Blocked expansion of Heathrow Airport is unlikely to be the last, says GlobalData

Northern runway at Heathrow Airport

Heathrow’s plans to expand, which included plans for a third runway, were ruled unlawful on 27 February. Johanna Bonhill-Smith, travel and tourism analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view on the future situation for UK airports.

“Many airlines were banking on the third runway expansion at Heathrow airport to reach more markets and increase capacity at the UK’s busiest airport, but have now been dealt a major blow as the expansion has been blocked. Today’s announcement highlights the intensity of the climate change movement, and this battle between the airspace industry and environmental enforcements will no doubt be ongoing and the undoing of many growth or expansion strategies for years to come.

“Numerous airports throughout the UK are currently in the process of planning ways to expand in order to increase capacity in both the domestic and international aviation space. However, with the term ‘climate catastrophe’ more widely broadcast than ever, the rise of ‘Flygskam’ and environmental campaigners gaining more traction throughout Europe, the aviation industry is under more intense scrutiny than ever to consider wider environmental impacts.

“Heathrow is not the first expansion project to be rejected in 2020 as found with Bristol Airport and is unlikely to be the last.”