What will Heathrow’s third runway provide?
Heathrow’s third runway has been a pretty controversial topic – and much in the news recently. On 25th June 2018 the government won a key vote in the House of Commons supporting the expansion of Heathrow with another runway. The vote passed by 415 votes to 119 – a majority of 296, which shows just how much support there is for the new runway in Parliament. There has been a lot of protest against the runway, both on environmental grounds and from local residents who will be affected, but what benefits will it bring that make the balance of all these competing interests worthwhile?
Why do we need another runway?
UK airports are fast running out of space. The existing facilities at Heathrow are already at 98% capacity and Gatwick is predicted to get to the same point in the next couple of years. The impact of this is that the UK will start to fall behind other European countries when it comes to competing for business investment and also being able to provide facilities to cope with the demand for consumer flights. Heathrow is the UK’s only hub airport and some of the other cities with comparable facilities that it is competing with – such as Paris and Amsterdam – have a lot more capacity.
What would be the benefits of Heathrow’s third runway?
- Enabling a new swathe of direct flights to emerging and fast growing markets, such as China, Russia and Brazil.
- Increasing the number of flights in and out of Heathrow and making the UK’s only hub airport more competitive with others of its size and stature.
- Triggering improvements to the transport infrastructure that supports Heathrow. For example, Heathrow’s rail capacity will treble from 18 to 40 trains an hour. There will also be an upgrade to coach services and bus routes. The result will be that another 30 million people will be using public transport to get to Heathrow by 2030.
- Improvements to existing cargo facilities. Businesses that use Heathrow for cargo often find they are frustrated when it comes to availability and volume of shipping options. The third runway could double the cargo capacity at the airport.
- New terminals. As a result of the addition of a third runway, the airport will also get two new terminals – Heathrow East and Terminal 6. The addition of these terminals will reduce the minimum connection times at the airport from 75 minutes to just an hour.
So, what’s the problem?
There has been a lot of disagreement as to whether a third runway at Heathrow is the best way to solve the lack of capacity at London airports. The plans will also mean a large number of homes are demolished and many more people will have to live their lives under the new flight paths. Air pollution is another serious issue – already at above illegal levels in some areas of West London, the addition of a third runway is only likely to make this worse.
Although not everyone agrees with the third runway at Heathrow, it’s now set to go ahead as planned – with all the economic and infrastructure benefit that could bring. At RG Group we are always on top of the latest developments that could affect our industry. Contact us to discuss your current requirements.