If there are any further delays it is time to call it a day on London airport expansion and invest in the regions
- The London airport runway saga shows no sign of ending, even having gained Parliamentary approval
- It is complicated by Brexit, which was not on the cards when the Airports Commission recommended a third Heathrow runway
- Across the country businesses and the general population want a conclusion, now and to see construction work in progress
- Since the Airports Commission’s guidance the economic case has begun to change in favour of the regions, which are seeing faster growth at many of their airports and improved business performance. Often they can match or even better London economically. So has the case for point-to-point travel over hub and spoke
- Ultimately it is a test of government and its resolve. A drive to support the regions has fallen by the wayside. An under-pressure Prime Minister could do worse than to demonstrate continuing support and to work with the National Infrastructure Commission to ensure that joined-up policies on economic and transport growth are initiated
- London would not lose out. Its passenger and cargo business will continue to grow but with changing travel patterns and mores that growth can be absorbed across its airport network in conjunction with the redirection of services in support of economically expanding regions, in some of which airports might also become additional London airports.
The deliberations over where to build an additional runway in southeast England droned on, and on, and on, into a seventh decade. While entire new airports are being built in Beijing, numerous other Chinese cities, Istanbul, Mexico City and other places the whys and wherefores of a single runway in the UK have been debated ad nauseam and in minute detail. This has to stop.