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Regional Airports

Volume 181: debated on Monday 26 November 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on his policy towards greater use of regional airports.

The Government encourage the maximum use of regional airports, both to meet local demand and to relieve pressure on the London airports.Over the past decade some £450 million of capital expenditure has been facilitated through special borrowing approvals for the development of local authority airports. Special borrowing approvals totalling £59 million are available for 1990–91, facilitating investment which the airports concerned estimate could total some £149 million this year. For 1991–92 £87 million worth of special borrowing approvals will be available, facilitating investment which the airports concerned estimate could total some £179 million in that year.We also very much welcome the contribution to the development of local authority airports which the private sector already makes through direct investment and joint venture schemes; and we continue to look to the airports concerned and their local authority owners to take full account of the opportunities for private sector involvement as they formulate their plans for further expansion.The working group now being established to take forward the Civil Aviation Authority's recent advice on long term United Kingdom airport capacity is to examine regional airports, role in meeting overall growth in demand into the next century.We are continuing to pursue liberalisation policies, both in the European Community and in bilateral negotiations, which increase further the scope for services from our regional airports.