Jobs and passengers at heart of government’s 10-point plan for aviation

  • government launches 10-point strategy to deliver an innovative and sustainable aviation sector as it recovers from the pandemic
  • new aviation passenger charter will ensure consumers know their rights when flying
  • Aviation Council established to bring the aviation sector together to learn the lessons of the pandemic and grow back sustainably

Consumers, jobs and innovation are at the heart of the government’s new strategy for building the aviation sector of tomorrow.

Launched by Aviation Minister Robert Courts during a visit to Heathrow Airport, Flightpath to the future aims to rebuild consumer confidence, build back sustainably from the pandemic, support jobs across the country and build a skilled and diverse workforce that’s fit for the future.

The delivery of the new 10-point plan will be supported by an all-new Aviation Council made up of airlines, airports and wider representatives from the aviation sector, as well as ministers and officials from both the UK government and devolved administrations.

The council will work to use the lessons learned from the pandemic to support recovery and make air travel better for passengers and better for the planet.

As outlined in the strategy, the government will launch a new aviation passenger charter later this year, a one-stop guide for consumers informing them of their rights and what they can reasonably expect of the aviation industry when flying.

The charter will be developed in partnership with industry and consumer groups to help rebuild consumer confidence in air travel following the pandemic.

Aviation Minister Robert Courts said:

The pandemic posed an existential threat to the aviation sector. Now recovery has started, we have a chance to build back better than ever before.

Through this new strategy, I’m setting out 10 priorities to ensure we build an industry that’s not only fit for the future but one that’s world-leading.

By working closely with the sector to focus on sustainable growth, powered by the latest innovations, we can ensure aviation creates jobs and opportunities across all 4 nations of the UK.

The past few months have been challenging for the sector as it returns to business as usual with a massive recruitment drive now underway to meet demand. As set out in ‘Flightpath to the future’, the government will work closely with industry and consumer groups to help the sector to provide the best service possible for consumers.

Airport Operators Association Chief Executive, Karen Dee, said:

Airports provide the vital aviation links businesses across the UK need to trade within the UK and abroad. Post-pandemic, it is vital government and airports work together to rebuild and grow those links to support jobs and create new economic opportunities across all regions of the UK.

Airports look forward to working through the new Aviation Council with government ensure effective delivery of our shared ambitions to support levelling-up while also enabling people to take well-earned breaks abroad and reconnect with family and friends in other countries.

With the sector on the cusp of a green flying revolution, the government will work with it to develop the right skills and workforce to accommodate new technologies from drones, flying taxis and electric planes.

Richard Moriarty, Chief Executive of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said:

As aviation recovers, we share government’s ambitions for the sector to build back to become cleaner, greener, more innovative and to continue prioritising safety and delivering for its consumers.

The established and emerging aviation and aerospace sectors and their stakeholders will need to work together to deliver this and I’m looking forward to the Civil Aviation Authority being part of that collective effort.

The plans form a key part of the government’s levelling-up agenda, focusing on attracting and retaining the skills the sector needs as it recovers, unleashing the potential of the next generation and supporting a diverse workforce across the 4 nations of the UK that is fit for the future.

Ian Wilson, CEO DHL Express UK, said:

Air freight accounts for 40% of UK imports and exports and is vital for the UK economy, enabling international trade and supporting UK businesses.

As we look to the future, aviation will continue to play an important role in delivering on the UK’s freight ambitions, particularly when it comes to decarbonisation of the supply chain.

As a global business, DHL Express is making significant investments in zero and low emission innovations such as sustainable aviation fuel and electric cargo planes and we look forward to working alongside the government as the UK becomes a leading market for these clean technologies.

The plans set out today (26 May 2022) will also deliver benefits for communities across the whole country through new jobs and better connectivity by becoming one of the first countries in the world to routinely use new aircraft to provide new and improved low carbon transport for goods, people and trade.

We can also benefit from new regulatory freedoms outside the EU, for example, to support further growth of general aviation.

The government will also later this year publish its jet zero strategy and set out its vision for how the aviation sector can reach net zero by 2050.

UK ingenuity is already developing zero emission aircraft and sustainable aviation fuels and combined with improvements to airport and airspace efficiency, we will deliver net zero flying for everyone.

Today’s publication follows the Transport Secretary’s historic challenge to the industry to deliver the first ever net zero transatlantic flight by the end of 2023, powered purely by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) – made from waste products, including household cooking oil and black bin rubbish.

Announced earlier this month, the pioneering test flight will be supported by up to £1 million of competition funding and will increase understanding of commercial flights powered by these fuels.

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