Airport Performance Facilitation Group: SEAT Recommendations

The work of the Airport Performance Facilitation Group is now complete. The Group was formed to oversee the implementation by industry of the main recommendations of the South-East Airports Taskforce

On 14 July 2011 the Government published the report of the South East Airports Taskforce including the report of the Taskforce sub-group on Punctuality, Delay and Resilience.

One of the main recommendations of the Taskforce was a package of proposed initiatives at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted to improve punctuality, increase resilience and reduce delay. These initiatives would be taken forward at an airport level in conjunction with other stakeholders, and the Airport Performance Facilitation Group was set up to monitor progress:

  • A set of operational freedoms to allow certain tactical measures to be applied to prevent or mitigate disruption and to facilitate recovery.  The tactical measures could include, for example, use of temporary departure routes and temporary desegregation of runway operation; but would be subject to rigorous safeguards to confine their use to certain defined and limited situations. A phased trial was undertaken (specifically the extended use of twin arrival streams and the introduction of twin departure streams, both in limited, prescribed circumstances) at Heathrow to better understand the costs, benefits and impacts, including engagement by Heathrow Airport fully and transparently with relevant local authorities, communities and other stakeholders throughout the process, particularly on the monitoring of noise impacts. The results of the trial will form the basis for a consultation with local communities, which will in due course inform the Government in deciding whether an operational freedoms regime should be adopted at Heathrow. The Taskforce found that there was some scope for exploring operational freedoms at Gatwick, but currently no strong case for additional freedoms at Stansted. Please click here for more information about the operational freedom trials at Heathrow Airport
  • A performance charter specific to and developed by each airport, to set out clearly the roles and responsibilities of the various parties that contribute to a good passenger experience at airports, including defining how parties will be held accountable to delivering those roles.  This would be agreed by all of the airport’s stakeholders, setting out performance objectives, the planning process (including each stakeholder’s specific responsibilities), the performance management regime to be applied, incentives/sanctions and protocols for handling adverse conditions and disruption, including on passenger communication and welfare.
  • A set of policy guidelines on capacity management, compliant with the Slot Regulation and IATA guidelines, to optimise the utilisation of scarce runway resource at each airport.  This would be led by the airport but developed in conjunction with other stakeholders such as Airport Coordination Ltd, the Department for Transport, NATS and airlines.

As Chair of the SEAT sub-group on punctuality, delay and resilience, the CAA commissioned a further report from consultants XPX-Helios covering (a) an assessment of airports’ proposed responses to future snow disruption and (b) the possible approach for the package of initiatives set out in the bullets above. This report can be seen here. The report provided useful guidance for the industry participants in considering how they might implement the Taskforce’s recommendations on punctuality, delay and resilience. The approaches suggested in the report might not be applicable to all airports and were not intended to be binding. Learning from best practice might embrace different approaches and did not necessarily mean a one-size-fits-all solution.

Links to reports pre-dating APFG

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