Lord Martin Callanan replaces Lord Ahmad as Aviation Minister – usual bland pro-aviation first speech

Lord Martin Callanan has replaced, since the June 2017 general election, Lord Ahmad as Aviation Minister at the DfT. His first public speech was at an ABTA gathering of the aviation industry, where he said the usual things aviation ministers always say to the industry. Some of his comments are below, but it is to be noted that there are few details and his words hide a lot of uncertainty on Heathrow. He said: “This government will remain a pro-aviation, pro-travel government.”… “None of us like to see our airports being overtaken by competitors. But that’s what has increasingly happened in recent years. Unless we get this runway [Heathrow] built, that slide could continue. Yet when built, [the Heathrow 3rd runway] could increase passenger choice, lower fares, and give the UK room to grow our travel links for decades to come.”…  More on the few domestic links Heathrow says it will provide:  “So it’s good news that Heathrow Airport has promised 14 domestic routes, and that’s what we’ll make sure the airport delivers — for the good of the whole United Kingdom. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who responded to our consultation on the draft airports national policy. We’re making good progress analysing those responses and will set out the next steps as soon as possible.”   ie. all a bit uncertain ….?  And Gatwick is lobbying again to get a 2nd runway, seeing the problems this government faces on Heathrow.  Round we go again ….



“Heathrow plan could still fail”

By Graeme Paton (The Times)


[The Times is not in favour of a 3rd Heathrow runway, and has always very obviously backed Gatwick …. AW comment]

The airport commission’s verdict on Gatwick could not have been clearer.  Sir Howard Davies, its chairman, rejected its bid for a 2nd runway on the grounds that it would be more beneficial to the Spanish and Greek tourist industries than the British economy.

“About 70% of its tourist passengers are Brits going to the sun,” he said. “Sadly, relatively few residents of Marbella and Corfu come here for their summer break.”

Two years on, and 8 months after the government accepted his recommendation to expand Heathrow, Gatwick is refusing to give up. Yesterday Gatwick insisted that it was a viable option by announcing it would soon operate 60 long-haul routes. This includes newly added destinations such as Taipei, Singapore and the Chinese cities of Chongqing and Tianjin.  [Most of Gatwick’s long haul routes have not succeeded. Airlines have only gone there as they cannot get into Heathrow, and move if a slot becomes available.  AW comment]

The government is committed to Heathrow, with the national policy statement that paves the way for a 3rd runway proceeding through parliament. [Well, the responses to the NPS consultation are being considered by the DfT, and in due course the Transport Select Committee should hear oral evidence on the matter, before submitting their report to the DfT.  Only after the DfT has considered both, and included amendments etc, can it be referred to Parliament for a vote.  … AW comment]

This week, Lord Callanan, the new aviation minister, (since June 2017 election – see more below) used his maiden speech to say it was vital to prevent Britain’s biggest hub sliding behind European rivals such as Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.

Doubts linger, however. Lord Adonis, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, warned the project was threatened by a hard Brexit, with private investment in big projects off the table unless Britain maintained its EU links.

Parliamentary uncertainty also poses problems. If Theresa May falls, the arch-Heathrow opponent Boris Johnson could replace her. And Jeremy Corbyn may make things difficult for the policy.

Heathrow’s attempt to build a 3rd runway has collapsed twice before over the past two decades.

With the need for extra airport capacity in southeast England now at critical levels, [well, that is according to the aviation industry and its backers – there is actually plenty of spare capacity, unless the industry is allowed to grow to an extent that breaches carbon targets ….  AW comment] Gatwick believes it is in a strong position to capitalise if Heathrow fails for a third time.




Information from Wikipedia on Lord Martin Callanan


Lord Callanan gave his first speech as aviation minister to an ABTA gathering of the aviation industry, wanting to hear government support for their businesses


Lord Callanan discusses Brexit and the future of aviation at the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) Travel Matters conference.

Below is the text of his speech:


Lord Callanan

I’m grateful for the opportunity to speak this morning (28 June 2017).

If there’s one thing that ABTA seems to be good at, it’s timing.

Last year you scheduled the Travel Matters conference on what turned out to be the day before the EU referendum.

I trust that gave you plenty to talk about.

This year’s was timed even better:

right after a general election
just as we kick off formal Brexit negotiations with the rest of the EU
and just in time — I am pleased to say — for me to deliver my very first speech to industry as a DfT minister
It’s a real privilege to have been asked to serve in this role.

And at such an important time for our aviation and travel industries.

Right at the outset, I’d like to make something clear.

Amid all the change and inevitable uncertainty of the moment — and I’ll talk more about that shortly — one thing isn’t going to change.

This government will remain a pro-aviation, pro-travel government.

Before the election, the government had already set a clear direction.

One of its first actions last summer was to approve a major expansion of City Airport.

Next we negotiated the first ever UN Security Council resolution on aviation security.

To confront the terrorist threat with all the co-operation, training and technical assistance available.

A month later, we signed a deal with China to allow many more flights between our countries.

We followed that up by announcing our support for a new runway at Heathrow.

Then we ran a consultation on modernising our airspace.

Let me be clear.

Our airspace is a piece of national infrastructure as important as our roads and railways.

I know that our proposals matter to this industry and we are grateful for your support.

A week after we began that consultation, we signed a deal in India to allow more flights between our countries.

Soon we’ll be publishing a call-for-evidence for the government’s aviation strategy — our plan for how we can best support the industry in future.

So the direction is clear: we’re a government that recognises the vital importance of air travel to our country.

But we also recognise that this is a challenging time for the industry.

A year ago, the British people voted to leave the European Union.

And last week we began formal negotiations to do just that.

Now, I know that this industry wants certainty, and quickly.

So does the government.

So does the rest of the EU.

It’ll be some time yet before we can deliver that certainty.

We’ve only had 1 full day of negotiations so far.

But what I can say is that the early signs are encouraging.

Michel Barnier — the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator — said last week that an orderly UK withdrawal is his priority, along with an end to uncertainty .

And his concluding comment at the end of that first day of negotiation was that, and I quote:

For both the EU and the UK, a fair deal is possible and far better than no deal.

That is why we will work all the time with the UK, and never against the UK.

And as we proceed with those negotiations, securing the best possible access to European aviation markets is a priority.

And I believe we should be confident.

Our aviation market is the biggest in Europe.

You serve millions of EU nationals and every year carry millions of UK holidaymakers to EU destinations.

It’s in the interests of the UK, the EU, European countries, and everyone who travels between them that we seek an open, liberal arrangement for aviation.

Of course, the final outcome will have to await the conclusion of negotiations.

Long-term prospects for aviation
But whatever happens, the long-term prospects for this industry are strong.

Earlier this year, PWC published a detailed report, looking at how the global economic order will change by 2050 .

Their forecast is that:

the UK will be the fastest growing economy of the G7 over the period to 2050
we should grow faster than the EU average
and that we should do better than other big economies, such as France and Germany
Clearly, that growth is going to create new demand for international travel.

But it is also predicated on more international travel.

As PWC’s report makes clear future growth requires deeper links with the world’s other fast-growing economies, many of which are not on our doorstep.

That’s why in the years ahead the aviation and travel industries will be so vital.

That’s why we were keen to sign those deals with China and India to allow many more flights between our countries. And that’s why we took the decision to support a new runway at Heathrow.

Let me say a little more on that decision.

None of us like to see our airports being overtaken by competitors.

But that’s what has increasingly happened in recent years.

Unless we get this runway built, that slide could continue.

Yet when built, it could increase passenger choice, lower fares, and give the UK room to grow our travel links for decades to come.

Of course, one reason we opted for Heathrow is its potential for strengthening our domestic links too.

That means strong surface access links — but also new domestic flights.

The years I spent working as a member of the European Parliament gave me a real appreciation for how domestic links serve international travel.

So it’s good news that Heathrow Airport has promised 14 domestic routes, and that’s what we’ll make sure the airport delivers — for the good of the whole United Kingdom.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who responded to our consultation on the draft airports national policy.

We’re making good progress analysing those responses and will set out the next steps as soon as possible.

But finally, I’d like to touch on 2 regulatory issues that I know are of interest to the sector, both of which were addressed in the Queen’s Speech.

First, the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing Bill.

Every year, ATOL protects over 20 million people from losing money or being stranded if their tour operator goes out of business.

It’s an important scheme, and it gives consumers confidence in this industry.

But in an evolving travel marketplace, we need to ensure the scheme keeps pace.

For instance, online booking means that customers have a wider choice of providers – including those based overseas.

Yet not every European travel provider is covered by the same level of protection.

That is why the EU is now updating its regulations.

To bring much of the rest of Europe closer to the model we have operated since we updated ATOL in 2012.

At the same time, it makes sense for us to harmonise our domestic regulations with those coming in across the EU — making it easier for you to trade across Europe.

That’s what the ATOL bill will do.

It’s a sign that, even as we ready to leave the EU, we will still be working in close partnership in the years to come.

I am grateful for the support we have already received from the industry on this.

And look forward to more of that support as the bill makes progress through Parliament.



But in conclusion, I’d like to repeat what I said at the beginning.

This is a pro-aviation, pro-travel government.

The country needs this industry.

For our economy and for the global links that you provide.

So I’ll be a minister who wants to see this industry delivering.

Not just for our customers, but for the UK as a whole.

Thank you for your time.