AEF attended the launch on 22nd January of a report on UK hub capacity by the private lobbying firm Gateway Associates. The organisation was founded in 2010 by former MP Paul Clark after he lost his seat in Gillingham, an area that would be heavily impacted by the building of a Thames estuary airport (TEA). He was a junior transport minister under the Labour administration that supported a Heathrow third runway.
The report is billed as a “survey of key influencers and decision makers”, although it is unclear how those individuals and organisations receiving the survey questions were selected and to what extent they should be regarded as representative. AEF was among the 67 respondents.
Although none of the questions posed to AEF addressed either Heathrow, or the speed of Government decision-making, the report’s press release states:
“Respondents to the survey believe that if Heathrow is not included in the Davies Commission’s analysis then the work will need to be redone in future to rectify the omission, by which time the UK will have lost its aviation advantage to newer and larger hub airports in Europe.
This frustration is further reflected with the call to ‘Get on with it’ since most believe the timescale for reaching a decision could be significantly reduced. In fact, the current plan to deliver the Davies Commission’s report and Government’s response after the 2015 general election is thought by some to be timed for political rather than economic or social advantage.”
The fact that a third of respondents considered that there was no shortage of airport capacity in the South East, despite all the recent media attention given to the supposed airport capacity ‘crisis’, is not highlighted.
A pdf of the full report can be downloaded here.