27 JULY 2015


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Article from BTNews 27 JULY 2015

COMMENT: Airport progress

Prime Ministers will never admit a mistake, especially if they are still in power.  About-turns are not part of the vocabulary.  David Cameron is therefore to be complemented on what looks like a change of appreciation regarding the air transport industry.

When he first came into power following the 2010 Election one of his first acts was to stop the development of a third runway at Heathrow.  True that his Government also included the Liberal Democrat Party, very much opposed to the expansion of the West London airport, with opposition to its enlargement part of its manifest.

Expediency then ruled the roost with the PM. 

But it was also clear to him that if Great Britain was to remain one of the world’s most important economic centres, London required, and still very much requires, unrestricted air communications.   

Two years into his term he established the Airports Commission under the leadership of the eminent economist Sir Howard Davies.  

The Commission has now reported and recommended Heathrow be developed with a third runway.  It would not have been reasonable to expect the Government to have agreed with the suggestions unequivocally. 

The establishment of a short-term Cabinet committee (see in the issue), under the PM’s Chairmanship, to look at the options, is a positive step forward.  Its composition has been criticized in some quarters with senior government ministers opposed to Heathrow expansion clearly excluded.  This is not a bad thing.  What is clearly needed is a committee with no preconceived views, a balanced group ready to do justice to one of the most thorough Government Commissions of modern times. 

BTN  has only one plea.  That the Cabinet Airports Committee report back quickly and its decision be implemented soonest.  The industry, and the country, has waited too long.

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Gerry Stevens, Oserley

If the outcome is for LHR to have a 3rd Runway, one thing is certain: Cameron is branded a LIAR ! His own words: 'There will not be a 3rd Runway at Heathrow NO Ifs NO Buts !!'