Friday, February 27, 2009

Manchester air freight nose dives

Shocking new figures released by Manchester Airport show a 42% drop in air freight compared to the same period last year.
The statistics, published on Manchester Airports' website, show a persistent downward trend of air freight, falling every month since May 2008.
January's figure of a 42% drop is the first time that air freight has fallen through the -40% threshold.

Last week, Manchester Airport CEO Geoff Muirhead CBE, told the BBC that UK air freight has dropped by 30%.
These latest figures show that air freight movements are particularly weaker at Manchester Airport .
This is unwelcome news for Airport bosses who are attempting to steer through a £20m plan to double air freight capacity by building two giant air freight cargo sheds.
Four tenanted properties on the edge of the airport, including a 400 year old grade II listed cottage will have to be demolished if the plans are given the go ahead.
SEMA, Local Liberal Democrats and Green party activists have joined forces with local residents in running a petition and staging a Tea Party protesting the plans late last year.

Wythenshawe councillor and Lib-Dem parliamentary candidate, Cllr Martin Eakins, said "Before we entered recession the Airport was predicting we would need to double our air freight capacity by 2015. Well, these figures show that prediction to be totally unrealistic. Instead of spending £20m on an embarrassing white elephant, we should invest this money in sustainable green collar jobs in the local area."

Manchester Green campaigner and fellow Wythenshawe resident, Lance Crookes, said: "All the indicators show that we have reached peak oil, and as aviation fuel becomes rapidly more expensive this £20m will be a stranded investment, left empty on the edge of the airport failing to return the cash the 10 local authorities had hoped for."

Rose Cottage tenant, Anthony Lowe, said: "Manchester airport continue to advertise warehousing and office space on their existing Freight site; their claims about Job generation are ridiculous, we are seeing right now that simply building complexes for non existent tenants is a pointless and costly exercise - three large empty hotels spring to mind! Their “build it and they will come” attitude is blindly optimistic; look at the number of passengers through terminal 2 since it was built!"

SEMA member and Manchester Green party spokesperson for the Airport, Gayle O'Donovan said: "Whilst were in the midst of a treble crunch: the credit crunch, peak oil and climate change, Manchester City Council are now choosing to support the demolition of a family home and needlessly throw money at a declining industry. Aviation is a carbon intensive industry, so the expansion at Manchester Airport undermines any commitment MCC have made to tackle climate change."

Hasty Lane tenant, Peter Johnson, said: "We as residents will not feel secure until the whole idea of expansion has been dropped and a sustainable plan that achieves assurances for the future of ALL the properties in Hasty Lane is in place!"

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Green Building for Concorde at Manchester Airport

The ‘greening’ of Manchester Airport will soon take a great leap forward with the opening of a viewing park for a retired Concorde plane, see BBC article Concorde retires to new eco-home. A new building in the Aviation Viewing Park will be powered by biomass from willow grown on the airport site. Rainwater will be harvested and it will have solar panels on top.

Concorde was deafening with its sonic boom as it broke the sound barrier. People on the ground complained about the damage to their eardrums. Concorde was an ecological disaster. A flight from London to New York would burn 94 tonnes of fuel, almost a tonne each for the capacity of 100. It took two tonnes of fuel just to taxi the monster plane onto the runway. Concorde was bankrolled by the British and French governments but could never pay its way.

On 25th July 2000 a Concorde taking off from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris hit a piece of debris on the runway which burst a tyre and ruptured a fuel tank and the plane crashed into a hotel near the airport killing everyone on board, 100 passengers, nine crew members and four people on the ground. Mercifully, Concorde was retired from service in 2003. Yet the iconic plane still attracts fascination, with tours, corporate events and even weddings hosted on the grounded planes around the world.

I suppose the Concorde at Manchester Airport is indeed now green, in the sense that it won’t actually be flying anywhere. The building will showcase some impressive green features, but that does not tackle the core business of Manchester Airport, which is servicing the flights.

The area for the new building was declared a ‘newt free zone’ when a protected species of newt found on the site were moved to a new home. But newts are at risk elsewhere in Manchester Airport’s expansion plans. Nearby, Rose Cottage, a listed building with its ponds providing a rare habitat for newts, faces demolition as there are plans to demolish the site for two giant cargo sheds for growing Manchester Airport’s cargo volumes. For more information see Save Rose Cottage Campaign.

News contributed by Rose Bridger