New report sees UK losing trade due to Heathrow constraints

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UK aviation minister Theresa Villiers has defended the government's aviation policy, following the release of a report that foresees the UK missing out on trade as a result of a lack of expansion at London Heathrow.

The report, commissioned by London Heathrow operator BAA and carried out by Frontier Economics, suggests that because Heathrow is full to capacity and "other UK airports are not filling this gap", the country could face a "missed trading opportunity" which could cost it £14 billion ($21.6 billion) over the next 10 years.

The UK's coalition government scrapped the previous administration's plan to build a third runway at Heathrow, and ruled out the addition of new runways at London Gatwick and London Stansted.

But Villiers today insisted that the government is "determined to deliver a new approach to aviation policy - one that ensures the aviation sector both supports economic growth and addresses the environmental impacts of flying".

Added Villiers: "We are consulting on a wide range of aviation issues and this [Frontier Economics] report will provide a valuable contribution to this process. A successful Heathrow is a key part of any aviation strategy, which is why we are taking active steps to improve the way the airport works."

A recent government report set out a number of options for reducing the carbon footprint of aviation, including the possibility of not building any new runways anywhere in the UK between now and 2050.