Calls For UK
Government To Deliver Strong Aviation Policy
By Mike Mitchell
November 1, 2011 - Association of British Travel Agents
(ABTA) on Monday welcomes the British Chamber of
Commerce’s (BCC) call for the Government to scrap its
proposed increase in Air Passenger Duty (APD) and devise
a bold and long-term aviation policy, as outlined in the
BCC Aviation Report.
The report, prepared with the support of local chambers
of commerce and which ABTA and the industry fed into,
draws a clear link between air connectivity and the UK’s
economic performance underlining that a lack of a clear
aviation policy will hinder growth and job creation.
Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said, “we urgently need the Government to set a clear strategy on aviation that supports sustainable growth across the whole of the UK and that meets local and environmental needs.
report underlines that aviation is a catalyst for the wider
economy. Government restrictions on growth and obstacles to new
routes and affordable flying not only hurt the holidaymaker,
they hurt manufacturers, retailers and businesses right across
importance of new airport capacity in driving economic growth is
further highlighted by new research from ABTA. According to the
research, nearly a third (29%) of the general public spend in
excess of $692 (US) in the UK before going on holiday abroad, on
items such as clothing, cosmetics and travel accessories,
demonstrating the importance of outbound tourism to the economy.
island nation our regional and international connectivity is
vital to our future competitiveness. Many of our airports are
operating at close or near to capacity and this is severely
limiting growth potential. Our research shows people who go on
holiday support the UK economy and it is false logic to assume
that by restricting capacity in airports we are keeping the UK
consumer pound here,” added Tanzer.
The BCC report also echoes concerns voiced by ABTA and the Fair Tax on Flying campaign that aviation taxes are hurting British businesses. UK aviation tax is currently the highest in the world and this report confirms that it is having a damaging effect on the growth of the tourism industry as well as being unfair to the travelling public.
“whether it is the need for more aviation capacity or fairer flight
taxes the Government ignores these issues at its peril. Aviation is a
driver of jobs and growth and this report further underlines that if
Britain is to grow Government must find a new deal for aviation.”
The BCC report,
the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) called upon the government to
develop a long-term aviation policy that supports business growth and
job creation. The report, entitled “Flying in the Face of Jobs and
Growth” sets out recommendations that would see the UK’s aviation
infrastructure improved to support growth in the private sector. They
include building additional capacity at our airports and scrapping
proposed increases to Air Passenger Duty (APD). The report also includes
analysis which demonstrates that the lack of a clear aviation policy
means the UK could miss out on millions in GDP, and much-needed jobs.
Aviation not only
allows businesses to deliver high-value goods, move employees, and link
to new markets. Some 40% (in value) of the UK’s exports go by air; good
connectivity is vital to attracting inward investment, and driving
growth in tourism. If businesses are to deliver sustained economic
growth, then we need a long-term plan to improve the UK’s aviation
In other European
countries, expanded hub airports, such as Amsterdam’s Schiphol, Paris
Charles de Gaulle, and Frankfurt International, are increasing the
potential for investment and economic competitiveness. The UK requires
both an expanded hub airport and greater regional connectivity to remain
competitive. For example, an additional runway at Heathrow would address
the capacity issue and ensure the UK has a hub airport that can compete
with other countries. Heathrow has fallen behind its rivals in serving
the growing BRIC economies. Paris and Frankfurt already boast 1000 more
annual flights to the three largest cities in China than Heathrow.
recommends the scrapping of planned increases in Air Passenger Duty
(APD) as a priority for government. In the UK, APD has increased between
140% and 320% since 2007, with a further increase of 5% expected in
April 2012. Many European countries, including Belgium, Holland, and
Denmark, have abandoned aviation taxes due to the negative effect on
The EU’s carbon
Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will apply to the aviation industry from
2012, and bring additional revenues to the Treasury. While the BCC wants
to see the aviation sector deal with carbon emissions, current plans
effectively mean double taxation for Britain’s aviation industry. The
government should offset current APD taxation with the direct revenue it
will receive from the EU ETS. This will ensure our aviation industry can
continue to support supply chains, jobs and economic activity.
John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said “with public finances straitened and consumer spending depressed, all eyes are on the private sector to blaze a trail back to prosperity. The onus is on creating a strong, rebalanced economy, powered by exports of goods and services. All modes of transport serve business, but it is air transport that businesses rely on to get their employees and goods quickly to distant markets. Identifying the link between air travel and economic performance is easy. What’s harder is to convince the government of the need for a clear plan to ensure aviation can play its full part in ensuring economic recovery.
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