UK Government calls for evidence to decide future aviation policy

‘Beyond the horizon -The future of UK aviation’ is the title of a new consultation document from the UK Department for Transport which is inviting evidence to help it decide on aviation policy in the post-Brexit future.

The document contains the Government’s view of the present state of UK aviation and, according to industry observers, it is notable for its recognition of the challenges facing pilots and flight training schools. The report states, for example: “Pilot training is very costly and can require significant initial investment, which may put off individuals from poorer backgrounds. There are also concerns regarding possible skills shortages across the sector. The government wants to explore how the aviation industry will maintain a highly skilled and diverse workforce, and ensure that local communities throughout the country enjoy the associated economic benefits.”

The report also recognises the importance of the flight training industry: “Pilot training schools…attract significant international income. The UK is regarded as providing high quality pilot training and is able to attract candidates from all over the world. The UK has also, along with other European countries such as France and Germany, been a leading force in developing high safety standards. This is expertise that has been successfully exported. Developing skilled individuals is critical, especially during periods of growth which could lead to a future shortage of skilled professionals, such as designers and pilots.”

The report also deals with a perceived lack of diversity in professional pilots: “A career as a pilot is still seen to be well rewarded but the costs (approximately £100,000 per pilot) and length of training (on average two years) may deter potential recruits and result in a lack of diversity.

The financial barriers do not fully explain the low numbers of female pilots, which are on average just 5%, so the government would welcome views on this. Industry groups are aware that the lack of diversity reduces the talent pool that they can draw from, and there is some good practise among airlines to try to improve diversity among pilots. One recent positive development was the launch of easyJet’s initiative to increase the recruitment of female pilots.”

The consultation period on this call for evidence began on 21 July 2017 and will run until 13 October 2017. The consultation document, it can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/dft#consultations 

The online form at https://aviationstrategy.campaign.gov.uk can be used to respond to this consultation. Alternatively, consultation responses can be emailed directly to: aviationstrategy@dft.gsi.gov.uk

Author: Adrian Mahovics

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