23 JANUARY 2012


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Article from BTNews 23 JANUARY 2012

COMMENT: UK air transport – We have reached the crossroads!

It does seem to be that the Government has been galvanised into some sort of action regarding Britain’s current position as the hub of the world’s airline networks. 

If “galvanised” is the right word. 

Downing Street has recognised that an aviation policy is required and “off the record” we are being reminded that a consultative process is under way, the results due to be published at the end of March.  The timetable then gives 12 months for discussion.  That takes us up to March 2013.  The next Election is due May 2015.  Will Parliamentarians be more interested in their seats by then?

David Cameron is said to be supportive of London Mayor Boris Johnson's alternative to further developing Heathrow but will await the outcome of the consultation.  The Lib Dems oppose airport expansion in south east England.

Let us hope that at last Mr Cameron has actually recognised that air transport is the engine room that makes everything else work.  We cannot let the 21st century UK airport problem drag on any longer.  In this issue of AERBT we learn the history of Maplin in ON TOUR.  If the Prime Minister of the time (Harold Wilson in a minority government) had stuck to his guns we would not be in the mess we are now. 

The problem is the publication of the consultation could just finish up as just another bureaucratic step.

Utterances by Boris last week resulted in a rush of support in some quarters and the opposite by others.  However it was a paper published Friday by new (2010 intake) MP Kwasi Kwarteng, Conservative, that really caught the eye.  Representing a constituency that certainly must be considered a Heathrow neighbour, Mr Kwarteng makes some valuable points.  AERBT has summarised his discourse below (Case for Aviation by the Free Enterprise Group) but if your interest is as a traveller, a business person, or connected in some way with the industry, do take five minutes to read the piece.  It’s a breath of fresh air in political terms.

We have reached the crossroads with air transport in the UK.  Decisions must be made. And quickly too.

Malcolm Ginsberg
Editor in Chief

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