ABTA Urges Government to Develop Airport Strategy

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), a UK-based travel agents association, is urging the British government to consider developing a sustainable strategy for airports.

The association is stressing that the government should not prioritise business traffic over leisure travel at the busiest airports in the country.

ABTA expects that undue emphasis on business travel is likely to hamper outbound travel from the UK, and outbound travel accounts for 1.6 percent of the UK’s DP, or around GBP22 billion.

The association is emphasising that it is important that air passengers travelling from the UK are be able to fly from airports of their choice.

The 2012 ABTA Consumer Survey has revealed that 62 percent of passengers are in favour of flying from their local airport, and around 50 percent of the respondents are not in favour of spending more than an hour travelling to their departure airport.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA’s chief executive officer, said, ‘The airport capacity debate has been going on for too long whilst our European neighbours have been continuing to invest in their infrastructure.

We urgently need swift and decisive action from the Government to put an end to the debate and move forward with plans to create the capacity we so desperately need. It is vital these plans take into account the needs of all types of aviation, whether it is cargo, business or leisure. We must at all costs avoid a situation where there is a hierarchy of importance for aviation.’

According to ABTA, recommendations that the government should take heed of include a comprehensive strategy for aviation, cross party support for aviation policy, and to maintain a balance between the economic benefits of meeting demand and the requirements of the industry, with the impact that aviation has on local communities and the environment.