The government would be decisive once the Airports Commission publishes its report into airport capacity in the southeast, aviation minister Robert Goodwill (pictured, right) pledged today.
The report is expected to be published “quite soon” with the Commission having shortlisted Heathrow and Gatwick for possible expansion.
While confident that a decision would be made, the minister did not set out a precise timeframe for the government’s response.
Goodwill told Abta’s annual Travel Matters event in London: “When the Airport’s Commission announces its recommendation we will consider it carefully and take the decision that has been put off for far too long.
“Too many tough decisions on transport have been delayed or deferred.
“If we fail to invest in our transport networks now the growth we have seen [in previous decades] may stall; we cannot afford to stall on making a decision any longer.
“A thriving travel industry indicates a thriving economy; government policy must support the growth of the travel industry.”
Abta head of public affairs, Stephen D’Alfonso, said: “We welcome the minister’s commitment to a firm decision on this issue.
“With capacity stretched in the south-east, it is urgent that not only is a decision made but that it is reached swiftly to enable the necessary infrastructure projects to start.
“Abta has long urged for action on airport capacity to support the UK’s growth and global competitiveness.”
Goodwill also welcomed the new Package Travel Directive, saying the “new regime will be a significant improvement” on existing legislation and bring the Directive into the digital age.
It would provide a clearer picture on the scope of options for Atol reform he added.
The minister said he expected public consultation on Atol reform at the end of the year.
He anticipated that the new Package Travel Regulations would come into effect in the UK in late 2017 or early 2018.
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