New inquiry into the future of aviation

Terms of Reference and Call for Evidence

The House of Commons Transport Committee has today announced that it will conduct an inquiry into the future of aviation. This will be a strategic inquiry that focuses on the economic, environmental and infrastructure issues.

Aviation is a major UK industry, carrying over 180 million passengers a year and over 2.1 million tonnes of freight. It has a good safety record. Demand for air travel has grown substantially although recent fuel price increases and the economic downturn have reduced demand.

The Government published its White Paper 'The Future of Air Transport' in 2003 and a progress report in 2006. The Government's aim is to develop a long-term framework that will maximise the beneficial aspects of aviation and minimise the negative ones. The flight limits at Stansted and London City airports have recently been increased and a Government announcement on a third runway at Heathrow is anticipated shortly.

The Government has accepted that the UK's share of international aviation emissions should be 'taken into account' when setting carbon budgets for the rest of the UK economy. Under the Climate Change Act the Government must then, by the end of 2012, either make regulations to fully include international aviation emissions within UK carbon budgets, or make a statement to Parliament explaining why it has not done so. The Government has been a leading voice behind plans to include aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme from 2012.

The inquiry will address the following questions:

1. What is the value of aviation to the UK economy? What are the roles of the London and regional airports? What competition do they face from abroad?

2. Is the current aviation infrastructure adequate for the needs of UK business and individuals and how should it be developed? What are the implications of future passenger trends and possible mergers in the airline industry?

3. To what extent can rail provide an alternative to short-haul flights?

4. What costs does aviation impose on society and the environment? What are the implications of climate change policy€”in particular the Climate Change Act 2008€”for the aviation industry and infrastructure?

5. What is the impact of taxation on the aviation sector nationally and regionally? Are passengers adequately protected from the collapse of airlines?

6. What is the impact on the aviation sector of changes in the security environment?

The Committee has undertaken a number of inquiries into various aspects of aviation during the current Parliament. Whilst we will draw on the evidence submitted to those inquiries, we are not seeking to cover the same territory again in our new inquiry. Relevant reports published by the Committee in the current Parliament include:

€ Use of air space (inquiry ongoing);

€ The opening of Heathrow Terminal 5 (HC 543 of Session 2007-08);

€ The future of BAA (HC 199 of Session 2007-08);

€ Freight Transport (HC 249 of Session 2007-08);

€ Transport Security: Travelling without fear (HC 191 of Session 2007-08);

€ Passengers' experiences of air travel (HC 435 of Session 2006-07);

€ The work of the Civil Aviation Authority (HC 809 of Session 2005-06).

*****Interested parties are invited to submit evidence by Monday 23 February 2009.*****

Each submission should:

€ be no more than 3,000 words in length;

€ begin with a short summary in bullet point form;

€ have numbered paragraphs; and

€ be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible.

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to and marked "The future of aviation". An additional paper copy should be sent to:

Ronnie Jefferson

Transport Committee

Committee Office

House of Commons

7 Millbank

London SW1P 3JA

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Please supply a postal address so a copy of the Committee's report can be sent to you upon publication.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at:

Please also note that:

€ Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.

€ Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.

€ Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

€ Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.