The UK general aviation industry is calling on the government to form a clear policy to promote aviation and improve its international competitiveness.

Speaking at the industry's annual conference on 6 February, Graham Forbes, chief executive of the General Aviation Manufacturers and Traders Association (GAMTA), said: "The nation has to decide whether it wants our aviation industry to be part of the social, economic and transportation framework, or if it wants to let the industry drift away under piecemeal pressures from regulators [including the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)] and [anti-aviation] pressure groups."

Forbes believes the general aviation market in the UK, hindered by a negative image, is not competing on a level with the rest of Europe. Forbes cites airport access for business aircraft, the growth of the country's airports, high fuel costs, engineer shortages and the high cost of aircraft certification as key concerns. He adds: "Between 55 and 60% of turbine-powered aircraft are not on the UK register but are resident in the UK." Regulatory constraints and costs imposed by the CAA are cited by operators as major reasons behind their decision to register aircraft elsewhere.

The UK Government is seeking to address a number of industry concerns through a White Paper consultation document, which aims to define UK aviation policy "for the next 30 years".

Source: Flight International