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Airports Commission produces expansion shortlist

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BBC Airport Option

Sir Howard Davies' Airports Commission has released its interim expansion shortlist this morning.

The Airports Commission’s independent review into airport capacity and connectivity in the UK has concluded that there is a need for one net additional runway to be in operation in the south east by 2030. Its analysis also indicates that there is likely to be a demand case for a second additional runway to be operational by 2050.

Three options are on the table at this stage:

  • A new runway to the south of Gatwick's existing runway (Gatwick Airport Ltd.)
  • Heathrow's proposal for a new 3,500m runway to the northwest (Heathrow Airport Ltd.)
  • A further proposal to extend capacity at Heathrow with an extension of the existing northern runway to over 6,000m (Heathrow Hub)

In addition, the Commission has pledged to undertake further consideration of the Isle of Grain Thames Estuary proposals early in 2014, reporting back later that year. The Thames Estuary proposals are currently not shortlisted due to "too many uncertainties and challenges surrounding them at this stage." Recent press comment has suggested that the proposal is only being considered further due to significant lobbying by the current Mayor.

The Commission is due to now undertake a detailed consideration of the three options above and report back ahead of a public consultation in Autumn 2014. It is not yet known whether the Estuary proposal will be included as an option in that consultation.

A final recommendation will be delivered in summer 2015 (to what may well be a new Government).

Stansted and Birmingham, not included in the shortlist, have been cited as possible options for a site for the second (2050) proposed runway.

Finally, the Commission has produced a number of recommendations for how the Government may alleviate strains on the current airport network. You can read these here.

The full report is available for download here.

(header graphic from the BBC's  story on the Commission)