22 November 2002

The Government's consultation document on air transport policy 'The Future of Aviation', published in December 2000, set out the following key questions:

" a) Should the Government choose policies that respond to the demands of consumers and allow current growth patterns to continue, while mitigating the negative effects as far as possible?  Or are the costs of this approach too high and should we therefore choose policies to limit these negative effects?

b) How should the Government ensure that aviation meets the external environmental costs for which it is responsible?  Should greater emphasis be placed on regulation (at global, national or local level), economic instruments or voluntary agreements?  If we should use a mix of approaches, what are the principles that should underlie the choice of approach for each issue?

c) If aviation covers its environmental costs, should capacity then be provided to meet demand?

d) Should the UK try to maintain its position as a major hub for international connecting traffic, or focus on enabling travel to, from and within the UK? Is there a role for Government in promoting either objective (given that airlines will pursue the most commercially attractive option)?

e) Within the existing capacity constraints, how can the interest of UK consumers be best advanced? " (Annex A, p79).

Since then, the Government has published (July 2002) a series of consultation documents on The Future of Air Transport in the United Kingdom.

The Committee will conduct an inquiry into aviation and invites written evidence, to be submitted by 31st January, although potential witnesses should note that oral evidence may be taken before this deadline.  It is unlikely that memoranda submitted after this date will be published.  The programme for hearings will be issued in due course.

The Committee's inquiry will take place in the context of the Government's consultation, but the Committee is likely to be particularly  interested in:

  • Forecasts for the development of UK aviation industry in the medium and longer term.

  • Slot and access issues:
    - The implication of the recent European Court Justice decision on negotiating landing rights;
    - What priority should be given to regional access to London?
    - The use and potential extension of Public Service Obligations in the UK both for peripheral areas and to guarantee access to specific  congested London airports.

  • Capacity issues:
    - Can and/or should demand for air travel be managed?
    - Do other modes of transport provide potential substitutes for air links?
    - Should development be concentrated on existing sites or extend to new ones?
    - Advantages and disadvantages of concentration of air services at a limited number of airports;
    - Is the Government's timescale for development of new runway capacity appropriate?  Could or should anything be done to increase capacity by an earlier date?

  • Industry structure:
    - Is the current organisation and structure of the UK air transport industry appropriate to meet air travel market requirements for the next 30 years?

  • Economic impact, social impact and environmental impact
    What should be the balance?

Memoranda should be a maximum of 10 A4 pages in length.  Witnesses are requested to submit a single hard copy of their memorandum by post to the above address, together with an electronic version (in ASCII, Word or Word Perfect formats) either by e-mail to or on a disk accompanying the hard copy.  Witnesses who are unable to submit electronic versions of their submissions are respectfully requested to take particular care that their submissions are legible.  All submissions should be final and complete; the Committee will not accept draft memoranda or subsequent amendments.  Memoranda submitted to the Committee should be kept confidential until published by the Committee.