UK AirRail 2015 Conference Review

Posted on in News Archive

by Liam Henderson, Transporting Cities

EVENTS: This year’s UK AirRail 2015 conference took place in London, giving the attendees an overview of current airport policy environment and recent developments at a selection of national airports. Many of these enhancements were presented in the context, and response to, a lack of a national aviation and surface access strategy and the move towards regional and local devolution.

This review begins with the keynote speech by Lousie Ellman MP, Chair of Transport Select Committee, before introducing other speakers where relevant to the topic under discussion. It then moves on to detail the stand-alone presentations given by various airport owners and rail operators – acknowledging that presentations by easyJet, SNC-Lavalin and GhostData have not been included.

Policy

The overriding themes for the day were set out early by Lousie Ellman MP who reported on evidence heard by the committee on the subject of airport surface access. A report on the topic will be issued in due course; however, Ellman was able to cover some of the high level influences. First amongst these is the awareness that the debate about a possible new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick had dominated the aviation landscape, thereby sidelining the whole topic of regional airports and their relative access. It was Ellman’s desire that the upcoming announcement on the new runway would mean that there was an opportunity to have a real debate about the part that regional airports could provide to accommodate future growth.

Ellman went on to introduce the conference to the two main issues that came out of the evidence received:

  • The lack of a national policy or strategy on surface access
  • The impact of devolution

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