Airport capacity myths must be busted – new hub would be obsolete before it is built

AirportWatch believes the myth of the “airport capacity crisis” being pushed by the aviation industry must be busted.  While AirportWatch welcomes Justine Greening’s rejection of the Heathrow 3rd runway, it believes it is crucial to recognise that the UK has enough capacity until 2030 and there is therefore no need for a new hub airport.  The intense recent PR and lobbying campaign from the aviation industry has been designed to obscure several inconvenient facts – including that better use of runway capacity at London’s existing airports will provide more than enough capacity to reach markets such as India and China for decades to come. Also that Heathrow is NOT losing out to other European airports, with more flights to key business destinations than its two closest rivals, Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt combined.



 

28 AUGUST 2012  (AirportWatch)

The myth of the “airport capacity crisis” being pushed by the aviation industry must be busted according to AirportWatch (AW), the national umbrella organisation opposing unsustainable airport expansion.

While AW welcomes Justine Greening’s rejection of the Heathrow 3rd runway, the group says it is crucial to recognise that the UK has enough capacity until 2030 and there is therefore no need for a new hub airport.

The group stresses that the intense recent PR and lobbying campaign from the aviation industry has been designed to obscure the following inconvenient facts:

  • Better use of runway capacity at London’s existing airports will provide more than enough capacity to reach markets such as India and China for decades to come
  • Heathrow is NOT losing out to other European airports: it has 990 weekly departures to the world’s key business centres, more than its two closest rivals, Charles de Gaulle(484) and Frankfurt (450), combined
  • London is the top European city in which to do business according to the highly respected Cushman & Wakefield report – and has been so for the last 22 years (2)
  • Cushman & Wakefield say London owes this position to its excellent connections to the rest of the world, with best external and internal transport links and the best telecommunications (3)
  • If businesses are discouraged from basing themselves in London, this will be due to noise, air pollution, traffic congestion and general quality of life – not transport.
  • The UK cannot fulfil its climate change targets if the aviation industry continues to grow. Aviation accounts for at least 13% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions (if radiative forcing is included – about 6.5% without it) and the proportion is growing. If the industry grows as much as it wants, emissions from aviation alone will account for 25% of the UK’s emissions – leaving every other sector struggling to meet their targets.

AirportWatch Chair John Stewart said:

“The aviation industry’s “aviation capacity crisis” is an extended piece of “spin” aimed at convincing the public they need something that will predominantly benefit the industry’s own shareholders, with major costs for everyone else. Continued expansion of airports, in both the South East and the rest of the UK, will increase the misery for those living under flight paths, bust the UK’s targets for cutting carbon emissions and damage local environments.

“A new hub airport will land taxpayers with a bill of billions of pounds and a massive white elephant that will be obsolete before its construction is finished.

“We need transport solutions that move on from last century thinking and recognise that in the 21st century we will face problems of rising oil prices and increasing climate change. Biofuels will not save the aviation industry. We do not need new airports or runways.”

 

For further information, contact:

Susan Pearson on 07891 460942

or John Stewart on 07957 385650

 

Notes to editors

 

(1) https://www.cushwake.com/cwglobal/docviewer/2120_ECM_2011__FINAL_10Oct.pdf?id=c50500003p&repositoryKey=CoreRe

(2)  See “London Top City for Business report:

http://www.hacan.org.uk/resources/reports/london.top.city.for.business.but.too.dirty.and.noisy.pdf

and: http://www.aef.org.uk/downloads/Business_Connectivity_Report_August2011.pdf

and: http://www.aef.org.uk/downloads/Moving_on_report_WWF_March2011.pdf

Cushman & Wakefield’s European Cities Monitor 2011 was based on interviews with the bosses from Europe’s 501 largest companies.

 

(3)  See AirportWatch key facts briefing at:

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/wpcontent/uploads/AirportWatch_Aviation_Briefing_22.6.2012.pdf