UK Secretary of State for Transport Philip Hammond announced (25-Oct-2010) a timetable for the framing of the government’s aviation policy at the Airport Operators Association’s (AOA) annual conference. He announced that his officials will review policy, issuing a scoping document in the New Year, followed by a full public consultation in early 2012. These will feed a fully framed aviation policy after that. Mr Hammond insisted the government is not “anti-aviation” but stated the policy review will not result in lifting of its ban on new runways at London Heathrow, London Gatwick or London Stansted airports, stating this is the “only clear restriction” (The Financial Times, 25-Oct-2010).
- Thames Estuary airport: Mr Hammond stated London Mayor Boris Johnson is “free to look at whatever he wants to look at” in relation to plans to construct a new London airport in the Thames Estuary, but added it is not something the Transport Ministry is pursuing;
- Environment: He stated the airline industry needs to “decarbonise” and hopes the review will lead to an understanding of new technological developments to make aviation considered a “carbon good citizen”;
- Air Passenger Duty: the government is looking to replace the APD with a per-plane tax, but has no plans to phase out the tax once the EU’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) is introduced. Mr Hammond stated the APD “does not produce a correspondingly large benefit to the Treasury” and at a time when the country needs to reduce its carbon deficit, “aviation cannot be exempt from sharing and dealing with that problem”.
In response, AOA chairman Ed Anderson welcomed the plans and challenged Mr Hammond to set a favourable aviation policy framework that supports the UK’s recovery. However, Mr Anderson also stated the industry knows the government is against a third runway at Heathrow and light taxes on aviation, “but we are not sure yet what it is in favour of”. [more]
Airport Operators Association: “I applaud Phillip Hammond for using our conference to set out a clear timetable for this government to frame its aviation policy. While we want to see a framework in place quickly, it must be got right. Air transport infrastructure is a key enabler to wealth creation in this country. If the government wants an export led recovery, it must support aviation by setting a more favourable tax regime and allowing its businesses to expand,” Ed Anderson, Chairman. Source: Airport Operators Association, 25-Oct-2010.