Val Shawcross CBE – HATF (Chair)
Mark Frost (MFr) – HATF (Independent Technical Advisor)
Tony Caccavone (TC) – Heathrow Airport Limited (Surface Access Director)
Paul Millin (PM) – Heathrow Strategic Planning Group (Chair, Transport Sub Group)
Shamal Ratnayaka (SR) – Transport for London (Aviation Strategy Lead)
Joanna Grew (JG) – Network Rail (Industry Programme Director [Heathrow & TVA])
Nigel Wicking (NW) – Airline Consultative Committee (AOC Chief Executive)
Liz Garlinge – Highways England (Strategic Projects Director)
Adam Tyndall (AT) – London First (Programme Director)
David Stroud (DS) -British International Freight Association (Policy & Compliance Advisor)
Anthony Smith (AS) – Transport Focus (Chief Executive)
Matthew Furniss (MFu) – Transport for South East (Surrey CC Cabinet Member for Transport)
Mark Purchase (MP) – Confederation for Passenger Transport
Christian Wolmar – London Cycling Campaign (Trustee)
Richard Harrington (RH) – representing the Local Enterprise Partnerships
Keith McNally (KM) – Confederation for Passenger Transport Matthew Wooll (MW) – HAL (Route Development Lead)
Lisa Martin (LM) – HAL (Surface Access Strategy Lead)
Lucy Squire (LS) – HAL (Senior Regulatory Strategy Manager)
Wayne King – Unite (Regional Officer)
Kris Beuret – representing local community members Peter Bradley – UK Bus and Coach Operators Association
1. Welcome and Introductions
The Chair provided opening remarks and informed the Board that the LEPs have re-The Chair provided opening remarks.
2. Covid-19 Recovery Updates
a. HAL Airport Update
TC provided an update on the impact of Covid-19 on the airport and surface access. Key points included:
- The airport saw 675k pax in May which is about 10% of normal passenger volumes compared with May 2019.
- Cargo volumes are at 87% of pre Covid volumes; in May, 117k tonnes of cargo travelled through the airport.
- Passenger numbers have increased steadily in June, largely driven by travel to amber list countries. 1 million passengers are expected in June.
- On 1st June, Terminal 3 was opened as a dedicated red arrivals facility; all flights arriving from a red list country go through T3 to help processing of passengers through the Border. It is intended to move that facility to Terminal 4 from 29th June. This is not a public health requirement, but is intended to provide an improved sense of safety and security for airport users
- HAL published it’s Investor report in June; the passenger forecast for 2021 was downgraded to 21.1 passengers from 37 million forecast at the start of the year (compared to 80 million in 2019).
- There has been a steady increase in passenger public transport mode share this year – from 18% in February to 30% in May (it was 40% pre Covid).
- From a bus perspective, some services are back to normal, others have been withdrawn and others are operating on reduced hours/ frequencies (see slides for detail).
- The remaining elements of the Free Travel Zone (FTZ) were withdrawn on 12th June, – travel remains free on HEx for Heathrow Airport Limited colleagues and at a 75% discount for Team Heathrow. There is still a free transfer available for colleagues and passengers to travel between the terminals on the Piccadilly Line, TfL rail or HEx.
- VS asked how many colleagues were working at the airport today. TC explained that the picture changed frequently and that many employers are using flexible furlough. A total of 48k staff passes have been given back to the ID Centre since start of pandemic.
- RH asked whether the high volume of cargo led to a corresponding level of aircraft movements. TC explained that air traffic movements were only at 13% of 2019 levels; in many cases airlines have switched from a passenger flight to a purely cargo flight.
b. Board Member Updates
Keith McNally joined the meeting from the CPT on behalf of Graham Vidler and provided an overview of how the bus and coach sector was doing on national basis. Key points included:
- There was good growth in bus patronage in April and May; however, capacity was under pressure given social distancing using a general principle of 1 passenger per seat row. This, combined with not using standing capacity, has led to pressure in terms of available capacity. Given much lower rates of infection and various other improvements including better ventilation, CPT developed a case to use every forward-facing seat. This was launched on 10th May, so from 17th May most operators are using every forward-facing seat.
- However, in most cases more buses are running than passenger numbers can justify. Patronage is running around two thirds of pre Covid levels across country.
- Looking ahead, clearly the messaging around public transport and the perception that public transport is unsafe has been damaging and is something the CPT are talking to Government about.JG, Network Rail provided the following updates:
- It has been a tortuous period for rail given the problems with Class 800intercity train fleets when cracks were found. All trains are now going through daily checks to ensure rigorous safety requirements and levels are met. Service levels are mostly back to where they were before.
- Network Rail have been working with TOCs and Rail Delivery Group to work up campaigns to get people back to rail. These was meant to go live on the 21st June but was pushed back to 19th July. At present customers are not being actively encouraged to travel but are being told that it is safe to travel.
- The GWR mainline has seen an uptick in demand, primarily leisure travel and weekend travel. There is still a lot to do to give commuters confidence when people are happy to return to work.
- The William Shapps White Paper was published which will bring big industry change. 2023 is identified as the go live date for the new GB Rail.SR, TfL – highway traffic is almost back to normal (91%) bus is at 62% and tube at 41% of normal demand. This will likely increase when people go back to offices.LG, Highways England – the SRN overall is about 90-95%. The DfT have reported figures of over 100% for the road network in its entirety.
3. Post Covid Public Transport Recovery
Anthony Smith provided a helpful update to the meeting on this topic on behalf of Transport Focus, making the following points:
- Confidence is important – how people feel, as well as the safety record and statistics is important to recovery.
- Transport Focus has been mapping confidence through weekly omnibus survey – people travelling on rail and bus are reporting a good experience, the proper wearing of face masks and cleanliness of services.
- Satisfaction tapering over last couple of weeks as people come back and find services busier than they were (bus passengers are less worried than rail passengers). The ability of mass transit to cope with social distancing is limited.
- Need to get the product right – clean, comfortable, with the right timetable and the right price. Reliability is more important now than pre pandemic – otherwise it leads to overcrowding.
- Campaigns can help to tempt people back, but we also need people to try it and then tell others about their positive experience.
VS asked if not rushing people back would be better? AC confirmed that was the right approach whilst we remain in this period of social distancing. People will still be worried about crowding levels and it will take a bit of time for supply and demand to balance.
VS asked what AC knew of the Government plans for a national campaign – AC confirmed the rail industry is preparing one. VS raised the point that it might be effective to coordinate across multiple modes.
AT reported that co-ordination at a London level was going well with the Mayor’s campaign to encourage people back into the city. Quite a lot of uncertainty still about whether there will be encouragement to go back to the office. On rail, there is a pan London rail recovery group which is coordinating well.
VS said it is important that HAL consider how they respond and encourage people back to the airport not by car – can HAL help in the cross-boundary areas? TC shared that HAL has had conversations with the Mayor’s teams about lining up our messaging and campaigns.
KM said that it was important to be careful about encouraging people back due to restricted capacity. CPT is working with the DfT on some research looking at risks around use of PT. They would like to see Ministers saying people should come back and get on public transport, and for them do it themselves too.
VS underlined the important of coordination and timing.
SR echoed what others have said in that London is joined up, posters are up on the network already and there is a TV campaign in the pipeline. Agrees strongly that it will get much busier on the network when people go back on work.
VS asked HAL to share what will be happening at Heathrow (and for it to be appended to the Minutes).
3. Heathrow Revised Business Plan and CAA Way Forward Update
Lucy Squire from the HAL Regulatory team provided an update on the Revised Business Plan and CAA Way Forward– see slides for details.
VS thanked Lucy for a very good presentation. She explained that she felt that it was important that there was an external voice making a representation to the CAA, and that it is important to achieve an environmentally clean airport and one that performs well on sustainability ratings as well as consumer outcomes.
HATF has written previously to the CAA to point out that their last determination does not appear to pay attention to the need for the airport to mitigate impacts of their activities on the environment, in particular in respect to promoting active and sustainable travel. VS and MF will attend a meeting with the CAA in mid-July on economic regulation, decarbonisation and modal shift. They intend to make the case, on behalf of HATF, that surface access is very important in terms of decarbonisation and the CAA should not allow attention to it at the airport to be marginalised. The Chair welcomed other’s views on that.
SR shared that TfL have had some conversations with the CAA and on the issue of surface access and on occasion found the regulatory process to be very constraining. Some frustration was therefore experienced in ensuring that due regard was given to the airport’s impact on environment. As part of the conversations around expansion, the CAA could point to fact that surface access was an important aspect on securing consent – given there are no active conversations around expansion currently, it is harder to make the case for action. It is not felt to be the case that the CAA disagree with the importance of addressing environmental issues, more that there is a question about whether it sits within their remit in respect to economic regulation, particularly if the airlines are not pushing for it.
LS explained that making it easy for passengers to get to the airport should be a primary duty. It is important to make sure that surface access does not become only about decarbonisation; it is also key to what consumers want.
AT asked if an approach might be to push Government and the Secretary of State to provide clearer guidance to the CAA. LS confirmed this would be helpful.
SR suggested that the pending Government decarbonisation plan might provide a hook.
NW said that a lot of this sits at the Secretary of State’s door given this is a multi-modal industry, and the strategy should be set by DfT on sustainability. The CAA should then just see that through within their remit. Clearly progress is being made in terms of decarbonising aviation but recognising aviation’s effect on the broader transport system, particularly the local network, is important. The CAA do not really have that remit at present, nor the necessarily the resource or skillset to be looking at sustainability issues in any depth. If we want that to change, it needs to come from the Secretary of State and the DfT.
3. Sustainable Travel Zone
VS reported the outcomes from the April Bus Recovery Special Interest Group meeting (minutes were circulated with agenda).
- It was agreed that Heathrow would meet with individual local authorities and talk about opportunities to work together on their BSIPs and understand how Heathrow could most effectively be served by this opportunity. HAL would prepare relevant data and provide ideas for improvements to be put forward.
- HATF wrote to Baroness Vere in the DfT to see if they could provide support to focus on Heathrow – that is something we are waiting to hear about.
MW presented some of the data analysis HAL has undertaken in re-designing the new STZ (see slides).
LM presented on how HAL are considering using Intelligent Mobility solutions to support the new STZ (see slides).
VS thanked HAL for adopting a data led approach for re-designing the STZ. PM also thanked MW for the discussions he has been having with local authorities, and noted they need to continue.
AT asked if the STZ incorporated active travel as well as public transport. VS confirmed that it did. CW asked if active travel could feature on a future meeting agenda to better understand HAL’s current plans.
5. Introduction of Elizabeth Line Services
SR provided an update from TfL who are targeting the first half of 2022 for the opening of the Elizabeth Line, in three phases, and potentially in quick succession. The central section between Paddington and Abbey Wood will open first shortly followed by the western and eastern branches shortly after. As soon as the central section opens TfL Rail will be re-branded to the Elizabeth Line.
LM presented some initial plans from HAL for how to ready the stations and terminals at Heathrow to make the most of the opportunity the Elizabeth Line will provide in terms of encouraging more passengers and colleagues to travel by public transport. See slides for more detail.
6a. HSPG Position Paper on Southern Access
Paul Millin shared an update on work HSPG has commissioned on Southern Access and made the following points:
- The purpose of the work, given concerns around the pace at which the DfT is progressing southern rail, is to take hold of the narrative and seek to make the case for improved links to the airport from the south too difficult for government to ignore.
- As part of the work, discussions were held with 18 different organisations to understand what different stakeholders agreed on and what commonalities they want to see through a southern access scheme .
- A Position paper has been prepared, incorporating an economic narrative, which will be presented to HSPG’s Chief officer Steering board for comment on 30th June.
- Following that, two documents will be issued so they can be used in earnest to promote the scheme. HSPG will share these documents in when complete.VS said this was a great piece of work and thanked HSPG for keeping the flame alive on it.AT offered support as appropriate.
VS said this was a great piece of work and thanked HSPG for keeping the flame alive on it.
AT offered support as appropriate.
6b. Colleague Travel Survey
LM presented initial findings from the recent colleague travel survey undertaken with all Team Heathrow colleagues. See slides for initial findings.
No further items raised.