UK Airports Commission approves third runway for Heathrow

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore December 17, 2013 21:03

UK Airports Commission approves third runway for Heathrow

The UK Airports Commission’s independent review into airport capacity and connectivity in the UK has concluded that there is a need for one net additional runway to be in operation in the South East by 2030. Its analysis also indicates that there is likely to be a demand case for a second additional runway to be operational by 2050.

The Airports Commission’s Interim Report published today has announced that it will be taking forward for further detailed study proposals for new runways at two locations:

• Gatwick Airport: Gatwick Airport Ltd’s proposal for a new runway to the south of the existing runway;

• Heathrow Airport (two options): Heathrow Airport Ltd’s proposal for one new 3,500m runway to the northwest; and Heathrow Hub’s proposal to extend the existing Northern runway to at least 6,000m, enabling the extended runway to operate as two independent runways.

The next phase of its work will see the Commission undertaking a detailed appraisal of the three options identified before a public consultation in autumn next year.

The Commission has not shortlisted any of the Thames Estuary options because there are too many uncertainties and challenges surrounding them at this stage. It will undertake further study of the Isle of Grain option in the first half of 2014 and will reach a view later next year on whether that option offers a credible proposal for consideration alongside the other short-listed options.

The Commission has not shortlisted proposals for expansion at Stansted or Birmingham, however, there is likely to be a case for considering them as potential options for any second new runway by 2050. In its final report the Commission will set out its recommendations on the process for decision making on additional capacity beyond 2030.

In response to the Airport’s Commission’s Interim Report, new lobby group, Let Britain Fly, has called on all three main party leaders to publicly support the view that more runways are now needed in London and the South East and to commit to taking immediate action following the Commission’s final report in 2015.

Last month leaders from more than 100 of Britain’s top firms launched the Let Britain Fly campaign with a statement warning politicians that failure to commit to airport expansion risks damaging the future prospects of the UK economy.

Let Britain Fly believes any party serious about governing Britain must go into the 2015 election expressing a clear manifesto pledge to airport expansion and must at the very least agree to be ‘guided’ by the Commission’s final recommendations.

Sir Winfried Bischoff Chairman of Lloyds Banking Group said: “Britain’s future economic well-being depends on forging new air links with the world’s key emerging markets. But, as the business community knows from experience, our airports simply don’t have enough capacity. Howard Davies has done the country a great service by saying so in words of one syllable. To boost exports and create jobs, we need to act now.”

Gavin Hayes, Director, Let Britain Fly said: “Doing nothing is no longer an option, the case for expanding our airports is now definitive, in response we urge all three main party leaders to acknowledge the urgent need to build new runways and commit in principle to supporting the modernisation of our airports infrastructure on a cross-party basis.”

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore December 17, 2013 21:03
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