Let Britain Fly

Let Britain Fly

Britain is seen by some as just a small island. But this small island has a history as one of the best connected countries in the world, playing host to the world's busiest port or airport for more than three centuries.

These connections are why this country is the economic power it is today – and that's why we must take action to make sure that our economy flourishes in the future. London Heathrow has been full for more than ten years, while the capital’s other airports including Gatwick and Stansted will be full by the middle of the next decade. That's why we urgently need to modernise our airport infrastructure if we want to avoid an air capacity crunch.

Many of Britain's trading partners are traditional ones, with which we have very strong connections. But we need to widen our scope to other established and developing nations, to boost growth and create jobs. Providing high quality international air travel is vital to achieving these goals.

Our capital is already playing catch-up, with fewer weekly flights than its European rivals to seven of the eight growth economies. More than 20 emerging market destinations are served by daily flights from European airports – including Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam – but not London.

Last year, for the first time ever, Germany overtook Britain as the largest recipient of new inward investment projects in Europe. Something needs to be done. If our politicians fail to act, Britain risks losing the competitive edge that comes from our global aviation hub status. We support the Airport Commission as a means to come up with a sensible aviation policy. But given that any likely solution to Britain’s air capacity problem will take at least the next ten years to deliver, cross-party support for its recommendations is essential.

The longer it takes for a consensus to be built, the further Britain will fall behind. That's why, before the next election, we urge the three main party leaders to acknowledge the need for a cross party solution on air capacity, with a clear manifesto commitment to be guided by the Airports Commission.

It’s not about planes and airports, stupid. It’s about the British economy’s competitive future. It’s time for our politicians to do something. It’s time to ‘Let Britain Fly.’