Putting a new runway at Heathrow would be a “catastrophe”

As reported by the BBC, the UK Airports Commission has short-listed three options for expanding UK aviation capacity.

Putting a new runway at Heathrow would be a “catastrophe”

As reported by the BBC, the UK Airports Commission has short-listed three options for expanding UK aviation capacity.

The commission, led by businessman Sir Howard Davies, suggests adding a third runway to Heathrow or expanding one of its existing runways.
It also suggests a new runway at Gatwick. A final report is due by the summer of 2015.

It will also look at whether a new airport in the Thames Estuary can be included on its final shortlist.

Sir Howard was asked in 2012 to investigate the options for expanding the UK’s aviation capacity and try to come up with a plan.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has said that putting a new runway at Heathrow would be a “catastrophe”.

But supporters of Heathrow’s expansion say it will be quicker and cheaper than other options, and will help to maintain the UK as an international aviation hub.

Heathrow’s owners submitted evidence to the commission arguing that a new runway could be in place by 2029, allowing 260,000 more flights.

Heathrow is one of the world’s busiest hub airports, handling 70 million passengers in 2012. A third of those travellers were transit passengers transferring to other flights.

But the airport operates at 98% of its capacity.

When the coalition government came to power in 2010 it scrapped the former Labour government’s plan for a third runway at Heathrow.

The government said on Monday that it had not ruled out any options when it came to airport expansion in the south east of England.

On Sunday, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said that the government would stick to its pledge not to build a new runway at Heathrow before 2015.

He told the BBC: “We will not be building a third runway in this Parliament. We will stick by our manifesto commitment.”

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