The Department for Transport (DfT) has opened a consultation on its aviation strategy green paper, which will set out the government’s policy on flights through 2050.
The green paper, called Aviation 2050, focuses on growing capacity in the UK to meet rising passenger demand, but promises to balance this with action to reduce environmental and community impacts. Aviation minister Baroness Sugg said a particular challenge here was tackling carbon emissions, air quality and noise.
Another focus will be on improving the passenger experience, including through technology and innovation, a new passenger charter announced earlier this month and action to reduce delays at the border.
A particular worry for the travel industry is the impact of Brexit on passport queues at airports. This summer saw some of the longest waiting times at major hubs such as Heathrow, with Virgin Atlantic CEO Craig Kreeger and British Airways boss Alex Cruz calling on the Home Office to add more staff to passport control at busy times.
The government is also seeking to work with airlines and airports to establish new routes to global destinations to ensure the UK can compete in a post-Brexit world.
More importantly for companies outside of London and the Southeast, the paper lays out the government’s commitment to supporting regional growth and connectivity by promoting training and employment opportunities, as well as working with airlines and airports to deliver more flights to both domestic and international destinations.
The green paper has been welcomed by the industry, with Manchester Airports Group (MAG) saying: “The UK’s aviation sector underpins this government’s aspirations for a global Britain. As it sets out proposals for a new aviation strategy, it is vital that government focuses on how it can enable growth in both the short and long term. Airports like Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands are strategic national assets, connecting people and goods to the world. As MAG invests more than £1.5 billion in our airports over the next five years, we want to work with government to improve road and rail infrastructure around our airports to maximise the benefits of direct connectivity right across the country.”
Dale Keller, chief executive of the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK (here