Reply To: London Heathrow Airport third runway U-turn ahead

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I doubt it.

The programme yesterday was telling; we saw how LHR was a collection of tents within living memory, and was not well linked to London, or indeed more distant parts of the country.

It was only the completion of the Hammersmith flyover in the 1960s and M25 in 1986 that road travel became easier – and it’s still pretty dire.

The M25 is what it is, and the Hammersmith Flyover will need thoroughly rebuilding within a decade, causing massive disruption.

There is no question that improved links will be needed for a Thames Hub, but CrossRail helps and modern solutions will ensure speedy transits across town, leaving the LHR site to blossom with alternative uses.

As mentioned previously, I predict:

1. Interim fiddling with APD to reduce regional flight taxes
2. A new runway at Gatwick, plus new terminal, to be ready for use once the council embargo expires in 2019
3. Improved transit links between Stansted and London, with a formal review timetable for a new runway if demand supports it
4. Further obfuscation on the Third Runway, but eventually deciding that a Thames Hub is inevitable.

Better thought through operational resilience for Heathrow would go a considerable way to solving reputational issues; additional stand capacity as T2 comes online will help this to some extent, but more needs to be done to avoid the mass cancellations which are the current response to weather or other delays.

Heathrow is simply in the wrong place, causing too much congestion alongside other traffic heading to London, its position endangers London if there was a crash and lacks space to expand, not just in terms of runways, but also in terms of additional terminal capacity.

All the lobbying we are hearing is from formerlyBAA and airlines intent on holding onto the restrictive practices of the LHR slot-controlled environment.

Someone has to break the deadlock and make a plan not for the the next decade, but for the next 100 years of global aviation. Without a Hub solution, the UK will no longer play a central role in global travel.

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