BATA Comment on Policy Exchange Aviation Report

Reaction from BATA to the publication of the aviation report by the think tank, Policy Exchange.

BATA Comment on Policy Exchange Aviation Report

Commenting on today’s report ‘Bigger and Quieter: the right answer for aviation‘ published by the Policy Exchange think tank, Simon Buck, Chief Executive of the British Air Transport Association said:

“It is vital for the UK’s economic prosperity that we have an aviation policy that addresses the needs of all the UK, without continuing delay.

“This interesting contribution from Policy Exchange is but the latest in a series of contributions that recognise just how vital it is for the UK to develop its international connectivity in order to attract inward investment thus boosting economic prosperity and jobs.

“As the Coalition Government recognises, the UK’s economy needs to compete in both established and emerging markets. This requires excellent aviation connectivity right across the country, ensuring the UK has both vibrant point to point airports and sufficient world class hub capacity. This means prioritising a favourable planning and regulatory regime and developing a bold aviation policy, where new airport capacity is required. To ensure there is no further erosion of the UK’s competitive position, the Government must set a clear timetable for these measures to be put in place and to prevent the continuation of the see-saw of aviation policy we have experienced over recent decades, this needs cross-party support.”

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BATA Reaction To Creation Of An Independent Aviation Connectivity Commission

BATA has reacted to the formal announcement today by the Department for Transport about the creation of an ‘Independent Aviation Connectivity Commission’ to be headed by Sir Howard Davies.

BATA Response to Creation of an Independent Aviation Connectivity Commission

Commenting on today’s formal announcement of the setting up of an independent commission to consider UK aviation, Simon Buck, Chief Executive of the British Air Transport Association (BATA) said:

“We welcome a genuinely independent commission to review the need for new aviation capacity and to recommend a sustainable roadmap for the future.

“This commission should review this vitally important issue independently of political pressures, at local or national level, and without the bias of narrow commercial or other vested interests.

“Given the wide economic and other benefits which good aviation links bring to the UK, the review must proceed without any further delay and should look at the UK as a whole including interconnectivity by road and rail.

“But we don’t want another Roskill Commission that takes evidence for a few years and is then ignored. Crucially, all options must be on the table – nothing ruled in and nothing ruled out.”

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Reaction to Parliamentary Report on APD and Aviation Policy

BATA has welcomed the report published today by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Aviation following the inquiry it has held into Aviation Policy and Air Passenger Duty.

BATA Comment on Parliamentary Report on Aviation Policy and Air Passenger Duty

Simon Buck, Chief Executive of the British Air Transport Association, commenting on the report published today (29th August) by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Aviation said:

“Having listened to the evidence from all comers, the MPs have come to the very sound conclusion that high taxes on flying damage inward investment and tourism. It’s time we had some joined up Government thinking on this. When will this Government accept that a vigorous aviation industry is essential for the economy and for jobs and that we need to compete with our international rivals for business by growing our trading links with the rest of the world rather than taxing them out of existence or allowing them to wither away through a lack of airport capacity?”

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BATA Reaction to Hunt Tourism Speech

The reaction of Simon Buck, BATA’s Chief Executive to the speech given today about “a post-Olympic tourism revolution”by Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, the Secretary of State of Culture, Media & Sport, is available here.

BATA Comment on Tourism Speech by Jeremy Hunt

Commenting on the speech made today by Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Simon Buck, Chief Executive of the British Air Transport Association, said:

“It is all very well to call for new direct services to China, but with the highest taxes on flying in the world and a severe shortage of airport capacity in the south east of England, we need Government action rather than merely warm words and aspirations. Spending more money on marketing Britain to the world is welcome, but that in itself won’t do anything to address the barriers of tax and airport capacity shortages that the UK faces.”

BATA Chief Executive to Speak At London Aviation Conference

Simon Buck, Chief Executive of BATA, will be speaking at ‘A New Aviation Policy: what does the UK really need? – a conference being held in London on 27th September.

BATA Chief Executive Speaking at Aviation Conference

A New Aviation Policy; What does the UK really need? 27th September, Eversheds, London

The future of aviation is at a turning point. At last, the Government is firming up its new aviation policy. As we embark upon the biggest changes the aviation sector has seen for several years, this event brings together key industry players to debate the future of aviation.

Where is capacity really needed and what is a viable solution? How can we secure regional access and what is the impact on the UK economy? How will the inclusion of aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme impact on future aviation growth?

This timely event will offer the UK’s air transport sector a much needed platform for debate as we enter a new era for aviation. Hear from a range of stakeholders on what the priorities are, join the debate on what the UK really needs, and be the first to find out which direction the Coalition Government’s new aviation strategy is headed.

Speakers include:

Simon Buck Chief Executive British Air Transport Association

Dan Edwards Head of Economic Policy and International Aviation Civil Aviation Authority

Matt Sheldon Senior Policy Advisor CBI

Sir Roger Bone President Boeing (UK and Ireland)

Home Affairs Select Committee Report on ‘Work of the Border Force’: BATA Reaction

BATA’s reaction to today’s publication of the report by the Home Affairs Select Committee on the work of the Border Force.

BATA Comment on Home Affairs Select Committee Report ‘The Work of the Border Force’

Commenting on the findings of the Home Affairs Select Committee Report on the work of the Border Force, Simon Buck, Chief Executive of the British Air Transport Association (BATA), said:

“Robust border controls are essential for the safety and security of the State and its citizens. BATA members have supported the Home Office and UK Border Agency in this objective for many years, investing millions in a wide range of initiatives to “export the border” such as the e-borders programme which harnesses technology to deliver advance passenger information (APIS) to the control authorities. In so doing, this provides for more efficient and speedier throughput of legitimate travellers through UK border controls while maintaining border security.

“However, existing targets for average delays set by Border Force of 25 minutes for clearing European Economic Area (EEA) passengers and 45 minutes for non-EEA passengers are not demanding enough. Airlines want to see target average delays replaced by target maximum delays and see times brought down. It is essential that airlines are part of that discussion and we made this offer to the Home Secretary earlier this year.

BATA airlines have offered to work with Border Force to maintain the integrity of the border while taking a balanced approach, involving the greater use of technology as an aid to the screening of passengers prior to arrival at the border control point. We look forward to taking this work forward in collaboration.”

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Reaction to Rail Investment Announcement

BATA’s reaction to the announcement today (16th July) by the Government about plans for over £9 billion of public support for investment in rail infrastructure, having just delayed yet again any decision on increasing airport capacity.

BATA Reaction to Government Announcement on Rail Investment

Reacting to today’s announcement of government plans for further public investment in the rail system, Simon Buck, Chief Executive of the British Air Transport Association (BATA), said:

“While all transport investment should be welcomed, the spectacle of the PM and Deputy PM falling over themselves to trumpet the merits of £9.4 billion in public support for investment in railway infrastructure, contrasts sharply with the ostrich-like head in the sand approach the Government is continuing adopt towards the need for new airport capacity. The much-anticipated ‘Call for Evidence’ to address this issue was only last week yet again delayed “until the autumn” – meaning the Government doesn’t even want to hear the arguments, never mind actually make a decision.

“Investment in domestic railway schemes is undoubtedly good news for the UK construction industry and rail users but will do precisely nothing to enhance the UK’s international connectivity with emerging world economies. Instead, we are losing out on competing for air links to new markets against our European neighbours through having a lack of runway capacity in the busy south east.

“Ironically, airport investment is almost exclusively privately funded, requiring no public funding. Now wouldn’t that have been a good thing for the PM and Deputy PM to crow about – new airport capacity to boost international trade links, inward investment and new jobs at no cost to the taxpayer?”

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BATA Comment on Publication of DfT Draft Aviation Policy Framework

BATA has issued this commentreacting to the publication by the DfT today of the draft aviation policy framework consultation.

BATA Comment on Publication of DfT Draft Aviation Policy Framework

Commenting on the publication today of the aviation policy consultation by the Department for Transport, Simon Buck, Chief Executive of the British Air Transport Association (BATA), said:

“BATA regrets the further delay in publication of the full consultation that follows the DfT Scoping Document published last year. Originally anticipated in March, the second stage of the consultation was delayed until July and we now have further delay of a substantive part addressing airport capacity and the UK’s international connectivity until the autumn.

It is vital for the UK’s economic prosperity that we have an aviation policy that addresses the needs of all the UK. The Government cannot keep on kicking this issue into the long grass while our competitors gain at our expense.”

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BATA Chairman Reappointed For Another Three Year Term

BATA has announced that Dr Barry Humphreys has been reappointed as Chairman for another three year period, from 1st May 2012.

BATA Chairman Reappointed

The British Air Transport Association (BATA), the trade body representing UK airlines, has reappointed Dr Barry Humphreys as its Chairman for a further three years from 1st May.

A former economic adviser and Head of Air Services Policy to the UK Civil Aviation Authority, Dr Humphreys served with Virgin Atlantic Airways as Director of External Affairs and Route Development before his appointment as BATA’s part-time Chairman in May 2009.

Commenting on Dr Humphreys’s reappointment, Simon Buck, Chief Executive of BATA said:

“I am very pleased Barry has accepted reappointment as BATA’s Chairman. Barry’s wisdom and experience have been greatly valued by BATA and we look forward to continuing to benefit from Barry’s advice over the next three years.”

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BATA Meets With Home Secretary About Border Queues – Comment

BATA has issued this comment, following the meeting earlier today with the Home Secretary on the subject of border queues.

BATA Comment Following Constructive Meeting With Home Secretary on Border Queues

The British Air Transport Association (BATA) is the trade body representing UK airlines. Following our meeting with the Home Secretary today (3rd May) , we make the following statement:

EFFICIENT BORDER CONTROLS AND MANAGEMENT OF QUEUES
· Robust border controls are essential for the safety and security of the State and its citizens.
· BATA members have supported the Home Office and UK Border Agency in this objective for many years, investing millions in a wide range of initiatives to “export the border” such as the e-borders programme which harnesses technology to deliver advance passenger information (APIS) to the control authorities.
· In so doing, this provides for more efficient and speedier throughput of legitimate travellers through UK border controls while maintaining border security.

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
· Over the past few years, staff levels at UKBA have been reduced and procedures have been streamlined in line with technological capability.
· The current passenger experience of frequent and excessive delays is unacceptable for legitimate travellers.
· BATA and its members want to see a Border Force with the resources and flexibility to support robust border security checks and deliver a good passenger experience at the same time.
· Airlines do not accept that a secure border and a good standard of service offering minimal delays to passengers are incompatible objectives.

WHAT DO WE WANT?
· Existing target average delays at the border of 25 minutes for EEA passengers and 45 minutes for non-EEA passengers is not demanding enough.
· Airlines want to see target average delays replaced by target maximum delays and see times brought down.
· It is essential that airlines are part of that discussion and have made this offer to the Home Secretary.

SHORT TERM FIX
· In the short term, the problem may be eased by pumping in temporary additional resources – but as the Home Secretary acknowledges a sticking plaster solution is not the answer.

LONG TERM FIX
· For the longer term, airlines have offered to work with Border Force to maintain the integrity of the border while taking a balanced approach, involving the greater use of technology as an aid to the screening of passengers prior to arrival at the border control point.
· We were pleased the Home Secretary accepted the value of working together.

NEED FOR ADEQUATE RESOURCING
· It is essential that best use is made of available and flexible resources and that they are matched to demand in a way that can be sustained over the longer term in terms of maintaining robust border controls while delivering a good passenger experience.

WHAT IF ADDITIONAL FUNDS ARE NEEDED?
· Unlike with public transport, aviation infrastructure is privately funded.
· Airlines do not believe they should be expected to pay for additional resources for Border Force. Instead, any additional funds should be drawn from the £2.9 billion of Air Passenger Duty paid by air passengers this year. This tax on flying is the highest such tax in the world and using some of this money to pay for additional staff resources for Border Force would be an effective andappropriate use of a fraction of this otherwise punitive tax on air travellers.

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