The government will today be urged to introduce “long overdue” reforms to Air Passenger Duty.
The call is among a series of actions demanded by the boss of Stansted, including an aviation strategy that sets out a clear plan for maximising the potential of the UK airports most capable of driving economic growth in their regions.
The Essex airport’s chief executive Ken O’Toole will also call on government to match the airport’s £600 million growth ambitions by leading the delivery of short-term improvements to the London-Stansted-Cambridge rail line and increased investment to reduce queue times at the border for inbound passengers to the UK.
Speaking at the London First Infrastructure Summit, he will update the audience of 500 on how the investment in Stansted will enable the airport to deliver as much as 50% of London’s total expected passenger growth over the next decade.
O’Toole will argue that if the airport’s current planning application to serve 43 million passengers a year is approved, it will not only grant Stansted a licence to grow but will also give the green light to continued economic growth for London and the east of England.
O’Toole will say: “Having delivered a nine per cent year-on-year increase in passengers during summer ’18, Stansted is the fastest growing London airport, with a host of new long-haul route launches and airlines complementing the continued growth of our short-haul network.
“This growth is set to continue for Stansted and we are forecast to deliver as much as 50% of London’s total expected passenger growth over the next decade.”
But he will add: “London has never been in greater need of a vibrant aviation industry and as we look to the future we need to ensure we have the connectivity to trade globally, attract overseas investment and encourage tourists to our shores. We need to make best use of available airport capacity now to make this happen.
“Stansted is the London airport with most available capacity today and is critical to London’s continued success. Our carriers are bullish about their future.
“We have put forward a strong planning application to increase the cap on passenger numbers from 35 million to 43 million passengers per annum, an increase we will deliver within existing limits on flight movements and noise impacts.
“A licence to grow for Stansted is a licence to grow for London, and we welcome the government’s support for airports seeking to make best use of their existing capacity.
“But we also need to see swift action in other areas – the aviation strategy needs to be much more ambitious and provide a framework for the industry to grow, particularly for airports like Stansted with a strategic role to play in providing connectivity.
“Government must also lead in delivering short-term improvements in the quality of rail connections between London, Stansted and Cambridge, and a fundamental review of long-haul APD and investment to reduce queue times at the border is now well overdue.
“Passengers, whether they be on leisure or business, want to travel from an airport that is convenient for them to access and can provide the destinations they want to travel to.
“If you are a major international bioscience company in the Cambridge cluster, or an investment bank or tech company in the City of London or on the eastern edge towards Silicon Roundabout, then that airport is increasingly Stansted.”
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