Volcano crisis proves crucial nature of aviation

19 April 2010  •  Author: A|D|S

A|D|S, the UK’s AeroSpace, Defence and Security trade organisation today sought to highlight the crucial nature of aviation to the UK economy following the closure of large parts of European airspace due to the eruption of an Icelandic volcano.

Aviation plays a vital role in the UK economy, supporting 200,000 direct jobs and 500,000 indirectly. The industry contributes £11.4 billion to the UK’s GDP. This does not include tourism and global travel or trade links.

Furthermore, the pan-industry Sustainable Aviation initiative (www.sustainableaviation.co.uk) has been established to address environmental concerns linked to UK aviation. This includes a CO2 Roadmap (http://tinyurl.com/saco2) that demonstrates how UK aviation can meet the predicted threefold rise in passenger demand to 2050 while simultaneously reducing its carbon dioxide emissions back to 2000 levels.

Ian Godden, Chairman of A|D|S, said:

“The old saying that ‘you don’t know what you have until it’s gone’ has rarely been more apt. The disruption caused to so many people and businesses both in the UK and overseas during the Icelandic volcano eruption has demonstrated the very real benefits that the whole of the UK enjoys from flying. Suppliers to the UK from developing countries are also counting the cost of this disruption. The grounding of all UK flights has come as a strong reminder to the country that without aviation the nation cannot operate business as usual.

“The economic, social and environmental cost of the grounding of so many aircraft will be considerable. People cannot travel for their jobs or move their produce to market and others cannot return from holidays to get to work. Many people have also resorted to travelling long distances by car, which is much more damaging to the environment than flying. It is also interesting to note that the air quality monitors around Heathrow airport are not reporting a fall in pollution despite there being no flights operating there.

“Once combined with the action that the UK industry is taking through its Sustainable Aviation initiative it is clear that environmental issues are being addressed and that the economy depends on people and goods being able to fly. The UK is an aviation nation and we should not forget that flying is a sustainable and vital industry for Britain’s economic well-being.”

Other aviation facts:

  • One fifth of all international air passengers are on flights to or from the UK.
  • The current UK air cargo market is worth $1.4bn.
  • Aviation contributes around £4.8 billion per year in tax to the Exchequer. A further £3 billion is contributed from its supply chain.

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