The Secretary of State for Transport’s intention to develop an aviation policy is welcomed by BAR UK but serious concerns remain about the time scales involved in reaching fundamental decisions.
In a speech to the Airport Operators’ Association (AOA) annual conference The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP stated that the DfT will issue a scoping document in the new year, setting out a range of questions, after which a draft policy document for formal consultation will be issued in early 2012.
Mike Carrivick, Chief Executive BAR UK said “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.”