21 JUNE 2021
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The words of Sir Howard Davies, whose Airports Commission recommended the airport expansion with its report published in 2015.
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a collapse in passenger numbers travelling for business or leisure.
Sir Howard, now Chairman of the NatWest Group says the rise of video conferencing has changed the whole pattern of business travel. Speaking on radio station LBC last week he said Heathrow “would be delighted just to fill the two runways it’s got at the moment.”
However, Davies admitted that the pandemic now raised serious doubts over the expansion.
The Court of Appeal ruled in February last year that the government’s backing was unlawful because it failed to take account of climate change commitments. This was then overturned by the Supreme Court in December.
Heathrow itself has now admitted that the plans have been put on the backburner pending its recovery from the pandemic.
Davies insisted that if a new runway was needed in the south east it must still be at Heathrow. However, asked if he was still in favour of the project, he said: “I would have to redo the numbers to see if the economics made sense.”
A Heathrow spokeswoman said that “demand for aviation will recover from Covid and sufficient hub airport capacity to support a global Britain will be required.”
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
Sitting behind all of this is the CAA's controversial regulatory charges regime. In the light of the pandemic and the resultant payment disagreements between airport and airlines, that needs sorting out first before any further obligations are created in respect of R3.
David Starkie, United Kingdom
With the use of larger, four engine aircraft in rapid decline (BA got rid of its 747-400s for example) is there a need for R3 to be 3,500m? The case for this length of runway was never made and costs could be cut markedly by not having to bridge the M25. See my previous BTN postings.