Heathrow Airport has won the support of an influential group of cross-party politicians in its battle to secure a third runway.The UK Transport Committee has rejected calls for a new hub airport in London and has backed expansion at Heathrow saying an additional runway is “long overdue”. The committee announced its findings in a report into its inquiry into UK Government’s Aviation Strategy. The report will be sent to the Airports Commission – an independent inquiry looking into airport expansion in the UK. Louise Ellman, chairman of the committee, said: “Aviation is vital to our economy and it is essential for the UK to maintain its status with an international aviation hub offering connectivity to a wide range of destinations across the globe. “We recognise that demand for air travel across the UK is forecast to grow, believe that aviation should be permitted to expand and accept that more capacity is necessary to accommodate sustainable aviation growth. “We looked closely at the three main options by which the UK could increase its hub airport capacity. “Research we commissioned made plain that building an entirely new hub airport east of London could not be done without huge public investment in new ground transport infrastructure. “Evidence to our inquiry also showed a substantial potential impact on wildlife habitat in the Thames estuary. “The viability of an estuary hub airport would also require the closure of Heathrow – a course of action that would have unacceptable consequences for individuals, businesses in the vicinity of the existing airport and the local economy. “Heathrow – the UK’s only hub airport – has been short of capacity for a decade and is currently operating at full capacity. We conclude that a third runway at Heathrow is necessary, but also suggest that a four-runway proposal may have merit, especially if expanding to locate two new runways westwards from the current site could curb the noise experienced by people affected under the flight path. “We conclude that adding new runways to expand a number of other existing airports will not, on its own, provide a long-term solution to the hub capacity problem. We do however encourage Gatwick’s operator to develop a robust business case for their vision of a second runway.” The committee also called for a study of how much Air Passenger Duty (APD) impacts on the UK economy. It said that if the study provides “clear evidence that the duty causes harm to the economy” then the government should “significantly reduce or abolish” APD. The committee also called for an APD tax holiday for a 12-month trial period for new services operating out of airports outside the south east of the UK.Source: routenews, Steven Thompson
Gravity always wins!