Under the Radar: Technological Solutions for Decarbonising Aviation

It’s not surprising that within the aviation industry it is new, innovative fuels like hydrogen, battery or sustainable aviation fuels that receive the most attention from commentators. After all, it’s kerosene that causes the emissions.

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For a Better Heathrow, think Rail

For a major international airport, Heathrow, unlike its European rivals, is poorly served by rail access. Currently, Heathrow is only directly linked by eastward-facing rail lines towards central London that neglect the huge number of passenger flows to the south and west of the airport.

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Can Hydrogen Powered Aircraft Become a Reality?

As part of the effort to decarbonise aviation, it’s often Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs) that receive the attention. They are of course important, and immediately available - which helps. But whilst SAFs can cut carbon today, it has been said that hydrogen could eliminate carbon from aviation in the future. Let's explore this for a moment.

Over the last few weeks, the UK has quietly set out its credentials for it to lead the way in research on the use of hydrogen for powering aircraft.

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Back Heathrow welcomes the government’s decision not to oppose a new runway at Heathrow airport

Back Heathrow welcomes the government’s decision not to oppose a new runway at Heathrow airport – but warns that commitments on decarbonisation at the COP26 climate change conference in November are crucial if aviation is to meet its own emission targets.

Parmjit Dhanda, Executive Director of Back Heathrow said: “This decision not to review its airports policy is welcome news for communities in West London who want the benefits of the thousands of new jobs that expansion could create.

“They want expansion, but also want it done sustainably. There are a whole raft of new technologies for tackling carbon emissions in the aviation sector. Hydrogen and other sustainable fuels, electric, and battery powered flight must be taken to the next level through a firm commitment from government. It must back these solutions.”

Back Heathrow’s 100,000 supporters live close to Heathrow Airport and believe in the benefits of international travel.

Mr Dhanda added: “We believe the chance to visit family members abroad or take a holiday is a good thing. We also believe it is important to grow international trade, which will depend on Heathrow’s capacity in the years to come. All of this must come coincide with net zero carbon targets.”

The government’s existing approach is aligned with its long-term climate commitments, including net-zero by 2050 en-route to reducing emissions by 78% by 2035, against a 1990 baseline.

 


Aviation jobs critical to local communities in west London

A new report has set out the risks of aviation job losses to local communities around Heathrow airport and west London.

Parmjit Dhanda, executive director of community campaign group Back Heathrow, which has over 100,000 supporters, said: “Our campaign is arguing the importance of Heathrow airport as an engine room for the economy. This report provides clear evidence of the link between the health of the airport and the prosperity of local communities.”


Back Heathrow believes the government should look carefully at this report, compiled by Airlines UK, and resolve to do more to protect jobs in aviation by extending the furlough scheme for the sector and by agreeing a safe return to international travel to boost trade and jobs.

The report shows that overall, over 100,000 jobs in London depend on aviation. This includes:

8,565 direct jobs in the Brentford and Isleworth constituency; 7,553 in Feltham and Heston; 6,346 in Hayes and Harlington; 3,797 in Twickenham; 3,732 Southall.

Mr Dhanda added: “These figures are the tip of the iceberg, the wider supply chain is huge. The Prime Minister’s own constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip is directly reliant on aviation for over 3,000 jobs. He needs to get control of the situation fast.”

The Airlines UK report can be found here. 


Back Heathrow Welcomes Amber List Announcement

Back Heathrow has welcomed the announcement from the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, that from 19th July, fully vaccinated Britons will not be required to quarantine on their return from amber-list countries.

Since the necessary restriction of international travel at the start of the pandemic, Back Heathrow has campaigned for targeted financial support for the aviation and travel sectors to protect jobs and livelihoods. The responsible adjusting of the rules for fully vaccinated travellers is good news for the many thousands of families who depend on Heathrow and airports across the country.

Parmjit Dhanda, Executive Director of Back Heathrow said, “Heathrow is crucial to the livelihoods of local people and it’s also the country’s most important port, contributing over £6 billion to the UK economy. Global Britain needs a vibrant Heathrow if it is to create the growth and jobs to get people back to work, locally and nationally. The next step needs to be a safe opening up of important business routes to places like the US.”

The government’s announcement opens up travel to over 100 ‘amber list’ destinations in time for the summer holiday season. This includes most of the European Union, including popular holiday destinations such as France, Spain and the Greek islands.

 


Travel day of action shows strength of feeling over green list

Commenting on yesterday’s (June 23) travel day of action, Parmjit Dhanda, executive director of Back Heathrow said:

“The scale of the lobby should be a wake-up call for ministers. The strength of feeling among workers in the travel and aviation sectors yesterday, at events across the country, was palpable. Their jobs are in jeopardy. We hope the government will look at the science when updating its ‘green list’. This is a perfect opportunity to kick start the economy, save jobs and do it safely.”

For a gallery of images from yesterday click here.

 


Images from the travel day of action on June 23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The UK needs a safe return to international travel

Back Heathrow supporters are joining others from the travel industry as part of a day of action at Westminster on Wednesday, June 23rd. Similar lobbies have been arranged for the UK’s other capital cities on the same day.

Trade bodies from across the aviation and travel industries are coming together on the day to urge the government to stick to its Global Taskforce Plan and ensure a safe return to international travel in time for the peak summer period.

The day of action involves a lobby at the Houses of Parliament, as well as similar events in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.

Parmjit Dhanda, executive director of Back Heathrow said the day of action demonstrates how dire the situation is for the aviation and travel industry.

“These sectors employ hundreds of thousands of people. Communities around Heathrow are particularly vulnerable. The fall-out from the pandemic has already cost many thousands of residents their livelihoods.

“Back Heathrow believe the government can do more to protect jobs in travel and aviation by extending the furlough scheme for the sector and by agreeing a safe return to international travel. They should stick to the science and use their own Global Task Force plan.”

Organisers of the day of action say the UK is falling behind other countries in restarting aviation and travel, particularly in Europe.

Back Heathrow argues that with the success of the UK vaccine programme, it is vital the government is proactive, and that a safe restarting of international travel is just the kick-start the UK economy needs.

Mr Dhanda added: “Heathrow is the engine room for the UK. We face doing permanent damage to the economy and the competitiveness of our aviation sector if the government delays further and fails to offer the support that jobs in aviation and travel need to survive.”


Government needs a clear plan to open up travel, not a series of last minute changes and contradictory signals, says Back Heathrow

Commenting on the continuing woes of the aviation and travel industry, Parmjit Dhanda, executive director of Back Heathrow said: “The green list announcement is particularly bad news for west London Boroughs and the Thames Valley. Local boroughs around the airport all have thousands of residents on furlough already – over 25,000 in Hounslow alone. 

“The government needs a clear plan to open up travel, not a series of last minute changes and contradictory signals. There is no sugar coating for this. There are 1.6 million jobs related to the travel sector, and locally, we're set to be the hardest hit if the government doesn't get a grip of the situation.”

Back Heathrow agrees that the protection of public health is paramount, but says the purpose of the Global Travel Taskforce was to set out how to unlock low-risk travel safely. 

The Back Heathrow campaign says if the government is serious about the sector, urgent action is needed to reopen flights to key trading partners, particularly the significant transatlantic route between Heathrow and the US.