A group of more than 30 UK Members of Parliament (MPs) has backed a report from the Free Enterprise Group, which calls for a third runway to be built at London’s Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted airports by 2020.
The report, written by Spelthorne MP Kwasi Kwarteng, states that: “London is falling behind other European cities,” such as Paris and Frankfurt.
According to the report, Heathrow served 227 destinations worldwide in 1990, but this figure has dropped to 180 and is forecast to fall further to 147. It also suggests that the UK could be losing up to £1.2 billion ($1.9bn) a year through a lack of access to emerging markets, such as China and Latin America.
A consultation on UK aviation will be held by the British Government in March, when the potential Thames Estuary airport will also be discussed. MPs say they do not oppose a new airport, but argue that its construction will take decades. (For more information on this, see Airports International Jan/Feb 2012).
The report also suggested the creation of a “virtual hub” by linking Heathrow and Gatwick with a £5bn ($7.7bn) 15-minute high-speed rail-link. It argues that “Heathwick” could act as a single hub, but this would only be a partial solution due to capacity issues.