AOA - The Airport Operator: Summer 2023 Magazine

Iain Stewart MP, Chair of the Transport Select Committee, writes for The Airport Operator

In our recent Fuelling the Future inquiry into transport decarbonisation, my colleagues and I on the Transport Committee concluded that Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) have the most potential to reduce emissions. In our report we urged the Government to invest in low-carbon SAF and encourage private investors to follow suit.

I’m really pleased that the Government has agreed with the Committee’s recommendations and has agreed to consider further how to stimulate SAF investment in the UK, including looking at our recommendation of a ‘Contracts for Difference’ model that would give confidence to investors. This is where the Government provides companies with capital for upfront costs of developing a technology, while guaranteeing the price it will pay for the SAF when it comes on stream. We’ll be following the Department for Transport’s actions closely to make sure they put their money where their mouth is. Not only will investing in cleaner fuels be good for the environment and help the UK become a world leader in developing these technologies, it will also let passengers relax and enjoy going abroad relatively guilt-free.

The Committee is also getting ready to explore the aviation industry from a completely different angle. Earlier this year we launched an inquiry looking at how to make transport more accessible to people with disabilities. We’ll be looking at how effective legislation like the Equality Act is in requiring every part of the passenger transport sector to make services accessible. There’s been no shortage of stories in the media of disabled people being abandoned on planes for hours after landing, having to find alternate modes of travel or cancelling plans altogether due to accessibility issues. I’m keen to get to the bottom of it and make sure planes and airports give disabled people a stress-free experience. 

Additionally, we just launched an inquiry looking at the nation’s strategic transport objectives. We’ll ask how these objectives are set and how they do – or should – influence decisions on investment and planning. We welcome evidence from the aviation industry about how air travel fits into this big picture. 

Elsewhere, my Committee has been keeping an eye on new Government proposals to better protect airline passengers when journeys go wrong.

Full Report - Pages 33-34