Theresa Villiers shuts door on third runway at Heathrow

Posted: April 19, 2012 in Aviation & Airports (General News), Heathrow
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Transport Secretary Theresa Villiers has implacably ruled out a third runway   for Heathrow despite hopes key members of the Government were softening   their stance towards expansion at Britain’s only hub airport.

Where the third runway would be built at Heathrow

Where the third runway would be built at Heathrow

Ms Villiers stressed at a conference in London that, although there were   divergences of opinion within the Coalition on aviation policy, the   Government would look at all  options for increasing capacity in the South   East “with the exception of a third runway at Heathrow”.

“The Coalition has always been clear that its doesn’t support a third runway at Heathrow – one of the very first acts as government was to confirm that,” the Transport Secretary said.

“The quality of life aspect of a third runway with up to 22,000 more flights over London every year would be massive and there’s no technological solution in sight to ensure planes become quiet enough, quickly enough to make this burden in any way tolerable. So we need another solution.”

The clear message will come as a major blow to Heathrow’s operator BAA and   airlines including BA and Virgin, which have consistently warned the UK is losing out on jobs and investment due to the lack of capacity at the London’s hub.

Ms Villiers’ tough stance could also potentially put the Government on a legal   collision course with BAA, which cautioned it could go down the route of a   judicial review if Heathrow was the one option barred from an inquiry into how to solve the UK’s capacity problems.

BAA said yesterday: “None of the options for providing new hub capacity is easy, but all options should be on the table.

“It is important that major decisions by Government follow due process and the   option to seek a judicial review if they do not, is always available.  We expect the Government to carefully consider the pros and cons of all options and consult properly before taking any policy decisions.”

BAA chief executive Colin Matthews unveiled new research at the same conference, organised by Transport Times, showing that 53pc of foreign airlines were increasing their flights out of other countries due to a lack of available take-off and landing slots at Heathrow.

The operator claims Britain is losing its competitive edge due the Government’s inertia on capacity expansion. Heathrow currently serves 180 destinations compared to Frankfurt, which serves 262.

Particular concerns have been raised about connections to China, and Heathrow   campaigners point out that there are seven major Chinese cities that are served by European airports but not by London.

However, Ms Villiers challenged the assertion that Britain is losing its   competitive edge on aviation…..

Read this story in full at the Daily Telegraph….

By Nathalie Thomas
3:51PM BST 18 Apr 2012

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