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October 04, 2012

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chris_cjr56

On this issue, and this issue only Boris, you are right on the money. Keep on punching for a Thames estuary airport and do the UK a favour.

Suspicious

Don't you wonder what (if anything?) the Virgin lawyers might have discovered in the train franchise
award? Hanky panky? Brown paper envelopes? Is this why the award was pulled? Makes you think no?

Frank W

A new hub airport is the adopted mantra of the day and is a concept firmly embedded in the 1970′s. By the time a new hub with it’s additional infrastructure requirements were constructed (2030?) it would just be regarded as wasteful white elephant project that big governments are so good at proposing. What does not seem to have been discussed openly is the future direction of aviation technology and it’s influence on airline operations.The single largest major driving factor in airline operation is economics (with safety) and for today’s 1st tier operators this is paramount. Air transport manufactures work closely with the operators to produce the air vehicles that are needed to meet future requirements which means that constant innovation is being aggressively pursued at every level and as this works through to the airline operations front then modes of flight planning will change.
The Aircraft vehicle – consists of airframe, engines and avionics in which tremendous advances have and will be made into the future. Frames are lighter (composites), engines are ever more efficient and avionics have developed advanced ‘Fly by Wire’, safety and navigational systems (spacial awareness). We should not also forget the improved maintenance aspects leading to less frequent scheduled maintenance activity and greater vehicle availability.
Air and Ground Traffic control – Introduction of the ‘Free Flight Programme’ for ATC and the increasing use of aircraft mounted ‘Visual Guidance Systems’ for low visibility flying and landing together with providing ground traffic aids.
So the changing technology is a dynamic in the the overall operating equation and will have a significant impact on operations during any period needed to build new take off and landing capacity. To those that doubt that these will not happen quickly I would say that upgrades to existing equipments will happen if they improve overall running costs (spend to save). Another augment sometimes used is that aircraft are expensive and so an operator will keep it for life that again is yesterday’s thinking as most tier one operators sell and lease back their fleet (I own a miniscule part of an A380 bought and leased back by such an airline) so movement of aircraft through the food chain will increase in future and tier one operators will maintain lower average age fleets. I should also mention that aircraft engines are increasingly supplied on ‘Power By The Hour’ arrangements to operators where the investment cost is spread over the period of use.
Having been a frequent flyer prior to retirement I can tell you that most hub airports are places to avoid (LHR, LAX, CHI, DWC to name but a handful) if you can get a point to point then that’s the way to go. Of course the hub and spoke operation will not disappear but will decrease in importance over time to be supplanted by more point to point operation of these lighter more economical aircraft taking advantage of the new ATC advances to improve operating costs. It is my belief that we have enough hub and spoke capability for the future with existing or modifiable airports and that increased utilization factors at other geographical locations will support more efficient point to point operation.

Aircraft Avionics Testing | AvionTEq

What is the current progress of the planned hub airport? Such project will benefit most of the businessmen, which is good for the economy and tourism of London.

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