A five per cent improvement in airport journey times could generate £1.9bn for the UK economy, says the AOA

 
Rebecca Smith
Reducing journey times to airports could pay off big time for the UK economy, says the AOA
Reducing journey times to airports could pay off big time for the UK economy, says the AOA (Source: Getty)

The Airport Operators Association wants the government to improve surface access to airports, and it's done its research ahead of Wednesday's Autumn Statement.

It's calling on the government to invest in transport links to airports, after its new report, in conjunction with Capital Economics, said the government could create tens of thousands of jobs by reducing journey times to airports.

A five per cent improvement in average journey times to and from airports could deliver a 2.7 per cent increase in passenger numbers, generating an additional £1.9bn for the UK economy, supporting 32,000 jobs.

Around one third of these benefits will likely go towards the local economy surrounding the airport.

Chief executive of the AOA, Darren Caplan said:

Improvements to transport links significantly boost the catchment areas of airports.

By enabling more passengers to travel to an airport, this investment attracts a greater number of airlines, in turn offering more destinations and at higher frequencies.

This ultimately benefits consumers and businesses.

How improving surface access to airports could pay off
How improving surface access to airports could pay off (Source: AOA)

Aviation creates £1bn a week for the UK economy and supports around one million jobs, while 40 per cent of the UK's trade by value goes by air.

In 2015, over 251m passengers flew from airports in the UK - an increase of 5.6 per cent on the previous year, and the highest number on record. This passenger growth though, does mean that a number of airports are likely to reach capacity quicker than was anticipated, even a few years ago.

The AOA wants the government to shape up a strategy that assesses the level of transport infrastructure connecting UK airports and identifies where there are gaps in present and future demand, and ensures rail capacity assessments and Highways Agency route studies include airport access.

It also wants the government to set out, with Network Rail and Highways Agency, how it will make decisions as to which surface access projects at airports will be prioritised in the government's infrastructure plans.

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