Public mood shifts towards favouring more airport capacity

Public mood shifts towards favouring more airport capacityThe consumer mood on airport capacity growth is shifting in favour of additional capacity, results of an Abta poll out today (Wednesday) show.

Only 16% of people disagreed with the assertion that ‘more airport capacity is needed’ and the numbers who agree are rising.

Four in ten (41%) people agreed that ‘more capacity is needed’- an increase from just over a third (36%) who were surveyed last year.

Consumers also appear aware of the risk to the economy if creating more capacity is delayed – more than a third of people surveyed this year (35%) agreed that ‘the UK economy will suffer if capacity is not increased’ – with just 18% saying they disagreed.

The poll found that 42% of people said they believe that it is government which should support measures to build more capacity.

This indicates that the winning party or parties in next year’s general election will find themselves under increasing public as well as industry pressure to take action in the next parliament.

The Liberal Democrats have moved towards opposing new runways in their election manifesto.

Meanwhile, more than a third (36%) of people taking part in Abta’s 2014 consumer survey said that high flight taxes put them off flying (only 23% disagreed with this statement) – and 4 in 10 (39%) said they thought that aviation taxation puts the UK economy at a disadvantage.

A quarter said that they would fly from an airport outside the UK to avoid Air Passenger Duty – highlighting the potential loss of business from UK consumers to airports such as Amsterdam Schiphol where there is no APD, or Frankfurt where the tax is much lower.

Abta’s ‘Manifesto for Jobs and Growth in Tourism’ calls for all parties to: act urgently to increase airport capacity; further reform and reduce APD; invest in infrastructure across all transport modes; embed a cohesive approach to tourism policy which recognises the value of all tourism (inbound, outbound and domestic) and ensure completion of consumer protection reforms.

The association will be engaging with party members and senior leaders from all three parties on these priorities at the autumn political party conferences which begin with Labour this weekend.

Abta head of public affairs Stephen D’Alfonso said: “Reducing APD and increasing airport capacity are two key policies that would enhance UK competitiveness, which in turn will deliver jobs and economic growth.

“As the three main parties draft their respective manifestos in search of precisely this – jobs and growth – Abta will be reminding politicians that not only will these long-standing industry calls deliver, but that these changes broadly carry the support of millions of voters who will make their way to the polls in a little under eight months’ time.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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