South East Airports Task Force

Transport written question – answered on 5th July 2010.

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Photo of Simon Kirby Simon Kirby Conservative, Brighton, Kemptown

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport

(1) when he expects the South East Airports Task Force to publish its findings;

(2) whether the terms of reference of the South East Airports Task Force will include (a) the travel needs of passengers, (b) the interests of airline and airport employees and (c) the current and future economic effects on local areas of the airports under review; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers The Minister of State, Department for Transport

The terms of reference for the South East Airports Taskforce will be agreed following the first meeting of the group. The primary focus of the taskforce will be on addressing operational matters that will help improve the passenger experience.

The Air Transport Users Council will specifically represent passenger interests and we will look to airport operators to engage with local communities over any emerging actions that may affect them.

We expect the taskforce to complete its work by summer 2011 and I am hopeful that it can identify some actions for early implementation.

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John Byng
Posted on 6 Jul 2010 11:14 pm (Report this annotation)

The Minister is right to want to improve passenger experience, rather than increase the number of flights.

Demand for aviation can be reduced by increased taxation. Not only would this help solve the government's deficit problem it would also level the playing field for other sectors of the economy that presently pay much more tax than aviation and help green our economy.

At present aviation enjoys tax concessions worth around £10 billion a year in the UK - no excise duty on fuel, no VAT on tickets, no VAT or import duties on aircraft. These concessions are paid for by every other sector of the economy and should either be removed or the passenger duty should be replaced by a charge on flights (per plane rather than per passenger) equivalent to the concessions.