New transport minister Lord Callanan has reassured travel industry leaders that plans for a third Heathrow runway “are proceeding”.

Lord Callanan told the Abta Travel Matters Conference in London on Wednesday: “Amid all the change and uncertainty, this government will remain pro-aviation and pro-travel.

Acknowledging concern that the government’s previous decision to expand Heathrow was not mentioned in the Queen’s Speech last week, he said: “The reason Heathrow was not mentioned is simple. It does not require new legislation.

“Heathrow [expansion] is proceeding and we are committed to it. None of us like to see our airports overtaken by the competition. But unless we get that runway built that could happen.”

Lord Callanan insisted: “We are a government that recognises the vital importance of air travel to our country.”

He told the conference: “You all want certainty, but it will be some time before we can deliver that. We’ve only had one day of [Brexit] discussions.”

However, he said: “Securing the best access to all our aviation markets is one of our priorities. It is in the interests of the UK, the EU and everyone who travels between them to agree liberal arrangements for aviation.”

The transport minister also referred to the travel protection bill mentioned in the Queen’s speech, saying “It makes sense for us to harmonise arrangements across the EU.

“It’s a sign that even as we get ready to leave the EU we are ready to work with our European colleagues for years to come.”

Referring to Abta’s campaign to Stop Sickness Scams by holidaymakers, he said: “The evidence suggests there is a real issue here.

“A survey by the legal ombudsman found three-quarters of consumers don’t believe these claims management companies tell the truth. So we plan to cap the fees these firms charge.

“We believe giving the Financial Conduct Authority new powers will address this problem.”

Lord Callanan was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Transport following the election.

He is a former Conservative Member of the European Parliament (MEP) who entered the House of Lords when he lost his European seat in 2014. He has not previously served as a government minister.