Conservative MPs urge rethink on Heathrow 3rd runway and improved links with emerging economies

A group of 30 Conservative MPs, calling themselves the “Free Enterprise Group” have produced a report, which attempts to make the case for a 3rd Heathrow runway, and for new runways at Gatwick or Stansted.  It presents no new research, and ignores the environmental impacts of their proposals, giving no thought to climate change, and very vague suggestions of payments of up to £40,000 per household near Heathrow as compensation.  It makes out that Heathrow cannot produce enough flights to China. In practice, there were 606,800 passengers travelling between China and Heathrow in 2010, with another 1,386,770 travelling to Hong Kong. Heathrow flew 954,000 people to Miami last year (2011), compared to 311,000 to Beijing and 352,000 to Shanghai.  It seems beach holidays are a greater priority to airlines than Chinese business.

New Report calls for Heathrow 3rd Runway debate to be reopened.


Comment from HACAN:  “This is no more than a propaganda pamphlet passing itself off as a serious report”

The Free Enterprise Group (details below) has published a report called The Case for Aviation.  It calls for airport expansion in London and the South East.  The report, written by Spelthorne MP Kwasi Kwarteng and backed by 30 Conservative MPs, calls for the debate on the third runway at Heathrow to be opened.  It also suggests that householders impacted by airports could be offered up to £40,000.

HACAN Chair John Stewart said:
“This is no more than a propaganda pamphlet passing itself off as a serious report.  It contains no original research.  It accepts without question industry statistics that London is falling behind other cities with larger airports when in fact all the independent research shows London remains the best-connected city in the world for firms to do business – (for example, Cushman & Wakefield, The European Cities Monitor (2011)

Incredibly, it says nothing about climate change.  It says nothing about the impact fluctuating oil prices, high-speed rail or advanced tele-conference techniques may have on the demand for aviation.

It throws out the idea that residents could be offered up to £40,000 to compensate for noise.  It doesn’t explain which residents or how the figure was arrived at.  A recent report from the Civil Aviation Authority showed that 720,000 people are affected by noise from Heathrow.

This Free Enterprise Group report makes no attempt to say what proportion of these residents would be compensated.  Nor does it contain any assessment of whether residents would accept this compensation.

For more information: John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650


 Conservative MPs urge rethink on Heathrow 3rd runway 

19 January 2012 (BBC)

[Details on numbers of passengers flying to China from Heathrow below

A group of more than 30 Conservative MPs is calling on the government to rethink its decision to rule out a third runway at Heathrow airport.

The Free Enterprise Group says the UK is falling behind other European cities and a new runway is needed at Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted in the next decade.

It suggests compensating homeowners near Heathrow with up to £40,000.

A consultation on aviation, including a possible new airport in the Thames Estuary, will begin in March.

The group of MPs say they are not opposed to a new airport.

But they argue it will take decades to complete and in the meantime, the UK could be losing £1.2bn a year because of inadequate connections to emerging economies like China and Latin America.

They say, for example, that Paris and Frankfurt have 1,000 more annual flights to the three largest cities in China than Heathrow.

The report also says Heathrow served 227 destinations worldwide in 1990, but that has shrunk to 180, and is forecast to drop to 147.

‘Political grandstanding’

Passenger demand for London’s airports is forecast to increase from 140 million a year in 2010 to 400 million passengers a year by 2050, according to a previous report by the Greater London Authority.

The Conservative group of MPs say airport expansion is the only viable option to tackle this in the short term and at least one new runway must be built at either Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted in the next 10 years.

The report, written by Spelthorne MP Kwasi Kwarteng, is backed by 33 other Conservative backbenchers, including Chris Heaton-Harris, Andrea Leadsom, Jesse Norman and Rory Stewart.

It says the decision about which one should be chosen “should be made by the price mechanism and free competition rather than special interests and political grandstanding”.

Compensation from the airport operator could be one way of easing the pain, it suggests.

And at Heathrow, where one objection to expansion is that it would require the demolition of hundreds of homes, it says that could be avoided by incorporating the runway at RAF Northolt – about 10km from the airport – and adapting it to take regular commercial aircraft.

“Other airports such as Amsterdam Schiphol have already demonstrated that situating new runways several miles from the control tower is perfectly workable,” the report says.


A third option suggested by some is a high-speed rail link between Heathrow and Gatwick to combine them into a larger single hub – dubbed Heathwick.

But the MPs say this would only be effective if passengers and their luggage could remain “airside” the whole time – and not have to go in and out of immigration and security – and even then it would only be a partial solution.

Shortly after taking office in 2010, the coalition scrapped plans put in place by the previous government for a third runway at Heathrow.

It also ruled out any additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted.

The decision followed widespread opposition from councils, residents and green groups. The Conservatives and Lib Dems had both opposed the plan in opposition, preferring improved rail links instead.

The consultation on UK aviation policy in March will consider whether a new airport, partially built on reclaimed land in the Thames Estuary, could be feasible. That too, however, is strongly opposed by environmental groups and local councils.

Transport Secretary Justine Greening said in October she would not reconsider a third runway at Heathrow, and Labour has also said it is “off the agenda”.

China Airlines to end Heathrow-Taiwan flights

20 January, 2012   (ABTN)

China Airlines has blamed high oil prices and the European debt crisis for its decision to end the direct flights from Heathrow to Taipei from March 25.

The Taiwan-based carrier currently flies on the route twice a week but it is now establishing a daily codeshare flight with KLM from London to Amsterdam where it will connect with its existing Amsterdam-Bangkok-Taipei service.

China Airlines said that fuel costs and the eurozone’s economic problems have affected the profitability of its direct service to London, which was launched in March 2010.

The airline stopped accepting bookings for its London service beyond March earlier this month, causing speculations that the route would be cancelled.

The change still needs to be approved by regulators, but China Airlines expects to begin accepting reservations for London again after February 15. Passengers who have already booked the Taipei-London direct flight for after March 25 will be contacted by the airline about alternative arrangements.

A airline source said that there is a possibility that the direct flight to London will resume when the carrier receives its fuel-efficient Airbus A350s, which are due to be delivered in 2015. The Taipei-London route is currently serviced by the Airbus A340.

So does this mean that a slot will exist for the flight that Boris wants to go to Guangzhou ?  Or will the same problem of high oil prices and European debt crisis also apply there ?
 When you see flights being cancelled and removed it’s an indication that we are not using the capacity that is being laid on!

What are the facts about flights to China from Heathrow?

The Free Enterprise Group says Paris and Frankfurt have 1,000 more annual flights to the three largest cities in China than Heathrow.And it says there is no direct flight from Heathrow to Guangzhou, “the manufacturing heartland of China”, a country with which the Chancellor is urging increased trade.

CAA figures

Passengers to and from  CHINA –  HEATHROW

BEIJING                        2010     275 058            2009     299 858

SHANGHAI                   2010     331 756            2009     236 386

Total CHINA                 2010     606 814            2009      536 244

HONG KONG               2010    1 386 779           2009   1 528 886  (which shows for 2010 and 2009 all the airports and destinations)

Heathrow flew 954,000 people to Miami last year (2011), compared to 311,000 to Beijing and 352,000 to Shanghai.  It’s a question of demand and priorities, and it seems we attach greater priority to the beach than to business.

When the UK aviation industry makes comparisons about China, it curiously omits Hong Kong, which the UK returned to China in 1997.  There is still a strong historical connection and UK business people will often use Hong Kong as both a stopover and a hub to get almost anywhere in mainland China.  Heathrow flew almost 1.5m people to Hong Kong last year.  In other words, about 70% of all the people that Heathrow flies to China, are flown to Hong Kong.

It would seem that the business community of Germany has made more solid links with China than that of the UK.  Ergo, our business community is quick to bleat about the fact that Germany has three times the capacity to China than we do, but in reality it’s the lack of business that we are executing with China that is to blame, and NOT the lack of available
slots at Heathrow or anywhere else for that matter.

Last year there was a report of the size of exports to China.   Germany exported £27 billion and the UK exported £5 billion.

 Frankfurt has a special page about China on its website:

It says:

Facts & figures

There are over 260 Chinese companies in the area covered by the Frankfurt Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK – Industrie- und Handelskammer Frankfurt).
96% of the Chinese companies in Frankfurt operate in the service sector.

2,900 Chinese citizens live in the Frankfurt IHK district, 2,200 of them within the city zone.

Out of the 1,725 Chinese students at Hessian universities, 301 are studying at the Frankfurt university.

The number of Chinese tourists has increased greatly over the last few years: in the year 2010 more than 79,440 Chinese people visited Frankfurt am Main.

Excellent connections

Eight airlines serve the routes to and from China and there are 62 passenger flights from Frankfurt according to the current timetable. In addititon, there are many freight flights. There is a large volume of trade between Frankfurt and China.

Written by Kwasi Kwarteng, Member of Parliament for Spelthorne.  No publication date is given.


The Free Enterprise Group supporters (all Conservative MPs) are:

Steve Baker MP
Steve Barclay MP
Karen Bradley MP
Aidan Burley MP
Alun Cairns MP
Therese Coffey MP
George Eustice MP
Mark Garnier MP
John Glen MP
Sam Gyimah MP
Matthew Hancock MP
Richard Harrington MP
Chris Heaton-Harris MP
Margot James MP
Sajid Javid MP
Chris Kelly MP
Kwasi Kwarteng MP
Andrea Leadsom MP
Brandon Lewis MP
Brooks Newmark MP
Jesse Norman MP
Guy Opperman MP
Priti Patel MP
Mark Pritchard MP
Dominic Raab MP
David Rutley MP
Laura Sandys MP
Chris Skidmore MP
Julian Smith MP
Rory Stewart MP
Elizabeth Truss MP
Andrew Tyrie MP
Mike Weatherley MP
Nadhim Zahawi MP

The report concludes by saying:

“Opinions can differ on how capacity should best be expanded. As we have seen, no
choice is perfect or clearly dominates all others. Good cases have been made both for
and against adding runways at Heathrow, Northolt, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and the
Thames Estuary. Clearly, the exact engineering difficulties and costs of each option
are beyond the scope of this paper.

But then, neither is it a decision that the Government is likely to have much expertise
on.  Government has a poor track both at judging the future demands of consumers,
and at estimating the costs of large infrastructure projects.

The industry needs a more flexible planning system. Decisions should be made by
the price mechanism and free competition rather than special interests and political
grandstanding. There should be a presumption in favour of development.  Each new
development should have to directly negotiate adequate compensation for affected
locals, rather than lobby through politics and the press.

This would leave the industry free to respond to market demand, and able for
itself to judge the relative costs and benefits of the different options. This does not,
incidentally, necessarily imply more development everywhere. In the case of
Heathrow, for example, adequate compensation with the residents could easily prove
so expensive that relocating to another location such as Stansted or the Estuary
becomes more attractive.

Reforming the planning system is now urgent. Expanding one of the current airports is
the most viable option in the short term. If consensus cannot be reached, and building
does not commence in the next few years, London will inevitably fall further behind its
European rivals.”

This article is from the Times (££) about the report:

Tories demand new runway to reduce the continental drift

by Anushka Asthana and Philip Pank

January 19 2012 12:01AM

David Cameron will face calls today from more than 30 Tory MPs to allow an extra runway to be built at Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted airports.


A report by the Free Enterprise Group of MPs from the 2010 intake says that Britain’s dire economic circumstances mean the Prime Minister should reopen the debate about expanding existing airports. It suggests compensating residents affected by extra noise with payments of up to £40,000 to make the plans feasible.


But the report points out that Heathrow’s international route network has fallen from 227 destinations in 1990 to 180 today, with forecasts of it decreasing to 147. The airport, which is at 99 per cent capacity, has been forced down the international rankings.

“London is falling behind other European cities. Paris and Frankfurt enjoy 1,000 more annual flights to the three largest cities in China than Heathrow. The economy cannot afford to wait the 30 years it would take to build a new airport,” the report concludes.

………… and it continues …………..

World’s busiest passenger air routes

Wikipedia has a page showing the busiest flight routes across the world. The section on Europe (2007 Eurostat data) shows  just how many of the busiest routes are from Heathrow, including Heathrow to Hong Kong.’s_busiest_passenger_air_routes’s_busiest_passenger_air_routes#Europe