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Published on Wednesday, January 27, 2010

High speed rail wins out over airport expansion


Most UK business travellers favour investment in high speed rail over expansion of airports, a new study shows.
A poll of 1,240 corporate travellers found that 70% feel a high speed rail network should be the priority for government investment over expansion of capacity at UK airports.
Sixty per cent said high speed rail when asked what infrastructure would make the biggest difference to them.
But the survey revealed that any shift from air to rail would not happen unless a high speed train system was put in place.
Sixty six per cent of business travellers indicated that they would then switch from flying if the trip was faster by rail.
More than half (56%) said they would switch if there was a direct route and 55% if rail was cheaper than the alternative. 
Criticism of trains included high fares, particularly those booked closer to the day of travel.
The Guild of Travel Management Companies" survey showed that around half of business travel is in economy class on scheduled airlines, with 20% using no frills carriers. 
First and business class is only used by 16% of respondents.
Heathrow is still the airport that dominates discussion and most travellers just want it to work better and be able to get to it easier, according to the study 
The majority of respondents were not happy with the airport environment as a place to do work (outside of business class lounges) and were frustrated by the time it takes to move through airports, although largely satisfied with security measures. 
They want Wi Fi access to work stations and power points (also a requirement at trains and stations), appropriate levels of staff to minimise queuing and effective routing of passengers through airports. 
Delays remain the biggest frustration for business travellers.
Cars remain integral to doing business in the UK, particularly for small businesses.
The main gripe for business travellers is level of road congestion (61% not satisfied on motorways and 56% not satisfied on non-motorway). 
Tolled motorways were viewed favourably with 58% seeing Public Private Partnership as the preferred method of funding for this infrastructure improvement.
Unveiling the results of the guild"s first Business Travel Manifesto, GTMC chief executive Anne Godfrey said: "In 2008 the GTMC embarked on a mission to raise the profile of travel management as a profession and to communicate the insights the industry had into corporate travel to policy makers and influencers. 
"During our meetings with civil servants, MPs and advisors it became apparent that there was a real hunger for information and data into various aspects of business travel, particularly what drove modal choice. 
"We felt we were uniquely placed to assist with this and it led us onto the qualitative and quantitative survey underpinning today"s manifesto.
"The delivery of the GTMC Business Travel Manifesto has provided real insight and clarity on what the business traveller wants to be achieved by the future government. 
"We hope our lobbying efforts in the next 18 months will make a real difference to the experience of the UK business traveller."
by Phil Davies 

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  • High speed trains v air

    Geoff I am in agreement that whatever destinations high speed rail may serve, it is most certainly a case of both, not one or the other. As in my original response, the airlines will welcome proper rail connectivity at Heathrow.

    By Mike Carrivick, Wednesday, February 3, 2010

  • Where to by train UK ??

    All these arguements about high speed rail vs.air, are we talking about intra UK travel? I cannot ever forsee a day when same day return rail travel can happen to any destination further afield than Paris or Brussels. Flying from Heathrow to say Stutgart, Hamburg, Toulouse etc. are all possible for a day return; rail will not achieve this. It is NOT rail versus air for expansion, it should be BOTH. Also, what is the enviro impact of building miles and miles of high speed track all over Europe, versus on new runway in LHR !

    By Geoff Allwright, Monday, February 1, 2010

  • LHR / Rail

    ...well it was actually environmental concerns that I was referring to. Besides, I still think that the responsible way forward is to control the development of airports, not to find any excuse to expand them. The CTRL is running at 50% capacity - why not use it when LHR is at 99.9% capacity, yet airlines still make a loss? Slash the slots that run empty, and make way for a economically and environmentally sustainable future. It's the only way forward.

    By Gary Phillips, Monday, February 1, 2010

  • High Speed rail to Heathrow

    It's great to see Gary agrees that High Speed Rail is needed at Heathrow. If he then cares to read the Bow Group's report (see he'll note that it can be expected to generate more business for Heathrow overall, not dilute it. Expansion, therefore, still required.

    By Mike Carrivick, Monday, February 1, 2010

  • A vote for common sense

    Anyone with an ounce of common sense would always favour a high speed rail journey than the aggravation of flying. What is the point of expanding LHR when most of the airlines there are losing money? I don't see how having more flights will ever reverse the shift in the market that is clearly taking place. The only problem is that the UK is now 40 years behind France in creating an integrated high speed rail network.

    By Gary Phillips, Monday, February 1, 2010

  • LHR expansion not a government investment

    In this debate, two things need to be clearly understood: 1. airlines will welcome high speed rail connectivity at Heathrow, 2. expansion at Heathrow does NOT involve government expansion. The costs are borne by the airport and the airlines. In more general terms, there will be wins and losses with HST; however, the belief that HST services are that are required to replace UK domestic air services is simply naive. Integrated transport is what is required, and what airlines are campaigning for.

    By Mike Carrivick, Wednesday, January 27, 2010

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