The British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA) is seeking to establish a national trade body for the UK’s “vast and invaluable” aviation services sector. It intends for this group to deliver a “strong single voice” at the government level and create opportunities for the industry post-Brexit.
Aviation services is described by BBGA chief executive Marc Bailey as the “delivery of services for the movement of people or goods in all its forms,” including commercial airlines and charter operators. He said it is distinct from the aerospace sector, which covers the manufacture of aircraft and the supply of parts.
According to Bailey, the aviation services market creates “billions” of British pounds in revenue each year and is a much larger sector in employment terms than its aerospace stablemate, which has been represented at the UK government level for many years through ADS Group. Headquartered in London, ADS represents the interests of more than 1,100 UK companies operating in the aerospace, defence, security, and space sectors.
“ADS is well established with all the mechanisms in place to ensure that their voice is properly heard in government,” Bailey acknowledged. “With a new Conservative administration in place [under Prime Minister Liz Truss], now is the right time for us to get the aviation services sector recognized as an industry partnership. It’s vital we do that so we can create a single strategic voice on subjects that matter to us all, such as the chronic skills shortage, aviation training, sustainability, and the emerging urban air mobility sector.”
The aviation services trade body would include a host of industry associations from airlines to commercial general aviation. Bailey added that there would need to be involvement from trade unions, along with each government department that affects these activities. “DfT [trade], BEIS [business], DfE [education], Treasury, Home Office would be the main protagonists,” he said.
Bailey’s promotion of a strong united voice for the aviation services industry follows on the heels of BBGA’s partnership with fellow UK business and general aviation trade bodies, including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, British Helicopter Association, and Association of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems. Called GA4Biz, the body “speaks with one voice to the UK government and regulator [Civil Aviation Authority] to make sure we are driving the issues that are important to us within the commercial GA arena today and as our industry transitions over the next 10 to 20 years,” said Bailey.
This new strategy is “serving our community far better than in the recent past,” he conceded. “Then individual associations would be approached to discuss regulatory issues [with the CAA], but now as GA4Biz we are focussed on how regulation will impact and drive business across the community.”
For example, GA4Biz was involved at the tail-end of the Brexit negotiations in the successful creation of EU operator permitting process. “We had a voice at the government and CAA tables. It worked very well,” concluded Bailey.