Marc Bailey, CEO, BBGA wrote the following in response to an article relating to Grant Shapps:-

Your correspondent’s article highlighting Transport Secretary Grant Shapps support of General Aviation was written with a negative slant.  GA is not just about recreational flying. A great deal of GA activity supports a multitude of business activities in the UK, from time sensitive medevac and organ transplant flights (which depend on small regional airfields) aircraft maintenance and support through to crew positioning, transportation of aircraft parts, etc. The majority of commercial GA activity contributes some £3Bn to UK GDP and generates significant employment too. 

GA also facilitates many inward investors to the UK through business aviation and at a time when we are readying to leave the EU, it is vital we keep our doors open to those global investors, not discourage them.

Recreational GA flying is a part of the aviation continuum and ensuring this community is strong is an intrinsic part of our offering to the global market. The link between recreational flying and commercial activities is also important when it comes to training the next generation. The training we can offer at our small airfields is not just for UK residents, but a significant contributor to supporting the next generation of pilots and aviation services personnel.  Historically, when people are trained academically or professionally in a country it makes them more likely to utilise that country for their own staff in the future. Having that alignment with the UK will also help other investment decisions in the long term.

Before we cast away any ideas of supporting recreational GA activities, we need to think hard about how that fits into the bigger picture. From a British Business & General Aviation perspective the government and its agencies are looking to support General Aviation in the worldwide context, which should hopefully be reflected in the Future Aviation strategy 2050, due to be published later this year.   Why not be positive going forward? Aviation as a whole is vital to the future of the UK, so let’s embrace that in all its forms.

Marc Bailey

Chief Executive Officer

Notes for Editors:

The British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA) is the UK’s national trade body representing the Business and General Aviation Industry.  Members include the UK’s aircraft manufacturers, business aviation (air taxi and corporate operators), aircraft maintenance companies, flying training organisations, Fixed Base Operators, aircraft spares suppliers and other supporting companies.

Further information is available from Rachael Paskin at BBGA on 01844 238020 or                     

24 January 2020