Heathrow airport’s director of strategy, Andrew Macmillan, has urged the government to support the construction of a third runway at the facility, stating it can “either support Heathrow or do nothing”.

Speaking to Flightglobal, Macmillan said that, contrary to speculation earlier this year that the Airports Commission would deliver a “fudge” that supported neither Gatwick's nor Heathrow's case for another runway, it had delivered “absolutely clear and unambiguous” support for Heathrow's expansion in a “well-articulated” final report published in July.

Macmillan’s comments come after London mayor Boris Johnson sent a 30-page review of the Airports Commission's conclusions to members of Parliament outlining why Heathrow "does not meet the needs" of London or the UK, nor even the "commercial needs of the airlines and investors essential to its success”.

Among the conclusions reached by the analysis is that domestic routes from Heathrow would actually halve with the construction of a third runway, while long-haul routes would also decline in 2030 and only a single new destination would be added by 2050.

The report states that claims made in the commission’s final report, that the number of people exposed to noise would fall, “stretches credulity” and that the commission has “failed to demonstrate" that a three-runway Heathrow will not have "the worst [nitrous oxide problem] in Greater London”.

In a letter accompanying the review, Johnson says: “Airlines are concerned about the financial burden that will fall to them and with good reason: the [Airports Commission] estimates a 45% increase in aeronautical charges [at Heathrow], which would fall on airlines and their customers.

“It is little wonder that [IAG chief] Willie Walsh has warned that [the company] would refuse to pay that scale of increase in charges."

Macmillan says the need to address concerns over emissions is an “important issue” and increasing the number of passengers travelling to Heathrow by public transport was “doable”. The UK government is expected to make a decision on whether to expand Heathrow later this year.

Source: Cirium Dashboard