There is a lot of positivity in the UK market and current figures from WingX Advance show that the industry is finally overhauling August 2008 figures. BBGA CEO Marc Bailey reports that, in terms of AOC activity in the last month, the UK is one of four EU member states growing at double digit rates. The UK is retaining its place within Europe irrespective of Brexit.
Some exciting developments are taking place with SET ops and companies are evaluating basing businesses and aircraft here in the UK, which could encourage a whole new generation of end users.
I believe we are well positioned as an aviation community and are united behind what we expect from the UK government. We have made it clear that we want to retain our access to EU legislation and EASA. As an industry we have devoted a great deal of time in helping to develop what we have now and although it may not be perfect, it is a system we understand and one that is universally accepted.
With regard to open skies, much of business aviation's activities rely on freedoms of the air which may be restricted post Brexit. Our clear request has been to retain those freedoms of the air for our members.
Fresh business approaches
We are seeing some new subscription models coming to fruition, such as Surf Air Europe from Luton and Waves, about to start out of the Channel Islands with Cessna Caravan aircraft. Our airports have succeeded in securing longer opening hours and traffic movements have responded positively.
We are working on two important areas to help improve our industry. The first is a significant piece of work with the EBAA which is focused on improving the perception of our industry over the next five years. The UK is one of the worst areas in Europe when you consider how our sector is perceived and without question that colours decision making. While we have terrific support and understanding from the excellent trade press, including EBAN and Charter Broker, any time our sector is mentioned in the popular press it is usually in negative terms. This unfortunately plays to many of the population who see business aviation as a rich man's playground. So the perception work we are undertaking with the EBAA is to help us to change this, with the UK identified as one of the areas which requires most work.
The second important area that we are working on is to focus on encouraging the next generation of employees for our industry. It is vital that we work quickly to close the gap on those leaving and those joining our industry.
The decade ahead
Our sector is vibrant and successful and facilitating inward investment and entrepreneurs to the UK we will see growth and follow on opportunities for scheduled aviation. So it is all about making aviation successful across the board.
Aerospace for many years has established a partnership with government primarily focused on our manufacturing industry. This partnership has served those activities well, however, aviation services that delivers people, cargo or services using aircraft has been treated as a subset. Aviation Services in the UK is now a larger sector than Aerospace and now is the time to form our own partnership with government. If we achieve this in the next few years we will be more able to control our own destiny.