London Heathrow's proposed third runway could still be built by 2026 if the next UK prime minister made a decision "quickly", in the view of Howard Davies, who chaired the Airports Commission.
Speaking today on the BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Davies said the UK's vote to leave the European Union means the case for a new runway capacity in the southeast "has risen because undoubtedly, internationally, Brexit is being seen as a somewhat insular sign, a sign of Britain turning in on itself".
He urges the next UK prime minister to approve a new runway at Heathrow, which he believes would be seen as a "touchstone" of the the nation’s "willingness to prepare itself" to open new trade links with growing markets such as Asia.
Davies says he remains in favour of a new runway being built at Heathrow rather than Gatwick airport, which is "primarily an outbound leisure airport". Changing the focus of an airport is, he argues, "extremely difficult".
A decision on new runway capacity is unlikely to be made before October, when a new Conservative Party leader will be named to replace David Cameron as prime minister.
Heathrow's operator says: "We have always maintained that it would take about 10 years to deliver from the moment we get the government decision – including approximately five years of planning and five years of construction."
Source: Cirium Dashboard