18 FEBRUARY 2013

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Article from BTNews 18 FEBRUARY 2013

COMMENT: Davies and more Davies

In this week’s issue of Business Travel News we publish the timetable for what many agree is the most important future issue facing the Government – the air transport outlook of the United Kingdom, or the Davies Commission.

Last week Business Travel News questioned if Davies was on the right track (BTN 11 February), and it quickly produced discussion.  In the last seven days the Mayor of London has announced his own survey (paid for by Transport for London users and the taxpayer).  The London Assembly has taken evidence, and also the Transport Select Committee of the House of Commons.  Contributors to Davies have until 19 July 2013 to make their comments, not to exceed 60 pages!

Davies will publish its interim report in December of this year, just before Christmas. 

We suggest the BBC produce a one off ‘Yes Minister’ from Highgate Cemetery.  It is a perfect time to bury something.  Take your choice on who should play the Prime Minister and Sir Humphrey.  We might even publish next week a list of readers’ suggestions.

After the 2015 election Davies will finally report.  The front runner with the commercial airline industry is clearly no new runway at Heathrow, a second track at Gatwick and also doubling Stansted.  Northolt is coming up steadily as a short term slot relief for Heathrow point-to-point traffic and a cash positive move for the Treasury.  It involves no change of government policy. 

Whatever Davies chooses will be heavily opposed by those against, who will contest its deliberations, not just through the English Courts, but into Europe too.  More and more delays.

Business Travel News believes that Roskill got it right 40 years ago.  Sir Colin Buchannan (died 2001), latterly President for the Protection of Rural England, has a lot to answer for. (see BTN 23 January 2012)

At the rate we are going by the time any new runway is actually completed (east, west, north or south) it is unlikely that there will be anyone still active from those far off discussions, and today’s senior protagonists will be retired. And Britain will be left behind.

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