Extra aviation capacity will benefit long-term health of UK economy

Following an extensive inquiry into aviation, to which the BCC and some Chambers gave evidence, the House of Commons Transport Select Committee has called for Heathrow Airport to be expanded. The Committee rejected calls for a new hub airport east of London and made a number of recommendations that, if acted upon, will form part of a comprehensive aviation strategy, including:

• Improving surface access to the UK's major airports;
• Greater promotion of airports outside the South East;
• HM Treasury conducting a fully costed study into the impact of Air Passenger Duty (APD);
• Significantly reducing or abolishing APD if the study shows that it has a negative effect.

Commenting, John Longworth, Director General at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: 

“Businesses across the UK will certainly be encouraged by the publication of this report. For too long, this issue has been a political plaything, and we are pleased that the need for more aviation capacity in the South East has finally been recognised. Future economic growth depends on a significant increase in airport capacity in order to provide international connectivity for passengers and goods. Greater capacity at UK airports will facilitate international trade, encourage inward investment, attract tourists and ultimately increase employment.

“The Transport Committee makes a number of sensible recommendations, which, if implemented, will significantly help businesses transport their goods and people around the world. The Committee has set out a clear, long-term aviation strategy which addresses the cost, connectivity and capacity concerns of the business community, and will benefit the UK economy as a whole. Now it is time for the government to stop dithering and make this strategy a reality. We know this will require bold decision-making, but the government must recognise the critical role that aviation has to play in supporting economic growth.”

On Friday 7 June there will be a chance to discuss the aviation capacity debate at a local and national level following recent research indicating the lack of capacity at Heathrow was costing the UK up to £14bn a year in lost trade. Hear local businesses’ viewpoints and national perspectives over breakfast. Open to all businesses by invitation. For more information about this event, please contact Hannah Thomson at hannah.thomson@norfolkchamber.co.uk.

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