By Daniel Hunter

Direct international connections by air are incredibly important to the economy. New Institute of Directors (IoD) polling published with this report reveals that 63% of IoD members think direct flights from the UK to emerging markets will be important to their business in the next decade.

Goldman Sachs project that currently emerging markets will make up 70% of global GDP by 2050. British trade is 20 times higher with countries which have a daily direct flight to the UK than with countries without such an air link.

In a major new report, ‘Flying into the Future’, part of the IoD’s Infrastructure for Business series, the Institute of Directors (IoD) warns that the lack of a positive aviation strategy from successive governments has left us at risk of missing out on these economic opportunities.

Inaction and policy errors have left us without the runways we need, with air taxes which are the highest in the world and with visa and border systems which are unwelcoming to visitors.

This new report explores UK aviation policy on a comprehensive basis — going beyond purely capacity to propose a new aviation policy, composed of 25 recommendations encompassing all the requirements to meet the economic and environmental challenges.

“British aviation faces several key crunches which require swift, co-ordinated action. Aviation is economically crucial, and the world is only going to become even more interconnected," Corin Taylor, Senior Economic Adviser at the Institute of Directors and author of the report said.

"We cannot afford to ignore the reality that demand for air travel in the South East will soon be more than our airports can handle. This means airport capacity must expand, alongside other measures to improve our competitiveness in terms of taxes and immigration processes.

“An aviation strategy is not just about laying new tarmac. Runways, transport links, noise and air pollution, tax on flights and the visa system must all be considered together if the UK is to make the most of the huge potential of aviation. The world economy is shifting towards high-growth economies, including the BRIC nations: it is absolutely vital that we have an aviation strategy which embraces the enormous opportunities this brings.”

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