The government has launched a public consultation on the future of the UK’s aviation sector over the next three decades.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling wants to gather views from around the UK on the country’s aviation strategy up to and beyond 2050.

The consultation was officially launched at Manchester airport as work started on the redevelopment of Terminal 2 to create a new £1 billion “super terminal” which is expected to take six years to complete.

Today (July 21) is also expected to be the busiest ever day for the aviation industry as the school holiday getaway begins with air traffic controller NATS set to handle a record 8,800 flights in one day.

Jamie Hutchison, director at NATS’ Swanwick air traffic control centre, said: “It’s our busiest time of year and traffic growth is outpacing forecasts year-on-year.

“In the last few weeks we have already safely managed record-breaking daily traffic levels, but the ageing design of UK airspace means we will soon reach the limits of what can be managed without delays rising significantly.”

The government’s aviation consultation will ask the public about key issues such as technology, security, environment and customer service, as well as how to make the best use of existing airport capacity.

Views are also being sought on potential new services such as airport bag check-ins in town centres and a “luggage portering” service.

Grayling said: “Aviation is central to our future prosperity as we leave the European Union. As a global, trading nation we want to build on the great industry we have today and create opportunities for people up and down the country

“Our new aviation strategy will look beyond the new runway at Heathrow and sets out a comprehensive long-term plan for UK aviation. It will support jobs and economic growth across the whole of the UK.”

The consultation will run throughout the rest of 2017 and 2018, which will be followed by the publication of a final aviation strategy by the end of next year.

Charlie Cornish, CEO of Manchester Airports Group, added: “We welcome the secretary of state’s recognition of the important role that airports across the UK will play in driving economic growth, and commitment to looking at how airports like Manchester and London Stansted can make best use of their existing capacity.”

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