Flybe & Air Passenger Duty Reform

Commenting on the speculation regarding Flybe and the reform of Air Passenger Duty for domestic travel, Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, said:

“One of the advantages of leaving the EU is the possibility of cutting or removing APD on domestic travel. It’s an anomaly that particularly hurts regional aviation as it’s levied on both legs of a return journey. Irrespective of the Flybe situation we hope the Government will take a closer look at this – and all other elements of our ruinously high and uncompetitive APD – as we need to support our strategically vital regional air connectivity and levying £26 in tax when – in the case of Flybe – the average fare is £52 – is not sustainable when so many other costs on airlines are increasing.

“APD is not and never has been an environmental tax. It has no bearing on the ability of the aviation industry to decarbonise and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. This will be achieved via a range of other measures, including airspace modernisation, the development of sustainable aviation fuels, new, cleaner planes, and the UN carbon offsetting scheme CORSIA, which captures growth in all emissions from international aviation and will mitigate around 2.5 billion tonnes of CO2 between 2021 and 2035.”

2Excel joins industry association Airlines UK

2Excel, an aviation services business founded by two Royal Air Force pilots, has become the latest airline to join Airlines UK, the association that represents UK-registered carriers.

Founded in 2005, 2Excel has grown from five people and four aerobatic aircraft to over 400 people and a fleet of 30. In 2018, 2Excel Aviation became 51 per cent employee owned through the creation of an Employee Ownership Trust.

With an annual turnover of more than £45m, the rapid growth of the company’s business lines and capabilities has enabled 2Excel to become an emerging force in the market. Everything is underpinned by the airline, which holds a global Air Operators Certificate.

With bases at Sywell Aerodrome, Stansted Airport, Doncaster-Sheffield Airport and Lasham Airfield, 2Excel’s customers include Government Departments, the defence and oil industries, airlines and airline brokers.

Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK said: “We are delighted to welcome such a British success story into the membership. 2Excel is an emerging force on the market with a fascinating and truly unique business model. We look forward to working with them”.

George Offer, Director of 2Excel Aviation’s Charter division Broadsword, said: “Airlines UK plays an important role in representing the interests of carriers based and operating from this country and we are delighted to be signed up as members. Aviation plays an important part in UK plc and is a key driver of economic growth and prosperity. We at 2Excel are proud to play our role in creating exciting, high-value jobs in the sector across our four sites.

 “We can lay claim to be the world’s only aerobatic airline – thanks to our heritage as The Blades display team. Today we also offer bespoke travel of unparalleled quality aboard our fleet of luxurious Boeing 737 and Beech King Air aircraft, with the flexibility to meet passengers’ unique schedules being a point of pride for our business.”

Airlines UK – Manifesto Policy Asks

Airlines UK – the industry association representing UK carriers – has set out a number of manifesto ‘asks’ ahead of the General Election on 12 December, highlighting the action needed in the next Parliament to create a framework that will encourage UK airlines to compete, grow and deliver even more for the UK in the years ahead.

Support to deliver ‘net zero carbon’ aviation, grow our connectivity, deliver new capacity and support air cargo are at the top of our list of priorities.

Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, said: “If UK aviation is serious about growing to meet future passenger and freight demand, the next few years will be about demonstrating we can do this whilst delivering on carbon reduction. Airlines are clear that provided it is done through an international framework, net zero carbon is within reach for UK aviation by 2050.

“But we cannot do this alone. Airlines are investing billions in the cleanest, greenest planes, but we need a renewed partnership between Government and industry to deliver the technologies that will get us to net zero, including airspace modernisation, sustainable aviation fuels and – further into the future – electric or hybrid electric engines.

“Provided we deliver on this agenda we will earn the right to grow – but this growth cannot be taken for granted either without the right policy framework in place. So airlines will work with Government to support an expanded Heathrow but are clear this will not deliver for consumers if charges have to increase to pay for it. We will utilise capacity at other UK airports provided we have a fairer APD regime and better surface access connections that can widen catchment areas. And we will continue to support our world-class freight sector provided the right infrastructure is in place and no further restrictions are put in place on early morning arrivals.

“UK aviation is at a crossroads. If we get things right over the next few years we can look forward to continued success as an enabler of economic growth and prosperity. Carriers look forward to playing their full part in this endeavor.”

UK airlines call for renewed partnership with Government to fund new clean aviation technology and sustainable fuels

UK airlines invest in cleaner aircraft and carbon reduction –
call for a renewed partnership with Government to fund new clean aviation technology and sustainable fuels

As part of the Airlines2050 conference taking place in London today, UK airlines have renewed their calls for a renewed partnership with Government to support the aviation industry in its efforts to decarbonise by investing in the green aviation technologies of the future.

Aviation is a major UK success story and connects Britain to the world, keeping families together, helping businesses thrive and increase trade. UK airlines are showing that they can deliver all these benefits sustainably.

Parliament has legislated to cut greenhouse gas emissions for the UK economy to net zero by 2050 and Airlines UK – the industry body – believes that through an international approach, with the right Government support, and together with substantial investment from industry, this is within reach for UK aviation by 2050.

Airlines are already implementing carbon reduction measures, with new initiatives and investments designed to speed up progress, but support from Government will be crucial:

  • Cleaner, quieter aircraft – Airlines UK members have spent billions on new aircraft, that are up to 25% more carbon efficient than those they replace.
  • Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) –SAFs can cut carbon emissions by at least 30% by 2050, and generate thousands of new jobs in UK fuel plants. British Airways is investing $400m in such a sustainable jet fuel plant in Humberside. Airlines are calling on UK Government to provide financial support to extend, upscale, reduce costs of development and commercialise SAF.
  • Carbon Offsetting Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) – From next year CORSIA, the first worldwide agreement signed by the United Nations in 2016, will make growth in international flights carbon neutral by paying to mitigate around 2.5 billion tonnes of CO2 and generate over $40 billion for climate projects between 2021 and 2035. The UN aims to set an even more ambitious goal beyond 2035. UK Government should continue its excellent leadership role in these discussions at the UN.
  • Airspace modernisation – Bringing UK airspace into the 21st century with satellite-based navigation and direct routes can cut carbon emissions by 9 to 14%. Government should work with industry and the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure plans are delivered on time.
  • Investment in R&D – Investment in new aircraft and engine technology will be critical for delivering future hybrid-electric short-haul aircraft from 2035, and to the deployment of fully electric aircraft in the longer-term. Government should support further R&D.

Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, said: “Airlines are doing everything they can to demonstrate their commitment to decarbonisation – and are making real progress, investing in hundreds of new aircraft which are up to 25% more efficient than those they replace.

“Through a renewed partnership between Government and industry, the UK is uniquely placed to capitalise on the opportunities of green aviation technology, whether that’s more efficient engines or hybrid electric aircraft. However, these remain some years off which is why support for sustainable aviation fuels and airspace modernisation in the here and now remains so vital.  

“Aviation is of course an international sector and in addition to our own efforts, Governments across the globe must continue to support the UN offsetting scheme that will capture any growth in aviation from next year, and continue to work on developing a long-term target through to 2050 that crucially is consistent with limiting global temperatures to 1.5 degrees.”

Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport, said: “The fight against climate change is the greatest and most pressing challenge facing the modern world and aviation has a crucial role to play in tackling it. This commitment by the aviation industry is very welcome and absolutely vital if we are to reduce carbon emissions.

“The government has recently invested £2bn in aerospace research and development and sustainable fuels, and is continuing to look for opportunities to support the creation of greener, cleaner transport.”

Contact: Tim Alderslade – / 0758 4016925

  • Airlines UK is the trade body for UK-registered airlines and other carriers with a UK operation – with members representing all sectors of the industry. Our thirteen members are: British Airways, CargoLogicAir, DHL, easyJet, Flybe,, Jota Aviation, Norwegian UK, Ryanair, Tui Airways, Titan Airways, Virgin Atlantic and West Atlantic.

Background (notes to editors):

  • The ATI Programme supports mid stage R&D projects that deliver the UK’s Aerospace Technology Strategy, while boosting technology spend in the sector and securing manufacturing jobs around the UK. Funding is focused on key technologies to make aircraft quieter, more environmentally friendly and cheaper to manufacture and operate. The Government is investing £1.95 billion in aerospace R&D from 2013 to 2026, which is matched by industry bringing total R&D investment to £3.9 billion
  • Delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the ICSF is a key part of the government’s Industrial Strategy that focuses on the four grand challenge areas (Future of mobility, Clean growth, AI and Data, Ageing society). ISCF investment includes the Future Flight Challenge a £300m programme (including £125m of Government funding) to demonstrate novel aviation systems unlocked by electric and autonomous technologies.
  • Aviation fuel is now eligible for support under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, and the Government is providing £22m to support the development of advanced low carbon fuels through the Future Fuels for Flight and Freight competition, which also requires matched funding from the private sector.
  • The Government has also committed to setting a clear ambition for the aviation sector and we will publish our position on aviation and climate change for consultation shortly.

Jota Aviation joins Airlines UK

Jota Aviation, a UK charter and cargo airline based out of London Southend Airport, have become the latest airline to join Airlines UK, the association that represents UK-registered carriers.

Jota Aviation are a specialist niche airline based at Southend, and under their UK AOC approval they operate a fleet of passenger and cargo BAe146 & Avro RJ aircraft available on ACMI or charter basis. They have a 24/7 flight operations department meaning they can provide rapid response aircraft services to customers on an ad-hoc or contract basis. The airline can be airborne in around 60 minutes from confirmation serving the time-critical cargo market.

Andy Green, CEO of Jota Aviation, said: “Airlines UK is a valuable alliance for the UK airline industry, providing a forum for airlines to work together towards a common goal. There are many challenges facing the industry and the collaborative approach that Airlines UK takes is useful, if not essential, given the very changing landscape that UK airlines find themselves in within the current market. We have already taken part in some very useful working groups, which have focused on the unique set of circumstances for all UK-based airlines and it has been a huge benefit for us to understand these issues in detail and to address the challenges ahead in collaboration.”

Tim Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, said: “We’re pleased to be welcoming another non-scheduled UK airline into the membership. Jota are a fascinating company and a real British success story, and they will play a big part in strengthening our voice and common messaging on cargo and charter issues. We look forward to working with them.”

Sustainable Aviation response to Committee on Climate Change letter on international aviation and net zero

Responding to the publication of a formal letter from the Committee on Climate Change, to the Department for Transport, setting out its view on how international aviation should play its part in achieving a net zero carbon future, Neil Robinson, Chair of Sustainable Aviation, said:

“Climate change is a clear and pressing issue for people, businesses and governments across the world, and we welcome the leadership shown by Ministers in legislating for the UK to be net zero by 2050. We believe that through an international approach, with the right Government support, and together with substantial investment from industry, net zero is within reach for UK aviation if we all play our part.

“Building on the work we’ve already done, we should continue to develop new technologies, including working with fuel producers to develop sustainable aviation fuels and the successful introduction of global offsetting schemes through which airlines will pay for any extra emissions they create. By investing tens of billions of pounds in new, cleaner aircraft we have already decoupled growth in aviation from growth in emissions, and as a global industry we have a long established plan to halve our emissions by 2050.

“Carbon reduction, however, is a global issue requiring a global response, with governments and industry working closely together, and for emissions to be managed within an international framework.

“If the UK climate ambition is not matched elsewhere, the global market would be distorted with carbon emissions simply exported to other countries, which would be bad for the environment and bad for British travellers. We are therefore urging Ministers to continue leading through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to agree a meaningful global emissions reduction target for aviation, consistent with the requirements of the Paris Agreement.”

Our response to the announcement that Thomas Cook have ceased trading

Responding to the announcement that Thomas Cook have ceased trading Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, the industry association that represents UK-registered carriers and which counted Thomas Cook as a member, said:

“Today is an incredibly sad day for the UK airline and travel industry. Thomas Cook has been one of our most recognisable brands for over a hundred years and has served and represented our sector with distinction.

“Our thoughts go out to the thousands of Thomas Cook staff who through no fault of their own face an uncertain future, and the hundreds of thousands of passengers who are currently abroad or were looking forward to taking a holiday with the company.

The CAA and Department for Transport will ensure they are brought home in as speedy and professional way as possible, and other Airlines UK members will also be heavily assisting with the repatriation effort, and we thank them for their efforts over the coming days overseeing what will be an incredibly complex operation.”

UK Airlines respond to Transport Secretary’s comments on Heathrow expansion

Responding to comments today from the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps MP, that he would like to review the funding of Heathrow expansion, Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, the industry association that represents 13 UK-registered carriers, said:

“Whilst airlines support expansion, the Transport Secretary is right to review Heathrow’s funding. Costs are running out of control and the scheme is too expensive”. 

UK aviation reaffirms its commitment to a sustainable future

With climate change in the headlines and the UK Government committing to a ‘Net Zero’ carbon target for the UK by 2050, today UK aviation has come together to reaffirm its commitment to a sustainable future.

Sustainable Aviation – the coalition of UK airlines, airports, manufacturers and air navigation service providers – has set out how UK aviation can meet both its climate commitments and growing passenger demand.

Important progress has been made. While passenger numbers grew by more than 25% between 2010-16, emissions only increased by just over 4%. However, aviation is a challenging sector to decarbonise.

Sustainable Aviation believes that immediate untapped opportunities are the introduction of sustainable aviation fuels – which could reduce emissions in 2050 by nearly 25% and make the UK a world-leader in the technology – and critical airspace modernisation, which is currently underway.

But crucially, carbon reduction is a global issue requiring a global response, which is why Sustainable Aviation is urging Ministers to continue engaging through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to agree a meaningful world-wide long-term emissions reduction target consistent with the requirements of the Paris Agreement.

This will build upon the global carbon offsetting scheme CORSIA which from 2021 will allow aviation to compensate for the emissions it cannot yet eliminate by paying for high-quality, independently verified emissions savings in other areas.

Speaking today at the aviation industry’s annual Aviation Reception, Neil Robinson, Chair of Sustainable Aviation will say:

“Aviation is a UK success story and fully accepts its role in helping the UK meet its carbon targets. Aviation wants to grow but it wants to do so sustainably.

We want to work with Government to see what more we can and should do to enable aviation to go further and faster in reducing our emissions, including through modernising UK airspace, investing in the creation of low-carbon technologies and delivering Sustainable Aviation Fuels at scale.

Fundamentally, aviation is a global industry and needs a global solution. While we can reconcile future growth with more stretching climate goals, this can only work if the UK continues to work with international partners, giving leadership to the international process.”

Baroness Vere, Aviation Minister, said:

“We continue to lead the world through the International Civil Aviation Organisation to develop global measures to tackle aviation emissions. The support of the UK aviation industry is vital to tackling climate change and ensuring the sector becomes one of the greenest in the world.

“With their investment we are modernising our airspace to make flying quicker, quieter and cleaner.”


Sustainable Aviation (SA) is a coalition of the main stakeholders from UK airlines, airports, manufacturers and air navigation service providers who have come together to set out a collective and long term strategy to enable a sustainable future for UK aviation.

UK aviation’s progress to date:

• UK aviation is committed to cutting CO2 emissions from all flights by 50% of their 2005 levels by 2050 – and recognises the need to do more.

• We have de-coupled aviation growth from growth in emissions: while passenger numbers grew by more than 25% between 2010-16, emissions only grew by just over 4%. This is thanks to, among other things, considerable investment in the latest aircraft technology as well as improved operating procedures and air traffic management.

• As a result of airlines purchasing new aircraft technology, SA airlines have improved their fuel efficiency by more than 13% since 2005. New aircraft like the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 are up to 30 percent more fuel efficient than the aircraft they are replacing.

• Airspace modernisation has the potential to reduce UK aviation’s emissions by as much as 10% by 2050.

• Sustainable aviation fuels are a ‘bridge’ to fully electric aircraft and deliver at least a 70% life cycle carbon saving compared to using fossil fuel.

• The UK Government, supported by industry, has achieved a world first with a global deal on aviation emissions (CORSIA) at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). No other transport mode has an equivalent deal, which aims for carbon-neutral growth from 2020. This is a crucial step towards SA’s objective of halving net emissions by 2050.

Sustainable Aviation is calling for:

• We need a dedicated Office for Sustainable Aviation Fuels (OSAF) to help make the UK a world-leader in the technology. £150m would support flagship commercial sustainable aviation fuel plants being built across the UK.

• Government must continue to prioritise and support airspace modernisation to end wasteful stacking and allow more fuel-efficient flights.

• Government should commit to funding the Aerospace Technology Institute beyond 2026 to help speed up innovation.

• The UK must lead international efforts towards agreeing a global long-term emissions reduction target consistent with the requirements of the Paris Climate Agreement.

CORSIA and offsetting:

• International aviation and shipping remain outside of the scope of UK domestic CO2 targets, and so are not subject to the net zero 2050 target – consistent with the international approach to emissions reduction that Government has agreed.

• The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) agreement on carbon neutral growth, and CORSIA, complements the ambition of the Paris Agreement (where in 2015 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal aiming to keep a global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius) and constitutes the most significant international climate-related agreement by any sector since its adoption.

• CORSIA, plus the technological and operational measures will help UK aviation reach its current 50% reduction goal by 2050.

• However, Sustainable Aviation is urging UK government to continue engaging with member states at ICAO, with a view to ICAO agreeing a meaningful long-term emissions reduction target being adopted at the ICAO General Assembly in 2022 which is consistent with the requirements of the Paris Agreement.

UK airlines Aviation Strategy Green Paper response

Responding to the deadline for submitting responses to the Government’s Aviation Strategy Green Paper, Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, the industry association that represents 13 UK-registered carriers, said:

“Airlines believe we need a strategy that meets the Government’s stated ambition of promoting sustainable growth for our sector, which makes such a vital contribution to the UK’s social and economic life. We understand aviation has to earn the right to expand and that’s why we’re committed to halving our emissions by 2050, and working with national governments to agree an ambitious plan that can deliver a zero carbon future.

“We want to continue connecting families and businesses across the regions and to the world, delivering excellent value for money, and doing more to make air travel accessible for passengers.

“Provided it can be delivered sustainably, we also support additional capacity where it is needed, as long as operational resilience is prioritised and it does not lead to higher charges for passengers and cargo operators.”

The Aviation 2050 strategy should:

Build UK connectivity

• Promote the further liberalisation of international air transport, the modernisation of obsolete restrictions on airline ownership and seek to establish an ambitious new relationship with the European Union that protects all current market access.
• Support the delivery of Heathrow on time and with no additional costs to airlines, and ensure any domestic slots that are not used are available for general use.
• Support airport expansion where it is needed, provided it is privately funded – with Government not picking winners – and that airport charges do not increase and operational resilience is built in. This support must be contingent upon the UK being able to meet its commitments on carbon reduction.
• Commit to an Airports Connectivity Study to improve understanding of where bottlenecks occur with respect to surface access, and which airport connectivity projects should be included in national rail and road infrastructure investment programmes.

Strengthen competitiveness

• Set out a clear roadmap to cutting and eventually abolishing the negative impact of APD on economic growth and route connectivity.

Support sustainable growth

• Support and strengthen the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), working with member states at ICAO to agree a meaningful work stream aimed at signing off on new long-term targets on emissions reduction at the 2022 General Assembly, rather than pursue unilateral measures.
• Make the UK a world-leader in the use of sustainable aviation fuels and boost support for research and investment in new technology.
• Support an approach to noise that fully implements the Balanced Approach and is far more proactive in ensuring local planning decisions – in particular on housing – are consistent with the needs of a growing airport.
• Direct the Department for Transport to play a vital leadership role in making the case for airspace modernisation through a concerted Government-led communications and education campaign, ensuring proper independence within the governance structure, with airspace fully modernised by a target date of 2025.

Deliver for UK air freight

• Recognise explicitly within the Aviation Strategy White Paper the national, strategic importance of UK air freight capacity through its own, dedicated chapter.
• Set out a clear plan for making full use of the UK’s existing freight capability across the country in the short term.
• Seek to implement no further restrictions to Night Flight operations, with no additional airports brought into the night noise regime, and supported by a policy statement on night operations which provides guidance for local authorities on the application of the Balanced Approach to local planning decisions on night controls.
• Appropriate consideration of, and support for, cargo operators should be given in any forward looking strategy to deliver sustainable growth, in particular within Government noise policy.
• The National Infrastructure Commission should be tasked with examining how the UK’s existing air freight infrastructure acts as both a barrier to and enabler of UK air freight – alongside what infrastructure will be required to enable the UK to capitalise on global trends in air freight up to 2050.

Enhance the passenger experience

• Ensure any Passenger Charter is developed collaboratively with the sector and prioritises best practice, voluntary commitments, ensuring there is no confusion with existing legal airline obligations.
• Introduce alcohol licensing airside at international airports to help prevent incidents of disruptive behaviour by introducing robust legal mechanisms to ensure the responsible sale and supply of alcohol in airports.
• Legislate for the removal of miniature bottles of alcohol from all duty free shops airside at airports, and make the use of sealed bags for alcohol purchases mandatory.
• Support a long-term strategy for the UK Border, developed in close coordination with industry, with an accompanying budget to deliver the resources that will be required to accommodate passenger growth without recourse to a passenger charge.
• Commit to a review of the implementation, and economic impact, of EC261 on UK carriers.
• Review the behaviour and business practices of Claims Management Companies with respect to passenger compensation.
• Ensure any consideration of new measures to address issues related to airline insolvency are proportionate to the actual risk to customers of being affected, and avoid introducing unnecessary market distortions or otherwise undermining the competitiveness of our sector, for example via a levy.