11:46am. Monday 31 October 2011
Post by: Stewart Wingate, CEO
I’d like to add my thoughts to the current debate on airport capacity constraints in the south east.
It’s timely to do so as today sees the launch of a significant report on the role that aviation infrastructure has to play in strengthening the UK economy.
‘The importance of aviation infrastructure to aviation growth’, researched and produced by FTI is an independent analysis of what UK plc stands to lose by failing to address the infrastructure issues that are stifling aviation growth.
Airport capacity in the south east needs to increase if we are to meet the predicted increase in demand for air travel. If it doesn’t, we’ll lose out and I don’t just mean the aviation industry, it’ll affect the entire UK economy.
In my view, FTI’s research is spot on. Constraining demand will limit the potential catalytic effects that aviation growth could provide.
The report suggests lost benefits of up to £47 billion in net present value terms over next 30 to 50 years.
This is no small sum. With the current economic outlook, I think this is something that needs to taken very seriously indeed.
I’ve already stated Gatwick’s ambition to compete to grow to become London’s airport of choice and we can do so from our single runway and two terminals, but ultimately it’s our airlines and passengers – market demand – that will determine whether there’s the right environment for growth in the aviation industry.
If capacity is constrained then it’s likely that passengers will feel the effect of the aviation industry being forced to respond to the capacity constraints with higher prices and reduced choice of destinations and frequency of flights.
Next spring, the government is due to make its view clear on the capacity debate. I for one, am pleased this report brings a strong economic argument that surely will help policy makers reconsider the stance of no expansion and revisit the safeguarding plans.
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