UK launches aviation strategy paper; clarifies no-deal Brexit scenario for airlines

Lauren Eldershaw
By Lauren Eldershaw December 18, 2018 12:45

UK launches aviation strategy paper; clarifies no-deal Brexit scenario for airlines

The UK government has launched its Aviation 2050 consultation – a long-term plan for sustainable growth of the aviation industry in the UK that. It proposes new measures to ensure the UK’s aviation sector continues to bring significant benefits to the UK economy and citizens up to 2050 and beyond, including a new passenger charter, practical requirements to reduce emissions and noise levels and more use of innovative technology.

The consultation sets out how the government plans to modernise the UK airspace, ensuring journeys are quicker, cleaner and more efficient in the future, reducing congestion, noise and emissions and helping avoid future delays.

Aviation Minister Liz Sugg said: “Our aviation sector is world-leading and the Aviation 2050 strategy will promote success in the coming decades. Our ambition is to expand our international connections, boost trade and investment and strengthening domestic links to support businesses and travelling passengers. By working with industry we will drive sustainable growth, ensuring the next generation will continue to benefit from the growing number of opportunities this exciting and innovative sector offers.”

Tackling climate change will be a key requirement of future growth, with a proposal for negotiating a long-term global emissions target for international aviation to incentivise industry to adopt cleaner technologies.

Plans include that applications for growth must also demonstrate they will not prevent the UK’s ability to meet its Climate Change Act 2008 targets.

Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, has welcomed the next stage in the government’s aviation strategy. “The strategy will seek to further maximise benefits to regional growth and connectivity by encouraging efficient use of infrastructure beyond Heathrow, delivering greater capacity at UK airports and driving competition between airlines to deliver better value for money for customers.”

Flybe has also welcomed the Aviation 2050 Strategy Green Paper, saying it is critical to agree a long-term strategy which recognises the vital role that airlines play in providing affordable, frequent and sustainable air services to local economies around the country.

Alex Veitch, Head of Global Policy at the Freight Transport Association (FTA), the only business group representing all of logistics, said that the FTA “fully supports” the government’s new Aviation Strategy Consultation. “The paper shows the government is listening to the needs of the logistics sector and recognises the importance of air cargo to the UK economy – not just in the value of goods moved but in the businesses these products support and allow to thrive. The paper states that air freight – and the businesses it supports – provides over 46,000 jobs and contributes over £1.4 billion to the UK economy; FTA is pleased to see air cargo take such a prominent place within the strategy. A thriving long-haul air passenger market is also crucial to UK trade and it’s promising to see this recognised.”

The consultation period will run until 11 April 2019. The final white paper version of the aviation strategy will be published by the middle of 2019. Click here to access the Green Paper.

On the same day, Chris Grayling signed an agreement with Switzerland on December 17, to ensure air services will continue operating between the UK and Switzerland after Brexit.

The new bilateral deal guarantees the terms of the current EU-Switzerland agreement on air services, safeguarding the route that carried 6.8 million passengers by air in 2017 as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.

Grayling also published a rebuttal to the claims made in a Sunday newspaper that claimed the government was preparing contingency plans that include issuing advice to families not to book travel after March in a no-deal Brexit scenario, amid fears flights grounded and spark chaos at airports and ports.

“As you will already be aware, both the UK and the EU have made clear their desire to ensure flights between the UK and EU continue in any scenario,” said Grayling in an official statement. “I believe both the UK and the EU have a determination to retain the aviation links which bring such significant economic and cultural benefits for both sides.”

He points to the technical notice on air services for flights to and from the UK published on 24 September as well as the EU’s published intention to ensure this outcome in a Commission communication on 13 November.

He adds: “This department fully recognises the importance of giving passengers and businesses confidence to book their holidays and business trips to and from the EU after Brexit… we are exploring what communications will be needed to provide that reassurance. I would like to continue to work with you on precisely this in the coming days.”

Lauren Eldershaw
By Lauren Eldershaw December 18, 2018 12:45