AOA Airport Operator Magazine | Winter 2022
AOA Policy Manager, Rupinder Pamme, analyses the Union Connectivity Review
In November Sir Peter Hendy published his final report of the Union Connectivity Review. The 98-page report assessed transport connections and networks in, and between the four nations. As expected, there was a heavy focus on surface transport. However, there were some positive comments and positions taken in the report concerning aviation, as well as some that are more problematic.
The review highlighted that aviation provides essential connectivity within the UK that even improvements to other modes cannot replace. It encouraged the “UK Government to fully consider the need to vary Air Passenger Duty (APD) for routes where there are no reasonable road or rail alternatives”. The Chancellor announced in his Budget in Autumn 2021 a 50% cut to the rate of APD for domestic flights which we anticipate being interpreted by Government as addressing this issue, but it gives us useful additional avenues to pursue.
In other measures announced for aviation the review called for revision of existing subsidy rules for domestic aviation to allow “support for routes between different regions of the UK (rather than just to and from London) and to allow multiple airlines to serve a single route”. This is potentially good news, but it should not be implemented to the detriment of London routes, especially as airports try to recover from this pandemic with further restrictions being placed on international travel towards the end of 2021.