Government must embrace aviation or UK will suffer, says IoD

Dated: 20 October 2011

• New Poll reveals strong IoD member support for increased airport capacity

In its response to the Government’s consultation, ‘Developing a Sustainable Framework for UK Aviation’, the Institute of Directors highlights the importance of aviation to the UK economy and releases the results of a new survey of 1,245 IoD members.

Simon Walker, the Director General of the IoD, said:

“Aviation is vital to UK trade and investment, but we are already falling behind our competitors in Europe. We urge the Government to be bold when drawing up its final framework, and to consider such ideas as a new hub airport in the Thames estuary, as suggested by the Mayor of London – if it can be done in Hong Kong, there is no reason why it can’t be done here.

“More important than anything else is that the Government makes its decision quickly. The IoD would like to see concrete proposals for more capacity in specific locations, and when proposals come forward they should be dealt with in no longer than 12 months. We cannot have another debacle like Terminal 5, were it took eight years for a decision to be made.”

The key findings of the survey include:

• 40% of IoD members believe that airport capacity expansion (through new runways or mixed-mode runway use) in London and the South East would have a positive impact on the productivity of their business, compared with just 4% who think it would have a negative impact. 51% of IoD members in the London and South regions believe it would have a positive impact on the productivity of their business.

• 48% of IoD members believe that airport capacity expansion outside of London and the South East would have a positive impact on the productivity of their business, including 94% of IoD members in Northern Ireland. Only 2% believe it would have a negative impact on their productivity.

Other key points in the consultation response include:

• The UK is falling behind our competitors. Germany, France and the Netherlands all have hub airports with more capacity, serving more destinations. As the Mayor of London points out in an article for the IoD’s Big Picture, as of June 2011, Heathrow served 192 destinations, compared with 291 for Frankfurt, 277 for Amsterdam and 257 for Paris. Our links with China are particularly poor compared to European airports.

• While measures such as the EU’s Single European Sky initiative and making better use of our continental rail links should be pursued, there is no substitute for capacity increases as soon as possible.

• UK aviation taxes are much higher than in continental countries, distorting the market by encouraging indirect, rather that direct flights, from London to destinations further afield, via airports such as Frankfurt and Paris.

• Above all, businesses would like to see firmer and faster decisions. The IoD would like to see the aviation framework include a National Policy Statement for aviation, with concrete proposals for capacity enhancements in specific locations. It is also vital that the timetable of one year from the acceptance of a planning application to a final decision is adhered to in the aviation field.

For a full copy of the consultation response, including the survey results, click here.

• In August 2011, the IoD carried out an online survey of 1,245 IoD members on a range of transport issues. The results relating to aviation are included in this press release.

• The Mayor of London makes the case for a new hub airport for London in the latest edition of the IoD’s Big Picture


Contact Points

Edwin Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Institute of Directors, 116 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5ED
Tel: +44 (0)20 7451 3392
Mob: +44 (0)7814 386 243

Notes to editors

  • The Institute of Directors (IoD) was founded in 1903 and obtained a Royal Charter in 1906. The IoD is a non-party political organisation with approximately 38,000 members in the United Kingdom and overseas. Membership includes directors from right across the business spectrum – from media to manufacturing, e-business to the public and voluntary sectors. Members include CEOs of large corporations as well as entrepreneurial directors of start-up companies.
  • The IoD provides an effective voice to represent the interests of its members to key opinion-formers at the highest levels. These include Government ministers and their shadows, parliamentary committee members, senior civil servants and think-tanks. IoD policies and views are actively promoted to the national, regional and trade media. Follow us on Twitter to get the IoD’s reaction on business and public policy issues.
  • The IoD offers a wide range of business services which include business centre facilities, with ten UK centres (three in London, one each in Reading, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester, Nottingham, Norwich, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast) and one in Paris, conferences, networking events, virtual offices, issues-led guides and literature, as well as free access to business information and advisory services. The IoD places great emphasis on director development and has established a certified qualification for directors – Chartered Director – as well as running specific board and director-level training and individual career mentoring programmes.
  • For further information, visit our website: