The trade association for UK freight forwarders and logistics service providers has expressed its frustration that a decision on the expansion of UK airport capacity is likely to be delayed for a further six months. In June this year, following the Airports Commission report on airport capacity in the UK, the British International Freight Association (BIFA) said that it backed the report’s proposal that the UK must push ahead on the expansion of aviation capacity with a new runway at Heathrow.
BIFA director general, Robert Keen, says: “If reports are to be believed, this latest possible delay is due to environmental and political issues. Whilst I understand the pressures that David Cameron is facing from many senior figures in his own party over the latter, it is difficult to believe that the Airports Commission did not cover all the bases on the former.
“Over the past decades, successive UK governments have shown a singular lack of vision in the face of a massive surge in air transport and consequent pressure on existing airport infrastructure in the South East. In 2009, BIFA gave qualified support to the then UK government’s decision to allow a third runway at Heathrow airport.
“I understand that there will not be an official announcement about the decision to delay the announcement until Thursday this week after the meeting of the Parliament’s Economic and Domestic Cabinet sub-committee – which is chaired by David Cameron. If the news of a delay is correct, I would urge the Prime Minister to follow the lead taken by his colleague, George Osborne, who did a u-turn on tax credit cuts and reverse his opinion about the need to delay the decision.
“We need the government to get on with an increase in UK aviation hub capacity by announcing an expansion and improvement of airport infrastructure at Heathrow in order to maintain the UK’s position as Europe’s most important aviation hub,” he added.