Blog: Manchester Airport reacts to publication of the Government’s Aviation Strategy Green Paper

Yesterday (17 December 2019), Government published its Aviation Strategy Green Paper, called Aviation 2050: The Future of UK Aviation.

The draft strategy, open for public consultation for 16 weeks, is structured around a series of objectives:

  1. support growth while tackling environmental impacts
  2. help the aviation industry work for its customers
  3. build a global and connected Britain/ encourage competitive markets
  4. ensure a safe and secure way to travel
  5. develop innovation, technology and skills
  6. airspace modernisation

There is important recognition in the document of the vital role that aviation plays in creating jobs, driving trade, tourism and investment, particularly as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.

It acknowledges that airports like Manchester are “regional transport hubs,” with specific reference to the economic benefits major airports have on their surrounding areas. There is also specific reference of the positive impact of some of our routes, such as our services to Beijing and Mumbai.

Importantly, the document also identifies Manchester as a “national airport” with influence “well beyond” its local catchment area. It also reiterates Government’s policy that “best use” should be made of existing spare runway capacity at airports across the country – particular important given that Manchester is the only airport in the country outside of Heathrow with more than one runway.

However, it is important this sentiment is now backed-up by policies that will do most to unlock the potential of Manchester Airport. This includes prioritising investment in public transport links, such as Northern Powerhouse Rail, and this will require a joined-up approach to infrastructure planning from Government.

The Green Paper is a detailed document that touches all areas of our business in a number of different ways. As a result, we will be considering its content and preparing a detailed response, working with our communities and stakeholders in the process.

Among the measures proposed is a Passenger Charter and we are committed to working with Government to ensure the right framework is in place to deliver the best possible experience for all of the 28m passengers we welcome through the year, especially as we deliver our £1bn transformation of Manchester Airport.

The business has issued the following statement in response to the initial publication of the Green Paper.

A Manchester Airport spokesperson said: “We know that the UK's aviation sector will underpin the Government's aspirations for a global and balanced Britain, and the Aviation Strategy provides important recognition of the industry’s potential to contribute to continued economic growth and prosperity.

“Manchester Airport and MAG as an airport group are fully committed to reducing its environmental impact and is working hard to drive economic growth and employment opportunities for local communities. Initiatives like our on-site Airport Academy will leave a positive legacy of skills and education felt well beyond the airport.

“When this strategy is finalised, it will need to enable growth in both the short and the long term, and make all parts of the UK amongst the most competitive places in the world to start new routes. It is important the consultation process is now used to identify the specific policies and other measures that will do most to deliver that goal.

“For example, as we invest more than £1bn in our airport over the coming years, we want to work with Government to maximise the benefits of direct connectivity in the North. Airports like Manchester are strategic national assets, connecting people and goods to the world.”