Heathrow Area Transport Forum (HATF) Board Meeting 11
Val Shawcross CBE – HATF (Chair)
Mark Frost – HATF (Independent Technical Advisor)
Tony Caccavone – Heathrow Airport Limited (Surface Access Director)
Paul Millin – Heathrow Strategic Planning Group (Chair, Transport Sub Group)
Shamal Ratnayaka – Transport for London (Aviation Strategy Lead)
Joanna Grew – Network Rail (Industry Programme Director [Heathrow & TVA])
Christian Wolmar – London Cycling Campaign (Trustee)
Nigel Wicking – Airline Consultative Committee (AOC Chief Executive)
Adam Tyndall – London First (Programme Director)
Liz Garlinge – Highways England (Strategic Projects Director)
Wayne King – Unite (Regional Officer)
Kathy Slack – Enterprise M3 (Chief Executive)
Kris Beuret – Heathrow Community Engagement Board (Non-Executive Director, Transport & Environment Group)
David Stroud – British International Freight Association (Policy & Compliance Advisor)
Anthony Smith – Transport Focus (Chief Executive)
- Timothy Wells – HAL (Surface Access Travel and Policy Lead)
- Lisa Martin – HAL (Surface Access Strategy Lead)
- Matthew Wooll – HAL (Route Development Lead)
- Colin Kemp – Transport the South East (Board Member)
1. Welcome and Introductions
The Chair provided opening remarks and welcomed new members and guests.
2. Covid-19 Economic Recovery Updates
a. HAL Airport Update
HAL provided an update on the impact of Covid-19 on the airport and surface access.
Key points included:
- 22 million passengers used the airport in 2020 compared to over 80m in 2019. Airport operated at less than 5% of normal passenger numbers at times through the year.
- Terminal 4 will remain closed for all of 2021. Terminal 3 will not open until summer at earliest
- Transaction times through the airport are significantly longer due to requirement to validate Covid-19 test and quarantine credentials for all journey legs. This has led to pictures of crowding at Heathrow.
- HAL is awaiting a government announcement on closing borders/ quarantine in hotels and will follow policy and guidance. HAL is pushing for information and a timeline of how we will exit this lockdown and enable travelling.
- Class 387s were launched on HEx and operating at 2tph to the Central Terminal Area (CTA) and T5. Software updates being developed by Bombardier which will enable 4tph to operate from 15th February 2021.
- MTR continues to operate TFL rail services to T5 at 2tph until 15th February 2021 following which it will then only operate to the CTA.
- Long distance coach services are currently significantly reduced. No National Express services will operate until at least 1st March 2021.
- Local buses continue to operate at reduced frequencies, with the majority now supported by Government grants.
- HAL submitted its Revised Business Plan for H7 (2022 – 2026) to the regulator at the end of 2020. Expecting feedback from CAA in coming months followed by up to two further iterations and sign off in Autumn 2021.
- Unite strike planned for 5th and 9th February 2021 affecting 7 out of 16 business areas. WK added that all business areas voted in favour of strike action but in some circumstances government legislation prevented action from being taken.
- Transport Focus asked about cargo volumes through the airport. HAL stated cargo volumes are holding up compared to passenger volumes, carrying a mixture of medical supplies and other cargo. BIFA stated Brexit has only had a minimal impact on Heathrow cargo to date.
b. Board Member Updates
TfL update – TfL tube / rail seeing 18% normal demand. Bus slightly higher at 30%. Airport demand estimate (from Heathrow / London City stations) is 10% of normal levels. Demand at main London terminal around 15%.
Network Rail update – GWR service operating at 60-65%, with demand at 5-15% depending on route. WRLtH – agreed with DfT to continue small discrete pieces of work to enable smoother re-start when this happens.
Enterprise M3 update – highlighted the City Outlook Report (Cities Outlook 2021 Launch | Centre for Cities) by the Centre for Cities has identified London / Slough / Crawley as locations where they see a levelling-down, which could be linked to the aviation sector. Working with the skills academy at Heathrow to look at transferable skills. Southern and Western Rail are still firmly on the LEPs agenda.
HCEB raised the issue of Private Hire Vehicles and HGVs parking in local communities and asked if HAL / LAs can do anything to help.
Transport Focus report published. In summary, those travelling feel safe – social distancing and cleanliness important. Link below:
Highways England update – Strategic Road network – Nationally, between 35-50% of normal flows for this time of year. Supporting govt with messaging on our VMS (signs) around Covid testing for freight.
3. Report back on HATF Special Interest Groups
a. Removal of Public Transport Subsidies
HAL shared and discussed an update on the suspension of travel subsidies and Heathrow Free Travel Zone.
Points discussed included:
- Most operators agreed to accept Heathrow Travelcards until they expire. Some operators have introduced their own discounted tickets. Managed to get early journeys re-introduced on route 7.
- HSPG raised concerns about what happens when the Covid BSSG stops. Need to work collaboratively and plan for it now. The Chair suggested HATF should establish a Bus Service Recovery SIG to enable us to build back better.
b. HEx and the removal of MTR services to T5
The Chair updated on the issue, including correspondence with the Secretary of State for Transport who indicated the DfT do not have power related to track access. HAL had the same response and is continuing to lobby. It is likely that MTR will challenge the May timetable in respect to this issue, so the matter won’t go away. Platform capacity is the issue and the feeling was that ORR did not have a role at this time. Network Rail agreed that the airport was following proper industry process. The issue will continue until HEx can return to two-platform operation at Paddington which will not happen until Crossrail/Elizabeth Line operation commences.
There was general agreement on the forum that the right thing would be for MTR to continue operating to T5 if this can be facilitated, however noting the complexities that the issue had thrown up for NR and HAL.
4. HAL Expansion Programme
HAL reported that there is no timetable for re-starting Expansion. HAL will seek feedback from stakeholders and await an update from the DfT on how they plan to proceed in respect to whether or not a review of the ANPS is imminent or not. HAL’s focus is on protecting the business and recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.
5. HATF 2021 Work Programme Review
The Chair shared the draft work programme and noted that the Bus Service Recovery SIGs are to be programmed in.
The Chair raised that HAL is reviewing support for HCEB and there are likely to be headcount reductions. The Chair will be writing to HAL making clear how much HATF value the work of HCEB and having a voice for community stakeholders on the forum.