UK: Government ‘should look to regions to boost air travel’, says airport chief

The Government should look to the regions to boost air travel, an airport chief urged today.

Access to regional airports should be improved and tourism to regional areas should be supported, said Bristol Airport chief executive Robert Sinclair.

His comments came as Bristol Airport submitted its formal response to the Government’s consultation on aviation strategy launched in July.

The Government has also appointed former Financial Services Authority chief Sir Howard Davies to head an independent commission which will make its full report on airport capacity needs in summer 2015.

While some favour expansion at Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted, others, including London Mayor Boris Johnson, are keen on a brand-new airport in the Thames Estuary.

Mr Sinclair said today: “As politicians, Government officials, aviation professionals and other stakeholders debate issues around capacity and new schemes costing billions of pounds, it is critical to remember that significant airport capacity already exists in the UK regions.

“Government policy should encourage the use of this capacity and should encourage private sector investment in long-term infrastructure. Not only will this relieve congestion at airports in south-east England, but it will help rebalance the economy at the same time.”

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He went on: “Like many airports outside London, Bristol is very well placed to create jobs and drive economic growth in its region. What we need is a very clear and very tangible aviation policy which supports growth and investment.”

In their submission, Bristol Airport’s chiefs also called on the Government to “act decisively to reduce the regulatory burden and costs for airports”.