28 Jun

Heathrow and Brexit hot topics at Travel Matters

Expansion at Heathrow and Brexit were among the issues discussed at ABTA’s Travel Matters event yesterday.

Over 200 senior colleagues from across the travel industry and political spectrum attended the flagship policy event. We were pleased to host a range of speakers including Baroness Sugg, the Transport Minister for Aviation, International and Security and Richard Moriarty, the new Chief Executive of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

On Monday Parliament voted overwhelmingly for a third runway at Heathrow, which was welcome progress towards expanding airport capacity in the South East. This was the focus of much discussion at the event, as I said in my speech, the benefit of increased capacity must not be compromised by a steep rise in airport charges, so it’s very important that the government keeps a close eye on this.
Richard Moriarty recognised the important role the CAA has in making sure Heathrow expansion is delivered in a cost-effective manner for businesses and consumers, saying the CAA ‘will continue to put pressure on Heathrow to rise to the occasion.’
Baroness Sugg spoke about a range of issues, including acknowledging the importance of air travel after Brexit. On this she said the Government is making progress in its negotiations and has agreed the implementation period which will see the current arrangements continue until the end of December 2020.
Her comments followed my speech where I expressed frustration at the lack of progress, or clarity, in the Brexit process.
Unsurprisingly, with just four days to go before its implementation, the new package travel directive was also on the agenda with both the Government and CAA recognising the pressure the short time frame has put on travel businesses. As a reminder, ABTA has a suite of guidance and templates, such as model booking conditions, available on the PTD hub in the Member Zone. We have also published a Q&A which will help Members explain to staff and customers what the changes mean.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive