Freight industry says Coalition plans will damage UK air freight

13.5.2010 (International Freighting Weekly – IFW)

by Will Waters

Shippers slam emissions tax plan and ban on new Heathrow runway

The new coalition government risks weakening the competitiveness of UK air freight,
according to shippers.

Christopher Snelling, head of global supply chain policy at the Freight Transport
Association (FTA), told IFW that Conservative/Lib-Dem coalition plans to impose a per-aircraft emissions
tax and to cancel a third runway at Heathrow would drive business to other European

Although detailed transport policies have yet to be revealed, the initial coalition
agreement indicated a revival of the tax idea Labour abandoned two years ago.  

Although the idea might look appealing on the surface, Snelling said, studies
had shown it would not increase tax revenues or reduce emissions, while negatively
impacting the supply chain.  

He warned the costs involved would cause some express operators to redirect flights
from UK airports.  

"When this was being looked at two years ago, some integrators were drawing up
new schedules with their freighters going into mainland European airports," he

However, the FTA was resigned to the fact that a third runway at Heathrow would
be put on ice.  

"There seems to be a firm commitment on that from both parties, so I don’t see
that changing," Snelling said.  

"But the airport is already at close to capacity and, therefore, operating on
an inefficient basis, so I think it is inevitable that it will eventually have
to be built."  

Snelling said the FTA was not opposed to attempts to limit the environmental
impact of aviation, but that it needed to be done on a European or global level.  

"Trying to do it on a unilateral basis or targeting individual airports  simply
reduces your competitiveness," he said.

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