UK transport secretary Philip Hammond has ruled out a u-turn on the coalition government’s opposition to runway expansion at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.
Announcing the first major aviation policy review at the Airport Operators Association conference on Monday he denied the government was “anti-aviation”.
But he ruled out any change in the policy on new runways at three of the UK’s largest airports saying this was the only “restriction” in the scope of the review.
The aviation review will start next year but discussions on a formal draft policy document will not start until 2012. The last large scale aviation review took place in 2003 when the Labour government produced an air transport white paper.
Hammond said the air industry needed to “decarbonise” but indicated that even after European emissions trading comes in in 2012 the UK will retain APD.
APD is supposedly a green tax and having both taxes in place at the same time has led airlines to argue they will be double taxed.
Airlines already claim the tax they pay far outweighs their CO2 emissions and that the industry is not, in fact, under-taxed as government officials claim.
ETS will not bring in any revenue for the Treasury and Hammond’s assertion that the industry must do its bit to help the country deal with its national debt will do little to appease the industry.
Ed Anderson, chairman of the AOA said the industry knows what the government is against “but we are not sure yet what it is in favour of”.
And he dismissed the government’s claim that it wanted “better not bigger” airports as an election slogan rather than a strategy.