Airport Surface Access Report calls for more integrated transport policy

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UK: The Airport Operators Association (AOA) has released its latest policy report focusing on airport surface access, demonstrating that by making it easier for more people to travel to and from airports enables aviation to deliver more for the UK economy, creating tens of thousands of jobs in the process.

“Airport development and surface access to airports should not be considered independently from each other; they should instead form part of an integrated transport strategy. Where surface access to airports is suitably well developed, airports can be accessed in fast and convenient ways, making a contribution to the economy in their own right, and creating catalytic effects as well,” the report states.

According to AOA 5% improvement in average journey times to and from airports could deliver a 2.7% increase in passenger numbers, generating an additional £1.9 billion for the UK economy and supporting an additional 32,000 jobs.

The report has been conducted in conjunction with Capital Economics, calling for the government to work towards a more integrated transport policy.

The report calls for the government to:

  • Assess the level of public transport infrastructure connecting UK airports, and identify where there are gaps in present and future demand;
  • Ensure rail capacity assessments and Highways Agency route studies include airport access; and compare passenger growth assessments and their impact on transport infrastructure.
  • Set out, with Network Rail and the Highways Agency, how it will make decisions as to which surface access projects at airports will be prioritised in the government’s infrastructure plans.
  • Lastly, the report also makes the case for new thinking on transport appraisal guidance, demonstrating how existing methodology often understates the benefits from improvements to surface access by failing to take account of the gains from trade, tourism, foreign investment and migration.

The report also looks at some examples from UK airports, which demonstrate the importance of improving surface access to airports:


Scotland’s largest airport was successful in improving the modal share of public transport with the introduction of a tramway.


The introduction of a metro link to Newcastle International Airport helped it grow from 1.5 million passengers a year in 1991 to nearly five million in 2015.


The forthcoming HS2 station could help the airport capture 750,000 additional passengers and is likely to boost its contribution to the economy by over £50 million.


Increasing capacity and improving the rail link between London and Stansted Airport would promote more effective use of existing airport capacity.


Constructing the A6 relief road is likely to strengthen the local economy, in part by connecting by key areas of development and regeneration.


Poor surface access is holding back the growth of the UK’s ninth busiest airport.


The only London airport without a direct rail link requires greater investment in surface access.

Download the full report here >>>