Business Leaders Try To Re-open Heathrow Runway Debate

March 7, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Heathrow airport's Terminal 5
The tail-fin of a British Airways Boeing 747 aircraft is seen through the window of an adjacent plane at Heathrow airport's Terminal 5 on February 21, 2012 in London, England. Heathrow is the UK's largest airport with 89 airlines serving 176 different destinations in 90 countries around the world; in 2010 it handled 65.7 million passengers on over 449,000 flights. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Business leaders are trying to re-open the debate about building a third runway at Heathrow airport. 

A letter from many business leaders, published in The Telegraph, called for a rethink of the strategy with Heathrow running at full capacity. The letter was co-signed by large corporations such as Microsoft Corp. and Telefonica O2, and by the heads of the Institute of Directors and the British Chambers of Commerce.

The long-running debate on a third runway at Heathrow was all but silenced when the coalition government blocked it when it first came to power in 2010, taking the view that the increase in jets flying directly over the centre of London was not acceptable. 

“The government will consult on an overarching sustainable framework for UK aviation this spring and alongside this we will publish a call for evidence on maintaining effective UK hub airport connectivity,” a Department for Transport spokesman said, according to Reuters.

“As the Chancellor made clear in his Autumn Statement, we will explore all the options for maintaining the UK’s aviation hub status with the exception of a third runway at Heathrow.”

Last month the operator of the airport, BAA, said that without scope to expand, Heathrow was losing out to other European hubs in the fight for routes to China. 

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