MPs urge fast action to beef up air capacity

Marion Dakers
MORE MPs have waded into the row over Heathrow’s future, warning in a report yesterday that unless the coalition takes immediate action to expand Britain’s air capacity, the country will miss out on potential growth.

The all-party parliamentary aviation group adds to pressure on transport secretary Justine Greening, who has spent the week insisting that Heathrow will not expand during the current parliament.

The group of MPs led by Labour’s Brian Donohoe said in the report: “All efforts should be made to ensure the UK retains and grows hub capacity, whether that entails further capacity at Heathrow, or a new purpose-built hub airport.”

They added that while the government works out a long-term plan for air expansion, it should make better use of Heathrow’s runways and consider using RAF Northolt for domestic flights.

The group heard evidence from 60 groups and received help from campaign group A Fair Tax on Flying before writing the report.

They criticised air passenger duty, a lucrative tax for the Exchequer but much-maligned by airlines, saying it discouraged tourists from visiting the UK.