Heathrow to set out its stall for hub status

Marion Dakers
HEATHROW will this week lay out its arguments for a single hub airport to serve Britain, putting further pressure on the coalition to consider allowing the airport to expand.

Heathrow is expected to say on Wednesday that only a major hub airport can offer the transfer links and overall capacity needed to support soaring traffic in and out of the country.

A report at the weekend also claimed that Heathrow would seek billions of pounds in compensation if another hub was chosen to lead UK aviation expansion, forcing it to close.

Close-to-capacity Heathrow, formerly known as BAA, declined to comment.

The firms’ report will come as Sir Howard Davies gets to work on a government-mandated commission that will look at the options for boosting the UK’s air links.

The first working paper is expected this year, but the Davies Commission is not due to report its final findings until 2015. The government has said it will not look at the various options until after the general election.

Industry and interest groups have in recent months ramped up campaigns for several scenarios, including a new Thames Estuary hub and a rail link between Gatwick and Heathrow.

The Aviation Foundation, of which Heathrow is a member, wants the coalition to reexamine its opposition to an enlarged Heathrow.