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  1. ITV Report

Saving the South's aviation industry

Photo: ITV Meridian

MP's may move thousands of extra flights to Farnborough to ease runway crisis in the South.

As the debate over a third Heathrow runway rages on an all party group of MP's today say urgent measures are needed to stop the decline of the regions aviation industry.

Transferring thousands of flights to Farnborough is they claim in the short term the answer. The move is bound to cause anger under the flight path.

They All Party Group on Aviation say an immediate solution to the lack of capasity at Heathrow is to transfer 7,000 business flights from Northolt and Heathrow to the Hampshire airport.

Under existing planning rules the airport is allowed to grow but insists a new terminal or runway is not needed.

The MP's see this as an interim measure while decisions are taken on expansion of Heathrow or other airports in the south.

The all party committee of MP's sayvMinisters must come up with new polices that will allow airports to expand for the good of the economy and competition from other airports in Europe. .

While is doesn't say Heathrow should get a third runway it does suggest better use of existing runways to increase the number of flights. They say the Government must make decisions on the future of airports as soon as possible.

By using Northolt and switching an extra 7,000 business flights a year to Farnborough capacity could be used at the west London base for domestic and international flights.

The All Party Group for Aviation also say the Government should find a better way to levy its Air Passenger Duty.

The group say:

"We welcome the Government’s recognition that a sustainable framework to guide the aviation industry in its planning and investment is required for the short, medium, and longer-terms. However, an immediate solution is required in the interim until a more comprehensive solution can be implemented for the longer term. The Government should carry out a full assessment of the impact of mixed mode use of Heathrow’s runways and of using the existing runway at Northolt more effectively. This could be achieved through the transfer of the existing 7,000 annual Business Aviation movements to Farnborough, and their replacement with services to the UK regions that have lost connections to Heathrow over the last 30 years and some short haul services to be transferred from Heathrow to allow such “slots” to be back filled withlong haul services to BRIC and other emergent nations not currently served from Heathrow. This will help to mitigate the capacity constraints currently being felt at the UK hub, and allow the UK to maintain its global leadership in aviation until a long-term aviation policy and runway capacity solution is reached.

In short, the findings of our report advocate a new direction for UK aviation and call upon all those groups, organisations, companies and Government departments with an involvement in the sector to look again at how aviation can be part of the solution to the UK’s economic problems in a sustainable way.

In order to achieve the greatest possible economic and social contribution from aviation, we need two things from Government: a forward looking aviation policy that allows for aviation growth; and a new approach to the taxation of aviation. Combined, a new approach could not only energise thesector but also provide a firm foundation for the UK’s economic recovery. Few industries can deliver to the whole of UK plc and assist the Government in achieving its economic and social objectives.

In common with all other sectors, aviation must continue to address its carbon emissions and environmental impacts; it has already achieved significant improvements but can and must do more. The EU Emissions Trading Scheme is supported by this Group and provides a good framework for aviation’s emissions to be reduced to the same levels achieved in 2005 by 2050. Though carbon is one of the most pressing environmental considerations for the industry and Government to address, more must also be done to address the issue of aircraft noise and its mitigation if aviation growth is to enjoy public support. We heard evidence that this process must involve both the industry and changes to the planning system."