Publication - Progress report

Planning Scotland's Seas: 2013 - The Scottish Marine Protected Area Project – Developing the Evidence Base tor Impact Assessments and the Sustainability Appraisal Final Report

Published: 19 Aug 2013
Part of:
Marine and fisheries

This report provides Marine Scotland with evidence on economic and social effects to inform a Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) for each possible NC MPA, and a Sustainability Appraisal for the suite of proposals as a whole.

358 page PDF

3.8 MB

358 page PDF

3.8 MB

Planning Scotland's Seas: 2013 - The Scottish Marine Protected Area Project – Developing the Evidence Base tor Impact Assessments and the Sustainability Appraisal Final Report
C.4. Aviation

358 page PDF

3.8 MB

C.4. Aviation

C.4.1 Introduction

This appendix provides an overview of existing and potential future activity for the aviation sector in Scotland and outlines the methods used to assess the impacts of potential MPAs on this sector.

C.4.2 Sector Definition

This sector relates to civil aviation, which comprises scheduled air transport (including all passenger and cargo flights operating on regularly scheduled routes) and general aviation (including all other civil flights, private or commercial including helicopters). Military aviation is covered under 'Military Activities', Appendix C9.

C.4.3 Overview of Existing Activity

Information sources used in the assessment are listed in Table C4.1.

Table C4.1 Aviation information sources

Scale Information Available Date Source
Scotland UK Air Passenger Demand Forecasts 2009+ Department for Transport (2009)
Scotland Scottish Transport Statistics 2010 Scottish Government
Aerodromes / UK Safeguarding maps Current CAA

C4.3.1 Location and intensity of activity

The importance of air travel to Scotland can be illustrated by what is termed the 'propensity to fly' which measures the number of return air trips in an area per head of population (but also includes trips made by out-of-area tourists and business people). Apart from London, Scotland records the highest 'propensity to fly' value in the UK (DfT, 2002, cited in ABPmer, RPA and SQW, 2011), this is likely to be due to the mountainous and island terrain and ease of transportation.

The airport locations in Scotland are shown in Figure C4, where the five 'major' airports are located in the West (Glasgow and Glasgow Prestwick airports), North East (Inverness and Aberdeen airports) and East (Edinburgh airport). Minor airports are located on the mainland in the East (Dundee airport), North East (Wick airport) and West (Campbeltown airport) and on islands in the North (Scrabster, Lerwick and Sumburgh airports in the Shetlands; Kirkwall airport in the Orkneys), North West (Stornoway, Benbecula and Barra airports in the Outer Hebrides) and West (Coll, Colonsay, Tiree and Islay airports).

In 2009, there were 22.5 million air terminal passengers (passengers who join or leave an aircraft at the reporting airport, excluding passengers carried on air taxi charter services) (Scottish Government, 2010). Passengers passing through Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Glasgow Prestwick comprised 94% of this total. In 2009, the total air freight (the weight of property carried out on an aircraft, excluding mail and passenger's and crew's permitted luggage) carried through Scottish airports was 45,659 tonnes. More detailed information on passenger numbers and freight quantities through all Scottish airports is available from ABPmer & RPA, 2012. The total number of aircraft movements in 2009 was 490,000; Edinburgh had the highest number of aircraft movements (116,000; 98% commercial movements), followed by Aberdeen (110,000) and Glasgow (85,000) (Scottish Government, 2010).

Helicopter Main Routes (HMRs) represent the routes typically flown by helicopters operating to and from offshore destinations and are 'signposts' to aid flight safety ( i.e. signposting concentrations of helicopter traffic to other air space users) (see Figure C4). Whilst HMRs have no airspace status and assume the background airspace classification within which they lie, they are used by the Air Navigation Service Provider (A NSP) ( i.e. NATS Aberdeen) and helicopter operators for flight planning and management purposes. While compliance with the HMR structure is not compulsory, in the interests of flight safety, civil helicopter pilots are strongly encouraged to plan their flights using HMRs wherever possible. The HMRs do not predict the flow of helicopter traffic (UK Aeronautical Information Package; NATS website).

C4.3.2 Economic value and employment

Aviation forms a critical component of Scotland's economy by providing direct access to markets as well as providing lifeline services to otherwise inaccessible settlements throughout the mountainous and island terrain ( ABPmer, RPA and SQW, 2011). Helicopter routes are also important in servicing offshore oil and gas installations.

In 2009, BAA's operating profit for the three main airports (Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen) was £34.4 million. Highlands and Islands Airports (Barra, Benbecula, Campbeltown, Inverness, Islay, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh, Tiree and Wick) recorded a loss of £1m for 2008/09 (Scottish Government, 2010).

C4.3.3 Future trends

The number of air passengers using UK airports is forecast to recover from the recent downturn. In a 'constrained' forecast, in which it is assumed that there will be no new runways and only incremental developments to airport terminals to make maximum use of existing runways, numbers of passengers are forecast to rise from 211 million passengers per annum (mppa) in 2010 to 335mppa in 2030 (range 300 - 380 mppa), and to 470mppa in 2050 (range 380 - 515 mppa). These forecasts imply average annual growth in passenger numbers to 2050 of 2.0% (within the range 1.5-2.3%) significantly lower than the 3.7% average seen over the past twenty years (DfT, 2011). Unconstrained forecasts (in which it is assumed there are no airport capacity constraints) show that UK air travel would rise from 211mppa in 2010 to 345mppa in 2030 (central forecast, range 305-400mppa) and 520mppa (central forecast, range 400-700mppa) (DfT, 2011).

Constrained (maximum use) passenger capacity and ATM forecasts for major Scottish airports are shown in Table C4.2.

Table C4.2 Constrained terminal passenger and ATM 'central' forecasts for major Scottish airports

Numbers/ Movements Airport 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050
Terminal passengers (mppa) Glasgow 7 7 10 12 20
Edinburgh 9 13 15 20 20
Aberdeen 3 3 4 5 6
Prestwick 2 2 2 3 4
Inverness <1 1 <1 <1 <1
Air Transport Movements (000's) Glasgow 70 55 75 90 140
Edinburgh 100 170 190 230 180
Aberdeen 90 90 100 110 120
Prestwick 15 20 25 25 30
Inverness 15 30 15 15 15

C.4.4 Assumptions on Future Activity

It has been assumed that activity (aircraft movements) will increase by around 10% over the assessment period (2014 - 2034).

C.4.5 Potential Interactions with MPA Features

The main interaction relates to potential disturbance to birds (black guillemot) by low flying helicopters or aircraft. In particular, in inclement meteorological conditions, helicopters may need to lower their operating altitude.

C.4.6 Assumptions on Management Measures for Scenarios

SNH has advised that while low flying aircraft and helicopters may occasionally cause temporary disturbance to black guillemot, such impacts are not considered to significantly hinder the achievement of conservation objectives for black guillemot within potential NC MPAs. For the purposes of this assessment, it has therefore been assumed that no cost impacts will arise to the aviation sector.

C.4.7 Assessment Methods

Not required.

C.4.8 Limitations

The trends in future activity levels are uncertain and are likely to vary for individual airports.

C.4.9 References

ABPmer & RPA, 2012. Socio-economic Baseline Reviews for Offshore Renewables in Scottish Waters. ABP Marine Environmental Research Ltd, Report No. R.1905 to Marine Scotland.

ABPmer, RPA & SQW, 2011. Economic Assessment of Short Term Options for Offshore Wind Energy in Scottish Territorial Waters. ABPmer Report No. R1743, March 2011

Department for Transport (DfT), 2002. The future development of air transport in the UK: Scotland: a national consultation.

Department for Transport (DfT), 2011. UK Aviation Forecasts. August 2011. Available online:

NATS website: (last visited 15/04/13)

Scottish Government, 2010. Scottish Transport Statistics. A national Statistics Publication for Scotland. No. 29, 2010 Edition.