Press release: Airport Operators Association deeply disappointed Government has announced a further delay to Airports Commission response

Responding to the announcement by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin that the Government’s response to the Airports Commission’s Final Report will be delayed until at least October, AOA Chief Executive Darren Caplan said:

“The AOA is deeply disappointed that a year on from the Airports Commission’s Final Report, the Government has announced a further delay to its response to the Commission, until at least October. This is despite the Government’s firm commitment to decide by the end of 2015, which was then delayed until this summer. This additional delay comes at a time when all are agreed that clear action is needed to demonstrate the UK is open for business and confident about its future.

“At this time of increased uncertainty, the Government should be putting its foot on the accelerator of the UK economy – not delaying making important infrastructure decisions that can help it succeed. We continue to urge the Government to make a decision on airport capacity as soon as possible.

“We also urge the Government to update its Aviation Policy Framework as soon as possible too. The Framework was set in 2013 yet the Department for Transport’s own passenger forecasts from then show that London and South East airports will all be full up by 2030 and airports outside the South East will be filling up from 2040. As well as delivering the additional capacity the UK needs to enable world-class links to both existing and emerging markets, the Government really does need to show some urgency on wider UK airports policy, setting out how we can make better use of existing airport capacity around the UK, for example modernising UK airspace and enhancing surface access links to airports.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. Since the Airports Commission’s Final Report was published, the UK has seen record passenger growth according to annual passenger numbers published by the Civil Aviation Authority. In 2015, a record number of 251m passengers used UK airports in 2015 – 17m more than the Department for Transport predicted in 2013.
  2. The Airport Operators Association (AOA) is the trade association that represents UK airports. Its mission is to see UK airports grow sustainably. It represents the views of UK airports to Government, Parliament and Regulators to secure policy outcomes that help deliver our mission. The AOA represents more than 50 UK airports in the UK. For more information, please visit