The British Air Transport Association (Bata) has called on the government to clear the path for airport expansion as part of its aviation policy.
The government’s aviation policy strategy document, which was published last week, replaces the 2003 Air Transport White Paper which set out the previous government’s aviation strategy. It has already been welcomed by the Airport Operators Assocation.
The new paper avoids the issue of airport capacity in the south east, leaving this to the Davies Commission which is not due to report fully until 2015.
Simon Buck, chief executive of Bata, called for a “bold” policy which helps the UK compete in the international marketplace.
“The Aviation Policy Framework marks the coalition government’s recognition that it is vital that the UK needs to have a proper aviation policy. As yet it does not,” he said.
“As the Chancellor acknowledged in his Budget speech on Wednesday, the UK’s economy needs to compete in both established and emerging markets.
“This requires excellent aviation connectivity right across the country, ensuring the UK has both vibrant point to point airports and sufficient world class hub capacity. This means prioritising a favourable planning and regulatory regime and developing a bold aviation policy, providing for new airport capacity where it is required.
“To ensure there is no further erosion of the UK’s competitive position, the government must set a clear commitment to such measures being put in place, as part of a new aviation policy.”
He added: “Having devolved the tricky decisions to Sir Howard Davies, his Airports Commission needs to take an holistic approach and consider wider issues, such as more competitive visa and tax regimes, efficient border operations and general airport connectivity as the quick wins on capacity have all been achieved. The Commission should not just be considering where and if to pour concrete.”
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