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UK Aviation Minister visits Aberdeen to discuss importance of regional connectivity

The UK Aviation Minister, Robert Courts MP, visited Aberdeen International Airport to discuss the vital role the airport will play in supporting the recovery of the north east’s economy post-COVID and its commitment to achieving net zero by the mid-2030s.

The airport’s Operations Director, Mark Beveridge, welcomed the Minister and provided him with a tour of the terminal building. The visit was an opportunity to restate the importance of rebuilding the connectivity that will be a key driver of the local economy.

The Minister’s visit comes as the UK Government consults on how it can work with the sector to decarbonise aviation in a way that preserves the benefits of air travel. Earlier this year, the airport launched its sustainability strategy which sets out how it will balance the undoubted social and economic benefits it delivers with its climate change responsibilities. Central to that is the airport’s commitment to build on its carbon neutrality status by achieving net zero for its direct emissions by the mid-2030s.

The Minister was also provided with an overview of the airport’s work with the NHS to develop and trial what will be the UK’s first national distribution network to use drones to transport essential medicines, blood, organs and other medical supplies throughout Scotland. The airport led consortium, which brings together 14 organisations including the University of Strathclyde and leading air traffic control provider NATS, successfully secured £1.5 million from the UK Industrial Strategy Future Flight Challenge Fund to demonstrate how autonomous drone technology can enhance access to essential medical supplies, particularly in rural parts of Scotland.

Mark Beveridge, Operations Director at Aberdeen International Airport, said: “The success of the airport and the north east go hand-in-hand. That is why it is vital we work together with our city and government partners to rebuild the connectivity on which Aberdeen’s internationally focused economy is so reliant.

"It was a pleasure to welcome the Minister to the airport to discuss the important role of the airport in supporting local businesses to access global markets, attract inward investment and support our tourism industry. It was also an opportunity to restate the airport’s commitment to regrowing sustainably and sharing our road map to achieving net zero by the mid-2030s.”

Robert Courts, Aviation Minister said: “Aviation is a major driver of the economy for the whole of the UK, and seeing the technological innovation taking place at Aberdeen International Airport – it’s no surprise it will be a vital hub for regional and international air connectivity as we navigate our post-pandemic recovery. 

“It also remains our focus to deliver on our ambitious net-zero targets, and it’s encouraging that Aberdeen International Airport is leading the way with a clear plan for operating under a net-zero model by the mid-2030s.”