The Great Aviation Debate was great indeed.
Go to YouTube for the video clips:
See also Robbie's blog on the Plane Stupid site:
The debate happened because of the blockade in the domestic terminal at Manchester Airport on 8th October. The action was brilliant in itself because of the direct impact to those flying that day and the media coverage but it was a great acheivement to open up a space for domestic flights and climate change to be discussed.
John Twigg (Airport) and Angie Robinson (Chamber of Commerce) trotted out the predicatable argument about jobs and the right to fly. Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre put this in perspective with the point that globally it is a small minority that exercise their "right" to fly whilst thousands die and suffer hardship due to climate change.
Despite the speakers from the Airport and Chamber of Commerce having time before they spoke to attempt to counter the figures I presented on the economics of aviation, neither of them did. They did not dispute the figures or come up with any additional benefits of aviation:
Nationally Aviation costs us £26.3b in tax breaks, health costs, the tourism deficit and noise reduction plus the unknown costs of climate change (20x the cost of prevention). This compares to £10b benefit to the GDP. Net cost = £16.3b.
UK Aviation is subsidised by £171.65/person. Manchester Council receives £30.42/person dividend from Manchester Airport. Net Cost = £141.23.
Aviation is extremely inefficient per pound spent at job creation. Yes there are indirect jobs created in other sectors, but aviation is not alone in stimulating indirect jobs.Investment elsewhere could create more direct and indirect jobs.
One of the best and most surprising things was that the whole panel agreed that flying was not the right way to get between Manchester and London.
So our challenge to the Airport is to follow this debate with plans to phase out the Manchester to London flights. They've agreed it shouldn't happen so what are they going to do about it?
And if they don't do it, they can expect more direct action...