Failure to expand Heathrow via a third runway risks Britain’s busiest airport losing out to its European counterparts, Heathrow’s chief executive has claimed.
John Holland-Kaye on Wednesday (26 February) reiterated the case for expansion at Heathrow after the airport posted pre-tax profits for 2019 of £375 million, up £100 million on 2018, and reported its ninth consecutive year of passenger growth after numbers increased 1% to just shy of 81 million.
Holland-Kaye again stressed Heathrow would fall behind Paris Charles de Gaulle as Europe’s main European hub in the next two years if there were further delays to its expansion plans.
In its results announcement, Heathrow said capacity constraints were “strangling” the airport and handing trade and tourism travel “on a plate” to its European rivals.
“Within two years, Charles de Gaulle will overtake Heathrow as the biggest airport in Europe,” said Holland-Kaye, echoing a similar warning earlier this month.
“Heathrow’s new runway is ready to turn ‘global Britain’ into more than just a campaign slogan. It’s the key to the UK’s success after Brexit and will ensure we stay ahead of our European rivals,” Holland-Kaye added.
Plans to expand Heathrow via a third runway were approved in principle by MPs in July 2018, subject to the airport securing the necessary planning consents.
A further eight-week public consultation will be held between April and June before Heathrow submits its final application “towards the end of 2020”.
However, its expansion plans have faced several legal challenges by local authorities and rival expansion bid Heathrow Hub, with a Court of Appeal judgment on a potential judicial review of Parliament’s decision to green-light expansion at Heathrow pending.