1 November 2022, London Marriott Hotel County Hall
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
ON THE SOAPBOX is a new monthly feature by ABTN where we offer distinguished leaders in the travel field an opportunity to air their views on matters that concern us all. Rod Eddington, chief executive British Airways led with the issue on 12 January.
Brenda Dean (Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde) has guided Freedom to Fly on a tortuous journey to influence the recently produced government white paper on the future of air transport. She speaks again on the subject next week at the Aviation Club of United Kingdom in London. (Wednesday 11 February Institute of Directors). [email protected]
”The Freedom to Fly Coalition brought together all parts of the UK aviation industry, unions, business, tourism and consumer groups. Never before in the UK had such a diverse and powerful group of organisations united with one core mission. Our objective was to build and win the case for the sustainable growth of air transport in the UK.
Freedom to Fly wound up last month. Our job is done. The Government has published its Future of Air Transport White Paper, securing a framework for regional airport growth, for delivering four new runways over 30 years, and a commitment to using the UK's EC Presidency in 2005 to bring aviation within the proposed EU emissions trading scheme.
The Government should be congratulated for having the courage and determination to deliver such a progressive policy.
But the White Paper marks only the start. Much needs to be done to turn the policy framework into real infrastructure, and action is needed by both the Government and the aviation industry if growth is to be delivered in the right way and at the right time.
The Government needs to implement a better planning process for major infrastructure projects, to speed up the process for planning decisions and provide earlier certainty to developers and communities alike.
Road and rail investment will be needed for the growing number of passengers and staff travelling to and from airports. So the Government's road and rail agencies must put budgets and plans in place to bring forward whatever developments are needed, in partnership with airports and others who will benefit from the developments.
The industry itself has a lot of work to do to meet some very challenging timetables and conditions, and it is encouraging that this is already underway. At Stansted, earmarked for the first new runway, BAA has formed a project team and is already putting compensation or support schemes in place for the owners of properties most seriously affected by the proposed new runway.
And Heathrow airport, airlines and local authorities are working to solve the critical issue of air quality, which is a precondition for a third runway. Though it is worth noting that air quality is a national issue, predominantly caused by road pollution, so the resolution at Heathrow must also be part of a wider national solution.
Local communities rightly demand an improvement in their noise environment, so quieter aircraft must be brought increasingly into service, along with improved operating procedures and better mitigation and noise insulation.
But the biggest challenge is tackling aviation's contribution to climate change. Across Europe, the industry needs to work with governments to persuade them to embrace the solution of emissions trading as an alternative to blunt taxation.
The industry must embrace these challenges as opportunities to win community support to grow sustainably, not see them as threats to growth. And it is critical that the industry's approach is one of real engagement with local communities, working with them on the best way of delivering growth. So while my job is done, for the Government and those who formed the Freedom to Fly Coalition, the real job is only just beginning”.