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The Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) has demanded the next government “swiftly adopt” the recommendations of the Airports Commission on runway capacity and expand High Speed links to Heathrow.
But the GTMC stopped short of identifying Heathrow as its preferred option for a new runway.
The association of UK travel management companies (TMCs) outlined its manifesto for the forthcoming General Election at the start of the Business Travel Show in London today.
It called on the government to prioritise investment in infrastructure and demanded “an immediate decision” on additional airport capacity in the South East when the Airports Commission reports, “with spades in the ground by 2020”.
The GTMC wants “continued commitment” to financing HS2 and HS3 and “enhanced domestic air connections to regional airports” from an unspecified “South East hub airport”.
Yet it also demanded the government “connect Heathrow to high speed rail networks”.
The GTMC restated its desire to see Air Passenger Duty (APD) abolished and called on the UK government to match any cut in APD in a devolved Scotland.
It also called for free WiFi on all trains and removal of “mobile not-spots” on all major transport routes.
GTMC chief executive Paul Wait said: “These efforts are required to allow business travel to set the foundations of a sustainable economic recovery.”
The GTMC released the results of research among corporate travellers suggesting 51% would fly more frequently following a reduction in APD and 85% support an HS2 high-speed rail link to Heathrow.
In addition, it called for a second Airports Commission in the next Parliament to look at ways to increase runway capacity beyond 2030.
The GTMC also demanded the government reject proposals for a levy on London hotels.
Wait said: “Our policy recommendations are crucial to ensuring UK plc operates on a level playing field with competing economies.
“We’re taking this opportunity to ensure the long-term needs of business travellers, who bring investment and sell UK-based goods and services abroad, are met.
“Put simply, business travel facilitates future economic growth.”
GTMC members handle more than 80% of corporate travel in the UK by value.
The survey was conducted among 1,000 business travellers who travelled by air and by rail at least three times in the past 12 months.