Airports Comm pegs 3rd Heathrow runway

The UK’s Airports Commission has recommended a third runway at Heathrow airport while a second runway at Gatwick is described as a ‘credible’ option’. Expansion of the west London hub would add £147 billion (€207 billion) in economic growth by 2050, according to the Commission’s long-awaited report. It would also connect the UK to more than 40 new destinations around the world including 10-12 new long-haul routes. An expansion at Heathrow would also allow the airport to double its freight capacity to three million tonnes.


The UK’s Airports Commission has recommended a third runway at Heathrow airport while a second runway at Gatwick is described as a ‘credible’ option’. Expansion of the west London hub would add £147 billion (€207 billion) in economic growth by 2050, according to the Commission’s long-awaited report. It would also connect the UK to more than 40 new destinations around the world including 10-12 new long-haul routes. An expansion at Heathrow would also allow the airport to double its freight capacity to three million tonnes.

The report says a new runway – estimated to cost nearly £17.6 billion, to be funded by the private sector – is “critical to British trade and manufacturing, particularly in highly technical industries such as pharmaceuticals”.

“In 2014, the total value of tradeable goods carried through UK airports exceeded £140 billion. With the world economy’s centre of gravity moving eastward and global supply chains becoming more complex, air connections will be ever more important in establishing access to key export markets for UK firms.”

But the report’s author, Howard Davies’s said that the new runway should come with severe restrictions to reduce the environmental and noise effects. Night flights would be banned and the government would make a Parliamentary pledge not to build a fourth runway at the airport. An aviation noise levy would fund insulation for homes and schools and a legal commitment would be made on air quality.