2 MARCH 2020
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The government surprised many in aviation last week by saying it would not challenge the Appeal Court’s ruling that Heathrow expansion was unlawful because it did not take into account climate change commitments.
This led some commentators to say the third runway project was doomed but this was countered by heavyweight backers of the scheme, including the airport itself which said it would appeal (see Third runway – Heathrow’s response in this issue).
Transport secretary Grant Shapps also left the door open, telling the Commons: “The court’s judgment is complex and requires careful consideration. We will set out our next steps in due course.” Shapps is guest of honour at the AOA annual dinner next Monday (9th March) Grosvenor House.
The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) was among those calling for urgent action to get airport expansion back on track. Delay would increase congestion, obstruct trade and have a detrimental effect on jobs in the sector and the economy, it said.
The GMB union also weighed in, saying it was disappointed by the court ruling. National officer Nadine Houghton said: “Heathrow expansion is a complicated issue, but we have consistently backed it because the benefits more than outweigh any risks.
She added: “Expansion would protect the existing 80,000 jobs, create a further 114,000, as well as 10,000 apprenticeships. “Like everyone, GMB members are worried about climate change, but we would have held Heathrow’s feet to the fire on their zero target for zero carbon.”
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