RAF Northolt`s Future Not Good ?

Discuss all things 'aviation' that do not fit into a more appropriate forum
Post Reply
chipmunk22
Posts: 99
Joined: Fri 12 Sep 2008, 8:16 pm

RAF Northolt`s Future Not Good ?

Post by chipmunk22 »

Apologies if this has been posted elsewhere.
Doesn`t sound good. :sad:

2nd February, 2015

Statement from London Oxford and Biggin Hill Airports regarding civil aviation at RAF Northolt

Following the issue of a press release last Friday, 23rd January, London Oxford and Biggin Hill Airports wish to clarify the following:

The safety of all civilian aircraft using government owned military aerodromes is the sole responsibility of the Civil Aviation Authority not the Military Aviation Authority or MOD.
The CAA is now responsible for deciding if RAF Northolt is safe for use by civil aircraft
An assessment by the CAA is required and this may require civil aviation use of Northolt to be restricted, unless it is upgraded
This may result in taxpayers facing a bill in excess of £20 million
It has been admitted (by MOD and CAA) that Northolt does not comply with Civil Aviation safety standards.
The Court ruling impacts on all civilian flights using military aerodromes, including the 12,000 civilian flights a year at RAF Northolt.

In a landmark ruling last week, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Secretary of State advised that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is the statutory regulator required to determine safety standards for civilian aircraft using government owned military aerodromes.

Previously, as part of a policy of attracting 12,000 more business jets a year to RAF Northolt in west London, Ministers had repeatedly argued that they didn’t need to meet stricter, costlier civilian safety standards – only military ones – and that the CAA had no regulatory responsibility or powers at military aerodromes.

This meant that smaller private airports reliant on business jets were being significantly undermined, as RAF Northolt became a competitor accepting civil flights without incurring the higher costs of complying with civilian safety standards.

London Oxford and Biggin Hill Airports, represented by John Steel QC, lodged an application for a Judicial Review, arguing that the use of military aerodromes by civil aircraft should be regulated by the CAA and subject to equivalent safety standards that would apply to civilian airports, as mandated by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA).

This Judicial Review has now clarified the position – the CAA and the Secretary of State for Transport are responsible for the safety of all civilian flights using RAF Northolt and other military aerodromes in the U.K. The safety of military flights remains the exclusive responsibility of the Military Aviation Authority and MOD.

As stated in the Judicial Review hearing, it has been suggested that the costs to the taxpayer of meeting equivalent safety standards at Northolt, (as would apply at a civilian airport) would run into tens of millions. For example, the MOD submitted evidence that suggested that measures to address a lack of adequate emergency runway run off areas to allow for potential under/over-shooting aircraft would, alone, cost in excess of £21 million at a time of defence cutbacks.

The Judgment is also likely to have a major impact on an ongoing EU competition investigation concerning State Aid, and requested by London Oxford and Biggin Hill Airports. Should the Commission find that the MOD have been unfairly competing with the private sector, the compensation bill could run into many tens of millions.

In welcoming the Judgment, Will Curtis, Managing Director of Biggin Hill Airport in SE London, said ‘Despite a serious crash in 1996 in which an aircraft overran the runway and collided with a vehicle on the A40 trunk road, action has not been taken to ensure that RAF Northolt meets accepted civil aviation safety measures – measures that civil airports such as ours are required to maintain. Lower safety standards at military aerodromes may be able to be acceptable for military aviation but are unacceptable for use by civil aviation, not only for those in the aviation industry, but also for passengers and those in the surrounding community on the ground.

This Judgment now, for the first time, clarifies that the CAA has statutory responsibility for safety in relation to use of RAF Northolt by civil aircraft. This is long overdue as the relevant legislation goes back to 1982. I am sure that they will want to quickly consider their position regarding the safety standards for civil aircraft at RAF Northolt."

Andi Pargeter, Managing Director of London Oxford Airport said: "Today 85% of flights at RAF Northolt are civilian. They can continue to operate as a military airport accepting military flights, but if they want to continue accepting civilian flights, they may need to put in costly new safety measures. The question for the MOD now is will they use even more taxpayers’ money in order to distort the market and compete with small private businesses that support hundreds of highly skilled engineering jobs?"

Will Curtis added: “Using taxpayers’ money to compete with civil airports serving the same customers is simply not equitable. As military and government flights at RAF Northolt have declined, replacing them with 12,000 civilian flights a year means it is now effectively a civil airport via the back door, despite the Airports Commission stating that it sees no long term role for it."

Issued by Emerald Media / for London Oxford Airport

User avatar
Ruislip Rustler
Posts: 562
Joined: Mon 01 Sep 2008, 6:53 am
Location: West London
Contact:

Re: RAF Northolt`s Future Not Good ?

Post by Ruislip Rustler »

Some people just can't take 'No!' for an answer.

After their first diatribe it was pointed out that they'd forgotten to let the facts get in the way of a good story, and so they persist.

In the Judgement the grounds for Judicial Review were fully dismissed. Therefore the court has found fully in favour of MoD, Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority. There are no legal impediments to the continuation of civil aircraft movements at RAF airfields, including RAF Northolt. All of the claims were dismissed by the judge. RAF Northolt is appropriately regulated and demonstrably safe for civilian, as well as military, operators.

If anyone's got a strong constitution and has a couple of days to kill, the complete legalese version of the findings are here: http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2015/24.html&query=RAF+and+Northolt&method=boolean
Insert witty / sarcastic / uncalled for comment (* delete as applicable)

www.leezpics.com

ArabJazzie
Posts: 2180
Joined: Sun 31 Aug 2008, 9:38 pm

Re: RAF Northolt`s Future Not Good ?

Post by ArabJazzie »

As i understand it, if Mr Megawads has a choice between Oxford, Northolt and Biggin Hill to get to his meeting in London, he will choose Northolt which will certainly not be the cheapest place to land and park if my area is anything to go by. And as most of these visitors are run as private aircraft, there is not much to prevent them from using Northolt.
Arabest,
Geoff.
52 in a year! We must be certifiable!

chipmunk22
Posts: 99
Joined: Fri 12 Sep 2008, 8:16 pm

Re: RAF Northolt`s Future Not Good ?

Post by chipmunk22 »

Hopefully not as bad as it sounds then.
I don`t know any of the history of this debate,but was sent the link to the story by a friend who knows my aviation interests.
Also ,I live very close to RAF Northolt,it sounded worrying,particularly as the MOD / Government / local councils seems to be trying to close every airport / airbase to build on :mad:

Cheers

DOUGHNUT
Posts: 353
Joined: Sat 21 Mar 2009, 2:49 pm

Re: RAF Northolt`s Future Not Good ?

Post by DOUGHNUT »

With the retirement of the BAe 125, this will leave only the BAe146, the Islanders and a few helicopters as the RAF at Northolt. So the question of ownership airfield might need to be addressed. RAF Northolt does still have ground based units but why does MOD need to pay to maintain and upkeep the airfield ? So much is/has been sold off surely long term lease arrangements and standard landing fees for RAF flights would be cheaper. Who provides ATC and fire cover at RAF Northolt ?

User avatar
Arthur Tee
Posts: 1170
Joined: Mon 15 Sep 2008, 12:42 pm
Location: Shawbury, Shrewsbury, Shropshire

Re: RAF Northolt`s Future Not Good ?

Post by Arthur Tee »

DOUGHNUT wrote:With the retirement of the BAe 125, this will leave only the BAe146, the Islanders and a few helicopters as the RAF at Northolt. So the question of ownership airfield might need to be addressed. RAF Northolt does still have ground based units but why does MOD need to pay to maintain and upkeep the airfield ? So much is/has been sold off surely long term lease arrangements and standard landing fees for RAF flights would be cheaper. Who provides ATC and fire cover at RAF Northolt ?


ATC and Fire are both RAF.

Landing & Handling Fees are standard across the MoD - with the exception of Northolt.

So - Northolt may not necessarily be 'under-cutting' the opposition - but they are in a very desireable position location-wise!

Arthur
Canon PowerShot SX40HS - It's not what you've got - it's what you do with it!

User avatar
paullangford
Posts: 1484
Joined: Fri 01 Jun 2012, 7:53 am

Re: RAF Northolt`s Future Not Good ?

Post by paullangford »

Is there a closer operating RAF base to London ?

Maybe that's why the RAF would like to keep it.....and the Queen likes it. :smile:

DOUGHNUT
Posts: 353
Joined: Sat 21 Mar 2009, 2:49 pm

Re: RAF Northolt`s Future Not Good ?

Post by DOUGHNUT »

Was not suggesting that Northolt be closed, nor RAF stop using Northolt, just that the reduced size of 32sqn might mean that the sqn only need use airfield as and when required.
As the BAe 125 are not being replaced one must assume that those who currently use them will travel by chartered private jets or commercial service.

User avatar
RRconway
Posts: 2359
Joined: Sat 04 Jul 2009, 4:09 pm

Re: RAF Northolt`s Future Not Good ?

Post by RRconway »

DOUGHNUT wrote:Was not suggesting that Northolt be closed, nor RAF stop using Northolt, just that the reduced size of 32sqn might mean that the sqn only need use airfield as and when required.
As the BAe 125 are not being replaced one must assume that those who currently use them will travel by chartered private jets or commercial service.


Or 146...
I know you think you understood what I said, but I'm not sure you realise that what I said is not what I meant.

DOUGHNUT
Posts: 353
Joined: Sat 21 Mar 2009, 2:49 pm

Re: RAF Northolt`s Future Not Good ?

Post by DOUGHNUT »

BAe146 true, but IIRC 32sqn only have two 146 in what could be called VIP fit, I do not know the figures but expect at one of them is kept for transporting the Royal family to official events. The other BAe146 being more a flying boxcar. Are the BAe125 used more for high ranking RAF, and Army/Navy personal ? and taking Government ministers to Brussels. Why use a BAe146 for that, their too big, better charter a civil bizjet, or go by Eurostar. It is a crying shame that UK has not got a top notch Government transport, I dont mean a flying gin palace with gold taps, just a recognisable Gulfstream type jet which the Royal family and Government could use, it need not be military.

Rumwolf
Posts: 138
Joined: Tue 05 May 2009, 7:25 am

Re: RAF Northolt`s Future Not Good ?

Post by Rumwolf »

I once had the pleasure of flying into Northolt late one afternoon on a Learjet the reason being that the company finance director I was accompanying needed to catch an aeroplane from Heathrow to get him to California for a series of presentations the following day. Biggin Hill or Oxford wouldn't have offered him that opportunity.

I would suggest that London benefits from Biggin Hill (for access to the City and Central London), City Airport for the City and Canary Wharf and Northolt for Heathrow and Central London.

If the landing fees are appropriate then it's a good thing that a taxpayer owned asset is making a return for its owners.

Post Reply