UK needs four-runway airport, says study

5 October 2012
By Sofia Mitra-Thakur
Mobile version
Share |
An aircraft comes into land at Heathrow Airport

An aircraft comes into land at Heathrow Airport

The UK needs a four-runway airport either at Heathrow or Luton if it wants to compete with other European hubs such as Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, a report by a think tank has said.

The best option would be four runways immediately west of the current Heathrow site in west London, the report from Policy Exchange said.

A four-runway airport at Luton in Bedfordshire would be the next-best option.

The report did not rule out an extra, third runway at Heathrow, but said Thames Estuary airport plans, as supported by London Mayor Boris Johnson and by architect Lord Foster, were not practical.

The report was written by Tim Leunig, chief economist at the liberal think tank CentreForum, who said: "We can and should expand aviation capacity in south-east England.

"Doing so will send a much-needed signal to people that Britain is open for business.

"It is possible to expand Heathrow in such a way that it cements itself as Europe's number one hub while significantly reducing the noise nuisance over west London. A four-runway airport would be straightforward to construct and relatively low-cost by the standards of hub airports.

"It causes the lowest level of disruption to the wider economy of any likely airport expansion scenario."

Policy Exchange said an estuary airport would be too difficult to get to for too many people and would present greater environmental and construction challenges than expansion at Heathrow.

Also ruled out were four-runway airports at Gatwick or Stansted.

The report also called for a complete ban on the noisiest of aircraft at all times, a complete ban on night flights (between 11pm and 6.15am) and steeper landing angles to cut down on noise.

Heathrow is operating close to full capacity after the government blocked development of a third runway as further expansion of the site would mean a huge increase in the number of planes flying directly over the capital.

A commission chaired by former Financial Services Authority head Howard Davies to analyse ways to expand airport capacity in south-east England will report in the summer of 2015 after releasing an interim report next year, Patrick McLoughlin said last month.

BAA has seen traffic between Heathrow and emerging markets rise in recent years and believes it is now falling behind rival European airports in Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam in the battle for these lucrative routes because of constraints on growth.

"The strength with which the different options are put forward shows precisely why we were right to set up a proper independent review with the timescale to consider fully what is in the country's interest," said a DfT spokeswoman.

"Maintaining the UK's status as a leading aviation hub is vital to our economy and history suggests that, without an agreed evidence base and a high degree of political consensus, it will not be possible to deliver a lasting solution that is right for the UK."

Latest Issue

E&T cover image 1607

"As the dust settles after the referendum result, we consider what happens next. We also look forward to an international summer of sport."

E&T jobs

  • Digital Forensic Specialist (Audio)

    Met Police
    • London
    • Circa £37,305 plus £3,406 location allowance

    You’ll contribute to a wide range of research and development activities.

    • Recruiter: Met Police

    Apply for this job

  • MetOp-SG Receiver Project Manager

    Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
    • STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Harwell, Oxfordshire
    • £37,213 - £50,926 (depending on experience)

    Project Manager to oversee the development, production and test of spaceflight components and integrated receiver systems

    • Recruiter: Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

    Apply for this job

  • Systems Engineer

    Reaction Engines Ltd
    • Abingdon, Oxfordshire
    • Competitive + Benefits

    Perform general systems engineering tasks as necessary with specific focus on electronic systems and instrumentation.

    • Recruiter: Reaction Engines Ltd

    Apply for this job

  • Production Manager

    Reaction Engines Ltd
    • Abingdon, Oxfordshire
    • Competitive + Benefits

    An amazing opportunity to plan, direct and coordinate all manufacturing operations and activities in line with company strategy and business plan.

    • Recruiter: Reaction Engines Ltd

    Apply for this job

  • Navigation Sensors Principle Engineer

    MBDA
    • Stevenage
    • Competitive Salary & Benefits

    What?s the opportunity? An exciting opportunity has arisen in a rapidly evolving international team with increasing capabilities.  The Navigation Sensors Group is responsible for the...

    • Recruiter: MBDA

    Apply for this job

  • Technology Manager - External Communications

    BAE Systems
    • Frimley, England, Surrey
    • Negotiable

    Technology Manager - External Communications Would you like Lead the technical delivery of the External Communications System (ECS) capability sustainment & evolution projects within the common ECS (cECS) Baseline Design Management (BDM) programme? Th

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • Graduate Process Engineer

    EFFECT Photonics
    • Brixham, Devon
    • £20,000 to £25,000

    Join our exciting journey to deliver new standards in the availability of data bandwidth.

    • Recruiter: EFFECT Photonics

    Apply for this job

  • Senior Principal Materials Engineer

    MBDA
    • Stevenage
    • Competitive salary & benefits

    What?s the opportunity? A fantastic opportunity has arisen for an experienced materials engineer/scientist specialising in non-metallic materials and processing. You will be given responsibility for...

    • Recruiter: MBDA

    Apply for this job

  • Postdoctoral Research Associate

    The University of Liverpool
    • Liverpool, Merseyside
    • £32,600 - £37,768 pa

    Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate in a brand new area of communications.

    • Recruiter: The University of Liverpool

    Apply for this job

  • Test Engineering Opportunities

    HMGCC
    • Hanslope Park, Milton Keynes
    • Salary offered will depend on skills and experience

    Push incredible innovations beyond their limits. Opportunities for Software, Hardware, EMC, Test and Inspection Engineers!

    • Recruiter: HMGCC

    Apply for this job

More jobs ▶

Subscribe

Choose the way you would like to access the latest news and developments in your field.

Subscribe to E&T