Airports Commission recommends third runway at Heathrow

A final decision on the preferred option to expand aviation capacity in the UK has moved a step closer today (1 July 2015), with the Airports Commission publishing its final report which sets out its recommendations to government for expanding aviation capacity in the UK.

The Commission’s analysis shows that expanded airport capacity is crucial for the UK’s long-term prosperity. While each of the 3 schemes shortlisted was considered a credible option for expansion, the Commission has unanimously concluded that the proposal for a new northwest runway at Heathrow Airport, combined with a significant package of measures to address its environmental and community impacts, presents the strongest case and offers the greatest strategic and economic benefits.

The Commission’s recommendations will strengthen international connectivity, enhancing access from the UK’s nations and regions, improve productivity and deliver substantial long-term economic and strategic benefits for the country as a whole.

As part of the Commission’s press release, Sir Howard Davies said: “Over the past 2 and a half years, the Airports Commission has reviewed the evidence without preconceptions, consulted widely, and followed an inclusive and integrated process. At the end of this extensive work programme our conclusions are clear and unanimous: the best answer is to expand Heathrow’s capacity through a new northwest runway”. “Heathrow is best-placed to provide the type of capacity which is most urgently required: long haul destinations to new markets. It provides the greatest benefits for business passengers, freight operators and the broader economy”.

In response to today’s decision, Aberdeen Airport MD Carol Benzie said: ‘I’m delighted with the news that the Airports Commission has backed Heathrow as the preferred option and urge the Government to follow through on the recommendation as quickly as feasible”.

In December of last year, Carol Benzie joined forces with Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool and Newcastle airports in a joint letter to Sir Howard Davies, the head of the Airports Commission, backing Heathrow as their preferred option. The letter stated “The health of the UK aviation industry is not about the success of one airport, but the success of all our airports, each performing a vital role”.

“For expansion to benefit the whole country there must be a mechanism in place to strengthen and secure domestic connections to the UK’s hub. We will be backing Heathrow expansion in the Airports Commission consultation as the right choice for the whole of the UK”.

The recommendations will now be considered by Government.


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