13 APRIL 2015
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One issue has been more or less neglected so far from the forthcoming General Election debate and that is air transport. The Aviation Commission says it will report after the voting day. This could be as short as six weeks away. But will the Government of the day agree to what it has to say? This needs to be confirmed now.
Sir Howard Davies recommendations concern the future of London as the international centre of the world. Sadly, and as important as it is, air transport has not been an issue with the hustling except for the Prime Minister conceding that there will be “unfair tax competition” for airports in the north-east of England if Scotland abolishes Air Passenger Duty and muttering about fares. There have been misguided short-term noises in Kent over Manston where Nigel Farage is attempting to get into Westminster as a local MP. Boris Johnson’s decision to go for Uxbridge has raised questions in some quarters.
It is true that as far as pure numbers are concerned Dubai has overtaken Heathrow, but 80% of its passengers are passing through and not stopping. Still big numbers. For the UK’s only hub 70% are going landside and fortunately for London spreading out throughout the United Kingdom. At 145m annual airport people throughput (and it should reach 150m this year) London leads by a considerable margin as the aviation capital of the world.
The truth is while TfL is doing wonders (for the most part) with improving the transport infrastructure of the capital it really is reaching its bursting point. Crossrail cannot come quick enough and work has started on the Victoria Line. The Aviation Commission outcome should dictate the future ground level interface at Heathrow.
In the four short weeks until the election let us hope that transport, in all its forms, is highlighted by our would-be leaders. Not only regarding Davies and the Commission, but also HS2, Crossrail 2, and the Motorway building programme. We know that promises may not be kept but unless people movement is focussed upon, the whole country could come to a standstill in the not too distant future. Yes the NHS is significant, high employment vital and housebuilding too, but please politicians think (and talk about) transport. It is a vital part of the total infrastructure.
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
David Bentley, Oldham, Greater Manchester
"For the UK’s only hub"... I can\\'t believe you\\'ve been suckered into John Holland-Kaye speak, Malcolm. If you\\'ve got a couple of flights that connect, you\\'ve got a hub.
Re the comment:'It is true that as far as pure numbers are concerned Dubai has overtaken Heathrow, but 80% of its passengers are passing through and not stopping';Absolutely right and exactly highlights the value a hub brings in terms of economic benefits to an area, even if the clientele travel straight through!