RABA Response to Heathrow Commitment
The Regional and Business Airports Group, representing 40 UK airports, are pleased with the governments commitment to ensuring safeguarded links for regional air services connecting our regions to global economies over an expanded Heathrow. Equally we are pleased with the commitment to PSO’s and eliminating APD for our essential connecting services.
In response to remarks made by Justine Greening MP who advises that an expanded Heathrow is bad for regions, we have already explained to the Transport Select Committee that the Dft forecasting model, does not model small Airports well because of data limitations and Justine Greening MP has chosen to ignore this and also fails to recognise the huge uncertainties associated with forecasting that far ahead. Further she has ignored the voice of the Regional Airports industry who want to see global connectivity restored and enhanced over Heathrow.
An expanded Heathrow is a critical issue for regions and their regional airports, and if we as a nation are to secure our goal then we must accept that there is a place for the UK investing in these links when there is a return on the investment for the regions.
Our airports will still develop new routes if there is a link to Heathrow. Indeed the Heathrow links help demonstrate there is a market when talking to airlines. Crucially passengers will access air services locally, also reducing the need for more polluting and uncertain long surface journeys.
But it is crucial that the 15% of slots allocated on the new runway are for unserved and underserved (less than two services per day) Routes, not to create competition on existing well served routes - those slots should come from the remaining slot pool.