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Government Report Warns London Airports Will be Full by the 2030’s

A recently released UK government report suggests that all five of London’s main airports will be completely full by the mid-2030s, and four of them within a decade.

The report suggests that Heathrow Airport is operating at capacity, and so is Gatwick Airport at peak times, and this is causing the UK to lose routes to European rivals. With very limited capability at London’s major airports, London is beginning to find that new routes to important long haul destinations are being set up elsewhere in Europe. This is having an adverse impact on the UK economy, and affecting the country’s global competitiveness.

The report says expanding Heathrow Airport with a third runway would deliver the biggest boost in long haul flights, helped by existing and proposed development of freight facilities as part of the Northwest Runway scheme. Heathrow Airport currently has a substantial freight handling operation, around 20 times larger by tonnage than that at Gatwick Airport, and accounting for 34 per cent of the UK’s non-European Union trade by value – around 170 times more than Gatwick Airport.

UK transport minister Chris Grayling said, “This time last year, the government selected a new north-west runway at Heathrow as its preferred scheme for delivering much-needed new airport capacity in the south-east. This was a move made in the national interest – to spread the opportunity to travel and trade throughout the UK, through more flights between our global aviation hub and our regional airports.” He continued, “Heathrow handles more freight by value than all other UK airports combined and it has superior connections to the rest of the UK through road, rail and domestic flights. By providing more space for cargo, lowering costs, and by the greater frequency of services, this should in turn provide a boost to trade and GDP benefits.”