Despite the fact that a new aviation policy is long overdue, the March 21 advice by the British Government’s Department for Transport that the forthcoming consultations on airport capacity have been delayed, until late summer, has been tentatively welcomed by the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK (BAR UK).
BAR UK states that the Coalition Government’s decision to ban any new runways at major South East airports has placed it in a corner. Hopefully, the delay indicates a strong sign that the Government, intent on economic recovery, realises that its current dead-end policy must be reviewed.
Commenting on the delay, Mike Carrivick, Chief Executive of BAR UK said “It is rare that delays to policy-making are welcomed but in this instance it provides a great opportunity for the Government to critically appraise the negative effects of its runways ban and, without too much further delay, arrive at positive proposals for the medium and longer terms.
“Right now, the lack of hub airport capacity is limiting access to several emerging markets and impacting the economic recovery of the UK. Waiting 20 years before a new airport site becomes operational is a non-starter.
“Proposals to develop a new hub airport site in the longer term must be open to considering a range of options, rather than sleepwalk into opting for a site in the Thames Estuary. The estuary proposals have certainly invigorated the debate but all sites, not least the Thames Estuary, will present significant challenges and require critical assessment before any new hub-airport policy is developed.
“The need to provide firm timescales on policy-making should not be overlooked by the Government, however, BAR UK, representing over 80 leading airlines, looks forward to objectively contributing to the vital discussions ahead.”