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Also Plans For New High-Speed Rail Link

British government moves ahead with third runway for Heathrow

eTN Staff Writer  Jan 16, 2009

The British government announced today that that a third runway will be built at Heathrow. Depending on the lens you are looking through, this is either bad news or good news.

A survey of over 900 of members - made up of tour operators and accommodations from around the world - has found that 75 percent are against plans for a third runway at Heathrow. According to the managing director Justin Francis: "While most of the members that we work with are dependent on aviation to generate business, the majority of them are against the third runway. It's a myth that everyone in the tourism industry backs an expansion. We should be focusing on flying less and improving the benefits of existing international tourism to local communities and conservation, not on flying more."

On the other side of the argument, Derek Simpson, joint leader of Unite the union, said: "We fully understand that this was not an easy decision to make, but we believe that the conditions attached to the construction of the third runway will see Heathrow function as a modern, environmentally-conscious airport and inspire a project of national works that will bring our transport infrastructure into the twenty-first century. The challenge now is to set to work on building an international hub airport befitting the UK's reputation as a world economy. That must include developing the high-speed rail links that will benefit every city in the land and ensure that passengers have a genuine choice of how they wish to travel."

On that note, Virgin Trains has welcomed the government's plans for a new high-speed rail link between Heathrow Airport, the West Midlands, and Scotland. The proposal is part of the government's plans to develop Heathrow Airport. Virgin Trains chief executive Tony Collins said, "It is great news that having seen the evidence of train operators success in taking on the airlines, the government is taking bold steps to develop the UK's rail network and encouraging people to use rail to and from international airports."

British government moves ahead with third runway for Heathrow
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