11 NOVEMBER 2019

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Article from BTNews 11 NOVEMBER 2019

 Banning private jets in the UK?

Facts to consider.

The Labour party’s pledge this week to ban corporate aircraft by 2025 is controversial and emotive indeed. Whether it makes it into its election manifesto or not, the British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA), as the influential voice for business aviation in the UK, is obliged to highlight that such a sweeping statement shows a worrying lack of understanding of the business aviation industry and of the impact such a measure would have on the UK’s economy, GDP, employment and the facilitation of business to and from the UK.

Europe has fewer than 3,000 corporate aircraft registered in Europe, including air ambulance models which perform 1,000 medical flights a month and save hundreds of lives. Business aviation in Europe, including turboprops like the King Air and Pilatus PC-12, contribute 7% of aviation traffic. 

Aviation contributes 2% of global emissions and business aviation accounts for 2% of that. At a time when our sector’s highly-publicised prime focus is to deliver sustainable alternative fuel (SAF) as quickly as possible, pioneer new forms of propulsion, explore better and more efficient use of airspace to make a positive impact on the environment, we cordially invite Jeremy Corbyn and his advisers to consult with us.

Labour's Think Tank is wrong to suggest commercial general aviation activities are the preserve of high-net-worth individuals. More than 65% of routes flown are actually "business enabling", because direct scheduled air services on routes business leaders and executives need for their businesses simply do not exist.

On top of the 50 airports by scheduled airlines and business aviation, another 100 airports in UK are only connected by business aircraft, facilitating growth and trade with otherwise difficult-to-reach locations. Our dedicated business-aviation airports and small airfields mean business owners and users can get to where they need to go quickly and efficiently, taking in multiple international cities in one day. 

Then there is the value our industry contributes:

€87bn of output
€32bn in Gross Value Added (GVA)
€25bn in wages and salaries. 
374,000 jobs across Europe directly or indirectly dependent on business aviation.

More jobs will inevitably be created with the arrival of the next generation eVTOL/hybrid aircraft designs and in Europe the UK is leading the way with 19 designs, according to recent research by Vertical Flight. 

Yet, while they are an important part of our sustainability drive, along with being able to raise required funding and proving the technology, there remain important regulatory and infrastructure matters to address – so we are some years away from seeing fully-fledged autonomous passenger vehicles.

The UK is in the top three ranked countries for business travel in Europe, alongside Germany and France, with 60% business aviation movements passing through these three countries. Taking the UK out of that network would have a profound impact on business activities. Not only would it risk losing 140,000 direct and indirect jobs, the impact on our GDP would be £8bn per annum – with direct and indirect losses.

Let’s not weaponise aviation in the current political arena, but be positive and grow aviation to help sustain the UK and its ability to do business internationally and at home.

BBGA’s annual conference on 5 March next year at Luton Hoo will focus on the theme ‘Flight to Sustainability.’

Marc Bailey

CEO BBGA

British Business and General Aviation Association

https://bbga.aero

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