Dundee Airport Consultative Committee

Yesterday, I took part in a very positive and productive Dundee Airport Consultative Committee meeting at the Invercarse Hotel.
All members are delighted at this week’s announcement about the Amsterdam Schiphol flights from Dundee.    We discussed the detail and were pleased to learn that on Thursday alone, there were 1200 bookings.     The aircraft will be 78 seater and flights to Amsterdam will operate every weekday from 23rd May, with the Sunday flights starting from 17th August.    This is simply due to aircraft availability on Sundays, although we were assured that if aircraft become available on Sundays before August, the Sunday flights will be brought forward of 17th August.
The other news that is very positive is the growth in usage of the Dundee-London Stansted flights.   January 2016 had 25.2% more passenger movements than the month of January 2015 and over the whole year, an overall 4.9% increase in passenger movements was noted.    Additionally, the Dundee-London Stansted flights have excellent reliability and punctuality.
There is a really positive future ahead for our local airport, which is really good news for the city and Dundee’s economic growth.

Good news on Amsterdam Schiphol flights from Dundee

From Dundee Airport’s Manager this morning – good news :
I am writing to confirm an exciting development for Dundee Airport. Today Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, has confirmed that it intends to launch a new service from Dundee to Amsterdam Schiphol.
I am sure you will agree that this is a significant milestone for the airport and city. A considerable amount of work has gone into securing this route, with Flybe, HIAL, Dundee City Council and Transport Scotland working in partnership to deliver the new service, Dundee’s first ever international route. We are delighted that this hard work has now paid off.
With access to one of Europe’s biggest and best connected hub airports, this new route offers business and leisure travellers fast, convenient links to hundreds of destinations worldwide and, crucially, creates new opportunities for inward investment and inbound tourism at an exciting time for the city.
Flights will operate six days a week from 23 May and tickets are now on sale, priced from £24.99 one way plus taxes. The schedule allows for seamless connections to destinations across Europe and Asia, including Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore. The full schedule is as follows:
Monday to Friday
Dep AMS 1050 Arr DND 1155     Dep DND 1225 Arr AMS 1525
Dep AMS 1030 Arr DND 1135     Dep DND 1215 Arr AMS 1515
I hope you will support this new route and encourage other stakeholders to do so. With the support of the people of Dundee and Tayside, I believe this route could be transformational for the city and its airport.
Yours sincerely
Derrick Lang
Airport Manager 
Dundee Airport Ltd.

Edinburgh Airport Chief Executive’s comments motivated by self-interest

Today’s Courier covers more comments from Edinburgh Airport Chief Executive, Gordon Dewar, about flights from Dundee Airport, indicating that he believes the new Dundee to Stansted service is a waste of public money.    I do think its clear that his comments are clearly motivated by nothing more than self-interest.
I had to smile when I read that Mr Dewar wants public funding moved to improve linkages to his airport, no doubt to improve his own profits.
It is quite right that there is public support to ensure that the people of Scotland get a good choice of airports and air travel.   We should not be left with just a central belt Glasgow/Edinburgh choice and the new Dundee flights to Stansted give a very accessible, local option for people in Tayside, Fife and the wider region to have an alternative air travel choice.
Perhaps Mr Dewar should be instead putting his efforts into reducing the dreadfully high car parking charges at his own Edinburgh Airport, which would be a better use of his energies.


Dundee’s second Blue Skies Festival!

This coming Saturday sees the start of the second Dundee Blue Skies festival, a week of kite flying, stargazing and rainbow chasing starts – and it runs until 11th August.    Blue Skies brings together cultural agencies from across the city to present you with an exciting mix of free events for all ages.   
Events include :
* Blue Skies at Celebration in the park – launch activities on Saturday 3rd August.
* Make Paper come alive – on Monday 5th August – at DCA.
* Top Gun – with extra guitars – on Saturday 10th August – at Dundee Airport.
* The Perseids – on Sunday 11th August – at the Mills Observatory.
There’s many other events as part of the Blue Skies Festival – see more at www.dundeeblueskies.co.uk – and what’s more, all are free of charge!

Update on travellers’ encampment next to airport

Further to my article on 11th April about the travellers’ encampment at Riverside Business Park, I have received concerns about the build-up of rubbish on the site – see photo (below) from the weekend:
Last Tuesday, I understand a change relative to management of the site took place, with a company from Ashford in Kent taking lease of the site.    The airport manager, the City Council and I have been in touch with the new leaseholder about ensuring that necessary legal steps are pursued promptly.
I have asked the City Council to have all rubbish removed.  I am very concerned about the safety issues caused by rubbish blowing across the airport runway.    
I have also been in touch with the Head of Democratic and Legal Services at the City Council about the need to see the legal process speeded up in such situations.

Another travellers’ encampment as occupation of site next to airport takes place

I have been on Wave 102 and Radio Tay news today expressing concern at yet another illegal travellers’ encampment springing up today, this time at the former Scottish Water site at the Riverside Business Park immediately west of Dundee Airport.    This site was previously occupied in August 2010 and again in July 2012 and there are concerns that another encampment will lead to  rubbish blowing over the airport runway.
Riverside Business Park earlier today
Being right next to the airport, the fact that the travellers have set up camp here is a concern given the mess that was left last time there was an occupation at this site.   Rubbish blowing across the airport runway has been a real worry on previous occasions.
Airport management is aware of the situation and anxious to see a swift resolution.    I have been in touch (as has airport management) with the former Scottish Water site management company (DTZ) asking that legal steps are being taken to get the matter swiftly resolved and they have confirmed this is the case.   I have also been in touch with City Council officers about the situation.
I have asked the council officer who liaises with the travelling community to emphasise the availability of a properly serviced site for the travelling community at Balmuir Wood near Tealing.   The council provides this site for the travelling community so there is no excuse for this sort of occupation of privately owned ground.
You can hear my comments on Wave 102 News by clicking ‘play’ below:

Busy Tuesday

During a busy Tuesday, I had the pleasure of attending a launch meeting of ‘DUSTIE’ – an initiative by the Enterprise Gym at the University of Dundee.
This is an excellent initiative that is aimed at providing university students with paid, supervised work experience that will benefit both the student and the local community.    The first two projects – a Green Advice Centre and a Green Bike Travel project – have much merit and it will be good to see the projects develop in the months ahead.
Also yesterday, I visited the new police office at Dundee Airport where two of our local community police officers are now based.   It is good to see community bases like this for our community police officers.    During the visit I was also able to speak with the Airport Manager about airport issues.
Last night, I attended the latest meeting of “Bonnie Dundee”, the group that encourages improvements to the Dundee environment and helps local groups who keep Dundee’s parks, open areas, streets and gardens in good shape.    There was a good discussion about local improvements, including in the area around the Seabraes steps.

Dundee Airport : Loss of Belfast and Birmingham flights

The loss of the Loganair routes from Dundee Airport to Birmingham and George Best Airport Belfast is a real blow.     
I wrote to the City Council’s Head of Economic Development about the matter and called for every effort to be made to attract additional flight destinations.   
He has responded:
“The Scottish Government announced recently that they would be commissioning a study into future options for Dundee Airport and the development of services.  They have included us in that study.   
The work is out for procurement just now and the current expectation is that it will report in the new year. 
None of that will take the place of attempts to widen the service offering and HIAL are actively seeking new operators and services.”
The study is, in itself, positive as it is vitally important that the city has good links, particularly to ‘hub’ airports and I hope we will see progress towards other destinations well in advance of the V&A at Dundee opening.

Laser attack at Dundee Airport

As reported in last night’s Evening Telegraph, I have condemned a highly irresponsible use of a laser pen last Sunday which was shone into the cockpit of the CityJet aircraft from London City coming into land at Dundee Airport.
It was an incredibly stupid thing for someone to do and, speaking with a police representative at the West End Local Community Planning Partnership last night, I am reassured that Tayside Police is investigating the incident.
I spoke on Wave 102 news about the matter this morning – click ‘play’ below to listen:

Meeting at Dundee Airport

Earlier today, I met with the Dundee Airport Manager to discuss issues at the airport and the area of the West End surrounding the airport.

The airport manager and Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) who operate Dundee Airport have been very responsive to any local concerns I have raised on behalf of residents from time to time.   This community engagement is well-demonstrated by the Airport Manager’s agreement to speak at next week’s West End Community Council  meeting.

The meeting takes place at Logie St John’s (Cross) Church Hall in Shaftesbury Terrace at 7pm next Tuesday – 12th June – all residents welcome.

Dundee Airport Resurfacing Works – an update

Earlier this month, I mentioned the airport runway resurfacing works underway and a noise complaint I had received.    With the authority of the airport manager, I give below an update he has now given me following his attending a project update meeting on Wednesday :

*  The contractor confirmed yesterday that they are approximately 65% complete on the project.
*      Unfortunately due to the recent bad weather spell and a few mechanical issues they have not completed as much as they had anticipated.
*     As it stands just now we probably have 3 nights surfacing left on the runway and 2 nights surfacing left on the apron area.
*     They are having a rest weekend this weekend so no works will be completed from Friday through until Monday night.
*       The re-surfacing is being re-scheduled to be completed on Friday 1st July.
*     The contractor has also employed further measures to minimise the noise by swapping some machinery and also using a traffic light system with torches instead of using vehicle horns as they normal would do.
*    The work left to complete is more at the bottom side of the runway towards Invergowrie, so they are moving further away from the residential properties.
*     The civils work is also starting to being undertaken and this are should not produce any noise. The completion of this is around 7th July and at this point it should more or less complete all the works on the airfield.

Airport runway works

The Dundee Airport Manager has advised me that :

“We have some major runway works being undertaken at the moment.

Our contractor is working overnight to keep the flight disruption to a minimum. We are re-surfacing the runway apron and taxi ways at the airport over the next 12 weeks, the main works have started now and are expected to last around 6-8 weeks. The works are costing £1.7 million and will see the surface being strengthened and improve the integrity of the areas.

I have briefed our contractor of the urban environment and they are fully aware of keeping noise to a minimum, but unfortunately due to the nature of the works there will be some noise generated.”

** STOP PRESS – Sunday 5th June – Having received a complaint from a resident about overnight noise, I have been in touch with the City Council and the Airport Manager to raise the concerns highlighted.

Dundee Airport – noise yesterday

The Airport Manager has contacted me to pass on apologies about the noise from the airport on Friday.   As he explains :

“Aberdeen airport closed due to weather and the north sea helicopters diverted to here that were in the air when it closed. We had 4 fixed wing flights divert to us and 9 helicopters in total.

I am sure you will appreciate that this was unavoidable and had we not accepted them it would have been a flight safety issue for all these aircraft.”

And … Friday

This morning, I attended the Dundee Airport Consultative Committee meeting at the airport. This is a useful opportunity for elected representatives and the West End Community Council, key stakeholders such as the Chamber of Commerce, the University of Dundee and local businesses, airport management and the various flight providers to meet to discuss issues affecting the airport.

The key issue discussed was the concern I and many others have raised about the CityJet winter timetable to London City Airport. We had a productive and constructive discussion about the issue and the two CityJet representatives indicated that the company remains committed to the route into the long term – this is reassuring – and is in talks with London City Airport regarding landing charges.

Other matters discussed included planned improvements in the airport check-in/baggage handling arrangements at the airport, recent investment in the air traffic control arrangements, car parking, bus connections to the airport and the recent concerns about travellers’ encampments on the ground to the immediate west of the airport.

Late this afternoon, I had the pleasure of attending a well-attended reception to mark the opening of the new Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Resource Centre in Morgan Street. This is a fabulous new community resource and facility for people with dementia and their families and a real credit to Alzheimer Scotland and the many organisations and individuals who have helped make this resource a reality.

Meeting with CityJet

Yesterday, I met with the local operations manager of CityJet, operators of flights to London City Airport from Dundee, regarding their proposed winter timetable.

This follows the concerns I have raised about the problems the new timetable will pose for business users. In a constructive meeting, I asked that CityJet rethink pushing back these flights to later time slots.   It is also clear that the increased landing costs at London City Airport before 9am have not assisted and this is something I am taking up with London City Airport. 

Senior City Council officials and representatives from Highlands and Islands Airports, operators of Dundee Airport, and CityJet are meeting tomorrow for further discussions on the matter.

Update : Dundee – London flights concern

Further to my recent article expressing concern about deterimental changes to the CityJet flights to London City Airport from Dundee, the airport manager has responded to my e-mail to him raising the issue and asking that we discuss the matter further at the next meeting of Dundee Airport Consultative Committee, taking place on 5th November :

“… we are starting to getting concerns voiced over the new timetable by Cityjet. We have been and still are in on going discussions with them on this. You have copied Ian Dolderer* in on it which is the best thing to do. We have a meeting on 29th October with Cityjet and Dundee City Council on this issue.
There definitely will be an opportunity for discussion on this at the consultative meeting.

When I have more information on any outcomes I will let you know.” 

* Ian Dolderer is the CityJet representative on the airport consultative committee.

Dundee – London flights concern

As reported in yesterday’s Evening Telegraph, I have written to CityJet and Highlands and Islands Airports Limited over concerns by passengers who use services to London City Airport from Dundee, regarding the proposed winter timetable by CityJet.

The new timetable from 1st November 2010 onwards :

Dundee – London City 

Depart Dundee 08:30 / Arrive London City 10:00 

Depart Dundee 14:25 / Arrive London City 15:55 

Depart Dundee 18:30 / Arrive London City 20:00 

London City – Dundee 

Depart London City 10:30 / Arrive Dundee 12:10 

Depart London City 16:25 / Arrive Dundee 17:55 

Depart London City 20:30 / Arrive Dundee 22:00

The major area of concern is that for business users, the earliest meeting that a passenger could make in London would be around 11.00am, where as at present the first flight gets in at 8.25am.

Clearly for anyone needing to go to an early morning meeting in London, this would now require an overnight stay and additional expenses or to travel from Edinburgh Airport.

It is important that Dundee Airport and its services retain their attractiveness to the business user and I have therefore written to CityJet who operate the service and Highlands and Islands Airports Limited, who operate the airport, about the matter.

The first flight coming the opposite way – London City to Dundee – is also being pushed back and is a concern. What is currently an 8.55am departure for arrival into Dundee at 10.35am is changing, so no-one can get in until after 12 noon.

I that a rethink of the proposed flight times should be undertaken.

Update on encampment at Riverside

As reported in tonight’s “Evening Telegraph”, I have been in touch with the City Council’s Chief Executive and the Director of Housing about the travellers’ encampment at the Riverside Business Park, following on from my letter to them earlier this week.

There’s been a significant build up of litter and rubbish and, in addition to residents’ concerns about the mess, the further concern is that, as the site is close to Dundee Airport, this litter blowing about and the build up of gulls in the area as a result, could pose a threat to aircraft. As residents are aware, the airport already undertakes bird scaring to ensure aircraft can land safely and a mass of extra birds is simply not helpful.

The Chief Executive updated me this morning as follows :

“I visited the site this morning and your constituent is quite correct that the volume of litter is excessive , and indeed is starting to cause a congregation of gulls, which in itself could be a flight hazard. An officer of the council will this morning contact the owner of Riverside Business Park and request that he make a formal complaint, which I am sure will happen. Thereafter we will set the wheels in motion with Police and Housing. I have asked officers to instruct the Rapid Response Team to visit the site today to clear the current level of litter.”

The Director of Housing thereafter advised me that :

” …the Gypsy Travellers Liaison Officer, based in East District Housing Office, is aware of the encampment and has confirmed that the landowner (has) served a 24 hour notice to move on the travellers. This has, so far, been ignored and the landowner has further confirmed that legal action is being pursued.”

November West End Community Council Update

I have now launched my November Update to West End Community Council.

Subjects covered include school buses in the West End, Dundee Airport parking charges, West End Christmas Week, signs in Osborne Place and the boundary fencing round the former Homebase site on Riverside Drive.

You can read the update by going to http://tinyurl.com/weccnov09.

The Community Council meets tomorrow at 7pm, at Logie St John’s (Cross) Church Hall in Shaftesbury Terrace.

Update on airport parking charges

Further to last night’s article about the proposed parking charges at Dundee Airport (see http://tinyurl.com/airportprk), here’s an exchange with the airport manager tonight :

Derrick Lang, Airport Manager, to me :


The comments from yourself and parliamentary comments were fed back and acknowledged. The Dundee Airport Ltd board took everything into consideration at the last meeting they had and as a result decided to implement the charges across all users using the facility.

The charges being implemented reflect what is currently being charged around Dundee city, but more importantly they are also much cheaper than the airports close by in comparison to Aberdeen and Edinburgh, this will still make Dundee an attractive place to fly from. The other factors also to take into consideration are travelling time and also the cost of this in financial and time terms.

We must increase revenue coming through the airport to sustain the levels of routes that we currently serve, as public funding in all areas of Scotland, including ourselves is tight and will become tighter.

Hope this helps explain.



My response :

Thanks Derrick; whilst I appreciate your feedback, I am concerned that any charges (and I do accept that these proposed for Dundee are cheaper than at Aberdeen and Edinburgh) could have a detrimental effect on the attractiveness of Dundee Airport, as I have no doubt that complimentary parking was a ‘plus’ in terms of attracting customers.

For that reason, I would be most grateful if the airport could closely monitor the impact of the charges in the coming months and review the charging policy if it can be shown that they are having any detrimental effect on passenger numbers. Doubtless you will be able to keep us updated future airport consultative committee meetings.

Best regards


Dundee Airport – new parking charges

Airport LogoThe Manager at Dundee Airport has advised me last night that the Dundee Airport Board has now firmly decided to introduce car parking charges at the airport from the end of this month.

The possibility of such charges was raised at the recent Airport Consultative Committee I attended and although I made clear that I have no objection to the principle of introducing some charging to ensure no abuse of the parking facilities by non-airport users (particularly since the 8X bus service started stopping at the airport), I also said that such charges should not act as a disincentive to users of the airport.

Those flying from Dundee Airport should, in my opinion, have their parking costs reimbursed on production of their boarding pass to ensure that flying from Dundee remains an attractive alternative to travelling to Edinburgh, Aberdeen or Glasgow. My views about ensuring those flying from Dundee do not have the additional cost of car parking charges appeared to be echoed by the MP and the MSP for Dundee West, who also attended the Airport Consultative Committee meeting.

I was therefore a bit concerned to learn that the update from the Airport Manager yesterday appears to give no reassurance that airport passengers will have their parking charges reimbursed and I have written to him seeking clarification and an assurance that such reimbursement arrangements will be made.

Here’s the car parking notice from Dundee Airport :

Important Customer information

Car parking charges will be implemented at Dundee Airport from the week commencing 30th November 2009.

Car park 1 will be a short stay car park with a maximum stay of 2 hours.

Car parks 2 & 3 will be long stay car parks. This will be managed on a ticket entry and payment on exit system. The payment machine is adjacent to the terminal building.

The car parking charges will assist the airport in retaining all the services it currently provides.

Car park charging schedule will be;

Short stay, pay and display £1.40 per hour. (Max 2 hours)

Car parks 2 & 3 Long stay by ticket barrier;

30 minutes to 4 hours – £3.00

4 hours to 6 hours – £4.20

6 hours to 8 hours – £5.00

Day rate (more than 8 hours) – £5.50

5 day rate – £20.00

7 day rate – £28.00

Lost ticket charged at £35.00

Dundee Airport Consultative Committee

In addition to meetings at the City Council and progressing West End Christmas Week, today I attended the second meeting of the Dundee Airport Consultative Committee.

It was an extremely positive meeting. In addition to an update on passenger and aircraft movements, showing real and sustained growth for the airport – particularly impressive given the economic downturn – there were discussions about the security arrangements at the airport, a CCTV upgrade, air traffic control capital investment, the fire safety arrangements and possible new airport hub links for Dundee Airport once the economic outlook has improved.

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) has taken Dundee Airport forward in a very positive way, following the transfer from Dundee City Council ownership. The airport manager, Derrick Lang, and his team have been very approachable in relation to the issues I have raised in past months – particularly around noise complaints – the number of complaints has greatly reduced this year.

One matter that has been raised by a number of residents recently has been the appearance of car park barriers. HIAL has proposals to introduce car park charges from 30th November. I made clear my concern about this – a view echoed by the MP and MSP for Dundee West who also attended today’s meeting. Dundee’s complimentary and easy-to-use car parking at the airport in my view makes using Dundee Airport attractive. I have no problem with charging non-airport users for parking at the airport, but made clear my view that airport customers should not be charged for car parking. The airport manager has agreed to feed back the views of the airport consultative committee members to HIAL on this concern.

Airport bird scaring noise complaints

I was interviewed on STV news tonight about residents’ complaints about the noise from Dundee Airport, caused by bird scaring activity.
The Courier featured the story this morning  (go to http://www.thecourier.co.uk/output/2008/11/14/newsstory12241011t0.asp to read this article).
I have spoken with the airport manager about the issue and he has assured me that the bird hazard control at Dundee Airport will be carried out so as to cause the minimum disturbance as possible. He e-mailed me as follows:

Bird Hazard Control at Dundee Airport

As part of our commitment to be a good neighbour I am writing to advise you of the bird hazard control measures that we are undertaking at the airport.

Airport staff are now more proactive with regard to bird scaring duties on and around the aerodrome. Bird numbers of certain species are seasonally on the increase and are a potential hazard to aircraft and the safety of those onboard. It is therefore important that we take appropriate steps, in line with our statutory obligations as the aerodrome licensee, to mitigate this risk.

The measures being taken to deter birds from the airport include personnel using a bird scaring pistol, acoustic scaring devices and bird scaring rockets.

We are conscious of the proximity of residential areas to the airport and our staff are instructed that scaring operations should, wherever possible, be carried out so as to cause the minimum disturbance as possible. However, due to the hours that the airport operates and the type of equipment that is necessary for this task some disturbance is inevitable.

I therefore ask for your understanding in relation to any disturbance you experience. Our aim is to ensure the safety of the travelling public using Dundee Airport in line with our statutory safeguarding duties as the airport operator.

Yours sincerely

Graeme Bell
Airport Manager

Helicopter Training Flights Suspended

I’ve welcomed news that Dundee Airport has temporarily suspended helicopter training flights from the airport, pending a review by the Airport Manager and Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL), the owners of Dundee Airport.

As residents are aware, in recent weeks I have raised numerous complaints from residents about noise caused by helicopter training flights and I am therefore pleased that a review is now taking place.

The noise complaints have come particularly from people living in the areas to the north west and north of the airport – and am aware that my colleague on Fife Council, Cllr Tim Brett, has also raised noise concerns with the airport following similar complaints from some of his constituents in the Wormit area.

I have now received confirmation from the Airport Manager that he has suspended the training flights pending a review and he has promised to update me when HIAL considers that it has come up with a solution.

I intend to meet with the Airport Manager before any helicopter training flights recommence in the future as I will wish to learn the detail of any solution HIAL arrives at. I do, however, commend the airport for reacting positively to the concerns raised.

May 2008 Update to the West End Community Council

I have today launched my May update to West End Community Council.
Issues covered include:
* Perth Road – gas main replacement works
* Youth football
* Dundee airport – helicopter noise
* Homebase site – update
* Riverside Approach – site visit with Network Rail

Click on the headline above to read the update.

The Community Council meets this Tuesday at 7pm – location : Logie St John’s (Cross) Church Hall.