Boris Johnson has opened the door for Heathrow to build its third runway as ministers commit to support necessary airport expansion. Mr Johnson once pledged to "lie down in front of the bulldozers" to prevent construction going ahead. missed a Commons vote on Heathrow's expansion in 2018 that rubber-stamped the project.
Last year Robert Jenrick, the then housing secretary, backed London Mayor Sadiq Khan 's building plan for the capital that opposed expansion at Heathrow airport.
Taking aviation back to the skies
By Robert Courts MP, aviation minister
For over 100 years, aviation has been at the very centre of British life, from the famous military aircraft which helped us win two world wars, to commercial flight connecting us with the rest of the world. Today, we are explaining how this vital industry will move into the future; a future which is greener, but a future that is one of flying nonetheless
With every take-off, every world leading airport or airline, aviation has been, and will remain, central to what this country has achieved and how it sees itself: global, trading, as a respected influence for good – all enabled by our unique connections to the world.
When I became aviation minister in September 2020, I knew I had a huge challenge on my hands. Facing the biggest crisis in its history, aviation could only survive if the Government stepped up. I am proud of what we did to help it weather the storm, from providing over £8bn in Covid relief to the air transport sector, to becoming the first major country to lift all travel restrictions.
But we know that the fight is far from over. As passenger numbers return, I am pleased to say my new priority is to help it not just to survive but thrive. That is why we are launching Flightpath to the Future, our ten year strategy for building the aviation industry of tomorrow.
We are setting out ten priorities, focusing on everything from jobs, to consumers, innovation and sustainability. It begins by committing to bringing industry and Government together like never before through the creation of an all-new Aviation Council. Everybody including airlines, airports, and other representatives from the sector will regularly meet with ministers and officials from DfT, other government departments and the Devolved Administrations to support our progress on the plan, allowing them to influence policy as we build back better.
Of course, we're living in a very different world to the one which existed before the pandemic. Through this Council we'll learn key lessons from the last two or so years to ensure that this vital industry is protected for the future.
For example, there's no doubt that consumer confidence in flying has taken a hit as airlines and airports struggle to get back to business as usual. Nevertheless, British aviation has always continued to maintain its renowned record on safety and security. And with every new challenge comes opportunity.
We are pledging to work together with the sector to help it deliver a world-class consumer experience. Not only have we consulted on reforming consumer policy, from refunds to new protections for wheelchair users, but this plan also outlines our ambition to develop a new Aviation Passenger Charter – a one-stop shop for information on what consumers' rights are, and what they can expect from the industry as they take to the skies.
Also central to our plan for growth is our commitment to decarbonising flying. Some may say this is impossible, but British ingenuity is already developing technologies which have true potential, from zero emission planes to sustainable aviation fuels. We will commit to harnessing these fledgling innovations to make Britain a world leader for green aviation.
This Government believes that emissions, not flying, are the problem. And they are a problem that will be solved by technology. In the future, we will continue to fly, continue to be connected to a world that is not going to be growing any smaller, but we will be doing so in a way that does not harm that world.
And there is commercial opportunity here, too. New jobs will be created as business thrives on the global need for zero emissions technology, while new low carbon flight opportunities using drones, flying taxis and electric planes will provide alternatives for transporting goods and people around the country, expanding the opportunities for local airports while boosting regional connectivity.
Just as aviation has been essential to British life for the past hundred years, today's strategy will set it on a path to thrive in the next hundred – creating jobs, protecting consumers, reducing emissions and levelling up the UK.
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