Analysis by NATS for Airports Commission shows a 4th Heathrow runway would cut flight path capacity elsewhere
An article in the Times says a submission by NATS, the air traffic control service to the Airports Commission warns of the problems that would be caused if a 4th (not only a 3rd) runway was built. The Airports Commission said in its interim report, that it considers another new runway might be “needed” by 2050, if the first new runway capacity has been filled by then. Even one new runway is marginal, at best, for carbon emissions. [A 2nd new runway cannot be built and used, keeping within UK carbon targets]. There are fears that if Heathrow was allowed a 3rd runway, it would effectively become a Trojan Horse for a 4th runway – Heathrow airport has said that from 2030 a decision would have to be taken on a 4th. The effect on flight paths would mean fewer planes could use the other London airports. The Times says a 4th runway at Heathrow would reduce the combined capacity of Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Birmingham, City and Southend airports by 9%. It would cut capacity relative to a 3-runway Heathrow by 18% due to the disruption to flight paths to the other main airports.
Fourth runway at Heathrow ‘would block flight paths to other airports’
Those against Heathrow expansion said the analysis was a ‘game-changer’ in the debate – Toby Melville/Reuters
Further Heathrow expansion ‘not ruled out’; could want forth runway and seventh terminal
23.01.08 (UK Airport News Info)
The chief executive of Heathrow Airport operator BAA told the London Assembly yesterday that he could not rule out the need for more ‘capacity’ at the worlds busiest international hub, beyond its current expansion proposals. The comments raised the fears that a fourth runway and a seventh terminal could eventually wanted at Heathrow.
The assembly’s environment committee met to consider the environmental impact of a proposed plan to add a third runway and a sixth terminal at Heathrow. This plans would require the village of Sipson to be bulldozed and 50 communities and towns could suffer increased noise. They will have an impact on the London boroughs of Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham and the boroughs of Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead, Spelthorne and South Bucks District Council.
Local councils, campaigners and industry leaders attended the meeting, where the chief executive of BAA, Stephen Nelson, said that unlike his predecessor, who ruled out a further expansion in 1994 when plans for Terminal 5 were discussed, he would not commit to anything.
Mr Nelson was asked whether he was saying that there could be a fourth runway and seventh terminal. He replied: ‘It would be inappropriate for me to speculate on whether there would be a further case for expansion beyond 2030.’ He said he did not want to give ‘hostages to fortune’ by saying that the third runway would be the last big expansion. However, he told the environment committee that the proposed sixth terminal and third runway were the extent of the company’s current plans.
Current growth trends suggest that the third runway will be full long before 2030 and Heathrow will once again face losing market share to airports on the Continent. Schiphol, near Amsterdam, has five runways and Paris Charles de Gaulle has four.
John Stewart, founder and chairman of the Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (Hacan), said: ‘After making so many false promises in the past, BAA has decided to be honest about the fact that it is keeping its options open for further expansion. We fear that they will first lengthen the third runway and then build a fourth.’
The London Assembly committee is expected to send its recommendations on the current proposals to the government on February 26, ahead of the deadline for comments on the plans the next day.