International Air Transport Association (IATA) has backed expansion at Heathrow Airport in a drive to improve the UK’s economy and job market.
The association has forecast one in seven international air travellers will travel to or from the UK in 2015, equalling 205 million people. However, capacity constraints at Heathrow and increasing taxation has led to IATA director general Tony Tyler urging expansion at Heathrow.
“The Government needs to make Heathrow’s expansion a priority in a competitive new UK aviation policy so that the UK can realise the economic benefits of connectivity and continue to punch above its weight globally,” he explained. “The UK is falling behind in connectivity. London has less frequent links to 27 emerging market destinations than the daily connections offered from continental European hubs. If the UK wants to do business with these developing markets, air connectivity is the enabler”.
He also warned international travelers are being priced out of travel into [and out of] the UK by APD, instead heading to European hubs in France or Germany to bypass the numbers.
“Chancellor George Osborne’s proposal to reduce corporate taxes from 28% to 22% by 2014 is welcome relief, but it is not a comprehensive solution,” added Tyler. He also urged for the EU to rethink the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and liaise with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for an international approach to sustainability. This would be supported by the development of sustainable fuels, which has already seen Thomson Airways and Virgin Atlantic look into other fuels.
“A strong aviation industry is a foundation stone of an economically strong and competitive Great Britain,” concluded Tyler.