Letter by Chair of Richmond Heathrow Campaign sets out important key arguments against 3rd runway
In a letter to the Richmond & Twickenham Times, Chairman of the Richmond Heathrow Campaign, Peter Willan, sets out succinctly some of the main reasons why there does NOT need to be a 3rd Heathrow runway. Just a few of the points are: any gain in connectivity due to the runway comes at the cost from another UK airport; international-to-international transfer passengers use over 30% of Heathrow’s capacity and are estimated to use 50% of a 3rd runway; these transfer passengers provide little economic value to the UK, and do not leave the airport; rather than transfer passengers making “thin” (ie low passenger volume) routes more viable, in reality most are on the “thick” routes that are very profitable, eg. to the USA, largely fro leisure; just 2% of transfers are on “thin” long-haul routes and less than 10 “thin” routes have any transfers; the Chancellor should remove the tax exemption (they pay no APD) on international-to-international transfers and free up over 20% of Heathrow’s capacity for UK passengers to benefit the UK economy without environmental cost. Peter says the aviation sector is one of the least taxed sectors of the UK economy., paying no fuel duty and no VAT – a massive subsidy; in addition, Heathrow receives tax relief on its large debt to the benefit of the equity, 90% owned overseas.
Letter from Peter Willan, Chair Richmond Heathrow Campaign, to the Richmond & Twickenham Times
9 January 2017
Four similar letters published last week clearly supported Heathrow’s 3rd runway but failed to acknowledge the addition of 260,000 flights to the existing 480,000 a year and that this breaches the many past promises and conditions made by Government for protecting the community from environmental harm.
The Government recommendation precedes the many consultations this year on the viability of the expansion.
Surely Richmond council and others, ourselves included, have a responsibility to continue raising legitimate concerns. For us it means seeking a better but not bigger Heathrow.
The Airports Commission’s recommendation to expand Heathrow ignores much of its own evidence – expansion provides no increase in UK international connectivity and Heathrow’s gain is someone else’s loss: e.g. stifled competition with reduced growth and jobs at other airports and reduced UK growth of long-haul business travel and inbound tourism.
The best kept secret is that Heathrow has little value as a hub airport and that solutions to the capacity issue are immediately available.
International-to-international transfer passengers use over 30% of Heathrow’s capacity and are estimated to use 50% of a 3rd runway.
The Commission says these transfers provide little economic value to the UK – the passengers do not leave the airport.
The hoax is the idea Heathrow is a hub airport that needs transfers to make routes viable. Just 2% of transfers are on thin long-haul routes and less than 10 thin routes have any transfers.
Our plea to the Chancellor is to remove promptly the tax exemption on international-to-international transfers and free up over 20% of Heathrow’s capacity for UK passengers to benefit the UK economy without environmental cost.
Add to this Heathrow’s spare capacity: it currently serves around 74 million passengers a year compared to existing runway capacity for 95 million passengers.
The aviation sector is one of the least taxed sectors of the UK economy. No fuel duty and no VAT.
Plus Heathrow receives tax relief on its large debt to the benefit of the equity, 90% owned overseas.
The industry is on a free holiday at the expense of the UK taxpayer.
Heathrow is by far the most expensive major airport in the world with the tax payer likely to foot the expansion inefficiencies.
Surely there is good reason to seek answers on both the economic and environmental costs of the Government’s irrational and irresponsible recommendation.
Chair, Richmond Heathrow Campaign