The Freight Transport Association (FTA) addressed the House of Commons’ Transport Committee evidence session on the future of aviation, yesterday. The leading trade body was invited to submit written evidence on the role aviation plays in the UK’s logistics industry and asked to provide its own recommendations for its future.
Christopher Snelling, FTA’s Head of Policy for Global Supply Chain Policy, said:
"FTA took this opportunity to make sure that the best interests of air freight, and the half a million people employed directly and indirectly by it in the UK – and who rely on it to do business around the world – stays firmly on the radar of those who shape its future.
"Air freight is hugely important to the UK’s logistics industry. By value alone it accounts for a quarter of all imported goods moved in the UK."
FTA welcomed government plans to drop the ‘per plane’ aviation tax in favour of passenger duty last year and it was relieved when Heathrow’s third runway was given the green light by Geoff Hoon in January.
"If the UK restricts the growth of its airports or taxes air freight, business will simply switch to the Continent, reducing the level of service and increasing distribution costs to key UK businesses.
"What we need is a global approach to the regulation of aviation."
The incorporation of aviation into the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme could represent the most effective tool for managing the environmental impacts of aviation. However, FTA warns that any subsequent discussion must be done with air cargo interests at the forefront of consideration.
"Better technology, new emissions standards for aircraft and greater runway capacity at major airports – thereby removing the need for mid-air holding patterns – will all contribute to a greener future. But industry consultation is essential if air freight is to play an even more significant role in shaping a low-carbon UK while supporting our domestic economy."