Manchester Airports Group – MAG – is calling for a UK wide aviation strategy to improve international connectivity.
The leading airport group has laid out its view in response to Government proposals for the new strategy. MAG, which operates the UK’s two largest airports with spare runway capacity, Manchester and London Stansted, is calling for improvements in road and rail access to its airports to enable them to offer passengers better global connections.
At Manchester Airport, MAG is focused on ensuring that the airport is connected directly to HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, so that passengers and businesses across the North and the rest of the UK can benefit from the airport’s global route network. These improvements in global connectivity will help drive economic growth and support trade, investment and the creation of high-skilled jobs.
At London Stansted, MAG is calling on Government to accelerate the delivery of improvements to the Stansted Express. With faster rail access to London, MAG believes that London Stansted would attract more long haul routes, giving passengers more choice and providing high-tech and life sciences businesses in the corridor around Stansted with better access to global markets.
The group believes that air freight’s vital role in supporting trade and advanced manufacturing should be an important focus for the new strategy. The Government should support East Midlands Airport, the UK’s most important hub for dedicated air-freight operations, by channeling more investment in road and rail infrastructure around the airport.
Other improvements that the airport operator would like to see include a long-term resourcing plan for UK Border Force, to ensure that further growth in passenger numbers is supported by additional immigration resources at UK airports, and a review of Air Passenger Duty to make new long haul routes from UK airports more competitive compared to European rivals.
Tim Hawkins, Corporate Affairs Director at MAG, said:
“The ability for passengers and businesses to reach markets around the world quickly and easily is critical to meeting the Government’s vision for a global Britain. Aviation generates £1bn a week towards UK GDP, something that is made possible by the nearly one million people that work in and around the industry. The Government can now provide a strong boost to the UK economy by making the best possible use of existing capacity at airports like Manchester and Stansted over the next 10 to 15 years. That is why we are encouraging the Government to commit, through the new aviation strategy, to a number of practical steps that will enable airports to improve the UK’s international connectivity.”