20 Jun

ABTA’s response to the aviation strategy

Today, ABTA has submitted its response to the Government’s Aviation Strategy Green Paper which looks at how to achieve a safe, secure and sustainable aviation sector that meets the needs of consumers and of a global, outward-looking Britain – an objective that we fully support.

Many of the proposals in the strategy focus largely on mitigating perceived problems, and while this may be a sensible starting point, more widely we’d like to see a clearer focus on ways in which the Government can partner with the industry to promote sustainable growth, and to ensure the UK maintains our position as a leading globally competitive economy for aviation.
The Government Paper covers a range of areas, including sustainable growth, connectivity, resilience and the passenger experience, and Members can read our response in full, here. The Green Paper will be used as the basis to take forward specific proposals by the Government.

There are three areas in ABTA’s response that I’d highlight of particular significance for Members, which you can read about in more detail in our full response:

Airline insolvency
One of the matters for consideration is what happens to passengers when an airline goes out of business. The Government is seeking views on the proposals made by the Independent Review into Airline Insolvency – and we, in turn, have been consulting with Members about ABTA’s position, thank you to those of you who have responded. 

ABTA has long argued for a comprehensive approach to consumer protection relating to airline failure. While we recognise this is a complex policy area, and that multiple tools will likely be required to provide a comprehensive solution, ABTA believes the proposals represent a sensible and pragmatic basis for further consideration by Government. However, the timeframe for consultation following the publication of the very rigorous two year Airline Insolvency Review – just six weeks - falls short of the time required to consult fully on and develop the required analysis of an issue of such importance for travellers and the wider travel industry.  ABTA urges the Government to bring forward, at the earliest opportunity, a full and detailed consultation on this matter.

Sustainable growth 
Another area explored by the strategy is how to achieve sustainable growth in aviation. Understanding and managing the environmental impacts of tourism, including aviation impacts, is one of ABTA’s strategic priorities. It’s important that the aviation and wider tourism industry work together with Government to ensure growth is achieved while also meeting environmental goals. Expansion at Heathrow is a good example of this: we continue to support expansion at Heathrow Airport on the basis that the airport is able to meet the environmental parameters that have been set.

Air Passenger Duty
ABTA has long-argued for a taxation policy that takes into account the broader impacts of aviation, including environmental factors, but that does not unfairly penalise the industry or place UK airlines, and the UK economy, at a disadvantage with European competitors. We believe that APD currently fails the above test.

There also needs to be a constructive dialogue between Government and the industry about developing the right tax and policy framework which supports sustainable growth and job creation right across the UK, recognising the significant contribution the travel industry makes to the UK economy.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive

Read ABTA's response