ABTA Submits Response to the Draft Aviation Policy Framework
As research reveals majority of MPs believe UK risks being left behind without a comprehensive aviation plan
ABTA – the Travel Association today submitted its formal response to the Department for Transport (DfT) consultation on the Draft Aviation Policy Framework.
The Draft Framework was published by the DfT in July 2012 and outlines the Government’s high level aviation strategy, setting out its overall objectives and the proposed policies to achieve those objectives in a sustainable manner.
In its written response ABTA urges the Government not to delay on addressing the most fundamental challenge facing the aviation industry, namely the pressing need for increased airport capacity.
ABTA believes that the need for increased airport capacity is hurting the UK’s aviation industry, damaging the many businesses reliant upon it, holding back investment and thus the UK economy. New research carried out for ABTA by ComRes suggests that these views are supported by many MPs, with seven in ten MPs (71%)* agreeing that the UK risks being left behind competitively if a comprehensive plan to increase airport capacity is not adopted in the next 12 months.
Mark Tanzer, CEO ABTA said: “While there are some welcome commitments in the consultation document, our primary concern is that it does not address the urgent need for additional capacity. Flying is critical for our members and a strong and sustainable aviation strategy is essential for the provision of quality, efficient and competitively priced air travel. While we welcome the independent commission headed by Sir Howard Davies that will look into airport capacity, we are concerned that the delay in addressing the capacity issue will lead to a policy vacuum, which will make business investment decisions challenging and limit growth.”
The key points made in ABTA’s response are:
• Our serious concern about the further delay to addressing the pressing need for increased airport capacity which is hurting the UK’s aviation industry, damaging the many businesses reliant upon it, and thus the UK economy.
• The need to provide a robust long-term framework for UK aviation with cross party support and cross governmental department cooperation that promotes growth whilst meeting EU environmental objectives and addressing local impacts.
• Support for short-term strategies to optimise the use of existing runways and improve the air passenger experience.
• That leisure traffic brings a significant financial benefit to the UK economy, whether inbound or outbound, and that many air routes catering to business travel are also dependent on leisure travellers for their financial viability.
• Concern over the damaging effect high aviation taxes are having, putting the UK at a competitive disadvantage with our European neighbours, and the need for a proper review of the economic impact of Air Passenger Duty (APD).
• Support for the objective of reducing the number of people significantly affected by noise. Aviation has a good track record in improving environmental performance and in delivering quieter aircraft and ABTA supports the work of Sustainable Aviation.
• Agreement with the Government’s overall objectives of working together – airports, aviation industry, trade and neighbours.
* ComRes surveyed 150 MPs on the ComRes Parliamentary Panel between 22 May and 22 June 2012 by self-completion postal questionnaire and online. Data was weighted to reflect the exact composition of the House of Commons in terms of party representation and regional constituency distribution.
Notes to Editors
ABTA has been at the heart of travel for more than 60 years. Our purpose is to help our Members to grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help their customers - the travelling public – have confidence in their travel experience.
The ABTA brand stands for expertise, reliability and fairness. These qualities are core to us. They ensure that holidaymakers remain confident in the holiday products that they buy from our Members.
We help our Members and their customers navigate through today's changing travel landscape by providing schemes of financial protection and a course of redress if something goes wrong; by raising standards in the industry and by giving guidance on issues from sustainability to health and safety; and by presenting a united voice to government to ensure the industry and the public get a fair deal.
ABTA currently has around 1,300 Members and represents over 5,000 retail outlets and offices. For more details about what we do, what being an ABTA Member means and how we're working at the heart of the industry to ensure that we continue to build confidence in travel visit www.abta.com.