Commenting on reports that the government’s consultation on aviation capacity will be delayed, Cheryl Smart MBE, Chief Executive of Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce said:“The government has spent years working on a strategy forUKaviation, so reports that there will be yet more delays beggar belief. Businesses are tired of indecision and equivocation on aviation. Ministers can’t tell businesses to look for new opportunities in emerging markets likeBrazil andChina, and then fail to provide the basic infrastructure needed to get there.
The consequences of inaction are stark. If the government does not act swiftly to increase capacity in the South East, strengthen our regional airports, and support the development of more connections to emerging markets, theUKwill lose both investment and jobs. British Chambers of Commerce research shows that business leaders in high growth or emerging economies see direct air links as vital to maintaining theUK’s prospects in global markets. Nine out of ten (92%) of these business leaders say direct flights influence their inward investment decisions; while eight in ten (80%) say they would trade more with the UK if flight connections were improved to their home markets.
Trade with fast-growing markets requiresBritainto have a strong, resilient hub airport. New runways, at Heathrow and elsewhere, will be required to safeguard theUK’s status as a global aviation hub in both the short and long term.
Continued delays only put theUKfurther at a competitive disadvantage. Aviation strategy must be at the heart of a credible plan for growth, not a political football.”