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21 JULY 2014
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Last week Sir Howard Davies and his Commission more or less destroyed any notions of an airport in the Thames Estuary (BTN 14 July).
The question is where do we go from here?
London, with both Gatwick and Heathrow technically full, has serious difficulties regarding slots and regional connections. Whilst Stansted has plenty of availability, at least for now, long haul airlines are loath to go. A proper rail link (advocated by this publication over the years) would eradicate that problem.
Sir Howard looked into Boris Island and has for all intents and purposes thrown it out. Business Travel News does not have the lobbying power of the Mayor who previously somehow resurrected what was clearly a lost cause even then.
The Commission must now seriously consider RAF Northolt as a short/mid-term solution to the regions and hub problem and take evidence. No new runway, no more flight capacity (noise), good transport connections, more revenue for the Exchequer, and no political about-turn. The Queen uses it. It is very safe. Only 15 minutes from T5. See Minister's statement below.
With Northolt British Airways (and other carriers at Heathrow) will clearly benefit. BA is losing much connecting traffic from the Provinces to Europe. Heathrow non-stop to the Far East makes much more sense than a change of plane in the Gulf. The regions need to and from connections to the nation’s capital. Only seven out of 21 previous UK destinations remain with Heathrow links. Prestwick to Northolt. Carlisle too. Newquay also. The Channel Islands. Followed by a (cheap) Tube ride into town. Both CityJet and Flybe are monitoring the situation. There may be others too.
Business Travel News seeks an invitation from the Aviation Commission to make a presentation regarding Northolt as a practical solution to London’s short term airport capacity problems. Sir Howard has acknowledged BTN in the past and featured ON THE SOAPBOX 10 March 2014. RAF Northolt exists. NHT (the official IATA code for a scheduled Northolt Airport) exists. It is not just a pipe dream.
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