In common with many UK airports, Edinburgh airport is planning to expand and aims to be able to deal with 26 million passengers a year by 2030. Currently the airport council is conducting research to see how best to do this. Meanwhile the development plan for expansion is said by the airport to take account of environmental factors and the concerns of the local community.
One casualty of the plans, however, is the Royal Highland Showground which is having to relocate and a row has broken out over just who should foot the bill, expected to be a staggering £353 million. This seemingly astronomical bill is purely a like-for-like estimate, based on expected costs in 2012 and does not include the additions which the Showground would like, such as a 10,000 seater stadium for concerts and conferences, three extra exhibition halls, offices and a 150 room hotel. The previous estimate had been £275 million but after detailed costings were carried out it became clear that this was an underestimate.
The move is being made to a new site at Norton Park on the other side of the A8. RHASS bosses insist that the bill should be footed by BAA but the airport authorities have put their foot down. Funding is unlikely to come from the Department of Transport either, with the Scottish Parliament adamant that the government should not have to step in.
The RHASS is keen for agreement to be reached by the end of the year, in order that building work can start in 2010. They hope to move into their new premises in 2013.
Ministers at the Scottish Parliament could find that their ambitious target for reducing emissions affecting climate change by 80% by 2050, is going to be impossible to meet. The increasing popularity of Scotland’s airports has resulted in some 25 million people flying out from them each year. Current predictions show that this number is set to increase to 30 million in the next two years, 50 million by 2030 and 120 million by 2050, leading to fears that aviation emissions could exceed emissions from all other sources such as industry, agriculture and motor vehicles.
The World Development Movement has said that Scotland owes it to the world’s poorer nations, who are already suffering the catastrophic results of climate change, to make the bill work. However, it is not only those far from home who are feeling the effects. It is estimated that 77,000 homes in Scotland will be prone to flooding if reductions are not made.
Meanwhile, the Green Party has lashed out at plans for the expansion of Edinburgh’s airport, currently Scotland’s favourite departure point. This year alone, 27 new services have been introduced and passenger numbers have risen to over 9 million, nearly a 5% increase from the previous year. The expansion plans have infuriated the Edinburgh Green Group, with one councillor accusing Jenny Dawe and the SNP of “living in two parallel worlds” where climate change and reducing emissions matter but where airport expansion is seen as an excellent thing.
Delta airlines has recently launched its first direct service between Edinburgh Airport and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). The non-stop flight is now taking Edinburgh passengers across the Atlantic once a day using a Boeing 757-200 ETOPS aircraft, providing travellers with a convenient, fast and reliable service.
The aircraft holds 158 seats in economy class and 16 seats for business elite passengers. Priding itself on its creature comforts, the airline provides travellers with all-leather seating and access to Delta on-demand, the airline’s in-seat entertainment channel. In addition, business class travellers also get a quilted duvet, full-sized pillow, a choice of meals designed by celebrity chef Michael Bernstein, stainless steel cutlery, contemporary dinnerware, and a complementary amenity bag.
Delta is already one of the most successful airlines in the world, offering flights to 37 trans-Atlantic destinations, but this year it has made further expansions with thirteen new international services from British airports. Speaking about the new Edinburgh-New York Service, Glen Hauenstein, executive vice president of Delta’s Network and Revenue Management department said, “No one offers more destinations across the Atlantic. Delta’s new flight connecting New York to Edinburgh continues our successful international expansion.”
Despite its prevailing success, however, Delta has recently suffered set-backs at Edinburgh airport when, last year, it was forced to cancel its Edinburgh-Atlanta service after only twelve months in the air. The route was cancelled due to rising fuel prices but was set to relaunch in June this year. Now that Delta has successfully launched the Edinburgh-New York service, plans for the Edinburgh-Atlanta relaunch have been postponed indefinitely.
On the 30th March 2008, Edinburgh Airport began its multi-million pound scheme to resurface its main runway. The project will take place over 8 months, and is expected to be completed this coming November. It will cost around £16 million to resurface the runway, and will involve a number of changes to the airport’s night flights. Arrivals and departures between 23:00 and 05:45, Sunday to Friday, will be using Edinburgh’s second runway. The main runway should be in full operation during the day, however, causing minimal disruption to its daytime fliers.
The change of runway for the nighttime flights means that many aircraft will be flying close to homes that do not usually encounter aircraft noise. Households that are likely to be affected by these changes are being sent information about the project and any possible disturbances they may face over the coming months. The managing director of Edinburgh Airport has ensured that every effort has been made to minimize disturbances to local residents. The areas likely to be affected include:
Anyone who has concerns about the resurfacing project is urged to attend one of the community meetings or get in touch with the airport:
Edinburgh’s main runway was last resurfaced in 1991. It helped to transform Edinburgh Airport from a small airport to a major international airport, which is now the busiest in Scotland. The current project is expected to renew the runway’s life for another 10 years. It will help to develop Edinburgh Airport even further to accommodate for the increasing number of passengers and aircraft movements over the next decade.
Three hundred holidaymakers were left shaken and scared a few days ago, after the pilot on a Boeing 737-700 was forced to make two aborted landings at Edinburgh airport. The ‘flyglobespan’ plane, on a return journey from Lanzarote, was pulled back twice from landing because the pilot’s visibility was poor and the runway lacked a guiding system. The airport is currently using a secondary strip for night-time landings, whilst the main runway is being resurfaced, and lacks the landing system which most runways use to give lighting and radio guidance to descending aircraft.
After aborting the landing for the second time, the pilot flew the plane to Glasgow airport where it was able to land without a hitch, and buses took passengers back to Edinburgh. However, by the time the plane did manage to land many of its passengers were severely shaken. According to a 61 year old passenger, Rosie Blackley, “As we descended I could see the runway lights, then, all of a sudden, the pilot pulled up. We were practically vertical… five minutes later he went down and then shot back again.” Rosie’s husband Harry said, “We were left a bunch of nervous wrecks. There were a lot of upset people.”
A ‘flyglobespan’ spokeswoman apologised to the travellers for the inconvenience of the aborted landings but added, “Safety is always our primary concern.” A representative for BAA (who operate Edinburgh airport) also apologised, assuring the public that the secondary runway has not been a big problem with few planes flying in to the airport at night. Renovations on the main runway are expected to be finished by November.
Planning permission has recently been granted for much needed accommodation to be developed near Edinburgh Airport. Edinburgh councillors gave the go-ahead last week for a £4.5 million development to be built on a site facing Glasgow Road. It will help to meet the increasing demand for hotel rooms close to the airport. The 97-bed project had already been approved by planning officials, who had praised its potential to provide new jobs and boost the economy of the local area. The hotel will be situated just five minutes from the airport, and will target the growing number of business travellers and visitors who use the airport as a gateway to Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland. The hotel will be based on a high quality contemporary design and will be constructed from stone, render, zinc and glass. A three-storey office building of a similar design will be built next door to the hotel.
Now that the plans have been passed, the developers, Ratho ParkVentures, are looking to set up a partnership deal with a major hotel chain and it is hoped that the hotel will be open for business at the end of next year. The multi million pound hotel is the third in a series of recently submitted plans to provide new accommodation for the airport. It follows hot on the heels of the Quality Hotel and the Hilton Hotel building projects. According to Alan Henderson, a recent study has indicated that there is a shortage of hotel accommodation in the West side of the city where the airport is situated. It has been estimated that an extra 550 rooms are needed by 2010 and up to a thousand on top of that by 2013 to cope with the growing number of travellers passing through the airport.
It was announced a few days ago that Stagecoach Bus Company has made a pledge to plant 140,000 new trees along one of its bus routes, as a way of offsetting carbon emissions. The scheme proposes to save 21,500 tonnes in Carbon Dioxide emissions given off by Stagecoach buses each year along the Fife-Edinburgh route. Over the next five years the trees (a mixture of conifer, broadleaf and native woodlands) will be planted along various stages of the route, including Edinburgh airport, where they will be seen by the five million passengers who pass through the airport annually. More trees will be planted at the Gyle shopping centre, Edinburgh Park, Riccarton, Granton and Leith, covering a total area of 60 hectares, the amount needed to absorb the carbon emissions produced by the buses until 2013. Speaking about the plans, Brian Souter, Stagecoach Group Chief Executive, said: “This is an extremely exciting initiative, which is setting the standard for greener, smarter bus travel and helping our customers reduce their own carbon footprint.”
The initiative comes after a recent research conducted at the airport revealed that more air pollution had been found around the car parks and approach roads of the airport than around the main airfield itself. The new plans have been welcomed by environmental activists who, in March this year, also welcomed a new carbon friendly car parking service at the airport (for more information about car parking at Edinburgh airport please visit our Airport Parking Shop). The project works to ensure that all emissions given out from secure parking at the airport and transfer buses are offset by investments in environmental projects set up by the World Land Trust.