City chief backs Heathrow Hub for air expansion in the south east

 
James Nickerson
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The new government is yet to make a decision on where capacity should be expanded (Source: Getty)

A top hedge fund boss has put his weight behind plans to extend Heathrow's northern runway in order to expand aviation capacity in the south east.

One of the City's top chiefs, Anthony Clake, who oversees near $10bn (£7.7bn) at Marshall Wace Asset Management, is the majority shareholder in Heathrow Hub, one of the plans still in contention to solve the on-going problem of capacity.

Clake has been an investor in Heathrow Hub since 2013, Sky News reported, and is thought to have invested more money on three occasions after the government delayed the decision.

Read more: Heathrow boss says Brexit means airport expansion plans need to move forward

Clake is understood to hold 75 per cent of the shares in Heathrow Hub, with other shareholders including Jock Lowe, a retired pilot who pioneered the idea.

Lowe has maintained that Heathrow Hub would cost less than £10bn, which would be at least £6bn cheaper than a new third runway.

Any post-tax profits Clake earns from Heathrow Hub have been promised to be given by him to charities surrounding the airport.

"I have been delighted to support this important project which has brought some creative thinking to solving this vital national infrastructure problem," Clake told Sky News. "I am a believer in responsible capitalism and will therefore donate any after-tax profits to youth and environmental charities in the London and Heathrow areas."

A spokesman for Heathrow Hub said: "The Heathrow Hub scheme is cheaper, simpler and quieter than Heathrow Airport Ltd's third runway. It can also be phased, so the introduction of new slots will be gradual. An extended runway will deliver all the economic benefits and new capacity of a third runway but at lower environmental, social and financial cost. It is also very generous of him to offer to give any profits he makes to charity."

Read more: MPs back third runway at Heathrow in first post-Brexit poll

The news comes after it was announced in June that the airport expansion decision has been pushed back until "at least" October.

Business leaders have been pushing for a quick decision since the Davies Commission was published last July, recommended building a third runway at Heathrow.

The government said in December it would delay making a decision on airport expansion in the south east until at least this summer, saying "more work will be done on environmental impacts" in the interim.

Philip Hammond, the newly-appointed chancellor, has said that a decision should be taken soon after Dubai surpassed Heathrow as the world's busiest airport.

Gatwick hopes to build a second runway, and all parties are still engaged in communication with government over the decision.

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