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Britain requires new aviation strategy with or without Brexit

LONDON: October 18, 2017. The Manchester Airports Group (MAG), owner of Manchester, London Stansted and the airfreight-focused East Midlands Airport, has called on the UK government to invest in better road and rail access to make them more competitive with Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris.

Despite the possibility a "hard Brexit" could mean "no flights" across EU airspace after March 2019, according to UK Chancellor Philip Hammond, MAG says Theresa May's government should execute an "ambitious plan" for improving international connectivity from UK airports as part of its vision for a new global Britain.

MAN airportMAG says rail improvements to London Stansted would attract more long haul routes and better access to global markets; a direct connection from Manchester Airport to the new high-speed (HS2) rail link between London and the industrial north of the country would support trade, investment and the creation of high-skilled jobs; and more investment in rail and road infrastructure around East Midlands Airport would enhance the role of air cargo in support of UK trade and advanced manufacturing.

MAG Corporate Affairs director Tim Hawkins commented: "Aviation generates £1 billion a week towards UK GDP, something that is made possible by the nearly one million people that work in and around the industry. The government can now provide a strong boost to the UK economy by making the best possible use of existing capacity at airports like Manchester and Stansted over the next 10 to 15 years," he added.

The local government-owned airport group says a successful UK aviation industry is required to deliver the government's vision of a "truly global Britain" after the country leaves the EU, and that encouraging key strategic airports across the UK to develop to their full potential would give investors the certainty they need for the country's future economic success.

MAG, which also owns Britain's Bournemouth Airport, handles more than 58 million passengers per annum, contributes £7.1 billion in Gross Value Added to the UK economy, and directly employs over 5,300 people and supports 40,000 jobs on its airport properties. East Midlands Airport is the largest airfreight hub in the UK and second only to Heathrow in total air cargo traffic (330,000 tons per annum).

The airport group says it has committed £1.6 billion to upgrade facilities at Manchester and Stansted.

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