Commenting on the announcement by the Government of a new UK Aviation Strategy, Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, the industry body representing UK-registered carriers, said:
“We welcome the Aviation Strategy as a sign that Government truly recognises the value and importance of aviation to the UK. We stand ready to work with and support Ministers in developing this plan.
“For UK airlines we are looking for a Strategy that will, amongst other key issues, assess the need for a substantial reduction in or abolition of Air Passenger Duty, the highest tax on air travel in the world, the requirement for a well-funded and effective border operation, opportunities to improve surface access and the current rules governing charges at airports. To successfully tackle these issues – the responsibility for some of which lies outside the Department for Transport – will require effective and considered engagement across Whitehall, something we haven’t always seen.
“If the Strategy can address and deliver actions on some of these key issues it will prove to have been a valuable exercise. We would caution, though, that the Strategy process is kept as simple as possible, given the Government’s already packed aviation agenda. The pressing issues of delivering an expanded Heathrow whilst keeping the airport honest on cost and affordability, working with industry and community groups on modernising UK airspace, and protecting existing EU and international market access and our continued membership of the aviation safety agency EASA during the upcoming Brexit negotiations, must remain front and centre in the Government’s thinking.”