Manchester Airport and the Local Economy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:38 pm on 2nd July 2020.

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Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) 4:38 pm, 2nd July 2020

The hon. Gentleman will have heard, and maybe seen, the Secretary of State announce last week the formulation of the Jet Zero Council, which has been supported by the industry and will bring together the Government with aviation and environmental groups to make net-zero-emissions flights possible. I have spoken with Manchester airport and others across the industry this week, and there is a real determination from the sector to make this a vital pillar of the recovery. We have an industry that wants to deliver on this agenda and are working with the industry, with or without that bespoke support. It is important that we understand the profound impact that covid-19 will have on the way that people’s lives, work and travel will change. It is clearly sensible that our plans to reduce emissions understand that and take it into account.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for securing this debate. Manchester airport is the only British airport other than Heathrow to operate two full-length parallel runways. It handled its first scheduled flight in 1938—a KLM Douglas DC-2 to Amsterdam—and in 2010 it became the first airport of its size in the world to have a daily A380 service. As Aviation Minister, I have been given the opportunity by this debate to address concerns. I am mindful of and take on board the concerns he raised around slots, the green recovery and the particular strain that local authorities may feel as a result of supporting their local airports.

As I have highlighted to the hon. Gentleman, the Department for Transport is committed to staying close to our airports and working with them in the best way possible. We are all aware of the scale of the challenge facing the aviation sector and the economy as a result of covid. The efforts that we are making in partnership with the sector are intended to ensure that UK aviation can recover, and that airports such as Manchester and the communities they serve can recover and prosper in the future, just as they have done in the past.

Question put and agreed to.

House adjourned.