London Heathrow is Britain’s most well-known airport. For years, the airport has seen the number of free slots dwindle. Nowadays, coming across slots at Heathrow are next to impossible. Heathrow’s solution was to build a third runway, however, some were opposed to this for various reasons. It seems now that the British Courts are siding with Heathrow and allowing the Heathrow Expansion Plan to continue.
One of the major concerns about building a third runway at London Heathrow was in regards to the impact on local communities. As there are many homes around Heathrow, an increase of air traffic could be detrimental to the local residents.
As well as this, various climate and political groups have engaged in legal battles regarding Heathrow’s Expansion Plan. BBC reports the following organizations have been involved with this: Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, London’s mayor, and some local councils.
However, the courts recently ruled that Heathrow’s Expansion plan can continue forward. The essence of the case revolved around the legality of the expansion plan and not anything associated to climate change and environmental reform. As such, the ruling, as reported by The Guardian, indicated that the expansion plan’s legality was sound.
But the matter of London Heathrow’s third runway and the impact on climate emissions was not considered in the legal court. The public, however, may care more about this.
Why does Heathrow need a third runway?
London has many different airports, including City, Stansted, Gatwick, and Luton. With so many airports, it would seem that there is no dearth of capacity for passengers and airlines to establish routes and fly to London.
However, London’s Heathrow Airport is the crown jewel, so to speak. It is the largest airport in Britain and offers passengers a comfortable experience. In addition, Heathrow is great for connecting traffic with Virgin Atlantic or British Airways.
Given Heathrow’s popularity, having only two runways constrains a lot of growth. These slots are valuable. Etihad recently launched additional daily flights to London in order to preserve their slots at the airport. Airlines and the airport want a third runway in order to expand and give more carriers the opportunity to add additional frequencies or new flights to popular destinations. A third runway would also make it easier for some new airlines to gain access to flights to London.
This matter is not over yet. Appeals are likely and it seems Heathrow will also need to build up some trust and confidence in the public in order to gain the support they need to build a third runway.
While the courts seem in favor of Heathrow’s Expansion Plan, until the new runway has been completed, there is still some uncertainty and a process ahead.
Do you think London Heathrow should get a third runway? Let us know in the comments!