ABTA has submitted its response to the Airports Commission on criteria to be used to identify the most effective and practical options for future airport capacity. The Airports Commission is seeking views¹ on how the aviation connectivity of the UK may best contribute to the economy as a whole. ABTA believes that the UK urgently needs additional airport capacity in the congested South-East of England and also that the mix of aviation models, including business and leisure, must be properly recognised as they are interdependent, often sharing the same aircraft.
A key additional ABTA demand is improved and additional surface connectivity. The availability of good public transport access to airports, particularly addressing the speed of journeys from central London and other towns and areas around the country, is all important.
Almost half [45%] of respondents to the ABTA 2012 annual consumer survey said that a journey time to the airport of under an hour is acceptable with a further three out of ten [33%] saying between one and two hours, showing a clear majority in favour of reasonable journey times.
Six in ten [62%) prefer to fly from their local airport and nearly a third [29%] of people are not happy to take a connecting flight. This highlights the importance for the UK of having an increased and wide range of direct flight options throughout the regions.
Driving remains the most popular method for getting to the airport, with over half [56%] of Brits going by road; this number includes taxi travel. Nationally only a quarter [25%] choose to take public transport, although over a third [35%] of Londoners take public transport using the train, coach and underground options on offer.
Only one in ten respondents said they do not travel by plane, highlighting just how important air travel has become as a mode of transport and the need for it to be properly serviced.
Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said: “It’s essential that when the Government looks at airport capacity particularly in the South East, it recognises the interdependence of business and leisure travel and does not prioritise one over the other. It also needs a coherent policy on improving surface access to the airports. Passengers want short journeys to the airport and many are not willing to take connecting flights.
The Government needs to invest in efficient, fast public transport connections which will also help restrict the impact of flying on the environment and local residents. The extension of HS2 to run via Heathrow would be a firm declaration of intent and would undoubtedly prove a great success with passengers both from the UK and overseas.”