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Responses to Airports Commission papers on existing and new capacity

9th September, 2014

During the summer, the Airports Commission consulted on two papers: using existing airport capacity and delivering new capacity. We summarise our responses to the two papers below.

The role of regional airports

AEF continues to argue that rather than building new runways, a better solution would be to make best use of existing capacity.

The Airports Commission’s discussion paper does not consider the possible implications for regional airports of the constraints on airport capacity required in order to comply with the Climate Change Act. Aviation emissions, as acknowledged by the Airports Commission, are assumed by the Committee on Climate Change to be no greater than 37.5 MtCO2 by 2050.

In our recent report about the implications of South East expansion for regional airports, we argued that in order to ensure that this level is not exceeded, the future Government has a choice: build a new runway and introduce constraints at other airports to below today’s levels of flying; or make best use of existing capacity, including in the regions.

In our response:

  • We urge the Airports Commission to consider extra work to understand the attractiveness of rail for domestic travellers.
  • We question the use of state aid to support aviation growth
  • We argue that the procedure for airport developments, large or small, does not sufficiently take into account the issue of climate change and that changes to flight paths are not adequately considered.
  • We advocate that planning caps should be maintained as a reliable way of providing stability for communities.


AEF Comments on Discussion Paper 06: Utilisation of the UK’s existing airport capacity

Delivery of new capacity

Our response to the paper on delivering new capacity focuses on our view that airport expansion would only be politically deliverable if the public’s concerns have been appropriately and meaningfully considered.

Neither the NSIP nor the Hybrid Bill process provides a sufficiently rigorous framework for fully taking public views into account on this controversial question, we argue, and attempts to fast track the planning process could be open to legal challenge if the Government does not carry out its own analysis in relation to the impacts of expansion.


Airports Commission Paper: Delivery of New Runway Capacity

AEF Comments on Discussion Paper 07: Delivery of New Runway Capacity