Heathrow says it will exceed government conditions to expand

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Heathrow Airport artist impression of third runway

Heathrow Airport says it will meet and, in most cases, exceed conditions set out by the government’s Airports Commission recommendations for expanding the hub when building a third runway.

In July 2015, the government appointed Airports Commission released its report, recommending Heathrow should receive approval for a third runway. In its report, the Airports Commission set out a number of conditions including banning night flights, predictable respite for locals, compensations for those losing their homes, expanding within air quality limits and ruling out a fourth runway. The government has yet to formally respond to the report.

Heathrow Airport’s chief executive officer (CEO), John Holland-Kaye, has written a letter to the UK prime minister, David Cameron, saying he understands the conditions and stressing the need for another runway to strengthen the country’s economy.

In his letter, Holland-Kaye says: “For seventy years, Heathrow has been our global gateway; a cornerstone of our economic security.  Heathrow has been Britain’s airport, creating many thousands of jobs, connecting families and nations; a symbol of an outward looking country.”

“We must now build new runway capacity at Heathrow to keep Britain’s economy strong in the next seventy years.  We know it is not enough to just hope for a stronger economy; you need to choose it.”

In response, Gatwick Airport, which wants approval for a second runway, insists it remains the only credible options for expanding aviation capacity in the South East of England. The airport, based to the South of London, says air quality around Heathrow is already illegal and will only get worse if it expands and hundreds of thousands of people are badly affected by noise. Gatwick says Heathrow, which is in West London, is in a bad location, something which cannot be overcome by any amount of measures.

Gatwick Airport CEO, Stewart Wingate says: “Rather than circling around a failed solution that will never happen, we should get on with something that can actually happen – only Gatwick can deliver for the UK. Heathrow can promise many things but they cannot wish away the reality of its location.”