Airports Commission publish their second discussion paper on “Aviation connectivity and the economy”

The Airports Commission (= Davies Commission) has published ‘Aviation connectivity and the economy’, the second in a series of discussion papers through which it hopes to invite submissions and build the evidence base from which to assess the UK’s airport capacity needs. The paper looks at how the aviation connectivity of the UK contributes to the UK economy. It examines the drivers of connectivity and how well connected the UK is to the world and how it performs in comparison to other European countries (or if the UK is falling behind its neighbours). It considers whether aviation connectivity supports economic growth by facilitating trade, investment and innovation and it looks at options for measuring connectivity. The deadline for consultation is the 19th April.



GACC response:

The response from GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign ) is a useful critique of the consultation, revealing in a short, very readable, but hard hitting document many of the flaws and the errors in the economics of the connectivity discussion document. Connectivity Response from GACC March 2013


8.3.2013 (Government press release)

The Airports Commission has today published ‘Aviation connectivity and the economy’, the second in a series of discussion papers to build the evidence base to inform its assessment of the UK’s airport capacity needs.

The paper explores how the aviation connectivity of the UK contributes to the economy of the country. It examines the drivers of connectivity and how well connected the UK is to the world and how it performs in comparison to other European countries. It considers whether aviation connectivity supports economic growth by facilitating trade, investment and innovation and it looks at options for measuring connectivity.

Sir Howard Davies, the Chair of the Airports Commission, said:

Understanding the value of airport connectivity and whether we are falling behind other countries is one of the key issues we need to understand. This paper attempts to summarise our current state of knowledge and invites responses to help us to develop our understanding.

The paper further demonstrates the Commission’s evidence based approach to deciding on the scale, nature and timing on any need for additional capacity. Parties are invited to submit evidence to the Commission on the issues raised in the paper..


Notes to editors

The Airports Commission was launched on 2 November 2012. Its terms of reference require that it should report no later than the end of 2013 on:

– its assessment of the evidence on the nature, scale and timing of the steps needed to maintain the UK’s global hub status
– its recommendation(s) for immediate actions to improve the use of existing runway capacity in the next 5 years – consistent with credible long term options

Its terms of reference also require that it should report no later than summer 2015 on:

– its assessment of the options for meeting the UK’s international connectivity needs, including their economic, social and environmental impact
– its recommendation(s) for the optimum approach to meeting any needs
– its recommendation(s) for ensuring that the need is met as expeditiously as practicable within the required timescale

Further information about the Airports Commission is available at


Related documents from the Airports Commission:

Submitting evidence and proposals to the Airports Commission
Discussion paper on aviation demand forecasting



The conclusions of the discussion document say:

We have set out in the document a number of particular areas in which we would value evidence, case studies and other submissions. To inform those preparing submissions on valuing the benefits of aviation connectivity, we set out below a number of further specific
questions of interest. Note that this list is by no means exclusive and we would welcome submissions covering any other topics or issues relevant to Airports Commission’s work on understanding the value of aviation connectivity to the UK, and whether and how this might be affected by capacity constraints at UK airports.


Submissions of evidence should be no more than 15 pages long and should be
emailed to clearly marked as a response
to the ‘Aviation Connectivity and the Economy’ paper.



.Just looking at what they say on tourism:

Tourism: In 2011, Britain was visited by 31 million people who spent about £18 billion. In addition outbound tourism supports UK-based jobs in the tourism sector and provides benefits to UK residents who would like to travel to faraway places.



3.38 Most overseas visitors arrive in the UK through an airport, and as Figure 3.4 demonstrates. The only UK tourism markets where non-aviation modes of transport have a significant share (France, Belgium, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands) are from those countries where rail or sea transport provide a viable alternative to flying.

3.39 Aviation is essential in supporting both inbound and outbound tourist activity to and from Britain. In 2011, nearly three quarters of 31 million visits made to the UK by overseas residents started at an airport. Earnings from overseas visits stood at £18 billion, 84 per cent of which was spent by people who arrived by air.

3.40 In the same year, UK residents made 57 million of visits abroad on which they spent £32 billion. While inbound tourism has unambiguously positive impact on UK’s GDP as tourist expenditure boosts economic activity in the British Isles, there are various arguments and counter-arguments on how beneficial outbound tourism is to the UK economy. On one hand, since expenditure of UK residents abroad is higher than expenditure of overseas residents visiting the UK, tourism flows contribute to UK’s negative trade balance with the rest of the world. On the other hand, outbound tourism may have positive economic impacts on the UK economy to the extent to which it supports UK-based jobs in the travel and airline industries, and boosts high street consumer demand before trips are made – the latter has been valued at around £27 billion per year. [26 – an ONS reference].

3.41 The Government Tourism Policy [27 – a DCMS reference – tourism policy 2011] promotes domestic tourism for UK residents and supports the growth of the sector’s international market. One of the strategies to promote that growth is based on attracting four million extra visitors to England over the next four years, particularly from emerging economies such as China. Recent Office for National Statistics data indicate that travellers to the UK from many emerging markets although accounting for only a small proportion of visitors to the UK, tend to spend a higher than average amount per visit in the UK, as set out in the Figure 3.5.

3.42 About 9 million visitors a year travel to the UK through Heathrow, on average
each of them spends about £1,600 per visit, much more than an average visitor arriving in the UK who spends about £600. [28 – an ONS reference]

3.43 VisitBritain forecasts that, in comparison with 2011, by 2020 the number of tourists from China and India would roughly double if all passenger demand to travel to the UK could be accommodated (i.e. not taking into account airport capacity constraints) and if no barriers to travelling (such as visas) were present (Table 3.2).

3.44 Since tourists often value direct connections when choosing their holiday destinations, direct connectivity from the UK to emerging economies is likely to attract inbound tourism from these countries in the future.

3.45 Lack of direct connectivity available to tourists who want to travel to the UK may however not be the most important barrier to travelling and the impact of
[Reference 28 ONS, IPS 2011; Visit Britain, ] other such factors – e.g. ease of
obtaining a UK tourist visa and the relative attractiveness of the UK as a tourist destination – should also be carefully considered in any assessment of the role of any constraints in aviation capacity or connectivity as a barrier to inbound tourism from emerging markets.







Airports Commission Publishes Guidance Document and First Discussion Paper on Demand Forecasting

February 1, 2013     The Airports Commission, under Sir Howard Davies, has now published 2 documents that will begin its dialogue with stakeholders, including the public, on the subject of aviation capacity. The first publications is a guidance document which serves as an invitation for parties with an interest in the future of the UK’s aviation policy to submit their ideas for making best use of existing capacity and on adding new capacity in the longer term. The document seeks views on the short, medium and long term options and provides parties making submissions with information on the commission’s timetable of work, as well as guidance on the factors that are of interest to the commission. The second paper is a discussion paper on demand forecasting. The paper seeks to examine the role of forecasting as a tool to help enable the commission in addressing the range of issues that will play a part in their assessment of the evidence on the nature, scale and timing of the UK’s future aviation capacity and connectivity needs. There are a range of deadline dates for comments on different aspects – the two earliest deadlines being 15th March 2013.     Click here to view full story…

 The deadline for comment on demand forecasting is 15th March 2013




Airports Commission under Sir Howard Davies. Membership and terms of reference announced

November 2, 2012   The government has today announced the full membership and terms of reference of the Airports Commission, to be chaired by Sir Howard Davies, and to “identify and recommend to Government options for maintaining the UK’s status as a global aviation hub.” The government says it has identified individuals with a range of skills, backgrounds and experience to sit on the committee. The Commission also intends to appoint a panel of expert advisors. Members are: Sir John Armitt, former Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority; Professor Ricky Burdett (LSE); Vivienne Cox (was at BP Alternative Energy); Professor Dame Julia King (a member of the CCC); Geoff Muirhead CBE (former CEO of Manchester Airports Group). The terms of reference are that it will “The Commission will examine the scale and timing of any requirement for additional capacity to maintain the UK’s position as Europe’s most important aviation hub; and it will identify and evaluate how any need for additional capacity should be met in the short, medium and long term.” And it should “should engage openly with interested parties and members of the public,” etc    Click here to view full story…