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30 JANUARY 2012
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London Northolt (NHT), the favourite of AERBT as a further London airport if (as is the case at present) Heathrow’s third runway does not go ahead, has been featured by The Guardian, not normally aviation friendly, but in this case with a well balanced article.
The piece in the newspaper, which was quickly taken up by the BBC and others, suggested that the Ministry of Defence is considering selling off all or part of the property. Assuming that a licensed runway would still be maintained this would still give the RAF a London airport home, but at vastly less cost than at present.
Currently, as an RAF operation Northolt does not have to meet CAA requirements, but is OK for business jets. Should the military pull out it would have to fulfil civil standards, either with the existing runway, or new one, which could be easily fitted in, and aligned with Heathrow 09/27. Northolt meets the Government’s requirement “no new runways in the South East”, but whether it tackles the BAA Heathrow slot dilemma in the medium term is subject to conjecture. Would a new NHT replicate London City in the west or be connecting airport? www.guardian.co.uk
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