Airlines have voiced dismay at reports that the government is to delay consultation on airport expansion.

They argue that it will be a further setback to the UK’s economic recovery.

The consultation, originally scheduled for March, was delayed with the expectation of being published before the Parliamentary recess started on July 17. 

Reports today suggest that the issue of airport capacity will be put back a again until September at the earliest.

Instead an aviation policy paper to be published today (Thursday) will be restricted to proposals on emissions, night flights, noise levels and regional airports, The Times reported.  

Mike Carrivick, chief executive of the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK, said: “Delaying important decisions until later in the year demonstrates a lack of courage and the paralysis afflicting strategic policy making within the

“Whilst this government struggles internally to establish a clear and defined hub airport policy for the future, competing nations will continue to take away the trade and commerce that should be welcomed in this country.

“The message from exporters and importers is clear. They need the best connectivity and frequency for commerce to expand and also require clarity for the future so that they can plan for their own businesses.”

He added: “Many of our member airlines wish to expand their UK services to meet the market needs but the lack of policy is driving them to other countries.

“Subject to understandable environmental issues, the industry is asking to be allowed to fund its own infrastructure of national importance and without public funds. 

“BAR UK calls on the government to act decisively sooner rather than later and warns that continued prevarication is damaging to business and employment prospects.”