Supporting nearly 100 airfields to thrive and become sustainable operations
It's no secret that we're a huge fan of General Aviation, and this summer - with some beautiful weather coming up, we'll enjoy nothing more than seeing aviation enthusiasts take to the skies in a range of impressive aircraft.
While there's lots of positives to look forward to, with things hopefully getting back to normal soon and the resumption of GA flying earlier this year, we're not shying away from the fact that it's been a particularly challenging time for the aviation sector.
So, it's only been right that the Government, along with the CAA, has stepped in to help this industry navigate a particularly challenging time.
Learn more from our Airfield Development Advisory Fund infographic.
The Airfield Development Advisory Fund (ADAF), funded by the DfT and led by the CAA, has offered a lifeline of support to aerodromes handling fewer than 200,000 passengers to help the General Aviation (GA) sector get back on its feet - helping to improve operations and future-proof their business.
Since its launch last year, the ADAF has given GA organisations a range of support, with everything from business planning and operational advice, to marketing and communications.
With over 90% of applications approved, the fund has had a great uptake, and we've worked with the global consultancy services company ICF to ensure its success - leveraging their cutting-edge aviation knowledge, project management and communications expertise to help the grantees solve their most complex challenges.
Applications for grants closed in December 2020 and advisory services ran from January-May 2021, providing up to five days of dedicated advisory to each applicant, specifically tailored to their needs and requirements. Most successful applicants were either airfield operators, airfield owners or lease holders, and training organisations.
Popular requests from the Fund included requests from marketing, grant awareness and how to make more efficient use of infrastructure.
However, we did identify one common theme: organisations sought help with diversifying their revenue streams and improving their financial performance - through business support, improving airport planning, increasing community engagement and advice on how to make their businesses greener.
Technology has also played a big part in how these businesses were looking to the future, with many businesses showing a real interest in electric aviation and new aircraft technology for the GA sector.
In fact, a number of grantees specifically requested advice relating to electric aviation and hydrogen to be their focus, and many others noted an interest in alternative fuels and sustainability in their initial applications.
The ADAF represents part of an ongoing commitment from the DfT and CAA to support the GA sector grow.
As a strategically important sector which supports vital government services, contributes almost £4bn to the economy and is essential to the success of the wider aviation sector, the ADAF is the first of a number of support and policy mechanisms being implemented to assist the sector - and we hope to build on this work in the future to help this fantastic sector thrive.
Robert Courts MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
Department for Transport