Last week, in what was surely one of the most fascinating insights into the inner workings of Britain’s civil aviation industry ever, we learnt the respective thoughts of every major stakeholder into how they would answer the UK’s airport crisis.
And that is in no way an exaggeration. With Heathrow operating at 98.5% capacity and surrounded by a local population that avidly (and loudly) opposes expansion, the UK’s number one airport has a fight on its hands to stay competitive, and that’s opened up the door to a number of other options.
The most high profile is undoubtedly that proposed by Boris Johnson – the much touted Boris Island or his alternative hub on the Isle of Grain. Both would represent a significant investment (around GBP65bn) and take till at least 2029 to become fully operational. They would also mean the end of Heathrow – a choice which would result in the highest redundancy in British history.
Gatwick on the other hand would like an extra runway for itself and Stansted – thus dispersing the UK’s ‘Hub’ between three airports while Stansted itself is bidding for up to four runways.
Heathrow – the current incumbent – is also vying for expansion and has submitted its proposals, like the rest, to the Airports Commission, which will produce its shortlist before the end of the year.
The man charged with the unenviable task of recommending the future of Britain’s airports to government is Sir Howard Davies. The implications of that decision – if adopted – will have implications that reach far wider than where a new piece of tarmac is located. Last week, in our London Debate, we put all the arguments to you from the major stakeholders – now it’s your turn.
Let us know what you think as we’ll be looking into the wider implications of the decision and how it’s going to affect everyone.
The findings of the Davies Commission are going to affect everyone of us and we should all have a voice.