Aviation – the Cinderella of the Coalition’s Transport Strategy?

Aviation – the Cinderella of the Coalition’s Transport Strategy?

Simon Buck, chief executive of the British Air Transport Association today described aviation as the Cinderella of the Coalition’s Transport Strategy.

“Following publication of the spending review, we have seen a stream of spending announcements from the Department of Transport. These include over £2bn on railway station upgrades, £750m on a national high-speed rail network, and commitments to 24 road and public transport schemes. These spending commitments are to be welcomed and it is noteworthy that the government sees transport investment as a key driver of economic growth, both nationally and in the regions, despite the inevitable environmental cost in terms of land use, noise and increased carbon emissions: around 90 per cent of UK domestic transport emissions already come from road transport.

But what about aviation? As a sector, aviation plays a key economic role for our island trading nation, representing around 1.5 per cent of the UK economy, providing jobs for a quarter of a million people, and transporting most of our manufactured goods by value to countries beyond the EU. Surely the government is investing in that too? The simple answer is no. Unlike other modes of transport which receive public subsidies of many billions of pounds per year, aviation infrastructure is not funded by the government but by the industry itself. Perhaps more surprisingly, the coalition government has yet to develop any tangible aviation policy, and is unlikely to have one finalised within the next 18 months.

In the meantime, however, government is dramatically increasing the tax on flying from November 1 this year, with increases of up to 50 per cent. After one of the most disastrous years on record for aviation, this is a kick in the undercarriage that the industry can ill afford. Aviation already more than pays for the environmental costs of the six per cent of total UK CO2 emissions it produces through the imposition of air passenger duty (APD). Britain now suffers from the heaviest tax on flying in the world; as much as £170 on a single ticket. Indeed, the Treasury now makes more money from the tax on flying than it does from the Bank Levy or from duties on alcoholic spirits, intending to raise almost £3bn in the next financial year. This level of taxation is especially damaging to regional airports, where some routes have been lost over the last few years to our near-continental competitors who impose little or no similar tax on flying and are actively building new runways to accommodate new traffic. There must be no more tax increases on our industry if we are to play our part in boosting Britain’s economic recovery.

The only significant policy announcement the government has made to date was to ban the construction of a new runway at Heathrow, Britain’s principal hub airport that is full to bursting point for much of the day, Gatwick or Stansted. It is estimated that a new runway at Heathrow would yield around £30bn of benefits to Britain’s depressed economy, and that around £1bn of benefit is foregone by every year that construction of the new runway is delayed. Tourism is Britain’s third-highest export earner. But 75 per cent of tourists visit Britain by air. The prime minister wants to boost the number of visitors to Britain and our important earnings from tourism. But with high taxes on flying and limited runway capacity in the most-visited region of the UK, the government’s strategy seems less than joined up, and aviation remains the Cinderella that has yet to go to the ball.”



Gates and Partners Appointed BATA Honorary Legal Counsel

Gates and Partners Appointed BATA Honorary Legal Counsel

The British Air Transport Association and Gates and Partners, the specialist aerospace law firm, are delighted to announce the appointment of Gates and Partners as the Honorary Legal
Counsel of the British Air Transport Association.

Simon Buck, chief executive of BATA said: “BATA is very pleased to have appointed Gate and Partners as our Honorary Legal Counsel. The expertise that Sean Gates and his team can offer will significantly enhance our association’s effectiveness in responding to the growing regulatory and operational challenges the UK airline industry faces at both national and international level”.

Sean Gates, Senior Partner, commented: “We are delighted with this appointment underlining, as it does, our commitment to the industry and are very grateful to the British Air
Transport Association for placing their trust in us in this way”.

Gates and Partners’ main office is in London and it also has offices in Singapore and Paris.

Response by UK Airlines to CBI Aviation Report

Response by UK Airlines to CBI Aviation Report

BATA, the trade association for UK airlines, welcomes the important contribution the CBI report “Green Skies Ahead” makes to the debate on aviation and the environment. Although aviation contributes only about 2.5% to global CO2 emissions, it is important that aviation continues the excellent record it has achieved in recent years in developing a sustainable future.
BATA welcomes CBI’s recognition that a global problem is best addressed with a global solution, such as a ‘cap and trade’ scheme to replace the Government’s tax on aviation. Further increases in the Government’s tax on flying planned for November risk pricing ordinary families out of flying.

The rates of Air Passenger Duty have more than DOUBLED in the last four years.

Simon Buck, chief executive of the British Air Transport Association (BATA), said:

“There is no justification for any increase in the current APD rates or overall tax take which is already providing £2 billion a year for the Treasury – an amount forecast in the June 2010 emergency Budget to increase to £3.8 billion by 2015/16

Hard working families planning to go on holiday or travelling to see friends and relatives will be affected most by any further increases in tax. For example, a family of four flying on a sunshine holiday to Florida now pay £180 in tax on top of their air fares. This will increase to £240 from November. If they were travelling premium economy, this rate would increase to £480. Such dramatic increases risk pricing ordinary families out of flying altogether.” 

BATA and its members recognise that airlines should meet the assessed cost of their environmental impact.

The UK Government regularly assesses the climate change costs of UK aviation (all departing flights). In July 2008, the DfT published figures (“Aviation Emissions Cost Assessment”) which
demonstrated that Air Passenger Duty (APD) income more than covered the full climate costs, including an allowance for non-carbon effects. Despite this assessment, the Government plans to further increase APD rates in November 2010.

APD or any replacement tax should be phased out from 2012 when aviation enters the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Imposing a unilateral UK national tax on air travel when the industry will be paying for its emissions through the ETS at a European level will simply be taxing passengers and the industry twice

Aviation supports over half a million jobs across the UK and any increase in taxation on air travel puts these jobs under threat as services and routes become uneconomic or unviable. Increased tax in the UK also puts Britain’s international businesses at a competitive disadvantage as the UK struggles to emerge from recession.


BATA Gets New Chief Executive

UK Airline Trade Body Gets New Chief Executive

Simon Buck has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of the British Air Transport Association (BATA), the trade body for UK airlines. He will take over from Roger Wiltshire, who is retiring on 6th July 2010, after being with BATA for ten years.

Dr Barry Humphreys, BATA Chairman, said of Simon’s appointment:

“I am delighted that Simon has agreed to join BATA. Our industry continues to be under considerable pressure from government and regulators. With his experience of senior positions in First Choice Holidays, Air 2000 and the Department for Transport, Simon brings immense experience to the role of Chief Executive as well as an obvious enthusiasm for the industry. While after a decade in the role, Roger Wiltshire will be a difficult act to follow, I am confident that BATA will be in good hands in the future.”

Simon is currently head of public relations for the leading general qualifications awarding body AQA and a member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

Simon Buck Biography:

After graduating with a BA Hons in Economics and Public Policy from Leeds Metropolitan University, Simon endured early training as a chartered accountant before joining the Department of Transport as a graduate entrant in 1983. After holding various roles both in Westminster and the regions, he served as private secretary to the Minister for Aviation and also within the Department’s Civil Aviation Directorate before leaving to take up the role of External Affairs Manager at Air 2000 in 1995. He was subsequently promoted as Group Head of Industry Affairs at First Choice Holidays plc where he served until 2006.

During his time with Air 2000 and First Choice, Simon became a leading industry spokesperson on a range of consumer and aviation infrastructure issues, regularly appearing on local and national radio. He was also involved with BATA, sitting on the organisation’s Executive Committee for some ten years.

Since 2006, Simon has been head of public relations for the leading general qualifications awarding body AQA.

Simon is a member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

In his spare time, Simon is a Justice of the Peace and enjoys classic car motoring and outdoor leisure interests including cycling, and walking. He lives in Surrey.