Growing the UK’s airport capacity will be vital to its global competitiveness – CBI submission
A lack of hub airport capacity could cost the economy up to £1.2bn1 a year in lost trade and must be tackled if the UK is to maintain its global competitiveness, the CBI said today.
In its response to the Government's consultation,Developing a sustainable framework for UK aviation, the UK's leading business group says that having an international airport hub is vital to the economy, and that the Government's plan must address the issue of capacity in South East England.
Katja Hall, CBI Chief Policy Director, said:
"The UK's international aviation hub at Heathrow is already operating at 98% capacity. The Government must explore all sensible ideas for resolving the need for more UK hub airport capacity, as well as addressing environmental and noise concerns, which industry is fully committed to.
"Linking Heathrow and Gatwick by high-speed rail is certainly not a viable solution. And ducking the issue would mean losing more trade to fast-growing hubs elsewhere in Europe."
A hub airport is one where flights are organised in waves of arrivals and departures to allow large numbers of passengers to make a wide range of connections.
In addition to resolving the issue of hub capacity, the CBI suggests there is scope for expansion in the UK's regional airports. These also have the ability to drive economic growth, and were used by 40% of all UK passengers last year.
The aviation sector not only makes a direct contribution of nearly £50bn to the economy and supports a tourism industry worth £115bn, it is also of huge importance to international trade.
Balancing environmental concerns with aviation growth is an important part of making a new sustainable framework credible and long-lasting. The CBI supports the inclusion of aviation in the EU's Emission's Trading Scheme from 2012.
Ms Hall said:
"We need to be sure that UK businesses are able to take advantage of export opportunities in emerging markets in the years to come, as well as expand capacity and meet our environmental commitments.
"Industry is already fully committed to reducing its environmental and noise impact. New technologies and air traffic systems are being developed which will enable aviation growth with no net increase in emissions."
Note to Editors:
1. Frontier Economics, Connecting for growth - the role of Britain's hub airport in economic recovery (September 2011)
A copy of the CBI's submission to the Government's consultation, Developing a sustainable framework for UK aviation, is attached.