London runway decision delayed again

The UK has delayed a decision on airport expansion until until "at least October"

The UK government has delayed a decision on airport expansion until “at least October”, when a new Prime Minister will be in office

A new Conservative Party leader and therefore Prime Minister will be announced on September 9th.

It now looks unlikely that any new runway will be announced this year and possibly not for two or more years.

With the UK changing its Prime Minister and negotiating the exit from the EU, a new runway is heading for the back of the queue.

The EU negotiations will occupy huge amounts of government and civil service time and there is unlikely to be any  people available to work on the runway decision.

The outgoing Prime Minister, David Cameron, thinks it is pointless announcing a decision that could be overturned in a few weeks my his successor. Also the political driving force behind a Heathrow runway is George Osborne, the UK Chancellor, who is now discredited after his

The leading candidates at the time of writing, Boris Johnson and Theresa May, are opposed to a new Heathrow runway. Mr Johnson is totally against it, Mrs May is less so.

As mayor of London, Mr Johnson worked hard for a new four runway airport.

His successor as Mayor, Sadiq Khan, is also against a new Heathrow runway but he used to in favour of it.

Most local councils in the London area are against a Hethrow runway.

Last July, the Airport Commission recommended Heathrow be expanded with a third runway. But in December the government delayed its decision, saying further work on noise, pollution and compensation needed to be carried out.

Responding to the Transport Secretary’s announcement to hand over a decision on Heathrow expansion to his successor, John Holland-Kaye, the airport’s Chief Executive, said that a third runway must be a part of the Government’s Brexit plan.

Mr Holland-Kaye said:

“If Britain wants to be confident, outward-looking and at the centre of the world’s economy then expanding Heathrow must be a key building block in the Government’s Brexit plan.

“It will allow British exporters to trade with all the growing markets of the world, strengthening Britain’s position as one of the great trading nations.  And at a time of uncertainty a £16bn privately funded infrastructure investment will create jobs and growth across the UK.

“Government can send the strongest possible signal that Britain is open for business and confident in its future by expanding Heathrow.”

Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick Airport:

“Gatwick continues to grow and break passenger records for a single runway airport.

“Aviation is changing fast and Gatwick has now entered the premier league of airports with more than 50 long haul routes. This week, the airport started flights to Tianjin in China and in only a matter of weeks will be flying to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific.

“Aviation growth is outstripping forecasts.  In uncertain times and after decades of delay, only Gatwick can now give Britain certainty that airport expansion can finally happen. Gatwick can have a spade in the ground by 2020 and the first planes flying from a new runway in 2025.”

Internet links

Airports Commission