UK report warns that London’s airports will be “completely full” in 20 years

victoria@aviationnews-online.com
By victoria@aviationnews-online.com October 26, 2017 15:15

UK report warns that London’s airports will be “completely full” in 20 years

UK transport secretary Chris Grayling has warned in a new report that London’s five airports – Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and London City – will all be “completely full” by the mid-2030s. Grayling said that updated forecasts show the pressing need to go ahead with Heathrow’s third runway, which would give “the greatest choice” in destinations and frequent long-haul routes.

The minister was speaking as he launched a consultation on the revised draft “Airports National Policy Statement”, which includes an updated air-quality plan suggesting the runway could go ahead without the UK breaching pollution obligations. The consultation runs until December 19 and after that the government will draft the national policy statement, which will be scrutinised by the transport select committee before being passed to the House of Commons for a vote before the Heathrow third runway can go ahead. The airport’s management wants to begin construction in early 2021 and complete the scheme by the end of 2025.

Ed Thomas, UK head of transport at KPMG, said: “Five years after the Davies Commission was set up to determine how the UK should maintain its status as a global aviation hub, the new National Policy Statement further underlines the critical role of airport capacity in connecting UK plc to trading partners and investors in the rest of the world.” He adds that the debate about new runways in the UK “should never have been framed purely in terms of where to lay 3000 metres of concrete and tarmac” and that fundamentally it should be debate about “how we secure our future economic prosperity”, which is impossible if London’s airports are full.

“Currently London is not directly connected to 128 of the biggest cities in the world and without additional capacity, this will deteriorate over time,” said Thomas. “It is forecast that by 2030, we will lack connections to 194 of the 309 cities that have populations of over two million. Of these 194 cities 16 will be in China and 15 in India, both leading emerging markets, which will power global growth. Our competitors already have connections to 41 of these cities.”

victoria@aviationnews-online.com
By victoria@aviationnews-online.com October 26, 2017 15:15