Memorandum by General Aviation Manufacturers
and Traders Association Ltd (IT 97)
THE INTEGRATED TRANSPORT WHITE PAPER
GAMTA is the national trade body representing
the General Aviation sector, including business aviation operators,
aircraft manufacturers, aircraft maintenance companies, professional
pilot training schools and other supporting companies.
Our contribution to the Select Committee's Inquiry
is made under three headings:
1. BUSINESS AVIATION
In preparing this evidence, we have been advised
and supported by the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA),
our representative body in Europe.
Business Aviation is a key asset to the British
economy. An integral part of the air transport system, this essential
business tool provides a fast, reliable and flexible means of
transportation for its users. Business Aviation offers the privacy
and security essential to the conveyance of decision makers and
high value goods.
GAMTA and EBAA were heartened to see that the
Integrated Transport White Paper takes seriously the issue of
aviation as part of the integrated transport mix and in particular
mentions Business Aviation in the proposals for an airport policy.
Business is potentially facing a crisis in the
way it operates because of growing pressure to limit airport access
in south east England. That is why we have taken this opportunity
to contribute to the Select Committee Inquiry.
Notwithstanding the above, we would give encouragement
to the DETR's initiative in conducting a study into Business Aviation,
which, as mentioned below, we understand is ongoing and will contribute
to the forthcoming airport policy.
Our response in respect of Business Aviation
It is encouraging to see that the government
is planning to undertake research on the air freight industrya
sector, like business aviation, which is often overlooked in planning
airport facilities. Indeed, it may be relevant for the Committee
to note that the Department is currently undertaking research
into the position of business aviation in the south east. One
of business aviation's services is to provide secure transportation
of high value lightweight freight including carrying human body
parts for transplant. Any failure to allow business aviation access
to the airports with the best and most developed surface links
might impede this potentially life-saving role, as well as have
an adverse impact on national and local economies.
Paragraphs 3.189 and 3.190
We are pleased that the government is planning
to develop a long-term UK airports policy and look forward to
being involved in the consultation in its preparation. This is
particularly the case because there is a real concern about the
existence of business aviation arising from the changes to the
running of Heathrow Airport; this threatens the ability of executive
jets to continue to use and be based at the airport (more detail
on this below). Similar problems exist at Gatwick and elsewhere,
without suitable alternatives yet having become available (e.g.,
Our members well understand the importance of
sustainable development in today's age. Indeed modern Business
Aircraft are among the cleanest and quietest aeroplanes operating
today. All currently manufactured business jets more than meet
ICAO Annex 16 requirements. Even most Chapter 2 business aircraft
are quieter than later Chapter 3 airliners. We therefore welcome
the government aims to tackle the environmental effects of aircraft
noise and emissions, ensuring that the polluter is the one to
meet the costs.
We would be pleased to see this working alongside
positive incentives for those who are cleaner and quieter.
Paragraphs 3.193 to 3.198, 3.200 to 3.208
The main rationale for business aviation is
its ability to provide the shortest possible door-to-door journey
time as this is the means to maximise the value and productivity
of senior executives (or high value freight). Office to airport
journey time, any delay in waiting for slot and the ability to
make railway or scheduled air service connections are all vital
components of a highly sensitive travel plan.
Ease of access to airports is a fundamental
consideration of business location and the government needs to
consider the messages which its infrastructure development sends
to business, and how it strikes the balance between future economic
growth and quality of life.
The White Paper acknowledges the importance
of the potential role of the currently less congested airports
and how they can take the pressure off Heathrow and Gatwick. We
wholeheartedly support this approach. In the South East, six airports
currently exist which have the potential to form a useful multi-airport
network. Biggin Hill; Farnborough; Luton; Northolt; Stansted;
and London City. Others may fulfil a role after suitable development.
But the Committee and the Department need to understand the current
Farnborough's and Northolt's futures
Only Northolt can approach the convenience
of Heathrow for Central London because of its proximity. Even
with Northolt, interlining remains an issue.
In a number of cases surface access
is poor. If, and only if, adequate surface links are developed,
can other airports serve as feasible alternatives for business
aviation to Heathrow and Gatwick.
Airfields need to be available not
merely for landing, parking and take-off but also for basing and
Thus, as of today, the practical alternatives
to Heathrow are limited, although Farnborough and Northolt are
considered for limited development. New facilities will clearly
take time and money to create. In the meantime, business aircraft
must be able to integrate operations with scheduled flights and
to deliver good surface links. It is, therefore, essential
that business aviation can continue to use all major airports
at least until what is available at other South East airports
Paragraphs 3.199, 4.40 to 4.44
These paragraphs cover airspace capacity issues
and runway slot allocation. Outlining the particular slot allocation
problem currently facing business aviation may help the Committee
towards an understanding of the issues at stake.
Business Aviation has operated successfully
from Heathrow airport for almost 50 years. Heathrow occupies a
key position for business aviation within South-east England with
regard to security, facilities and essential integrated technical
and support services. The superb location allows high value business
executives to interlink with scheduled international flights and
to take advantage of the constantly improving surface access to
central London and elsewhere.
Until recently, business aircraft primarily
used opportunity slots arising as a result of the ebb of flow
of scheduled airlines. Pressure for more slots from scheduled
and charter airlines has led Heathrow Airports Ltd (HAL) to introduce
a new system, reducing the number of slots available to business
aircraft, despite their having an insignificant impact on scheduled
operations. There were also significant slot pressures at Gatwick.
It is vital that BAA maintains open access
for business aircraft at these airports until:
The EU policy context, currently
under revision, it is clear.
Other airport options for business
aviation are evaluated and developed.
The government has stated that it will continue
to press for the removal of the exemption from tax on aviation
fuel. Encouraging the introduction of new technology through regulation
will help to drive out old fashioned, polluting and noisy aircraft.
However, we have concerns that imposing additional taxes could
be counter-productive. Aviation as an industry is already
well-focused on improving efficiency. And not only does aviation
contribute a relatively small part of emissions, but it plays
a hugely influential role in global and national economies. We
would propose a carrot rather than a stick with regard to fuel
Ease of access and transport infrastructure
have fast become vital aspects of business location. Business
aviation has been shown to be both an important contributor to
corporate profitability and the third most important factor in
attracting inward investment. It must be remembered that, in terms
of business location and investment, south east England now competes
with north east France, Benelux and the Rhineland. We therefore
hope that any new developments in airport policy will help to
secure not only the future of business aviation but also our continued
contribution to the British economyboth directly and indirectly.
2. MINOR AERODROMES
Minor aerodromes are not specifically mentioned
in the Paper. Minor aerodromes are often associated with leisure
aviation but this is not always so. Light air taxi and corporate
operations use minor aerodromes, which are often bases for the
aircraft themselves and their maintenance organisations.
Minor aerodromes are often the home for professional
pilot training organisations, an industry which is a net contributor
to the UK economy.
Such aerodromes are often threatened with closure
from a wide range of pressures, despite the obvious contribution
which they make. We would propose to the Committee that consideration
is given to the need for a Public Inquiry if the future of an
aerodrome is threatened. Once an aerodrome is closed, it is often
lost for ever.
3. THE ENVIRONMENT
GAMTA is very conscious of environmental impact
of aviation, especially in respect of noise. In addition to the
comments made above about Business aircraft, we would draw the
committee's attention to two initiatives taken by industry and
consumers of aviation.
Firstly, the General Aviation Awareness Council's
widely distributed "Considerate Flying" leaflet has
brought to the attention of thousands of pilots the need to fly
in a manner which reduces the noise impact of General Aviation.
Secondly, the introduction of new technology
for light propeller driven aircraft will further reduce noise
both in terms of propeller tip noise and engine noise. GAMTA's
"New Generation General Aviation Engines" Report, sponsored
by the Department of Trade and Industry, highlights the new technology
that is just over the horizon.
We trust that the information provided above
is useful to the Committee in examining the issues raised by the
24 September 1998