Ken Skates AM, Minister for Economy and Transport
On 17 December 2018, the Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, published a Green Paper entitled ‘Aviation 2050 — the future of UK aviation’, the stated aim of which is to “achieve a safe, secure and sustainable aviation sector that meets the needs of consumers and of a global, outward looking Britain”.
In early March, I made a statement that outlined the UK Government had extended part but not all of the consultation, as such the Welsh Government would be responding in two stages. A copy of my first letter was placed in the Members library for reference.
I have now written to Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport with the Welsh Government’s second phase response, and a copy of that letter has also been placed in the Members library for reference. It looks at how the Aviation 2050 Green Paper proposes to address Public Service Obligations (PSOs).
It is vital that the UK Government’s new Aviation strategy supports regional air connectivity and recognises the importance that regional aviation plays in the social and economic development of Wales. With 80% of Wales’ trade going to key economic centres around the UK it is essential for our economic prosperity that we are able to support improved connectivity across the country, and intervene where commercial markets are failing. A comprehensive Aviation Strategy that takes into account regional variances is essential.
I have, once again, called upon the UK Government to issue our PSO proposals to the EU for due consideration. These proposed air routes would provide better connections between Wales and the rest of the UK and as such better secure Wales’ position, post Brexit. I have also called for a change in position on the devolution of Air Passenger Duty (APD) following the recent recommendation by the Welsh Affairs Committee to fully devolve APD to Wales by 2021.