ABTA responds to government scoping document on aviation
ABTA has today responded to the Government's initiative to consult on a framework for a sustainable future for aviation.
In its response to the Department for Transport's Aviation Scoping document ABTA stresses that current government aviation policy of increasing taxation and vetoing expansion of essential airport infrastructure and runway capacity is blocking a key route to growth for the UK economy.
ABTA's response sets out the following beliefs:
• The government needs to address aviation urgently and waiting until 2013 for an aviation framework is too long
• Air transport plays a vital and fundamental role providing international and regional connectivity
• Heathrow and Gatwick operate at or near runway capacity. The refusal to allow additional runways means that the government does not have a realistic strategy for meeting future demand. If the issue of capacity in the South East and regional airports is not addressed the UK will lose future potential routes from emerging countries to airports in Europe
• The ability of the aviation and tourism markets to deliver growth is being limited by blocking airport expansion and increasing taxation
• Investment in strategic infrastructure projects should be a fundamental pillar of the UK's planning for economic recovery
• A balance between economic benefits and industry demands with the impact this has on the environment and local communities is vital
• ABTA supports the inclusion of aviation in the EU's Emission Trading Scheme but revenues should be offset against Air Passenger Duty revenue and reinvested in research and development of sustainable transport options. We feel a global ETS solution should be sought.
ABTA's response comes in light of a recent survey of MPs conducted by ComRes for ABTA which found that 78% of MPs agreed that increasing airport capacity should be considered as a way to maintain and improve the UK's international competitiveness.
Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said: "In its UK Aviation Scoping Document, the Government has committed to establishing a policy framework to support growth in the UK aviation industry.
"This is vitally important for travel and tourism and indeed for the UK economy as a whole and while the commitment to create a sustainable framework to guide the aviation industry should be welcomed, we are concerned that we will have to wait until 2013 for this framework to be in place.
"As an island, the UK needs the international and regional connectivity that effective aviation infrastructure provides. The Government's imposition of punitive levels of air tax in the form of Air Passenger Duty, and lack of support for the growth of airport infrastructure or runway capacity is having a negative impact on the industry and is a real missed growth opportunity for the UK economy.
"This scoping document shows that the Government is open to hearing the industry's concerns but it must take these on board if we are not to risk fundamental and lasting damage to the travel industry and the UK economy as a whole."
Notes to editors
ABTA has been at the heart of travel for more than 60 years. Our purpose is to help our Members to grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help their customers – the travelling public – have confidence in their travel experience.
The ABTA brand stands for expertise, reliability and fairness. These qualities are core to us. They ensure that holidaymakers remain confident in the holiday products that they buy from our Members.
We help our Members and their customers navigate through today's changing travel landscape by providing schemes of financial protection and a course of redress if something goes wrong; by raising standards in the industry and by giving guidance on issues from sustainability to health and safety; and by presenting a united voice to government to ensure the industry and the public get a fair deal.
ABTA currently has over 1,300 Members and represents over 5,000 retail outlets and offices. For more details about what we do, what being an ABTA Member means and how we're working at the heart of the industry to ensure that we continue to build confidence in travel visit www.abta.com.
ComRes surveyed 158 MPs on the ComRes Parliamentary Panel between 27th June and 18th July 2011 and 151 MPs between 15th October and 12th November 2010 by self-completion postal questionnaire and online. Data were weighted to reflect the exact composition of the House of Commons. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.