Responding to the speech delivered this evening at the Airlines UK Annual Dinner by the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling MP, which set out plans for the “biggest programme of UK airspace modernisation in half a century”, Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, said:
“Airspace modernisation is a critical, but sometimes overlooked part of our national infrastructure. The UK’s airspace was created over 50 years ago when there were just half a million planes in the sky. It was never designed for the record number of aircraft, around 2.4 million in 2015, which now travel through it. We know that airspace redesign can present major challenges for airports, and good community engagement will be a vital part of the process. That said, to ensure capacity can keep pace with demand, airspace modernisation is urgently required and, without it, delays faced by passengers are likely to soar to 4 million minutes by 2030.
“However, airspace modernisation wouldn’t just increase capacity and help prevent such sustained delays. Flying more direct routes will also reduce fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions, lessoning aviation’s impact on the climate and local air quality – and in the process seeing a substantial reduction in aviation emissions.”