat with extensive experience working in the Foreign Office on a variety of challenging international issues. He has served as British High Commissioner to Mauritius and Ambassador to the Union of the Comoros. Most recently Jonathan headed up the Foreign Office's Trade Diplomacy Department in London.

Warren Morgan has over 15 years' experience in local government as a councillor and has an excellent reputation for representing the views of constituents, including ten years leading a forum where local residents could have their say on the construction of the new £450 million regional trauma centre at the Royal Sussex County Hospital. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge from his three-year leadership of Brighton and Hove City Council and work with businesses and local authorities across the South East of England.

Two chairs have been appointed - and two separate Boards formed - in a dual track structure for the first time following a recommendation of the NMB Review Committee. The Review Committee was established in August 2018 to consider the future of the NMB as it transitioned into a second three-year term (See Notes).

The new structure will support the inclusion of a greater number of both community groups and locally elected representatives on the NMB.

The Executive Board is responsible for developing noise reduction workplans and overseeing their delivery, while also balancing the interests of communities negatively affected by aircraft noise with those of passengers and airlines that rely on Gatwick Airport.

The Community Forum is responsible for facilitating effective engagement across all community groups impacted by Gatwick noise and for ensuring that noise issues are suitably documented and understood. The Community Forum will engage closely with the NMB Executive Board to facilitate the establishment of a community-wide noise reduction strategy and to agree noise reduction initiatives. 

Both positions were advertised widely, and the successful applicants were interviewed by a panel that was structured to include a balance of industry and local stakeholders, including two local council members, an airline representative, and Gatwick's Head of Airspace. A commissioner from the newly established Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise also joined the panel to observe the process and provide advice and feedback (See Notes).

Tim Norwood, Director of Corporate Affairs, Planning and Sustainability, Gatwick Airport, said: "I am delighted toannounce that Jonathan and Warren will be leading the NMB into its second three-year term. Both bring a wealth of experience and I look forward to working with them in the new NMB structure, which is expected to expand the scope for representation from, and engagement with, our local communities and councils.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the outgoing Chair, Bo Redeborn, for leading the Arrivals Review and the work of the NMB to date. During his tenure, NMB initiatives including the modification of the A320 family of aircraft, have helped to significantly improve noise impacts at the airport."

Jonathan Drew, new Chair of the NMB Executive Board, said: "I'm honoured to have been appointed Chair of the NMB's Executive Board. I look forward to working with communities and other parties, alongside Warren, to agree together further real actions to mitigate noise in the Gatwick area"

Warren Morgan, new Chair of the NMB Community Forum, said: "I'm delighted to be taking up this challenging new role helping to ensure the voices of residents across Kent, Surrey and Sussex impacted by aircraft noise are heard and acted upon. I look forward to working with Jonathan and other members of the Noise Management Board team, and to continue the good work of Bo Redeborn in finding practical solutions to noise issues around London Gatwick Airport."

An annual report is also available to look back at the progress of the NMB over the previous year.



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