KPMG analysis of global runway building, hoping to show UK being left behind, leaves out a runway…..

As a last minute bit of hype, to mark the close of the Airports Commission consultation, the pro-runway lobby “Let Britain Fly” commissioned a study by KPMG to look at plans in a range of countries to build runways.  They produced an super-dooper graphic to persuade us all we are LOSING THE GLOBAL RACE (a term Heathrow especially likes to pepper its utterances with).  Let Britain Fly is keen, as is Heathrow, to lead us to believe that the UK is to be “left behind” and that – using some highly distorted logic – unless the UK has a new runway (or two) all the UK’s history, economic power etc will be cast aside, and we will become a backwater ….. Unfortunately the KPMG graphic is wrong in showing London having 6 runways. It actually has 7, including Southend (which has been celebrated by the industry as a London airport, and is officially recognised as such by the CAA).  With 7 runways, the case being made by KPMG and “Let Britain Fly” falls apart.  It shows London continuing to have more runways – even by 2036 –  than any other city they compare, other than Beijing.  Unfortunate that the KPMG analysis felt the need to distort the facts, in order to make its case – and in doing so, showed their assessment to be incorrect.




28.1.2015 (Stop London City Airport  Masterplan  – SCAM)

As business and the aviation industry reach rabid dog style foaming at the mouth for a new runway, its well funded lobbying group Let Britain Fly put out an all singing, all dancing press release demanding to, well, Let Britain Fly.

In conjunction with KPMG, they have used their stellar accounting skills, *cough*, to persuade us why we desperately need a new runway.

They produced an super-dooper graphic to persuade us all we are LOSING THE GLOBAL RACE.


                                  Colours! Words! Numbers! Nonsense!

The only problem is they seemed to have misplaced a runway.

The graphic above tells us that London has 6 runways. London has in fact got 7 runways, Heathrow x 2, Stansted, Gatwick, Luton, London City Airport and Southend.

So why ditch a runway? A 7 Runway London does not suit the expansion narrative.

Lets take the Let Britain Fly graphic back to basics with the actual 7 London runways.


(Yes I know a 10 year old could put together a better chart – says SCAM) – graphic by Stop London City Airport Masterplan

So what does the basic 7 runway graphic tell us?

*London NOW has the most runways.

*By 2036, 3 airports will grow to have the equivalent number of runways that London has now.

*Only one airport, Beijing (population 21m and growing, third largest City in the World, utterly toxic air pollution) could surpass London for number of runways.

It is increasingly becoming apparent that the aviation industry are not going to let actual facts get in the way of increasing shareholder value at their airports. If the lies, manipulation, bullying and dodgy graphics are not proof of that, nothing is.

*We did ask @letbritainfly for comment but they did not respond.



World Airports Plan For One Billion More Journeys A Year

January 27, 2015 (Transport & Logistics)
Emerging economies lead drive for airport expansion with the UK at risk of being left behind, shows analysis.
Emerging economies dominate the list of countries with plans for airport expansion, reflecting a shift in the global economy that risks leaving the UK behind, according to a new analysis of the sector.The analysis produced by KPMG on behalf of the Let Britain Fly campaign reveals the world’s major cities plan to have built over 50 new runways by 2036, with Asian economies chief amongst those that will provide the capacity for an extra one billion passenger journeys per year.

It compares projected runway and passenger numbers for airports around the world and illustrates the huge scale of infrastructure projects which will be undertaken over the next 20 years.

Nations leading the charge for global connectivity include:

–       China, which will have built 17 new runways to serve its major cities by 2036, with the capacity for 400 million passenger journeys;

–       Dubai, where the World Central Airport project will provide more passenger capacity than all of London’s airports combined;

–       A new six-runway airport in Istanbul which will have almost twice the passenger capacity of Heathrow;

–       Others leading the drive for extra air capacity include Manila, Singapore, Bangkok, Mexico City and Mumbai.

The analysis contrasts this with the UK, which has not built a new full-length runway in the South East since the Second World War,  [the reason for that is Britain built a very large number of runways during the War, so the country is very well supplied with runways.  AirportWatch note] and currently has no confirmed plans to increase its capacity.  All of London’s main airports are predicted to be full by 2030.

The analysis also found that without expansion London could lose daily connections with up to twenty international cities that it would otherwise have had. These missed connections could result in less trade, tourism [the majority is tourism, and the majority of that is outbound UK tourists, taking their spending money out of the UK economy.  AW note] and investment with and from some of the fastest growing regions in the world, impacting on UK jobs and economic growth.

Gavin Hayes, Director of the Let Britain Fly campaign, which commissioned the independent analysis said: “This work reaffirms the need for additional runway capacity in the South East if Britain is to remain a serious contender on the world stage. [This is a complete non-sequitur. There is very little justification for this claim. Britain is a major nation, with the world’s best air links.  AW note]

With all of London’s airports predicted to be at capacity by the end of the next decade, it is more important than ever that political action is taken to ensure we do not fall behind our international rivals.  The rest of the world isn’t going to wait patiently for us to catch up.”  [Building runways is not part of some macho competition, that the UK has to be the winner of.  Much of the pro-runway spin -especially by Heathrow –  likens the building of a new runway to winning a “global race” etc.  It is unhelpful terminology.  Eg  Here  and here and here  and “losing our crown” here.  AW note]. 

James Stamp, Global Head of Aviation at KPMG, said: “The report shows that the debate about new runways in the UK is not just about where to lay 3000 metres of concrete, it is a debate that is fundamentally rooted in how we secure our future economic prosperity.  The emerging markets matter because within about a decade over half the growth in the world will come from these economies.  The report highlights that we need to make sure we are connected to that future growth, however, as things stand, Paris, for example, has 50% more flights to China than London.  Further delays means that London becomes less connected, and less competitive.”

Let Britain Fly is calling on politicians to publicly agree to be guided by the recommendations of the Airports Commission to ensure that London remains a global aviation hub and continues to provide connections to both new and established markets.