Heathrow airport chief executive John Holland-Kaye has expressed confidence that the gateway's operator has done enough to address pollution concerns and gain government support if it is recommended for expansion by the Airports Commission.
“We have heard very clearly where the prime minister was coming from, where local communities were concerned five years ago, and we have completely changed our plans to address those concerns,” Holland-Kaye tells Flightglobal.
He adds that Heathrow can now “demonstrate we can meet climate-change targets, so we can meet air-quality targets and we have fewer people impacted by aircraft noise with expansion than today”.
Last month, the Airports Commission delayed publication of its final report into its preferred choice for expansion in order to conduct an assessment into the impact on air quality of expanding either Heathrow or Gatwick. That consultation has closed with the results feeding into the final report which is due to be published this week.
Responding to media reports that the UK government is split over the desirability of expanding Heathrow, Holland-Kaye says: “All the indications I have had from them is that they are pursuing the government line.”
He believes all cabinet members, bar one, have come out in support of the Airports Commission process.
“We have changed our plans to meet the needs of politicians so that they don’t need to change their mind, we have changed the facts for them," he adds. "It's now easy for them to see the balance is now the right thing economically, and the right thing environmentally, for communities."