IATA is warning up to 120,000 jobs supported by air transport could be at risk from an “erosion of UK air transport competitiveness”.

It also claims employment could rise by 200,000 if the UK invests in infrastructure, changes taxes and reduces red tape.

The findings come from yesterday’s launch of the association’s Air Transport Regulatory Competitiveness Indicators (ATRCI), which for the UK criticise the government’s high level of regulatory burdens and poor supply chain management. Speaking at an IATA roundtable debate, Rafael Schvartzman, regional vice-president, Europe at IATA, said: “This launch is not just an academic study, but also clear steps to take.”

IATA claims the aviation sector contributes £89 billion to the UK GDP, supporting 1.56 million jobs, but says there is a risk employment could fall to 1.44 million by 2037 unless policies are adopted to facilitate continued growth of aviation.

It has slammed the UK’s taxes, and in its report said globally the UK ranks “last out of 148 nations for the level of passenger and airport charges and taxes”.

As a result, the study makes three recommendations: additional airport capacity in the South East of England due to Heathrow operating at  99 per cent capacity; removal or reduction of APD; and quicker border entry times.

IATA’s chief economist Brian Pierce added: “We need to build bridges between key cities to stimulate trade post-Brexit. London is the sixth biggest economy, and the best connected city. Do policies help or hinder?”

The association’s recommendations echo those of MPs in the All Parties Parliamentary Group on Air Passenger Duty (APD), who have called on the government to abolish or reduce the tax in order to improve the UK’s competitiveness in a post-Brexit world.

To coincide with its Air Transport Competitiveness Campaign, IATA has also released a video (below).

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