Action is needed to boost the UK’s air links and put growth on a sustainable long-term footing, but these decisions do not have to come at the expense of environmental commitments, according to a new CBI report.
Flying High, says that investments made by the aerospace and aviation industries in new technology are having an impact on noise and greenhouse gas emissions, so that noise is currently in decline at the UK’s major airports, while new aircraft are as much as four times more fuel-efficient than their equivalent in the 1960s.
The report suggests that with new technologies already in the pipeline and greater collaboration between industry and government, the UK can meet projected demand growth while reducing noise and emissions.
It also warns that without action from politicians to make key decisions on the future of the UK’s airport infrastructure, businesses will miss out on the new connections they need. CBI research shows that each and every additional flight to a high-growth market boosts trade by as much as £175,000, while almost half (49%) of businesses in the UK consider air links to emerging markets as a key consideration when choosing where to place their next investment.
The CBI has urged all parties to commit to the findings of the Airports Commission’s final report on new runway capacity in the south-east when published in 2015, as well as taking action to improve ground connections to airports across the UK, and to safeguard the UK’s freight connectivity.
Nicola Walker, CBI Director for Business Environment, said: “The environmental challenges of growing the UK’s air links are quite rightly a concern for the public, businesses and politicians alike. But this is not a question of green or growth – both can, and must, go hand-in-hand.
“With long-term future growth dependent on our ability to forge new links with emerging markets, there can be no more excuses for our politicians to hide behind.
“The wealth of evidence, both in the Airports Commission’s interim review and this report, highlights that further aviation capacity can be built while continuing to meet our obligations to communities and the environment. Politicians now need to commit to deliver the upgrades we need at airports across the country.”