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Europe's Small Airports Face Challenges

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In this country, a combination of Air Passenger Duty and the relatively high charges made by smaller airports can be a big disincentive.

For the transatlantic trips I make every six weeks or so, I have an effective choice of Teesside or Manchester (I live more or less equidistant between the two, and rule out Leeds/Bradford due to the high cost of parking and near impossibility of getting there by public transport). With all other things being equal, I'd choose Teesside, for all the reasons the Manston boss cites. If the costs were roughly similar, the speed and efficiency of getting through the airport more than offsets the faff of an extra short-hop flight compared to the faff of getting to, and getting through, a major hub when starting a journey at one.

The problem is that since the recession began, using Teesside has become steadily more difficult and expensive. First they ended the bus from Darlington station, thereby adding £30 in taxi fares to the cost of an overall trip. Then they added a £6 fee for all departing passengers. Then KLM changed their timetable, such that the only transatlantic routings they offer necessitate using the 6am flight, meaning that if you don't drive to the airport (impractical if you're away for more than a week or so, due to the cost of parking), that's an extra £100 for the previous night in the airport hotel. And the plane tickets themselves are now around 15-20% more expensive than those going from Manchester. The result is that I haven't flown from Teesside since last August, because compared to Manchester it's an extra £200 per trip for an effective half-hour saving.

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In this country, a combination of Air Passenger Duty and the relatively high charges made by smaller airports can be a big disincentive.

For the transatlantic trips I make every six weeks or so, I have an effective choice of Teesside or Manchester (I live more or less equidistant between the two, and rule out Leeds/Bradford due to the high cost of parking and near impossibility of getting there by public transport). With all other things being equal, I'd choose Teesside, for all the reasons the Manston boss cites. If the costs were roughly similar, the speed and efficiency of getting through the airport more than offsets the faff of an extra short-hop flight compared to the faff of getting to, and getting through, a major hub when starting a journey at one.

The problem is that since the recession began, using Teesside has become steadily more difficult and expensive. First they ended the bus from Darlington station, thereby adding £30 in taxi fares to the cost of an overall trip. Then they added a £6 fee for all departing passengers. Then KLM changed their timetable, such that the only transatlantic routings they offer necessitate using the 6am flight, meaning that if you don't drive to the airport (impractical if you're away for more than a week or so, due to the cost of parking), that's an extra £100 for the previous night in the airport hotel. And the plane tickets themselves are now around 15-20% more expensive than those going from Manchester. The result is that I haven't flown from Teesside since last August, because compared to Manchester it's an extra £200 per trip for an effective half-hour saving.

I have always found Manchester best for transatlantic. OK 7 Days parking on the long stay is £35 or thereabouts but I can drive to the airport in about an hour so never stop overnight even on early morning flights.

US Airways always seem to have the best fares by far a daily flight into Philly at 10.55 arriving early afternoon and Philly must be one of the largest hubs in the US.

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Guest eight

First they ended the bus from Darlington station, thereby adding £30 in taxi fares to the cost of an overall trip.

Ah, so you were the one person I ever saw using that!

I never understood the premium charged by taxis for going "out of town". From the station, the airport is much quicker and closer than certain parts of Darlington! Anyway, if you should do it again I'll drive you there and back for £20.

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Guest eight

Would it make sense for the low cost airlines to buy the airports in a fire sale?

Durham Tees Valley airport was (and presumably still is?) part owned by Darlington Borough Council. See the Ayatollah's post for the results of their spectacular business acumen.

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Durham Tees Valley airport was (and presumably still is?) part owned by Darlington Borough Council. See the Ayatollah's post for the results of their spectacular business acumen.

The first link I checked on a web-search suggests Peel is heavily involved with that airport.

10th April 2013. Darlington reporter

AN ailing North-East airport has been given the go-ahead to turn its long-stay car park into a caravan storage area in an attempt to boost its income.

Members of Darlington Borough Council’s planning committee said the authority needed to do ‘all it can’ to support Durham Tees Valley airport as it struggles in the economic downturn.

The airport's majority shareholder, Peel Holdings, will change a section of the car park - with more than 900 parking spaces turned into a storage area for up to 350 caravans, motorhomes and other vehicles.

Would it make sense for the low cost airlines to buy the airports in a fire sale?

If you can find a seller willing to accept a fire-sale prices. Too many existing owners, or those with an interest in existing debt, under forbearance and hoping to find someone coming along with FLS or other big money/debt to overpay, imo.

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Durham Tees Valley airport was (and presumably still is?) part owned by Darlington Borough Council. See the Ayatollah's post for the results of their spectacular business acumen.

Yep, so much so that I've been working on Teesside for 7 years and never used the airport. Either NCL or Leeds.

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That's the issue isn't it? It only takes a small change in KLM's schedule-nothing to them-and it makes flying from Teeside impractical and costly.

And they'll probably eventually cite falling passenger numbers as a reason for ending the route altogether (which would probably doom the airport, as it's the only spoke-to-hub connection left). The last time I did use it (I was only away for four days, and so airport parking wasn't a problem - and besides, it was a work trip that I wasn't paying for), the 6am flight to AMS was a third full, if that.

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Would it make sense for the low cost airlines to buy the airports in a fire sale?

No.

Budget airlines have no interest in getting use of an airport for free*

Ryanair in particular rely on getting paid to fly into the small local airports they use.

*In reality it wouldn't be free. They would now be responsible for the loses that the current owners (generally local councils) currently fund.

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  • 238 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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