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Coalition government will cancel Heathrow expansion, refuse new runways at Gatwick and Stansted, and close loopholes in aviation taxation

The new Tory-Lib Dem government has made reining in the excesses of the aviation industry a key policy commitment, with statements in the coalition agreement both on opposing airport expansions and on reforming air passenger duty to include freight transport. The agreement outlines the approach to be taken by the coalition government on a number of contentious subjects.

On airports, the deal, reached during 5 days of intense negotiation, included “the cancellation of the third runway at Heathrow”, a turnaround from the present government’s policy, and also “the refusal of additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted”. Among the taxation promises is “the replacement of the air passenger duty with a per flight duty”, a policy proposed by the last government and supported by AEF but dropped following pressure from the aviation industry.

The new government’s approach to noise and climate policy generally, and to regional airport expansion, remains unclear, and AEF will be seeking clarity on these issues over the coming weeks.