Examination of Witness

Part of Civil Aviation Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 pm on 23rd February 2012.

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Anthony Smith: I think these things are always best done as a partnership, rather than through people having to enforce their rights against each other. Clearly, there is quite a history of bitter arguments about what should be done at airports and what should not be done, and about how much should be spent and how much should not be spent. I would hope that the provision of more independent information, or more consumer information, would help gather people round some sensible decisions, because passengers’ interests over the next 12 months will be quite different from passengers’ interests over the next 25 years. Through research, you can help define what the generalised passenger interest is. We have a lot of input into the rail industry’s long-term planning processes, be it five years or 15 years ahead. For example, as I think you will know, we have just done a piece of work with Network Rail about what to do with the spare capacity on the west coast once High Speed 2 is built, and that is talking about 2026. There are perfectly valid research methodologies that can bring out very clear conclusions about what people want, and I cannot see anything so different about the airline and airport sector which would mean that you could do these things with railways but you could not do them with airports.