BAA “fighting yesterday’s battles with the day before’s arguments” in an attempt to revive Heathrow Third Runway
On March 6th BAA is expected to release a report it commissioned from Oxford Economics which will argue that the UK risks losing trade and inward investment if Heathrow does not expand. The report seeks to influence the Government’s draft aviation strategy which is expected to go out to public consultation towards the end of this month. HACAN says there is no compelling economic case for a third runway at Heathrow. BAA will not accept that the current Government rejected both the environmental and economic case for Heathrow expansion. It’s a sign of its desperation that it has wheeled out Oxford Economics to do the report. These were the consultants who provided the economic basis for the now discredited 2003 Air Transport White Paper.
5.3.2012 (HACAN press release)
Tomorrow (March 6th) BAA is expected to release a report it commissioned from Oxford Economics which will argue that the UK risks losing trade and inward investment if Heathrow does not expand. The report seeks to influence the Government’s draft aviation strategy which is expected to go out to public consultation towards the end of this month.
Campaign group HACAN, which represents residents under the Heathrow flight path, has dismissed BAA’s attempt to re-open the Heathrow debate as “fighting yesterday’s battles with the day before’s arguments.”
HACAN Chair John Stewart said: “The argument has been settled. There is no compelling economic case for a third runway at Heathrow. BAA will not accept that the current Government rejected both the environmental and economic case for Heathrow expansion. It’s a sign of its desperation that it has wheeled out Oxford Economics (1) to do the report. These were the consultants who provided the economic basis for the now discredited 2003 Air Transport White Paper.”
The Prime Minister has made it clear he does not accept there is an economic case for a third runway. In a speech to business leaders in 2008 (2) he said: “There are now increasing grounds to believe that the economic case is flawed, even without addressing the serious environmental concerns.”
All major parties have now ruled out expansion at Heathrow.
(1). Oxford Economics were previously called Oxford Economic Forecasting. They are regularly used by the aviation industry. Although based in Oxford, they are not part of Oxford University.
(2). As reported in the Financial Times, 17/6/08. See below
March 4, 2012 (Financial Times)
Full article at
BAA signals legal action over Heathrow
By Andrew Parker, Elizabeth Rigby and Chris Tighe
Tomorrow there will be a new report out, commissioned by BAA, Oxford Economics that has done many studies for the aviation sector in the past. It will be pushing the case that unless Heathrow can expand, the UK risks losing trade, inward investment and tourism. They say a 3rd Heathrow runway could be open in 6 – 10 years.
If Heathrow is not in the consultation, BAA will bring a legal challenge against government.
Government and the DfT know a third runway at Heathrow would have “unacceptable environmental consequences”.
A Thames estuary airport would be unlikely to open until 2028 at the earliest, so does nothing to solve the UK’s current economic and employment problems.
More FT related stories
- Ministers dared to rethink on Heathrow
- Analysis On course for a steady descent
- BAA urges rethink over Heathrow runway
- Livingstone rejects Thames estuary airport
Cameron queries Heathrow expansion
By Jean Eaglesham and Kevin Done
Published: June 17 2008 02:37
David Cameron paved the way for a Conservative government to block a third runway
at Heathrow in a landmark speech on the environment on Monday that threatened
to open a rift with business.
Ministers have strongly backed the business argument that Heathrow needs to expand
to maintain the UK’s competitiveness. But plans for a third runway are facing
mounting opposition from residents’ and environmental groups, backed by some local
The Tory leader’s position on the contentious issue will be seen as a signal
of how his party will balance competing arguments from business and green lobbyists,
particularly in electorally sensitive areas.
Mr Cameron came down firmly on the environmental side of the dispute over Heathrow
in a speech in London on Monday, while leaving a small amount of wiggle room for
a later endorsement of expansion.
Lambasting Gordon Brown for “pig-headedly pursuing a third runway just to try
and prove a political point”;, Mr Cameron stated: “The most important priority
for Heathrow is making it better, not bigger.” The “fiasco” at Terminal 5 meant
there “must be severe doubt” over the ability of the government and BAA, Heathrow’s
owner, to manage the expansion, Mr Cameron said.
The Tory leader rejected the business argument that there was a strong economic
case for a third runway. “There are now increasing grounds to believe that the
economic case is flawed, even without addressing the serious environmental concerns,”
Mr Cameron stated.
Business reacted with concern to the Tory stance. “If we don’t continue to expand
[airport capacity] to meet rising demand, we’re going to lose out as UK plc,”
David Frost, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, told the Financial
The CBI said Mr Cameron’s speech failed to offer “an answer to what you do with
an airport that’s at 99 per cent capacity”. John Cridland, CBI deputy director-general,
said the employers’ body agreed with Mr Cameron’s argument that urgent environmental
action was needed, despite the economic downturn. But he questioned the Tory policy
of ring-fencing all the revenues from higher green taxes for tax relief for families.
“I’m not sure the business community will accept that every single penny raised
in green taxes should help families,”Mr Cridland told the FT.
The CBI also expressed concern about the proposal set out in Mr Cameron’s speech
to require the next generation of coal-fired power stations, including Eon’s proposed
£1.5bn ($2.9bn) new plant at Kingsnorth, Kent, to incorporate carbon capture storage
Mr Cameron’s sceptical stance on the expansion of Heathrow will sound alarm bells
at both British Airways, which has its global hub at the airport, and at BAA,
which has been leading the campaign to build a third runway.
According to BAA, the need for new runway capacity is “urgent” to avoid increasing
delays and to maintain Heathrow’s position as a global hub airport.
The government is due to publish the results of its recently completed three-month
public consultation on the Heathrow expansion plans later this year, which could
increase takeoff and landing capacity at Europe’s most congested airport by 50
per cent by 2030.
The Sustainable Development Commission, the government’s own environmental watchdog, said last month that the proposed expansion should be put on hold. It was immediately rebuffed by the transport department, which said deferring a decision for a further three-year debate was &lquot;not a serious option&rquot;.
Below is the relevant bit of the speech David Cameron made today (16.6.2008).
“The fifth part of our Blue/Green Charter – and a vital part of the change we
want to bring – is to renew our national transport infrastructure. We’ve got to
transform the way we get travel in our country – not just because of the environment
but because of our economy.
“Gridlocked roads. Slow, packed and expensive trains. Our country is grinding
to a halt – and we need big changes in our infrastructure. High speed rail to
connect the country quickly. Giving parents a real alternative the school run
to ease congestion. Tackling our worst road bottlenecks. Opening up the capacity
of our ports. These are all part of a serious long-term national transport plan.
What is not serious is the Government’s approach to another vital part of our
transport infrastructure – Heathrow Airport.
“Why on earth are they so hell-bent on pressing ahead with a third runway at
Heathrow without a proper and rigorous analysis of whether we need it? Just like
their approach to 42 days detention, this is about political positioning, not
getting the substance right. Gordon Brown says a third runway for Heathrow is
vital for the future of our economy – that we won’t be able to compete without
“But if you get behind the headline, his argument falls apart. For example, the
case for a third runway is based on Heathrow as an even bigger hub airport with
a massive increase in the number of transfer passengers. The economic value of
transfer passengers is hotly disputed. And there are so many examples of the hub
model going wrong.
“It contributed to the bankruptcy of almost every US airline that has gone out
of business over recent years. And it contributed to European failures like Sabena
as well. Why? Because passengers are people, not statistics.
“Faced with airport inefficiencies like missed connections, lost baggage and
delayed flights, passengers will vote with their feet and go elsewhere. After
the recent fiasco at Terminal 5, there must be severe doubt about whether the
Government and BAA are even capable of managing the expansion of Heathrow to cope
with over 700,000 flights a year by 2030.
“I think the whole country can agree that the most important priority for Heathrow
is making it better, not bigger – and yet Gordon Brown is pig-headedly pursuing
a third runway just to try and prove a political point. What a ridiculous way
to plan for the future.
“The Heathrow argument is not one where you have the economic case on one side
and the environmental case on the other. There are now increasing grounds to believe
that the economic case for a third runway is flawed, even without addressing the
serious environmental concerns. The important decisions for our economic competitiveness
– and for ending the national embarrassment of the state of Heathrow are the competition
issues around BAA, looking at how our airports are managed, and seeing what can
be done to make them better.