So… at last the UK Government has at last announced their approval of a third runway at Heathrow to expand UK airport capacity following a cabinet committee meeting on Tuesday.
Let us set aside the mathematical error that there will actually be two runways built, not one – they have actually approved one strip of concrete, that is actually two runways, for aircraft can land or take off in either direction.
The other thing is that in all the garbage reporting it seems to have been forgotten that London Heathrow was originally built with six strips of concrete totaling twelve runways – all are still there, just that most of them have been covered with Terminal buildings and are used for taxiways or aircraft parking.
Then we come to all the other shock-horror reporting as to why cannot Stansted – or Gatwick – or Manston – or Maplin – or Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh be expanded instead. All sorts of reasons have been given, but none seem to realise the actual reason - or are afraid to state the truth. The airlines themselves do not want to move any of their services out of London Heathrow. They see Heathrow as the prime place to fly in and out of.
Twenty years ago I know a survey was done by one airline asking passengers and companies using air freight which would be their preference to fly in and out of - Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted. Overwhelmingly the majority selected Heathrow, despite that at this time the airline ran it’s own tests how long it took to reach each of the airports listed by public transport from Piccadilly Circus – with Gatwick the winner!
It was around this time that attempts were made by the airport operators to persuade the travelling public that there were ‘other’ London Airports – hence what could be termed the ‘re-branding’ of London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Stansted, London Luton and even recently London Southend!
New runways or not – London Heathrow will get busier, we will hear endless complaints from the NIMBYs and I guess the media will continue to get all the reporting wrong!