Why the UK needs another runway at Heathrow

Nov 2014: Former CBI boss Howard Davies kickstarted a four-month long public consultation process before finally making a decision about expanding Britain’s skies to accommodate greater passenger and air traffic.

Heathrow Airport 010 by Panhard - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons
Heathrow Airport 010 by Panhard – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

Recent reports have suggested that plans to build a new airport with at Oxford or in Thames Estuary, have already been ruled out.

The plans that do remain in the running are a second runway at Gatwick, a third runway at Heathrow, or an extension to one of the existing Heathrow runways.

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Heathrow expansion plan

The report finds all three options financially viable, but expanding Heathrow is where the biggest chunk of transport and economic benefits lies. Heathrow is now the third busiest airport in the world after Atlanta in the US and Beijing, China.

The benefits may range between £112-£211bn for a new runway or £101-£214bn if the existing runway is extended or a paltry £42-127bn if Gatwick adds another runway.

It costs £975million a year to run Heathrow Airport, an additional £660million is set aside each year to upgrade the airport. The airport’s annual income is £2.3billion, which comes from landing charges, departure fees and services such as shops, property rental and parking.

More than 70million passengers pass through every year – six million more than the UK population. The busiest single day ever recorded was July 31 2011 when 233,561 passengers passed through the airport.

Every day at Heathrow 1,400 flights take off and land – one every 45 seconds and nearly half a million per year.

However, a report by the commission headed by Sir Howard Davies lays bare the fact that Heathrow’s third-runway proposal would cost £18.6bn, £3bn more than the airport itself estimated.

Gatwick’s second runway would cost £9.3bn, not £7.4bn.

It also said that Gatwick’s expansion would cause fewer problems with low noise pollution, but expanding Heathrow would lead to creation of more jobs– a direct economic benefit to the surrounding area.

Heathrow currently is home to 82 airlines which regularly conduct business here. In 2013 alone, Heathrow served 180 destinations in over 85 countries.

ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF HEATHROW- STUDY AREA

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Study Area- Heathrow

The study area economy is an important and dynamic part of the UK economy. It generated around £137 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA) in 2011 or roughly 10% of the UK total and employs around 2.44 million people.

datawrapper.de/chart/WdN9h/edit

 

Passenger inflow- Heathrow
Passenger inflow- Heathrow

Three out of 10 passengers using Heathrow are travelling for business, 70 per cent for leisure.

But the head of the commission, Sir Howard Davies, said no decision had yet been made.

“We have not yet taken a view on which proposal strikes the most effective balance between the assessment criteria,” he said.

Three out of 10 passengers using Heathrow are travelling for business, 70 per cent for leisure.

Here’s what a seasoned Trans-atlantic traveller has to say about why he prefers Heathrow over Gatwick

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2 thoughts on “Why the UK needs another runway at Heathrow

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