27-Oct-2010 9:15 AM

BAR UK and BA raise concerns over Government's aviation policy

BAR UK welcomed (26-Oct-2010) the UK Secretary of State for Transport Philip Hammond's intention to develop an aviation policy but stated serious concerns remain about time scales involved in reaching fundamental decisions. [more]

British Airways Chairman Martin Broughton also accused the government of sacrificing the UK’s national interest for its own political interests by blocking plans for a third runway at London Heathrow Airport (Travel Trade Gazette, 26-Oct-2010). Mr Broughton stated that the runway would not have been in British Airways’ short-term interest, as it would devalue its 41% share of slots at the airport. But it would have benefited the carrier and London in the long term as it would preserve the airport’s position as a leading hub in Europe.

BAR UK: “Right now, there is a huge policy vacuum regarding aviation in the UK. The decision to ban any new runway capacity in South East England requires a policy that sets out alternative government objectives and strategies; right now there is none. Whilst the intention to devise a new policy is to be welcomed, BAR UK has serious concerns that the planned time scales involved do nothing to address the urgency of the situation. By the time that this consultation is planned to be published, responded to and decisions made, it could take another three years. Meanwhile, airlines are already taking a hard look at how difficult it can be to trade in the UK and are assessing alternative plans. This week, Air Asia X was reported to be dropping plans to serve Manchester because of APD increases. Another airline is reviewing its commitment to the UK since it is unable to get all the slots it needs for a viable service to Heathrow. This is bad for UK plc and demonstrates why BAR UK calls for a speedier policy-making process,” Mike Carrivick, CEO. Source: BAR UK, 26-Oct-2010.

British Airways: “It is really sad that politics has overcome economic sense. London needs runway three. Nobody who is in business disagrees with that, Britain needs it. But there were too many votes in that area and so they sacrificed what was in the best interests of London and the country,” Martin Broughton, Chairman. Source: Travel Trade Gazette, 26-Oct-2010.

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