Hacan Refutes Lobby Claims On Heathrow

Says UK economy does not depend on airport expansion

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Hacan, the organisation which represents residents living under the Heathrow flight paths, has denied claims by the aviation industry that Britain will suffer if Heathrow does not expand.

A conference organised by the pro-aviation lobby group The Aviation Foundation today (June 25) hit out at Government failure to create a “credible and lasting aviation policy” and warned that consultation next month is “the last chance” to solve the capacity crisis.

The Foundation, an alliance of airport and airline chiefs, attacked the Government for dithering over aviation policy

The CEO of the International Airlines Group (which owns BA) Willie Walsh said: “We’ve had years of government inactivity on aviation policy and this consultation must result in a plan of action and the commitment to see it through — not another fudge.

“It’s the UK that loses out while around the world they will rub their hands with glee as we stumble along our path of inactivity.”

But Hacan said today that the health of the UK economy does not depend on the expansion of Heathrow. It issued a new pamphlet, Myths and Facts, which it said would expose the claim that a third runway is essential for the UK economy. 

HACAN Chair John Stewart said, “We hope this pamphlet will open people’s eyes to the fact that London won’t become a backwater if Heathrow does not expand.  It aims to dispel a lot of the myths that the aviation industry has put around about Heathrow.”

Myths and Facts reveals:

Heathrow has 990 departure flights each week to the world’s key business centres - that is more than its two closest rivals, Charles de Gaulle (484) and Frankfurt (450), combined.

London remains the top city in Europe to do business.

There is no hard evidence that the London economy will lose out if Heathrow does not expand as a hub.

A public consultation on the Government’s future aviation policy is expected to be launched within weeks- all the main parties have said they are opposed to a third runway.

There have been reports that the Chancellor George Osborne is in favour of permanently allowing “mixed mode” flights at Heathrow Airport , which would allow both runways to be used all day for both take-offs and landings — meaning 60,000 more flights per year. This would be used instead of a third runway.

But this would face huge opposition from local anti-Heathrow campaigners. Aviation minister Theresa Villiers today ruled out the mixed mode solution.

Meanwhile the Transport Secretary Justine Greening said it was time for long-term thinking instead of the “pub-style debate” which was taking place.

The Putney MP, in an interview with the Evening Standard, said Heathrow operator BAA will press for a third runway, adding: “But my job is to look beyond the next 10 or 15 years.

“My job is to say, ‘What do we need for the next 20, 30, 40 or 50 years?’ What if we realise we need a fourth runway? Where would that go at Heathrow?”

Ms Greening, an opponent of Heathrow expansion plans, insisted that Londoners such as he rconstituents who live under the flightpath, will get their say.

The other option discussed is a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary, once championed by Mayor Boris Johnson. Other options on the table include new runways at either Gatwick or Stansted.

Ms Greening today made clear that she is unmoved by the renewed campaign for Heathrow expansion, stressing that all three main political parties are opposed to the third runway.

HACAN on Facebook

June 28, 2012