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M.A.G Responds To Airports Commission

20 May 2013

Manchester Airports Group (M.A.G) has submitted its response to the Airports Commission on proposals to make the best use of existing capacity in the next ten to fifteen years - the period before new runway capacity can be delivered.

M.A.G has advised the Commission that well targeted policy support from Government would contribute significantly to making more effective use of existing capacity, enhancing airport competition and providing greater choice and international connectivity for consumers. M.A.G's proposals include:

• Reforming Air Passenger Duty (APD) to promote the take-up of capacity and enhance international connectivity;
• Improving surface access to airports with spare capacity, and in particular cutting the rail journey time to Stansted to 30 minutes to enable fairer competition between London airports;
• Exploring reforms that would make more effective use of the scarce capacity at Heathrow and improve the allocation of demand around the London system;
• Promoting de-regulation as a way to strengthen competition between the London airports and encourage investment; and
• Further liberalising bilateral policy to open up capacity to overseas airlines.

Charlie Cornish, Chief Executive of the Manchester Airports Group (M.A.G), said:

"The Airports Commission’s interim report provides an opportunity for the UK to make a firm statement about the future of economic growth in the country. We have watched other countries develop their aviation infrastructure for the benefit of their economies and we have the opportunity to do the same.

“With new runway capacity unlikely to be available for at least ten to fifteen years, it is critical that airports and Government do everything possible to make the best use of capacity that already exists. M.A.G airports have a big role to play in providing improved connectivity for the whole of the UK, and our submission outlines the steps the Government needs to take to help achieve this goal."

Stansted Airport’s Managing Director, Andrew Harrison, said:

“Stansted has substantial spare capacity across the day, which gives us the potential over the next 10 to 15 years to grow and compete strongly to win traffic from other airports. This will provide much needed breathing space in the London system, improving UK connectivity and delivering significant economic benefits.

“Key to unlocking this potential is improving surface rail access to Stansted, critically making rail journey times competitive with other main London airports. A 30 minute journey time would not only put Stansted on an equal footing but would also encourage significantly more passengers to choose Stansted over other London airports, helping relieve pressure on busier airports and making best use of existing capacity.”

Greg Clark, Chairman of the London Stansted Corridor Consortium, said:

“The London-Stansted-Cambridge Corridor links the world’s leading university, and the world’s leading city, with an airport that has the planning and infrastructure in place to double in size. As such Stansted Airport offers huge potential to be a key driver for the UK’s high-tech knowledge economy. With significant space and permission to grow now, unlike other London airports, Stansted has a pivotal role to play in the national aviation debate as well as helping to foster economic growth in Corridor and serving to attract much needed connectivity to the US and Middle East for the thriving business clusters in Cambridge, Tech-City, Stratford and Harlow.

“We recommend in the short term that Sir Howard Davies and the Government listen to our calls for better rail links to the airport. The commission needs to push for the incentives and deregulation at Stansted to attract new long haul airlines so that it can reach its full potential and become a major driver for our economy.”

The Best Use Submission was also submitted alongside M.A.G’s response on Climate Change to the Airports Commission. M.A.G has a strong environmental track-record and is committed to the responsible operation and development of the Group’s airports. It aims to make best use of natural resources and minimise the environmental impact of airport operations.