An ambitious plan for improving international connectivity from UK airports as part of a vision for a “new global Britain” post-Brexit should be set out in the government’s new aviation strategy.
The call comes from leading airports group MAG in response to government consultation on the new strategy.
MAG, which operates the UK’s two largest airports with spare runway capacity, Manchester and Stansted, is calling for improvements in road and rail access to its airports to enable them to offer passengers better global connections.
A review of Air Passenger Duty is also needed to make new long-haul routes from UK airports more competitive compared to European rivals.
Improvements to the Stansted Express with faster train times to London would enable the Essex airport to attract more long-haul routes.
Manchester airport should be directly connected to HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, so that passengers and businesses across the North and the rest of the UK can benefit from the airport’s global route network.
The government should support East Midlands airport, the UK’s most important hub for dedicated air-freight operations, by channelling more investment in local road and rail infrastructure.
Encouraging key strategic airports across the UK to develop to their full potential would be hugely beneficial for the country’s economic success, MAG believes.
It would also give investors the certainty they need to invest in airport terminals and facilities to improve passenger experience in the coming decade.
Other improvements that the airport operator would like to see include a long-term resourcing plan for UK Border Force, to ensure that further growth in passenger numbers is supported by additional airport immigration resources.
MAG corporate affairs director Tim Hawkins said: “The ability for passengers and businesses to reach markets around the world quickly and easily is critical to meeting the government’s vision for a global Britain.
“Aviation generates £1 billion a week towards UK GDP, something that is made possible by the nearly one million people that work in and around the industry.
“The government can now provide a strong boost to the UK economy by making the best possible use of existing capacity at airports like Manchester and Stansted over the next 10 to 15 years.
“That is why we are encouraging the government to commit, through the new aviation strategy, to a number of practical steps that will enable airports to improve the UK’s international connectivity.”
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