Liverpool Airport pushes regional connectivity as UK seeks post-Brexit aviation plan

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has launched an 18-month consolation with the aim of formulating a new UK aviation strategy for the next few decades and LJLA will have a major say. Tony McDonough reports

Liverpool John Lennon Airport says regional connectivity is vital to economic growth

 

Regional airports have a major economic role to play in a post-Brexit world Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) is to tell the Government.

On Friday, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling launched an 18-month consolation with the aim of formulating a new UK aviation strategy for the next few decades.

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At the centre of the strategy will be a focus on boosting economic growth, regional and global connectivity, and skills.

Clear strategy

A clear strategy is crucial as the UK gets set to leave the European Union in less than two years time.

“The purpose of this exercise is to take a longer term view on how we can maintain and strengthen our links to our European partners and the rest of the world,” Mr Grayling said.

The Government looking for feedback on the six themes of customer service, safety and security, global connectivity, competitive markets, supporting growth while tackling environmental impacts, and innovation, technology and skills.

Leading voice

LJLA says it aims to take a key role on shaping the strategy, emphasising the importance of regional air connectivity to future growth.

Mark Povall, strategy director for LJLA, said: “We welcome the opportunity to share our views with Government on the new aviation strategy.

“It is important that this new strategy enables and encourages regional airports such as Liverpool to continue to grow, and that the Government recognises the economic and social benefits that Liverpool Airport brings to both the city region and the wider Northern Powerhouse.

Supporting improved global connectivity, better surface access, and implementing policies to help growth such as the removal of Air Passenger Duty (APD) will all form part of our response to Government.”

Big issues

APD has been a major bugbear for LJLA over the past few years. It claims the levy puts UK regional airports at a disadvantage when it competes against airports in Europe for new routes.

Another big issue is the proposed third runway at Heathrow. LJLA is backing the plan in the hope of securing a new link between Merseyside and London.

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