Darling's pie in the sky

There has been much speculation over Alistair Darling's first pre-budget report and his plans to green the aviation industry.

The chancellor has suggested replacing duty on tickets with a charge based on the type of plane and the distance it will be travelling. This will, he claims, encourage airlines to increase their efficiency (by reducing per-passenger emissions) and to use the latest and most efficient planes to further reduce their tax bills.

Glasgow airport MD invites your phone calls

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In these busy times of aviation growth, Gordon Dewar, the Managing Director of Glasgow airport has so few people to chat to that he wants to hear from you:

If you get a delay of more than ten minutes going through security at Glasgow Airport, please give me a call personally because I’d really like to know about it.

Dewar did however decline to give his own number, instead encouraging angry punters to call the general enquiries number: 0870 040 0008.

You might think that he had better things to do than chat to people whose flights to Newcastle or Aberdeen got delayed, but apparently running an international airport leaves him plenty of time to kill...

BAA - another one bites the dust

Will the last one to leave BAA please turn out the lights? Just over five weeks after joining, BAA's troubleshooter - remit: "to put passengers’ interests first" - has left the company.

It's almost getting too easy to mock the struggling airport operator at the moment. They're already under investigation for being so broke that the Competition Commission is concerned that their finances will impact upon passengers and airlines.

Since June, Tony Douglas has stepping down as chief executive of Heathrow, Mike Clasper stepped down as chief executive along with Marcus Agius, the chairman, Margaret Ewing, finance director, and Tony Ward, who was in charge of security.

Climate change activists blockade domestic flights

Activists from Manchester Climate Action and Manchester Plane Stupid have blockaded the security check-in of terminal 3 of Manchester Airport.

Passengers are being denied access to the departure lounge by seven activists locked together using arm-tube devices. Two banners have been unfurled reading, “Manchester City Council... supporting climate chaos” and “Domestic flights cost the Earth”. Other protesters are leafleting passengers with information about aviation and climate change as well as handing out train timetables for route destinations.

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Aviation is the fastest growing source of green house gases and according to the government is responsible for 13% of the UK's global warming contribution. The overwhelming majority of flights from terminal 3 are to domestic UK destinations such as London Heathrow. These are the most unnecessary flights. The group are calling for an end to all domestic and short-haul flights and for international aviation to be included in the Climate Change Bill.

The protesters are also highlighting the contradiction between Manchester City Council's 'Green City' initiative and their 55% ownership of Manchester airport . The airport intends to expand its annual passenger numbers from 22 million in 2005, to 39 million by 2015, to 50 million by 2030.

Green Party Councillor Vanessa Hall, who is taking part in the blockade said,

"Manchester Council say we need the income from the airport to fight poverty. The Airport costs the people of Manchester in tax breaks and subsidies – this money should be invested directly into green industries directly creating jobs and relieving poverty. Climate Change will have a massive impact on our economy, health and well-being. It is environmental and economic lunacy to consider any expansion of aviation."

"We can't be a Green City with an expanding Airport. I am blockading domestic flights to highlight the true cost of flying and to call the council to account for their hypocrisy."

The action today was inspired by the Camp for Climate Action which saw around 2000 protesters gather next to Heathrow airport in London this summer.

Robbie Gillett, also present at the protest said, "It is no longer socially acceptable to fly from Manchester to London given what we know about climate change. It's absurd when there are train alternatives readily available. The money earmarked for the expansion of British airports needs to be redirected towards improving our rail infrastructure. We're the last generation who can stop climate change and time is running out."

Minister hides Heathrow noise report

Jim Fitzpatrick's hidden report

Rising noise levels are causing massive discomfort to people living under Heathrow's flightpaths, according to a leaked report which Aviation Minister Jim Fitzpatrick has been sitting on.

The report, Attitudes to Noise from Aviation Sources in England (ANASE) was ordered six years ago but kept under wraps since the DfT saw a draft in July. In a damming blow for proponents of the third runway, it has challenged the current measure of noise-related discomfort (57decibels), arguing that "significant annoyance" occurs at 50db levels.

MEPs water down aviation emissions scheme

As the dust settles following the ICAO / EU battle over aviation emissions, news reaches us that MEPs have significantly retreated from ordering significant cuts in CO2 from aircraft.

After talking big about how the Emissions Trading Scheme would dramatically reduce emissions, the EU has decided to reduce the sector's output to 66% above 1990 levels - a far cry from the Kyoto targets originally proposed. They are also planning to give away 50% of the credits, potentially providing a huge bonus to industry coffers.