Lack of aviation policy hits UK economy - Business Works
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Lack of aviation policy hits UK economy

Mike Carrivick
I t is tempting to state that the lack of any aviation policy in the UK is creating turmoil in the airline industry. However, the policy vacuum is impacting far beyond the airlines and extending to the wider UK business community.

The previous administrationís policy has effectively been torn up and in its place we now have a double set of consultations, ranging over the next two to three years. And just to complicate the proceedings, itís been decided that there shall be no new runway capacity in South East England.

So, whatís the problem?

In essence, this period of no policy, decisions or investment at such a crucial time is turning business away from the UK. A ĎGreat Britain ByPassí is being created.

Despite the opinions of some, Heathrow is the undisputed principle hub airport for the UK in respect of scheduled airlines, point to point and transfer passengers and last, but no means least, air cargo.

Hub airports are important and Heathrow serves not only London and SE England, but also the rest of the UK. Right now, Heathrow is full, which not only means that new business is being turned away, but just as importantly there is almost no resilience when things are not running perfectly. The number of destinations served from Heathrow has also steadily declined and the UKís competitiveness is being eroded.

The Mayor of London is so concerned about Londonís standing as a global city, that he is undertaking his own studies. He understands that more airport capacity is required and is studying alternatives to the current circumstances.

Meanwhile, other countries recognise the value of developing hub airports and are thriving on the results. Airports across Europe and the Middle East have rapidly developed new airports, updated terminals, expanded runway capacity and positively welcomed transfer passengers and cargo. Their economies have thrived and local employment has increased.

Meanwhile, back here in the UK, itís a case of soldiering on and hoping that, sometime, positive decisions may be made that actually address the needs of businesses and help support the UK economy.

We are currently a very long way from that place.

What we fear is that business will not wait and simply by-pass the UK.


Michael Carrivick is CEO of the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK (BAR UK): www.bar-uk.org



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