Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

We Urgently Need a New Airports Strategy

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

We Urgently Need a New Airports Strategy

Article excerpt

TODAY'S comments on Heathrow from Colin Matthews, chief executive of airport owner BAA, will add to the pressure on ministers to come up with a new airports strategy. He warns that Heathrow may in 15 years be a "branch line" while the limited number of routes it serves is at odds with the Government's ambition for UK expansion into new markets, including China.

BAA's view is inevitably self-interested: Heathrow expansion has long been its preferred option. Still, it highlights the Government's failure to take seriously the importance to the economy of London's aviation capacity. If the UK is open for business, then Heathrow and indeed Gatwick must not only be open but functioning well. At present, Heathrow is operating at full capacity and Gatwick is not far off.

The last government had given the go-ahead in principle for a third runway. The Tories, however, in an effort to win the west London vote and to look greener, made a commitment to rule it out. …

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