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16 July 2012
Reacting to today's announcement of government plans for further public investment in the rail system, Simon Buck, Chief Executive of the British Air Transport Association (BATA), said:
"While all transport investment should be welcomed, the spectacle of the PM and Deputy PM falling over themselves to trumpet the merits of £9.4 billion in public support for investment in railway infrastructure, contrasts sharply with the ostrich-like head in the sand approach the Government is continuing adopt towards the need for new airport capacity. The much-anticipated ‘Call for Evidence' to address this issue was only last week yet again delayed "until the autumn" – meaning the Government doesn't even want to hear the arguments, never mind actually make a decision.
"Investment in domestic railway schemes is undoubtedly good news for the UK construction industry and rail users but will do precisely nothing to enhance the UK's international connectivity with emerging world economies. Instead, we are losing out on competing for air links to new markets against our European neighbours through having a lack of runway capacity in the busy south east.
"Ironically, airport investment is almost exclusively privately funded, requiring no public funding. Now wouldn't that have been a good thing for the PM and Deputy PM to crow about – new airport capacity to boost international trade links, inward investment and new jobs at no cost to the taxpayer?"