|Riverside Business Park earlier today|
“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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
I was on Wave 102 news this morning, speaking about the concerns at the proposed winter timetable for Dundee – London City flights. Go to http://tiny.cc/airportdundee to listen.
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.
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.”
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 tohttp://tinyurl.com/weccnov09.
The Community Council meets tomorrow at 7pm, at Logie St John’s (Cross) Church Hall in Shaftesbury Terrace.
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 :
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
* Youth football
* Dundee airport – helicopter noise
* Homebase site – update
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.