IATA and ACI Europe welcome Heathrow expansion decision

Heathrow Airport artist impression of third runway

Airports Council International (ACI) Europe and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have both cautiously welcomed the UK government’s decision to approve a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

The UK government announced its approval for the third runway almost 14 months after the Airports Commission, which it set up in 2012, published its report recommending the move.

ACI Europe director general, Olivier Jankovec welcomes the news after decades of indecision, but says: “While a positive development in itself, this is just a first step requiring both swift implementation and a plan for further airport capacity development – not least because this new runway at Heathrow will not be enough to meet future demand for air transport.”

He adds: “An island economy lives or dies by its air connectivity. If the UK Government is serious about its focus on economic growth and preserving the country’s global positioning, it needs to truly embed air connectivity and sustainable airport development in its economic strategy.”

IATA also welcomes the news but director general and chief executive officer, Alexandre de Juniac warns that it must “have the right price tag”. He says costs must remain competitive and the new runway must not be encumbered by operating restrictions destroying its commercial value.

“The next step needs a big community effort. Airlines, the airport, the regulator and the government must work very hard together to ensure the success of the new runway. Above all, that means keeping costs at competitive levels.”