LondonUnlocked

UPDATED: London's airport debate heats up

Articles, LondonUnlocked, The Future of HeathrowEditor
LU London World

The FT's editorial today on London's airport capacity:

No one looks forward to visiting Heathrow. London’s main airport is less decrepit than it was: renovations are replacing the worst of its oppressive low-ceilinged halls. But it is still far from being an airport fit for a world city.

It gets worse. The newspaper (rightly) criticises the delay in announcing a decision on the future of airport capacity in the South East, describing well the political cowardice which has left us in this position.

Abu Dhabi's The National paints a fascinating picture from a part of the world which is not marked by such indecision:

...the UK government is terrified of having to underwrite the cost of a Boris Island on one hand and the electoral backlash of planting more runways in the overcrowded south-east on the other.

The BBC has run an excellent article - a must read - on the variety of options being considered by Sir Howard Davies and his commission. They're due to report back after the next election in 2015 and the then Government can, if they wish, act on what is proposed.

That's a long time and an unnecessary wait.

The Government needs to step up now and work with the Mayor and business to get the best result for London and the South East in the long term. Otherwise it may well be another decade before we see a solution. How much longer, one has to ask, can London maintain competitiveness with its largest airport already running at 99% capacity?

UPDATE 24/01: The Gateway Associates Key Influencer Survey on proposals for a hub airport in the Thames was published yesterday and makes interesting reading. You can find the full report here.