[Re: A third runway at Heathrow is essential if London is to be a globally competitive city, Friday]
Paul Willis is right that Boris Island is imaginative but twenty years away. The short-term answer is for government to dictate that only strategic business routes are served by Heathrow. New routes to China and Latin America should be prioritised while less critical destinations are moved to regional airports.
A Heathrow third runway is the most viable option. Critically it would be entirely private sector funded, with no taxpayer money required. But it is no silver bullet in itself. A second runway at Stansted would help relieve Gatwick, and Gatwick should also be able to build a second runway to be a viable alternative for long-haul routes. The alternatives are ludicrous. HS2 will have next to no impact, at best a 3 per cent reduction in flights and at massive tax-payer expense. The Boris Island hub is a great dream, but besides taking at least ten years to build, it would cost a fortune. Constraining Heathrow hinders British Airways against its competitors, which all have unconstrained airport space. Restrictions on expansion won’t save the environment, since air traffic will just shift to other hubs.
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