Airport capacity debate rolls on

Airport capacity debate rolls on

Mayor of London Boris Johnson is considering taking legal action on the government over the airport capacity decision, it has emerged.

According to the Telegraph, PM David Cameron is “concerned” after Johnson after he urged a decision on capacity to be pushed to an earlier date than 2015 and threatened court action. It follows after Gatwick Airport floated around plans to look into a second runway, while others voice their views into the on-going debate. 

Philip Hammond supports Heathwick

Defence secretary Philip Hammond also stepped into the debate at the weekend when he criticised Johnson’s plans for a Thames Estuary airport. He instead backs the high-speed shuttle between Heathrow and Gatwick, dubbed Heathwick, with the journey potentially cut down to 10 minutes.

Al Baker backs Heathrow runway 3

Outside the government Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker joined Johnson in the opinion that the situation needed to be addressed urgently. Al Baker supports a third runway at Heathrow to help develop a hub at the airport and warned the UK would face a “catastrophic situation” in its economy if it did not expand.

“Heathrow is bursting at the seams and has already reached a critical point,” he said. “Already heading towards a double dip recession, the UK cannot afford to lose out on the huge benefits a third runway would bring to the economy in south east England and the country as a whole through the creation of more jobs and more business opportunities.”

Bristol Airport urges regional support

Meanwhile, Bristol Airport has stepped into the argument and asked the government to encourage the use of regional airports to take the strain off London and the south east. The airport has issued a response to the Department of Transport’s Draft Aviation Policy Framework asking the government to rebalance the economy by using regional airports; to invest in ground access to and in between airports and support for inbound tourism.

“As politicians, Government officials, aviation professionals and other stakeholders debate issues around capacity and new schemes costing billions of pounds, it is critical to remember that significant airport capacity already exists in the UK regions,” said Robert Sinclair, CEO of Bristol Airport. “Government policy should encourage the use of this capacity and should encourage private sector investment in long-term infrastructure.”

Gary Marshall
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Gary Marshall
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