7 MARCH 2016


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Article from BTNews 7 MARCH 2016

Airports Commission decision

Robert Goodwill, civil aviation minister at the Department for Transport, was in a positive mood when he spoke at the Airport Operators Association’s annual dinner last Tuesday (1 March) focussing on the postponed Airports Commission decision. 

“I understand why many in the industry were disappointed that we delayed the decision on location of the additional runway we need in the south-east.  But opponents of expansion, who hailed the delay as some sort of victory could not have been more wrong.  The decision was delayed because it was the right thing to do.  The responsible thing to do.  To make sure we’re fully prepared.  So we know we will get the job finished.” 

Praising Sir Howard Davies he said that delivery, that is the new runway, would be by 2030, somewhat later than suggested by John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow, in recent speeches.

“The report gave us a wealth of data and analysis but you can never have too much evidence, particularly in the light of our emerging understanding of air quality issues and diesel cars.  We’re using this time to make the case for new capacity even more watertight.”  Strong words but very much in line with the message being put out by his boss the secretary of state for transport, Patrick McLoughlin.  www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-transport

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Laurie Price, Horsham

If Robert Goodwill MP is saying any new runway availability is now later than originally anticipated then the case for change of use for Northolt to UK regional services to facilitate their access to LHR, is even stronger. Equally, how do you maintain the impressive level of economic activity and contribution of the Aviation Industry highlighted in the report from the AOA dinner, unless there is some interim new capacity provided? With HS2 and Hinkley point Infrastructure Investments looking increasingly shaky, the Government needs to show it is still committed to infrastructure investment and the Aviation contribution is too significant to ignore, distraction of the EU referendum to appease the right wing of the Conservative party, notwithstanding.