Business backs runway expansion

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More than fifty UK business leaders have signed a statement calling for the UK’s main political parties to offer manifesto commitments to runway expansion following the Airports Commission publishing the options for public consultation.

The business leaders are concerned that without such clear pledges there could be a risk of further political procrastination on urgently needed new runway capacity. The statement of business support was coordinated by the campaign group Let Britain Fly. 

The statement says: “The need for action could not be clearer. Heathrow has been full for a decade, Gatwick will be full by 2020 and most of London’s main airports will be full by the middle of the next decade.  Inactivity is costing the UK economy billions in lost trade and investment every year. We trade twenty times more with countries with which we have a direct air link and by value forty per cent of our exports go by air.”

The Airports Commission, set up in 2012 by the UK government to examine options for runway expansion, published its consultation documents on 11 November. The public consultation document has three proposals. Two are for Heathrow Airport getting either a third runway to the North West (see picture with purple outline for new runway) or an extension to its north runway. The third proposal is for a second runway at Gatwick Airport. The consultation closes on 3 February. Responses to it will be published in the commission’s final report in mid-2015. 

The Commission’s interim report, published in December 2013, stated that the UK needed one extra runway. Business leaders involved with Let Britain Fly had backed runway expansion in July. 

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