AOA response to the Autumn Statement

Commenting on the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt MP’s Autumn Statement, the Airport Operators Association’s Chief Executive, Karen Dee said:

“Airports will be pleased that the government has confirmed full expensing will be made permanent, enabling more investment in new, greener vehicles and other machinery. This will help airports to improve efficiencies and service levels across their operations, as well as ensure they are able to meet their decarbonisation commitments.

“It was also good that the Chancellor announced reforms to the planning system with the view of speeding applications up. Our members tell us that uncertainty around the planning system is a key reason why investment and development are delayed – reducing the UK’s ability to connect with the world, develop new markets for our products and services, and create jobs and prosperity.

“The wider aviation sector will also be glad that announcements were made around improving the process to connect with the power grid. As aviation moves to Sustainable Aviation Fuels, hydrogen and battery electric powered flight, there will be demand for more grid connections, something that we have raised as an issue that might slow down our decarbonisation efforts. Providing faster connections will increase investment and help the UK grow its own sustainable flight sector.

“This Autumn Statement was, however, also a missed opportunity for the Chancellor to announce he would allow airports to establish arrivals duty-free stores and to reinstate VAT-free shopping for overseas visitors. These measures would have given a boost to airports, UK high streets, retailers and manufacturers all over the UK, through increased consumer spending in UK-based outlets. We will continue to make the case for these measures.”