In this issue

Issue 73 November 2021

It feels like the aviation sector is having a bit of a 'moment'. We've all no doubt read the news that the UK Government has reduced passenger duty on short-haul domestic flights and increased it for long-haul. It seems like they've got things the wrong way round to me.

Aviation is trying to become a more sustainable industry. The AOA has released a report highlighting that airports have halved their emissions over the last decade. The airline sector has committed to net-zero by 2050. We need to be honest, and cutting down on the short-haul flights where other transport options make far more sense environmentally (London to Edinburgh train, anyone?) is something that simply has to happen if we're serious about the environment. The Government shouldn't be incentivising these journeys with a cut in passenger duty.

But with that being said, there is undeniably a place for long haul flights. These are the journeys where flying is really the only option, so some may argue that there's no reason not to raise duty – passengers don't have an alternative choice. But increasing costs rarely helps growth. IATA director general Willie Walsh said in response to the news: "Frankly it is astounding that the UK Chancellor thinks now is the time to raise the cost of flying."

Walsh is right when it comes to the sector's economic recovery. But let's not kid ourselves. We shouldn't be incentivising flights that are no quicker than a train.

So, with all of that in mind: I should use what remaining space I have here to tell you what's coming up in this issue. We learn how the US-China trade war is affecting Boeing sales. We also look at how Birmingham and Helsinki Airports are handling Covid-19 checks, and profile Bristols new electric shuttle bus. As well as all of this, we report on some new NASA tech being trialled by the FAA, and look at Europes largest airports (which are also the most polluting), asking what attempts are being made to reduce carbon emissions. 

For this, and more, read on. Don’t forget to follow us @Airport_Mag and let us know your thoughts on this issue.

Peter Nilson, editor