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General Aviation in the UK

Volume 693: debated on Tuesday 27 April 2021

General Aviation (GA) is often referred to as the “grassroots" of aviation and is the bedrock to our successful and world-leading aviation sector.

It is worth nearly £4 billion to the UK economy, supporting nearly 40,000 jobs. The hundreds of aerodromes up and down the country form an important part of the nation’s transport infrastructure.

General aviation provides the entry point for careers in aviation and is fundamental to inspiring the next generation of aviation professionals. It supports vital services from law enforcement to life-saving airborne medical and search and rescue teams, and provides future pilots, engineers and other highly skilled professionals a first glimpse of a potential career in aviation.

Therefore, it is only right that the Government’s vision is for the UK to be the best place in the world for general aviation as a flourishing, wealth generating and job-producing sector of the economy. Our ambitions remain high and we have set out our priorities and how we can achieve these in the Government’s GA roadmap which I am pleased to announce. The roadmap sets out our vision and strategic priorities for the sector, alongside our ambitious programme of work that will help us to deliver this. We will work alongside the CAA and our GA stakeholders to achieve these ambitions.

The GA roadmap is available online at:

I also wish to set out the Government’s view that it is clear from the success of our aviation sector that there is a national need to protect and enhance our strategic network of GA airfields—to ensure they continue to prosper and drive the economic growth this country needs and to support levelling up right across the country.

Airfields offer potential for highly skilled, dynamic and innovative businesses to grow and flourish—for manufacturing and maintenance of aircraft, aviation services, and for research and innovation.

At the heart of these efforts, we will work with airfields to strengthen their economic and strategic value both locally, regionally and nationally by supporting their development, and promoting mixed-use where there are benefits from offering their unique infrastructure to the wider community including for business, education, cultural and recreational activities. There are already several airfields within the UK which share their infrastructure with a wide range of industries, as well as providing vital services to other Government services. These airfields and many more are not just important to their local economies, but also critical to the success of the aviation sector.

General aviation will also play a crucial part in our Government’s focus on innovation and decarbonisation. Trialling, testing and rolling out the next generation of zero emission technologies within general aviation will support their development and pave the way for their wider adoption in larger commercial-scale operations—supporting decarbonisation of the wider sector and economy. This will help us reach our net zero target by 2050.

More widely, many aerodromes have been affiliated with operations during world wars one and two and have since hosted heritage assets through the form of museums or have become designated historical sites. It is important these sites, which are so important to our heritage, are able to thrive and grow to be enjoyed and appreciated by generations to come.

Our aviation heritage is rich, deep and rightly a source of great national pride. Looking forward, the Government’s vision is for the UK to be the best place in the world for general aviation as a flourishing, wealth generating and job-producing sector of the economy.