Airlines UK Policy Asks

Aviation plays a major role in our national and economic life. UK airlines connect people and businesses, boost UK tourism and trade and support a highly skilled aerospace supply chain. Airlines UK members employ in excess of 90,000 people, serve over 276 million passengers and carry around 1.2 million tonnes of cargo.

We are calling for the following actions to create a framework for UK airlines to compete, grow and deliver even more for the UK in the years ahead.

Download as a PDF…

Help deliver net zero carbon aviation

With the right Government support net zero carbon is within reach for UK aviation by 2050:

  • Support a partnership approach between Government and industry to support the aviation industry in its efforts to decarbonise by investing in the green aviation technologies of the future.
  • Make the UK a world-leader in Sustainable Aviation Fuels through the creation of a new cross-departmental support body, committing to £500m in public-private funding, and bringing Recycled Carbon Fuels into The Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation.
  • Deliver critical UK airspace modernisation to cut delays and reduce carbon emissions by 10% through operating more direct routes and eliminating holding stacks above airports.
  • Increase long-term investment in the R&D critical for the development of future hybrid-electric and fully electric passenger aircraft.
  • Support the successful implementation of the UN global Carbon Offsetting Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) from 2020, and push for a stronger global aviation emissions reduction target at the 2022 ICAO Assembly, consistent with the Paris Agreement.

Strengthen UK connectivity

Aviation connectivity is vital to business and consumers:

  • Support the expansion of Heathrow to maintain the UK’s hub status, that is consistent with Department for Transport guidance on carbon reduction and ensuring the effective regulation of the airport so that expansion is delivered at an affordable cost to customers, with airport charges not increasing and reducing over time.
  • Support all UK airports making best use of existing runway and terminal capacity, and additional capacity beyond 2030, provided landing charges do not rise, operational resilience is prioritised, and the UK is able to accommodate this growth whilst meeting its commitments on carbon reduction.
  • Cut Air Passenger Duty by at least 50% across the board, with a long term aim of abolishing it, and end the double taxation on domestic air travel to boost UK connectivity and support regional aviation.
  • Commit to an Airports Connectivity Study to improve understanding of where bottlenecks occur with respect to surface access and which airport connectivity projects should prioritised.

Deliver for UK air freight

UK consumers and businesses benefit from a thriving UK air freight sector:

  • Recognise the UK strategic importance of air freight by directing the National Infrastructure Commission to examine what infrastructure will be required to enable the UK to capitalise on global trends in air freight up to 2050.
  • Commit to no further restrictions to Night Flight air cargo operations, supported by guidance for local authorities on the application of the Balanced Approach to night controls.


Border security is a key government function and Border Force must have the resources it needs to deliver a safe and secure border while meeting passenger expectations for queue times and customer service.

  • Introduce a long-term border strategy, consistent with long-term passenger growth forecasts, and developed in close co-operation with industry.
  • Ensure the necessary funding for Border Force as befitting a key security function and rule out the introduction of a per-passenger tax to fund the border.
  • Establish, in close cooperation with industry, new Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for waiting times based on passenger expectations, and develop a new SLA for the use of e-gates.

Airline insolvency

  • Update insolvency legislation to ‘Keep the Fleet Flying’ in the event of an airline entering administration, enabling the carrier to use its own aircraft to return passengers to their point of departure.
  • Rule out the introduction of a per-passenger levy to fund repatriation but ensure effective scrutiny by the CAA of at-risk airlines.

Beyond Brexit

  • Prioritise establishing a new comprehensive, liberal EU-UK Air Services Agreement with the EU that delivers a level playing field for UK operators and safeguards current market access, as well as secures UK participation in EASA.


1. Aviation Jobs in Great Britain

New report shows how critical aviation jobs are to every constituency across Britain New report shows that the aviation industry supports over 536,000 direct jobs across every region and nation of Great Britain. Data also shows how vital aviation jobs are to local communities, with one in four Westminster constituencies estimated to have more than […]

2. £26bn cash injection for UK economy up for grabs with a reopening of international travel this summer

£26bn cash injection for UK economy up for grabs with a reopening of international travel this summer New report details massive opportunity for the UK economy through trade and tourism so long as current restrictions on air travel are eased this summer Report makes clear the urgent need for the Global Travel Taskforce to recommend […]

3. UK economy loses £32m every day as result of no airbridge with the US

New report details massive daily cost to the UK economy of lack of air link to the US £121bn in UK exports and £417bn in Foreign Direct Investment at risk as air link remains closed between the UK and its most important trading partner £3.5bn lost from US tourism and business travellers is revealed to […]

Full report

4. Emergency Air Passenger Duty waiver would save 45% of lost air routes and save 8,000 jobs, study concludes

An emergency 12-month Air Passenger Duty (APD) waiver would save 45% of the air routes out of the UK that would otherwise be lost due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, a new report has found. In addition, the support could potentially save 8,000 jobs and contribute an additional £7 billion in GVA. The […]

Report on the Demand and Connectivity Impact of a 12 Month Air Passenger Duty Waiver

5. UK depends more on air freight services than most EU competitors

A major new report published today shows that the UK is more dependent on air freight services compared to most of its EU competitors. The report, commissioned by Airlines UK and supported by Heathrow Airport, Manchester Airports Group and the Freight Transport Association, shows that while only a quarter of German exports to non-EU countries […]

6. UK airports losing out on over 60 new direct routes because of sky-high rates of Air Passenger Duty, report concludes

UK airports could be losing out on over 60 new direct routes – including 15 long-haul connections outside of London – because of current Government policy on Air Passenger Duty (APD) – a new report has found. A study carried out by Frontier Economics – commissioned by Airlines UK, the industry association that represents 13 UK-registered […]

7. Airlines UK 2017 manifesto ‘asks’

Airlines UK has set out a number of manifesto ‘asks’ ahead of the General Election in June, with Brexit, taxation and airport capacity at the top of its list of priorities. A number of policy areas are listed on which action is required in the next Parliament to create a framework that will encourage UK […]

Airlines UK 2017 manifesto ‘asks’

8. Freedom to Grow – APD Report

A report by Airlines UK on APD and the impact on connectivity and passenger growth of abolishing similar taxes in other countries.    

Freedom to Grow - APD Report

9. UK Airlines – Responding to the Carbon Challenge

A report by Airlines UK which sets out how the industry can meet the UK’s demand for air travel, while ensuring it limits its environmental impact and hits its stringent targets on reducing emissions. UK Airlines – Responding to the Carbon Challenge

10. Airlines UK policy manifesto, published in advance of the 2015 General Eelection

Airlines UK policy manifesto, published in advance of the 2015 General Election.

The Airlines UK policy manifesto

11. Flying High? How Competitive is Air Passenger Duty? – March 2016

A new report, produced by Steer Davies Gleave and commissioned by BATA, which analyses and assesses Air Passenger Duty (APD). The report provides background information on UK APD, including historical trends and international comparisons, as well as context on taxation of other public transport modes in the UK. The report also presents an analysis of how […]

Air Passenger Duty Final Report, March 2016

12. Sustainable Aviation, UK Aviation Industry Socio-Economic Report – January 2016

A report by Sustainable Aviation, which presents collated data and case studies related to skills, employment, charity and community engagement as well as wider social and economic benefits and contribution of aviation. The material is sourced from airlines, airports, manufacturers and NATS.

Sustainable Aviation, UK Aviation Industry Socio-Economic report, January 2016

13. PwC Report, The Economic Impact of Air Passenger Duty – Analytical Update – May 2015

This new independent analysis of the economic impact of Air Passenger Duty (APD) shows its abolition could boost economic growth, create up to 61,000 jobs, and pay for itself through higher revenues from other taxes. UK airlines have welcomed the findings which suggest that the tax currently suppresses demand for flights by 10%. In 2013, […]

The Economic Impact of Air Passenger Duty – Analytical Update, May 2015

14. Sustainable Aviation, Sustainable Fuels Road-Map Leaflet – December 2014

Sustainable fuels have the potential to play an important role in achieving the UK’s ambition to reduce carbon emissions from transport. This leaflet presents some of the key points from the Road Map which aims to identify and forecast the potential for sustainable fuel production to 2050.

Sustainable Aviation, Sustainable Fuels Road-Map Leaflet – December 2014

15. Oxford Economics, Economic Benefits from Air Transport in the UK – November 2014

Research, part funded by BATA, undertaken by Oxford Economics, updating its work in 2011 on the economic benefits from air transport in the UK.

Oxford Economics, Economic Benefits from Air Transport in the UK – November 2014

16. Sustainable Aviation Noise Roadmap Summary Leaflet – April 2013

Sustainable Aviation Noise Roadmap Summery, April 2013

17. PwC Report, The Economic Impact of Air Passenger Duty – February 2013

PWC Report: The Economic Impact of Air Passenger Duty, February 2013 – abridged