Airport Operators Association response to Transport Select Committee report on surface access to airports

Responding to the publication of the Transport Select Committee report on surface access to airports, Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association, the trade association that represents 55 UK airports, said: “The Airport Operators Association has long taken the view that in order for aviation to grow, people and businesses need to be better connected to airports. Good surface links are crucial to enabling airports to make best use of existing capacity, and play a vital role in enabling our members in all parts of the UK to attract new and more frequent routes, both to existing and emerging markets. This has obvious advantages for both passengers and UK plc more generally.

“Airports are working hard to forge closer relationships with Government, local authorities, LEPs, Network Rail, the Highways Agency and other partners in order to deliver improvements on the ground. They are also doing everything in their power to increase the number of people – both passengers and staff – who travel to the airport by means of public transport, both reducing congestion and delivering for the environment.

“However, as the Committee has rightly acknowledged, the strategic leadership that is required to really push this agenda forwards in future years needs to come from the Government, and the Department for Transport (DFT) in particular. Given that the DFT will be updating its 2013 Aviation Policy Framework later this year we would urge Ministers to use the opportunity to set out their current thinking. To start with we would like them to begin the process of assessing the current level and adequacy of public transport infrastructure connecting UK airports, identify where there are gaps in present and future demand, and move towards a more integrated transport policy and network to ensure surface access projects successfully align rail and road access with aviation.

“The Committee has delivered an important contribution to the debate, and its recommendations should be taken seriously. We look forward to reviewing the Government’s response as soon as possible.”