UK approves final Heathrow expansion proposal

victoria@aviationnews-online.com
By victoria@aviationnews-online.com June 6, 2018 16:44

UK approves final Heathrow expansion proposal

Today, (most of) the aviation world today is cheering the decision by the UK government to back proposals for $14bn expansion of Heathrow airport. The proposed Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) (click here for the document), backs Heathrow expansion through developing a new north-west runway.

Although the expansion project will be privately financed, the government has asked the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure the scheme remains affordable while meeting the needs of passengers. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has rejected the bid by IATA and the Heathrow Airline Operators Committee to control the expansion project, telling the House of Commons: “My current assessment is that caution is needed at this stage . . . the management are currently the only credible promoter who could deliver this scheme in its entirety.”

The official statistics support the need for a new runway, passing on benefits to passengers and the wider economy to the tune of up to £74 billion, by creating new jobs and better UK connections. An additional 16 million long-haul seats will be available by 2040 under the new plan. Heathrow capacity for goods will almost double, allowing businesses to increase their exports – a concern for the post-Brexit environment.

said: “As we leave the EU, the UK must remain one of the world’s best-connected and outward-looking countries and a third runway at Heathrow is the best option to deliver this… The NPS takes into account public and industry feedback and recommendations made by the Transport Committee to ensure that airport expansion in the south-east will be delivered in a way that is cost-efficient, sustainable and in passengers’ best interests.”

The NPS includes a $2.6 million compensation package and mitigation measures to support those affected by the expansion. It also ensures the 6.5 hour scheduled night flight ban and noise restrictions will be legally enforceable.

The UK Parliament will debate and vote on the NPS in the coming weeks.

Several lobby groups and organisations quickly issued their support for the NPS.

“It’s fantastic that the new runway at Heathrow is getting closer to take-off. All the more so as the United Kingdom has waited for nearly half a century for this decision,” said Josh Hardie, CBI Deputy Director-General. “Expanding our aviation capacity, and creating new flight routes to rapidly growing markets, is mission critical to ensuring Britain can compete on the post-Brexit world stage. The new air links the runway will create will unlock growth and help create jobs at home, and enable more businesses – especially our many innovative and ambitious small and medium-sized ones – to export their goods and services to booming markets.”

Ed Thomas, UK head of transport at KPMG, described the move as a “pivotal moment for UK aviation” and that the NPS sends a move that the UK is “open for business”.

victoria@aviationnews-online.com
By victoria@aviationnews-online.com June 6, 2018 16:44