Free port freedom for regional airports
RCA calls on the government to make regional airports frictionless trade gateways.
As the UK prepares to leave the European Union and draws up its Aviation Strategy for the next 30 years, the Government has a clear opportunity to recognise the hugely important role played by regional airports in the UK as enablers of economic growth and to put in place policies which will further increase the economic benefits that they can offer both to their regions and the UK.
With this in mind, Regional and City Airports, the UK’s leading regional airport operator, is urging the UK Government to designate regional airports as free ports – a defined area where goods can be imported, manufactured or re-exported inside the allocated boundaries without incurring domestic customs duties or taxes.
If initiated, the Government would enable frictionless trade to and from the UK following Brexit and limit any potentially negative impact of a new UK/ EU customs agreement, or lack thereof. Research conducted on a free port initiative for Northern sea ports by the Centre for Policy Studies claims that free ports could create over 86,000 jobs for Northern communities, proving this policy could serve the Government’s objective of addressing geographical imbalance in economic growth.
With regional airports located across the country, a free ports initiative for regional airports would spur investment and growth for the whole of the UK and provide new opportunity for regional airports, supporting their long-term survival and encouraging the possibility for new passenger routes, as well as freight routes, in the future.
RCA urges the Government to seriously examine the free ports concept and begin exploratory negotiations with regional airports as to how these could work when the UK leaves the European Union.
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