ABTA broadly welcomed the Secretary of State Philip Hammond’s announcement today at the Conservative Party conference that the Government had given the go ahead for the financing of a high speed rail link from London to Birmingham and onwards to Manchester and Leeds. ABTA however stressed that the Government must recognise that high speed rail offers a unique opportunity to create a more integrated transport infrastructure; high speed rail is only one part of this infrastructure and should not come at the cost of air travel, especially as the Government does not expect the new link to begin service before 2025.
Luke Pollard ABTA Head of Public Affairs said “A 21st century high speed rail network will be a very welcome addition to our public transport network. It will not however replace the need for efficient and modern airport infrastructure, particularly for international travel. Philip Hammond says that his Government has no issue with particular modes of transport but does with carbon emissions. We call on his Government to recognise the essential role of aviation for both business and leisure.”
The Secretary of State recently stated that Heathrow was the UK’s gateway to the world and ABTA calls on him to commit to an extension of the high speed network to Heathrow and other airports throughout the country.