The Voice of London Business. London Business: The Economic Benefits of Night Flights

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1 The Voice of London Business London Business: The Economic Benefits of Night Flights July 2004

2 INDEX Requirement for Night Flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Air Capacity Constraints at London Airports Economic Benefits provided by the Express Industry Trade Productivity Foreign Investment Output Employment SMEs Economic Value of Night Flights Cost of Banning Night Flights 2

3 Night Flights and London Business The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the voice for businesses in the capital, representing some 3,500 firms, ranging from sole traders to large conglomerates. The Chamber s Aviation Committee is made up of member experts from the industry, including representatives from airlines, trade bodies, express delivery services and other transportation organisations. The issue of airlines operating at night, between the hours of 11.30pm and 6am is one that has been of key importance over recent years and of particular interest since the ruling from the European Court of Human Rights ruling in The current restrictions in place governing flight times are due to be reviewed by the Government over the coming months. The Committee highlights the economic benefits of flying at night in the following report, outlining certain air capacity constraints, the benefits as well as the costs of further restrictions to night flights. Members of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry have historically rejected the banning of night flights, strongly supporting their continuation from a business perspective. Aviation is one of the UK economy's great success stories providing vital business communications in the era of the global economy and contributing 1.4% of the UK's GDP itself. The capital s support for the continuation of night flights is based on the nature of London as a 24-hour business centre and its transport infrastructure must recognise this fact, with scope for 24-hour transport operation. London airports do not operate in isolation. Their business and activities are part of an international network of airports which must be taken into account when considering their operation. The question of night flights at the London airports is one of the major problems facing regulators of the air transport industry. The London Chamber recognises the fact that such flights can be disruptive to many people not least members of the London Chamber and, as a result, seeks policies based on the essential demands of the London economy whilst taking account of the environmental impact. This paper concentrates on two aspects of night flying which must be taken into account when balancing environmental and economic issues: the demands of passengers travelling to Europe and long haul passengers travelling from airports in Asia and beyond, as well as the essential role of the express parcel industry which serves most sectors of the London economy. The further expansion of freight facilities at airports in the South-East is essential to meet the current and future demands of business. However express and freight carriers, as well as scheduled services for London air freight, must be able to fly at night in order to meet these needs. The impact of further restriction of night flights at airports in the South-East would impact on much of the next-day consignments currently carried on express services, resulting in a direct impact upon the UK economy. 3

4 The London business community also depends upon efficient passenger air transport services. The number of flights before 0700 reflects the strong demand for departures from business passengers travelling to other parts of the UK and Europe to enjoy a full working day and the need to schedule long haul arrivals to connect with early departures to a range of UK and European destinations. As time in Continental Europe is one hour ahead of the UK and Ireland, there is demand for flights from the UK early enough to allow a full day s work in major European centres. This is the busiest and most important period for short-haul departures for business travellers to the Continent. I. Requirement for Night Flights at Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted Sectors of the aviation market impact upon London Chamber members, whether these are businesses relying on crucial delivery of documents or equipment, or business travellers reliant on efficient services across the globe. Night Flights at London airports are required to serve two key segments of the air transport market: long haul scheduled services (with the UK s major markets in Asia and Europe) and express parcel and mail services. This report does not focus on the charter market, however, it is also vital for the charter market to maintain the ability to operate at night. The charter business model is built on the assumption of three rotations per day per aircraft. The third rotation departs or, more often, arrives during the night period. High utilisation of aircraft and economical fares are achieved by being able to operate these three rotations, in particular at night. Long-haul Long haul flights, most notably from the Far East, are affected by time differences, and thus their arrival times are limited to a restricted time slot. At Heathrow, long haul scheduled services comprise 93% of planned night movements for Summer 2003 and Winter The origins of these flights are comprised from US and Canada 38%, Far East 22%, Africa 19% and the Gulf/India 14% 1. Early morning arrivals are needed to allow for specific time windows across the world to be matched when scheduling long haul services. There has been no increase in the number of flights before 0600 for many years and few flights now land before Connecting traffic is also important to the international competitiveness of long haul services. London s unique and unrivalled network of international air services would be degraded if night flying was further restricted as it would no longer be seen as a key interchanging hub. This would jeopardise London s position as a leading world city. Business could flow instead to major Continental airports, such as Charles de Gaulle or Schipol. 1 OAG worldwide database of airline schedules 4

5 Express Delivery Market Night movements are an essential feature of cargo operators and mail services. Night flights enable next-day express deliveries of legal documents, samples, contracts and high value freight. London Stansted is London s key freighter and express hub, with freight operations representing over 90% of night movements at Stansted airport. 2 The recent rapid growth in express freight has lead to an increased demand for night time movements. The demand for overnight services has continued to grow strongly as UK companies adapt to the faster, leaner business models of the new economies and night flights are vital to meeting this demand. The express parcel sector has experienced growth rates in excess of 20 percent per year over the last decade. In 2000, there were 13,000 night time freighter air transport movements at the four major London airports. II. Air Capacity Constraints at London Airports The Government outlined in the Aviation White Paper, published in December 2003, that by 2030, the South-East of England will require two new runways to be able to cope with demand for air travel. This is consolidated by research LCCI conducted amongst its own members 3. The Chamber has repeatedly expressed its support for swift planning and development phases of new airport infrastructure in order to maintain London s position as a key player in the global market. However, Government policy must take full account of meeting air transport demands in the UK as a whole if London is to hold its position as a key international business player and major international tourist attraction. With capacity for express and freight transport likely to reach its peak over the next thirty years, this need must be met and capacity extended in order to maintain London as a central economic player in Europe and the world. Night flights are an integral part of airline operations and cannot simply be moved to the day even if sufficient capacity exists. Restrictions to night flights only add to the current and future capacity issues for the UK. Realistic alternative time slots do not exist during the day for long haul or express service flights at Heathrow and Gatwick. In any case, this is impractical for most airlines because their available day-time slot timings are unlikely to meet the specific scheduling needs of the night services 4. According to British Airways, banning or reducing night flights would have the same effect as reducing the number of slots available. BA could not obtain vital replacement slots, plus the necessary terminal capacity, at later times of the days. Slots are allocated by an independent coordinator under the EU Slot Regulations. Any unused slots are pooled and allocated first to new entrants as required by EU rules. BA states that a 2 The economic costs of night flying restrictions at the London Airports BATA, July Night Flights at Heathrow and Gatwick: Response to Review of Night Restrictions Policy, LCCI December The economic costs of night flying restrictions at the London Airports BATA, July

6 logistical nightmare would result in lost flights and severe inconvenience to passengers should any further restrictions on night flying apply. 5 It is not conceivable to reschedule night flights to later times in the day as the flights are calculated as part of a specific and integrated network which corresponds to the customer need. According to the airlines that operate out of London airports, changes to the long haul arrival timetable would require a redesign of the whole network. Evidently, rescheduling night operations to the day is not an option. London Heathrow is the world s busiest international airport and the third busiest cargo airport in Europe. It is a hub for the world s biggest industry travel and tourism. Over 90 airlines have made Heathrow their base, providing connections to over 180 destinations world-wide, and handling 1.31milion metric tonnes of cargo and mail per year. 6 Its extensive international operation offers UK residents and the economy a major economic advantage, contributing to London s position as the leading service industry capital in Europe for financial, tourism, and other services. 7 An independent inspector reported that Heathrow makes a larger contribution to the UK economy than any other single site; any decline in its relative position could only harm the prospects for London as a global financial centre. III. Economic Benefits of Night Flights The economic benefits of flying at night are apparent to both the passenger market and the express delivery sector. This section focuses in particular on the express delivery sector and the specific benefits of night flying to this market. The express industry makes a significant contribution to the UK economy by facilitating trade, supporting productivity and international investment, boosting GDP growth and employment levels and enhancing the work of SMEs. Almost 50% of cargo flights by the express industry occur at night. Trade The express industry has become a key element of UK trade over the years. Dependence on international trade necessitates an efficient and competitive way to deliver exports and to bring in imports from overseas. According to the A&TC and OEF study, the UK express industry carried over 67 million shipments to, from, or within the UK in Express services transport over 8.5 billion of UK exports annually, accounting for 4.5% of total goods exports. 5 Written Comments on behalf of British Airways PLC Pursuant; Submission to the case of Ruth Hatton & Others v. United Kingdom, July BAA website 7 The economic costs of night flying restrictions at the London Airports BATA, July

7 With the UK s fastest growing markets likely in the United States and emerging markets such as Asia, the fast, reliable and cost-effective services offered by the express industry continue to play a substantial role in the competitiveness of UK businesses. Delivery to overseas destinations represents around 70% of the express industry s revenues from next-day delivery services. Next-day delivery is provided both by freighter aircraft and by scheduled passenger services, which carry a significant amount of high value freight along with passengers and their luggage. Results of a recent CBI survey indicated that 64% of firms consider next-day express delivery services to be very important to meeting their commitments to clients. Approximately 87% of companies require their suppliers to deliver certain shipments to them by express delivery. Next-day delivery service is important to 67% of firms for customers demanding next-day delivery as part of a streamlined production process, 32% of firms for customers demanding next-day delivery of spare parts for machinery and equipment and 19% of firms for the time-sensitive nature of the company s products. 8 Clearly, the express industry s next-day and guaranteed delivery aspects are particularly important to UK companies in an increasingly competitive global market. The extrapolated scenario would be businesses relocating should they not be able to carry out efficient over-night deliveries. If companies relocated to the continent, taking their businesses, for example, to Schipol airport in Amsterdam, with the ability to truck goods overland through Europe, this would mean significant reductions in businesses for the UK as a whole and from UK airports specifically. Any review of night flights must therefore take into full account the contribution which both night freight and passenger services make to efficient freight deliveries. Productivity Express services play a major role in supporting the efficient production processes used by UK companies. Just-in-time inventory management has become increasingly important to UK industry. Under just-in-time management, firms do not hold buffer inventories, but rather demand delivery on a need basis, and therefore, eliminate manufacturing waste. Frequent, reliable delivery of small quantities of goods reduces a firm s costs and creates a competitive advantage, however the environmental consequences of this should be taken into account. Although these deliveries have environmental implications, over 40% of UK firms would have to hold increased inventories if next-day delivery were not available, resulting in higher costs. The express industry allows for a system of just-in-time inventory, which over the past twenty years has saved UK companies over 7 billion per year 9. 8 The Economic Impact of Express Carriers for UK plc; a report by The Aviation and Travel Consultancy 9 The Economic Impact of Express Carriers for UK plc; a report by The Aviation and Travel Consultancy 7

8 Foreign Investment Foreign investment is essential to the UK economy. Nearly 40% of all US investment in Europe is in the UK, totaling $120 billion. Investment can be directly associated with destinations served by night flights. Analysis of long haul arrivals at night demonstrate the significance of the following destinations as trading partners of the UK: US (16%); Saudi Arabia (2%); Australia (1.6%); Hong Kong (1.6%); Canada (1.6%); South Africa (1%); Singapore (1%); India (0.8%); Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand and the Philippines (1.5%) 10. Many of these markets are major growth areas for UK exporters. The express industry provides access to markets and transport links necessary for foreign investment. In a survey by Healey & Baker, the most important influence on a company s decisions concerning location is easy access to markets, customers or clients. Approximately 58% of companies considering this factor as absolutely essential when deciding where to locate their business. From its survey, the CBI concluded that foreign direct investment would be vulnerable if next-day delivery to or from the UK were not available. 16% of respondents reported that they would have to relocate from the UK to an overseas location if next-day delivery were no longer available to or from the UK. Without express next-day delivery, UK companies would face higher production costs and reduced investment. Many companies are located near to airports but without the ability to fly goods out over-night, the option remains for them to truck goods out of mainland Europe and fly the rest of the products by day. This would mean a significant loss to the UK. Output The express industry contributes to the growth in UK output. The direct contribution of the express industry to UK GDP is measured by its value-added. The A&TC and OEF estimate the value-added of the express industry in 2000 to be around 550 million. The value-added over the next decade will more than double by 2011 to about 1.25 billion in today s prices. 11 This rate of growth will cause overall GDP to be about 425 million higher by 2011 than if the express industry grew in line with the GDP growth forecast of 2.5 % per year. Furthermore, if express services were unavailable over the next twenty years, GDP would be 5 billion a year lower than it would be if express industries were allowed to grow without constraint. 10 Written Comments on behalf of British Airways PLC Pursuant; Submission to the case of Ruth Hatton & Others v. United Kingdom, July The Economic Impact of Express Carriers for UK plc; a report by The Aviation and Travel Consultancy 8

9 Employment The express industry directly provides an estimated 29,300 jobs, and an additional 25,200 indirect jobs through the supply chain. Indirect employment consists of those working in commercial and cargo airlines, the aerospace industry, the automobile industry, oil companies, IT equipment companies, support services, accountants and lawyers. Direct employment in the express industry is expected to increase from 29,300 to 44,000 by 2011; the new jobs to be created are expected to be generally dispersed across the UK. Overall employment figures for aviation and night flights generally are outlined further in the report. SMEs Small and Medium Size Enterprises obtain considerable benefits through their use of the express industry. SMEs rely on transport services in which a central provider delivers on behalf of a large number of customers. The extensive operations of the express industry enable SMEs to exploit economies of scale, and therefore, to achieve lower production costs similar to those of larger companies. Large, established firms, as a result, are not able to maintain a competitive advantage. Overall, this is generally better for the competitiveness of the UK. The results of an OEF survey conclude that 42% of SMEs use express services frequently to send parcels elsewhere in the UK; and 21% frequently send parcels to the EU by express delivery. If next-day express international delivery were not available, 32% of SMEs report that they would lose orders, and 34% would be required to increase their product inventory to meet the demands of their customers. These numbers are significant because the European Commission estimates that SMEs account for over a quarter of UK exports 12. IV. Economic Costs of Banning Night Flights Any proposal to restrict night flights at London airports would generate serious economic costs. The loss or reduction in the current number of night flights over the next twenty years would result in a cumulative reduction of UK GDP of 33 billion 13. This figure is derived from the estimated loss of competitiveness with the likelihood of companies relocating overseas and the overall impact on GDP. Restrictions on night operations would result in higher prices for passengers and less convenient timings of flights. Aircraft movements of the four integrators accounted for almost 40% of all cargo aircraft movements at UK airports in 2000 and Annually, the four integrators operate almost 14,500 night aircraft movements in the UK. In addition to the provision of these 12 The Economic Impact of Express Carriers for UK plc; a report by The Aviation and Travel Consultancy 13 The Economic Impact of Express Carriers for UK plc; a report by The Aviation and Travel Consultancy 9

10 night flights, it has been estimated that another 1,500 night flights are operated each year by other services at UK airports. Thus, a total of approximately 16,000 flights per year would be affected by placing a ban on night flights. According to the CBI survey, the elimination of night flights at UK airports would badly affect almost 60% of businesses. Also, the Oxford Economic Forecasting aviation-express-economy model 14 has demonstrated that the catalytic effects on other parts of the economy that would arise from the cessation of night-time express flights would be a loss to UK GDP of 1.3 billion per year. Conclusion Night operations provide direct economic benefits to the UK. British Airways recently estimated that night flights contribute 2.2 billion to the UK economy, support 9,500 aviation jobs and 10,600 other jobs 15. This figure takes account of flights operated at night, plus matching arrivals/ departures and the connecting traffic through London Heathrow. Connecting figures are very important as 33% of BA passengers on night flights transfer to other flights at LHR with some 4.9m passengers on these flights. BA estimate passenger figures from other airlines on a pro rata basis to their movement numbers at night. This estimate of 2.2bn is a cautious estimate as it does not take into account the higher than average contribution from business travellers and freight. The London Chamber strongly supports the continuation of night flights to and from London airports. Our ability to compete on a global scale with other countries internationally would be seriously impeded if further restrictions were in place. Night flights are essential for businesses in London to continue to trade, investments and exports. The Chamber looks to the Government to realise the vital role night flights play in maintaining London s economic growth and look forward to contributing to the future debate on the issue. For further information on the work of the London Chamber Aviation Committee please contact Elizabeth de Winton on +44 (0) or 14 The Economic Impact of Express Carriers for UK plc; a report by The Aviation and Travel Consultancy 15 Written Comments on behalf of British Airways PLC Pursuant; Submission to the case of Ruth Hatton & Others v. United Kingdom, July

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