15 Jan

ABTA reacts to Heathrow announcement on 3rd Runway

ABTA is pleased with the Government decision to grant permission for a new third runway at Heathrow, the world’s busiest international airport. Heathrow generates millions of pounds in revenue for UK PLC and is a major employer. However it currently operates at 99% of capacity making future growth extremely difficult and leaving the airport with very little room for manoeuvre when hit by a crisis.

Commenting on the decision, Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said: “Heathrow has received a barrage of criticism over recent years for poor customer service much of which is directly attributable to its operating at near peak capacity. A new runway will help address this problem. Currently the skies above Heathrow are often full of aircraft circling in “stacks” waiting for a landing slot to become available. This polluting and fuel inefficient practice will be largely eradicated by the provision of a new runway.  “Any new development must come with strict environmental controls and I am delighted that the Government has factored this in. However, I am disappointed that the use of mixed mode has been rejected as this system can radically improve the flow of aircraft.”

Infrastructure improvements in the form of a new high speed rail link between London and Scotland, are also welcomed but ABTA believes that demand for air travel in the UK is strongest in the South East and its other main airport Gatwick, is also in urgent need of a new runway and infrastructure investment.