Osborne comes out in support of expanding Heathrow

My Mum until recently and all but one of my aunts live in South West London and one issue that is hugely controversial is Heathrow Airport. One of the busiest airports in the world and serves as the main hub airport for most of the UK. Yet for many living around it, the airport is a nightmare with flights landing just a minute apart for most of the day. The airport does have restrictions during the evenings and they try to rotate the runways where landings and take offs happen to give different parts of the area a bit of a breather from the noise.

Not all residents of this area dislike the airport, they recognise the economic benefits that it brings in terms of jobs and investment into the local community. In fact, if you took away the airport or downsized it, it would be difficult to see what would actually replace it.

Thus far the government has not made a decision on whether to expand the airport and build a third runway, fearing the response from many of the Conservative MP’s in that area who are opposed to such plans, instead favouring the expansion of Gatwick.  Yet, the former Chancellor, George Osborne has made the economic case today for why the airport should be expanded arguing;

If we want Britain to be outward-looking, free-trading & global, we must expand the great airport that connects us to that world & that trade.

We can consider Gatwick expansion. But not at the expense of Heathrow – and not in parallel or else, in practice, nothing will get built.

The failure to get a decision on this issue one way or another, has to been seen as a sign that across the UK, there lacks a serious strategy in terms of aviation and how to get the big ticket items done.

David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs

  • Daniel Kevin Sullivan

    You just know that the French or the Germans would have expanded Gatwick and built an ultra high speed link from Heathrow to Gatwick by now.

  • hgreen

    Gatwick is no good if you are from the North or Midlands. Stansted is the obvious choice.

  • chrisjones2

    Yet for many living around it, the airport is a nightmare with flights landing just a minute apart for most of the day………and tens of thousands of high quality jobs

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Whatever happened to Norman Foster’s estuary island airport idea?

    It was to include an underground train hub, tidal generators and a schmick airport.

    I imagine it would be tremendously expensive but what a feat it would be.

    Heathrow is a mess of a place, a jumble of roads, depots, more roads and poorly planned.

    It could easily have a new lease of life as a regional airport, business centre, thousands of homes and offices.

    And it could be redesigned to act as a conduit in that area instead of the massive obstacle it is.

    (I had to drop off a hire car there two weeks ago, i nearly lost my mind).

  • chrisjones2

    For most purposes Manchester or Birmingham is perfectly good

  • Gopher

    Our useless politicians should be using their leverage to get plenty of slots for Belfast flights to increase competition on the route and ensuring better flight times for those flights. The last flight out Heathrow is 1925 BA and 1945 Aer Lingus which are useless for connecting with a whole swathe of returning flights.

    Trouble is our Executive are too small time to co-ordinate communications and rationalize our air links for tourism and business. This Heathrow decision will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to get some good deals for NI. Scotland is way ahead of us on this.

  • Gopher

    There will be a vote on Heathrow, that vote will be quite tight. Our MP’s can write their own timetable. If they cant get stuff done on this they should get out of politics. They can demand a reserve of slots which is absolutely vital with with BA Aer Lingus merger.

  • Gopher

    Are you seriously telling me Ryanair would not fly to Heathrow if slots were available. BA bought Aer Lingus just for the Heathrow slots. Flybe’s Gatwick slots became so valuable they sold them and they are lost to us. Its up to our politicians to secure a number of slots so there can be competition and secure them them throughout the day to tie in with connecting flights. You telling me an Airline cant fill a 22.00 flight out of Heathrow to Belfast?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Well when you put it like that….

  • the rich get richer

    Any chance of quite electric Planes in the near future .

  • Gopher

    I would be confident todays engineers could surmount any problems with regards an airport in the Thames. The principle objections were cost and length of time to reach operational status. The third problem was the hardest to surmount, Heathrow is a massive existing business with a massive bag of cash to spend on lobbying. A Thames airport is just a penniless idea. When you take into consideration the dominance IAG (aka BA) has at Heathrow and their ability and resources to lobby also, the problems for the Thames airport become more human than logistical.

  • Old Mortality

    If London ceased to be the political capital of the UK, would there be still be a need for the third runway at Heathrow? Think of how much money could be saved through not needing to repair the Palace of Westminster and not having to build the third runway or HS3. Not to mention making the whole region a more agreeable and possibly cheaper place to live.
    Alternatively, why not leave Heathrow as it is but make it too expensive for all but the very important and those who can afford to feel important. The remainder coud be shunted through an expanded Gatwick, Stansted, Luton ot wherever.

  • hgreen

    100% yes. Parliament should be permanently moved to a northern city and the cost of renovating the Palace of Westminster provides the ideal opportunity.

  • Croiteir

    The brother was working on a huge new dock built in the London estuary at Southend, it is perfectly feasible

  • Katyusha

    London would still be the financial capital of the UK. Think Frankfurt vis a vis Berlin.
    But moving the political centre of the UK from London would be a positive step. I suggest some Midlands village, like Weimar.

    It’s like those suggestions to move the capital of Ireland to Athlone or Kilkenny. While ludicrous at first glance, on retrospection it makes perfect sense.